Sunday, May 16, 2010

Why Are Blacks First To Be Falsely Blamed?

Why Are Blacks First To Be Falsely Blamed?

Say it ain't so, Joe. Say it ain't so. Not again.

I was reading through the Associated Press wire services Tuesday, checking to see what was going on in the nation's capital and elsewhere around the country. And there it was, a story that hit me dead on. Not again, I said to myself. This can't be true.

But there it was, excuse the pun, in black and white. And of all places, in the City of Brotherly Love.

In the story from Philadelphia, the AP reported: "A white city police sergeant made up a story about being shot by a black man while on patrol last month and actually intentionally shot himself for unknown reasons, the city's police commissioner said Tuesday.

"Sgt. Robert Ralston, 46, confessed to making up the story and will have to pay the costs of the massive manhunt that followed, Commissioner Charles Ramsey said. Ralston has been suspended with intent to dismiss, but will not face criminal charges because granting immunity was the only way to obtain his confession, Ramsey said at a news conference."

Well, I'll be a monkey's uncle.

Remember Susan Smith? Remember Charles Stuart? Both of them got caught with this same type of stupidity.

I wonder why the police officer didn't say a member of the tea party, or some other political persuasion, shot him? Why did it have to be somebody black?

The case was especially troubling, Ramsey was quoted as saying by the AP, because when Ralston confessed, he made the claim about race so his story would be "more believable."

"He wanted the story to be consistent with the environment he was in,'' a largely African-American neighborhood, Ramsey said. "I am troubled by this whole situation. ... He violated the trust the people have in him.''

Yep. Sounds like almost the same thing they said about Susan Smith and Charles Stuart when they got caught making up lies about black men.

In July 1995 a Union, S.C., jury took less than three hours to find the 23-year-old Smith guilty of murdering her two young sons, Michael, 3, and Alex, 14 months. The boys had been found strapped in their car seats in a car in a lake.

Smith's lawyer told the jurors that a failed suicide attempt led Smith to drown the youngsters. At first, she had told authorities that carjackers, who supposedly were black, were responsible for the tragedy.

During the trial, prosecutors called Smith a tragic figure and portrayed her as evil. They said she killed the boys because they interfered with an extramarital affair.

And then there was Boston's Charles Stuart, who shot his pregnant wife, Carol, in the head in October 1989 but blamed the shooting on a black man. After shooting his wife, Stuart wounded himself. The two were coming from a maternity class when the incident happened. Carol Stuart died a day after the shooting and Charles Stuart later committed suicide after his brother told authorities what had really happened.

No clear motive was ever established in that case, but it makes you wonder why, in all these cases, a black man would be fingered as committing the crime.

"He did not give a reason for doing that ... he denied that he was trying to get attention,'' Philadelphia police commissioner Charles Ramsey said of Ralston. "He said he first considered shooting himself in the chest, but he thought better of it.''

Doesn't something stupid like this make you want to scream? Doesn't it make you want to throw your hands up in the air?

Can't do that, though. We've got to keep fighting these battles, even though they don't make a lick of sense.

Dwight Lewis is editorial page editor for The Tennessean. His column appears Sundays and Thursdays. E-mail: 615-726-5928.

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