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Monday, December 1, 2008

Elephant in the Room on Anchor Murder Arrest Story

I think I've caught on to how things work in the "postracial" "colorblind" fantasy we find our society in these days. I was watching the Today show this morning (don't usually watch morning TV, but my daughter had it on hoping for a snow day off from school). Matt Laurel had the parents of the Arkansas TV anchor (pretty young blond woman named Anne Pressly) who was murdered about a month ago. The story was that an arrest had been made of the alleged murderer. His name is Curtis Vance. His pictured was flashed on the screen--a very unflattering portrait of a black man. No mention of the racial aspects of the situation. Wouldn't be proper, as I said, in this fantasy of ours. But that picture did the talking, a thousand words' worth. It validated the fears and suspicions of millions of whites that blacks can be/are sexual monsters, out to defile our pretty young daughters. Notwithstanding the history, both pre- and post-slavery of white slavemasters and land owners having their way, unimpeded by law or custom, with any black women they took a hankering to. Nothing the woman, or her male lover, or father, or anyone else in the black community could do about it. But those facts don't match up with the prevailing story, so forget it.

Late in the interview, Matt said, "I have to bring up a touchy, hard-to-talk-about subject now." I thought, "Is he really gonna do it? Blatantly bring up the racial question?" But no, Matt was referring to bringing up the subject of the likely sexual assault that took place in the murder act. The two parents had referred many times to Vance as "this gentleman" up to this point, but when the sex crime subject was broached, the mother slipped and called him "a monster." Maybe if my daughter was murdered at 26, I'd call someone a monster, too. But how can someone be both a monster and a gentleman to you?

I thought, well how SHOULD those parents have handled things? I don't know, would it be too much to ask them to make a statement along the lines of, "You know, I hope to God this murder does nothing to cause harm to race relations in our community and in our nation. We well know that there are good black people and bad black people; there are good white people and bad white people. As much as we hate to admit it, all races have members capable of the most horrendous acts. So to my black brothers and sisters--peace be with you. And to my fellow white people--don't you dare think of holding this act against a whole race of people who have stood valiantly in the face of centuries of inhumane injustices. We miss our daughter terribly, but we attribute the harm to the despicable act of one depraved individual."

Yeah, I guess that would be asking too much. Look who's living in a fantasy now...

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