Niecy Nash, NY Times partner on satirical hotline for racial harassment

The New York Times's opinion department is partnering with comedian Niecy Nash on a new satirical hotline for white people to call when they can't "cope with black people living life near them." 

The hotline mocks the rash of real-world incidents over the past year in which white people have called the police on black people who are not doing anything illegal. Viral videos and stories have featured white callers notifying authorities as nearby African-Americans participate in family barbecues, nap in a college dorm lounge, move into their new homes and other innocuous activities. 


Between cellphone cameras and social media, Nash says in voiceover for a fake infomercial posted Monday to the Times's opinion section, “calling 911 on your black or brown neighbors just isn’t what it used to be.”

Nash then introduces herself as an "actress, inventor and advocate for not calling 911 on black people for no goddamn reason," advising viewers to call a new hotline, 1-844-WYT-FEAR, instead of 911, for such instances.

The infomercial features black operators at the "hotline" advising white people who are frightened by the people of color around them. Nash promises the hotline will "save you all the headaches of being filmed and outed as a racist douche." 

The phone number actually goes to a hotline, which ultimately encourages callers to tell the Times opinions section about a time they were unfairly harassed.

"Thank you for calling 1-844-WYT-FEAR," an operator says if the number is called. "We are here to address your urgent concerns about black or brown people living their life near you." 

The operator first gives the caller the option to "press 1" if they are "feeling scared about a black or brown person in your proximity." 

"Warning," the operator says. "If hearing Spanish is triggering for you, please cover your ears now." The message repeats in Spanish. 

The hotline reminds the caller that they should not report black people to the police because African-Americans are more likely to experience force and endure longer sentences in the American criminal justice system. 

"Based on your menu selection, we have determined that you are not in danger and probably just racist," the operator ultimately says.

The hotline and accompanying parody infomercial both encourage viewers to call or message the newspaper with stories of when they were unfairly harassed while doing nothing wrong.

"While this New York Times hotline is a satire, the issue is very real," the operator says. 

The Times on Monday published a list of 39 reported incidents over the last year in which white people have called the authorities on black people even though they were doing nothing harmful or illegal.