The Senseless Death of a Good Stereotype
Nice going, Asshole!
Yesterday, John Allen Muhammad, the wack job who tricked out a Buick and convinced a kid to join him while he drove around D.C. and shot people, was found guilty of six counts of first-degree murder in the state of Maryland. A few months ago, he was sentenced to death in
At the time of Muhammad’s killing spree, my wife and I were living in
When I revisit this period I feel angry that this madman literally terrorized an entire region of the country and murdered over a dozen people. I’m angry that every time I went to get gas I quickly attached the pump to my tank and jumped my ass back in the car. I’m angry that dude had grown folks walking zig zag from the parking lot to the front door of the grocery store, looking like they escaped from an asylum. I’m angry that most outdoor activities in the region were cancelled because we were blanketed in fear and confusion. But I’m pissed even more because he destroyed one of the only stereotypical assumptions that worked in black folks’ favor. Namely: We Ain’t Serial Killers. Until this cat messed it up for us, randomly killing folks for kicks fell squarely into the realm of Crazy White Folks. John Wayne Gacy. Jeffrey Dahmer. The
Not that we don’t have our own murderous foibles. Blowing somebody’s brains out because they scuffed up your
Undoubtedly, we’ve got a few positive stereotypes left. Black men are thought to possess larger than average sexual equipment. We also, apparently, can dance and sing and we’re superior athletes. But the W.A.S.K. stereotype wasn’t bogged down by any negative connotations or tied to any racist marginalization whatsoever. Too bad Muhammad’s death won’t bring W.A.S.K. back to life.