I am no longer surprised at the depths to which some people will sink in these fraught and tortured moments.
A friend recently posted something on her Facebook page honoring the life and tragic death of Cannon Hinnant, the little 5-year-old from North Carolina who was shot through the head by his next-door neighbor. I also posted about the death, and made the child’s picture my social media profile photo. We both did it to call attention to the loss of another innocent to senseless, ubiquitous violence.
But by friend was told her posting smacked of racism. Why, you might ask? Because the killer of Cannon Hinnant – a white child – was a black former drug dealer and felon. Apparently, recognizing that this child was the victim of a felon who happened to be the same race as George Floyd was engaging in race baiting, even though race was barely mentioned in any of the posts about the child’s death. For that matter, the parents and family of Cannon Hinnant have come out saying that they don’t believe race was a factor in the murder.
Yes, there are some conservative outlets that have tried to make it about race, and that’s wrong. This is about the death of a child, one whose blood is the same color as the spilt blood of Black and brown children in the inner cities.
So focusing on the race of Cannon Hinnant and his killer is wrong.
But let’s take a closer look at what’s going on here. Some people don’t seem to like the fact that we are talking about a child who isn’t Black or brown. There is the not-so-subtle suggestion that even focusing on the tragedy of his lost life is an attempt to deflect attention from the larger national conversation on racism and the “mattering” of Black lives, and the bigotry of Republicans.
There is the sense that if we dare to mourn this child’s passing with the same passion and fervor and anger that we should give to the death of any martyred human, we are disrespecting the memory of Floyd, and Breonna Taylor, and Ahmad Aubury, and all of the other names that we have heard and stories that we have absorbed over the past five or so months. It is the crazy, tone-deaf premise that we cannot care about all of the senseless crimes committed against innocent people at the same time.
This is also the type of reaction you get when you say that “Blue Lives Matter” or the hated “All Lives Matter.” We’ve been told if you refuse to say the right words, the magic incantation that shows how “woke” we are, it is a direct and deliberate exhibition of racism. To depart from the script written for us by the activists and their “allies” is to assent to the violence being done to racial minorities in this country, at this time. And that is, if you will excuse the poetic flair, total B.S.
I do not think that Cannon Hinnant’s life was more important than that of any minority child’s. I do, however, think that we are making him “lesser than,” when we attack people who try and bring attention to his passing. The suggestion from the tolerant progressives that calling attention to the murder of a little boy riding his bike in front of his house is somehow racist shows just how brainwashed these people are. Their compassion is written on lawn signs, their furrowed brows and their carefully curated social media pages, but not on their hearts.
We are at a very dangerous place when people have to be afraid to mourn the death of a child because it might offend or trigger someone. I refuse to capitulate in that, and pander to the type of person who only has a limited amount of compassion, all of which was exhausted after the Floyd funeral.
I will be keeping Cannon’s image alive on my Facebook page, not as a challenge to a social justice movement and not as a way to disrespect George Floyd, but in defiance of those who think that only some lives matter.
Christine Flowers is an attorney and a columnist for the Delaware County Daily Times, and can be reached at email@example.com.
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