While enjoying an afternoon out with his grandson, a Latino man in Torrance, California, was forced to explain to police that he was not abducting the child, who’s skin color was a lighter shade than his.
ABC 7 reported that Abel Mata, who was born in Mexico and moved to the U.S. when he was just five years old, was at his own home with his 2-year-old grandson when a woman accused him of kidnapping before she called the police to report her assumption.
Mata told ABC that he heard tell of a report of a child being abducted, that it was “a Latino man with a little white baby.”
He went on to describe his accuser:
“It was an older White lady, blond hair, curly hair.”
“She was telling me that I was an abductor. She was yelling that I was trying to abduct the child.”
Police arrived to find a couple of things, ABC 7 went on to report. Immediately, they quickly saw that Mata was a legitimate caregiver of the child.
But police also encountered a woman with a large knife enclosed in a sheath when they arrived.
Police said they could not determine whether this woman was the same person who called the police and made the allegation of abduction. They also stated that no charges could be brought to her because she did not make any threats.
Mata shared how terribly he felt upon being accused.
“I was judged according to the color of my skin and the color of the skin of my grandson.”
“It’s painful. Very painful.”
Mata’s daughter, Athena also shared her outrage with the news outlet.
“We’ve lived in Southern California our whole lives and I’ve seen my dad experience racism because of the color of his skin and the way he looks, but never to this extent.”
When the story made the rounds on Twitter, people expressed their own outrage.
Lord… I’m so exhausted.. these Karen’s are giving Black People and other POC PTSD. They can’t seem to understand they put our lives in danger every time they call the police because they are racist.
— Pandora Morrissette (@Pandi1013) September 2, 2020
When you’re a person of color, this difference in complexion is very negligible. But someone who is RACIST, & never attempted to understand other cultures or use basic logic skills wouldn’t know that. I’m disgusted.
— V for Vendetta (@veeroom) September 2, 2020
Some were appalled that the woman who accused Mata didn’t face any consequences.
What a load. Gertrude absolutely should have been arrested. She held them at knifepoint!
— ☔BlackPeopleAreHuman♿ (@SparrowOnTheEye) September 2, 2020
Cops should have went to her door and questioned her a**
— SandyL👑 (@eyesonthesky11) September 2, 2020
Many people found the incident relatable. They explained that for people of color all over, this is commonly a reality.
Why my family never shopped at JC Penney after 1991: my mom is dark my dads folks are LIGHT/white passing. They snatched me from my mom (I’m in the middle) and gave me to my aunt and tried to call the police on my mom…
— Did you drink enough water today? (@SOimLikeWord) September 2, 2020
People have lost their minds.
I’m PoC, and white AF, and some of my family are brown. I can only imagine what would’ve happened if I were a child today in my parents arms. It was bad enough back then!
— Ms. Kat (@ProfessorKitKat) September 2, 2020
I was repeatedly asked if I was my son’s nanny and/or asked for my “rates.”
It was hurtful.
I wish ppl would just mind there business.
— Kelly A. 🇺🇸 (@SuperKellyA) September 2, 2020
So scary. This picture could be my husband holding one of our children. Our son never had hair that fair but he has much lighter skin and because of a recessive gene on both sides he has blue eyes even though all the rest of us have brown.
— K Trujillo (@KTrujil94782722) September 2, 2020
We hope, with unfortunately little confidence, that Mr. Mata never has to deal with discrimination like this again.