When Darrell Brooks barreled through a Christmas parade on November 21, 2021, which killed six and injured over 62 people, many in the public, especially on the conservative side of politics, were quick to want to discuss Mr. Brook’s race. This is easy to understand simply because the tragedy happened just a few days after the non-guilty verdict of Kyle Rittenhouse regarding his debacle in Kenosha, Wisconsin at a BLM protest and riot.
Regardless, a week or so later, after the Waukesha Attack and the Rittenhouse Incident, a fifteen-year-old kid from Oxford, Michigan went into his high school, shot 30 rounds, killed four students, and wounded six students. The media never mentioned the shooter’s race (Ethan Crumbley), like how the media didn’t jump on Darrell Brook’s race. Why? If the conservative claim that the MSM (mainstream media) was trying to cover up Darrell Brook’s race were true but wanted to blame white people for everything, then why didn’t CNN or MSNBC immediately release a headline saying, “White Teen of MAGA Family in Michigan Murders Four and Injures Six”? Maybe it is because media, even though it is a business, does still have a level of reporting ethics and integrity guidelines. Even if they have a near monopoly on information, they still must compete and reputation is everything (for example, look how CNN just fired Chris Cuomo, or the NY Times fired Jayson Blair, etc).
This hatred for the “mainstream media” comes from a place in people who want something to objectively blame as being the problem, where the actual problems are outside of the media, i.e., in the material world, within structures, within history, etc. Can media have an effect and steer our minds? Of course, but at the end of the day, they’re just reporting news. So, you can’t just blame media, but really the failures of systems and society at large which creates the stories media talks about. Media is to blame but it’s not the thing to explicitly blame, when really the culprit is the failure of society itself.
It’s easy to blame the media for everything and this is something I do or have done before, so I can admit it. But the news still shows the news, and it serves a purpose. For example, local news stations, which are often affiliated with larger companies, e.g., you might have Fox 5 or 8 or 12 in in your local city which is an affiliate of the larger Fox News umbrella, or CBS this or that, but these local affiliates do show crimes regardless of race. I see criminals of all races on my local news affiliate stations, but these affiliate stations are a part of the mainstream media.
The reason race wasn’t as central immediately to the Oxford and Waukesha cases, in my opinion, is because the Oxford HS shooting and the Waukesha Incident were explicit and undeniable crimes, whereas the Rittenhouse Incident was ambiguous and ambiguity leads to conservation, which leads to easy story lines, commercial breaks for advertisers, conversations, panel expert guests spanning criminal justice experts or college professors on race, opinion pieces, etc.
Oxford and Waukesha were explicit crimes, where both suspects were quickly jailed and charged. Depending on type of crime and the effects those crimes could have on the public, there’s different levels of reporting practices regarding victims. For example, in a terrorism case, I’m sure the reporting practices are much different as to not create a copycat situation, or in the case of mass shootings (which could be argued as being terrorism depending on who is overseeing the case), the victims are often protected while the investigation commences.
The Rittenhouse Incident was different and focused on race because the situation was ambiguous, i.e., a gray zone, and many suspected that he would be acquitted based on his race. There was no chance of acquittal relating to Darrell Brooks. To reiterate, the Oxford and Waukesha cases were explicit crimes, whereas Rittenhouse was an ambiguous case where it tapped more into the conversation around race, criminal justice, the incongruity in sentencing laws, etc.
Think about this way. People brought up race regarding Rittenhouse because there was a chance he would walk, whereas what’s the point in making race central to the Waukesha or Oxford HS situations when there’s no chance the criminals will walk? It’s not like Mr. Brooks is being treated any better because he’s black, when really, he’s now going to facing multiple life sentences and will be found guilty. The fact that Rittenhouse received the appearance of preferential treatment from the judicial system and from supporters in the “MAGA verse” (going so far as crowdfunding a Go Fund Me account) was a sign that his race would play a role in his eventual acquittal.
There is no question as to whether Darrell Brooks and Ethan Crombley belong in jail, because their acts transcend our racial conversation and there’s no doubt that they committed those crimes with inherent criminal motives, whereas the Rittenhouse Incident was a grey zone situation more in alignment with a larger socio-political and racial conversation.
The Oxford and Waukesha Cases being actual crimes without a reasonable doubt didn’t need to be about race because race wasn’t necessarily central, based on what we know, and even if they were, to varying degrees, the sad truth regardless is people are dead because of explicit actions, even if race has nothing to do with the events. Rittenhouse was more of a symbolic figure in a larger cultural debate, hence why race was central to debate. Rittenhouse was about stand-your-ground, gun rights, self-defense, reactionary movements to Black Lives Matters such as Blue Lives Matters or All Lives Matters, Trumpism, etc. Rittenhouse happened to be the focal point of a lot of variable or aesthetics, hence the discussion around him was very verbose, complex, etc., i.e., everyone had an opinion on Rittenhouse that spanned spectrums whereas the other two events, it’s clear cut that both criminals are criminals.
White conservatives and pundits such as Candace Owens (who stated that black people are the most murderous group) or Steve Crowder, rushed to try to bring up the “double standard” of the mainstream media, insinuating that the media is against white people, despite the fact media is still controlled majority wise by white people.
What conservatives hate is that their traditional “mind control” operation over the majority isn’t as strong as it used to be, so they must revert to intensity, straw men, poor comparisons, conspiracy theory, a total disregard of nuance, context, or the fact that residual effects of history still haunt us, etc., to keep the status quote.
Conservatives are constantly trying to seek contrarian “gotcha moments” to appear as if they’re wanting fairness or equity, but really this method is an attempt at reversing any progressive gains the public has adopted, such as being more aware of concepts such as white supremacy or privilege. Basically, they don’t want to advance any conversation, if that advancement means a detriment to their base of power.
Conservatives want to reinforce the traditional narrative of black criminality as a social trend, but when attempts at doing the same towards white America comes, they become super defensive. I like to say, that traditionally the crimes of minorities are always collectivized, whereas the crimes of the white majority are often individualized, e.g., a lone wolf white supremacist, etc. Black people are “criminals” overall, but white people are “bad actors”. The crimes of minorities are allowed to be acknowledged to further stigmatize these groups, but crimes relating to white people could be argued as being selected out as being “bad apples” and not indicative of a larger systemic issue or cultural issue.
In other words, the tides were slowly reversing to how we view race, sociology, crime studies, etc., where it’s not just minorities under the clinical gaze, but now white America is too, and white America since the introduction of social justice, critical theory, etc., in many ways has shown levels of…fragility. Their goal is to constantly try to debunk any progressive claims largely since conservatives represent the status quo, i.e., hierarchy, majority rule (even, the possibility of minority rule by the majority since they fear “losing numbers”), wealth hording, and the disciplinary violence of the state be it police worship, or unilaterally trying to own the romanticism and sacrifice of the military, etc.
Put it this way.
I am black. I grew up my whole life with the weight of America’s perception of black people bearing down on me, even though I wasn’t a criminal or a “thug”, but people associated me with that simply because I was black. Now that the roles slightly reversed, well…welcome to my world.
Welcome to equality.