TW: rape, murder, killing.
I’ve always noticed how in cases of mass tragedy, and even smaller, less-national-covered cases, that white men have been treated differently in comparison to people of color. And since this Connecticut shooting has occurred, I’ve noticed that it all runs in a circle, and every representation of the shooter has a template.
White men can never take the blame. With ‘The Dark Knight’/Aurora, Colorado massacre, the shooter, a white man, was never represented as acting a completely “sane”, responsible-for-his-own-actions man. His shooting was because he wasn’t “mentally stable”, or that he was stressed to things going on in school. You see, he didn’t mean or want to kill them. This was just a manifestation of his environment and mental heath.
With the Columbine shooters, both white teens, their musical and fashion interests, and the fact that they were social outcast in their schools, were named as why they were driven to kill. Apparently Marilyn Manson and the goth culture have mass murder written in them.
With George Zimmerman, who is white and latino (but is viewed and treated like a white man), in the case of Trayvon Martin, he was simply “standing his ground”; protecting his upper middle-class neighborhood from a potential “thug” – a brown boy in a hoodie. He didn’t do it because of nothing. He did it because it was a natural instinct to protect.
As you can see, white men can’t act alone in crimes with a clean conscious. Something has to bewrongwith them. They have to have some mental illness, or be influenced by outside,otheredforces, or they simply have to be doing their “white man duties” of protecting or acting on natural instincts.
Another way white men are backed up in cases like these is by their education and background. They are mostly pictured as ‘grade A’ students, cut straight from the cloth of the American dream. And this serves as the template for things to wrong. The Aurora, Colorado shooter was a “genius”, a “prodigy with promise”, who was having problems and stress at school, which led to his killing of over a dozen folks. It always goes down that way.
With brown folks, and other racial minorities, their intent and reason of committing crimes is written in their skin – or in their faith and communities. People won’t question why brown folks murder, because it’s been socially inscribed in their identities. Black men don’t kill because they were having issues at school. They kill because they are black men. Brown folks from the Middle East don’t kill because they are protecting something. They kill because of their god. Yellow and orange and red folks don’t kill because they were people living with mental illnesses. They kill because of their communities’ historical grudges with America, or because they were involved some-which-a-way with drugs, etc.
In this past decade, a study was done by the University of Columbia on cases of rape of white women. Out of the many cases studied, the study found that court systems, lawyers, and the media-at-large, held a overwhelming bias against men of color. Men of color were pictured and framed as rapists and guilty of the crime-at-hand because they were “brutes”, came from communities where this kind of behavior was prevalent and “normalized”, etc. White men were found to only rape because they were led on, or because of the victim’s state (i.e.: being intoxicated, flirtatious, etc.) – furthing leading to victim and slut shaming. Not only did this show immense prejudice – seeing as the study also found that the lesser the evidence against men of color, the higher the rate of conviction – but it also showed how society-at-large mirrors these findings.
The reason racial minorities kill is written in their identities. They kill because of their skin color. They kill because of gangs, violence, and hate – all synonymous with their the amount of active melanocytes in their skin. White men kill because of outside forces affecting them. Their whiteness is clean of intent. THIS is how the media, journalists, and society-at-large treats white men.
This entire process also shows a major exposure on resources to people of color. Men of color can’t kill due to stress at school, because men of color are viewed as being uneducated. Men of color don’t kill and come from stable, loving, “American” homes because they are viewed as coming from broken homes and as being in some regard less-American.
And a overall by-product of this prejudice is the damaging of other communities – namely those living with mental illnesses. Right now, in the case of the Sandy Hooks shooting, people repetitively attach mental illness as the driving reason as to why Adam Lanza, a white man, would do such a thing, further attaching murder as something people with mental illnesses are capable of; further subjecting people with mental illnesses to ridicule, regulation, and policing.
White men kill because they are sane, consenting individuals who willingly made the decision to. They can kill without being mentally ill. They can kill without some sort of trauma in their life. White men kill because they know no one will put the full blame on them. White men kill because they know they have a larger chance of getting away with it than people of color.
We will never progress in this country unless everyone is held to the same, equal, fair expectations.