Guest Post: Re: The Privilege of White Male Violence
by Lavern Merriweather
This past July on this very website, Brotha Wolf linked a post written by Chauncey Devega from the We Are Respectable Negroes website about the shooting in an Aurora Colorado movie theater. The post was about when a white male commits a sickening act of violence that gets national attention and how the media and public react to it. Usually, with a lot – and I do mean lot – of hand wringing while talking head pundits lament about how such a terrible thing could be committed by such a ‘normal’ or ‘nice’ guy. They question endlessly about why would a seemingly nice normal young man with everything going for him just snap like that then go out and murder random people. (Man! I love coded language.)
The reason I bring this up is because this past Sunday two profoundly brutal and horrific acts of violence happened with the same reaction as what happened in Colorado. It should be mentioned that both of the incidents involved white people. So, of course, words like “sad, tragic, senseless”, and “heartbreaking” get thrown around. Those are the words that get used and not words like “stupid, violent, dangerous, angry, animals” you know, the stuff they would be saying if it were us Negroes.
Not a day goes by on YouTube or some other technological miracle of video where you have black people getting into fistfights or causing mayhem and people NOT make hateful racially motivated comments. And it’s always with the tagline of ‘those people’ as in that’s exactly what you should expect from black people. So, if that’s what you should expect from us, homicides in a place of escape and enjoyment such as a place of worship, restaurant, school, bar, train station, what have you, are what we should ‘expect’ of you? .
I distinctly remember one summer in Chicago when an annual event called “Freaknik” occurred with several incidents of violence and several arrests. Mind you, that’s the only one I can recall the media mentioning, maybe because the other Freakniks happened without incident. That must mean our events only merit attention when something violent happens, and very rarely is the coverage followed with how sad and tragic or senseless what happened was. Instead, there are mostly white anchors making secretly coded snide quips about how they are not the least bit surprised. I’m pretty sure that attitude was nowhere to be found after the vicious brawl in Philadelphia at a wedding reception in a very posh hotel in one of Philly’s nicer neighborhoods. The type of area where something like that just would never happen yet somehow still did. With a relative of the bride dying of a fatal heart attack and at least three people getting arrested, although two of them were only charged with disorderly conduct. Despite the fact that you can see in a video them being very physically violent with some of the police officers called to the scene. To the point where the cops used what is now being called excessive force. How much cash money you want to bet it would be called ‘proper procedure’ had those wedding guest brawlers been black?
Also, on Sunday a Chicago Bears fan was brutally murdered at a local bar in Jacksonville, Fla. where the Bears were playing the Jaguars. Apparently the deceased man had his throat slashed by another bar patron by the name of Matt Hinson because the slain man was seen talking to Hinson’s wife and he became enraged. Now, I don’t know if Mr. Hinson’s motivation was a jealous rage or not what. I do know that Hinson’s picture was hardly ever shown and his name hardly ever mentioned. So wait, did this crime happen by immaculate inception or something? I’m not trying to make light of a stupid tragedy that could have probably been easily avoided by all parties involved.
I just wonder why when a white male commits a horrible act his face and name aren’t immediately splashed all over every newspaper and television broadcast as I have seen so many times with black or Latino male suspects and perpetrators of crime. The minute the media finds out a suspect is black and or male you can bet a $1,000,000 dollars (you don’t even have) that his name and face will be made known by 4pm that very day. Not the case with Mr. Hinson and lately not the case with James Holmes either I guess America has let him get enough of his 15 minutes. Or maybe they don’t like dwelling on the bad, criminal people that look like them lest they get an unwelcome reminder that many of them aren’t as nice and normal as they would like to believe.