“I discovered all sorts of wonderful, fantastic, crazy, nutso worlds and stories in that wonderful little place,” he says. “I was just getting through college,” he says. “My dad was livid,” recalls Melody Cooper, Christian’s younger sister. He wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post explaining that he declined to assist in the prosecution of Amy Cooper because he “suffered no harm, physical or mental,” from her actions. Christian Cooper, who has been intimately involved with movements for social justice his entire life, who has lived 57 years as a Black man in America, has always understood that a Harvard … The second depicted an encounter in Central Park, which I did watch, mostly by accident, because a friend texted it to me with the addendum: Why is this lady literally choking her dog? “I’m in the Ramble and there’s a man, African American, he has a bicycle helmet, he’s recording me and threatening me and my dog.”, Beside her, true to my friend’s description, her dog, which she’s holding by the collar, does indeed appear to be choking. “There is an African American man recording me in Central Park. “There’s a principle to be upheld here,” he says. On one of these trips, somewhere in the middle of the country, the family stopped for food at a diner. And then they appeared; dozens of golden eagles, coasting in on the incoming cold front, free to roam the skies as they pleased. Inevitably, pundits highlight his demeanor in the moment, how calm he remained while facing Amy Cooper. “Thank you,” Christian F. Cooper ’84 says, calm, with only the slightest hint of irritation. They walked in, sat at the counter, and waited. Christian Cooper, who has been intimately involved with movements for social justice his entire life, who has lived 57 years as a Black man in America, has always understood that a Harvard degree and a penchant for birdwatching can’t always protect him. “They looked at my resume and they said, ‘You’re way overqualified for this job.’ I said, ‘I don’t care! His extension of empathy to a white woman whose actions could have killed him seems to have cemented his goodness in the minds of many white onlookers.. Cooper thinks that a lot of these takes miss the point. When the nation was consumed with protests in June, I started getting text messages from white people that basically boiled down to, are you okay? As he wrote in a Washington Post op-ed, “Focusing on charging Amy Cooper lets white people off the hook… they can scream for her head while leaving their own prejudices unexamined.” To place all the attention on Amy Cooper, to paint her as a complete villain, would make her seem like an anomaly. He identifies birds without consciously knowing he’s doing it. He had known that he was gay for a while before then, but in the seventies, “it was death to be out in high school,” he recalls, so he initially kept it to himself. He would much rather focus on creating a system where he doesn’t need protection in the first place. Whatever I do, it’s because I want to move this conversation forward, and it’s for all of us, but in particular for Black people.”. A trick that might ordinarily work in Amy Cooper’s favor doesn’t, probably because it was recorded. One winter, Long Island received a particularly harsh snowstorm, piling several feet of snow on the ground. Sometimes, I thought I saw that line of thought in Cooper. “It just sort of formed this ethic that if you see something wrong in the world, it’s your personal responsibility to do something to fix it. He left his hotel in a taxi before dawn, cold wind whipping his face as he stood and waited at the top of Franklin Mountain, the town spread out underneath him. It was that principle that brought him into conflict with Amy Cooper in Central Park. “I was an idiot,” Phillips says. He is threatening myself and my dog. But I wonder if there were any other factors in his decision. “But still, I can’t help but see her as a human being because I was there.”, He and his sister, who agree on almost everything else about the Black Lives Matter movement, diverge slightly here. Follow her on Twitter @ibuprofenaddict. He has particularly fond memories of a class he took in modern literature. — Staff writer Rebecca E. J. Cadenhead can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s a jail that usually holds men who can’t make bail, and has a long history of violence and corruption. It’s supposed to be a reminder of the stakes of the fight for racial justice — if we don’t change, more people will die. “There’s a reason why I never wear contact lenses,” he told Gayle King in an interview with CBS.
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