The Fairytale of the Victimhood

I recently read an article entitled “What Black Parents Tell Their Sons About the Police” and I began to ponder the downward spiral in race relations over the past five years. According to the author Jazmine Hughes:

“Such is the burden of black parenting. Being a black parent, especially of a black boy, comes with the added onus of having to protect your child from a country that is out to get him -- a country that kills someone that looks like him every 28 hours, a country that will likely imprison him by his mid-thirties if he doesn't get his high school diploma, a country that is more than twice as likely to suspend him from school than a white classmate. “

By the way, this author does not have any Black sons, or any children at all, but she promises that she will and when that momentous birth occurs, she will raise them in fear of the cops. She somehow believes that it is inevitable that failure will visit the Black boy or man and these events are beyond his/her control. She is certain of the inevitable “victimhood” of Black people -- especially Black men. It is beyond their control to graduate from high school and not engage in activities that will encourage suspension from school, arrest, or incarceration.

This point of view is bolstered by journalists who write things such as “80 percent of the traffic violations in this town are waged against Black people” while neglecting to tell you that 90 percent of the town's population is Black. Or when they report that “2/3 of all suspensions are of Black children” while neglecting to mention that the school might be 78 percent black and 22 percent Hispanic. The reality is that in many of the inner city public schools, there are little to no white children to suspend.

There is no mention of personal responsibility, familial responsibility or objectivity. Such is the culture of victim-hood.  

So, if you have the victim, you have to have the “victimizer”. In contrast to the previous article is one written by a mother and author Elizabeth Broadbent. This article is entitled “A Mother's White Privilege” and as you can tell from the title, it comes from a different angle, the author is White, her children are White, she has a great deal of guilt about this “condition” (her whiteness), or so she says…. But she comes to the same conclusion -- Black men are victims and that people of her race, in specifics the white men are the aggressors and victimizers. 

In the piece, the author revels in her view that her blond and “various shades of pinkish-white” sons with their blue or green or greenish-blue eyes are the embodiment of “The Man”. It seems that in this woman's mind, Black men, beginning in boyhood, are racing through the streets as if “deer hunting season” was replaced by “Black boy hunting season”. . .  According to her:

“My boys will carry a burden of privilege with them always. They will be golden boys, inoculated by a lack of melanin and all its social trapping against the problems faced by black America.”

She peppers her story with pictures of the pink, golden boys.

I have a question for this mother: “If your blond sons were strong-arming and robbing that store owner would they be allowed to get away with that because of their "white privilege"? The answer is no. I am certain that among the 6,578,133 white men arrested in 2011, some had blonde hair and pink skin.

This hysteria is fed into at least once a year or so by unfortunate and yes, very bad events. Such situations that make our collective hearts bleed because of a perished life. However, we ignore all other crimes which were probably a great deal worse and focus on the one that fits the narrative -- victim and victimizer. We lose the ability to look at the situation as unusual or out of the ordinary and begin to fantasize about a world of “black male hunting”, “bigoted predator cops: or the “Kingdom of White Privilege”. It is easier that way, to have the story divided up into “good guys” and “bad guys”.

In this fictionalized world created by the press and the enablers, the police are big, bigoted, militarized, and shoot at will. We overlook the fact that these “boogeymen cops” are mothers, fathers, relatives, and friends and when their shift is over, they are citizens just like everyone else. 

The press will seize upon an iconic symbol such as the hoodie or the throwing of the hands in the air because every good story needs a symbol, every good riot a rally cry. And then we are off to the Jackson/Sharpton races with one side against the other. Black against White/rich against poor. When a situation arises that does not match this script, it is forgotten. For example, when a black police officer shot and killed a reportedly unarmed white man named Dillon Taylor in South Salt Lake, Utah earlier this month, there was no outcry. In fact, there was very little news about this at all.

The “real story” is this: Every society needs a level of behavioral restraint. The police by definition provide this service. They serve and protect. Also, society also has standards. When you operate outside of those standards, life will be difficult. For example, if you do not graduate from high school, you might not “make out” very well in this society. You might find yourself short on money and long on time, both of these conditions just might lead you to do things that you might otherwise not have the time or want to give the effort to. The responsibility is yours. No one wants to talk about the young Black children growing up in single-parent households, no one wants to speak about the fact that a disproportionate amount of criminal acts -- violent or not -- consists of Black people preying on other Black people.

Certainly, there are instances of prejudice and bigotry, and some are certainly egregious.  We cannot control for that behavior, however, the bullet flying over any Black boy's head is more likely to be fired from a firearm brandished by another Black person than by a cop.