A courageous man, along with his fellow passengers, restrained a mentally disturbed vagrant who was allegedly threatening to kill commuters on a New York City subway. A few weeks later, in the same town, a pregnant hospital worker checked out a Citi Bike to get home from her 12-hour shift and was surrounded by a group of men who falsely accused her of stealing the bike from them, physically harassed her, and then smeared her name on social media.
There is a concerted effort from powerful people in the media, on the internet, and in district attorney’s offices, to paint both incidents, not as a conflict between law-abiding citizens and their aggressors, but as representative of a racial struggle that they accuse everyone in the country of being a part of.
But these two events are not stories about their participants’ race. A thoughtful person who hears the details of each case could see that, from the facts we know, each was a struggle between the helpless and the lawless; in one case, there was someone to intervene on the innocents’ behalf, and in the other, there was none.
The average law-abiding, middle-class man, of any color, who fairly observes the Daniel Penny/Jordan Neely scuffle would see himself reflected more in the subway rider who was threatened by a drug-addled vagrant’s actions than in the vagrant. If he’s spent any time in a metropolitan area, he’s probably been in similar shoes as Penny’s fellow passengers on the train. (For their part, the fellow passengers helped Penny restrain Neely and confirmed to media and in 911 calls that Neely posed a threat.) Few responsible men would look at Neely, a troubled man who was tragically left to self-destruct to the point that he was psychotically threatening innocent passersby, and see themselves represented by his life choices. Those facts are all true regardless of the race of anyone involved.
In the same way, a hard-working career woman or mother, no matter her race, would find more to relate to in a pregnant nurse who was trying to bike home after a long day’s work than in a group of young men who, according to bike receipts, tried to steal the bike from her and ruin her life with a libelous video.
One of the many tragic repercussions of the way these stories have been paraded around by the race-baiting media and provocateurs such as Al Sharpton is that it tricks people into believing their internal sensibilities about right and wrong are something racial that must be rooted out.
For good people who refuse to judge their fellow man on the basis of his skin color, it’s confusing that these recent incidents would be painted in racial terms at all. We want a society that agrees that law-abiding, justice-loving people are the good guys and that antagonizing criminals are the bad guys. That’s not an equation that should consider race, nor one that needs to.
But a vocal minority of people who seek to weaponize unfortunate incidents like these to advance their own Marxist designs are construing these two events as the most recent face of the struggle for racial justice in America. And as they do, blue-collar workers and single moms and middle-class dads and the other millions of Americans who keep the country’s lights on — people who emphatically believe that everyone should have a chance at the American dream, no matter their skin tone — will see a fight they do not recognize. As they view video after viral video of people like themselves having their lives ripped to shreds by powerful elites who want to make an example out of someone, they won’t sympathize with the taunting, harassing bullies being held up as heroes — they’ll imagine being victims of the same lawless behavior, and they will be afraid.
In reality, the fight is between decent Americans of every color and those in power who wink at rampant lawlessness and wield its messy results to pit neighbors against each other. It’s between two ideologies: one that says each individual should be responsible for his own actions, and another that says people should be treated differently based on their membership in an identity group.
That latter ideology is the one that let Neely back out on the streets after he assaulted an elderly woman and kidnapped an elementary school girl, yet charges Penny with manslaughter. It smears a commuting nurse as a “white supremacist” in national headlines and calls for her job, but lets her apparent assailants go free.
Despite what activists within and beyond the media want you to believe, you’re not a racist if you think that ideology is wrong. On the contrary, that way of treating people is racist by definition.
If you think that’s wrong, odds are you’re an American who works hard and believes that laws should defend the vulnerable, justice should be blind, and people should have ownership of their actions. You don’t think people should be judged based on secondary characteristics, but you’re mighty confused by the lies being weaponized against you by division grifters to make you feel guilty for believing people should be judged by the content of their character. You’ve never really given much thought to the skin tones of the people you interact with every day, but you hate when people point at a fight between a good guy and a bad guy and tell you that the one who is evidently in the wrong is representative of an entire group of people, because you know he isn’t.
Although people who profit from enflaming hatred are doing everything they can to convince you otherwise, don’t be tricked into thinking the subway story or the Citi Bike incident are microcosms of a supposed fight between Americans with darker skin and Americans with lighter skin. They aren’t. They do, however, represent the tension between Americans who still believe in such a thing as right and wrong — in protecting innocents and holding evildoers accountable — and those who work to guilt, scare, and harass those convictions out of them.