I wonder if anyone could answer me a question?How many innocent, young black men have been shot down between the death of Trayvon Martin and the death of Darius Simmons? Was it one? Two? Twelve? How many were killed and we don’t even know about them because the authorities assumed it was in self-defense, or worse, the authorities did it themselves and the local news gave them the benefit of the doubt? How many will we never hear about because they are straight-up not valued in our society? The answer, btw is 15, though unless you go to the bottom of that Addincting Info article, you probably couldn’t find it.
I also wonder what kind of hand wringing, as this latest anomaly (the coverage, not the death) unfolds, can we expect to see from white people across the political spectrum. How many excuses the bitter, I-can’t-believe-I-can’t-just-call-them-that crowd will have for John Henry Spooner? How many white, liberal, social justice activists will make this, if only in one or two Facebook comments, about them and their experiences: “don’t judge me, I’m not like Spooner or Zimmerman?”
They’ll make themselves feel better about it though, at least the left-wing hand wringers will. They will put Darius up on a pedestal, as if that will bring him back to his mother. They will extol his virtues and tell us how he always went to church. They will make him, as best they can, a “good” victim. All the while the white privilege apologists will demonize him, just as they did Trayvon. They will find the slightest fault and magnify it and, of course, the left will take the bait.
Because for some reason, unless they are choir boys, young black men deserve to be shot. At least, that is the message that is being sent. I know I am not the first to mention this, and frankly, enjoying white privilege, my voice should have less weight in the matter. It’s just so frustrating to be able to see it all unfolding again, this blind spot almost every white person (which is most the people I know) have when it comes to holding young black men to a higher standard. If a white kid wore a hoodie and his pants around his knees, no one would think he was a “bad” victim. Just like before, the white left will see all this in others but not themselves, because asking questions of ourselves is too hard.
I admit, occasionally, when I am alone with a group of young black men at night, I feel a twinge of fear. I check myself, I realize “hey, that’s bull Christine,” but that does not excuse it. Nor do I deserve a cookie for realizing it. You’re not supposed to be bigot. So many I talk to though cannot admit that, even a little. If I ask them, without a pause and say, “of course I am comfortable alone in large groups of black people.” Because, of course, lying to yourself will give us any chance of changing this.
At least Spooner was charged right away, though you know if it was not such a cut and dry case he would not have been. Darius Simmons deserved to live, not because he was a good kid, but because he was a kid, period. He doesn’t get to though, and he won’t get the real justice he, Trayvon, and all those forgotten others deserve: a society that finally takes stock of itself and makes sure there are no more Darius Simmons or Trayvon Martins to mourn.