Letter from the Publisher: Keaton Jones Reminds us to Look Out for Each Other

rs_1080x1921-171211141447-Keaton-Jones-1It was ninth grade, and it was the end of swimming. You have five minutes to shower, dress AND make it to your class. The locker room is very similar to the African plains that way- you are either predator or prey.  I was 6’1, skinny, voice-changing, but I was on the basketball team and world class drill king. For those of you who don’t know, drilling is when you and a fellow-combatant verbally berate each other with witty exchanges about clothes, level of intelligence etc. (i.e. your hair so short you could roll it with rice…)  However, on this day there was a couple dynamics at play.

Someone got the window open. Then three boys approached one skinnier boy who was alone and totally unsuspecting. He was grabbed and thrown out of the window- it was on the ground floor luckily.  But still I was dumbfounded; I will never-ever forget the look of terror on his face as the girls were coming in from the fields.

But I never came to his aid or even went to tell a teacher. In other words, I was complicit in this horrible bullying incident. To this day, I am sorry. I absolutely repudiate bullying.

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I could NEVER understand, accept, tolerate, ignore someone being bullied or watching a bully. But that day I did nothing.

I thought about this incident after the Keaton Jones bullying video that went viral.  Jones was bullied by a number of students who spilled milk on him; shoved ham down his pants, said he had no friends and goodness only knows what else.  This video was produced by his mother (Kimberly Jones), the video struck a nerve with hundreds of thousands of people and at last check it has been viewed over one million times.

I felt bad for him on a base human level. These kids were ruining his middle-school experience.  They felt as though it was right for them to make him feel bad, humiliate him, embarrass him, shame him, put him in his place (where is this fictitious place?).
Then something happened, people heard his cries, saw the pain on his face, felt his anguish.  Delanie Walker of the NFL Tennessee Titans, Katy Perry, Dana White, Chris Evans and others rallied around this little boy.  A Go Fund Me was set up and tens of thousands of dollars rolled in, right before Christmas. So all’s well that ends well, right?  Wrong!

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As many people do, they let their fingers do the walking as they wanted to find out more about Keaton and his mother (Kimberly Jones) remember her ? She was the producer and shot the video.  Well, Kim has been busy. Hard at work holding the stars / bars confederate flag, along with terrible comments regarding the NFL protestors, BLM Movement, etc.  Now it has come out that Keaton’s father is currently incarcerated and his body and FB page is littered with white supremacist propaganda.  I find it totally ironic that her son is being bullied and picked on for his differences and yet his mother has done and is doing the same thing.

She was given a chance to reset and clean it all up on the CBS Morning show on Tuesday and said this: ” I’ve spent most of my life being bullied and judged because I wasn’t racist”.

Note to Kim, that means your friends are racist and birds of a feather flock together.

She was also on ABC News another chance to change the rhetoric, maybe even say I have said things that didn’t display my best self and I would like to take this moment and apologize to ALL of those I have wronged with my sharp words and hurtful and insensitive thoughts…Nope. Instead Ms. Jones said: ” I feel like anybody who wants to take the time to ask anybody who I am or even troll through some other pictures, I mean I feel like we’re not racist. The photo of her holding the confederate flag was meant to be “ironic and funny and extreme”.

It’s always funny that when white supremacist are caught they back-pedal and are instantly not white supremacists.  Dating a man whose body is covered in tattoo that suggest he is a member of “CWB” (Crazy White Boys) is extreme.  Saying you have racists friends who judge you and bully you for not being racist in extreme because those people are racists.  So here we are and where do we go from here?  I do believe that his mother is a racist. I hope that somehow Keaton doesn’t grow up to be one as well.

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Finally, I want to say this as a black man: I think we have so many issues as a group that we don’t need to take on anyone else’s baggage.  People gave so much money to Keaton whose mother and father I am certain wouldn’t display the same care and concern if it was reversed.  Before the Keaton video out west in Colorado, 10-year-old Ashawnty Davis committed suicide after she fought her bully, but the fight was recorded by cellphone and downloaded to Musical.ly.  Ashawnty heard that the fight was recorded and downloaded and she came home from school two weeks after the fight and hanged herself.

Where were the Denver Broncos players ?  The actors and actresses, singers, rappers? Where were we when the Go Fund Me went up ?  We need our advocates to be as loud for us as they are for others.

For Christmas these 2 mothers Kimberly Jones and Latoshia Harris will have 2 different realities; One mothers child lost sleep, lost days in school, lost tears. The other mom’s child lost her life.

This is a perfect example of how a bad situation has been made worse.

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