In our race-sick culture, people react to shootings and atrocities in a funny way. They want to know what the race or ethnicity of the victim is; they want to know what the race or ethnicity of the perpetrator is. They will shape their reactions accordingly.
We saw this in the recent Virginia shooting, hilariously and sickeningly, and we see it all the time.
I must say, on a related note, that I sympathize with people who worry that their group will be tainted by the bad behavior of members of that group. I have known Muslims who think, when they hear of an atrocity, “Please let it be done by someone else, this time.”
Two days ago, the New York Times published a moving obit of Frank E. Petersen Jr., the first black Marine Corps general. Listen to this: “He was 9 when Pearl Harbor was attacked on Dec. 7, 1941, and while he was unsure what war was, he knew the Japanese had done America wrong. ‘I was scared,’ he recalled, ‘but happy that it hadn’t been black people who’d done it.’”
Very, very human.