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Stop Making Excuses for Racists: What the news coverage of the spa killings in Atlanta can teach us

“He was pretty much fed up and kind of at the end of his rope. Yesterday was a really bad day for him and this is what he did.” – Captain Jay Baker, Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office

After a gunman in the Atlanta region went on a murderous rampage killing eight people, including six Asian American women, the excuses for him started immediately. Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Jay Baker said at one of the first press conferences after the killer was arrested, that the shooter had a bad day.

Are you kidding me? A bad day? The victims and their families and the Asian American community had a horrible day. Fortunately, as people challenged the insensitive remark he was removed from the case.

The picture painted early on was that race did not play a part in the killings because this is what the killer told police. Really? The killer is going to be honest? How naive people are.

Thankfully, leaders of the Asian American community stepped up right away and challenged the narrative developing about the killer having a so-called sex addiction as part of his motive. They would not accept this nonsense and neither should anyone else.

To downplay race and question the intelligence of filing hate crime charges is standard operating procedure by law enforcement and far too many media members. It’s time to put an end to this pattern of making excuses for racists. I’m fed up with a media that spends more time telling us about the murderer than they do the victims.

This happens so often when people of color are the victims of racial violence. We are already hearing about the killer’s “troubles” in life. I could care less. Don’t tell me more about him, humanizing him but not humanizing the victims. This is part and parcel of how this always plays out.

We see this time and time again, but no one learns a lesson about how wrongheaded this approach is. The Asian American community as been under siege for over a year, being blamed for the pandemic. They have been attacked, verbally and physically assaulted thousands of times with little coverage into this until it degenerates in to this murderous campaign in Georgia. Now all of a sudden they want to tell us about how many hate crimes have been committed against members of the Asian American community nationwide.

The Asian American community have been telling those of us who listen, about this the whole time. When former President Trump, denigrated the Asian American community by mocking the COVID virus as the “Chinese flu” or calling China “Chy-Na” at national press conferences, not enough was said about how racist those remarks were.

Not enough people acknowledged how Asian American citizens have been attacked regularly or how their businesses have been attacked due to them receiving blame for a global pandemic. To say these things are not racially motivated is a huge slap in the face to members of the Asian American community.

To make matters worse, now we have to listen to talking heads debating about the “possible” motives. Stop it! Please, just stop it! It is insulting and xenophobic to punish the Asian American community further when they are dealing with this horrible series of murders. Where is the compassion? Where is the empathy?

Are people so blind that they don’t see the damage done by asking if this is racially motivated? Is it so hard to just admit that a racist White person killed six innocent Asian American women because of racism?

Personally, I don’t care what the police and prosecutors will eventually say is his motivation. They have already poisoned the well by putting out cryptic statements about a so-called sex addiction. Since when do sex addictions lead to mass murder?

Just a couple of weeks ago a racist White man announcing a high school basketball game got mad at some Black teenagers who took a knee during the national anthem and used a racial epithet on a “hot mic.” What was his excuse? “My diabetes made me do it.” Really? Are you trying to convince us that making a racist remark is now a symptom of diabetes? Well if that’s the case, a whole lot of people better go to the doctor and get checked for diabetes.

Stop with the excuses and just apologize or just be honest. If you are a racist, stop running from it. Own it. Be honest about it like racists in the bad old days used to be. Comedian Chris Rock did a routine years ago with the tagline “I know you did it, just admit it.” Can we get some of this honesty?

I want everyone reading this to understand clearly that I will not accept these bogus excuses. I will not listen to talking heads that tell me to not jump to conclusions about a motive. Don’t tell the Asian American community that their eyes are lying to them. It’s clear that this man had enough hatred in his heart to go to three different spas and shoot innocent people. The fact that six of the eight victims were Asian Americans tells me that the two White victims were probably bystanders, because they were in the vicinity of his intended targets, Asian American women.

America, we need to be better than we’ve been since this attack happened. Let’s call people out who continue to downplay racism and the power it has to make people hate enough to take the lives of innocent victims.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve had enough of the excuses for these racists murderers by police and media outlets.

© Photo

Lee Matz

About The Author

Reggie Jackson

As an award-winning Senior Columnist for the Milwaukee Independent, Reggie Jackson covers a range of African American issues. He is also co-founder of Nurturing Diversity Partners, and volunteers as Head Griot for America’s Black Holocaust Museum (ABHM) in Bronzeville.