Do I have to keep saying it? Lord, some people really do need help. Thought exercise--again--make the story about someone other than a "good old boy." How about making him someone black, brown, red, yellow, or Other?
The difference in reaction by the public would be predictable. But, would the difference in reaction be noteworthy and important? Absolutely.
Funny, how some try to salvage crazy, murderous, monsters as being "good folk" somehow gone wrong. Of course, some folks do in fact try to make excuses for the black and brown ign'ts, but as I tell my students, the great privilege of whiteness (as opposed to white privilege) is anonymity and individuality. Thus, there will be no great effort to link Michael McLendon's actions to those of White men, more generally. There will be no moral panic. There will be no outcry for a national conversation about why White men go crazy and shoot up their workplaces, their schools, or become serial killers. White men will not have to worry about being racially profiled or harassed by the police because of McLendon's actions, nor will a White man be shot because someone was "traumatized" or "made nervous" about White men writ large because of this one man's cruel deeds.
Nah, those are just crazy individuals--White privilege wins again.
When I read stories like this, or about those 2 school teachers who were giving the same student a "reduced price lunch," (like the euphemism?) I really begin to feel that the next installment in our White in America: the Never to be Made Documentary is increasingly imminent in its necessity.
Till next time...and there surely will be one.
***Random factoid and point of creative inspiration: the title of this post is a wink to the essayist William J. Wilson who wrote under the name Ethiop for the Anglo-African Magazine in 1860. His essay, "What Shall We Do with the White People?" was a satirical parody of the white racialists and others (such as the American Colonization Society) who wanted to deport Black Americans to Africa as a solution to the "race problem." Commentary on Ethiop's essay can be found here. "What Shall We Do with the White People?" can be found in its entirety in this book. Please, if one of you can find the whole piece online by all means email the link to us so that we can post it for all to read.***