A few months ago, I made the mistake of reading an article about Howard Beach jogger, Karina Vetrano (30). But the biggest mistake I made was hoping for justice in this slain young lady’s murder. Nearly thirty years ago, I’m sure countless blacks, like myself, bore similar sentiments for Central Park Jogger, Trisha Meili (28). However, in both scenarios, our humanist hopes would prove sour. It would not be long before we all would realize that “justice” for white women foreshadowed injustice for the black collective.
My words do not function malevolently. Meaning that I do not write this post to discount that something horrible indeed happened to the young women referenced. This post does function to declare young white women as pawns in fomenting the white male agenda. As Dr. Angela Davis states in “Rape, Racism and the Myth of the Black Rapist,”
Racism has always served as s provocation to rape, and white women in the United States have necessarily suffered the ricochet fire of these attacks. (Davis 177)
Vetrano and Meili, were both villainized by white men but given the black male face to hate. This hate was not limited to these individuals,incited into the masses. In justifying hating and fearing the black male, systemic disenfranchisement including poverty and murder by the police seems a worthy fate.
The two cases prove eerily similar, involving women around the same age, engaging in a common activity to maintain a healthy lifestyle. I state without a glimpse of doubt that these incidents were both carried out and covered up by white men for reasons that will most likely never surface. Instead, black men become the scapegoat and function to epitomize myths that have attached themselves to the black male body since slavery. Myths that paint the black man as sexually aggressive, and violently dangerous. Despite their displacement onto the black male body, these characteristics of course correspond to the white man, in his own story. I am unsure that human nature proves more dangerous that men who can seize human beings, strip them of their homeland, culture, family and resources all to appropriate a stolen land. Or men who rape women repeatedly, only to sell, bear or kill offspring that often look just like them. Or those who live comfortably for centuries while the means for this wealth lay cold beneath the ground, their descendants enduring the very same dynamics that tormented their ancestors. There is no being more frightening and dangerous than a white man. I state this claim not from a position of prejudice, but from examining the history that did not make its way into my formal education. What constitutes the white man, or white supremacy as a dangerous and frightening concept is the lack of acknowledgement and remorse. In The Psychopathic Racial Personality, Dr. Wright details the essence of a psychopathic racial personality in the following:
…in the relationship with the Black race, Europeans (Whites) are psychopaths and their behavior reflects an underlying biologically transmitted proclivity with roots deep in their evolutionary history…
The psychopath is an individual who is constantly in conflict with other persons or groups. He is unable to experience guilt, is completely selfish and callous, and has a total disregard of the rights of others. (Wright 2)
However, western culture remembers the white man as powerful, smart, strong, strategic, courageous and deserving. Projecting the white woman as a victim of black male primitivity encompasses a duality that deprecates black masculinity simultaneously fomenting white supremacist practices. Namely, the white woman as a victim of black male primitivity casts the white male as her protector and as doing what is necessary to maintain her bodily integrity. This overt representation veils white male selfishness, as white male action functions solely to serve and promote white supremacist action and ideology.
It is white supremacist action and ideology that affords the Vetrano cast pseudo justice. This it is no coincidence that this case finds its “resolution” under the Trump administration. Following the Central Park Jogger case, Trump ran an advertisement in 1989 demonizing the accused young black men–known to the world as the Central Park five. Although all men have been proved innocent, Trump refused to retract any of his malicious actions and words. This lack of retraction undoubtedly reflects the haughtiness allotted to whiteness, but reflects Trump’s desire to one day validate his past assertions. Thus, this “discovery” in the Vetrano case functions to prove that Trump may have been mistaken in the Central Park case, but he was not mistaken about all black men.
The Vetrano case also bears connection to another instance of overt racism in New York City. Howard Beach is a location known for consistent overt racism, and racial terror inflicted onto black male bodies. Let us not forget that in 1986, white boys from Howard Beach beat and chased a group of black men from their neighborhood. They chased Michael Griffith onto the highway where he was struck and killed. Countless incidents of racial terror followed this incident, accurately depicting Howard Beach as an area of white immigrants who not only detested blacks, but brutally terrorized them. Thus, the location of this crime—Howard Beach, proves a cause for question. It does however prove strategic that the white media would seize, or create an opportunity to pacify past racist activities with what the contemporary culture labels reverse racism.
Reverse racism is of course an oxymoron, and ultimately a racist attempt to dilute white supremacy as the downfall of humanity. If reverse racism were real, communities like Howard Beach would not repeatedly be overlooked as “bad neighborhoods” and black bodies would not continue to face murder and watch our murderers enjoy liberties we go lifetimes without. The odds of a black man frequenting Howard Beach is highly unlikely, as the area is known for its intolerance of blacks. It is even more unlikely like a black male New York City native would wander through Howard Beach unseen, and unbothered. Simply put, if the accused Chanel Lewis were in Howard Beach, it is doubtful that no one would have called the police or attacked him—as blacks seldom leave Howard Beach without encountering overt racism. Furthermore, if Lewis had been in Howard Beach that evening, he would be more likely to mirror Vetrano’s fate, not render it.
I write this piece from a place of extreme disheartenment, mainly because this situation is not even a well-executed cover-up, if there ever is one. How many more black bodies will die or endure prison sentences for the lie the western world perpetuates as justice?
Although I write this piece in English, words in the english language are just words– letters placed together to the detriment of the black collective. Justice, is my least favorite with karma as a close second. As a black woman, I can’t help but think of the Tawana Brawley case. A case that also transpired in the late 1980s when a fifteen year old girl was sexually assaulted by multiple white men. Carolyn Donham (Emmett Till’s accuser) and Meili’s rape warranted immediate justice, whereas the black female body became the villain despite her own victimization.
In contemplating this case alongside Chanel Lewis’ pending trial, it becomes obvious that for every white crime there is a black criminal. This dynamic allows the western world to deflect from their own sins, as we are the backs in which every aspect of American culture stands, and I say it’s about time we stand up.