Imagine if Kyle Rittenhouse Had Been Black?

If he hadn’t been shot to death that night, he would surely be in prison for his entire natural life.

Imagine this, Kyle Rittenhouse is a 17-year old Black kid from Illinois. He drives across the border into Kenosha to support the Black Lives Matter protests and on his way, a friend gives him the AR-15 he was holding for him because he’s too young to own one himself.

Fearing that other BLM protesters might be endangered by armed Trumpists, Black Kyle mingles with the marchers to let the Trumpists know that there is armed protection. Things quickly get out of hand and the young, Black, and armed, Kyle raises the weapon and fires it in self-defense. Two white Trumpists are killed and third one wounded.

Kyle, our Black one, then proceeds to run toward the police who are moving in on the crowd to investigate reports of shots fired. With the AR-15 hanging at his side and hands in the air, he moves briskly toward the police who now look like a US occupying force from Afghanistan.

What do you think happens to Black Kyle at this moment? I am willing to bet that he would have been mowed down by no less than 30 guns of the converging police. The amount of bullets soaring his way would have cut him in half.

Put yourself in their shoes, though: A young Black kid with an AR-15 is running toward them. Sure, his hands are over his head but he’s still a “young, Black kid with an AR-15,” right? There are shouts from the crowd that the kid coming at them had just shot people — sure, the cops, mostly white but not all of them, would have reacted the way they usually do when Black people are involved: Shoot first and ask questions later.

If Black Kyle managed not to be executed by the police that night, he would have by now been sentenced to an eternity of time in prison. Black people can shoot Black people and get away with it — they aren’t supposed to be shooting white people, though. Especially Trumpist white people who are backed by Fox News and the Republican Party.

Let’s get back to our reality for a bit.


He Was Protecting His Community

No matter how it would have been sliced, the Right was going to make the Kyle Rittenhouse story a rallying point. In the current iteration, white Foxified Trumpist slaughters two Americans aligned with the Black Lives Movement and, of course, they cry in mob-like unison, “he was protecting his community.”

This is the first lie, not that truth ever really matters to these people. Rittenhouse wasn’t from the community in which he pulled the trigger of that illegally-possessed weapon of mass destruction. He is not a resident of Kenosha but Antioch, Illinois. He drove himself across the border, and not his mother as has been wrongly reported.

The protests in Kenosha kicked off because 20-year old Jacob Blake was shot by police while being arrested. Blake, who was left crippled as a result of the shooting, had a knife in his possession. The police opened fire on him. Remember this moment when we remember how Kyle raced toward the police with his arms raised after he had finished his shooting people — they let him pass without a word being said to him.

Suffice it to say, the right has made Kyle Rittenhouse a hero.

He has been praised by all wingnuts starting with Trump and trickling down through the Pachinko machine of hate the Republican Party has become. Tucker Carlson has a special report in store for us thanks to a camera crew that was embedded with Kyle during the trial — even though his lawyer was against such a manipulation orchestrated by Fox News. The esteemed, and alleged rapist Matt Gaetz, has offered Rittenhouse a job — God Bless America and God Bless guns! Yippee!

Rittenhouse was protecting his community, the one that consists of course of white, Foxified Trumpists. He was protecting the “community” of white Americans, the ones who are being “hunted” by white liberals and illegal immigrants. Rittenhouse is a hero in his community — he is a soldier on their made-up front.

Forty, thirty, twenty, maybe even ten years, ago, Kyle Rittenhouse would have been found guilty, at least for involuntary manslaughter. He’d be in prison at this moment. The right, however, made this their cause. The right wing machine needs Rittenhouse to be innocent because with his innocence comes big plans — a big, bloody and not justified future for Trumpist fascists: Shooting liberals is now okay so long as you make it seem you were scared.

We already know that shooting Black Americans is cool with them — and quite often, if not always, the shooting are justified by white juries. Now the bullets can be earmarked for the rest of us and very little law enforcement will be enacted to keep us safe.


The Other Slice

Had Kyle Rittenhouse been Black and he somehow managed not to be killed that night by the police or the mob of white “patriots,” then Fox and the right would have been out in force in cities and towns all over America, gunned up like the dummies they look like, while they awaited the verdict.

Marjorie Taylor Greene’s nutty declaration that liberals are “hunting patriots” would have carried so much more weight, and even made her seem right in their eyes. The whites killed in my make-believe tale, would surely have already had parks, schools, strip malls and shooting ranges, named after them. Martyred for the cause of American fascism, eternal fires would be flicking in town squares all over the land they have us American patriots unwanted.

Had Kyle been Black and he was acquitted — something that would never happen in America — the proverbial shit would have hit the fan. It might have even been the turning point; the event that historians later would identify as the one that unofficially started the Civil War.

Take for example what some historians consider the moment when the South Carolinian, and pro-slavery, Senator Preston Brooks nearly beat Senator Charles Sumner to death with cane on the floor of the Senate in 1856. Some call this the moment when a civil war became inevitable.

Black Kyle, even if he was “defending” himself like the white Kyle, never would have been acquitted. The jury would have convicted him so fast, and the judge, who was clearly rooting for white Kyle to go free, would have thrown every possible year he could at the poor, Black kid.

I am not sure Kyle Rittenhouse is guilty of murder. I don’t believe he went there with the intention of gunning people down. I think he is a dumb and impressionable kid who was in a place he never should have been. I think the horseshit excuse that “bearing arms” is our constitutional right, and so we all get to walk around like a bunch of gunned-up losers looking for trouble, also led us to those deaths.

At a minimum, Rittenhouse should have been found guilty for manslaughter; instead, he will walk free and straight onto the sets of the right wing media machine. He will declare to the army of ignorant Trumpists out there who are envious at Rittenhouse’s good fortune — after all, he got to gun down a few liberals and was found not guilty.

Rittenhouse’s trial, no matter how it could have been sliced, would either become a case where the system is fixed against Trumpists and so the system must be torn down; or, with acquittal it becomes a declaration that hunting season on liberals is now open.

Guess we are now, my fellow non-Trumpists?


Race & Racism for Dummies

For those who are confused (and there always will be those who don’t get it… or won’t), I’d like to offer five points that, hopefully, are easily digestible.

1. White privilege is not about individuals and whether they have or have not.

It’s about a system that was designed to favor one race over all others and still does.

2. Every White person in the US benefits from White privilege.

It doesn’t necessarily make them rich. It doesn’t necessarily make them evil. It doesn’t necessarily make them racist. If you’re White, having White privilege is not your fault. But if you wield it — or refuse to acknowledge it — that’s on you.

3. Racism is not just a Southern phenomenon — or a historical one.

The end of slavery was not the end of racism or discrimination. I do not have to be a slave to be affected by the legacy of slavery, and if you are White in America in 2021, you don’t have to own slaves or even be descended from slaveowners to benefit from their legacy.

And although Southerners have historically been cast as the primary villains of racism, they weren’t the only ones and still aren’t. George Floyd was murdered in Minnesota, one of the northernmost states in the US.

4. I enjoy a degree of economic privilege (yep, I can admit it), but that doesn’t preclude White people who make considerably less money than me from benefitting from White privilege.

Our legal system tends to favor White people on both sides of crime, and that is one of the most glaring examples of White privilege. It’s why when young White men drive down dark roads late at night, their mothers have one less thing — trigger-happy cops — to worry about.

5. We won’t achieve truly meaningful change until we all face America’s collective failings and stop looking for loopholes to escape incrimination: being poor, being colorblind, etc.

The collective failings will continue to mean collective failure as long as some insist on burying their heads in the sand and denying the harsh reality that most of us in racial minorities are unable to simply disregard, as we are stuck on the short end of it. You can tune us out — a privilege we are unable to exercise in return — but you won’t shut us up.