Benefit of the DoubtThe comments on the last post are getting a little long, so I am promoting my last comment to a new post. I'm really wondering, how many chances do we give white allies? How many "mistakes" are they allowed to make before we can say, "Wooooo that white person has a helluva alot of racist baggage he is unwilling to own?" And why is it we don't get this nice benefit of the doubt at least once? Step out of line and we get, "Those POC, always ready to throw out the race card!"
I'm really uncomfortable with this whole benefit of the doubt thing. In the Hmong post I found an example where Hmong people were talking about what happens when there is a dispute out in the field. In every example the white person is given the benefit of the doubt and the Hmong person is assumed to be lying. Now maybe there are a bunch of Hmong hunters out there who the DNR sided with, but I sincerely doubt it. I'd be willing to bet that it has NEVER happened.
When I heard the Chai Vang story, the Hmong hunter who shot eight white hunters, six died from their wounds, the first thing I thought of was Yoshihiro Hattori, a Japanese exchange student who was killed going to a Halloween party. It was down south, Baton Rouge, LA. He was with a white friend from school and they got the house address wrong for a Halloween party. The homeowner saw the Japanese kid approaching and thought he looked threatening, shot and killed him. The jury gave him the benefit of the doubt because we all know those Japanese people look dangerous. Yes, he is free to murder anyone approaching his property who he decides looks scary, and POC are scary people.
Meanwhile Chai Vang said that the white hunting group used racial slurs and shot at him first. I believe him. I don't think they were aiming for him, probably shot over his head or into the ground. I think these rednecks (yes, we have them up north too) thought they would have a little fun at the expense of a POC and it went tragically wrong. The Hmong man didn't get the "joke" and felt threatened instead and fought back. But no benefit of the doubt was given to the Hmong man at all. Most white people didn't believe a word he said. They thought the whites were a pleasant bunch who politely tried to explain property and land rights to a dangerous and ignorant POC. Because we all know that POC get murderously violent at the drop of a hat.
Nezua already gave Glenn the benefit of the doubt. His post was just that. He thought that maybe Glenn actually did want a discussion on race and gave it to him. He probably knew, like the rest of us, that Glenn was really just making white people feel better about their racism, it's not their fault that they can't negotiate these hidden tripwires. Now, Nezua, and the rest of us POC, are supposed to give Glenn more benefit of the doubt. When does this end?
So that quote where I said lead the racist into a discussion to prove that they are indeed racist. It's happened already. Glenn took that opportunity to ignore and dismiss most of what Nezua wrote, and attack Sylvia for making an observation about a common dynamic.
White people keep wanting more benefit of the doubt. Even when a white person uses racial slurs like Rosie O'Donnell with the "ching chong" or Richards alluding to lynching and using "nigger" that isn't proof enough for many of them. Because they are "nice" people, and made a mistake, or are under pressure, or excuse after excuse after excuse... Even when they kill one of us, well gotta give the white guy the benefit of the doubt, POC are scary!
When does the benefit of the doubt end? When do we get some of that benefit of the doubt?
Update: You'll notice there is a difference between my comment and this post. I wanted to put a name to the Japanese exchange student, Yoshihiro Hattori, so I went to look it up. I felt it was wrong to speak of him in the abstract. I also found out it was in Louisiana, not Florida.
Update 2: Made a correction to the Chai Vang case, he shot 8 and killed 6 white hunters.