When you think of a serial killer, who comes to mind? The Zodiac Killer, Ted Bundy, and Hannibal Lecter are iconic serial killers: sociopaths committing repeated murders, often with signs and symbols marking the murder as ”theirs”. But another characteristic links the fear, or fascination, with these particular perpetrators: their victims were mostly white women. Yet a serial killer is defined simply as a person who commits more than one murder; and they are just as dangerous regardless of who the victim is. Most are motivated by sex and don’t typically leave a “signature”.
West Hollywood businessman and well-known Democratic political donor Ed Buck is in fact a serial killer and should be investigated as one. Within 18 months of each other, two black men were found dead in Buck’s Los Angeles apartment. Both of the victims had been intimately involved with Buck. So why isn’t the media talking about him as a serial killer?
First, Ed Buck is a major political donor, which dissuades those who’ve received money from pursuing investigation. In fact, he donated to the election campaign of Los Angeles County DA Jackie Lacey, who is declining to prosecute him. This blatant disregard for the dignity of the deceased and the lack of investigation is unacceptable. We must act as allies by showing up and demanding that Ed Buck be investigated. In order to live in a truly free society we must mandate that the privileged are not unfairly protected from prosecution for committing heinous crimes against anyone.
Secondly, there is a cultural narrative of who a serial killer is, and what their victims look like: put plainly, the media carefully ignores crimes committed against people of color and members of the queer and trans community. This omission perpetuates the myth that a “serial killer” isn’t someone whose victims are part of a marginalized group. This omission results in an unconsciously biased definition that we all take in. We don’t have to be purposefully or interpersonally racist to to think racist thoughts- but understanding this, we must be diligent in exploring these inherited beliefs. It is our responsibility to intentionally challenge ourselves and unlearn the cultural framing of whiteness. We must challenge the internalized biases within ourselves in order to stand up as better advocates for justice.
This statement is submitted by White People 4 Black Lives (WP4BL), a white anti-racist collective and activist project of the Alliance of White Anti-Racists Everywhere (AWARE-LA) and operates within a national network of white anti-racists called Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ). WP4BL is rooted in acting in solidarity with Black Lives Matter: Los Angeles locally and the Movement for Black Lives nationally. Follow us @wp4bl on all platforms.