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Hullabaloo


Monday, July 22, 2013

 
Fantasizing about killing minorities

by David Atkins

My brother Dante Atkins writes at Daily Kos about something we're all not supposed to talk about: the prevalent fantasy on the part of much of the right wing about murdering members of minority groups:

Rush Limbaugh felt the need to compare Trayvon Martin and Boston Bomber suspect Dzokhar Tzarnaev. The ever-so-moral Pat Robertson declared that Trayvon was basically at fault because he jumped on someone whom he "thought was a quasi-policeman," as if to imply that the victim had a lack of respect for law enforcement and presumably deserved to die for the offense. But as bad as they are, they are far from alone. Right-wing media figures have conducted a relentless smear campaign against the victim, suggesting with no evidence that he was a "wannabe gangster" and a drug dealer with a history of violence. Zimmerman's guilt or innocence had absolutely nothing to do with Trayvon Martin's past, but rather on the singular events that took place that fateful evening. And yet, the right wing continues to feel this twisted compulsion to insult his death by tarnishing his life. Why?

Because as horrific as it is, the fantasy about killing aggressive urban minorities in self-defense is a prevalent, deeply held narrative among certain sections of the American right. It's not a hidden fantasy, a secret and dark desire that dare not speak its name. No, this strain states its intentions and its desires loudly and proudly. Take, for instance, shock jock Neal Boortz, who had this to say about crime in Atlanta:

This town is starting to look like a garbage heap. And we got too damn many urban thugs, yo, ruining the quality of life for everybody. And I'll tell you what it's gonna take. You people, you are - you need to have a gun. You need to have training. You need to know how to use that gun. You need to get a permit to carry that gun. And you do in fact need to carry that gun and we need to see some dead thugs littering the landscape in Atlanta. We need to see the next guy that tries to carjack you shot dead right where he stands. We need more dead thugs in this city. And let their -- let their mommas -- let their mommas say, "He was a good boy. He just fell in with the good crowd." And then lock her ass up.

This isn't an isolated phenomenon. On far-right message board Free Republic, there have been threads where posters openly fantasize about killing black people who "invade" their communities subsequent to rioting or social unrest. In the minds of this strain of the American right, best represented by Rush Limbaugh and Ted Nugent, Trayvon Martin must have been violent, must have been a gangster, must have been a drug dealer or drug addict. Because were this not the case—were he simply, as he was, a teenager carrying a can of iced tea and a pack of Skittles minding his own business and on his way home—it would suggest that perhaps the vigilante fantasy that so pervades the conservative camp might be mistaken; that perhaps standing one's ground for so-called Second Amendment remedies could result in the death of an innocent teenager, rather than justified self-defense against one of Boortz' so-called "urban thugs."

Trayvon Martin is dead. But some among the right feel the need to kill his soul as well, all so a disturbing vigilante fantasy can live on without hindrance.
One thing the Zimmerman trial has certainly done is bring to the fore the enormous amount of violent racism that still exists in America. It hasn't gone away among a certain segment of the population, and it's not going to for quite some time.

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