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The #BlackLivesMatter Angle in Lesbian Couple’s Murder-Suicide Mystery

Posted on | April 7, 2018 | 6 Comments

 

We may summarize the Hart family story in a single sentence: Two white lesbians adopt six black children, abuse them for a decade, parade them around as mascots, and then kill them in a murder-suicide.

A brutal summary perhaps, but accurate.

My conservative readers will, I suppose, read this as a cautionary tale about same-sex families, but liberals are noticing something else:

When Devonte Hart’s emotional photo went viral in 2014, white America embraced it. The image of a black kid in a fedora, giving out “free hugs” to a white officer during a police brutality protest was viewed as a sign of hope and racial reconciliation. It was, as CNN put it, “the picture we needed.”
But like many black Americans, I was skeptical. As an adopted child abuse survivor, I identified with the pain I saw on Devonte’s face and bristled at what seemed to be a staged act of virtue, a black boy forced by his white adoptive mothers to overcome his fears and offer comfort and hope to white people. . . .
Authorities believe that Devonte’s body may have washed out to sea last month after one of his mothers intentionally plunged the family’s SUV off a 100-foot cliff in California, with his five siblings inside. Since then, a timeline of suspected abuse has emerged stretching back a decade. The children had complained to teachers and neighbors about being hit and deprived of food. One teenage daughter looked nearly half her age. And in the days before the family disappeared, Devonte had repeatedly prodded neighbors to contact authorities for help. He showed up at their home three times one day to get food for his siblings, they said.
But even as these details came out, some continued to defend Jennifer and Sarah Hart.
Friends of the couple took to social media with angelic stories about the mothers and criticized the “rush to judgment” that they were abusive. In a long tribute written on Facebook, one friend said the couple was “the example of marriage and parenting that I looked to and wanted to emulate.” . . .
It seems that America cannot see or hear black children’s tears unless they are framed in the context of white redemption or white saviorism. In the 2014 photo, people looked past Devonte’s pain to see what they wanted to see, what they needed to believe: an image of racial unity, forgiveness, and progress that isn’t happening in America. And now, many are struggling to see two white women, who “saved” a half-dozen black children from their hard beginnings, as anything other than virtuous.
Why can’t we fix our collective lips to say that the Harts were probably horrible parents and that any good they may have done for their children was canceled out by the heinous crime they’re suspected of committing? Is it because they were white? Is it because they were lesbians? Or women? Or liberal? . . .

You can read the rest of that by Morgan State University Professor Stacey Patton, who is certainly not the only one who’s noticed the angle of “white saviorism” in the Hart murder-suicide story.

Before going further, permit me to digress slightly to say that more than 20 years ago, I read The Autobiography of Malcolm X and was struck by one point the firebrand black separatist made, namely that white liberals who want to “help” black people are actually part of the problem. Perhaps no one could be more truly “racist” than white liberals who believe their own beneficent assistance is necessary to black “progress.”

The phenomenon of “white saviorism,” as Professor Patton calls it, certainly did not begin with 21st-century “social justice warriors” (SJWs). We can trace this back to Société des amis des Noirs (“The Society of the Friends of Blacks”) in revolutionary France:

They opposed slavery, which was institutionalized in the French colonies of the Caribbean and North America, and the African slave trade. The Society was created in Paris in 1788, and operated until 1793, during years of the French Revolution. It was led by Jacques Pierre Brissot . . .

Brissot was a Girondist who went to the guillotine in October 1793, and perhaps there is a lesson here for latter-day amis des noirs, but those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it, I suppose. One does not have to defend l’ancien régime to deplore revolution and terror, or to be skeptical toward utopian schemes of “social justice,” but I digress . . .

Jennifer Hart holds up Devonte at a 2011 ‘Occupy Minnesota’ protest.

“Is it because they were lesbians? Or women? Or liberal?” Professor Patton asks of those still in denial about Jen and Sarah Hart’s abuse of the six children they adopted from Texas, and we ought to be curious about the role that political correctness played in this tragedy.

One of my pet peeves about media bias is the way liberal journalists act as public-relations agents for favored “victim” groups. In The Vision of the Anointed, Thomas Sowell describes (pp. 149-182) the tendency of liberals to see the world in terms of sympathetic “mascots” (e.g., the homeless) and demonized “targets” (e.g., big business). No doubt, black children born into poverty would qualify as “mascots” in this liberal vision, as would a lesbian couple like the Harts. This almost certainly explains why, even after the abusive record of the Hart family became public, liberal journalists continued quoting sympathetic friends of the Harts:

“Monday night was really tough,” Jammie Hermans said.
Thousands of miles away, Hermans learned about the tragic deaths of her close friends.
“I just can’t fathom losing two friends and their entire family,” she said.
Hermans knew Jenn for more than 20 years. They grew up together in South Dakota. The family she says she knows was happy and always having fun.
“This world has lost something because we lost a family that champions for things that matter,” Hermans said. . . .
In the following days Hermans, along with the rest of the world, would learn about allegations of abuse.
“I’m not asking the world to view them as perfect or to condone possible child abuse, what I’m asking for is fairness, because they are being tried in the court of public opinion,” she said.

Jammie Hermans was the friend whose Facebook post was quoted by Professor Patton as describing the Harts as “the example of marriage and parenting that I looked to and wanted to emulate”:

The family’s mixed races have fueled suspicion and anger around the case, reflected in hundreds of online comments left on Facebook postings mourning the family. Many of the comments questioned the motives of white women who adopted black children.
“Your friends are killers,” wrote one commenter in response to a post by Jammie Hermans, a friend of the Harts’ who had written a long tribute that called the couple “the example of marriage and parenting that I looked to and wanted to emulate.”
Hermans, in an interview, said the messages she has endured on Facebook demonstrate “how far we still have to go in race relations. The racial tension is still there.”

We may have finally reached “peak SJW” — a white liberal woman whose lesbian friend killed six black children, praising this murderous psycho as an “example of marriage and parenting” worthy of emulation. And, when her praise elicits (understandable) angry reactions from black people, she says this shows “how far we still have to go in race relations.”

The Hart family’s SUV plunged off an oceanside cliff in California.

There were no brake marks on that highway overlooking the Pacific shore, police say. Jennifer Hart drove toward that cliff at top speed. Why? Because for the fourth time, the Harts were being investigated for child abuse, and so their “family that champions for things that matter” had to die together, plunging 100 feet headlong into the abyss.

Many mysteries still surround this case. For example, how could the Harts afford to adopt these children? These women from South Dakota were in their mid-20s, just two or three years out of college and living in Minnesota when they adopted the first three kids from Texas. It costs a good bit of money for attorneys’ fees, etc., to adopt children, and the Harts were working jobs in retail, so where did they get the money? Also, shouldn’t we have expected that officials in Texas — quite a conservative state — would hesitate to approve the adoption of these black children by a pair of out-of-state lesbians? Or was this a case of Texas racism overcoming Texas homophobia, so that shipping these black children off to Minnesota served some kind of weird white-supremacist agenda? “Yeah, let those crazy Yankee lesbians have ’em!”

Devonte Hart with his ‘Free Hugs’ sign at a 2012 Bernie Sanders rally.

One of the unwritten rules of liberal journalism is that homosexuality can never be portrayed in a negative way. Even in the case of homosexual serial killers like Andrew Cunanan or Jeffrey Dahmer, their crimes must never reflect poorly on the cause of “gay rights.” Homosexuals are always celebrated in the liberal media as heroic victims of societal prejudice, just as black people are heroic victims of racism and women are heroic victims of sexism. Anyone who objects to this kind of one-sided coverage is condemned as a “hater” — racist! sexist! homophobe!

This simplistic division of humanity into heroic victims (women, homosexuals, racial minorities) and demonized oppressors (white heterosexual males) is so deeply entrenched in the minds of liberals that, whenever a high-profile crime fails to fit the narrative, the media experience cognitive dissonance. Two lesbian Bernie Sanders supporters drive off a cliff with a vanload of black kids? No, this doesn’t fit the “social justice” narrative, and conservatives can enjoy the schadenfreude of watching liberal journalists squirm while trying to explain it.

Maybe those lesbians were crazy? No liberal would say such a thing aloud. The possibility that not everyone in the LGBT community is a model of good mental health can only be mentioned if the purpose is to imply that homophobia is to blame for such psychiatric issues.

There are many mysteries involved in the Hart family saga, including the influence of the New Age “community” to which they apparently belonged. Could it be that a neopagan spirituality movement — perhaps connected to the Rajneeshee cult — was somehow implicated in this tragedy? Is all that hippie-dippie peace-and-love stuff a “progressive” façade concealing weird and sinister secrets?

Jennifer Hart was from a devout Catholic family. When her grandmother died in 2006, the obituary noted that all five of Marjorie Hart’s children, including Jennifer’s father, attended Catholic school in Huron, South Dakota. It is perhaps not surprising to discover that Jennifer Hart and her wife (Sarah Gengler, of Big Stone City, S.D., whom Jennifer met when they both attended Northern State University in Aberdeen, S.D.) were “substantially estranged” from their families. Imagine being from a large Catholic family in a small town in South Dakota (Huron is a town of just 13,000 people) and your daughter goes off to college, gets into a lesbian relationship, moves to Minnesota, adopts six black children, and then starts traveling around to hippie New Age music festivals and Bernie Sanders rallies with her SJW “Brady Bunch” tribe.

It may be easy for liberals in a big city like Portland to shrug this off, but in small-town South Dakota? This is a scandal. Can you imagine the Hart family trying to explain to their friends at Holy Trinity parish why Jennifer’s life went so horribly wrong?

So, yeah, they were “substantially estranged” from their families, and their social network was a bunch of their New Age hippie friends. Then one night the lesbians drive off a cliff in an apparent murder-suicide, and “a family that champions for things that matter” suddenly becomes a story that doesn’t quite fit the social-justice narrative.

The liberal media must be desperately hoping we’ll just forget about this.

UPDATE: Welcome, Instapundit readers!

UPDATE II: Texas taxpayers subsidized Jennifer Hart’s adoption of these children to the tune of $270,000.




 

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