Saturday, April 26, 2008
Awhile ago I heard a story about a couple that got into a fight about what gang their four-year old was going to join. Maybe you did too, it's quite the "what the hell?" story. Apparently, the guy went into his babymama job at Hollywood Video, they got into a confrontation, and the police were called. Here's the part of the story that troubles me...
"The girlfriend told authorities they were fighting over which gang their son should join. The girlfriend, who is black , is a member of the Crips, while Manzanares, who is hispanic belongs to the Westside Ballers." (emphasis added)
Why is this relevant? The story wasn't about some ethnic strife, it was about two people who were in gangs.
Contrast this with another, "What the hell?" story
"Cops: Video shows Ohio man forcing toddler to smoke weed"
"WBNS-TV says the footage came to light after Melvin Blevins, 18, pawned his video camera."
"His 16-year-old girlfriend has been charged with corrupting a minor."
Um, where is the Melvin Blevins who is white and his 16 year old girlfriend who is also white ? Why is race relevant in one story but not the other? Every time white people do something crazy no one says, "Hey this person was white." And every time a person of color does something and we do make a point to say, "Oh yeah, this was a person of color," it just serves to reinforce stereotypes.
I could go on about what causes people to see gangs as a reasonable lifestyle, or what would make an 18 year old want to give a toddler pot, but let's not get ahead of ourselves. For now, let's ponder this question about why these stories were reported differently, and how that impacts how we view different groups of people in our society.
As a sidenote: I can see that my readership is slowly but surely increasing. Whoo hoo! I may not post often, but when I do--I'd like to think I have something worthwhile to say. :) Bookmark me and keep coming back. Then you can say, "You knew me when." Also, if anyone has any questions or comments, please shoot me an email--I'd love to hear from you.