In today’s episode of Existing While Black, a white man from Kansas has been sentenced to 27 months in federal prison and 18 months of supervised release all because he spotted a Black man walking in his neighborhood and couldn’t stand the idea of him taking up residence there.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, 27-year-old Colton Donner was driving through a residential area of Paola, Kansas, (which he no doubt spells with three Ks) when he saw a Black man walking on the sidewalk minding his own business—a thing many white people in America see as a threat in itself. The DOJ wrote in a press release that “Donner stopped, got out of the car, and approached the victim while brandishing a knife” then “threatened the victim, yelled racial slurs, and told the victim that Paola is a ‘white town.’”
Apparently, we’ve finally reached a time in America where there’s at least a sliver of a chance white people will be held accountable for random racial intimidation. Donner’s victim, who hasn’t been identified publicly, could have easily been the next Trayvon Martin or Ahmaud Arbery. These cases always start with someone who spots a Black person and decides they don’t belong.
“Racially-motivated threats and violence have no place in our society today,” Assistant Attorney General Clarke said in a statement. “This sentence should send a strong message to perpetrators of violent hate-fueled acts that they will be held accountable for their crimes. Everyone deserves to feel safe and secure living in their communities, without being subject to racially-motivated crimes seeking to drive them from their homes or neighborhoods.”
Other officials involved in the case, such as Special Agent in Charge Dayoub and U.S. Attorney Slinkard, shared similar statements, but, truthfully, it’s a rose-colored sentiment. Black people are never really safe as long as racist white people roam free and are emboldened by a country where white supremacy is still alive and well.
People like Donner reflect traditional America, and we should never not be aware of that.