I didn’t think it was possible for a series of tweets to accurately synopsize a city (Pittsburgh), a country (America), a mindset (whiteness), a political policy (kind colonization) and a person, but Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto somehow did exactly that.
Last night, Shaun King tweeted out the news about the death of Antwon Rose Jr., the 17-year-old shot (reportedly in the back) and killed by Pittsburgh-area police.
Now, this shooting happened in a borough named East Pittsburgh, which exists a few miles east of Pittsburgh. King’s tweet referred to that area as the East Pittsburgh area, which could be read as if the shooting happened in the city of Pittsburgh but on the east side.
It’s a confusing semantic detail that matters, but in comparison with the actual story about a dead teenager shot in cold blood by the police, who gives a shit?
Well, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto gives all of the shits.
I’ve read this tweet maybe a dozen times, just to make sure I’m not missing anything. And in none of my rereads did I see any reference to the teenager killed or any thoughts and prayers for the friends and family members of Antwon Rose Jr., or any sort of acknowledgment that black people in the Greater Pittsburgh area might have a genuine reason to be fearful of and even hateful toward the police.
Nope, just “Our name’s Bennett and we ain’t in it.”
(Also, for context, those familiar with the Pittsburgh area know how easily the city and the surrounding boroughs and municipalities bleed into one another. It’s the type of city where you could technically be in East Pittsburgh but still think you’re in Pittsburgh. If this sounds like some tomato-tomahto shit, that’s because it is.)
To be fair, Peduto tweeted an apology earlier today. It was nice and concise and sufficient at both base and ass covering. Kudos for Bill Peduto, the mayor of Totally, Definitely, Absolutely Not East Pittsburgh.