Sunday, August 16, 2009

It depends on whose race is being gored

THERE WAS A story and photo in Sunday's paper that reported the arrest of a 20-year-old woman who was charged with a bank robbery attempt in Cuyahoga Falls. Aside from the oddity of a young woman being the suspect, I also noted another element in the case: she was white.

We are at a time when racial innuendo and worse appear to be on the rise with a segment of the public particularly abusive about Barack Obama's arrival at the White House. That was demonstrated once again by the North Canton police dispatcher who e-mailed a photo-shopped Air Force One with the N-word on the tail. She couldn't stop laughing, she said. Oh?

So I had to wonder how many of the white readers reacted when the picture of a young white woman accompanied the robbery story. Were they as indifferent to the woman's skin color as they might have been if she had been an African American, Asian or Latino or anybody else not in the the reader's comfort zone? . How many would have felt at least a tinge of bias because a crime suspect wasn't white? You know, those people are always causing trouble. On the other hand, how many, by knee-jerk definition, would have looked at the young woman's picture and concluded that all white people are criminals? Just asking.

I can't attempt to answer these questions, other than to sense that some whites won't share the guilt for another white who has gone astray but do not hesitate to condemn an entire race for stereotypical criminality. In this instance, the young woman was white. I doubt that her skin color bothered anyone. On the other hand., if she had been.....well, that's how ingrained racism works. Right?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The story involved residents of the Falls, which made it inevitably a white-on-white story (isn't it still Caucasian Falls, except for the high-end section 8 rentals up-hill from the Merriman Valley?)