How The Cliven Bundy Verdict Exemplifies White Privilege

Nevada rancher and standoff leader Cliven Bundy gets off scot-free after a federal judge dismissed charges against him, citing prosecutorial misconduct.

Cliven Bundy shakes hands with Clark County Sheriff Douglas Gillespie

The power of white privilege is at work yet again with the news that Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy is now a free man after a judge dismissed federal charges against him.

To refresh your memory, Bundy, two of his sons, and a fellow rancher faced charges stemming from an armed standoff with federal law enforcement officers over a cattle grazing rights dispute back in 2014. His son, Ammon Bundy, also led the infamous Oregon Standoff in 2016

United States District Judge Gloria Navarro dismissed the case “with prejudice,” which means the men cannot face retrial. The verdict comes after a number of evidence violations, including prosecutors’ repeated withholding of evidence from defense lawyers.

Bundy — who considers himself a “political prisoner,” according to The Washington Post — has inadvertently become the latest symbol of white privilege as he disobeyed and threatened the lives of federal officers and not only survived the standoff, but now gets to resume normal life as a vindicated, free man like nothing ever happened.

Needless to say, this is a pitiful outcome.

Bundy’s actions reflected a textbook example of domestic terrorism, and yet, he’s suffering virtually no consequences.

Granted, prosecutorial misconduct is inexcusable and ultimately cost the prosecution its case, but the fact that Bundy made it to stand trial in the first place is a luxury not often afforded to minorities accused of crimes.

In fact, it has become customary for suspects of color to be killed, on the spot, for far less serious offenses. 

In addition to serving as evidence of racial disparity in America, Bundy's release could also be a catalyst to more of these incidents as right-wing extremists may feel emboldened to standoff against authorities to avoid facing legal consequences for committing real crimes. 

While being white may not make you above the law, it definitely can tilt it in one's favor. 

Banner / Thumbnail : Reuters, Mike Blake

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