Viner Channels Spirit of King Jr.

Rashid Polo has a brilliant method for dealing with institutional racism — and it’s paying off in more ways than one. The 19-year-old Minnesota teen felt the sting of being followed in stores to the point where he decided to do something about it: he took out his smartphone and started making Vines. Polo, who is black, is well aware of a longstanding issue minorities have with stores and their employees, where he is profiled as soon as he walks in the door.

The employees then begin to follow him around, expecting their presence will thwart him from stealing. It isn’t that they’ve ever seen Polo before — it’s enough that he’s a young black man. Certainly these employees are coached to follow him — either by some unspoken store policy or by personal bias — but that doesn’t make it right.

So Polo has opted for the non-violent, non-confrontational method of putting these shopkeeps on Vine. It’s a beautifully just and entertaining method of refocusing the attention back on the employees. And it’s gotten him almost 30 million loops damn near overnight. That’s a pretty big congregation for proselytizing.

Imagine if everyone who was routinely followed/monitored by workers in a store began to chase them off with a Vine video: it could stamp out this annoying and racist process.

Then again, racism is pervasive and I bet these store owners would just switch to wearing white hoods with the eyes cut out to avoid identification.

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