I’m not surprised by the outcome. I am disappointed. I think it’s very important to understand how it can happen that a 17-year old was acquitted for killing two people during a public response to unequal justice (read: race riot.) The world is watching while addressing racial issues in their own communities.
Humans are community-based. The law of Kenosha, Wisconsin supports the community mindset that’s been in place there for generations. Kyle Rittenhouse’s grandparents still live in Kenosha; he is of that community. Kyle Rittenhouse said he ‘didn’t do anything wrong.’ There are a lot of ways to tell this story, depending on one’s community.
The U.S. Census Bureau created an interactive map which shows per state how the citizens identify themselves within the current racial designations, including one race alone, one or more, and two or more. Try a few filters and see how your community compares with other states and how it’s changed over the last decade.
American history is colorful in messy ways, ways that often get swept into the corner. Many of our ancestors immigrated to this country as unwelcome minorities that are simply considered “White” now. As a child I was taught the countries my ancestors came from; I can look back on this list now and understand the bias and insularity.
My grandchildren can identify as two or more races, but the youngest is eight years old. Is he too young to think about his world in these terms? His other grandparents are Black and White. His other siblings and mother are White and Native American. Will he even recognize a racially-motivated threat when it comes at him?
The Pew Research Center conducted a survey and determined that Americans remain ambivalent as to whether racial diversity makes our nation better. But every day our news reports that systemic bias is real, and people are still racially motivated.
It is this grandmother’s opinion that our communities will greatly benefit by being encouraged to recognize multiracial heritage in themselves.