So What Race Is April Pikes?


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On Tuesday of this week, April 28, an incident took place in a Houston Wal-Mart that should have made national news. It hasn’t. In fact, the story has scarcely left Houston.

Jeremiah MatthewsThe nature of the incident could not be more topical. Jeremiah Matthews, 23, attacked Houston Community College police officer, April Pikes, with a hunting knife while she moonlighted as a security guard. Matthews stabbed Pikes fourteen times, tried to pull her gun, and would likely have killed her had not store patrons intervened. As it is, Pikes had to undergo a six-hour surgery, remains in intensive care, and may lose an arm. Police have charged Matthews with attempted capital murder.

Matthews is black. He was not at all subtle about his motives. Reportedly, he told investigators that he was out to kill an officer “because cops are oppressive.”

Outside Houston Police Department headquarters, Matthews' mother stood with community activist Deric Muhammad. Muhammad alleged that Matthews had been a victim of racial profiling before and blamed Matthews’s rage on the situation in Baltimore.

"Did that have anything to do with why Jeremiah did what he did? And our answer to that question is we cannot say for certain, but there is a possibility," said Muhammad.

Hours after Pikes was stabbed, the ever officious President Obama said, “We have seen too many instances of what appears to be police officers interacting with individuals, primarily African-American, often poor, in ways that raise troubling questions.”

What Obama failed to say is that those are the only kind of instances Americans are allowed to see. If an interaction goes wrong, if even it appears to go wrong, the media are quick to cover it and proclaim the race of both the “victim” and the offending white police officer or “white Hispanic” community watch captain.

If the interaction involves a clearly violent black perpetrator and a white victim or a cop of any race, the major media will bury the story unless it is too big to ignore. In the Houston case, we know Matthews’s race because we can see his photo. In no media account that I could find do we learn the race of April Pikes.

April who?

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