Thursday, March 18, 2021


Here's a link to my most recent Roy Edroso Breaks It Down edition, about a mass murder of racially-distinct victims by a three-named white guy and the sympathetic, one might say empathetic, one might say pathetic response of a law enforcement spokesman. Guess what the inspiration was

It's funny, I'm old enough to remember when conservatives would reflexively laugh at liberals for expressing sympathy toward killers who snapped under psychological or societal pressure. This goes back at least to Clarence Darrow and the Leopold and Loeb case -- though I'm sure some historians here will have earlier cites -- and got ugly when sociologists and psychologists suggested keeping people in ghettos was bound to result in despair, addiction, and violence. This was portrayed by the Right as mere perversity among effete leftists who cared more for the murderers than the murdered, and eventually spawned such weird reactionary bloodlust symptoms as the 1994 Crime Bill and courtroom "victim statements" (which have always seemed repulsive to me, as if what the criminal justice system needed was a little more Maury Povich sensationalism). 

Things have changed a bit. More white Americans have come to notice and disapprove of the systematic oppression of minorities in their own country. The conservative response has mostly been denialism -- witness their attempts to ban any mention of it in our education system, not to mention every conservative editorial on race ever. But they've also been trying a funhouse-mirror version of liberal perp sympathy. What else is the now-familiar trope of "economically anxious" honkies whose Trump support is medicalized as a psychological reaction to the presidency of the Kenyan pretender Obama and all the breaks those people had been given? Now instead of blacks in tenements doing heroin and crack, we are urged to sympathize with whites in hollers doing meth and opioids. The central irony -- that, for all its reforms, this country is still obviously fixed on behalf of white people, though the growing voracity of the rich is eating away at even their share of the wealth  -- is large enough to be safely ignored.  

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