I sympathize with the victims of the Boston Bombings and MIT shooting. I am human, a secular humanist at that, and believe in the goodness of humanity. But what I despise and am enraged about is the ease that so many people accused and pointed fingers at people who looked nothing like the actual photos that are surfacing today. One of the first description spread was that of a person who was tall and dark. So many people were eager to help apprehend the suspects, they ran with the inaccurate info. I guess it doesn’t matter when it’s not their characteristics that meet the description.
I’m pissed at how easily people assumed the suspect was a person of color. Like this HS kid, who was innocently accused and at the time “fit the description.” Certain news sources threw him under the bus, wrongly accused him and he’s been fearing for his safety the last three days. I wonder what the race of those newspaper editors are? Have they ever needed to be conscious of their race?
Being removed from everyday violence and working on a college campus, I forgot how easy it is for the dominant culture (white people) to label us suspects, dangerous, and the ones to watch out for. In any case; bombings, shootings, burglaries, we fit the description. We are the first to be questioned, made felt less than, then when we clear our name, no apology is given for the psychosocial stress we are put through.We are labeled guilty and must prove our innocence. We Fit The Description! Reminds me of this piece: “Assume the Position . . . You Fit the Description”: Psychosocial Experiences and Racial Battle Fatigue Among African American Male College Students.
This week, beyond the tragedy, reminds me that race still matters. It will always matter and play a factor in my life. If there is anything for people to fear, it is the growing power of communities of color. We are expanding our power (even after decades of discrimination and being underresourced). We are voting in elections and influencing politics like never seeing before, we are educating ourselves and graduating college at higher rates, and becoming an economic impact with great purchasing power. If anything, that’s what you should fear, not our skin color.