Why 2 black men?

It’s the same old story, nothing new. White woman (Bonnie Sweeten) and her daughter (Julia) head south from Bucks County PA to Florida. Of course not before Bonnie claims that two black men abducted her and her daughter throwing her in the back of the trunk. Aside the fact that we already know that she was lying and has been found fine with her daughter in Florida… I am troubled (not surprised) that the same old stereotype was used. Any time you through in that black men did anything to a white woman it becomes instant national news. Had it been 2 white men blamed, we might not have even heard about it other than solely on local news. Why did she have to go there? I mean really, as a black man I got enough stares, looks and instant mistrust in certain neighborhoods already, I don’t need people thinking I possibly have abducted a white woman and her child as well. Ya see when blacks are believed to have committed a crime, they will grill any brotha within a 10 mile radius. But if she said white men, or just “men” without having to get racial, it would not have provoked any already sensitive stereotype. At the end we have not moved that far from the 1931 Scottsboro boys case.


  1. Anthony House · May 28, 2009

    Sadly how true this is — still.
    The roots of our country’s history with regards to race run unimaginably deep and the psychic and spiritual impact of this history continues to be “minimalized” in some quarters… uh … like the media who help further maters via their treatment of stories like this one.
    We are still the only race who has “Leaders” ( a personal pet peeve) and who are called upon to shoulder representation the entirety of their race — usually in/for a some negative situation.

    Nice piece. It is good to continue shining the light on these matters as we endeavor to show grace .

  2. katyjane · June 1, 2009

    I hadn’t even thought about the race issue when I heard about it. I don’t know what that says about me. But you’re absolutely right–a white woman being attacked by two black men is certain to get more press than white men attackers, or a black woman being attacked, which is really unfair and a stupid bias.

    I think when I first heard the story, I mostly thought that the woman sounded like a loon, though.

  3. freestyle · June 1, 2009

    I don’t think your alone, most news channels didn’t seem it strange that she blamed black men either, even after it was pronounced to be false. The people who were concerned instantly, were black folk… because we know that we are all can fall victim to the blanket stereotypes, where police grab black men of any height and look. I say this out of personal experience, since my brother, only a year older than me was picked up off the street once and arrested for meeting the description, which was “black male with black shirt and blue jeans”. Of course all charges were eventually dropped, after he spent time in jail.

    The woman was a bit off though, you are right.

  4. Marco · June 2, 2009

    I too was troubled by the news of the white woman playing up “the black man criminal” stereotype. The insidiousness of it all is that Black men have become the ontological symbol for a “criminal.” This is especially true among younger Black men. With Black women having the fastest growing rate of incarceration, we may soon see this stereotype becoming applicable to them as well. (Of course, this is not to say that Black women don’t already have a litany of stereotypes and dangerous images attached to their bodies).

    Lastly, while most have talked about this story in terms of the costs of being Black less is discussed about white privilege. It should be noted that her possession of whiteness, coupled with the criminalization of blackness, made her story believable to the police in the first place. Behind every story of the Black perpetrator is the white (or in many cases Black) victim.

  5. freestyle · June 2, 2009

    Yeah, that is very true… I haven’t heard anyone talk about the other side of the coin. And until there is a main stream open and honest discussion on white privilege, we will never deal with race effectively in any meaningful way. Thanks for sharing Marco.

  6. Trinidad. Adventist.Gay?! · June 17, 2009

    I think after the lady named Susan (who drowned her boys) tried that people woke up to that tactic.
    I don’t think this was nearly as “effective” as they hoped.

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