Christopher Dorner And His Racial Identity
The recent events surrounding Christopher Dorner and his troubles with allegations of institutional racism embedded within the LAPD as well as his seeming struggles with his racial identity, as he articulated in his manifesto, are sobering. Racial identity is shaped by beliefs and attitudes and is believed to be part of self-concept, which may influence the way in which black people see the world and their place in it.
Dorner, who was born in 1979 in New York and grew up in the Southern California suburban communities of Cerritos, Pico Rivera and La Palma (along with some time in Southern Utah), went to mostly-white schools. He recounts a story of attending Norwalk Christian Elementary School in Norwalk when a kid called him a racially insensitive word. “I struck him hard and fast with a punch and kick,” Dorner penned. The kid reported him, and Dorner was outraged. Both he and the other kid were swatted in punishment. But Dorner’s feelings of anger that day were something he kept with him throughout his life. “How dare you swat me for standing up for my rights for demanding that I be treated as an equal human being?” he stated in his very public treaty. “That day I made a life decision that I will not tolerate racial derogatory terms spoken to me.”
Could Christopher Dorner’s spiraling decline (in part) have come as a result of his internal and external troubles with his black skin? His ex-girlfriend Ariana Williams thinks so, telling ABC 7 that Dorner hated himself for being black, and at one point, asked her to act more like a white woman. Searching for racial identity in this racialized world has claimed the lives of too many people of color. As disconcerting and distressful as this is in this “free” nation, it is no justification for murder.
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