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Why Kyle Rittenhouse Is Wrong For Believing His Case Has 'Nothing To Do With Race'

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Kyle Rittenhouse, Black Lives Matter protest

In an interview with Fox News host Tucker Carlson, Kyle Rittenhouse insisted that his case has nothing to do with race.

Rittenhouse, who was acquitted on all charges after shooting two men and wounding another during a civil unrest that followed in response to the shooting of Jacob Blake at the hands of a white police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin last summer. 

“This case has nothing to do with race. It never had anything to do with race. It had to do with the right to self-defense,” Rittenhouse said, during a clip from the interview that is set to air on Monday night.

Except, the Rittenhouse trial had everything to do with race.

The then-17-year-old, armed with an AR-15, had gone to an anti-police brutality protest, flaunting his gun and repeatedly walking past police officers who did absolutely nothing to stop him.

RELATED: The Problem With Predominantely White Juries Deciding On Both Ahmaud Arbery And Kyle Rittenhouse Trials

Protestors in Kenosha had taken to the streets in righteous indignation against the white officers who had shot Blake.

For Rittenhouse, a white teenager, to bring a gun to a Black Lives Matter protest under the pretense of protecting property is an act of both white privilege and white vigilantism.

Black people around the country have started asking the question on what would have happened if Kyle Rittenhouse had been Black?

The answer is quite simple, they wouldn’t have made it to a trial.

If a Black teenager had arrived at a protest armed with an AR-15, police would not have let him walk past them, and they wouldn’t have asked if he needed water either.

Tamir Rice deserved the treatment Kyle Rittenhouse got.

In situations like this, it’s hard not to think about Tamir Rice, the 12-year-old boy in Cleveland, Ohio, who was playing with a toy gun in the park before a white police officer arrived and shot Rice.

It was within moments of getting out of his squad car that Timothy Loehmann shot the child.

Rice wasn’t given the benefit of the doubt, or the assumption of good intent, in fact, no Black person in this country is ever given either.

Rittenhouse was allowed to walk through a protest with a firearm. He was allowed to stand a trial and cry in front of an all-white jury and subsequently white America. 

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He was allowed to claim self-defense and to be acquitted of all charges without being labeled a terrorist.

White privilege is not being seen as a threat or hostile. 

It’s being able to avoid the highest punishment of the law just because of white male tears and the unwarranted power behind them.

If Kyle Rittenhouse was a person of color he would have been labeled a terrorist.

An unarmed Black teenager can be profiled as being a threat just for walking down the street wearing a hoodie, and carrying a can of Arizona and a pack of Skittles.

Arabs and Muslim Americans are the victims of xenophobia and are viewed as terrorists because of where they come from.

But people like Kyle Rittenhouse, are viewed as some sort of hero, and are able to walk out of a courtroom with their whole lives ahead of them.

It’s hard not to think about the Kalief Browders, the Breonna Taylors, the George Floyds, the Trayvon Martins, and the endless list of Black people in this country who weren’t granted the same privilege.

Kyle Rittenhouse is a product of both the racist justice system, and the society that enables it. 

He is praised by a country that holds favoritism for white vigilantism, and that in itself proves that his case has always been about race.

RELATED: Why The Criminal Histories Of Kyle Rittenhouse's Victims Have No Relevance In His Trial

Nia Tipton is a writer living in Brooklyn. She covers pop culture, social justice issues, and trending topics. Follow her on Instagram.