Justice for John Crawford: Treating Black Men as Human Beings and Not as Animals

By Chris Crass

While white people in open carry states walk around with real guns, John Crawford, a Black man, is murdered by cops for holding a toy gun in Walmart, which he picked up off the shelf. The white man who called the police has since admitted that he lied about Crawford threatening people with the gun. This video footage is damning. Where are the outcries from the NRA and all the gun rights people about this murder? That’s because really they just mean white people can carry guns, just as one of the first legal white privilege rights intended.

One of the key things in this video is that when he was shot to death by the police, no one else was around Mr. Crawford, who they could possibly have thought was in danger. We hear countless stories of white people walking around ACTUALLY threatening people, including police, or even assaulting police, and yet they are treated as human beings who are either wounded, not killed, or talked down with warnings. This is what it means that Black people are treated, not merely as second class citizens, but as subhumans, as animals. This is why all of us who are white are either actively working against racism or we are the “good whites” who allowed the Black holocaust to continue.

The primary issue for me is that these situations happen over and over again in which white people are treated vastly differently, regardless of what training the police have had. And even though the majority of these mass gun killers are white men, it is Black men who are already deemed threatening – their Blackness is seen as a weapon already – and murdered over and over again by police when they aren’t carrying a gun or in this case, carrying a toy gun in the very store in which the toy gun is sold. This is literally someone picking up an item in a store and then being shot dead for “looking dangerous” (i.e. being Black) while doing so.

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