I have to confess to taking a step away from the internets over the weekend. Once word came down that there was a shooting spree in Tulsa, Oklahoma…and information was released that all five victims are black…well, I found myself in need of a break.
Now…well, now I find myself pondering whether the difference between what happened in Tulsa over the weekend and the murder of Trayvon Martin isn’t just a matter of degree.
Catch thy knee – you know that I know that you know and I know that we don’t have a motive in the Tulsa shootings. We do have racist Facebook postings…but white people who post about [insert “N” word here] are exempt from racial profiling so we shall not draw any conclusions from that shit.
Tis okay…the lack of motive actually factors into my pondering.
There is a noticeable difference between how new anchors deliver news on the Trayvon Martin murder and how they speak about the shootings in Tulsa.
A change in tone…from uncertainty to concern…from confusion to that comfortable mental space Americans have developed to store easily confirmed wrongs.
I can't help thinking that…can’t help pondering the quizzical…what if this is all just a matter of degree?
What if the Tulsa shooters had planned to use Oklahoma's Stand Your Ground law?
Think about it.
What if the Tulsa shooters had left their vehicle…followed their victims…called the police…incited a confrontation…and then shot them?
What if they then claimed they were afraid?
I’ve always known that racism is rooted in fear and insecurity. Confident and secure people don’t feel the need to oppress others…they don’t fear competition…they don’t resort to violence.
So, what if the Tulsa shooters claim fear…if the one who lost his father at the hands of a black man lifts that up as an example of why he feared then killed…
…isn’t it just a matter of degree?
I find no comfort in this quizzical.
Because if the reason Tulsa is outraged while Sanford sleeps well at night resides within a matter of degree…if that’s true, then the racism has metastasized and we are farther from the cure than I thought.