Surely you've seen it. It's the one my white friends* are touting as the correct explanation for why they are so upset about the outrage surrounding Trayvon Martin's murder. The post, and their response to it, is completely knee-jerk and has no parallel to reality. Yet it feels good to try to downplay what's real because reality is really sticky and gross.
Therefore, I furiously typed out this response in a Facebook comment, but realized it had no place there and brought it here instead. Read at your own risk:
Screaming that it's racist to demand Trayvon Martin's murderer face consequences for his actions and using a tragedy like Eve Carson's murder as your reasoning shows that you a) don't understand the point and b) don't want people talking about race in the United States.I should probably remove the white person talk because white folks are very sensitive, but in my experience, white people are yelling the loudest about how they're done hearing about Trayvon.
The point: No one's angry because Zimmerman killed a black child (versus a white child). We're angry because he killed a child and walked away without any consequences. Argue that point. Explain how it'd be okay for anyone -- white or black -- to kill any child -- white or black -- and then go on home afterward.
Where Eve Carson fits in this story: Eve Carson's death was tragic and terrible. I remember people sitting riveted in front of their television screens, their eyes pouring tears, when updates on the murder investigation came one. There were candlelight vigils. A garden was named in her honor. She was awarded a posthumous degree and -- still today -- people feel so helpless and terrible that this beautiful young girl was gunned down.
Where Eve Carson does not fit in this story: No, there was no Million Eve Carson March. There didn't have to be. Her killers were tracked down within a week of her murder. They were not allowed to leave the scene of the crime until someone could prove she didn't deserve it. Police had to provide cover for them when they went to and from court because outraged people were prepared to gun those men down in the streets, just like they did Eve. Comparing the reaction to Carson's death to the reaction to Martin's death is apples to oranges.
Further, no one ever mentions the other promising young student gunned down by Demario Atwater, one of Carson's killers. Remember Abhijit Mahato? I wonder why no one is evoking his name to attack the outrage people are showing about how police have treated Trayvon's death. Hmm -- what could be different between Abhijit and Eve? There, my friends, is your apples to apples.
How about this. How about we stop using the tragic deaths of our children to justify this country's refusal to acknowledge where our system is broken? How about we stop saying one person's death is more or less tragic, more or less wrong, than someone else's?
Let's have a real conversation about guns, race, and corruption. Let's honor those children whose lives were taken too soon. Okay?
Why? Maybe they feel that they have to denounce that racism could exist because it could mean that they, too, are racist (even if they aren't). Maybe they fear if they admit that a little racism exists, they'll have to admit a lot of it exists (the "give 'em an inch" argument). Maybe it's that no one wants to accept that there may be an imbalance, because finding equilibrium could hurt those who are favored.
But it's ridiculous because Zimmerman isn't white and no one's saying white people are bad. Stop being so defensive and we'll all get much further in this world!
With that, I feel like at least I've said my piece somewhere and can now go back to talking about my kids. ;)