Even Schiavo’s doctors, reportedly, debated for several years about whether or not to keep her on life support, while Jahi’s family can barely get a month of the same from the physicians caring for their daughter.
A lot has, of course, changed since 2005. Not so, however, in terms of the suspicious and often awkward racial selectivity of conservatives, and the causes they champion. White conservatives and gun-rights advocates were quick to jump to the defense of Trayvon Martin killer George Zimmerman. But when Marissa Alexander, a black mother in Florida, tried to avail herself of “Stand your ground” laws after firing warning shots against her abusive husband, she landed a 20-year prison sentence—and Zimmerman fans were nowhere to be found.
From the black mom who went to jail—even when she didn’t kill anyone—to the white guy with gun problems who seems like he’s made of Teflon, that double standard lives on. Sometimes, you see it peeking over our shoulder, lurking in the contrast between the white president, who went all-in to save the comatose white woman, and the current black president, who’s stayed mum, so far, about the black girl going through a similar situation. Not that it means politicians have to do something about it—ultimately we can only leave these matters to higher callings and modern science.
But, it does show where their hearts are—and where they aren’t.
Charles D. Ellison is a veteran political strategist and frequent contributor to The Root. He is also Washington correspondent for the Philadelphia Tribune and chief political correspondent for Uptown magazine. You can reach him via Twitter.