Victims Are Problematic

It’s really important to many that Tamir Rice not be a victim. Important also to an overlapping but distinct group that the women accusing Bill Cosby aren’t victims. Cause if they are, then everything is awful. Then we have to re-evaluate the world. We have to fix something that’s just too big.

We don’t want to believe that police, the people we are supposed to trust with our lives, could possibly kill a twelve-year old child in a playground and leave him to bleed out on a sidewalk while they stood around discussing with casual banality how to spin the reports.

We don’t want to believe our good friend is a rapist because that’s too much to bear, so we grasp at any reason to disbelieve his victims.

We don’t want to believe that our friends who are minorities of one sort or another have to deal with systematic oppression, so we accuse them of playing race/disability/gender/sexuality cards, because if they’re not exaggerating, then we’re complicit in a frighteningly twisted system.

We don’t want to believe that our system really grants law enforcement blanket immunity to assault, rob, rape and murder the citizens they are sworn to protect, so we decide that they must always be justified, and grasp at any reason we can to say “those people” brought it on themselves.

We don’t want to believe that thousands of women are abducted or enticed as children to be sold into sexual slavery so we call them whores and forget about them as humans.

We don’t want to believe that we incarcerate more blacks now than were incarcerated during slavery, so we convince ourselves that our prisons are filled primarily with the most vicious, violent specimens of humanity.

We don’t want to believe that we routinely send black children to jail for infractions we associate with a trip to the principal’s office, so we accept the narrative that young black kids are predatory anyway and probably belong in jail.

We don’t want to believe that people who were formative influences and tied to warm fuzzy memories can possibly be predators, so we defend them tooth and nail. Because we’re defending our innocence.

It’s too much. It’s too big. It’s too hopeless.

And yet we must believe.

Originally published at