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While most people use the term “DWB” in jest — that’s “driving while Black” for all the visitors out there — there’s actually many real-life examples throughout history of African American men and women being pulled over for simply having melanated skin.
Unfortunately, even a Google product manager had to go through a DWB situation after he was stopped by security on the famous tech campus and questioned until he missed his bus. Oh, and they took his badge — all because security didn’t believe this Black man was an actual employee.
Angel Onuoha detailed the ordeal via Twitter last week on September 20 (seen above), explaining that someone on the campus actually reported him, writing, “Riding my bike around Google’s campus and somebody called security on me because they didn’t believe I was an employee. Had to get escorted by two security guards to verify my ID badge.”
Two days later on September 22, he sent out a follow-up tweet that gave a little more backstory into the incident, which Onuoha says ended with his badge being confiscated and being told to “call security” if he had an issue with their procedure. The entire 30-minute exchange eventually costed him not only his ID but his bus ride home as well.
In response to an inquiry into the matter by Forbes, a Google spokesperson issued an official statement that says, “We take this employee’s concerns very seriously, are in touch with him and are looking into this. We learned that the employee was having issues with his badge due to an administrative error and contacted the reception team for help. After they were unable to resolve the issue, the security team was called to look into and help resolve the issue,” also adding, “More broadly, one step we’ve taken recently to decrease badging incidents is to make clear that employees should leave investigating these kinds of access concerns to our security team. Our goal is to ensure that every employee experiences Google as an inclusive workplace and that we create a stronger sense of belonging for all employees.”
This issue doesn’t seem to be anything new over at the big G, with one former security guard at the company in response to Onuoha’s original tweet writing, “I was on lunch in one of the micro kitchens. My radio goes off like ‘Hey Al when you get off of lunch can you head over to the second floor micro kitchen. A Googler just reported a suspicious individual in that area.’ I spent a hour looking for myself.”
In situations of clear racial discrimination like this, what should be done? Let us know your thoughts over on social media!
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