“I Love Mankind. It’s Just People I Can’t Stand.”

Counter protesters professing their love of humanity. Photo credit: Richmond Times-Dispatch

On Sept. 9, 12-year-old Bethany Harper and her nine-year-old friend Solai Coleman were sitting on the front porch of their house on Fifth Avenue in Richmond. Bethany heard the crackling pop of gunfire, and a random bullet struck Solai in the hip.

“We had nothing to do with the transaction [that led to the shooting] Saturday, but they shot at our children” Bethany’s father Thomas told the Richmond Times-Dispatch. “We have a new rule in this house: ‘You’re not allowed to go beyond this line,’ he said, planting his foot on the front of the family’s wooden porch.

The number of killings in Richmond has surged this year, reaching 59 so far compared with 45 at the same point last year, which itself was the worst in a decade. Many victims are innocent bystanders. So far, the 2016-17 school year has seen 25 students in Richmond city schools shot, along with a one-year-old child of two students. Fourteen others were victims of aggravated assault or malicious wounding.

No one will hold a vigil for Solai Coleman. No one will protest the injustice of criminal actions that confine Bethany Harper to the inside of her home. There will be no marches, no placards, and no made-for-TV media spectacles. Apparently, black lives don’t matter when the killers are black. Black lives matter only when the shooter is white or a police officer. Or when when the sight of Civil War statues offend the sensibilities of those who view the world through the filter of white oppression.

The Times-Dispatch ran the article about Coleman’s shooting atop the front page of its Sunday edition. With no sense of irony, it published underneath an article about a Saturday rally around the Robert E. Lee statue that drew about seven pro-Confederate, heritage-not-hate types and a crowd of counter protesters estimated to be a couple hundred in number.

The counter protesters were incensed by the handful of neo-Confederates (most of whom came from out of state), just as they are incensed by the KKK, Nazis, white supremacists, President Trump, and “haters” generally. But neo-Confederates didn’t shoot Solai Coleman. Nazis didn’t shoot her. The KKK didn’t shoot her. Nor did white hate groups shoot any of the other 59 homicide victims in Richmond this year. Aside from occasional vigils held by victims’ family members and immediate neighbors, however, the social justice warriors have not ginned up much outrage or marched in protest of the black-on-black slaughter in Richmond’s inner city.

If the social justice warriors cared about real people instead of abstractions like “institutional racism,” which serve mainly to validate their sense of moral superiority, they would volunteer to tutor inner-city school children. Or befriend an adolescent through the Big Brother/Big Sister program. Or pound nails with Habit for Humanity to build affordable housing. Or ladle out soup in a community kitchen to serve the hungry. Or help felons build a productive life outside jail. But that takes real effort, sustained effort. And it’s not nearly as rewarding as virtue signalling to your peers how politically correct you are or venting about the evils of KKK/Fascists/Trump.

As an aside, I have to commend Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney and Police Chief Alfred Durham for making sure that the Richmond rally didn’t turn into another Charlottesville. They made it clear from the very beginning that violence would not be tolerated, and they worked to separate the protesters from the counter-protesters. By broadcasting their intent, they snuffed out interest in the rally by right- and left-wing radicals looking to bang heads and make headlines long before the event took place. Job well done.

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4 responses to ““I Love Mankind. It’s Just People I Can’t Stand.”

  1. When you live in a poor neighborhood, you are living in an area where you have poor schools. When you have poor schools, you have poor teachers. When you have poor teachers, you get a poor education. When you get a poor education, you can only work in a poor-paying job. And that poor-paying job enables you to live again in a poor neighborhood. So, it’s a very vicious cycle.
    Malcolm X

    If you dumb down the standards and expectations so underperformers dont feel like they are underperforming; if you change the vocabulary of excellence so mediocre performers don’t feel mediocre; if you find ways to obfuscate or hide the cause in faux appeals to compassion for the victims of failed policy so misguided academics and politicians can avoid accountability for their guidance and actions; if you can get critics and questioners of failed policy ostracized with repugnant click-bait labels; if you can deflect attention and generate fear and hate to conceal your failures, you are condemning generations to downward spiraling social and economic performance.

  2. Methinks the presumption that “social justice warriors” don’t do other work in their communities is .. ahem.. more revealing of the critic than who they criticize.

    Those who actually do work for others in their communities often do – better recognize – the things they can do to help as individuals and those things that require institutions and governments to change.

    The folks that sit on the sidelines tend to work real hard on their opinions sometimes and not so much on other more tangible things.

    I wonder how we classify the Virginians who worked to overturn Massive Resistance versus those who stood on the sidelines wringing their hands over the “troublemakers”, eh?

  3. There is probably a message in the last comment; but it got lost in the smugness. Moral and intellectual superiority is clearly a burden.

    • Indeed… if we could actually get to those who think “Moral and intellectual superiority” justifies their own inaction and sideline sniping, .. we would have made much more progress by now. That’s unfortunately why these issues take so long to resolve.. they only change when enough people stop sitting on the sidelines and act with the others seeking change.

      I look back at things like Massive Resistance in Virginia and how it was ended and there are three groups:

      Those who advocated Massive Resistance originally and worked mightily to keep it in place and continue the injustice… for “morally superior” reasons of course.

      Those who opposed it and fought it not without harm to themselves

      and the third group – those who strenuously complained about the “trouble”.

      sorry -pick your spot.. own it and if you don’t like where you are.. re-think it perhaps.

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