This morning while I was checking facebook a photo appeared in my news feed, shared by an acquaintance with the following story:
You won’t recognize me. My name was Antonio West and I was the 13-month old child who was shot at point blank range by two teens who were attempting to rob my mother, who was also shot. A Grand Jury of my mommy’s peers from Brunswick GA determined the teens who murdered me will not face the death penalty…too bad I was given a death sentence for being innocent and defenseless.
My family made the mistake of being white in a 73% non-white neighborhood, but my murder was not ruled a Hate Crime. Nor did President Obama take so much as a single moment to acknowledge my murder.
I am one of the youngest murder victims in our Nation’s history, but the media doesn’t care to cover the story of my tragic demise, President Obama has no children who could possibly look like me – so he doesn’t care and the media doesn’t care because my story is not interesting enough to bring them ratings so they can sell commercial time slots.
There is not a white equivalent of Al Sharpton because if there was he would be declared racist, so there is no one rushing to Brunswick GA to demand justice for me. There is no White Panther party to put a bounty on the lives of those who murdered me. I have no voice, I have no representation and unlike those who shot me in the face while I sat innocently in my stroller – I no longer have my life.
So while you are seeking justice for Trayvon, please remember to seek justice for me too. Tell your friends about me, tell you families, get tee shirts with my face on them and make the world pay attention, just like you did for Trayvon.
Where do I start with this? Maybe an expansion of my comment on the shared photo. This person’s post is self righteous, inflammatory and more than a bit racist and classist. The original poster seemed concerned enough to start a page and possibly start selling T-shirts, but not concerned enough to get the little boy’s name right. I googled it and the boy’s actual name was Antonio Santiago, which I guess is a little too ethnic of a voice to be charging the media with racism against white people.
When this murder occurred it did get attention, becoming part of the 24 hour death porn known as Cable News. The alleged murderer was arrested the next day, is being charged as an adult and the only reason prosecutors didn’t get the death penalty was because he was only 17. To my knowledge it’s illegal in all fifty states to execute a minor.
On the national media. They don’t care for the same reason they didn’t care when a black woman in my city was killed shielding her toddler from bullet between two black gangs. Because it couldn’t be sensationalized as easily. The alleged killer was caught and whether he’s gulty or not, will likely spend the rest of his life in jail. That too simple for an in depth discussion but too complicated for a sound bite. I remember during Andrew Zimmerman’s trial they kept referring to him as a “White Hispanic” when he looked pretty brown to me and I kept thinking if he had shot an unarmed white kid, he probably would have just been considered “some beaner” who deserved to fry. They wouldn’t be talking about gun rights. I wouldn’t have been surprised if they somehow would have made it about Illegal Immigration.
I’m not sure anyone would want to be the “white” Al Sharpton because I frequently see comments accusing the black Al Sharpton of being racist. I only see him on the news when they need a sound bite for a race related story. They don’t seem to care if he has opinions on other things. In fact I think Neil DeGrasse Tyson is one of the only famous black experts I’ve seen consulted about things that have nothing to do with being black.
There is no White Panther Party for similar reasons there is no White History Month or Straight Pride parades.
The person who shared this photo in my newsfeed is not the one who wrote it, so I’m hoping he just read “Media ignores baby death” and not “White People Are OPPRESSED!”
One reason I hope my friend does not seriously identify with the people who originally posted the photo is because he is a female to male transgender who identified as a lesbian when I first met him and the mindset that posts things like that written in the above text is often the same mindset that insists my friend is just “confused” and should have tried to be a cisgender heterosexual woman.
It upsets me because I don’t believe the original author cared about the baby or his mother at all and was just using them to reinforce their own political beliefs, minimize real issues or even just using them to sell tee shirts.
Here’s an article explaining my point better than this post: