"You black men might be better off at home after a certain hour." Opinion columnist Marcia Courson wrote this in an article about the #StephonClark shooting in the River Valley Times. On @FOX40 the publication apologizes for not proof reading it, says it made them sick. pic.twitter.com/4SUw5QwT1v— Nicole Comstock (@ComstockNEWS) April 13, 2018
The tragic deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of police officers is a national scourge. It must end and we should talk about it as a country.
But some people should just stay quiet.
Marcia Courson, a 75-year-old white woman, wrote an opinion piece for the River Valley Times newspaper in California. Her absolutely tone-deaf opinions landed the paper in hot water because what she suggested to black men was insensitive, to say the least.
Courson, who was a freelance op-ed writer for 10 years, was addressing the death of Stephon Clark — a black man who was shot dead in his grandmother’s backyard by police. The 22-year-old was unarmed when the officials mistook him for carrying a gun and killed him.
The only thing they discovered on Clark after killing him was a cell phone. Nothing happened to the officers who killed an innocent man; instead, they were placed on paid administrative leave.
And now Courson has her own tone-deaf version of how this brutal killing could have been avoided.
In her opinion, Clark died because of his own fault. “In Stephon’s situation, the cell phone he carried looked like a small black gun. Police have to be careful not to overreact and you black men might be better off at home after a certain hour,” she wrote.
“So we need to ask ourselves before overreacting or advocating reduction of these shootings — do we really understand why a shooting occurred?” she continued. “We must not immediately assume that a policeman has no reason to confront a suspect.”
Courson’s suggestions are senseless and racist. She wants the blame off the police officers after suggesting a self-imposed curfew on black men for staying outdoors late at night. Would she suggest the same for white men?
Probably not, because generally, it is people of color who have to fear for their lives at the hands of brutal police officers. Courson should have researched before making such baseless suggestions.
The River Valley Times is circulated in Rancho Murieta, California. The town is reportedly made up of 5,000 people, with 89 percent of them white. Just 1 percent, or 70 people, are black. Members of the town started a petition calling for Courson to be dismissed as a columnist.
“[Courson's] gross generalizations, simplistic solutions, and misrepresentations show a lack of ability to think critically and she constantly gives us her indignant, righteous version of truth. Her comments are an insult to our community,” read the petition.
“To imply that a solution to black males being shot by police is to have a racial curfew is irresponsible, ignorant, and divisive,' adds the petition, which 203 signatures,” the petition continues.
Dave Herburger, River Valley Times publisher and general manager, took full responsibility for running the column in the paper but mentioned he hadn’t read it before-hand. He also said the paper’s editor was out of office because of a family illness. He said the column wasn’t acceptable and that “having a race-based curfew connotes Nazi Germany.”
Courson and the paper parted ways on Monday.
According to Herburger, a column apologizing for Courson’s column will be published next week.
Thumbnail/Banner Image: Reuters, Brian Snyder