Shortly before the stroke of midnight on August 24 in Savannah, GA, a young interracial couple was strolling downtown through a former slave market called Ellis Square. Twenty-three-year-old Andrew Quade, the white boyfriend of a black female named Olufisayo Bakre, would leave in an ambulance after being pummeled unconscious by what Bakre describes as three black males.
“He was basically left for dead,” Bakre told a television reporter. “I don’t want to go into, like, all the gory details, but, um, they could have stopped, and they kept going….One of them was making racial comments toward us and the other was blowing kisses, so it was very, it was a very aggravating situation to be in.”
“I didn’t wanna just be like, like, freak out on them, because I thought they were sayin’ something to me,” Quade told a reporter. “I was just trying to gain, you know, a little more knowledge about the situation, and before we could even do that, there was just, BAM-BAM,” said Quade, who may be the same person designated by the same TV station as a “Top Teen” in 2006. Quade reportedly refused to be filmed on camera because his face looked even worse than in gruesome photos that were snapped at the hospital. A full week after the attack, Quade’s condition continued to worsen, and he was flown to Atlanta to undergo eye surgery.
“I just hope they get caught, really,” Bakre said. “I just hope justice prevails at the end of the day. And this shouldn’t happen in this day and age. I know we’re in the South and all that yadda-ya, but, I don’t know, it’s time for a change, I think.”
Interesting she should mention the South, a place that is never stereotyped for black-on-white “hate crimes.” The South is known as a place where drooling hillbillies rape you and you shouldn’t “trust your soul to no backwoods Southern lawyer.” It’s also where Emmett Till was murdered for allegedly “wolf-whistling” at a white woman.
Then again, Emmett Till was murdered 57 years ago, while Andrew Quade was beaten unconscious a little over a week ago. But searching their names late Sunday afternoon on Google News—which supposedly documents what’s happening now—yielded more than 75 hits for “Emmett Till” for every instance of “Andrew Quade.”
Why is that? And why is it considered racist to so much as wonder why? Has all this jibber-jabber about “equality” merely been a power-grabbing wolf in sheep’s clothing?
I called the Savannah Police Department’s non-emergency line to verify the date that Andrew Quade was assaulted, and a woman who sounded black—kill me for stereotyping—said, “Oh, you mean the hate crime?” But Georgia is one of only five states with no hate-crime law, so it’s up to US Attorney General Eric Holder to prosecute the incident under federal hate-crime statutes. Unless you want to die of auto-idiotic asphyxiation, I wouldn’t hold my breath.
Living in Georgia, I’ve heard repeated murmurs that there is no place in the state thicker with racial tension than Savannah. It’s presumed that blacks still harbor resentment for the slave era as well as their infamous betrayal near Savannah at the hands of a Union general whose name, in the bitterest of ironies, was Jefferson Davis.
Such resentments have fed upon their own entrails for so long that they linger to this day. Savannah is where racial discrimination is allegedly so rampant, attorneys specialize in filing lawsuits on behalf of the aggrieved. The city now features a monument with an inscription by Maya Angelou about how slaves were forced during the Middle Passage to wallow in one another’s “urine and excrement”—a foolproof way to foster racial healing if ever there was one. It’s where some people predicted race riots if Georgia went through with its execution of Savannah’s convicted cop-killer Troy Davis last year. (Davis was executed, but there were no overt riots, only worldwide protests and widespread political pouting.) Earlier this year the city dealt with what appears to be yet another high-school hate-crime hoax involving an imaginary noose. And Savannah’s plump-as-a-pig diabetic celebrity TV chef Paula Deen was recently sued for allegedly using the phrase “bunch of little niggers.”
Savannah’s City Council, which has recently tilted 5-4 in favor of blacks, reportedly squabbles endlessly along racial lines, egged on by a black mayor who has said things such as “it’s our turn” and that he wants a city manager who “looks like me.” A local reporter calls Savannah “A diverse and divided city.”
But isn’t diversity a strength? Isn’t it supposed to unite rather than divide? Not if you trace the word’s history. According to an online etymology dictionary, the word “diversity” has traditionally meant “disagreement,” being “turned different ways,” and “being contrary to what is agreeable or right.” The word only started acquiring a specifically positive sheen around 1992—coincidentally around the same time that Savannah’s population became majority-black. Savannah’s mayor now boasts that “majority rule” is “the American way.”
But don’t expect America’s mass media to publicize such triumphalist, race-rooted, turnabout-is-fair-play power-jockeying. And don’t expect them to give equal time to racially motivated black-on-white assaults anytime soon. They’re too busy hearing imaginary white-racist dog whistles everywhere.
Although America’s media mavens created a massively divisive racial issue out of a fatal shooting that involved a perpetrator who wasn’t exactly white and who apparently was not motivated by racial animosity, they hardly made a peep about the white Buffalo teenager bludgeoned with a brick in 2009 by a group of black males ostensibly because he was dating a black girl. Although the victim in that case claims he was repeatedly racially taunted in the days leading up to a beating that left him slurring his words, the case was not tried as a hate crime. Meanwhile, across the state, a white Brooklyn man was recently charged with a hate crime after allegedly uttering racial slurs and using a fork to stab a black man who was dining with two white women.
How long will the obvious double standard persist? Exactly as long as everyone keeps their mouths shut for fear of being called bad names. And if you’d rather risk being knocked unconscious than being called a bad name, it’s hard to feel any sympathy for you.
UPDATE: Police video released on Tuesday suggests that Quade may have been involved in a fight instead of being blindsided in an attack.
Angry man image courtesy of Shutterstock
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