Still think racism and white privilege no longer exist in today’s America? Let’s see what happens when a white woman accidentally hits a black man with her car in Baltimore, Maryland.
Last week an indignant Brenda Sanders posted to Facebook two photos and the thoroughly depressing example of white privilege in America she had just witnessed. The scenes below show police and bystanders comforting a white woman who had just run a red light and hit a young black man on a bike with her car.
“I ran a red light and hit him with my car!”
Yes, you read that right.
According to Sanders, the visibly shaken “20-something white woman” flat-out told police, “I ran a red light and hit him with my car!” But — thanks to white privilege — this young woman’s legally ill-advised honesty needn’t do her any harm.
The man lay crying and writhing in pain on the ground while police and bystanders tried to reassure the white woman. Meanwhile, the officer dropped very strong hints encouraging the woman to change the story so they could let her go free and blame everything on the black guy. Like, maybe the light was yellow, and the black man “darted out into the street into her path.”
Sanders angrily snapped, “But she just SAID she ran the red light and hit him in the intersection!” And of course the cops and bystanders ignored her.
Here’s the full description of the scene Sanders encountered from her Facebook post (we’ve also posted the screen shot at the end).
Well, I just witnessed blatant racial injustice with my own eyes. I was getting in my car after exiting a store when a young black man stumbled past me and collapsed against the store wall. When I got out to see if he was okay, a group of white people came rushing over, one of whom was a 20-something white woman who declared in distress, “I ran a red light and hit him with my car!” People immediately assured her that SHE would be okay, meanwhile the young man is writhing in pain on the ground, pants leg torn, tears running down his face. When the police arrived and the young woman explained what happened, it was suggested to her that maybe the light had been yellow and that the young man had “darted out into the street into her path.” I was floored. I said, “But she just SAID she ran the red light and hit him in the intersection!”
The police officers then led the young woman away and began talking with her privately in low tones. When the paramedics FINALLY got there I was surprised at the hostility they showed towards the young man. One blonde female EMT (shown in the photo) suggested that he couldn’t be THAT hurt if he was able to walk from the place where he was struck to the sidewalk where he finally collapsed. White bystanders commented several times about “What that poor girl must be going through.” I was the only one who commented on what the young man must be going through, what, with his mangled leg and all. I am absolutely positive that in the end “that poor girl” will be absolved of all wrongdoing and be able to go on her merry way. After all, she just ran a red light and slammed her car into the body of some black kid on a bike, right?
And people wonder why black people are so angry and want to break shit.
You may feel tempted to dismiss this post as the rantings of an angry black woman, only her story follows an appallingly familiar pattern that plays out every day across America.
White privilege still exists, we just pretend not to see it.
White privilege still exists, we just pretend not to see it. Thanks to four decades of public policy that have wrecked the middle class, white privilege doesn’t help as much as it once did. But it still leaves whites a heck of a lot better off than black and brown-skinned people.
In a stunning personal essay on his own white privilege, Matt Zoller Zeiss writes about how his angry, drunken, younger self picked a fight with an equally angry and drunk — though less aggressive — Hispanic man. While gesticulating wildly, the Latino accidentally poked Zeiss in the chest, which Zeiss used as an an ideal excuse to punch him in the face. Someone called the police who immediately tackled and handcuffed the Hispanic man, but not Zeiss. The cops tried to get Zeiss to press charges, and ignored his repeated statements that was the one who had picked the fight, and the Latino did not strike first.
We also saw white privilege at play when the “affluenza” judge gave Ethan Anthony Crouch — the remorseless 16-year-old who mowed down four pedestrians while driving drunk with his friends — a light sentence of 10 years in a treatment facility. Meanwhile, the same judge sentenced a 14-year-old black boy to 10 years in a juvenile detention center for punching a man, who died when his head hit the pavement.
And we see the specter of white privilege in #Ferguson, and every time a black man gets a bullet to the head or chest for small or non-existent offenses that would merit no more than a slap on the wrist for those of the fairer-skinned persuasion.
Here is a screen shot of Brenda Sanders’ Facebook post. Notice how everyone’s talking to the white woman and nobody’s tending to the young black man who got hit (and who may be lying behind that police car, but we’re not sure).