Previously on The Five, I observed that the race card had been replaced by race poker. I see your “Trayvon Martin” and I raise you a “Delbert Belton.”
(I don’t dare play poker–I’m too terrified–but I assume this comparison works. I suppose it could work with Crazy Eights too.)
The use of tragedy and ghastly crime to win arguments is nothing new. We do this all the time, to reframe a debate to suit one’s perspective.
And to be sure, it comes off as seedy and opportunistic… unless within the back and forth, a grievance is actually addressed.
Would I have known about certain horrific crimes had it not been for the media attention devoted to George Zimmerman’s trial?
I don’t know. Maybe? Probably not. A dead young ballplayer here. A dead war veteran there. It’s what happens in a planet of 6 billion souls, many of which are absolute monsters.
But rather than reject addressing these crimes as talk show fodder to fill up hours of programming, it is our responsibility as moral human beings to hold the media’s feet to the fire. When an incident of gruesome violence occurs, one that does not fit the approved story-line, it behooves us to make it their story line. White-Hispanic on black violence cannot be their only forte (seeing as how they got that wrong, it sure as hell better not be).
CNN devoted nearly a year to Trayvon Martin–but how much will they devote to the horrible killing of Chris Lane, or the murder of an 88 year old World War 2 vet named Delbert Belton? Or a young girl murdered over her bike? Or the ongoing case of a couple raped and mutilated over a course of several hideous days?
Yes, I guess that is race poker. Did I win? Winning is irrelevant. I don’t care.
What is relevant, however, is that the brutal, inhuman killings of those I mentioned above should not go unnoticed because Jamie Foxx or Piers Morgan didn’t think it was cool enough. Imagine if Jamie wore a Delbert shirt? That would be brave. I won’t hold my breath, because it doesn’t enhance his street cred. In a way, Foxx, the movie star who played a president in White House Down, is like our real life president: both pick and choose battles while ignoring the war right under their noses.
From here on in, we should shine our flashlights on each and every sickening case – tweet them to people like me, and demand the same consideration from our political leaders and media mavens that was given to the Martin case. I never knew about the horrible, horrible Knoxville torture/murder case (in which Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom were savagely killed) until I was inundated with tweets about it. It was so unreal, I went to Snopes (a website that debunks urban legends) to check it out. And sadly, it checked out. I so wanted it to be false; to be an urban legend that could be easily dismissed and forgotten.
Call it race poker. I call it fair, and right.
As much as I know it will repulse you (because it repulsed me, and kept me up nights pondering the worthlessness of this planet), I urge you to read up on the Knoxville case. I would not read it before bedtime, and I’d have a scotch handy. The story will scar your brain, forever. It did mine. And I do not scar easily.
The only sliver of a silver lining to that ghastly case is that the victims are no longer enduring the hell they endured–and also that, as my friend Michael Moynihan said, “These kinds of things are rare.” He is right. They are rare, but they still happen. And we do little to prevent it, or combat the circumstances that lead to such heinous acts. Because there are no flashlights in the media, even as they are employed as weapons by thugs in Delbert’s case.
Is there a silver lining to the Trayvon Martin case? No. But it was the case that galvanized a media bent on pumping up racial tension, and it is that coverage that now must justify its scope by covering every hate crime, every murderous deed, equally.
Without Martin, would we now be able to openly discuss the crimes I mentioned above? Without Martin, would we still be able to turn a blind eye to not just White/Hispanic on black violence, but all violence? Talk about putting MSNBC in a tight spot.
So, what do you do now, flingers of the race card? Your slip is showing. Your deliberate blindness to other problems in the world is exposed.
Trayvon Martin started the “race” conversation Eric Holder said we were too cowardly to have. I imagine this isn’t how he wanted the conversation to unfold. But it’s a conversation, to be sure.
So, Holder, what you holding? Something tells me you’d rather not play the game at all, unless you’re winning. And that sucks for blacks and whites, equally.