Racial hyperawareness has a dangerous underside

Racial hyperawareness has a dangerous underside

After the horrific shooting of two local TV journalists in Virginia last week, the right-wing website Breitbart.com ran the in-your-face headline, “Race Murder in Virginia: Black Reporter Suspected of Executing White Colleagues — On Live Television!” The site was accused of racist demagoguery — and it has a troubling history of race-baiting. But as more information emerged about the tragedy, it became clear that in this case, the story does have a real racial angle that poses an uncomfortable challenge to liberals and the left.

Shooter Vester Flanagan, a gay African-American man and a former employee of WDJB-TV, where the victims worked, was obsessed with his perceived victimization by racism and homophobia. He had a history of discrimination claims rejected as groundless, and of confrontational behavior toward co-workers that cost him several jobs.

Shortly before his suicide Aug. 26, Flanagan tweeted about the racial slights he believed he had suffered from his victims, WDJB reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Charles Ward. In response, a blogger on the Gawker Media pages who goes by “WonderWomanist” made a post that concluded with the words, “RIP to the victims even though they may have been racist” — a startling rush to judgment against two people who had just been gunned down in cold blood.

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