By Colin Flaherty – Author of White Girl Don’t Bleed: The Return of Race Riots to America.
When I told my friends I was working on a magazine article, then a book, about a tsunami of racial violence in America over the last two years, they said, “I haven’t heard about that.”
When my Tennessee friend told me about a horrific racial crime in Knoxville, Tennessee, I told him: “I haven’t heard about that.”
Outside of Tennessee, most did not.
Locals may remember the story: In 2008 and 2009, five black people were convicted of the carjacking, torture, rape and murder of University of Tennessee graduates Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom.
To the extent the case attracted attention outside Knoxville, it was mostly about how this case was not attracting attention.
Syndicated columnist Michele Malkin wrote: “This case – an attractive white couple murdered by five black thugs – doesn’t fit any political agenda. It’s not a useful crime. Reverse the races and just imagine how the national media would cover the story of a young black couple murdered by five white assailants.”
This curious double-standard has been on display over the last two years in hundreds of episodes of racial crime and violence in more than 50 cities. While most are not as horrific as the Chistian-Newsom case, groups of black people are roaming the streets of America — assaulting, intimidating, stalking, threatening, vandalizing, stealing, shooting, stabbing, even raping and killing.
Local media and public officials are often silent. Crime is color blind, says a Milwaukee police chief. Race is not important and if you notice, you are a racist, a Chicago newspaper editor says.
That denies the obvious: America is the most race conscious society in the world.
We learn that every day from black caucuses, black teachers, black unions, black ministers, black colleges, black high schools, black music, black moguls, black hair business owners, black public employees, black art, black names, black poets, black inventors, black soldiers.
Everything except black violent crime. That is taboo.
Peoria? Absolutely: Right in the middle of Middle America.
Milwaukee? Yes, on the Fourth of July, after looting a nearby convenience store, a crowd of nearly 100 blacks set upon a some white teens on a picnic. After beating one white woman, a black woman noted “Oh, White girl bleed a lot.”
Then you probably did not hear about Black Beach Week, held every year in Miami Beach over the Memorial Day Weekend. This year, 200,000 black people created a three day riot complete with shootings, killing, mountains of filth and everything in between — causing another kind of riot: An uprising to shut down this annual violent uprising.
Even Skidmore College in bucolic Saratoga Springs had its very own race riot — with a twist. In December 2010, several black members of the Skidmore basketball team (from New York City) taunted, then beat, a white off-duty police officer for having lunch with a black colleague.
The school president, Susan Kress, led a campaign to convince the District Attorney that her students were the victims of racism — no matter what the dozens of witnesses in the diner said.
She recently, and quietly, left her post. The students were convicted.
The list of cities goes on and on. As do the denials and excuses.
In Chicago, Congressman and former Black Panther leader Bobby Rush says this kind of crime in common in black neighborhoods and the only reason anyone is noticing now is because white people are getting hurt.
Rush is probably right. Which means this problems is hundreds of times worse than we think.
The message of Knoxville is this: If it can happen here it can happen anywhere.
Public officials, local media and even victims may be too squeamish to talk about the new race riots, but YouTube is not. Neither is talk radio.
So we learn in fits and starts and pieces and glimpses. Finally, we are connecting the dots. Which is good: The solutions cannot begin until the denial ends. But first we all need to hear — and see — it.