Politicians push the myth of “cute to scary”


A poignant current {photograph} from PNJ journalist Annie Blanks captures some of the heartbreaking questions on the rotten core of racism in America.  

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Whereas masking Pensacola’s peaceable protests close to the Graffiti Bridge, Blanks reported on this younger native household: 

“On Monday afternoon, Shante Williams sat on the hill beside the bridge together with her 10-year-old son, Robert, and her 9-year-old twins. Robert Williams held an indication studying “When do I’m going from cute to scary?” and watched solemnly as automobiles drove by.”

From “cute to scary.” What sort of a merciless destiny is that to strap onto the shoulders of harmless black kids? Ms. Williams instructed Blanks that the 2012 homicide of Trayvon Martin (in my very own hometown of Sanford, Fla.) occurred when her kids have been younger. Sadly, the killing of harmless black males has turn out to be considerably “normalized to them,” she stated. 

“Being out right here was vital to allow them to know that this isn’t OK, this isn’t regular, and to allow them to perceive the gravity of the state of affairs,” Williams defined. 

Robert’s mother is correct. The “cute to scary” spectrum is not regular. It is not OK. So here is a quick letter to Robert explaining the way it occurs. 

Expensive Robert,

All of us noticed your signal from the protest and thought it was fairly highly effective stuff. Man, that is a heck of a query from a 10-year-old. That is a heck of a query for anybody. And it is one thing America owes you a proof for.  

It is definitely not the mark of an ethical society. 

Particularly in a church-going neighborhood like Pensacola the place we broadly and readily proclaim our “Christian” values, how will we sing guarantees that “Jesus loves the little kids” whereas concurrently shoving youngsters such as you out right into a world the place historical American hatreds are nonetheless allowed to exist?

From cute to scary — man, that is a heck of a query. And whereas we do not know when that occurs, we do have an concept of how that occurs. And, within the aftermath of the homicide of George Floyd, the reactions from a few Pensacola’s elected officers supply a tragic, however vital illustration of it. 

Whereas of us like my colleagues on the PNJ and Mayor Grover Robinson and plenty of different space leaders have been sharing a complete bunch of native tales and pictures of peaceable protests, acts of brotherhood and cooperation between native residents and police officers, U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz and state Rep. Alex Andrade selected to as a substitute promote photographs of violence and chaos that is taken place distant from Pensacola. 

Why does that matter? As a result of in a historic second of ethical reckoning, these two younger, white elected officers who’re charged with representing the residents of Pensacola selected as a substitute to unfold unfavorable photographs that reinforce the dangerous delusion of “scary” black males, somewhat than share the numerous, many constructive tales and pictures of loving native residents proper right here in their very own communities. 

First Andrade. After posting a milquetoast Fb clarification on June 2 for why he hasn’t “commented on the homicide of George Floyd publicly,” the next day Andrade shared and promoted a video on Twitter that purported to indicate rioters in Memphis abusing a pet in entrance of a information digital camera. Based on the submit Andrade shared, the pet was later discovered strangled to loss of life. 

Andrade commented: “Add this to the listing of essentially the most disgusting occasions to tarnish the reminiscence of George Floyd. Protests are American, preventing for reform is American, that is evil. I’m so proud my neighborhood has unified in a phenomenal means, however tales like this make it robust to maintain perspective.”

You do not have to learn far between the Tweet traces to ask, is it “tales” like this, or “scary” photographs of black males that “make it robust” for Andrade “to maintain perspective.” In different phrases, had that chaotic and provocative video not accompanied the textual content in that tweet, would Andrade nonetheless have chosen to share it? 

Now, with out query, any story about killing puppies is horrifying, which is undoubtedly why it went viral on social media. It is vital to notice, nevertheless, that as of Thursday morning, there have been no stories from Memphis information retailers or regulation enforcement on Google confirming the validity of the story and regional animal safety providers had questioned the accuracy of the allegations within the viral social media posts.

However even when the grotesque story is certainly true, why would a politician from Pensacola select to make use of his function as a public official to undertaking a nightmarish picture from a metropolis he doesn’t stay in? Why would not he as a substitute share and unfold any of the lots of of unifying and uplifting photographs from proper right here in Pensacola, significant photographs like these of you and your mother? 

And whereas Andrade’s concern for the welfare of a pet is definitely admirable, did anybody hear Andrade specific equal outrage and “disgust” in regards to the killing of one other unarmed black man proper right here in his personal metropolis when Tymar Crawford was unjustly shot by a police officer final 12 months?

Do puppies in Memphis actually garner extra ardour from native politicians than people proper right here in Pensacola?

If there may be any upside to the consultant’s weird selection of projection, it’s that hardly anyone reads or responds to his tweets. His statements of political opinion just about exist in a black gap of social media the place he tweets to himself with few others who care or know what he has to say. The identical can’t be stated, nevertheless, for phrases and pictures  which might be pushed by Matt Gaetz.

Regardless of being paid by taxpayers to do work for folks right here in Pensacola, Gaetz has spent our money and time pumping out an incessant stream of hand-picked photographs of violence, rioting, fires and “scary” black males to greater than 500,000 Twitter followers. 

However none of it occurred right here in Pensacola. 

Gaetz might have targeted on the photographs of unity and friendship lining the streets round Graffiti Bridge. He might have persistently unfold the heartwarming second captured by PNJ photographer Gregg Pachkowski exhibiting a Santa Rosa County deputy fist-bumping a protester in Navarre.

However as a substitute, Gaetz selected to curate and undertaking the worst photographs of a nation in a second of disaster, and the worst photographs of black Individuals, even because the streets of Pensacola have been lined with good and sort folks. 

Is not that bizarre? We’ve of us of all colours, styles and sizes proper right here at house exhibiting America at its finest, but politicians like Gaetz and Andrade determined to push photographs of people that aren’t even from right here and whose habits displays America at its worst. These guys are speculated to be Pensacola’s leaders, but they deliberately selected to disregard the constructive photographs of Pensacola’s folks.           

And Robert, that is why guys like Gaetz and Andrade owe you a huge time apology. As a result of their habits gives a solution to your query. What they’re doing is all a part of how a child such as you goes “from cute to scary.”

It is cowardly and unsuitable, nevertheless it’s vital so that you can perceive the way it works. These unfavorable projections from weak and privileged white guys like Gaetz and Andrade don’t simply paint a gross and tainted image for the surface world to see, they reveal a form of fearful, flickering horror movie that exists in their very own minds — a slideshow that their very own narcissism compels them to irresponsibly undertaking onto good, harmless folks right here in their very own district. And in the end, they’re photographs which might be smeared onto younger dudes such as you, Robert. 

From cute to scary. Man, that is unhappy. Possibly if politicians would flip off Twitter and have a look round their very own district, guys like Gaetz and Andrade would really see that the folks of Pensacola, like folks most in every single place else on the planet, are literally fairly lovely, humorous and lovable.

And that youngsters such as you actually are usually not “scary” in any respect.              

Learn or Share this story: https://www.pnj.com/story/opinion/2020/06/05/marlette-politicians-push-the-myth-of-cute-to-scary/3144372001/

— to www.pnj.com

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