What connection do you make when you think of famous serial killers such as Jeffery Dahmer,Ted Bundy,and Ted Kaczynski? One obvious connection is that they are all white.
“ Oh my god,they're black!” was probably one of the first statements out of the mouths of many African-Americans,after hearing the possible perpetrators in the investigation of the Washington,D.C. area sniper attacks are black. It seems to be a common notion among the African-American community that serial killers are not black.
But in fact,John Allen Muhammad,41,and John Lee Malvo,17,are believed by police to be the people who have been terrorizing the Washington,D.C. area. Both are black.
Rev. Al Sharpton,renowned African-American politician,says that in lieu of the recent arrests of Malvo and Muhammad,society must caution against profiling people of color.
“The face of black America is represented more by Chief Moose than by the snipers,” said Sharpton about the police chief of Montgomery Co.,Md. Police Chief Charles Moose is the head of the sniper investigation .Sharpton urges the black community not to rationalize the actions of the suspects,but to tell their kids how proud they are of Moose.
Kweisi Mfume,president and chief executive officer of the NAACP,said in a Friday press release,“Madmen,like bigots,come in all colors. If these individuals are in fact,responsible for this string of shootings and murders,then we are glad to have these people off of our streets. Our commendations to the Sniper Task Force and all law enforcement officials who worked so hard to make these arrests.”
In her Friday column,Washington Post columnist Donna Britt spoke of a recent taxi ride she took in which the cab driver announced: “ This sniper is no black man. The police are looking for a crazy white man.”
Britt partly agreed with the cab driver. “As thrilled as I am that suspects have been caught,I’m surprised by their blackness,” Britt wrote.
After the shock wore off,Britt seems to have come to the same conclusion as many prominent African-American leaders. “It’s high time black folks became as adept as white people at accepting that those who look like them do unspeakable things,” she wrote.
Many African-American leaders say that the black community should not be caught up in the race of the killers and need to be more concerned about the loss of life that has occurred.
Rev. Horace Sheffield III,president of the National Association of Black Organizations,said that he was surprised that the suspects were black,but that “there are bad and good people in every race.”
The consensus among the black leaders is also that the community should also remember that the actions of these individuals do not reflect negatively on the black race as a whole.
Denver based political consultant Sam Riddle,says that black Americans would be doing themselves a disservice by wrapping themselves in the shame of Muhammad and Malvo. Riddle added,“It really doesn't matter what color they are because hate transcends race.”