Sean Davis continues his Dispatches From the Apocalypse series with a new essay about Kyle Rittenhouse and his trial, and the frenzy around Critical Race Theory.
“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” —Lewis Carroll
If anyone were to look back from the distant future at the Kyle Rittenhouse shooting, they would definitely see it as one of the low moments of the 21st Century. Not because of the blatant bias by the judge in the trial or whatever inevitable unsatisfying verdict the jury will [and has] come to, but because the whole event is a culmination of a series of extreme failures. And the worst thing about all of it is that we who are living through it will not learn anything from this tragedy. Maybe it’s because we’re all in a hurry and there’s no time, but no one has taken the time to pull this whole thing apart and examine the pieces.
A 17-year-old boy had a friend buy him an assault rifle that was illegal for him to own (a rifle very similar to the one the US Government assigned to me during my years of warfighting). At the same time, police officers across the country had been caught over and over on camera abusing their authority to the point of murder. The outrage from many of the Black men and women’s deaths sparked Black Lives Matter protests across the country and called into question the traditionally untouchable tactics and bias of law enforcement officers everywhere. These protests made many police officers across the country feel they were under attack or the victims. This created a counter-movement called Blue Lives Matter that people like Rittenhouse and his family readily joined.
This unrest came to Kenosha, Wisconsin, on August 23rd, 2020 when police responding to a 911 call shot Jacob Blake four times at point-blank range. Jacob Blake did have a warrant out for his arrest for multiple sexual assault charges. Regardless, Black Lives Matter organizers gathered in protests. Late at night after the main protests, a small group of people damaged businesses in the city. Two days later, Kyle Rittenhouse took it upon himself to travel 15 miles from his home in Antioch, Illinois, and patrol the streets of Kenosha with his air-cooled, gas-operated, magazine-fed weapon of war and ended up killing two men and wounding a third.
This all happened in a time where an inept and corrupt president proclaimed Black Lives Matter protesters to be an enemy of the state and even sent Federal Troops to gas protesters and snatch people they deemed as troublemakers off the street in unmarked vans. This of course radicalized a portion of the protesters and gave small groups of anarchists and/or troublemakers justification and means to destroy corporate and government property as they did in Kenosha. Because of all the social and cultural consequences of African Americans being pitted against the White House, Right-Wing Media co-opted a formerly obscure legal theory to scare and outrage their viewers in hopes to raise their viewership and, in turn, their advertising dollars and help keep GOP demagogues in power. This is how the Right weaponized Critical Race Theory.
And now, here we are, in a perfect shitstorm.
Critical Race Theory (CRT), until very recently, was a concept taught around the third year of law school which says that racial bias, whether it is intentional or not, affects US institutions like our legal system. The very fact that the vast majority of people who fear Critical Race Theory cannot tell you what it is but know it has something to do with race influencing them or their children proves Critical Race Theory correct. In fact, most lawmakers can’t even define CRT, but that isn’t stopping them from passing laws that make it illegal to teach it in school, even if it’s not being taught. For example, just days ago, North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum signed into law banning CRT from being taught in any school in the state even though there was absolutely no evidence it was being taught. North Dakota is the newest state to pass such a law. In the last year, seven others did so, with another sixteen actively trying, and these are not all states you’d expect. Washington state has a ban moving through their state legislature right now.
Judge Bruce Schroeder (no relation to the Silver Spoons child actor Ricky Schroder who actually posted bail for Rittenhouse) has shown obvious bias during the trial. He started the proceedings off by setting certain rules. For one, the people that were killed by Rittenhouse could not be referred to as victims. They could be called looters and rioters, but these unarmed men who are no longer alive just because they scared a little boy with a big gun could not be called victims. Just a few states away in Georgia, three men are on trial for chasing a Black jogger, again unarmed, through a neighborhood with their truck and then shooting and killing him with a shotgun. Their defense team has displayed systematic racism for the entire trial.
People ask if Kyle Rittenhouse would have so many supporters if he were Black. Do you think the MyPillow guy and Ricky Schroder would have put up two million dollars in bail for a Black kid? Does his race have anything to do with the obvious bias he is receiving from Judge Schroeder? Is it overt racism for the defense attorneys representing the men who killed Ahmaud Arbery to ask the judge to stop letting Black pastors in the courtroom during the trial because it may influence the jury? So many people have opinions on this, including people who live in states where teaching Critical Race Theory is now against the law. I’m not the smartest guy in the world, but if students were taught about Critical Race Theory, I have a feeling they wouldn’t grow up to be so goddamn ignorant with their opinions while they are actively participating in it. What is unfolding on your television screens, your tablets, phones, and computers is the Critical Race Theory.
The human race has become just that: 7.75 billion people with a small amount of time to beat everyone else to the finish line, and stopping to think about the setting, the rules, or the well-being of your opponents doesn’t seem like a good strategy in the middle of a race, but if we don’t, there’s no way forward. I mean, we all start this race knowing there is a definite end but no way of winning.
Also on The Big Smoke
- Police ≠ Public Safety
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- 5 Ways To Spot if Someone Is Trying To Mislead You When It Comes to Science