The media — TV and Internet — would make you believe that every racial encounter in America was a tinderbox. That tension burned through every black-white interaction. That mayhem was around every corner.
But that’s not true. Real life doesn’t support it. The facts don’t support it. There were 990 people shot and killed by on-duty police officers last year in America, according to the Washington Post, and 41 police officers killed by gunfire — in a nation of over 300 million people. Both of those numbers are, of course, way too high. But I’ll bet many are surprised they are that low.
That’s because we are made to feel, by the relentless drone of news outlets, Internet videos and hateful streams of comments, that innocent victims are being shot left and right and police are being mowed down regularly.
This in no way should belittle the very serious problem of relations between Americans and the police who protect them. But you can’t just keep hammering one side of a story.
There’s so much straw stuffed into this argument it’s going to be legally classified as a fire hazard.
We shouldn’t “hammer” on one side of the story, which is that black people are afraid in their daily lives and lots and lots of white people in power like that JUST FINE. It makes Mitch up there have a sad. We can’t have white people being upset from reading Twitter, you guys! That’s the worst thing in the world!
We should wait until the dead number something SIGNIFICANT. And who will decide when a significant number is reached? Who will then tell us it’s okay to be outraged or upset or even — gasp! — read or write about it on the Internet?
Why, Benevolent Daddy Columnist, of course! You didn’t think you were going to make decisions on your own about how many dead people is too many, did you?
Nobody came with a news camera to the little shop on Woodward on Friday night. Nobody chronicled the laughter, the way white and black customers, side by side, gently rocked their shoulders to the beat of Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis music, as they ate desserts served by a multiracial, multigenerational staff.
And if a cop walked in half those customers would tense up, and the other half wouldn’t, but I guess that doesn’t matter because people eat ice cream together every day. If black people can eat ice cream, how bad can their lives really be? I mean, it’s not like they can’t drink from our water fountains now. Go fuck yourself, you smug prick.
You don’t get to tell people worried about their friends and neighbors that their concerns are trivial, and you don’t get to tell people who are horrified by what they’re seeing that they get to close their eyes. You know why the news is upsetting? BECAUSE IT’S FUCKING UPSETTING. And if you don’t want to live in a world where you see upsetting things then it is incumbent upon you to create a world in which those things do not happen.
But Mitch knows his audience, and his audience is old white suburban jerkoffs whose only suffering this week came in having to watch the news in the perfect safety of their homes. Those people will always pay his bills, so he’s paying theirs by reassuring them it’s okay to not give a fuck. Which they were gonna do anyway.