One Woman's Story About Banking While Black

October 7th 2016

Here's what happened when a Black female architect tried to deposit a check, according to BuzzFeed News.

Trish Doolin of Seattle alleged that she was discriminated against by her own bank when trying to deposit her paycheck. She posted to Facebook to recount what she went through, a friend tweeted it, and it soon racked up more than 5,000 retweets:

The teller "asked if HR could verify that I was an employee there."

Doolin said that she deposited her paycheck at a local KeyBank. Not long after, the bank called her to say there had been "a problem with her check" and asked her to return to sort it out, according to BuzzFeed.

Doolin found herself in an uncomfortable situation in an office with a personal banker identified as Thor Loberg:

"The bank teller — whom she described as white — had already pulled up her design firm's website on his computer.

"'He asked my profession, and then asked why the company's headquarters were in Philadelphia,' she said. 'Then he asked if HR could verify that I was an employee there.'"

The teller told her the bank would have to hold her check because her account had not been open for 30 days. But he didn't ask her for ID once. That and the strange circumstance of being grilled about her employment made Doolin feel that she was being discriminated against in a way that a white customer wouldn't have been:

"When I realized that I was defending who I was, trying to prove to someone I didn't know who I was, I knew I was being discriminated against. It was just completely demeaning."

The bank handled the situation terribly.

Doolin returned home and called the bank to say what had happened, BuzzFeed reported. A woman at the bank told Doolin, "I can assure he is far from racist. He would have done that to any other customer."

The woman then released Doolin's funds since it was only one day away from the bank's hold requirement. Doolin explained what happened next:

"She made sure to tell me that she was sorry that I was 'having a bad day.' At the end of the conversation, she told me, 'Go have a drink or something.'"

The woman's intentions may have been good, but Doolin said that a drink wasn't going to fix the systemic racism she regularly finds herself fighting:

"'I live in a world where, no matter what's in my brain or purse, no matter how I wear my hair, no matter how fabulous I look when I walk out the door, I'm still Black. People still clutch their purses when I walk past.' ...

"'When you're Black, you can't go marching around saying, 'I've been discriminated against.' It's that silent pain. You can still hurt, but just don't do it too loudly.'"

Doolin has since switched banks.

For its part, KeyBank declined to discuss the specifics of Doolin's situation but told BuzzFeed in a statement: "We do not tolerate discrimination."

Banking while Black.

Some who have read Doolin's story insist that holding funds is normal and that it happens to everyone. But many acknowledge that it is highly unusual for a bank to take the step of asking someone to come in and to interrogate her.

What happened to Doolin is sadly not outside the norm for many Black Americans.

Jason Goolsby, a teenager from Washington, was chased last October by police officers, who, for whatever reason, assumed he was trying to rob a bank when he was simply deciding whether to withdraw money from the ATM. The incident was dubbed an example of "banking while Black."

Goolsby was out with his friends when he stopped at a bank, according to The Washington Post. He held the door for a woman with a baby stroller. Then this happened:

"He saw D.C. police cars racing toward him. One, he said, nearly hit him. The college freshman said he ran.

"Three blocks away near Barracks Row, officers caught him. One of his friends recorded the tail end of Goolsby's forceful detention — two white police officers on top of the screaming Black teenager, trying to force his hands to his back while saying, 'Stop resisting.' The friend aiming the cellphone camera repeatedly yelled, 'He didn't do anything.'"

His friend posted the video on Twitter, prompting protests and the trending hashtag #JusticeforJason.


That's not the only hashtag that's been used to raise awareness about the problems Black people have in public. #ShoppingWhileBlack is another.

Disney actress Zendaya posted about her own shopping-while-Black experience on Snapchat.

Zendaya summed it up with a weary comment: "This is what we deal with."

[h/t BuzzFeed]

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