Monday, December 30, 2013


The unspoken thing here is that the reason Americans aren’t more outraged or guilt-ridden is that the people dying are poor brown people—many of them in a tragic irony are classified as narcos so governments can claim it's just gang-on-gang violence.
Erik Vance "Cocaine Is Evil"
While it's nearly a matter of faith that the only people outside of the United States that White Americans care about are other White people, I don't think that this is at all accurate. And so for me, it's a tired old cliché, designed to try and guilt White America (because, apparently, the rest of us are either paragons of caring for Brown people, or simply don't matter) into caring about poor non-White people in other countries.

Good luck with that.

For starters, many Americans can just barely identify with other Americans of the same ethnicity who are of different socioeconomic backgrounds. While disasters may get people to rush to open their wallets, the day-to-day grind of poverty that exists in the United States barely registers for people who don't have to deal with it on a daily basis. You don't have to be a (relatively) wealthy expatriate to live in a bubble that insulates you from other people's realities. And given that, the idea that somehow, the average WASP would be keen on ending the cocaine trade if it happened to be operating out of England or Austria rather than Mexico takes on an even more ludicrous tone.

And, television portrayals notwithstanding, not everyone in Mexico is "Brown." There are White people there, too. (After all, there's a reason why Hispanics are commonly divided into "White" and "Non-White.") Surely some number of them have been killed due to some level of involvement in, or proximity to, the drug trade. (Or, simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time.) Surely, if what it took to generate public support for doing more about drugs was simply pictures of dead White people, Mexico could come up with some.

The fact of the matter is that it's unlikely that the average American who does cocaine concerns themselves any more with what it takes for that cocaine to get to them than the average American cares about how oil and natural gas are produced. And while the death toll in the fracking fields may not be anywhere near that of the trafficking corridors, it is rising. There may be people who anticipate a wave of outrage and guilt over the White Americans who never go home again, but I'm not one of them.

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