If your answer is yes, then you’re on the same page as Dan Solomon.
In an article written Monday (May 18) for Texas Monthly, Solomon highlighted the double standard he says exists with violent incidents involving white people versus violent incidents involving black people.
“The scene in Waco on Sunday was like something off a TV show. Broad daylight shoot-outs between rival gangs that leave nine dead and eighteen others hospitalized rarely happen in Texas strip malls, but the biker-themed event at the Twin Peaks restaurant turned out to be every bit as horrifying as an episode of Sons of Anarchy. There’s plenty of blame being cast, and plenty to go around . . . .,, Solomon wrote.
“But when it comes to discussing the events that occurred outside Twin Peaks, there’s another entity that isn’t getting off the hook: namely, the media and police culture, which, it’s being argued, treat incidents of violent crime committed by white people very differently than they do incidents of violence involving black people.
Solomon then points out how social media picked up on the double standard as Twitter users adapted the hashtag #WacoThugs. Among those putting a light on the situation were “cultural commentators and critics including some of the sharpest working today, like Ta-Nehisi Coates,” who, according to Solomon, “saw an opportunity to consider how the playbook for a violent incident involving white bikers diverges from the one that the media and police use when the violence involves people whose skin tones are darker.
“The frustration of people who see unfair treatment in how police and media are reacting to Waco is palpable,” he said. “It’s also probably not an apples-to-apples situation: a small Texas city whose metro area is roughly [one-tenth] the size of St. Louis’s or Baltimore’s is probably likely to have different reactions from law enforcement, while gang fights are a generally unusual circumstance. But the very fact that we’re inclined to talk in terms of nuance, when discussing violent crime that involves white people, is part of the point that Coates and others on Twitter were making.
“The idea that it’s ‘special treatment’ to ‘not be shot by police for looking violent’ is something one could argue with — the police are supposed to use great restraint in those situations — but making that argument misses the point,” Solomon continued while using the recent deaths of Eric Garner, Tamir Rice and Freddie Gray to hammer his point home about the difference in police treatment.
“In a country where, among black citizens, having potentially stolen cigars from a corner store can leave a person dead on the sidewalk, or where playing with a toy gun can result in the immediate shooting of a twelve-year-old boy, or where a person who was able to walk when taken into police custody can be dead of a severed spinal cord by the time the ride in the van is finished, the mere fact that a massive shoot-out in a strip mall could end with police and bikers on peaceful terms does look like special treatment.”
Solomon goes on to emphasize how a much deeper issue exists as the media and law enforcement’s treatment crimes involving white people and black people represents a certain “agenda” that’s being served.
“The tweets on the #WacoThugs hashtag may flatten the details of the situation that occurred, but the larger point is that the details in many violent encounters that involve police get flattened and twisted to serve an agenda,” wrote Solomon.
“Whether the details are flattened to justify a week-long curfew, mass arrests, and the presence of riot police or to make a point about how a calm police presence is notable when the perpetrators of violence are white, the result is that we’re not really talking about the specific situation at all — we’re using it to make a point about how the facts get distorted. . . .”