Quincy, the 8-year-old, did not die a physical death on August 28, 2017, when some neighborhood kids decided to hang him from a tire-swing rope noose, push him off the picnic table and walk away. He got airlifted to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center where he stayed for two days while they treated the injuries to his neck.
The family lives in Claremont, New Hampshire where the incident occurred. According to a report by The Root, Quincy and his 11-year-old sister went to a park in their neighborhood that is two doors from their house. Seeing friends at a house across the street from the park, they headed over there. They were looking for a friend of Quincy’s.
Quincy and his sister are biracial. The “friends” were white. According to Quincy’s mother, there had been some sort of incident with these kids earlier in the day, but Quincy is the forgiving kind. According to Cassandra Merlin, Quincy’s mother:
“This woman had told me earlier that day that the teenagers had been jumping Quincy and she had stopped the fight. And Quincy being the kid that he is, he just wants people to like him, [so he] decided to forgive the kids for what they had done and continued to play with them and his sister.”
Quincy (who will be turning 9 in about a week) is accustomed to being treated poorly for being biracial. As reported by The Root, his mother had this to say:
“When they were teaching in school about slavery, kids would tell him they couldn’t play with them because they were white and he was black,” she says. “And he’s had kids call him the n-word, and tease him for being a different race.”
So when the older kids (at least one as old as 14) started throwing sticks and rocks at Quincy’s legs, perhaps he didn’t overthink it. And when they fashioned a noose out of an old tire swing rope, he didn’t think much about it. When they stood around on top of the picnic table passing the loop around taking turns putting it on, he also didn’t think much about it.
Likely it wasn’t until the other kids got off the table and one kid said “Let’s do this,” and they pushed Quincy off the table and walked away from him that it became apparent there was a problem. In a single heartbeat, these neighborhood boys went from being playmates to potential murderers and to this day, from what I see few people seem to care. (Don’t get me wrong, things have happened, and I’ll get to those things in a moment. I’m speaking nationally when I say “few people.”)
Quincey’s mother resorted to reporting the incident on Facebook (a post that has since been deleted) because of the initial response and then continued lack of reaction from the Claremont Police Chief Mike Chase. The Chief went on record immediately after the incident saying about the teenagers: “Mistakes they make as a young child should not have to follow them for the rest of their life.”
The Root article says it quite well:
“In short order, not only did young Quincy get an early lesson in injustice, but he also got a searing taste of a tried-and-true American dictum: Black lives don’t matter (also, the criminal-justice system protects white men; also, nooses are just play things for silly kids; also, white kids who make mistakes will be protected; also, your body is less important than someone else’s “future;” also, racism is OK; also, you’re not safe).”
Quincy will bear the wounds of that day on his body and in his psyche for the rest of his life, and the Police Chief wants to let the kids who almost killed him in a racial act of hate off the hook with less than a slap on the wrist.
.Luckily the prevailing sentiment in New Hampshire and America is still one of inclusion and love.
On Tuesday, September, 12, 207, the city of Claremont held a rally and as reported by Valley News over a hundred people turned out in support of Quincy and to send a message of tolerance and inclusion.
“Hatred and bigotry will not be tolerated in New Hampshire,” Governor Chris Sununu said in a statement Tuesday, adding that he’s requested regular updates on the investigation. Additionally, the New Hampshire Attorney General’s office will be assisting the Claremont Police Department with the investigation. The determination will need to be made if this was a hate crime. It is important to get it right.
The City of Claremont recently joined a national program aimed at preventing violence around the city, but that doesn’t address racism at all. When asked what could be done to address racial tensions, City Manager Ryan McNutt was at a loss.
“I would have to really sit down and think about what we would do, specifically, for race [relations]. I’d like to keep the dialogue going to increase diversity in Claremont.”
Claremont is overwhelmingly white as is the region as a whole. Conversations about race don’t always come naturally or easily.
According to NHPR:
“As the vigil broke up at dusk, a pickup truck drove around the town square with a full-sized confederate flag waving in the wind.”
Does this mean that as far as the person with the Confederate flag is concerned, this little boy deserves to be dead because he’s biracial?
I believe the children who pushed Quincy off the picnic table with a noose around his neck and walked away need to suffer some consequences for almost killing Quincy. I believe they also need to suffer some consequences for nearly killing Quincy because of the color of his skin. To me, these are two distinctly different issues.
How many other white 14-year old killers are there in America?
What about the parents of these children? Are they not liable for these kids’ values and morals, or lack of them?
I don’t know about you, but children like this are not ok in my country. What they did to Quincy is not ok, none of the racism that we have in America is ok.
Racism is the number one issue in America. Until we get over our racism and prejudice of others based on the color of their skins, we will never solve anything.
Come on America! What’s it going to be? Is this what we’ve become?
Talk about racism with any children you know (in addition to friends and family). Teach them acceptance and tolerance. Let them know racism has no place in America. We are a country of immigrants who came and displaced the native people who were already here because we were white. That was wrong. We went to Africa and stole people to use as slaves and treated them as less than human because they were not white. That was wrong. We continue to treat all people of color as if they are in some way less than whole, and that is wrong.
It’s time to make apologies. It’s time to heal. It’s time to embrace our unity and oneness. Not only do religions teach unity, but oneness is also now proven by science. It’s time to evolve into new humans. It’s time to embody love and compassion. It’s time to embody forgiveness (which is not the same as actions without consequence).
It’s time to heal.