On Tuesday, January 3, 2017, in the crime ridden city of Chicago, four black youths kidnapped a young white man who is mentally challenged. They proceeded to torture him for 24-48 hours. At one point they posted a video of their torture online, and later live streamed a 27-minute long video of their torture to Facebook.
They tortured a mentally challenged white person for between 24-48 hours. They cut his clothes to strip him naked, kicked him, hit him, cut him with a knife, scalped his head, flicked cigarette ashes into the wounds, made him drink toilet water, held a knife to his throat and made him repeat a line they uttered throughout the video, they made him shout “Fuck Donald Trump and Fuck White People,” and eventually they let him out into the cold streets of South Chicago. He was found by police, and he is still too shaken by what happened – too confused, broken, saddened, horrified – to discuss the events. These events would be difficult to process for any human being, but this is a mentally challenged young man. I can’t imagine the horrors he and his loved ones must be going through.
How does this happen? How does a person become so depraved? What has to go wrong in a person’s mind, body, and soul to make them think this is okay? This does not happen in a vacuum. This radicalization of individuals, of human beings, happens because something sparked it. As a rational human being I have to believe other human beings are not full of this hate and violence inherently.
In my opinion they were radicalized by the media. The media has taught us for decades that every white person is racist and bad, that all white people are evil, that whites are the devil, and so on. This type of toxic media environment is what radicalizes people to commit acts like this, and may even spark retaliatory events based on race. I fear this will not only increase racial tensions, it will bring them to a boiling point. And there is nobody to blame but the media. The same media that is still perpetuating the fiction that Donald Trump is a racist and that only white people can be racist because white people have the power.
Is the white person in the video, the one being cut, stabbed, kicked, punched, and otherwise tortured, in a position of power? Where is his white privilege?
You know as well as I do that he has no white privilege. Racism is real, but it is not something that is exclusive to one race. Saying so is inherently racist. To say only white people can be racist is racist, to say only black people can be racist would be equally racist. This type of poor thinking, this type of complete lack of understanding of the English language, is what created an environment where this tragedy could occur.
If we do not begin a real conversation about race in this country, I fear the polarization will continue. I don’t mean a “White people are so racist” conversation, I mean a real conversation about why and how races differ. One that isn’t based on “OMG TRUMP IS RACIST!”
If we can’t have this conversation after this unimaginable tragedy then I fear for our society. I fear nothing can save it.