I was seventeen when the Rodney King verdict was handed down. Coincidentally, I was also living in Southern California. I remember the fires, I remember the violence, but most of all I remember a construction truck driver by the name of Reginald Denny who was beaten to within an inch of his life as retaliation for the verdict, even though the man had nothing to do with it, and was simply driving his truck filled with sand to a plant in Inglewood.
Recently, an actor who felt the limelight slipping, or wanted more publicity, or just hated Trump voters, faked an attack on himself that included bruised ribs, a noose, an attempted lynching, and the requisite homophobic and racist slurs that completed the macabre scene. Supposedly this was all carried out by two Trump supporters, evidenced by their red MAGA hats, and their yelling out that this was MAGA country, in downtown Chicago, at 2 am, during a polar vortex.
It was when I first heard the description of the two alleged attackers that I knew this was all a farce. The way the two alleged attackers were described was like a caricature of what you supposed someone might be like if you saw them through a prism of utter disdain. The only thing missing from the description was missing teeth and overalls, but since it was below freezing, they just might have been wearing overalls underneath their jackets.
The reason this story matters, the reason it is important, the reason we can’t let every media pundit who pushed this as a homophobic, racist attack off the hook so readily is because of what could have been, what could have occurred, what could have happened, just because an over privileged, entitled actor decided he wanted to play the part of a victim even if he had to invent attackers out of whole cloth, and make them out to be white Republican Trump supporters.
This story stank from the beginning, and if there was any journalistic integrity left in America, someone would have called it out from the jump. But since there isn’t, everyone piled on, and for a few days every race baiting poverty pimp was out in full force talking about a modern day lynching, and how this entire country is irredeemably racist to its very core.
They didn’t just try to stoke the flames of division and pit blacks and white against each other, they threw gas on them, insisting that we had somehow been teleported back to the time of slavery and wholesale lynching.
Given that context, imagine what could have been. Given how the media drove the narrative of this story, imagine how easily we could have had another Reginald Denny, or two, or five, or five hundred. Innocent people, living their lives, then summarily used like a piñata, as payback and retaliation for the supposed attempted lynching of a talentless actor.
Will all the pundits, reporters, race baiters, poverty pimps, and overpaid, pampered actors apologize for the words they spoke, the violence they attempted to incite, and the broad brushing of sixty odd million people as hateful, homophobic racists? Likely not. Why? Because they are never called out, never called to account, and never held accountable for the things they say. Maybe it’s time! Maybe it’s past time!
This time the nation was lucky. Violence did not erupt, innocent people didn’t have their heads caved in, homes were not burned, and business were not destroyed. The truth came out in time to avoid all that.
But what about the next time? Or the time after that? What about the next hoax, the next alleged racist, homophobic attack replete with noose and bruises, and Al Sharpton demanding justice for this undeniable act of ‘racism with steroids’?
How many more of these can we avoid before one of them lands center mass, and cities burn anew?
By the same token, how many more of these hoaxes need to unfold before the ‘little boy who cried wolf’ syndrome takes full effect, and we fail to believe even those who have been victimized in some form or fashion?
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.