I haven’t written in a while, but I haven’t stopped writing in my head. I guess I just had to get angry enough to feel the need to write and publish. I like many people watched the video of the cop from McKinney, TX , my home state (Buzzfeed, who broke the story, has great coverage), wrestle a young girl to the ground and then sit on her. It disgusted me. As I watched it I knew that those on the right were going to find some way to say this was deserved. I just hoped I wouldn’t see it since I don’t watch FOX. I hoped if I had to see it, I would see it being made fun of on the Daily Show, so my anger would be mitigated. Nope, saw it on my Facebook feed, then saw people who I assumed were intelligent agree with something Breitbart posted. Seriously, Breitbart.com. If you follow politics, you know Breitbart is not legitimate journalism. It’s a right-wing website. Unashamedly. It’s anti-choice, anti-climate change, anti-Obama, anti-democrat. Remember the ACORN “scandal”, with the ridiculously dressed “pimp”, that was Breitbart. So, of course, they would claim this was justified, and the fault of the black teens.
What upsets me is not that Breitbart behaved as you expected they would (or that FOX is doing the same), but that Americans behaved as I wish they would stop. Back before cell phone video became ubiquitous, nobody believed African-Americans when they claimed they were harassed by cops. That’s an isolated incident, or it only happened to you. Then social media, like twitter, allowed multiple people to express how they were being treated, and still many claimed, “you’re making this up” and “that couldn’t possibly have happened.” Then, again thanks to social media, we discover innocent African-Americans are gunned down by police, because the stories no longer stay local, and still the claims are “must have done something wrong.” Now there is video evidence of these crimes and still it’s not enough. What will it take to finally believe? Exactly what has to happen for people to believe that African-Americans are disproportionately treated more harshly than white people. I added the disproportionately because any time you have one of these conversations someone has to point out that, “white people are killed by cops too and media’s not talking about it.” They probably should, because that shouldn’t happen either, but it happens a lot more the other way. Hell, if you get caught with marijuana, better hope you’re white. African-Americans are 4x more likely to go to jail than their white counterparts, and usage is virtually the same. But that’s not a race problem, surely.
The problem is the right, and many other good people, refuse to see a pattern. They treat each incident as if it occurred in isolation. Two incidents just happened in Texas that don’t seem related, but you should use as examples of a problem.
In one situation, a teenage girl went to a pool party and “didn’t obey orders” is tossed to the ground, in the other a group of bikers, who were involved in an active shootout with the police, sit calmly texting. WAIT, you say, the shootout was between the Bandidos and Cossacks, so the above photo shows innocent bikers. You are right! She should have used this picture of the Cossacks:
Seriously, a black girl is lying face down, but white bikers who were ACTIVELY INVOLVED IN A SHOOTING THAT LEFT 9 DEAD are just sitting there. Yeah, there’s no “race problem”.
In science, when you have a theory you try to find as much supporting evidence from as many varied sources as you can. If African-Americans were submitting a paper to a scientific journal with the theory that America has a racial problem, it would be published. There is overwhelming evidence, from multiple sources, across multiple states and jurisdictions, across multiple businesses, and within business, from hiring to customer service, from multiple age groups, across the socio-economic spectrum (Chris Rock people!), and still some refuse to believe. It’s like climate change: 99% of scientists agree, but there’s that one percent! In the face of overwhelming evidence, you must ask yourself, “Why don’t I believe?” and finally:
What will it take?