When you hear that a black man was savagely beaten by some white kids, then run over by their truck, you don't want to think it happened here in America. This generation of teens is supposed to be more accepting, more open. These sorts of racially-motivated horrors are supposed to be just a memory, a tragic one, but a blast from the past all the same.
But the teenagers who are accused of getting drunk, then jumping in their truck with plans to go "f--k with a ni---r" are Americans alright. Eighteen-year-old Deryl Dedmon lives in Brandon, Mississippi. And it was just this past June that cops allege he led the vicious attack that claimed the life of James Anderson, a black auto plant worker.
The whole thing -- from Anderson being beaten to his death as he was run down in the parking lot -- was caught on video. Now Dedmon faces murder charges, and an accomplice, John Aaron Rice, also 18, has been charged with simple assault for the part he allegedly played in Anderson's death. Watching the video is hard. The hate is palpable. A kid actually screams "white power":
The video makes me sick, but it also makes me sad. Sad first and foremost for the family of James Anderson, a man who did absolutely nothing wrong. His death is a senseless tragedy.
But I'm sad too for society as a whole. Just last week the news was proclaiming a victory for mankind with the news that the TV shows that are the most gay-friendly just so happen to be the ones targeted at today's teens. Yay! Our kids are progressive! And let's not forget the happy news in the wake of President Obama's victory, that the open-minded youth rocked the vote to bring the first president of color to Washington. The Pew Research Center claims the millenials -- today's teens and 20-somethings -- are the most educated, most ethnically- and racially-diverse generation of Americans yet.
I'm not naive enough to think all kids are that open. They're still being raised by a less progressive generation. And there are always bad apples that spoil the whole bunch -- or at least make them guilty by association.
But if there's ever a warning that we still have a ways to go in America, this is it. Our nation's tragic past isn't PAST yet.