As more details of the Sandy Hook School shooting are revealed and the news of this horrific tragedy begins to settle in the minds of many Americans as they try to make sense of it, many questions and issues have risen to the surface. Gun control and mental illness have been major topics of conversation stemming from the tragedy and now, race and ethnicity has also become a factor. In an article featured on Salon.com entitled “Time To Profile White Men?”, author David Sirota somewhat rekindled the age-old conversation regarding the imbalance of criminal profiling between White men and men of other races.
“ Any honest observer should be able to admit that if the gunmen in these mass shootings mostly had, say, Muslim names or were mostly, say, African-American men, the country right now wouldn’t be confused about the causes of the violence, and wouldn’t be asking broad questions. There would probably be few queries or calls for reflection, and mostly definitive declarations blaming the bloodshed squarely on Islamic fundamentalism or black nationalism, respectively. Additionally, we would almost certainly hear demands that the government intensify the extantprofiling systems already aimed at those groups.”
Of course, Sirota was painted as a villain by several news outlets for “injecting” race into discussions of the tragedy. Sirota recently appeared as a panelist on Don Lemon’s CNN show to discuss the controversy as well as his stance on the subject.
“I think we should ask the question why is America 30 percent white guys, and 70 percent of the shootings in the last many decades have been at the hands of white guys … I do think it’s interesting to note that had 70 percent of mass shooters been let’s say Arab or African-American men, I think the conversation would be … much uglier.”
David also expressed that he felt this odd imbalance was a form of White privilege.
“And and I think that it’s good we’re having a nuanced conversation about all sorts of things — mental illness, gun control — but I hope that the next time something bad happens … that if it’s not a white guy, that we remember that we shouldn’t ascribe to entire groups … the bad actions of individuals. Because we’re not doing that right now, and I’m not saying that we should, but I think we should remember that the reason we’re not, is because it’s a form of white privilege.”
What do you think? Would discussions of the Sandy Hook school shooter be more harsh if he were Black? Is it too soon for this conversation to be taking place? Check out footage of David Sirota’s conversation with Don Lemon here.