From time to time, there comes a news story so bizarre, so racially questionable you just have to wonder why nobody else had been willing to call shenanigans on it instantly.
Last week that honor belonged to Bethany Storro, Vancouver Washington woman, who retracted erroneous accusations she made about an African-American woman, who threw acid on her face for no rhyme or reason. As it would turn out, Storro would be her own vicious perpetrator, not the imaginary black woman, whose fictitious identity was sprawled over national media.
For a solid month straight, Storro, who claims to be a born-again Christian, soaked up sympathy about the alleged acid attack, relishing in the countless facebook groups, planned fundraisers and letters and cards from around the globe done in her honor. Even Oprah had fallen prey to this woman’s hateful insanity.
From the very beginning, folks should have cued in on some of speciousness in her story; the burns themselves, which somehow created a perfect loop around the sunglasses that she, had the foresight to purchase minutes before the incident. Even the population of Washington. I mean how many black folks live in that part of the country anyways?
Throughout history there have been deep dark tales involving blacks as perpetrators of crimes and yet in post-racial America, we still can’t escape the glare of white folks, who just can’t seem to find any other way out of the messes they created in their own lives other than blaming it on us.
From Emmitt Till, who was murdered after being falsely accused of whistling at a white woman to the Susan Smith hoax, in which a deranged South Carolina white woman drowned her two children and then blamed it on a 30 year old black man to the John McCain campaign supporter, who carved a backwards “B” on her cheek and then blamed it on a pack of Negros.
Even closer to my neck of the woods came two special cases of “the black guy did it” including Bonnie Sweeten, the suburban Philly mom, who faked a kidnapping, while she and her daughter rode “It’s a Small World’ at Disney World and the Philadelphia police sergeant that shot himself and then blamed a non-existent black guy with cornrows and tattoos, who strangely resembled Allen Iverson.
To paraphrase Comedian Paul Mooney, thank goodness that Blacks folks weren’t allowed on the Titanic or else we might have been blamed for that too.
Of course, the news media plays a major part in this public perception of the ubiquitous black boogeyman. According to a paper done by the University of Illinois, news programs have overwhelming misrepresented African-Americans as perpetrators of crime and Whites as victims. The constant references in the media of the 5 foot tall, 220 pound Black male criminal have created anxiety in the minds of many white folks, who I suspect, harbor a deep-seeded fear of retribution for crimes committed by their forefathers.
Nevertheless, the Justice Department’s own statistics reveal that 86 percent of white victims are victims of fellow white folks. And moreover, the FBI has asserted that out of the nearly 10,000 hate crimes in 2004, 67.9 percent were victimized because of anti-black attitudes.
Each year, far more people die because of war, pollution and corporate malfeasance than all the street crime committed by African-Americans, regardless of gender. Yet, we don’t see the perp walks and the mug shots of those perpetrators, who, it would be safe to say, don’t look like us, sprawled on the nightly news.
I imagine that years from now, when the history books are written and atrribution is made about the downfall of the economy, the two wars in the Middle East and the BP oil spill, there will be a strong possibility that the Black Guy will be said to be responsible for it all too.