Last Tuesday's post on the man in Oakland that killed 4 police officers yielded heated responses and I wanted to follow up after everyone (especially me) had some time to mull things over. I want to draw from some of the themes that came up and to update the news that broke last Tuesday night that Lovelle Mixon was also linked to the rape of a 12 year old girl. This act, along with the murders of John Hege, Mark Dunakin, Ervin Romans and Daniel Sakai, are reprehensible acts. I am stating this upfront so that it is not lost that this is a tragedy and there is no excuse for this kind of tragedy.
There seemed to be some concern that the way I approached my discussion of this topic made me sound like an apologist. Perhaps a matter of semantics but despite some folks understanding it was not my intention, there still seemed to be a need to accuse me of it. To clarify, there is a big difference between understanding what creates a condition/thought/action and then justifying that said action.
Thea Lim at Racialicious gave a very thorough breakdown of the fall-out around my post last week and the idea of trying to hold two thoughts at once. She writes,Now, Mixon actually was guilty. But Mixon's guilt doesn't neutralise the rottenness of the system. In other words, just because Mixon was actually a dangerous felon doesn't mean that we are absolved from the duty to question how justice and innocence is defined and meted out in our culture.
It is not only possible for us to hold these two facts at once, but it is imperative in understanding the consequences of Mixon's actions for the greater community in Oakland and also for understanding how the youth in Oakland are dealing with this atrocity. Perhaps the huge backlash against my piece was due to a desire to use Mixon as an excuse to voice their own racism, whether conscious or subconscious. As lefties it is our job to point out these subtle nuances, as the implications are deadly.
Feminist blogosphere ftw!