Chicago and racist oppression
This is a violent capitalist country. Shootings, beatings, murders occur every day. It is historical fact, beginning with the war against Native people, slavery, the lynchings of African Americans in the South and the brutal treatment of Mexicans in states stolen from that country, that people of color have been — and continue to be — much more likely to be attacked and killed by whites than the other way around.
Police and racist vigilante killings of Black and Brown people occur so often that a whole movement, Black Lives Matter, has arisen in protest. Police violence has spurred people with cellphones to capture digital proof that so often contradicts and exposes the official versions of these incidents.
It is important to keep this in mind when reacting to the terrible news that four Black youth in Chicago are alleged to have kidnapped and beaten a young white man with mental disabilities while shouting racial insults. The four have been charged with hate crimes.
Blurry parts of a video that purportedly shows the torture of the young man went viral on the internet and have been shown repeatedly on television.
But the same media showed only a passing interest last June when a video was released of two white teens and their mother beating and almost drowning a Black youth at a summer camp near Chicago, while yelling racial slurs. (tinyurl.com/huys88b)
And back in 2012, seven white teens in Chicago were videoed beating and kicking an Asian boy as they robbed him in an alley. While they also yelled racist slurs, the case was not treated as a hate crime. Nor did it get more than passing publicity. (tinyurl.com/z64nwd7)
Is the present case attracting so much attention because the victim, who apparently suffered no permanent injuries, has mental disabilities? That, absolutely, should evoke public sympathy.
But what about similar victims of police killings? A paper issued in March 2016 by the Ruderman Family Foundation reported: “Disability is the missing word in media coverage of police violence. Disabled individuals make up a third to half of all people killed by law enforcement officers.”
Whether they’re white or Black, shouldn’t there be the same concern for people with disabilities who are victims of the police? People who all too often needed medical attention but were shot dead instead?
What stands out in the handling of this case is that Fox News and the rest of the pro-Trump, right-wing media have used it to attack Black Lives Matter, claiming that the movement against police violence has incited “racial hatred” against white people. That’s what is so hypocritical about their so-called concerns.
Because media coverage never names the real “racial hatred” — racism and white supremacy. This bigoted hatred provides the rationale for oppressing and exploiting people of color.
Black Lives Matter is a movement against the specific hatred that is racism, especially what is acted upon by the armed forces of the state. When people of color fight back against the hatred of racism, this is not hatred — it’s self-defense.
We all must fight to end the oppression of racism. One way for white people to join that fight is to support the Black Lives Matter movement.
Oppressed Black and Brown people must be free to determine their own destiny. Only then can genuine feelings of empathy and concern replace the hatred, isolation and anger generated by this oppressive and exploiting racist system.