There’s lame, there’s bad, there’s stupid and then there’s completely ridiculous—this goes beyond even that. I don’t think there are words to describe just how pathetic this idea is. And no, this isn’t satire. This is a real episode of Law & Order: SVU the show’s creators are planning to air.
They’re taking elements from the Trayvon Martin killing and mixing them with issues from the Paula Deen racism scandal.
But no, it’s not about a bigoted older white woman who stalks, provokes then kills a young black teen on his way home from a convenience store.
It’s about a famous white female chef who thought she was being stalked by a rapist (a black male), who then ends up turning around and shooting the man—who turns out to be a black teenager.
Yes, you’ve read that correctly. Law & Order: SVU is planning an episode where a white woman is stalked by a black man she feels might be a rapist. She then shoots the male, who then turns out to be an innocent black teenager.
Because that’s an exact mix of both situations, right?
The episode’s creators claim that this show will bring up the controversial issues such as “stop and frisk” and “racial profiling.” But I’m sorry, that’s not how I see it.
First, Trayvon Martin didn’t stalk anyone—that was the white guy. So the show’s already painting the African American character as someone who could have been acting suspicious.
Now I’m sorry, but someone walking alone down a street is slightly different than a random male seemingly stalking a female. Plus this scenario leads people to think that Martin (before his killing) was acting suspiciously. And unless you considering being black in a hoodie “suspicious,” he did absolutely nothing wrong. Well, until he was provoked by the white male who was actually stalking him.
In both the Paula Deen racism scandal and the George Zimmerman trial, it was the white individual who acted nefariously, not the African American.
Yet in this episode it’s the white female who’ll be given a possible “cause” for killing an innocent person.
African Americans didn’t provoke Paula Deen to call them racially derogatory names (she did that on her own accord) and Zimmerman was the one who stalked and provoked Trayvon Martin, not the other way around.
And while this episode might bring up the topic of irrational feelings of fear based on racial profiling, I still see many people sympathizing with the white female character who thought she might have a rapist stalking her.
Because this seems to be set up to clearly paint the African American victim as someone who could have possibly been suspicious.
Then the other element I find extremely offensive is the fact that they bring rape into the situation. In neither circumstance was rape even an issue. Simply bringing that element into the story completely changes the entire situation, and for what? Shock value and ratings, that’s it.
I know women who often have to walk to their cars alone, or on the streets by themselves, and are very skeptical of any male who’s alone that seems to be creepily stalking them.
It also seems to suggest that racism might be acceptable if a violent act is committed by a particular race. After all, what if the character this white female shoots was trying to rape her, wouldn’t that justify her racial profiling?
I mean, should she have waited to be raped before taking action? Isn’t that what this episode might suggest? I can see quite a few people viewing the circumstance that way.
But I feel this episode won’t do anything to shed light on either circumstance. Instead it will feed into ignorant stereotypes. It’s the innocent white woman versus the suspicious looking African American male.
The only “controversy” was her fear that he might have been a rapist. Which seems to imply (at least to me) that just before the Trayvon Martin killing, Zimmerman was justified for seeing Martin as suspicious.
Which is absolutely absurd. Martin was minding his own business and Zimmerman instigated the confrontation. Paul Deen, willingly, harbors (or harbored, if you believe her now) ignorant feelings of racism towards African Americans.
Nowhere in either situation is an African American guilty of giving either Zimmerman or Deen reason to act with prejudice.
And don’t even give me that “Martin attacked Zimmerman, therefore he wasn’t completely innocent.” That might be true, but that happened after Zimmerman profiled, stalked, then provoked Martin. Had Zimmerman not done that, Martin would still be alive today and we wouldn’t have ever heard of either of them.
This episode is a pathetic attempt to snag ratings, and from the looks of it will paint the white female (while not innocently) as the character that may have been justified in her actions — while showing the African American male as someone who might have been acting suspiciously.
Because they could have easily made an episode where a white male stalked and killed a black teenager by accident and still brought up the issue of racial profiling—you know, just like what actually happened.
Instead they’ve decided to make the high-profile chef white, the suspicious character black and they’re saying “that’s ok” because in the end it’s going to bring up the ignorance about racial profiling and bigotry.
However, in the end, this episode seems set to simply do one thing—continue to feed negative racial stereotypes which represent the driving force behind racism.