That nigger, he hates us white folk.
You know, he’s got a piano.
A nigger with a goddamn piano.
I’ve been working all my life,
I ain’t got a piano.
You don’t know how to play one.
Whites in power control resources to kill, demonize, and otherwise undermine the humanity of black life — as we now see in the case of this black father. Whether in their response to racism-laced statements by Donald Trump, get tough attitude on drug crimes (until drugs knock on their door), or their acceptance of economic development policies and practices that disenfranchise blacks, everyday white citizens all too often directly and/or indirectly support our nation preserves the social order.
Isiah, the four-year-old boy who cost gorilla its life when he fell into zoo enclosure – creating a storm around the world: In this, there is not respect of age.
One newspaper enumerated charges that date back to 2006. An Australian news outlet entitled it’s May 31 reporting of Cincinnati Zoo incident:
First Pic Of Convicted Criminal Father Who Let His Boy Climb Into A Gorilla Cage
He has a lengthy criminal history
And numerous reports now attach the black father’s face and name to this controversy, as if he was somehow responsible for the tragic series of events. And this now, becomes the latest of tragedies heaped onto the pile of sad aspects of the story. The black father was not on the scene when the events of last week unfolded at the zoo. A black father who literally had nothing to do with the Cincinnati Zoo situation must now replay sensitive areas of his past life. A life that has been redeemed for productive uses. Animal rights activism has created zoo and media responses that now create a public spectacle of a private citizen.
To illustrate the contrasting ways that news covers these incidents, consider the reporting of a December 2014 that resulted in grave consequences. A 9-year-old boy, in a rural Mississippi town east of Jackson, took his adopted mother’s keys and went on a joyride in the family’s 2003 Mercury Sable.
The driver, Ty’Jun Thigpen (9), managed to avoid Mississippi Highway Patrol officers while speeding along Highway 35. According to authorities, Thigpen then raced across a supermarket parking lot. However, he soon lost control of the vehicle, flipped, and smashed against a utility poll. The incident left riders Brayden Traxler (3) and Justin Harrell (13) dead. Breckon Harrell (13) was treated for minor injuries and released. And Thigpen was rushed to the hospital in critical condition.
The fatal accident was significantly more tragic than the Cincinnati Zoo unfortunate killing of a gorilla. And yet, unlike the gorilla story that has international media combing through Dickerson’s criminal records, in several reports of the Mississippi story, the mother’s name was not even provided. The public was not drawn into a conversation about any past blemishes in the mother’s life. We were not provided suggestive details that would cause us to question the mother’s parenting skills that might have had some relevance to the event.
And neither should this line of reporting come into an already terrible story.
HANDLING OF THE WHITE MOTHER IN THE MISSISSIPPI JOYRIDE ACCIDENT
KOBI-TV, Joyride Turns Deadly – Dec. 16, 2014
The unwarranted linking of Dickerson to the events at the Cincinnati Zoo feeds the narcissism that to be in skin other than white skin necessarily carries with it a sort of social deficiency. Thus, to many, the unsubstantiated connection of a black father is plausible as it fits within a broader black male characterization. And to be clear, it is a characterization that even blacks perpetuate. Recall, that President Barack Obama sent a message to whites in his early campaign castigation of black fathers; comments that followed Obama into his presidency. Stern words, suggestive language, and indictments about fatherhood shortcomings that were reserved for black audiences. In his Father’s Day 2008 speech to the predominantly black Apostolic Church of God in Chicago, then Senator Obama bellowed:
But if we are honest with ourselves, we’ll admit that what too many fathers also are is missing — missing from too many lives and too many homes. They have abandoned their responsibilities, acting like boys instead of men. And the foundations of our families are weaker because of it.
Comments uniquely reserved for black audiences. As such, I don’t hate white people because they have designed a political system that requires a Harvard-educated Senator to endear a sufficient bloc of white voters by pandering, disassociating himself, and publicly berating black fathers. Behavior that makes implicating a black father in the recent Cincinnati Zoo incident a newsworthy narrative.
If this black father was to be connected to the story, why not in ways that most certainly would have occurred with a white parent – even one with a blemished past? The media could have introduced him by way of general reflections on the turn of events. We might have heard his views on what he saw in the now released video of the chilling moments that led up to the fatal shooting. Perhaps, that black father has pondered reforms that promote child safety at the Cincinnati Zoo. These and other news angles, the media neglected and the public ignored. What we now have is another black father whose past is now the topic of conversation for people around the world who had no meaningful business learning the details.
And here’s a most disturbing twist. The public is also learning about another father connected to the incident. The father of Harambe! The public can now read stories on this father. His age. Birthplace. Current residency. We are spared any unnecessary and unfounded indictments of Harambe’s father in the matter. We are not criticizing that father for not raising his son to be respectful of children. We are not hearing of the violent background in Harambe’s bloodline. The treatment towards Harambe’s father is more humane than that towards Dickerson.
As a black man, we spend a lifetime grappling with the foolishness of carefully targeted assaults. We must fight everyday that the racism in whites is not internalized by black men, our spouses, children, and society at-large. While the Fox spin in the Harambe story was not by the product of “every” white person, whites do listen in large measure to the what appears to be racists reporting by outlets like Fox. The ratings for this programming are generated by ordinary whites; our neighbors, church co-members, and co-workers behind Fox. Very possibly, the “friends” of Fox and Friends.
I don’t hate white people because in story-after-story, the prevailing conversation about blacks routinely evolves to images of dysfunction, violence, and moral ineptness that the majority community must find ways to mitigate and control. Negative white projections that date back to the colonization of Africa and slavery are the quintessential European narrative of black images.
The media running this black father’s life through its garbage dump for scavengers that feed on stereotypes reminds me of why I don’t hate white people. Simply, I don’t hate white people because of my love of Jesus Christ. Period. Faith provides a tremendous capacity for blacks to endure what whites conveniently dismiss as “paranoia”. Blacks still maintain a sense of humanity for the very group that has inflicted tremendous injustices. Non-hatred is a deliberate act of submission to the Word of God. And unlike the many so-called religious whites that rationalize their subtle animus towards blacks, as reflected in countless public and private encounters in our nation, I’m resolved not to be like that which I disdain – bigotry in religious garments.
Without the love of Jesus Christ in my heart, I could not assert non-hatred. Whites have given and continue to give blacks every reason to do just that – hate them. Hate white for their skin as a response to whites hating blacks for the latter’s skin.
And America should be grateful that the love of God fills the heart of so many blacks. As our nation is already up to its cultural neck in hatred.
Deonne Dickerson, I pray you can find peace and forgiveness in your heart for what appears to be character assassination by a misguided media. Know that, without exception, everyone has checkers in their past. As a follower of Jesus Christ, I simply encourage you to continue making positive strides on your journey.
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