Excerpted from a Facebook post from before I killed my Facebook:
"My heart just stopped. I was going on to the Bloomingdale Trail and a bunch of teens were fighting over what looked like a gun, and as they were wrestling it pointed at me. I yelped. One of the Black teens got a hold of the gun and said "it's fake!" And put it in his waistband. I've had a real gun pointed at me once (by police), but I'll be damned if I could tell the difference in the moment. I said "I know I'm an old white lady lecturing you, but all I want to say is please be careful. Please be careful. Please don't end up in a viral video killed by police." And the teen with the gun said "I'm sorry miss" and I said "I'm more worried about you than me in this city." I know it's not fair. I understand the appeal of guns, but I really hate them now."
Later, after some bit of back and forth with another white woman she writes:
"It's so shitty to tell them to do something differently. Its like don't wear a short skirt. It's classic victim shaming. I was pretty scared - scared for me, scared for them. And it was a group of mixed race teens w the gun. But obviously I was addressing the Black one - because he's holding the gun, but also because he's Black. I'm just posting how I reacted. I'm not sure there's a right way."
So shitty to tell them to do something differently? Are you bent? Do you think these teens are too stupid to realize that wielding a gun (or gun-like object that resembles a fucking gun) is flirting with disaster in the current environment? I'll agree that, as a society, our ability to be empathetic is at an all time low - Christ, there have been studies showing that to be the case - but I'd argue that the above is an example of over-empathizing to a point where common sense is abandoned in order to seem completely allied.
Common sense dictates that telling a young Black kid not to play around with a gun in Chicago (currently the fucking gun death capitol of the world) is not out of line. Further, this is in NO WAY like "don't wear a short skirt." The science is in, old white lady. Very few women get raped because of what they wear because rape is generally about power rather than sex. That's a handy myth used by the conservative wing to blame women's sexuality for being raped. Black kids playing with guns? Pretty much direct causality between that and Black kids getting gunned down by terrified or over-eager cops.
Is that fair? Not a chance. Is it reality? Absolutely.
Allowing political ideology to blind you from the harsh realities of the world only creates two things: an infantilization of those in peril and a bunch of blind activists.