Just for starters, yes I know.
Harambe was not a monkey, he was a gorilla. Which technically classifies him as an ape but I needed something to get you here. Be that as it may, it’s been extremely difficult to avoid the coverage from Saturdays incident that ended with him dead after a child climbed into a gorilla enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo.
Sadly after the dust settled, the life of a critically endangered species was taken by zoo authorities. As expected, there’s been raucous chatter from the animal loving community. What I haven’t anticipated, however, was the witch hunt that’s transpiring behind the reporting of the “lengthy criminal history” of Deonne Dickerson and the “extreme negligence” of Michelle Gregg, the parents of the 4-year-old child who caused this whole fiasco.
Before I go any further, I should mention that this entire cluster fuck revolves around a black family, which is contrary to what I thought when I first heard about the incident.
“A kid climbed into a gorilla exhibit at a zoo? That’s got to be a white kid son, we don’t do stuff like that.”
Yes, this was my initial reaction. You don’t like that shit? Sue me.
Upon further reading and viewing of the seemingly inescapable news coverage, I realized two things:
A) I was obviously wrong as hell with my summation, I can admit that.
B) People seem to be way more upset about this than they usually would be.
Over the last couple of days, I’ve been trying to find some sort of precedence for such anger and public discontent. Animals have attacked before and sometimes subsequently have been put down. People have found themselves on the wrong end of nature literally millions of times and many have died as well. People don’t always end up in a lions cage at the zoo but when they do we naturally see their lives as more important than the animals at the moment. Even when Roy (Siegfried &..) was attacked on stage by a white lion he trained, the verdict wasn’t that he was somehow a bad person or even remotely criminally neglegent. So what makes this shit so different?
I really don’t want the answer to be because he’s white but I’m finding more evidence that’s affirming the hell out of what I feel naturally.
Let’s look at some other cases where people have ended up in corrals with animals at zoo’s or wildlife preserves.
In 1986, at the Jersey Zoo in the United Kingdom, a 5-year-old boy fell into the gorilla enclosure and actually lost consciousness during the fall. A silverback gorilla named Jambo approached the bloody unconscious child and sat protectively with him until zoo employees could arrive. No charges were filled and no gorillas were killed.
At Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo, in 1996, another young boy fell into another gorilla exhibit and was cared for by a female gorilla named Binti, who picked up the unresponsive child and carried him to the service door of the exhibit where zoo keepers waited.
In 2012, a 2-year-old named Maddox Derkosh lost his life after he fell into a wild African Dog exhibit at the Pennsylvania Zoo in Pittsburgh. The boys mother held him atop of the protective railing when suddenly the boy lunged forward into the enclosure and was subsequently mauled by several dogs leading to his death before help could arrive. The mother then settled with the Zoo for an undisclosed amount in 2014.
In all of these instances, the children in question were… lets just say not brown, and bad parenting wasn’t the focal point of any of the coverage.
Now let’s review the current findings on Mr. Dickerson and Ms. Gregg.
So far, over 300,000 animal lovers joined the “Justice for Harambe” Facebook page, while an online petition with over 200,000 signatures call for Michelle to be charged with criminal negligence. Global media has dug extensively into Deonne’s criminal past which stretches over the course of a decade and include firearm offenses, burglary, drug trafficking, criminal trespassing, disorderly conduct and kidnapping. As it turns out according to personal accounts and his facebook page, he has since turned his life around and has been ever-present in all of his children’s lives. Michelle Gregg has since released the following statement via her facebook page:
“For those of you that have seen the news or been on social media that was my son that fell in the gorilla exhibit at the zoo. God protected my child until the authorities were able to get to him.My son is safe and was able to walk away with a concussion and a few scrapes… no broken bones or internal injuries…As a society we are quick to judge how a parent could take their eyes off of their child and if anyone knows me I keep a tight watch on my kids. Accidents happen but I am thankful that the right people were in the right place today…We are so thankful to the Lord that our child is safe. He is home and doing just fine. We extend our heartfelt thanks for the quick action by the Cincinnati Zoo staff.”
In no other instance did the past of the parent’s play a part in the overall narrative of the separate incidents, and I’m forced to draw the only logical conclusion; which is, color determines coverage. Now that’s not some earth shattering revelation, but let’s be serious– a child was in danger. That little boy didn’t face danger at home or school, but at a zoo. Both mother and father were on the scene doing what little they could in that circumstance and instead of focussing on how unsafe the protective railing is (so simple that a 4-year-old can traverse it), we are made to believe that his brown parents, due to some lack of home training on their respective ends, are both at fault.
That shit makes me angry, and it should– although, at this point, I honestly should have seen it coming a mile away.
As always, the nigger treatment prevails regardless of a semi-positive outcome, rooted in a dangerous initial circumstance.