Tuesday, February 16, 2010
A reader sent the following email, which includes thoughts on the murderous biology professor, Amy Bishop, that resemble my own. How often do white criminals slip past the detection of other whites, simply by being white? How much are white people in general harming themselves and others that way?
Over the last few days, I've been reading about “Amy Bishop” and her shooting rampage at Alabama University. As the press continues to release more information surrounding Bishop’s past, it becomes obvious that this woman had a history of instability. Bishop was responsible for the 1986 shooting death of her brother, and she was also a suspect in an unsuccessful 1993 bombing threat against a Harvard professor.
I cannot help but wonder whether white privilege played a role in allowing Bishop to continuously slip through the cracks without even a mere slap on the wrist. Or whether it was white privilege that groomed Bishop to feel so entitled that her challenged mind deemed it necessary to kill when she felt wronged or denied.
I've always considered circumstances like the Bishop case to be one of the grim realities resulting from white privilege. I do so, because if one would envision Bishop as a black woman while adding on statistics, a separate outcome emerges.
Had Bishop been a woman of color, would she have so easily re-absorbed back into society while having such a history? Or would she be still be imprisoned after the first offense? Was it whiteness that intervened against justice, and took away from Bishop from suffering consequences? Did a pass given due to whiteness cultivate a threat to society, creating a monster?
Now, the tragic reality is that she has left more carnage in her midst. If skin is to remain so powerful that it fails to recognize wolves as long as they're dressed in white-sheepish clothing, then aren't we all victims of this system of white privilege?