To my surprise, the comment on the NYT website most recommended by readers of Nicholas Kristof’s column about how we must strive ever more fanatically to extirpate
sin racist stereotypes from deep in our souls unconsciouses is the following:
PC TN 3 hours agoIn the modern American culture, this is a voice we so seldom hear from: the victims and loved ones of victims of black on white violence. Indeed, victims’ voices are not just ignored in the media, but they are further victimized by a culture that insists that their natural emotional responses are shameful if not demonic.
I’ve been watching the Michael Brown issue, and I’m sure I don’t have the answers. But one thing to add to the mix is that in a number of places, a large majority of crime is committed by young, black men. As someone who has been personally affected by such crime (my brother was murdered by black youth), I admit that when I see a young, black man now, my antenna/guard is automatically raised in a way that is not by a young, white man. I don’t like this and am working through this. But it highlights to me part of the problem. In the city where my brother was murdered, the vast majority of crime is committed by non-white youth. When I look at the culture that my brother’s killers came from, I see kids who do not go to school and are members of gangs. Their parents are clearly not involved and the kids flaunt guns, gang membership, drugs and sexual activity in public forums such as Facebook.. My heart goes out to anyone brought up in such an environment. But when a section of society seems to promote violence and crime, is it wrong for law abiding citizens to be more fearful? Is that racism? Having spent my life seeking justice for all people of all races and walks of life, these struggles are ones that hurt me everyday. I will add that my brother was just a normal, well-liked guy doing his job in the middle of the day in a section of town that wasn’t considered particularly bad when he was gunned down.
Being a crime victim comes with a painful psychological impact. I’ve never been the victim of violent crime, but even property crime is humiliating. When my apartment in Santa Monica was broken into in 1981, I felt depressed, anxious, and shamed. “I feel raped,” I thought. Well, no, rape must be a few orders of magnitude worse than being burgled in terms of lasting emotional trauma. But it did teach me a lesson.
But our dominant culture only piles on the psychic burden by making white victims of nonwhite criminals feel shame over their anger, which is likely a healthier emotion that helps victims get over feelings of worthlessness.