2008-07-02

The Feeling Of Relief

Here in Dallas we have had a string of seemingly random shootings on our highways. A man in a dark colored compact car just started shooting folks while driving. He actually shot at a woman yesterday on a road I was driving on at the time of the shooting. Per the news there have been six victims since Sunday. They finally apprehended the perpetrator of the vehicle. His name is Thai-An Huu Nguyen. I breathed a sigh of relief when I saw the name. Why? Because I knew he wasn't black.

Often times when we see the news, it is death, crime, and anything and everything that can scare the hell out of you. That is how they get ratings. Part of this is perpetuating stereotypes and spinning stories to create a nice formulaic story to get those great ratings. Many times we see crime, we see black people. We see victims, we see white people. In my mind I knew the perpetrator of this crime was not a black man, they would have given out his description as such, instead they gave out a vague description of a man driving a dark colored compact car, race wasn't mentioned.

Am I wrong to feel relief that this story can't reinforce racist stereotypes? That this man wasn't the usual statistic we associate with black men? Does this make me a racist for feeling this way?

In another bit of local news, Patrick Waller is now the 19th person wrongly convicted in Dallas county for a crime he didn't commit. He has spent 15 years in prison. The men who actually committed the crime will not spend a day in prison because the statute of limitations has run out.