(I will be posting a version of this on the PRFC blog also . . . )
So I saw a snippet about this case of mistaken identity on the news, and knew immediately that I was going to use it as this week’s topic . . .
but then I made the mistake of starting to read the forum comments about the piece. I got through about forty or fifty of them before I had to close the page . . .
it wasn’t the “well, duh, don’t run from the police” written by people who clearly have no sense of what it is to not be able to trust that the police are on your side . . . or the “they’re used to it in THAT neighborhood” . . .
no, it was the endless barrage of pure, vitriolic old-school racist hatred that was evident in post after post after post. There was even a person commenting who had (thinking himself quite witty, I’m sure) given himself the screen name “Mark Fuhrman”. And phrases such as “porch monkeys” and “hood rats” (and much, much worse) used to describe the people in the southeast Grand Rapids neighborhood where the incident had occurred.
I suppose I should try to tell myself that it’s just a case of cowardly people taking shelter in the relative anonymity of the internet, but to be honest, it really frightens me that there is still this level of hatred simmering in the hearts of people in and around this city. It makes me wonder if there really is any hope for us . . .