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An Open Letter to Jesse Williams

Grey’s Anatomy star Jesse Williams recently gave an acceptance speech for the Black Entertainment Television’s Humanitarian Award in which he said the following:

Now, what we’ve been doing is looking at the data and we know that police somehow manage to deescalate, disarm and not kill white people everyday. . . . Tell Rekia Boyd how it’s so much better than it is to live in 2012 than it is to live in 1612 or 1712. Tell that to Eric Garner. Tell that to Sandra Bland. Tell that to Dorian Hunt. … So what’s going to happen is we are going to have equal rights and justice in our own country or we will restructure their function and ours.

Dear Jesse Williams,

Would you deliver this speech in front of the families of Jeremy MardisDillon TaylorGilbert CollarJames Whitehead, and Ryan Keith Bolinger? Have you ever even heard their names, Mr. Williams?

I’m positive that you haven’t — and when I tell you who they are, that will explain why: they’re all white people killed by black cops.

Jeremy Mardis was a 6-year-old boy with autism killed when a black cop sprayed indiscriminately into the vehicle his father was driving.

James Whitehead was an unarmed Marine — and because he was ruled to have caused his own death, his family was thenceforth denied military benefits.

What about Dylan Noble? Daniel Pigg? Douglas Miller? Joshua Smith? Larry Stepp? Christopher Michael Moran? Andrew Hanson? Weston Sites? James Allen Nickol? Clifford Leroy Tucker? David Powell? William Michael Hollis? Clayton Millsaps? Charles Todero? Daniel Bennett Edwards? Joshua Sciscm? Edward Acquisto? Kenneth Allen Pointer? Russell Rosser? Michael D. Rasmussen? Robert Delfino? Peter Grandpre? Nicholas Damon? William Thomas Hennessey? Sergey Makarenko? Devin Christopher Scott? Lane Lesko? Josiah Williams? Christy Sheats? Terry Lynn Maurer? Blake Peacock? Travis Vierra? Raymond Hutson?

This is just a partial list of the whites shot and killed by police in the single month of June, 2016.

Surely, many of these cases will be bad examples of police misconduct, and involve police shooting in actual self-defense. But imperfections didn’t stop you from picking as your examples Eric Garner, who would have easily survived the way he was handled during his resisting arrest if not for his own poor health condition — he died of cardiac arrest hours after his detainment, not as a result of asphyxiation, as some still believeTamir Rice, who was marching around pointing what officers had no way to tell was not a real gun; Darrien Hunt, who swung aggressively towards police with what they had no way to tell was not a real sword; and Sandra Bland, who actually died as a result of her own decision to commit suicide during what would have been only a very brief detainment in jail otherwise.

It also didn’t stop the movement you’re supporting from picking as one of its major first figureheads someone who strong–armed a store clerk while stealing from a gas station, jaywalked in the middle of the street, and then reached in through the car window to assault the officer who pulled up near him to ask him to move to the sidewalk, with forensic evidence proving that he did in fact aggressovely struggle for the officer’s gun at this point.

As the DOJ report concluded, “While credible witnesses gave varying accounts of exactly what Brown was doing with his hands as he moved toward Wilson . . . they all establish that Brown was moving toward Wilson when Wilson shot him. Although some witnesses state that Brown held his hands up at shoulder level with his palms facing outward for a brief moment, these same witnesses describe Brown then dropping his hands and ‘charging’ at Wilson.”

So have you even looked through this list of white names to find out how many appear, to you, to be unjustified? Is there a specific reason you didn’t at least mention someone like Dylan Noble, other than the fact that he is of no interest to your narrative because he’s white? You mentioned Tamir Rice — so why is it you didn’t mention the name John Crawford) — a 22-year-old white male shot inside a Walmart after picking up a toy rifle?

As a matter of fact, did you even know that in 2015, of 34 people shot while holding a toy weapon, there were 22 whites and just 5 blacks? Again, did it ever once cross your mind to actually look through that list of names?

No? What “data” have you been looking at, then?

If the only data you looked at is that blacks are more than 13% of those shot by police, then you certainly didn’t look at the data for very long — not even long enough to ask yourself why this might be the case.

Did you look at the data showing that blacks, who are 13% of the U.S. population, commit more than 50% of the murders? Perhaps you mean the victim and witness reports which reveal that if anything, cops actually pursue black suspects less often than victimized citizens tell them a black offender committed a violent crime, which refutes any claim that the arrest rates are a racially biased number?

Did you look at the data that shows that once you use this number to control for how often police are running into black suspects in the first place, police are actually significantly less likely to shoot any given black suspect they encounter, and more likely to shoot any given white suspect they encounter?

Did you look at the experimental data that establishes the same conclusion?

Did you look at the data showing that blacks are 42% of cop killers, which just might understandably give police more reason to be on edge around black suspects?

Did you look at the data that shows that while cops kill about 1.3 black suspects per day in the United States, and whites kill black victims approximately once every other day, blacks kill four white victims every single day — meanwhile, killing 16 black victims every single day?

Even if we assume that every single one of those 1.3 shootings are unjustified, that still has black murderers killing twice as many whites as the number of whites killing blacks and cops killing blacks combined. And it has black murderers killing more than eight times as many blacks as that number.

Did you look at the data showing that Black Lives Matter is understandably making cops, who don’t want their careers ruined if they really do have to fire in self-defense against a violent black assailant, afraid to do their jobs — therefore underpolicing black-majority areas, and therefore leading to more black people dying than were before precisely because of that fact that it’s oh so racist to mention—that black criminals kill far more black victims than cops do?

This is why the fact that black criminals kill more black victims than cops do is relevant, Jesse—it isn’t some simplistic attempt to distract everyone from racism. Again, precisely because you’ve ignored the very real implications of that fact, the biggest achievement of your movement so far has been to put more dead black bodies in the streets than were there before.

It seems pretty clear, then, that only “data” you’ve looked at is the data that confirms the narrative you set out in the first place to believe. But it turns out there really isn’t much of it.

Sincerely,

Aedon Cassiel

* * *

Jesse Williams concludes: 

“. . .We’re done watching and waiting while this invention called whiteness uses and abuses us . . . The thing is though, the thing is that just because we’re magic doesn’t mean we’re not real.” 

Now, Justin Timberlake tweeted the simple message in response that he was “#inspired” by Jesse Williams’ speech — and Justin Timberlake is accused of racism.

In response to that accusation, he says: “I apologize to anyone that felt I was out of turn. I have nothing but LOVE FOR YOU AND ALL OF US.”

But one critic still responds: “we loved you like one of our own, and this how you do us? You can no longer come to the cookout.” And another tweets: “You really don’t understand just how problematic you are, do you? You poor child.”

This is what the world looks like in 2016: You get a standing ovation for calling “whiteness” an “invention” and claiming that black people are “magic.” But you get contempt for expressing the sentiment that you “really do feel that we are all one . . . A human race.”

One of the few at least halfway sensible attempts at criticizing Timberlake’s statement says: “Until the day you find yourself beaten & bloodied on the street based on your skin color, we are not the same.” Okay, at least this isn’t waffling about “cultural appropriation” (which I may address separately some other time).

Well, does being targeted on the basis of skin color by blacks looking for “justice for Trayvon” count? There were, in fact, dozens of these attacks in response to George Zimmerman’s justified act of self-defense against Trayvon Martin who, as the best forensic evidence clearly shows, was far away from Zimmerman when he made the decision to double back after Zimmerman and jump on top of him, slamming his head against the ground and concrete while he screamed for help like a terrified little girl .

There were “retaliatory” attacks in Gainesville, Florida. There were attacks in Chicago. There was an attack on a 78-year-old man in Ohio. Seven whites were attacked by mobs in Michigan. A white man was beaten by four blacks in a Home Depot in Ferguson with a hammer picked up inside the store.

A white man with a homemade “Stop Killing Black Men” t-shirt was even beaten and bloodied on the street as his reward for joining Black Lives Matter protests. Just imagine if this had happened to even a single black attendant at a Tea Party.

And all of this rage towards whites was fed and encouraged by exactly the very lies that this essay has just critiqued.

We’ve already seen that black murderers kill more than twice as many whites in the United States every single day as the number of blacks killed by cops and whites combined. It turns out that even combining the population rate with blacks’ higher general proclivity towards violence doesn’t explain away this disparity — which means that deliberate racial targeting of whites is the only plausible explanation of a very large part of this disparity left.

I explain the numbers in as much extensive detail as possible, here. Without delving into how to correct the data and spell out what it means, the basic figures look like this:

Dividing the black rate of interacial violence by the white rate (849/32), this means that the “average” black individual in 2010 was 26.5 times more likely to attack a white victim than vice versa. . . . black perpetrators of violent crimes chose white victims 47.7% of the time, whereas white perpetrators chose black victims a mere 3.9% of the time.

Furthermore, official statistics already show that blacks commit hate crimes at twice the black population rate, whereas whites commit hate crimes at significantly less than the white population rate. And the data shows this despite the fact that most attacks on whites are not ruled to be “hate crimes.” When a black man shot two white people who showed up at a “Peace Party” because he “was trying to prove a point that Europeans had colonized the world, and as a result of that, we see a lot of evil today” — anger that was stoked during his years in academia pursuing an anthropology major, no less — the headlines say, innocently: “Judge to rule on insanity verdict in Midtown shooting trial.”

When black mobs surround white cars and shout “get that white!,” that isn’t a hate crime. Nor is it a hate crime when black mobs surround white cars shouting racial slurs, and smash through the glass successfully enough to leave three-year-olds bleeding in the back seat. More recently, punching a woman after yelling “I hate white people!” was ruled not to be a hate crime. And still, despite this trend, whites are significantly underrepresented and blacks are significantly overrepresented in official hate crime statistics.

Black criminals openly confessing to deliberately choosing to target white victims from racial motivation are hardly unheard of. Leroy Elridge Cleaver, who went on to become one of the most prominent members of the Black Panther Party (and later, a Republican), wrote a book in 1968 that was praised by the New York Times at the time as “brilliant and revealing.” In the fourth thematic section, titled “White Woman, Black Man,” he wrote: “[W]hen I considered myself ready enough, I crossed the tracks and sought out white prey. I did this consciously, deliberately, willfully, methodically . . . Rape was an insurrectionary act. It delighted me that I was defying and trampling upon the white man’s law, upon his system of values, and that I was defiling his women . . . I felt I was getting revenge. From the site of the act of rape, consternation spread outwardly in concentric circles. I wanted to send waves of consternation throughout the white race.”

Am I allowed to tell blacks to fuck off, now, for saying “I believe we are all one” because we aren’t the same until you have white people deliberately targeting your women — in significant numbers — for acts of rape as violent revenge?

Of course not. That would be racist as hell. But when exactly the reverse statement is expressed towards someone who merely tried to express solidarity with a black cause (however factually flawed), that gets supportive and celebratory summaries in the media.

The same media that celebrates the message that “whiteness” is an “invention” while black people are “magic.”