The new book “Suspicion Nation” addresses the Trayvon Martin injustice and why we keep repeating it.
Contrary to this article’s title, I actually don’t believe that white people commit the most heinous crimes.
I think PEOPLE commit the most heinous crimes.
Where the problem lies, for me, is in the fact that when white people commit heinous crimes, society endeavors to:
1. make the crimes seem exceptional and not pathological
2. minimize the crime, particularly in comparison to crimes committed by people of color
3. make the criminals seem sympathetic and deserving of second and third chances
4. make the criminals not accountable for their actions by misusing disabilities or by blaming some aspect of black culture for negatively influencing white people
5. show white criminals exceptional leniency in all aspects of the criminal justice apparatus (especially if their victims were people of color or some other marginalized identity), going as far as inventing philosophical strategies like “Affluenza,” “A Black Man Did It!” and victim-blaming to excuse heinous crimes and avoid justice
6. treat white ex-convicts more humanely than ex-convicts of color and, in same cases, more humanely than people of color without criminal records
7. invent terms like “black-on-black crime” to make crime seem like a specifically black occurrence; that crime, itself, is a product of Blackness
8. purposely neglect to note that white-on-white crime is an actual thing (87% of all crimes committed against white people are committed *by* white people)
Additionally, white people make the laws and get to decide what heinous crimes actually are, including ensuring that “white collar crimes” are regarded as “nonviolent” despite the enormous amount of violence these criminals actually inflict on their victims.
I guess what I’m saying is that my issue is with the historical and contemporary practice of negatively pathologizing people of color and exalting and maintaining White innocence—which might be the point the article is making as well, but I just wanted to be clear.