“I have a horrible story to bring you about a woman named Sherita Dixon-Cole,” Black Lives Matter activist Shaun King began.
Dixon-Cole claimed that she had been sexually assaulted during a traffic stop by a Texas police officer. The story, like so many black victimhood myths about police officers, turned out to be a lie. Body camera footage conclusively disproved it. But by then the damage was done.
The Root had posted a photo of the officer as part of a post alleging a racist culture of police rape. “Black women have always… found themselves at the intersection of state and sexual violence, because this country teaches men… that black women are disposable,” it insisted.
Behind the pseudo-academic jargon of social justice were the same racial prejudices and tribal fears of victimized women that led to Emmet Till’s death. Only this time the races were reversed.
And the vigilantes organized a cyber-lynching party by sending hate and abuse to a completely different Texas cop who shared the same last name.
And to his mother.
In Timmonsville, South Carolina, Rev. Jerrod Moultrie, who also heads the local NAACP, claimed that a police officer had “racially profiled” him and harassed him “cause I was driving a Mercedes Benz”.
Once again, body cam video proved that it never happened. But the NAACP announced that it was conducting its own investigation and claimed that there might have been another racist cop.
“Racial profiling, in this context, concerns the reasons for stopping a particular vehicle at a particular time, not whether the officer conducting the stop (or any other officer on the scene) is impolite,” it stated. Since it’s impossible to prove that a traffic stop wasn’t racially motivated (the impossibility of proving a negative fuels paranoid fantasies about ubiquitous racism), that’s guilty until proven innocent.
Why were Shaun King, the NAACP and assorted black nationalists willing to believe the worst of white police officers? Black victimhood is based on the fragility of black people and the evil of white people.
Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote in, Between The World and Me that the police officers and firefighters who died on September 11 “were not human to me. Black, white, or whatever, they were menaces of nature; they were the fire, the comet, the storm, which could — with no justification — shatter my body.”
Fragility feeds dehumanization. Coates’ exaggerated sense of his own victimhood had him dehumanize the FDNY firefighters who climbed 78 floors with heavy equipment on their backs to rescue people, regardless of race or color, as inhuman menaces. Not people, but violent forces. The poetry of Coates’ victimhood is marinated in the self-pity of the racist for the prejudices that made him a bigot.
And if police officers aren’t really people, it’s easy to believe the worst of them.
Sherita was so readily believed, despite the lack of evidence, because her claims clicked with the prejudices of black nationalists. The NAACP went on defending Moultrie because it was easier to believe in a white racist conspiracy than to believe their own lying eyes. That’s what prejudice does to you.
Prejudice is at the heart of both the Texas and South Carolina cases. And it’s there churning underneath the recent blizzard of anecdotal claims of white racism. Like all prejudice, it has real victims.
The victims are accused of thinking the worst of black people, when it’s actually black nationalists who think the worst of white people. And they justify their prejudices with accusations of racism. The accusations dehumanize white people as innately evil and burdened from birth with white privilege.
These accusations are not just false. They’re racist and dehumanizing.
Some of these accusations, like those in Texas and South Carolina, like the racist hoaxes at the Air Force Academy, USC, St. Olaf College, Kansas State University, Eastern Michigan University, Capital College, and the University of Maryland, to name just a few in the last two years, are invented.
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