Saturday, August 29, 2020

Kyle Rittenhouse Perfectly Exemplifies American Not-Seeism


chicago-suntimes  |  A white police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin, shot Jacob Blake Jr., a Black man, in the back, for reasons that are still unclear; a Black man whose three young children were sitting in the back seat of his SUV; a Black man who is now paralyzed from the waist down and might never walk again; and that Black man initially was chained to a hospital bed to fight for his life.

But a white teenager, Kyle Rittenhouse, could walk down a public street in that same city during a chaotic protest — in violation of a curfew — with a military style semi-automatic long gun strapped over his shoulder, and police officers didn’t stop him.

Instead, they tossed him a bottle of water and thanked him for his help.

If you haven’t been able to see the injustice that has moved thousands of people across the nation to march in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, then this stark contrast of how two human beings of different races are treated by police should wake you up.

This is the problem.

And it is a problem that can’t be solved by people who are blind to their racial biases. 

Do you really think a young African American male could walk down the middle of the street during a protest march carrying a semi-automatic weapon, and police wouldn’t stop him?

So why was Rittenhouse treated like a hero?

Anthony Huber, 26, of Silver Lake, Wisconsin, and Joseph “Jojo” Rosenbaum, 36, of Kenosha, were killed, and Gaige Grosskreutz, 26, of West Allis, Wisconsin, was wounded.

According to news reports, protesters actually shouted to police officers riding in armored trucks that the 17-year-old Rittenhouse had shot someone.

Yet not one officer grabbed hold of him.

Not one officer used a Taser.

Not one officer drew a weapon.

When reporters asked Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth why Rittenhouse — who walked toward the police with his arms raised after the shootings — wasn’t taken into custody right then and there, Beth said he wasn’t sure but suspected the chaotic scene that included people running and screaming might have given officers “tunnel vision.”

On Friday, Daniel Miskinis, Kenosha’s police chief, told reporters, “There was nothing to suggest [Rittenhouse] was involved in any criminal behavior.”
Let that marinate for a moment.