Zurana Horton, Black Woman, Hero… SCARLET Woman

Last Friday, 34-year-old Zurana Horton’s instincts prompted her to throw herself on top of a group of children in front of a Brownsville public school and shield them from gunfire coming from a rooftop.  As a result, Zurana was fatally shot in the head… dying instantly. Later, 18-year-old Andrew Lopez (who was arrested along with his brother) would confess to the shooting, and that he was aiming for an 11-year-old sixth grade girl (who survived injuries to her cheek and arm), he was reportedly having a dispute with over a cell-phone. Both brothers are believed to be members of a street gang.Brownsville is considered to be one of the most crime-ridden parts of Brooklyn, NY and is populated by mostly Black and Hispanic residents. Oh yes… and Zurana Horton’s selfless act left 12 (some reports say she had 13 with one on the way) children without their mother. None of the aforementioned facts about the neighborhood of Brownsville or Zurana’s numerous children should negate the fact that firing a gun from a rooftop, at an area swarming with children and innocent people, is a disturbing act that needs to be addressed (particularly when one considers New York’s strict stance on guns). Even more troubling is how the media has either seemingly ignored the story or reported it, riddled with underlying judgment… choosing to focus on the number of children Horton left behind, almost diverting attention away from the crime itself,  its victims, and Zurana’s heroism; which could seem like something out of a movie save for the accompanying comments on social media forums and Blogs about her background and the accompanying visual. Zurana Horton isn’t blond and fair, in fact her look (shown in the obscure picture making the media rounds, wearing large sunglasses and a coy smirk) belie the aesthetic most media outlets love to outline when describing women under duress. Wikipedia describes it as MWWS: Missing White Women Syndrome or Missing Pretty Girl Syndrome:

“A vernacular term used by some media and social critics to describe the seemingly disproportionate degree of coverage in television, radio, newspaper and magazine reporting of a misfortune, most often a missing person case, involving a young, attractive, white, upper-middle class (frequently blonde) woman or girl.”

And while Zurana didn’t go missing in the literal sense, the act that saved several young lives at the expense of her own, got lost in a sea of harsh criticism which included hate-filled vitriol about Brownsville and accused the slain mother of being nothing more than a “Welfare Queen” who “had no business having all those children.”  Notwithstanding the fact that no reports surfaced about Zurana Horton’s job status or lack thereof…

“My heart goes out to this brave woman and her family. I am sure she will be missed.
However, NO ONE should have 14 children. Maybe, I could see it if the parents were millionair­es, Nobel    Prize winners and Olympic athletes, but even then I would question the wisdom of their actions. This country (and the whole world) needs a population policy to DISCOURAGE people from having children, instead of subsidizin­g them.”

“I wonder how much of my tax money, both NY and federal, is going to go to supporting those 13 kids for the next several decades. Hero? She would have been a hero if she had stopped at 2, at least to the rest of society that now has to pay for their welfare, education, Medicaid, food stamps.”

“This whole thing could have been avoided if the mother had picked a healthier lifestyle. She started having children at 16 and never stopped. To be pregnant with 14 children at the age of 33 (or 34, different ages listed on different stories) is irresponsible, when she admitted that she couldn’t keep them safe. She obviously knew that it was a dangerous neighborhood and she said that she wanted to move, but she didn’t have money. But she has money to keep having kids????”

… And so the comments go.  Folks complaining about having to pay for the welfare of this woman’s children (despite her brave act) and presuming to think she was a piece of trash whose life had no value because of her environs, ethnicity, and look are no better than the young men who took her life and put other lives at risk. It’s also indicative of how little humanity some people possess, since they are able to hide behind the cloak of anonymity the Ignanet  Internet provides, spew hate and perpetuate racial stereotypes about someone they know virtually nothing about, other than the minutiae the media chooses to focus on.