Somehow Mark Conditt's bombings in Austin, Tex., have been turned into a racial thing, believe it or not. I read the news this morning and saw two opinion pieces (here and here) about how Conditt has received a lot of sympathy because he's white. It's all about--get this--the "racial empathy gap."
Who? Who is giving this murderer sympathy? Who are these wacko white people who are feeling sorry for a serial killer? As best as I can make out it's supposedly because everyone tries to understand why white killers like Conditt kill while no such sympathy is extended to blacks. As the Rev. Yvette Griffin, a black Detroit pastor, told the Associated Press, blacks and Muslims don't seem to get the same presumption of innocence as other suspects. "The words are kinder and gentler."
The present evidence, we are told, are the remarks of Austin Police Chief Brian Manley about Conditt after he blew himself up: "It is the outcry of a very challenged young man talking about challenges in his own life."
Or as Tribune columnist Dahleen Glanton said in the link cited above: "So we are left to surmise that Mark Anthony Conditt did not let us down. It was us who failed him. Let’s stop it. Now!"
Where does this come from? By simply asking the question I will be labeled a mean spirited, clueless old white man who can't understand why (agenda) African-Americans are so upset by, for example, the police killing of unarmed black men. Why we don't try to better understand the plight of black people?
It's comes from the racial lens that so many people now view everything. White privilege, you know, accounts for so much wrong, maybe even most of what is wrong, in our society. And the sad thing is that white people, who are all privileged by the fact of our whiteness, can't see or refuse to acknowledge our (genetically?) imbred whiteness. This so often comes from people who think they can read every white person's mind. So read my mind: I refuse to accept this stereotypical, unreasonable, victimization unleashed nonsense. Generated by so many prejudiced, incompetent professors and social scientists.
Yes, people want to know what motivated Conditt. Yes, one can wonder why he had all these privileges--schooling, safe upbringing, his "whiteness"--but still went off the rails. It's a legitimate question to ask, as many scholars and researchers do. That doesn't make them racist.
And because you ask that question doesn't mean that you ignore the violence committed against people of color, by anyone. Because it has been studied so thoroughly we know a lot about the poverty, poor education, family breakup, absence of male models, racism and the rest that afflicts so many communities. It has been asked over and over again: How can we end the gang violence on the South and West sides?
It's tearing up apart. This looking for every racist angle where there is none long ago turned into an industry grown way out of proportion to its legitimacy. Dare I say that this form of racism contributes significantly to the racial divide that seems to grow with every lecture we get. Yes, racism exists. Yes we've made great progress, leaving Jim Crow far behind. Yes, we've got a ways to go.
But this bringing up racism at every turn brings to mind the words of Glanton, "Let's stop it. Now!"