|Gorillas as understood today|
First, this case involved the death of a gorilla, not some other animal or fierce predator. Gorillas, as presented in our classrooms and popular culture, are practically doctoral candidates with heart and soul. So in our cultural mind's eye, it's not just an animal, but a near person that was shot and killed. That's part of the knee jerk reaction.
Second, contrary to what the piece suggests, the other cases have, in fact, brought out questions about the parenting skills when the case involved a child falling into the respective animal pit. The frequently referenced story about the female gorilla that protected the young, unconscious child leaps to mind. I distinctly remember questions being asked about how the child got in there in the first place. I don't remember it being about race one way or another.
Third, it's now, not back then. Even a dozen years ago, the modern call against responsibility for those who fall through the cracks of progressive morality was not nearly as loud or constant as today. Today, the very thought of responsibility is anathema, and an entire section of American parents seem to regard holding parents accountable, or somehow telling kids the way it is, to be crimes punishable by all but death. I understand not rushing to judgement. I'm fine with not just lashing out at the parents. But asking where the parents were is not tantamount to another Treblinka.
It is, however, also the age of social media. This is a media that goes from blog post to scaffolding in less than 12 parsecs (for you Star Wars fans out there). Within minutes, you had screams of witch hunt and inquisition being shouted in every direction: at the zoo, at the ones who shot the gorilla, at the parents, at the child. You name it. All of this before anyone knew the skin color of anyone other than the gorilla, which at this point has escaped condemnation. And if you didn't think that once the parents' ethnicity was revealed that it wouldn't be made about race, especially against anyone daring to assume responsibility belongs to the parents, then all I can say is you might want to brush up on your current events.
As a bonus feature for making to the end of this post, you might want to read this, and pictures of tweets imagining that the real racism was when people thought the boy was white and, you know, white privilege and all. So before we even knew the race of anyone, it was about race. And how is it we consider conservatives as the only dunderheads in our society today?