It seems like all the tragedies in the world and misfortune can happen to a Black person and it does not seem to garner the same level of empathy as when the same calamity impacts a white person. Let us examine the heroin epidemic. When Black folks in the 70’s shot heroin and where importing and distributing the opioid in places like Harlem, they were not viewed with sympathy and empathy. If a Black person overdosed on the drug there was no empathy, only another dead nigger! Why is it now that we should be so overly concerned with the white people hooked on heroin in the suburbs of Long Island, New York? Why is there huge discussion and renewed interest in the drug addictions of those folk? Is it because these are precious white lives? I think so!
I feel like if a white person sells drugs the master narrative would be that he or she was troubled and came from a broken home. The white persons situation will be framed so that those who encounter their story sees their humanity first and their transgression as tertiary to their to current circumstance. White criminality is always served to the masses with a side of empathy that humanizes their condition. When it comes to Black folks making the same mistakes the master narrative broadcast to the masses is that it is somehow intrinsic to our being and it is cultural rather than circumstantial. When it comes to white people and their empathy towards one another they tend to have Kodak Black levels of tunnel vision. They see what is convenient for them to see and discard what doesn’t fit their ideals.
Let us look at clothing. When a Black person sags their jeans and wears a hoodie it is considered “thug” attire that signifies deviance and criminality. A group of white men can wear hoods that completely obscure their faces with burning crosses and somehow these men are viewed like ordinary citizens upholding their first amendment right to freedom of speech. If a white person wears sagging pants it is fashionable because they are low-rise jeans, which is tantamount to jeans with a sag already built into them. No one is calling them thugs or finding ways to link their aesthetic presentation to crime real or imagined! When we think about Robert De Niro and other Italian actors and their portrayals of Mafioso dons, it is celebrated. Last time I checked the mob wasn’t a glee club, but a CRIMINAL ORGANIZATION! It is unbelievable how much street cred we give white actors for portraying criminals and it is to the point where there is almost no distinction between the actors who portray mobsters and the actual mobsters themselves in terms of treatment by the media and society at large.
To harken back to the whole clothing issue if sagging pants and a hoodie on a Black person makes them a “thug” than so too should a suit and tie make an Italian man automatically a “mobster.” This double standard is pretty fucking hypocritical don’t you think? I guess ever since white folks grafted Italians into the white fold they are now given the privileges and protections from the same group of people who created the conditions in America that gave birth to the mafia in the United States smh!
Even when it comes to movie titles of white crime orientated films they are given such names as: “The Godfather” and “Goodfellas” and Black folks get films with titles like “American Gangster” and “Hoodlum.” Do you see the subtlety in the negative framing through word association? What makes the group of white guys “goodfellas” and the Black folks “hoodlums?” This is white sympathy and empathy at work and is a one of the most powerful and dangerous tools in the white supremacy arsenal. I just wish there was empathy and sympathy dolled out to ALL folks have transgressions and not just reserved for white or white identifying malefactors!