“If you see something, say something” is well-intended advice meant to keep people safe with the help of bystander intervention. There are, however, exceptions to this guideline that show how well-intentioned advice can have negative consequences, like calling the cops on people of color in non-life threatening situations, or questioning the travels of a mixed race family.
Cindy McCain, the wife of the late Sen. John McCain and mother of the View personality Meghan McCain, recounted on a Wednesday radio interview what she thought was a brave act: calling the police on a family at the Phoenix airport that she suspected of “human trafficking.” Phoenix police, however, told local publication Arizona Family that responding officers determined that despite McCain’s eagerness to profile a mixed race family, “there was no evidence of criminal conduct or child endangerment.”
Speaking to KTAR, McCain said she summoned the police because the woman, presumably the mother, was a different ethnicity from the baby she was with, presumably her child.
“I came in from a trip I’d been on and I spotted—it looked odd—it was a woman of a different ethnicity than the child, this little toddler she had, and something didn’t click with me,” McCain said in the interview. “I went over to the police and told them what I saw, and they went over and questioned her, and, by God, she was trafficking that kid.”
McCain then went on to claim she found out the woman was waiting for the man who supposedly purchased this trafficked child to arrive on his flight, advising listeners that this is the way to combat trafficking. Except, you know, in the case where you’re just harassing a mixed race mother and daughter and have no reason to believe they’re not just a family trying to get to their final destination.
In the response to Phoenix police debunking McCain’s fantastic title of “child traffic stopper,” McCain tweeted on Wednesday night that she “thought” the situation between the woman and toddler was human trafficking and apologized if her story did anything to “distract” from her overall message.
What makes the all more puzzling is that McCain and her husband adopted their daughter Bridget from Bangladesh in 1993. Somehow, despite having a mixed race family herself, McCain couldn’t fathom that a mother and daughter of different ethnicities could be traveling together. Perhaps something “looked odd” because the mother wasn’t white like her?
I’m clearly just speculating, enraged at the thought of my own parents having cops called on them for their difference in skin color with their toddler, but who’s to say, really—not even McCain knows what she saw.