I read an article in the San Francisco Gate today titled
For a white man's execution, where are black protesters?
Outcry on behalf of Tookie might be viewed as race-based but I guess I'm wondering - so what if it was? What this article does not address is that while Clarence Ray Allen is blind, deaf and in a wheelchair, he is also white, and has different life chances based on his race than Tookie Williams.
Now, I personally think it's important that we work to end the death penalty, but blaming the black activists who supported Tookie Williams for not coming out in full force this time seems ridiculous if we are not going to blame every single person who is not doing everything they possibly can to stop the death penalty (read: blame almost everyone - certainly everyone taking time out of their day to read this blog rather than work on death penalty stuff). So, why blame these activists particularly?
In what almost looks like an allegation of "reverse-racism", as if the difference in focus of these organizations on certain death row inmates radically or systemically alters the life-chances of white people more generally, this article's author writes as if activist groups do not have to choose where to disperse their limitted resources and energies. Even she acknowledges that:
Granted, Allen hasn't written any children's books, been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, or had a Hollywood actor play him in a film, but that doesn't mean his life isn't worth saving.All of these things are relevant if we are looking for a sort of poster-child for death penalty activsim. So the ultimate question becomes, do we need some kind of poster-child like person to look at? My only fear of answering "no" to this question is that sometimes we all need to be reminded over and over again of the horrific examples of who the governments that we invest ourselves into are screwing over.
All that said, let's all try to write a letter or an email to a friend and let them know about Allen's upcoming death or to write a letter to CA governor Schwartzeneiger about it. I know I will.