Thursday, August 9, 2012

How to Tell That America is Still Racist

On July 29th, a gunman entered a showing of the newest Batman movie and killed 12 people. You remember. You saw the news stories, and saw all of your friends posting on Facebook in solidarity. You saw "We are Aurora" images & banners. You heard the Olympic athletes in London--those connected to Aurora (swimmer Missy Franklin is from the Colorado town), and those unconnected--express their condolences, their support, and their love. The coverage and outpouring of support continues.

Just seven days after the Colorado shooting, a gunman entered a Sikh temple in suburban Wisconsin, and shot & killed six people before shooting himself. As far as I am aware--and I must admit here that I have not watched every single Olympic interview--no athletes have dedicated their medals to the victims at the temple, to people who came together to share their faith & ended up dead. As far as I saw on Facebook, none of my friends changed their profile pics to show that they stood with the Milwaukee victims. No one updated their statuses to express condolences for the Sikh families who lost their loved ones.

Every one of the 12 Aurora victims were white. Obviously, those at the Sikh temple were Sikhs.

This is not meant to belittle the tragedy of Aurora. White or not, those who lost their lives lost their lives. They have families who are currently mourning them. That is tragic. What is also tragic is that the general American public can ignore a similarly tragic shooting that happened just days later. It is tragic that the people I am friends with on Facebook feel it is necessary and good to throw themselves behind a town of people in support, but--for whatever reason--do not feel the same necessity for a community that is unlike them.

My hope, unfortunately, lies not in the rest of America, but in the victims of the Aurora shooting themselves, many of whom have reached out to the Sikh community on their own, showing their support and love for a group of people who may be quite different from them, but are experiencing a tragedy that is just as heart-wrenching, and just as senseless.

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