I don’t know about other folks of color, but whenever I hear about a shooting, a terrible accident, or any form of violence, I pray real hard that it wasn’t committed by a person of color. That was my first thought on Sunday after hearing about the tragic shooting of Gabrielle Gifffords and nine innocent people by a young man in Tucson, Arizona. I was no more relieved when I heard it was a young white man who had committed this senseless act, but it did raise a number of critical questions for me, as a woman of color, and for our country, which is clearly suffering from it’s criminalization of people of color. These questions included:
- If the shooter had been of South Asian descent, as was Major Nidal Malik Hasan the shooter at Fort Hood in 2009, would this shooting be considered an act of ‘home grown terrorism’?
- If voter’s in Arizona were more concerned with gun control than the policing of Latino immigrants, by enforcing ID checks and shutting down Chicano & Mexican American studies courses, would this have happened?
- If Barbara Lee had placed crosshairs over the district of a Republican opponent, as Sarah Palin did over Gifford’s district, what would the prospects of her political future be?
- When senseless acts of violence are committed by white people, primarily white men, why don’t all white people feel responsible? Remember the Virginia tech shooting when the whole country of South Korea apologized to the US for the shooting committed by an American of Korean descent?
- And last but not least, when will it be the case that there could be a couple of crazy folks of color without it falling on all of our shoulders when someone is clearly in need of mental health services?