White Girl Bleed a Lot:The Return of Race Riots to America
by Colin Flaherty
Second Edition. 260 pages, BookBaby, $5
When the first edition of Colin Flaherty’s brave White Girl Bleed a Lot:The Return of Race Riots to America came out, it was 115 pages of carefully-documented reporting on a topic no one wanted to touch.
Since then, the book has grown and improved, with even more diligent research and thoughtful writing. Its topic is provocative, but the author has lengthy experience writing from all angles about race, including his work getting an unjustly convicted black man released from prison. The 40 plus rewards and accolades for his journalism attest to how thoroughly he researches and how he considers all sides of every issue.
That being said, this is a book about race, but it’s not about the African race. It’s about white people, and how their pretense in talking about race prevents them from reporting an epidemic of crime committed by mobs of mostly black people.
We are each taught to bristle at any notice of race that is not complementary to those from historically third-world populations, which includes 90% of the people on this earth, most of whom are brown in color. That phenomenon is the topic of this book.
Flaherty never blames African-Americans for this epidemic, or claims that most or even many African-Americans are involved or supporting these mobs. This is not a book about a racial group, but about mobs who come from that racial group.
Nor is it a pity-this-battered-Caucasian lamentation, even though a good deal of its focus involves attacks by black mobs on Asians, homosexuals and Latinos. This is not about the victims, or the perpetrators; it’s about the inability of media, government and individual citizens to talk honesty about race, to the point where they cannot even admit what happened to them.
My brother and I host a talk radio show where this has been a topic of disagreement…
When I first started talking about widespread racial violence in this country, he didn’t much like it…But I guarantee that if he could find widespread examples of marauding groups of asians or white kids doing all kinds of damage, that would have been the greatest day of his life.
Because it would have destroyed my argument. He loves to do that. But the next time he does, it will be the first. (175)
Flaherty is careful about his research. He makes no undocumented assertions. When he reports on an event, he covers the facts, and then complements that with equal coverage of what the media, police and government said — and didn’t say. The latter part is the focus of his thesis, which is that America is pathologically unable to even discuss this phenomenon, whether right or wrong.
He also makes it clear that “race riots” are the acts of some and not all. This is a group within the African-American community, not African-Americans treated as a group. It’s this kind of mature and thoughtful take on a sensitive subject that keeps this book from falling into the pitfalls of the majority of viewpoints on this subject.
The book is also careful to point out the diversity of viewpoints on this issue. There are people within the African-American community who are discussing this; there are also some who are denying it and see any mention of it as racist. However, the preponderance of the evidence in the book shows white cops, white media and white government officials disclaiming any relationship between race and the crimes.
Even when the victims are overwhelmingly white, Asian or gay, and the perpetrators overwhelmingly African-American, there are white people — victims, cops, journalists, experts, politicians — going on record to blame a variety of other causes. Usually, they blame youths, or drugs, or socioeconomic tension. Sometimes they blame racism.
White Girl Bleed a Lot:The Return of Race Riots to America has grown to 260 pages of writing, much of which is excerpts from mainstream media reports. Almost all of it is shot through with links to YouTube videos showing the mobs in action, and there are many links to people immediately going into denial about what happened.
The point is that you, the reader, are expected to decide what you think is going on. There is no need for a more forceful statement, since the evidence is right there in front of us. The author recommends the e-text version of this book so you can click the links and watch alongside the narrative, seeing for yourself what happened.
The Chicago Tribune has an answer ready. If you noticed [the African-American character of the mob], you are a racist.
“There are good reasons not to identify the attackers by race. It’s the newspaper’s general policy not to mention race in a story, whether about crime or anything else, unless it has some clear relevance to the topic.”
“My question to readers accusing us of political correctness is: Why do you care so much about the attackers’ race? If you fear or dislike blacks, I suppose it would confirm your prejudice. But otherwise, it tells you nothing useful.”
Well Mr Steve Chapman, here’s at least one reason to care: When papers like the Chicago Tribune support affirmative action, racial quotas, and other race based solutions to very difficult problems, asking the paper to identify the assailants is one way of asking ‘How’s that working out for you?’
Let’s take the flip side: what if white racism were so bad and conditions so intolerable that this was some kind of political statement? (112)
Flaherty is asking the gentleman’s question here. If white people were being so cruel to black people that black outrage spilled into riots in the streets, would the paper report on the race of both parties to show what was going on? If so, why aren’t they doing it when the conditions are otherwise, but race is equally important?
Throughout this detailed look at America’s denial over race, Flaherty asks these difficult questions without getting sucked into the he-said-she-said partisanship that blights our democracy. He is a neutral observer who noticed a trend, but then realized he had a story when he found out that it was never discussed.
From that gap between reality and reported reality, the author has spun a convincing narrative that will have the educated reader wondering why this topic is so taboo. When it is presently as fairly as it is here, the dialogue can begin without being tainted by the various pitfalls of bias that obstruct discussion of race issues.