"This Cannot Continue", a Letter to John Fairgrieve
Social justice activist Tim Wise once wrote, “Oscar Grant wasn’t killed by a Klansman.” What he was trying to convey to his fellow white Americans is that their constant fear of non-whites is absurd, irrational, and above all, racist. In reality, the average person of color in America is in danger from whites—not the other way around. American history, recent and distant, has confirmed this countless times over, and for literally hundreds of years.
White privilege has worked against our safety, assisted by racist law enforcement and legal systems, systems which—supposedly—are there protect all citizens, not just the white ones. Racism has been institutionalized and socially reinforced for centuries, so Bethany Storro’s actions don’t exactly come as surprise. But however unsurprising they may be, they are no less racist, inflammatory, and ultimately endangering to innocent non-white persons.
My reason for writing you now is quite simple: this cannot continue.
By blaming an imaginary black woman, Storro triggered a narcissistic and overtly racist outpour towards black women. The so-called “online lynch mob” clamored to “hang the baboon from a tree” —and that’s the mildest statement I’ve seen so far. The others were far more despicable, and I will not repeat them here.
Such sentiments do merely not stay online, mind you; they emerge in our workplaces, our social settings, and our classrooms. Even law enforcement increases its “vigilance.” And since all non-whites appear to be “interchangeable,” it doesn’t matter if an imaginary person of color is accused on one side of the country; real, living, breathing random people on the other side—and abroad—are somehow considered accountable as well. From detestable comments in casual conversation to all-out declarations of our desperately (and pathetically) believed inferiority, we are all suddenly held accountable for something no one did…so naturally, our safety is not even considered.
Meanwhile, the true culprits walk free, with little more than slaps on their wrists, winning compassionate sighs with the “mental illness” routine, and avoiding responsibility with their tearful, meaningless apologies. Meanwhile, the rest of us watch, disgusted, as white America quietly accepts this convenient plea of insanity—temporary or otherwise—while coolly ignoring the consistent racist element glaring at them right in the face. While overlooking the fact that people like Bethany Storro do what they do simply because they know they can, and are confidently self-indulgent to expect compassion either way—and white American society goes along with it every time. Since Storro’s confession, foreign nations have produced more of an indignant outpour than white Americans, and after four hundred years, one would think this group would have more to show for itself in situations like this.
This cannot continue. You, sir, have the opportunity to send a powerful message by making a strict, no-nonsense example out of Bethany Storro here and now. She does not need probation, or counseling, or even community service. These will teach her nothing. These will teach white America nothing. But real, unpleasant, unavoidable consequences may help prevent the future Bethany Storros, Casey Anthonys, Robert Ralstons, Charles Stuarts, Bonnie Sweetens, Ashley Todds, Susan Smiths, Ruby Bateses, Victoria Prices, Andrew Breitbarts, and Conrad Zdzieraks of America from wasting people’s time and endangering innocent lives.
As you can see, I’ve included links to very important resources for your convenience. I strongly recommend you make use of them.