Cashing Checks: Drawing Conclussions

116th St Festival 2010- Puerto Rican Flag :)

116th St Festival 2010- Puerto Rican Flag 🙂 (Photo credit: JuntosWorldwide)

Why is it when a few young, white men destroy property, beat each other to a pulp and menace women all up and down the street on St. Patty’s Day or The Fourth of July it is just a “few bad apples” and receives no reporting in the news? Why is it that when similar incidents occur at a Puerto Rican festival it is somehow symbolic of a problem within that community.

Please do not mistake me, I am sure the police had cause to arrest those sixteen, out of hundreds, people. I am sure they broke the law. So do many of the young white men in the incidents I mentioned above. Never mind, though, the disparities in police action, what of the disparities in public perception?

Any of the threads discussing the incidents at Rochester’s PR festival have had more than a few people suggesting it means the festival should be closed down. It would never occur to them to close down the St. Patty’s day parade, or cancel the fireworks, or take any broad sweeping action to hold the entire community of white people responsible for the actions of a few. Nor should it. It should also not occur to them to hold the entire Hispanic community responsible for the actions of a few.

We see this over and again. If a crime is committed by a white person, it is an aberration, but when they are committed by PoC it is completely in bounds to suggest that it is the result of something pathological within their community. The fact that this idea even gets a place at the table of debate, no matter how much we want to say it is no longer the accepted notion of race, is itself a sign of white privilege. Because no matter how much the producers, writers, directors and programmers of the “liberal” media want to pretend they don’t the mostly white people behind the scenes want to protect their status.

It is, I suppose, comforting to some white people to think that they are inherently superior, no matter how liberal they like to view themselves. It must be nice to know that you will never seriously be held responsible for the actions of another white person. It must be nice to know you can casually and condescendingly dismiss any attempt to do so by a PoC. It must be nice to not have our elected officials asking for “you people” to behave.


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