The Internet is abuzz with the story of American dentist Walter J. Palmer, who spent $50,000 to travel to Zimbabwe and shoot a lion. However, it turns out the lion was Cecil, a local favorite known for his distinctive black mane. Palmer also skinned Cecil and cut off his head. Backlash against Palmer has been swift with people savaging him on social media. Celebrities such as singer Arianna Grande and late-night host Jimmy Kimmel have spoken passionately about Cecil’s death. Kimmel even shed tears on his show over the incident. The criticism has been so harsh Palmer has shut down his dental practice and gone into hiding.
However, some writers are suggesting people seem to care more about a dead lion than the Black people killed on a weekly basis by American police. Huffington Post writers Julia Craven and Kim Bellware said white Americans have shown more interest about Cecil than the #Blacklivesmatter movement.
“It seems like Americans, in general, found it easier to condemn a man who killed a lion than to criticize police officers who abuse their power,” said The Huffington Post writers. “It took more than six months to simply bring charges against the Cleveland officer who killed Tamir Rice, an unarmed, 12-year-old child who was shot to death while playing at a park. It took over a year for an off-duty Chicago cop to be charged for Rekia Boyd’s death.”
Raw Story writer David Ferguson said Americans seemed to be more informed about Cecil’s death than the recent rash of Black women who have died in police custody.
“Not so the death of Sandra Bland, which has seen major network news anchors asserting that she could have used her lit cigarette as a weapon against the police. Others have argued that Bland only had her own ‘arrogance’ to blame for the fact that she ended up dead in a prison cell over an improper lane change,” Ferguson said. “Or what about the other women of color who have died in police custody over the last two weeks?”
The Huffington Post also pointed that while Americans were up in arms over Cecil, they seemed to be largely unaware Robert Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe for more than 30 years, has been torturing and killing his countrymen for decades.
“Those outraged over Cecil also failed to deplore the human and wildlife rights abuses committed by Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe. Probably because most Americans know little and care less about Zimbabwe, its people or, on most days, its wildlife,” reported the Huffington Post.
According to The Huffington Post, campaigning for Cecil, the deadline lion, is a safe cause that doesn’t require Americans to deal with thorny issues like race and police brutality.
“As Greg Gutfeld, a host of Fox News talk show ‘The Five,’ put it, this is ‘easy outrage,’” reported the Huffington Post. “No one has to grapple with difficult but necessary questions about how America treats its black citizens. No one is asking what Cecil could have done differently, how he could have avoided this outcome or which of his minor missteps justified a violent death.”
The national obsession over a dead lion seems to prove America cares more about animals than the deaths of Black people, both at home and in Africa. The Huffington Post pointed out Cecil’s was killed in July and the government has already taken action.
“Cecil’s death has already inspired the introduction of a New Jersey bill to protect endangered species,” reported the Huffington Post. “Perhaps it’s facile to compare this to the dearth of legislation addressing police violence. But it is worth noting how many black Americans had to die before Congress reauthorized a law, after a six-year lapse, aiming to protect black life.”