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Scoot: The rush to judgement can sometimes backfire

Two recent tragic stories in the news remind us how the public is quick to rush to judgment.

As I talked about the Bourbon Street shooting on WWL, I described an element in the French Quarter that I have seen become more predominant over the past 6 months. I received texts and emails from some listeners harshly criticizing me for being politically correct and referring to an “element” rather than telling the “truth” that is was “young black males” who committed the crime.  My response to the criticism was, first, we don’t know who the shooters are and second, what difference does it make if they were black – the crime was still committed. Why would was blaming young black males important?

The rush to judgment that the shooters in the French Quarter were black fits the convenient stereotyping of many white Americans who find their own comfort in blaming “those people.”  That exonerates their community and makes it someone else’s problem.  The fact that a disproportionate number of young black males are perpetrators and victims seems to support the claim that crime i a “black problem.” But defining crime as a “black problem” wrongly blames skin color for criminal mentality, which is a ridiculously false assumption. The greatest concentration of the crime problem may exist in the black community – but that does not make it a “black problem.”

The mentality that leads to violence is the direct result of a culture of non-parenting, a general lack of understanding love and the failure to fear consequences – within a family, community or society. Crime will always be more prevalent in poorer neighborhoods – but that does not mean it is inspired by the race or ethnicity of the neighborhood.

When the New Orleans Police Department revealed the pictures of two young “persons of interest” – many were shocked to see that they were white. I received a text from a listener who said he was “ashamed” that he assumed the Bourbon Street gunmen were black.

We still don’t know who the gunmen were, but it became obvious that the instinctive reaction to blame young black males was wrong.

The other recent case of rush to judgment is the case of the Georgia father who left his 22-month-old son in his hot car to die. When Justin Harris was arrested after his young son’s lifeless body was pulled from the car, there was an immediate online petition demanding that police drop any charges against the “grieving father.”

The petition stated that the grief-stricken father would suffer enough punishment knowing that he forgot to drop his son off at day care, his son who literally baked in the car while Dad sat at his desk at work. Talking about this tragedy on the air, I received calls and texts from people who were sympathetic of the father and did not believe a father in that situation should face charges.

Today in court, it was revealed that while Justin Harris’ 22-month-old son, Cooper, was dying in the stifling heat of his car – his father was sexting 6 different young women – one underage – as he sat at his desk. It also came out in court that Harris was not happy in his marriage and was dealing with financial problems. The parents had a total of $27,000 in life insurance policies on their son.

The sexting by Justin Harris was lewd and included and exchange of photos of his erect penis and the bare breasts of females. The sexting and the life insurance policies could be coincidental – but both paint a very different picture the “grieving father” seen in cute photos with his son that so many were willing to defend.

The rush to judgment in the Bourbon Street shooting and in the case of the father who left his young son in his hot car demonstrates how quick some people are to stereotype.

When you hear of a crime that has been committed – before you assume you know the type of person who is guilty – think about all of those who could cause people to stereotype you!

Tags :  
Topics : Law_Crime
Social :
Locations : Georgia
People : CooperJustin Harris

07/03/2014 7:01PM
Scoot: The rush to judgement can sometimes backfire
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