Commentary Strange Fruit

It started with a viral video of Keaton Jones, an 11-year-old boy in Knoxville, Tennessee. In the video, he’s crying and talking about how he was bullied at school. After his mom posted the footage online, celebrities supported him and people started fundraising for his family.

It only took a day or two for more of the story to come out: Keaton’s mom’s motives were called into question, and her old Facebook posts showed her posing with Confederate flags.

This week on Strange Fruit we talk about the post and the backlash. Author Arielle Newton wrote an essay about it called “Empathy is for White Kids: Keaton Jones and the Black Children We Ignore for White Supremacists.” She joins us to unpack why empathy seems to be automatic for white kids, but not so quick for children of color.

And we’ll also chat with journalist and activist George Johnson about his recent piece, “Fear of the State, Fear of My Home: To Be Black and Queer in America.”

Laura produces Curious Louisville, Strange Fruit, and other audio news stories for WFPL.