Racist Masculinity Costs Dearly


Cassandra Merlin of Claremont NH, mother of 8-year-old Quincy (above), confides to Angela Helm at The Root the painful story of her children. Quincy was hung by their teenaged neighbors after racist taunts. Ayanna, his 11-year-old sister, witnessed it; the ringleader of the three teens lives two doors down. Ayanna is terrified, and yet at the time of this story, the police had not spoken to her as a witness. www.theroot.com/interview-mother-of-8-year-old-nearly-hung-in-nh-speak-1805654536
The Newsweek story on this was not clear: it included a rope and a picnic table—but left out the tree, so that it sounded as if the kid had been pushed off the table and gotten tangled in the rope. Kids do goofy, dangerous stuff.  www.newsweek.com/hanging-boy-biracial-8-years-old-black-white-new-hampshire-lynching-claremont-664415  But no, Helm's story and pictures explain that there was a rope hanging from a tree, where a tire swing had been, and that Quincy hung there while the teens, including a girl, walked away. The boy's injuries required days in the hospital, though his injuries are not only physical and affect his family, the neighborhood, the town, and now the nation.

About a hundred people turned out for a vigil, though it was  interrupted by a man driving past in a truck, who shouted, “All lives matter,” responding to “Black Lives Matter” signs in the crowd, according to NHPR. The man also yelled, “Stop making it about race.” readersupportednews.org/news-section2/318-66/45792-the-hate-report-boy-8-victim-of-attempted-lynching-in-new-hampshire

Why is this an economic story? Because it is about race, and also about gender. Let us count the long-lasting costs of male violence, while pretending race and gender don't sort out US economic order.  Notably, Cassandra is a single mom working as a bartender, living in a "rough" part of this white working-class town, with a younger child who also had to go to the hospital with a rare blood disorder. While in the hospital, a shooter came into Dartmouth Hitchcock Hospital, which had into shut-down mode, causing more trauma, requiring more police. The town has an opioid crisis and high poverty rates, so little Quincy Merlin’s trauma is set in a sea of traumas and violence--with a racist masculinity unleashed by Washington's Trump-fest of bombast and  bullying.
In what way did these teen boys know that their job is to police racism and enforce it? What purpose for those in power in Washington does such a racist masculinity serve?  The state is a masculine construction, enforced by police, who minimized this event until Quincy’s mom went public. Paul Kivel, who work on issues of domestic violence, says identity is about discovering “What do I stand for?” “Who do I stand with?” In this case, you needn’t choose. Both poor Quincy and those pathetic teen bullies on the rough side of town are suffering from an uncaring economy that wages war, threatening cuts to health care, opioid treatment, and support to working families, while  imposing austerity with low wages. We need to be waging life, not war.
There's a go-fund-me page set up for the family to help them leave the town that caused them so much pain. www.gofundme.com/helpquincyheal