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Keaton Jones, Ashawnty Davis and the White Supremacist Limits of Empathy

We live in a society where empathy and compassion is limited for Black, Indigenous, and children of color and it is instead reserved to white children, who only have agency due to their white privilege, period.

It’s hard not to look at the viral video of Keaton Jones, an elementary school boy, looking straight into the camera, completely distraught over the kids who bully him at school. In first watching the video, my initial instincts were those of pain and understanding, I too was a victim of bullying throughout grade school.

Within days, Keaton’s video had gone viral — from celebrity invitations to a GoFundMe page that currently has over $56,000 in donations. Yes, it seemed that America’s compassion for Keaton was strong, but that’s just the way it seemed. It didn’t take long before the real story surfaced. A Facebook post, by Keaton’s mother, Kimberly Jones, showing family members posing with a confederate flag as she scathingly insults opposition — in short, supporting white supremacy as she bullied black people. The story of how the Jones family finessed the country began to unfold. But is it really finesse? Or another example of white supremacy supporting itself?

You may just now be hearing about the story of Ashawnty Davis, a 10-year old black girl who was the victim of bullycide. But Ashawnty’s story came almost two weeks before the faux-bullying of Keaton Jones and a GoFundMe page set up by her family to cover funeral expenses, has exceeded its original goal of $10,000, but only after the wake of Keaton’s story. When you compare the coverage between Ashawnty and Keaton it reveals a lot: Ashawnty’s GoFundMe currently stands at $36,000 of its $10,000 goal, while Keaton stands at roughly over $56,000 of his $20,000 goal. On the surface it may seem  as if this is only about money, but it’s far more than just about how many donations have been received — there were no celebrities pleading for justice, there were few funds raised, there was little coverage, and no viral video for the funeral of Ashawnty Davis.

We live in a society where empathy and compassion is limited for Black, Indigenous, and children of color and it is instead reserved to white children, who only have agency due to their white privilege, period.


In the 1940’s, the doll test experiment was created to study children’s attitudes about race. Today, the test is used to study black children’s internalized concept of which race is considered the most physically attractive. This shows how early black children are conditioned to believe they belong in a subordinate group. It is racism, specifically misogynoir, that caused no one to bat an eyelash in the wake of Ashawnty’s death, while Keaton and his family were able to tug at the heartstrings of white privilege to aid them in going viral.

Since the white supremacy of the Jones family has been unearthed, Kimberly Jones deleted her Facebook page, an Instagram page suddenly does not belong to the Jones family, Lakyn, the sister of Keaton has begun deleting her old racist tweets and photos. It doesn’t take hindsight to know that the Jones are trying to cover their tracks. But it’s not hard to understand that what happened with Keaton Jones is no controversy at all, the evidence is there.

If you would like to find a way to help people of color today, you can start by checking out #TransCrowdFund, #DisabilityCrowdFund, and #GiveYourMoneyToBlackWomen, utilized by people who are in actual need of support. You can give to the family of Ashawnty Davis, even if they have already exceeded their goal, they can always use more funds in the wake of losing a child to bullycide. You can curate a list of anti-bullying organizations to donate to.

Just whatever you do, please do not donate your time or money to oppressors.




Featured Image: Ashawnty Davis via WFSB.com


Serena is a transgender writer who focuses on culture through an LGBT+ lens. When she's not writing you can catch her obsessing over the latest episodes of Game of Thrones and Stranger Things.

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