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Response to Kyle Rittenhouse proves white supremacy is rife within Republican Party

Response to Kyle Rittenhouse proves white supremacy is rife within Republican Party

Response to Kyle Rittenhouse proves white supremacy is rife within Republican Party
September 19
12:51 2020

On Aug. 25th in Kenosha, Wisconsin, 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse gunned down three Black Lives Matter protestors with an AR-15. Only one of his victims survived the assault. In the immediate aftermath of this attack, Rittenhouse strolled directly past Kenosha police and drove home to Antioch, Illinois, where he was arrested some time later.

The contrast between police treatment of a white shooter and police treatment of a Black person opening their car door (Jacob Blake), sleeping in their home (Breonna Taylor) or standing in their relative’s backyard holding a cellphone (Stephon Clark), is stark, to say the least. The double standards that resulted in these deaths live on through conservative hypocrisy, specifically in regards to the Black Lives Matter movement. The prevailing narrative among conservatives is that Kyle Rittenhouse, a literal murderer who was videoed beating a girl some time prior to his killing spree, was justified in his actions. Some have even hailed him as a hero.

Republicans view Rittenhouse as a child deserving of lenience, but this mindset was conveniently on leave when Trayvon Martin, who was the same age as Rittenhouse, was shot and killed by a grown man who later claimed self-defense. They view Jacob Blake as a potential threat to police who was therefore deserving of his fate, but take at face value Kenosha Police Chief Daniel Miskinis’ bewildering assertion that a still-armed Rittenhouse posed no perceivable threat following the execution of his crimes. Black children also go unprioritized in this case, as Jacob Blake’s kids were in the car police shot at when gunning their father down, a fact often omitted by conservatives.

There are definitely some crimes that shouldn’t go unpunished, such as domestic abuse and sexual assault, but even the very few police brutality and white vigilante victims who do have violent pasts are not being targeted by police for their past transgressions. They are being targeted because they’re Black and, all things considered, it makes no sense to assume otherwise. Conservatives are not digging up dirt on murder victims because they are not in anyway interested in upholding logic. They simply want to discredit the Black Lives Matter movement, and have happily stooped as low as to accuse a victim who possessed marijuana of general thuggery, as though rich white women in states where marijuana is legal don’t dominate the market on weed dealing.

With the upsurge in Black Lives Matter protests following George Floyd’s murder came a heretofore unseen phenomenon; that of Republicans also victim-blaming murdered white people. Specifically, white people protesting on behalf of Black Lives Matter. Garrett Foster was shot and killed by a U.S. sergeant while attending to his paraplegic fiancé, but conservatives chose to zero in on the fact that Foster was also armed when he was murdered, much like Kyle Rittenhouse was armed when he strode past police officers after gunning down three people. That parallel has yet to be addressed by conservatives, who typically take a more permissive stance on gun control overall.

Kyle Rittenhouse has not been credibly linked to any white supremacist organizations, but it could easily be argued that his online activity still gives away his racism. Rittenhouse posted a good amount of “Blue Lives Matter” content on Facebook, a phrase coined for the sole purpose of negating the Black Lives Matter movement.

Rittenhouse is hardly the first shooter with ties to extreme conservatism, which, let’s face it, has become synonymous with white supremacy. This is demonstrated perfectly by the sheer amount of mass shooters whose killings were in part motivated by hatred of people of color (Dylann Roof), the LGBTQ community (Omar Mateen) and women (Connor Betts), which has, disturbingly, also become a trademark of the conservative movement.

Whether or not he is affiliated with any group in particular, Kyle Rittenhouse is a white supremacist, as are all of his supporters, because they have consciously decided that Black lives do not matter to them.

That truth runs parallel to the current state of the Republican Party, whose platform now revolves almost entirely around deliberately neglecting to address and even worsening any problems experienced primarily by marginalized people. The Republican Party is now as much a white supremacist organization as any Facebook group Rittenhouse might have found himself, which is probably why he didn’t bother.

Featured Illustration by Miranda Thomas

About Author

Rachel Card

Rachel Card

Rachel Card is a junior majoring in public relations and minoring in sociology. She was born in Austin, Texas, and is currently quarantining there with her family and three dogs.

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