Paul R. Lehman, Teens hunt, beat, and kill an African American for fun

August 14, 2011 at 12:24 pm | Posted in American Bigotry, American Racism, Bigotry in America, Ethnicity in America, Media and Race, Race in America | 6 Comments
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A disturbing news story out of Jackson, Mississippi, carried
on CNN this past week was about some European American teens who deliberately
hunted down an African American man, beat and killed him. According to the
story, the victim “James Craig Anderson, a 49-year-old auto plant worker, was
standing in a parking lot, near his car. The teens allegedly beat Anderson
repeatedly, yelled racial epithets, including ‘White Power’ according to
witnesses.”The real tragedy of this story is the fact that America does not
find it appalling. This story does not represent one tragedy, the beating and
murder of Anderson, but three tragedies when we add in the fate of the teens
and the complicity of society.

How long will it take for an African American or any person
of color to believe he or she can safely enjoy the freedoms and liberties
guaranteed by the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution? Mr.
Anderson evidently thought he had the right to be where he was, doing what he
wanted, and observing the law in doing so. He committed no crime, caused no
conflict or created no disturbance before he was attacked, beaten and killed. America
has laws that address the rights and privileges of its citizens as well as people
to enforce the laws. Unfortunately, some people believe they are above the laws
or can ignore them when the objectives of their irrational beliefs can be
hunted down and killed. A man has been deprived of his life, liberties, and
freedom because of the fear his skin complexion caused in the minds of some
European American teens. Robert Shuler Smith, District Attorney for Hinds
County, where the crime occurred, was “asked if there could be any doubt
whether the intent was to actually hurt and kill a black person, Smith
responded: ‘No doubt about it. They were going out to look for a black victim
to assault, and in this case, even kill’.”What a tragedy for Anderson.

Anderson was in fact not the cause or the reason for his
tragic death; the cause was the fear, guilt, and anger the teens felt within
them that needed an outlet. For them, that outlet was an African American
person. The officials called the crime a “hate crime” since the specific target
was an African American. The hate was inside the European American teens who
seemingly felt a sense of loss of their power and privilege. The fact that they
yelled “White Power” suggests a cry for help in that they were feeling a sense
of loss and needed to fight to protect themselves from that loss. In essence,
they evidently believed that African Americans represented the taking away
their power of privilege and prestige, so they felt compelled to defend it.

Some European American teens, like their adult counterparts,
have not accepted the precepts of democracy where in a diverse society each
citizen has the same rights. They instead want to hold on to the false belief
that America is a European American country exclusively, and any non-European
American living here is a threat to their rightful ownership and rule. Their
hurt comes from the fact that they are losing their ‘white identity,’ which is
the only thing of value they have. If they lose their sense of superiority of
having a white identity, then they would be just like all the other ethnic
Americans in society, and that to them would be a tragedy. The real tragedy is
that they still have not entered into the 21st Century as far as
their thinking and perceptions are concerned. The cry of “White Power” for them
is defining and confining; they are seemingly trapped in an outdated mindset
that leads only to trouble for them, society, and the people they hold
responsible for their hurt.

Society shares a great deal of responsibility for the acts
and thinking of the teens regarding this crime. Why has there not been more
vocal effort in dispelling the myths and fallacies of race by color? Too many
Americans today believe that a so-called black race and white race exist. The
fact is that neither exists. They were created by a bigoted society for social
and economic reasons. Through the years many efforts have been made, along with
laws passed, to address and to try to correct the problem of bigotry. For teens
today to yell “White Power” indicates that society has not done its job in
educating its youth about the principles of democracy and life in a diverse
society. What kind of society lets teens feel comfortable in going out to hunt
for another human being to hurt and subsequently kill simply because of the
color of  his skin? Where do teens get
the idea that they have the right and power to take another person’s life just
because of his skin color? Instead of society being so concerned about teens doing
drugs and driving drunk, equal attention should be given to their sense of
value and respect for other human beings, especially, non-European Americans.

Historically, in America the concept of a so-called white
race has never been publically debunked for the obvious reasons of privilege
and power. Scientifically, the concept of the existence of multiple races of
human beings has been exposed as false for many years. Nonetheless, society
continues to ignore the science and continue the practice of calling some
people black and others white. In essence, using color as a form of ethnic
identity. The problem with that belief is it is inaccurate and confusing
because a dark skin or a fair skin represents no hint of ethnic identity. In
addition, skin complexion is no indicator of intelligence. If America does not
begin to address the problem of ethnic bigotry at the grassroots level and
above, the occurrence of tragedies like the one in question will continue. Some
might call this murder an isolated incident, but the lack of respect for other
human being regardless of how they look does not grow in an isolated
environment, it is as dangerous as a deadly, contagious disease. If America
does not make concerted efforts to correct this problem through education now,
then when will it? Tomorrow never comes.

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