Wednesday, December 05, 2007
White Subway Passenger Beaten By Gang of Black Teenagers
I just finished watching a tape of a nasty blight on the country's culturegeist, I've blogged about people using video to capture racism on tape before, but for the first time since the truck driver Reginald Denney was pulled from the cab of his truck at an intersection in South Central during the LA riots and nearly beaten to death by a hysterical mob, the media is captivated with an image of an innocent white person being attacked by black people who appear to be out of control.
Once again, technology helps to lift up the proverbial rock and this time we are reminded that ignorant racist acts don't just happen to people of color.
By now the infamous video clip of an emotionally-charged group of, what appear to be, black teenagers on a New York City subway verbally accosting and then physically beating a lone white passenger is being seen on computer screens across the globe.
Among other Websites, TheSmokingGun.com has posted the video and generated an array of viscious, hate-filled commentary penned by intellectuals with charming screen names like "IH8Mexicans" (really...) who've unleashed a slew of racist commentary as a means to vent internalized prejudices and stereotypical generalizations.
But there are also some like me who are simply fed up. Someone on the SmokinGun.com observed correctly that if there was no videotape of the incident, and the guy had pulled out a gun and shot one or more of them - there would be a deafening outcry by some African-Americans and an obligatory press conference on the 6pm news by an indignant Al Sharpton.
Why don't I see more outrage from African-Americans like myself and others who are disgusted by what I see on the tape?
When someone like Bill Cosby or Jesse Jackson and other prominent African-American figures attempt to raise issues related to the public behavior of some young black girls and boys who are disproportionately products of economically disadvantaged urban areas, they're often attacked by members of the black community who accuse him of taking aim at an already maligned minority.
Chiding him (and others) for siding with the same people who see them as stereotypes; even less than human sometimes.
Too often African-Americans as a people shy away from the uncomfortable realities the extensive social problems produced by the institutionalized racism and prejudiced woven into the thread of this nation.
Some members of the black press ripped into Jesse Jackson some years ago when he confessed that he felt nervous walking the streets of Washington, DC alone at night when he saw large groups of young African-American males walking towards him.
Take a look at the video, when I watched it all I could think was; "What the hell is the matter with these kids?". Marginalized economically, products of a public education system that has failed them and apparently completely disconnected from the repercussions of their actions.
The only positive in this mess is that it was captured on tape and the footage is clear enough that the faces of some of them can be identified by the NYPD and MTA authorities; and the kids, as well as their parents will be identified. Until all Americans can have a constructive dialogue about incidents like this, it will continue to infect our collective culturegeist like a virus.