Short Take: Who Would Harm Rodolfo?

He was 92 years old. Ninety two.* What sort of violent animal would harm a man of such advanced age? ICE thugs? Nazis? Racist cops? Surely it had to be one of them, as the narrative demands. Yet it wasn’t.

An eyewitness later told The Washington Post that Rodriguez had accidentally bumped into a young girl while walking on the sidewalk. The child’s mother — a black woman — then pushed the elderly man to the ground and repeatedly bashed him in the face with a concrete brick while yelling, “Go back to your country,” the eyewitness said.

It wasn’t merely an “incident,” where one person yelled “violent words” at another for a perceived fault. She bashed him in the face with a brick.

But that was just the beginning.

Minutes later, however, the attack continued, Borjas said. A group of young men bounded down the street, accusing Rodriguez of trying to snatch the young girl. They kicked Rodriguez, who was already crumpled on the ground, and stomped on his head.

A brick to the face wasn’t bad enough, so some head stomping was added to the mix. The police arrested a suspect, 30-year-old Laquisha Jones. for assault with a deadly weapon. No word on the young men who stomped on Rodriguez’s head. No word on any “hate crime” for telling this old man, a permanent resident who came from Mexico, to go back to his own country.

To be clear, Jones isn’t representative of black people. Jones isn’t representative of women. Jones is responsible for Jones. As we are all responsible for ourselves, and as we all defy the identitarian narrative in our own way.

The narrative is as much a lie as any other stereotype, that if only we put People of Color and women in control of the world, Utopia would be achieved. This precludes us from recognizing that there are ugly stereotypes lurking below the surface of the false narrative. African blacks are looked down upon by Caribbean blacks. Blacks don’t like Hispanics much, and Hispanics aren’t all that fond of blacks in return. And when you get into the intra-Latino rivalries, Puerto Ricans versus Dominicans, Colombians versus Mexicans, they’re not all the best of friends, even though they’re presented as a united front, a homogeneous group of people oppressed.

Sure, there is a commonality in their view of racism by white America, but Tom Lehrer sang about it decades ago, and the only real change is that we now choose to be blind to reality because we’ve chosen to believe in lies.

There is the pervasive theme of white police officers being racist against blacks, and it’s a valid stereotype, yet not a complete stereotype. The same can be said for black police officers, for female police officers. The problem isn’t race or gender, but police officers. By ignoring that their favorite color is blue, and instead relying on the lie that it’s the officers’ race or gender, the solution we keep coming up with, more black and female officers, will fail.

What happened to a 92-year-old man was outrageous. Who would do such a thing? The only meaningful answer is the person who did it, the person who took a brick to his face and bashed him repeatedly. This no more proves black women are violent than it proves they aren’t. What it proves is that no one, no race, no gender, no intersection of identities, is above outrageous conduct, above rebuke for what they do.

Does the narrative allow for the acknowledgement that a woman of color bashed a legal immigrant’s face? Sure, we can separate Jones from all other black people, all other women, and say she’s an outlier, the exception to the rule, that black people are more wonderful than white people, women and more wonderful than men, and black women are more wonderful than white men. But what does this do to help Rodolfo Rodriguez?

People do bad things and good things. They come in all colors and genders. Ascribing victimhood by stereotype is easy and certainly popular, but in any particular instance, it provides nothing of use to resolve problems because no matter how much some want to believe the lie, it’s still a lie. We’re each who we are, and neither our race nor gender makes bashing a brick into 92-year-old Rodolfo Rodriguez’s face any less outrageous.

*Sources differ as to whether he’s 91 or 92.

29 thoughts on “Short Take: Who Would Harm Rodolfo?

  1. Xchixm

    I laugh whenever I’m told only white people can be racist because I know all too well that’s a blatant lie. When that earthquake devastated Haiti, their neighboring country and my country of origin, the Dominican Republic, offered temporary refuge to many Haitians. A lot of the Haitians, who tend to be black Caribbean, stayed and wanted to stay beyond their official welcome. It was an immigration issue, undoubtedly; but much of the fervor to have the Haitians who were temporarily invited was inspired by racial animus. A lot of it was just ethnic animus considering a large portion of Dominicans are black in skin tone.

    That racial/ethnic animus doesn’t just disappear when Dominicans, Hispanic “PoC” migrate to the US.

    * I have no hatred of Haitians. I’m woke, man.

    1. SHG Post author

      I had this discussion while enjoying a cocktail at Matum in Santiago with some dear friends. I am not at liberty to discuss what happened later that evening at Le Petite Chateau due to attorney/client privilege.

  2. Joe

    Her actions in attacking this man, and the actions of other POC’s in attacking immigrants, are just a manifestation of what Trump’s rhetoric has caused even apolitical people to become. She’s as much a victim of Trump as he is a victim of her.

    NY Times pick.

    1. SHG Post author

      This may be Trump’s greatest contribution to animus and violence. Before Trump, they had no excuse.

    2. B. McLeod

      More likely, this is another strategy of the #Resistance. They know Trump can never get the wall built if they keep taking the bricks to bash the heads of immigrants.

  3. Jake

    “The narrative is as much a lie as any other stereotype, that if only we put People of Color and women in control of the world, Utopia would be achieved. ”

    Says who?

      1. Jake

        Allow me to rephrase:

        Who of any significance worthy of your attention has uttered this narrative?

      2. Norahc

        But Google is racist because of it’s white background symbolizes white male power…

        Crap, I can’t even type that with a straight face. How do people spew that nonsense seriously?

      3. Pseudonymouskid

        As cautious as I am to agree with Jake even slightly, he has a point. You’re being hyperbolic with the Utopia part. Proportionate representation in a republic feels fair and can be achieved. It doesn’t mean problems disappear, just that the government appears less corrupt and biased on its face. That’s a worthy enough goal even if it doesn’t reach Utopia.

        Whether that would do anything at all is up in the air until its achieved. Good money is on nothing, just like post-women’s suffrage, but men and women are reportedly becoming more divided in politics, so there might be a chance of something more interesting happening.

        1. SHG Post author

          Take for example my very own junior senator, Kirsten Gillibrand, who saod that the collapse of Lehman Bros. wouldn’t have happened it it was Lehman Sisters. Was this a matter of proportionate representation or Utopian vision?

          Or perhaps the myriad posts here about toxic masculinity, where the contention is that men are inherently evil and the only way to be a good man is to be a woman. Proportionate representation or a Utopian vision?

          1. LocoYokel

            There you go again, using logic and data to argue and make a point. SMH, Will you ever learn? Feelz and rhetoric trump logic and data every time.

            Go to the blackboard and write “I am not worthy because I am an evil, white, cis-male shitlord,” 1000 times.

            Happy Friday.

            1. Pseudonymouskid

              Logic and data says some people say dumb shit. Congrats. Women politicians and soldiers and leaders do not make a Utopia. Look at Merkel. Business as usual. There’s a laudable goal in proportional representation if you really believe in this created equal stuff.

  4. kemn

    Who would do something like this?

    A person who has learned hate from an early age, and has enough anger in them to feel free to express it. That person can be white, black, yellow, red, green, blue or purple. You missed all the examples in Asia, with Koreans, Japanese, Chinese, etc all experiencing mutual dislike.

    I’d say we’d be better served if we all were one color, but we’ve already proven that we don’t need color to hate (see religion, politics, or even sports teams)

    1. SHG Post author

      Someone made the point yesterday that it’s not a matter of one’s passionate belief in religion, or passionate belief in social justice. It’s that we’re addicted to passionate beliefs, such that we need some reason to hate others. We can change the cause (or color, or gender, or whatever), but people will still be haters.

      1. neoteny

        Eric Hoffer wrote a book titled “The True Believer” about the phenomena almost seventy years ago.

  5. Mike

    “People of color”? Maybe complete the phrase – “People of color except white”? Last time I looked, white is a color.

    Even though ‘white people’ are not white.

    1. Sgt. Schultz

      Kinda makes you sound like a fragile, whiny cracker. Was that what you’re going for?

  6. Kent McManigal

    Why did no one step up and come to his defense? Yes, one woman told the thugs to stop, but didn’t make them stop. To me, that’s almost as horrible as hearing what that aggressive animal did to him. Yes, I realize coming to his defense would have made the defender a racist Nazi, in the eyes of the real bad guys, and most likely put you in danger of being murdered by the Blue Line Gang (since effective defense means a gun), but it’s a risk the good guys are just going to have to be willing to take. All it takes for evil to win is for good people to not get involved.

    1. SHG Post author

      You should have stopped after the first question, and then no one would know you were delusional. Unfortunately, there is no information available to answer that question. On the other hand, there are psychotropic medications that could help you with the rest.

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