Would Daunte Wright be dead if he was ‘white-passing’? ‘Deciding who’s white enough to live is absurd’: Internet

On Twitter, a dialogue began to emerge that seeks to answer the question of whether Wright's fate would have been different had he been 'more white-passing in appearance.' Many pointed to the Boulder shooting suspect Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa and other incidents

                            Would Daunte Wright be dead if he was ‘white-passing’? ‘Deciding who’s white enough to live is absurd’: Internet
Daunte Wright was shot dead by a cop, Kim Potter, in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota (Twitter: @kimvhyatt)

Daunte Wright's death by a cop in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, right in the midst of Derek Chauvin's murder trial has sparked fury across the nation. What makes the case even messier is the connections and similarities between Wright and George Floyd's lives and deaths.

As the Chauvin trial is underway, Kim Potter, the former White police officer who shot Wright dead, has been charged with second-degree manslaughter. Amid all this, a dialogue is emerging that seeks to answer the question of whether Wright's fate would have been different had he been "more white-passing in appearance".


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Daunte Wright (Twitter/Andy Ngo)

It was Twitter user Bree Newsome who shared the query on the social media site writing, "Daunte Wright’s mother is racially white but he’s unambiguously Black in phenotype & for that reason is positioned within a system of structural racism that ultimately murders him. If he had the same parentage but been more white-passing in appearance, would he have been stopped?"


The tweet has sparked a discussion on social media if a POC especially a Black person is already at a disadvantage. A user breaks it down further for better understanding pointing out the recent Boulder Spa shootings in Colorado that were allegedly targeted towards the Asian community. "This is basically asking if a person who appears white would be as brutally treated as a person who appears black. And the answer is no. Similarly, in the recent Boulder grocery store shooting, the suspect was Middle Eastern, but looked white. Thus police didn't shoot him dead." Another user tweeted, "It's absurd that we have to now wonder (as a multiracial community) whether we are 'Black enough to die' or 'White enough to live'..."



According to NAACP, a Black person is five times more likely to be stopped by a police officer “without just cause” than a White person, According to a 2019 paper based on data from police-involved deaths, Black men are "significantly more likely than white women and men to be killed by police".

Officer Kim Potter, part of the Brooklyn Center Police negotiation team (Star Tribune via Getty Images)

Several other users recalled their own personal experiences while others pointed out to similar incidents regarding the difference in approach by the police. "This naked white guy murdered 3, attacked a 4th, and not only resisted arrest, but chased the cop. And the cop ran from him!" a user shared noting a 2019 incident where a white male suspected of killing three people in Virginia was spotted at large, naked, attacking people in the street. But police did not opt for similar measures. 


Recently, Reddit co-founder and husband to Serena Williams, Alexis Ohanian, took to social media to share how his race automatically makes him liable to get better treatment from the police. Tagging the post #BecauseIWasWhite, he wrote, "Even when we’re 6′5″ and visibly intoxicated [and] asleep in our car, they’ll make sure we can call our friends to get us home safely."


On Instagram, he wrote of a 2005 incident on recalling his interaction with the police when "just a few months before graduation and starting reddit," an officer "found me asleep in my car, keys on the seat next to me" on the university campus. “I was drunk with an eighth of weed in my pocket. I’d had some fun with friends that evening and when I got back to my car, I knew there was no way I was driving anywhere, so I reclined the seat and passed out,” Ohanian wrote on Instagram. Ohanian said the officer eventually let him call some friends to come to pick him up, telling him he was “lucky” he didn’t have the car keys in the ignition. "For years, those friends and I would tell that story [and] laugh about that night... It was just a stupid college story," Ohanian said. "#BecauseIWasWhite. I walked away [and] entered Y Combinator - not a jail cell...or worse. I became an entrepreneur, not a statistic. I’m grateful for that police officer’s tolerance with me [and] disgusted that it’s so obviously not afforded (and never been) to everyone just because of their race," Ohanian had shared.

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