Tragiblogging

Last week was a new low for the mommybloggers. There was a tragedy in New York where two children were murdered, the details really don’t matter that much because it could have been any tragedy on any given week. It just needed to be a tragedy of a certain sort. The victim needed to be a rich white family.

Babies die, children are murdered, there are wars happening right now and oh, by the way if you live in a poor part of Los Angeles like Compton there’s a pretty good chance you’ve been affected by violent crime in the last six months.

Compton is twenty miles from my home, in the past six months 16 of it’s residents were murdered. I don’t see bloggers wringing their hands and worrying about their futures when ghetto kids die. I’m not sure who those 16 people were but it’s safe to assume that the majority of them are young black men. That’s who usually dies in Compton.

This morning there’s some coverage of a Halloween party shootout. Complete with a crime map that should make your skin crawl. The red dots represent homicides.

I don’t think a whole lot of bloggers live in these neighborhoods. In fact, in the absence of a broken navigation system I’m pretty sure bloggers wouldn’t drive through these neighborhoods. There are lovely people who live there, and there are children being raised in all areas of Los Angeles so surely there are stories to be told.

When one of these red dots is reported on the news (or more likely as part of a police blotter) I don’t see bloggers writing stories about how they need to love their kids more, keep them safe, talk about the dangers of [fill in the blank with something innocuous]. Instead we focus on a family of privilege facing tragedy because we wrongly believe that they are more like us. We somehow see these oddball slayings, these incomprehensibly tragic slayings as being more likely to affect us than the violence that poverty and a lack of education cultivate like a virus escaping petrie dish.

It’s a vile practice bloggers have taken to. I suppose we emulate the newscasts we see and hope for great search results or some misery page views. It’s easy to talk about the fear of bad things happening to upper class kids because OhMyGawdTheWorldIsDangerous.

Well, the fact of the matter is that crime is dropping in the US every year. I know it’s easier to sell fear than hope. Many folks think a little tragiblogging will build their page views, and it will… it’s a formula we all understand to be true. The problem is that when bloggers get busy tragiblogging someone else’s story that puts them in a parasitic role where they have to continue to find other people’s tragedies and make them their own. There is an audience for this to be sure. The other problem is that you have to keep upping the ante and that means waiting for more white babies to disappear or die. Or you can do some charity traveling, because when black kids need help in other countries we get compassionate quickly.

Twenty miles from my front door are dozens of red dots. Those mothers cried too.

 

Facebook Comments

  • Robin

    Very insightful and so true. What happened to “act local?”

  • http://twitter.com/organichat craig daniels

    makes me sad that people have such a need to hawk “fear”… don’t need dope to be a pusher…

  • http://midlifebloggers.com janegassner

    I have two responses: first, that the emotional and practical proximity of the NY murders is what the bloggers are responding to. We think we are safe because we are middle class and live in decent neighborhoods, but we’re not. And that’s scary because “Yikes! We have no control over life!” No matter how well we live life, how much organic produce and sustainably-farmed meat we give our kids, no matter the dance classes and karate and swimming and Scouts we take them to–ultimately, there is no way to save them from the stuff of life that is coming their way, good and bad. That said, the intensity of the hyperbolic response is a function, I think, of blogging enabling us to create dramatic arcs of our lives. But maybe that’s what you’re saying.

    • http://jessicagottlieb.com JessicaGottlieb

      I call complete and utter bullshit on that one Jane. Those same New Yorkers don’t bat an eyelash when a not-white child dies. I don’t see handwringing over the 339 murders that NYPD has reported so far this year. http://www.nyc.gov/html/nypd/downloads/pdf/crime_statistics/cscity.pdf

      It’s news and it’ll get a shit ton of traffic. It’s manipulative and disgusting and no one’s family is in danger.

      • http://midlifebloggers.com janegassner

        Every once in a while, the intensity of your response to something shocks me, Jessica, and I don’t know what to make of it. This is one of those times.

        • http://jessicagottlieb.com JessicaGottlieb

          Sorry, this one just has me extra cranky.

          If they were friends of the family I’d assume they’d be deeply saddened and respectful of the need for privacy. If they were just sort of in the neighborhood that might make some sense… some, but limited sense.

          What I see is women who know how to use that hyperbolic arc and turn it into a woe is me I’m so sad day and SEO the hell out of a post. I think that’s gross.

          I didn’t mean to offend you Jane.

          • http://midlifebloggers.com janegassner

            You didn’t offend me, Jessica. I suspect, as I said in my comment, that we probably agree on this. Not know the blog posts that set you off, I have no frame of reference.

            I always admire your crankiness!

            Btw, LA in six days!!!

  • http://www.superdumbsupervillain.com/ superdumb

    thanks for reminding us that the cost of human life is too much, no matter who the victims are.

  • http://twitter.com/TruthfulMommy Deborah Cruz

    This is so true. I grew up sandwiched right smack between Gary and Chicago and I think we all know there are a lot of red dots there. I also think that every mother who loses a child, no matter their color, race, where they live or how much money they have or religion, feels the same pain of loss. No amount of money or social status will change that. Loss is the great leveler.
    I have seen the posts that name, rename and name again the victims, use the photos from her blog, and rehashing the gory details. Myself, as a mother, I can imagine the pain this mother is going through. As a mother, I think if you lose your child, in any way ( but especially in this way) it’s hard to go on. This is what I identify with in this story.
    I wrote a post to ask for prayers for that family because I did see many people going to a place of fear and speculating and placing blame on the parents. The only thing that any stranger should be offering these parents ( to any parent who has lost a child) is prayers.
    P.S. As you may have seen from my Throat Punches, I do acknowledge children from all socioeconomic backgrounds who have been hurt. I feel for all of their parents because how much money you have or where you live has nothing to do with the pain of the loss of a child. It hurts equally across the board.

  • http://twitter.com/armsofasister Monique Burkes

    Good for you for calling them out on it!

  • http://lastshredsofsanity.com ShanLastShredsOfSanity

    I live in the ghetto of the IE because it’s what we can afford. I don’t blog about it because I don’t want people to know where I live. There is a drug dealer 2 houses down. Last month, there was a drive-by shooting at the curve of my street (about 7 houses away). The IE has the highest unemployment rate in the state and is number 2 in the nation. I KNOW what it’s like to live somewhere you hate, are afraid of but cannot get out of yet.

    San Bernardino has had at least one murder a month this year and it’s getting worse. Not all of SoCal has a declining crime rate.

    The children murdered by the nanny in NYC last week was tragic. I do not care how much money a person has — or doesn’t — losing a child is horrific. However, I see the parents of the gang members around here and they are just as bad, if not worse, than the kids. Even a child born and raised in gang territory/ghetto/low income areas can grow up without getting caught up in the criminal element if the parents care enough to raise them right.

    Gang/drug involvement is NOT a given for kids those areas. As long as the parents aren’t in the life, too, or the child has someone to show them the right way to live, they all have the same chance.

    • http://jessicagottlieb.com JessicaGottlieb

      “Gang/drug involvement is NOT a given for kids those areas. As long as the parents aren’t in the life, too, or the child has someone to show them the right way to live, they all have the same chance.”

      Which is why we should be POURING money into our public schools and parks.

      • http://lastshredsofsanity.com ShanLastShredsOfSanity

        I agree, but it’s not going to happen with our current government, economic crisis or if Prop 30 passes. It says right in that proposition that the money can be used to fund other government programs. And Jerry Brown WILL do that and claim the budget deficit as the reason. Unless you’re rich, living in California is not good for anyone, especially the children.

        When there is an economic problem with the CA budget what programs get cut first? Schools & aid to the disabled and elderly. That right there should tell you where our kids rank with the government, no matter what kind of bullshit flowery statements they try to ram down our throats.