In the other story, all previous standards are set aside as Americans attack a family under all manner of pretense, but compared to other families who have had similar events occur in their lives, the only meaningful factor in this instance is race.
And who can be surprised. Race is the most important thing in this country. The fact that money rates so high in our considerations is deceptive... race supersedes in every instance. A wealthy black person is still a 'nigger' in the real world of the United States... especially in the eyes of 'law enforcement. And, while we have a black president, because of his race, he faces the most outrageous opposition imaginable. Race R US !
And, for more to demonstrate this point, here are two stories about who we Americans really are...
On Monday, I saw a bit of media buzz around the story but thought nothing of it. The headlines of a hundred other stories struck me as more worthy of clicking on to read.
But by Tuesday, the gorilla incident was officially the headline of the day, by far eclipsing the viral photo of a 1-year-old infant whose lifeless body had been pulled out of the Mediterranean Sea and the related story about 700 refugees drowning as they fled war and poverty.
America is outraged—over the killing of a gorilla in a zoo. A gorilla that was, by most accounts, possibly going to kill the unfortunate little boy who fell into its enclosure. So many Americans are so upset by this incident that as of this writing, nearly half a million have signed a change.org petition entitled Justice for Harambe, addressed to Hamilton County’s child protection service, demanding “an investigation of the child’s home environment in the interests of protecting the child and his siblings from further incidents of parental negligence.”
By the way, the family in question is black. Hundreds of thousands of Americans want a black family held responsible for the killing of a gorilla in what they might as well call the new “Gorilla Lives Matter” movement. These signees would like child protection services to separate the child from his parents, whom they have deemed negligent.
The media are stoking the racist flames with a wholly irrelevant discussion about the child’s father’s purported criminal history.
As journalist Shaun King detailed in the New York Daily News, the criminal history of parents of children mauled by zoo animals has never appeared to be an issue in the coverage of similar incidents—as is appropriate. As King eloquently summarized, “This young family could’ve lost their son. They experienced the same type of accident that white families have experienced for decades, but instead of being shown mercy or compassion, they are now enduring unthinkable attacks on their character.” Because apparently, gorilla lives matter more than the life of a black toddler.
One Twitter user went so far as to post an image of a gorilla captioned, “Not sure why they killed me, I was doing a better job of watching that lady’s kid than she was,” adding, “Sums it up perfectly #JusticeForHarambe.” The sentiment is being echoed widely on social media, apparently because “experts” decided, upon watching the video of the incident, that the animal was “trying to protect the child.”
While we as a society constantly dehumanize actual humans (such as black children and parents, refugees, migrants, etc.), in this case, we are intent upon humanizing an animal, insisting that we know its motives, that it had some sort of deep humanlike instinct to protect a child, even though a bystander who filmed the incident says it was “horrific” to watch the animal “drag the boy up to the top of the moat” while it “literally treats this small boy like a rag doll.”
A number of people have climbed their moral high horse and resorted to calling Michelle Gregg, the child’s mother, “an idiot,” “a moron” and even “a bitch.” It is compelling to wonder whether these social media users expressed similar outrage when 12-year-old Tamir Rice was killed by police in the same state where the gorilla incident occurred. Did they demand that the Cleveland police be sued for the “senseless death” of an “innocent” boy, as they are now demanding the boy’s parents be sued for the gorilla’s death? Did they demand #JusticeforTamir like they demand #JusticeForHarambe?
I am all for the humane treatment of animals. We humans live as one species among countless others, and we are the most destructive of all. We have ravaged the habitats of other animals, and we imprison a select few in zoos for our viewing pleasure. Still, not until I saw how insanely fixated the media and public seem to be by this story did I even care why or how the gorilla was killed. It was an isolated incident in a zoo, not a report about wild gorillas losing their habitats to climate change or poaching or gorillas being hunted for sport.
More importantly, it was not a story about the horrors we humans perpetrate on one another—such as this report about how 45 million people around the world are trapped in conditions akin to modern-day slavery. In comparison with a hundred other news stories from around the world of social, political and human significance, the gorilla story was utterly insignificant. A kid’s life was at stake, and the gorilla was killed. That is as it should be.
Why are people so outraged? Why don’t black lives matter, or refugee lives matter, or the lives of low-paid workers, drone attack victims, imprisoned
African-American Women Now Top the List of Most-Educated Group in the Country
A new study finds that African-American women achieve the highest outcomes of any demographic by race and gender.
By Kali Holloway / AlterNet
Statistics on black women and education have shown them leading all other gender and racial groups for a few years now. More than half of all black women specifically between the ages of 18 and 24 are enrolled in college, and black women overall outpace other race and gender groups in terms of college enrollment, according to the National Center of Education Statistics/U.S. Census numbers.
While those figures are noteworthy, a new report goes beyond mere enrollment numbers to show that black women also have the highest numbers where degree-earning is concerned. The findings, also issued by the National Center of Education Statistics, indicate black women led every other race and gender group in this area, making them them—based on hard and fast statistics—the most educated demographic in the country. From the report:
From 1999–2000 to 2009–'10, the percentage of degrees earned by females remained between approximately 60 and 62 percent for associate's degrees and between 57 and 58 percent for bachelor's degrees. In contrast, the percentages of both master's and doctor's degrees earned by females increased from 1999–2000 to 2009–'10. Within each racial/ethnic group, women earned the majority of degrees at all levels in 2009–'10. For example, among U.S. residents, black females earned 68 percent of associate's degrees, 66 percent of bachelor's degrees, 71 percent of master's degrees, and 65 percent of all doctor's degrees awarded to black students. Hispanic females earned 62 percent of associate's degrees, 61 percent of bachelor's degrees, 64 percent of master's degrees, and 55 percent of all doctor's degrees awarded to Hispanic students. (White women earned 61 percent of Associate’s degrees, 56 percent of bachelor’s degrees, 61.8 percent of master’s, and 51.4 percent of doctorates.)
As About notes, “although black women only make up 12.7 percent of the female population in the country, they consistently make up over 50 percent—and sometimes much more—of the number of blacks who receive postsecondary degrees. Percentage-wise, black women outpace white women, Latinas, Asian/Pacific Islanders, and Native Americans in this arena.”
Black women’s labor force participation rates exceed those of all other women, and even after motherhood, they are far more likely than other women to work outside the home. They also make less than both white men and white women, experience higher unemployment rates than their white female peers, and “are more likely than any group in America to work for poverty-level wages,” according to a report from the Black Women’s Roundtable.
Black women start businesses at a higher rate than any other group, by a measure estimated at six times the national average, producing approximately $44.9 billion annually in revenue. (“Between 1997-2013,” the report states, “Black women led all women in the nation in the number of business startups and in revenue growth.”)
Yet, due to notorious racial biases in lending, they often have less capital to start and maintain business ventures. These kind of figures lend themselves to black women age 65 having the lowest household income of any group. Black women retirees live in poverty at a rate five times that of white men.
Stats belie stereotypes. In this case, they also show how far we are from gender and racial equality.
Kali Holloway is a senior writer and the associate editor of media and culture at AlterNet.
It is a measure of privilege that we can feel outrage over the death of a gorilla at the expense of countless others whose lives we ignore. Animal rights groups claim they stand up for the rights of animals because no one else will. But such a position is easy to adopt when you have little direct experience of human suffering or have lived without having to witness injustice done to humans in your own family or community.
To care more for animals than humans is the ultimate privilege. I understand that the fate of animals—and all species of life on earth—is bound up with the fate of humans, but when there is human suffering on a scale as large as we currently experience, I have no tears left to cry over a gorilla’s life lost.
Today that gorilla was killed so the boy could live. Tomorrow that little black boy could grow up and be killed by a police officer who might see him as less than human, and then where will the #JusticeForHarambe crowd be?
I want to live in a world where black boys grow up never fearing for their lives, and their mothers don’t kiss them goodbye each day wondering if racism could rear its head and cause their children’s deaths that day. When all lives really do matter, then maybe a story about a gorilla being killed in a zoo will catch my attention—because it might actually be the worst outrage to emerge in my news feed.