Aug 09 2010

Racial Cognitive Dissonance? (Updated)

Category: cognitive dissonance,crime,racismamuzikman @ 8:55 am

Recently in Connecticut a man brutally murdered 8 co-workers and then himself at a beer distributorship where he worked.  The killing spree began just after the killer had been confronted with video tape evidence that he had been stealing from his place of employment and then fired.  Figuring prominently in the story is the fact the killer was black and most of the employees at the business are white.  The former girlfriend of the killer claims he was pushed to insanity by suffering repeated racial harassment at work.

Is it possible this man was indeed subjected to racial harassment? Of course. Is it possible such harassment pushed him over the edge? I suppose so. Though it is interesting that the racism angle has been explored and there seems to be no evidence save the accusation of the former girlfriend. Is it possible the answer lies elsewhere?

If we are to believe people like Jessie Jackson, Al Sharpton, Louis Farrakhan, Malik Shabazz, and others, African-Americans are subjected to systemic racism each and every day.  The accusation has become so commonplace and so often misplaced as to have almost no meaning any more.  But that does not keep the accusation from being made.  We’re bombarded daily with a steady dose of race-consciousness.  Many African Americans are told that racism is still a huge problem in America and that success in life is virtually impossible for that very reason.

So what happened in the mind of this African American man who was caught stealing from his white employer and confronted with specific video evidence? Did he believe stealing was OK because it made up for the harassment he was supposedly enduring?  Did he believe he was owed something or that he was just engaged in a little payback?  Personal reparations, so to speak?  Or was he stealing for monetary gain?  No matter what the real reason the accusation of racism does indeed hang over this case, thanks to his taped 911 conversation with police and the girlfriend’s comments.

We’ll probably never know what brought this man to do something so evil.  But could his insanity have possibly been caused by a kind of racial cognitive dissonance?  A lack of being unable to resolve the contradiction between the guilt of being caught doing something he knew was wrong, with the deeply ingrained belief that somehow it’s not really his fault simply because he had a white boss and predominantly white co-workers.

I wonder if Jesse, Al, Louis or Malik ever allow the thought to pass through their mind that they may have had a hand in this tragedy.

Please also read Dennis Prager’s article on the same subject.

Leave a Reply