Mandalit del Barco's Los Angeles Times article:
Sirens and gunshots are the soundtrack of South Los Angeles, formerly known as South Central. People thought changing the name would change the neighborhood's image, but it hasn't. L.A. is in the midst of a new surge in gang violence that is claiming some very young victims.
Barco's piece really captures the racialized negative image of the dangerous Los Angeles. What specifically bothers me is that articles like these are repeatedly emphasizing violence associated with themes of Latino gang violence, brown v. black divide, and so on.
It's angering for these media reports to capture these highly tragic events as isolated racial issues rather than as symptoms of a greater structural force of dominant white society.
For example, in Barco's article, one can look at the following description:
The parents of a 6-year-old African-American boy who was shot in the head when Latino gang members opened up on the family's SUV are experiencing similar pain.
That same week, a 42-year-old Latino man and his 20-year-old son were shot to death outside their home for no apparent reason as well.
Whiteness is completely absent in conversations about such tragedies. Yet I ask, isn't the absence of something like whiteness a presence? I cannot accept these racialized accounts because they indirectly forge whiteness out of the picture. In reading these stories, I feel as if I am being led to blame one minority over the other, or blame them both. I have no grounds to attribute accountability towards the white race, only blacks and Latino ethnicities.
I feel coerced. I feel stripped of my power to point to the oppression of blacks and Latinos because I am continually reading articles that clearly depict them as oppressing themselves.
How am I to argue about greater economic, legal, and societal systems of white dominance when these reports completely reject these factors from the start by not stating them as relevant? That's just it, I can't. I am silenced because my argument for the relevancy of whiteness contradicts the founding racialized assumptions of such reports.
Read Barco's article in full, there's so much more to what I've been able to conjure up in response.