by Seung Lee
Originally published: May 12, 2016
Last March, several residents in the central Oakland neighborhood of Adams Point took to Nextdoor, a local social networking platform, to complain about a “very nice African American young boy” who would not pick up his pitbull’s waste. The replies soon devolved into neighbors urging the posters to report this to the police and the boy’s school.
One commenter uploaded a photo of the boy and said even if the city fined his family, they wouldn’t be able to pay because “they don't have that kind of money.”
The racial profiling by the Adams Point residents was not the exception but the norm on Oakland’s Nextdoor, according to a cover story by Oakland’s alt-weekly magazine East Bay Express last October. The story detailed multiple stories of black Oaklanders being profiled, harassed and reported to police by paranoid residents, who found refuge in building a quasi-neighborhood watch on Nextdoor—which was initially created for neighbors to trade tips, barter goods and build a community.