White people aren’t owed your sympathy: Keaton Jones and his racist family scams 60K over the weekend
Eight-year-old Keaton Jones went viral over the weekend for a video in which he laments being bullied as his mother, Kimberly Jones records him crying in the passenger seat of her car. Over the course of a few days, Keaton received invites to various events from Lebron James, Gal Gadot, Chris Evans and Mark Ruffalo. A GoFundMe account was also set up by a third party, which had raised around 57K dollars before it was shut down and pulled from the site. Joseph Lam, who set up the account, says that none of the funds raised have actually been given to the family.
While this was all happening, the Internet did what the Internet does and receipts were produced showing Kimberly Jones engaging in her own form of bullying, using the Confederate flag and racism. Jones attributed this to Southern pride and legacy of course. As white people so often do when called what they really are, she and her family denied the allegations of racism.
As others have astutely pointed out, this kind of reaction and radical outpouring of funds and support generally only happens when the victim of bullying is white. There are at least two cases that prove this: two children of color recently committed suicide after being bullied and neither of them has received this kind of lavish attention or offers from celebrities to offset their family’s pain and suffering. Jones and his family are undeniably profiting from the social capital and privilege of whiteness, even snagging an interview on CBS and not being grilled on their Confederate allegiance.
In the wake of all this controversy, Jones has deleted her Facebook profile, and the video which got their family all of this attention and short-term fame has now been deleted as well.
There is little about this story that is not drenched in whiteness, in the idea that a kid being bullied somehow absolves his family of their racism and that the family can simply weasel out of racism charges by saying that they aren’t racists. Far too many people continue to take white people at their word and defend them, and it’s time for this to end.