Skip to main content

White Guilt and Black Innocence

Kyle Rittenhouse shot three white men in self-defense after they threatened his life and chased him at a Black Lives Matter riot in Kenosha, Wisconsin. For reasons that do not make any sense, Mr. Rittenhouse was called a racist and a white supremacist. A Black Entertainment Television article published one day after the teen’s arrest was called “Kyle Rittenhouse: 7 Things To Know About 17-Year-Old White Supremacist Who Killed Two Jacob Blake Protestors.” Joe Biden, a candidate for president at the time, also called Mr. Rittenhouse a “white supremacist.” Probably solely due to the reactions of many Americans, and despite video evidence that he was the victim, not the aggressor, Mr. Rittenhouse was charged with two counts of murder, and other crimes.

Half the country seems to have wept aloud when the jury acquitted. Congresswoman Cori Bush called the verdict “white supremacy in action.” MSNBC pundit Joy Reid claimed it proved our country practices two separate systems of justice: one designed to give white criminals a slap on the wrist, and another to try blacks in kangaroo courts and lock them up. Our “diverse” cities protested. The reaction of students at Mercer Law School was essentially, “This is why I wanted to practice law — to correct injustices like these.” If Mr. Rittenhouse had been black, they claimed, he would have had no chance of acquittal.

November 20, 2021: Over a thousand demonstrators gathered at Federal Plaza in Chicago to protest the acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse. Protesters continued on to march through the streets of Chicago joined by Reverend Jesse Jackson Sr and Frank Chapman. (Credit Image: © Karla Cote / SOPA Images via ZUMA Press Wire)

Blacks are more likely than whites (or anyone else) to be acquitted of murder, according to a University of Michigan study. Everybody is familiar with the high-profile acquittal of OJ Simpson, but there are plenty of lesser known cases. For example, “DaBaby,” a black musician, was not even tried after shooting and killing a man in a Walmart. Just days after the Rittenhouse verdict, Andrew Coffee, a black felon, shot at police officers after they entered his home with a search warrant. He hit one officer, others returned fire, and killed Mr. Coffee’s girlfriend. He was charged with felony murder for the death of his girlfriend as well as the attempted murder of a police officer. A jury acquitted him on both counts, finding that he acted in self-defense. Such decisions suggest there is no discernible bias against blacks in murder trials.

A recent case involved former college football player Isimemen Etute. He matched on Tinder with a person named “Angie Renee,” whom he believed was a 21-year-old woman. The two subsequently met, had sex, and parted ways. When Mr. Etute got home, he learned that the person was a 40-year-old white man named Jerry Smith. Mr. Etute returned to Mr. Smith’s home and beat him to death. After being charged with murder, Mr. Etute testified that he beat Mr. Smith to death because he believed the man was reaching under his mattress for a firearm. A police investigation found no gun. Mr. Smith didn’t own one.

Nevertheless, Mr. Etute was acquitted of second-degree murder, another black man acquitted of murder in the United States — something many people claim is unheard of.

You probably never heard of Mr. Etute. I learned of him from an obscure article on Fox News. There is little commentary on the case, and not one protest after the verdict.

When white men are acquitted, we are told that a black man would have been found guilty. When a black man is acquitted, there is silence.