Would Conversations Have a Different Tone If The Newtown School Shooter Were Black? CNN Panelist David Sirota Thinks So

12 Comments
December 26, 2012 ‐ By Jazmine Denise Rogers
Source: The Huffington Post

Source: The Huffington Post

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.

Jazmine Denise is a news writer for madamenoire.com. Follow her on Twitter @jazminedenise

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  • MLS2698

    True. But remember that someone has to speak up for change. If someone hadn’t, you wouldn’t be able to type the very words you chose without being sent to jail or, being accused of plotting against the white race.

  • MLS2698

    Did anyone catch ” Roots ” on BET over the last six days? Blacks have suffered through a lot, and continue to do so. But no one says that we have mental issue, and blacks are less likely to see a psychologist/psychiatrist. Also, I want to add, some blacks don’t have health insurance, so who will they be going to with their mental woes? The difference is that, whites have issues documented and are diagnosed with ” personality disorders, ” something that a black person can’t even think of logically accepting as true. I’m not even going to keep writing because we already know the answers…………

  • MLS2698

    Did anyone catch ” Roots ” on BET over the last six days? Blacks have suffered through a lot, and continue to do so. But no one says that we have mental issue, and blacks are less likely to see a psychologist/psychiatrist. Also, I want to add, some blacks don’t have health insurance, so who will they be going to with their mental woes? The difference is that, whites have issues documented and are diagnosed with ” personality disorders, ” something that a black person can’t even think of logically accepting as true. I’m not even going to keep writing because we already know the answers…………

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/thesapphireempress96?feature=results_main A.J.

    I agree with him 100%, and it needs to be said. It definitely goes back to white people being regarded as individuals, while the actions of a few Black people represent the entire race. Even now, there exists such an intense discussion about why Adam Lanza did it, trying to figure out what was going through his mind, what led him to commit such a heinous act; it’s like they still can’t believe that a young white man did this. Whether they realize it or not, they’re subtly making excuses for him, even placing the blame on his mother (although I understand this; her actions and attitudes are highly suspect as well). If he were Black, the crime would automatically be ascribed to Black people’s inherent penchant for violence, the fact that he was raised in a single-parent home, their lack of morals and respect for society, etc. What they’re really shocked about is that a seemingly “normal”, well-established family could produce such a killer. I’m not saying that he didn’t have a mental problem, but why does it seem like the media and others are using that as a cover for his behavior?

  • get real

    If he was an Arab then he would be labeled a terrorist and we would have heard all of this “Obama isn’t keeping us safe” rhetoric. If he was black then he would labeled everything from N word, thug, gangster, inner city animal, etc. And we would still be hearing about “what’s wrong with violent black teens” rhetoric. Well since he was white then he has a mental illness or they like to label mass white killings as “politically motivated”

  • Kaori

    Yesterday, the local newspaper where I live published a piece stating that 85% of Black teens are charged as adults in the region. Now, tell me if we would ever see such an article about non-Blacks.

    Of course the conversation would have a different tone. Go to any local news site and see how many comments a news article gets when a criminal’s mugshot posted is of a Black or Hispanic person versus when it is a White or Asian. I’ve even seen people make excuses for White criminals while a Black criminal gives the impression that 50% of Black people are prone to committing crime (as thought of by a racist or prejudiced person).

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_JAI4SRENU2A5WKRTELXXYJPDSI Kayla

    He is 100000000000% correct. Race is and should be discussed at times that shouldn’t always be comfortable with whites. Funny when they are ready to make it a race issue, suddenly it’s ok to talk about. But some things need to be said,

  • Tudbee

    Absolutely nailed it on the head. And I commend his bravery in speaking the truth despite the criticisms and attacks he knew would follow.

  • Niceman

    If the majority of masss murders were committed by blacks the gov’t and the American people (even some blacks) would demand that black people be put in some type of concentration camp to protect American society.

  • Chayjay

    Spot on.

  • autumnbreeze

    I applaud Sirota for making such statements…he is absolutely correct. Well said!!!

    • guest510

      Yup! I’ve been saying this all along. Nobody questions the mental health of black men killing one another in the hood but as soon as a white man kills dozens of people its like “he must have been going through something. Something must be wrong with him.” Did they question the mental health of the DC sniper?