Pop quiz! What does this sound like to you? A mysterious person sends sophisticated explosives that harm a targeted demographic of people in America for three weeks straight…. Are they (A) a terrorist, (B) a troubled man, or (C ) a racist? Well, technically they could be all of the above but in white America the answer is usually (B).... of course as long as the perpetrator is white.
Three weeks ago terror over the acts of a terrorist dominated the day to day for people of color in Austin, Texas. A serial bomber, later identified as Mark Anthony Conditt, sent explosives to members of Austin’s historically Black and Hispanic neighborhoods. Naturally a dying dog on a United Airlines flight got more media coverage and stirred the emotions and rage of White America more than dying black men. Conditt's bombs were disguised as delivery packages via FedEx and detonated with sophisticated triggers. If you believed everything you read, the explosions were all conspired by an innocent, ‘anything but a terrorist’ white boy, Mark Anthony Conditt, who (here comes the boom) blew himself up in his SUV after being discovered. Note that his death was never covered as the result of a suicide bomb, which is exactly what it was.
Not only did the media strategically choose the most innocent photo of Conditt (a school photo, dated back to 2010), but it literally still won’t identify him as a domestic TERRORIST! How can bomb threats and explosions on American soil be dealt with such nonchalance? The answer, Black victims. This is a country that was built on the backs of [black] slaves. What is outrageously disheartening is the amount of sympathy [white] people have for Conditt. Law enforcement labeled Conditt’s actions, “the outcry of a very troubled man.”
Oh, word? A very troubled man? That’s all he was? A man, whose motives “we will never know” (eye-roll) targets prominent Black and Hispanic communities, horrifically murders a man and a teen with bombs and critically injures more, but he’s JUST a troubled man? A “troubled man” that just so happened to be a member of an extremist Christian survivalist group, Righteous Invasion of Truth (RIOT), where they discussed weapons and dangerous chemicals?
What about the poor black kids getting killed over wearing hoodies or holding their cell phones in their own backyard? The monsters behind those crimes I guess are just “troubled” cops, too. How alarming is it to realize in 2018 a “troubled” white man can bomb your community like it’s 1963's Birmingham and every(white)one from law enforcement to mainstream media can’t even muster up enough feigned empathy to sympathize with you more than the “troubled” white American terrorist blowing the place up. White America’s racial empathy gap is even wider than we could’ve ever imagined, even after they elected Trump.
A white man rips apart Black families and Black lives with bombs and instead of labeling him the monster terrorist he is, the media chooses the most angelic teenage photo of him, his neighbors are talking about what a good ‘Christian” boy he was, and police keep saying his motives are “unclear” (even though there is a 25-minute long cell phone recording of him confessing and explaining why he, a self proclaimed psychopath, became a serial bomber). He wasn’t flying faulty firecrackers in the air, he wanted to kill his targets who were Black and Brown people and that's exactly what he did... (he even labeled the boxes, sent from: Kelly Kilmore).
When people of color are found guilty of crimes, the headlines are NEVER in their favor with the best picture a producer can find. They’re never just a “troubled but wholesome Muslim.” Instead, they’re an evil terrorists or malicious and heartless thugs with an extensive criminal record and probably jobless drug abusers, living in their momma’s basements. Not even Colin Kaepernick can lower his knee on American soil without receiving degrading commentary from the President and his GOP peanut gallery, but this white man on a mission to destroy and end lives, is handled with gentle gloves like the pink ones he wore to ensure he could drop off more bombs without being caught.
This is not irony. This is not a coincidence. This is America. The blatant disrespect this country still has towards Black Lives (Matter) is the harsh reality that we are not equal to, only lesser than in the eyes of too many white Americans. When it comes to gun violence, black lives don’t matter to them. When it comes to police brutality, black lives don’t matter to them. And when it comes to terrorism, black lives don’t matter to them.
The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of BET Networks.
(Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images)
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