Friday, December 28, 2012

Gun Control for White People

Cornel West speaks on gun control:
“We can’t just shed tears for those on the vanilla side of town. They are precious, but they are no less or more precious than our poor brothers and sisters on Indian reservations (who are killing each other) or be they black or brown or what have you,” West said.

“But it’s a good thing that we now have a discussion on gun control. We need one on drone control,” he continued, “not a peep, not a mumbling word when black folk get shot. But now, Newtown, Connecticut, vanilla side — low and behold we got a major conversation. That’s wonderful. Each life is precious but it just upsets me when we’re so deferential.”
 I actually agree with this, though I come to conclusions with which Dr. West would probably not agree. Anyway, it's perfectly true that the murder of twenty white kids in a quaint Northeast town will make the nation wail, but three times that many kids in Chicago over a year just doesn't generate that many headlines. As Don B. Kates, Jr. pointed out:
Gun prohibition is the brainchild of white middle-class liberals who are oblivious to the situation of poor and minority people living in areas where the police have given up on crime control…. Secure in well-policed suburbs or high security apartments guarded by Pinkertons (whom no one proposes to disarm), the oblivious liberal derides gun ownership as “an anachronism from the Old West.”
It's true that many black people are hostile to gun rights, but for anti-gun white people, especially those in tony crime-free suburbs where one would never have to defend oneself, gun control is pursued with an almost religious fervor. Oftentimes it seems like a contest of who can out-anti-gun the other. The winner will propose banning every type of firearm except non-functioning antique muzzleloaders packed with cotton and soaked in molasses.

Of course, gun control's roots are deeply sunk in the mire of racism, as any self-respecting schoolchild knows. That doesn't meant you're a racist if you pursue gun control, but if you're an affluent white person in Middle Class Heights who needs never worry about using a firearm, it probably means that you're deeply unaware of the irony.

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