There’s really not too much to say about this. It’s really disturbing and between this and the Jena situation, I don’t know what the hell has gotten into white folks again (I don’t why I am acting lke it ever went anywhere, but stay with me), but we simply cannot be having this shit any more.
In any case, in West Virginia, a 20 year-old black woman was abducted, raped, beaten and tortured for a week, but 3 white men and three white women–two of the men the sons (!) of two of the women. The latest revelation is that this woman had apparently had some relationship with one of the guys involved in the attack, which the media is suggesting was “romantic” (in the loosest way that word can possibly be used) and that was why she went to his home in the first place. That may be true –violence is most likely to happent to any of us by people we know–but who gives a damn? I think it just exposes the myth that white people who have sexual or romantic relationships with Black people can’t at the same time be racists, and can’t be capable of committing violence against an intimate partner who is Black.
I know people want to make this a story about West Virginia, the state that is probably the but of most jokes about “backwards” parts of this country–usually by people who have never been. But I have been to West Virginia many times, and while it is an extremely poor state, and the Black people who live there are very, very marginalized, it in some ways is no different than the rest of the country–the fact that Black folks are moving back down south in record numbers should tell you that many of us see the South as, well, at least there’s no pretense.
West Virginia, and Appalachia in general, is a very beautiful part of the country. And but for the racism that Black people no doubt endure there, outnumbered and outgunned, it is still ultimately a part of the same country as much as the East and Left Coast like to pretend it’s not. But I’ll tell you, but for the accents and the mountains, Charleston could just as well be Chelsea, Manhattan, where I have been told to “go back to Africa,” or have heard Black and Latino youth referred to as “pier trash.”