Tuesday, August 19, 2014


I've decided to dust off the bog for this one.

For some deeply masochistic reason, I've been doing something I don't usually do – read comments on public Facebook posts. Not every detail of the Mike Brown case is entirely clear, but the facts as we have them make it very difficult to see the cop as anything but guilty. Guilty, I'm pretty sure, of murder in the first degree but at least manslaughter. The actions of the the Ferguson PD – leaving the body in the sun for hours, smearing Mike Brown's character with information that is questionable and is certainly not pertinent to the case – have been clearly despicable. Still there are a number of people that have their own set of dubious "facts" and a passionate, if sick, conclusion.

First, they take it as gospel truth that Mike Brown attacked the Darren Wilson, although there is absolutely no evidence for that except for the testimony of the killer himself.

Second, they have fallen hook, line, and sinker for the Ferguson PD's race baiting and proclaim to the high heavens that Brown was a "thief," "thug," and weirdly, a "felon."

Third, They are deeply attached to the idea that a white policeman could not kill a black youth even mistakenly, let alone murderously. Even if Mike Brown had committed a crime and attacked the cop, there is still no justification for his killing (unless you accept the fantasy, against several eyewitnesses, that a wounded kid would charge an armed cop). Usually though, they leap directly from the alleged theft or the alleged attack to a simple justification for the killing: "He was a thief..." "That's what you get when you're a thug..." "Did he think he could just attack a cop and get away with it?" In the end, there is a simple process that goes like this: black kid + alleged crime + alleged marijuana use  + rap, "gang signs," etc. = an irredeemable criminal who deserves nothing better than to be shot dead on the street.

All this about an eighteen-year-old kid.

This is what racism is about and this is what the protests in Ferguson are about. The Mike Brown murder is just another element in a long line of devaluing the citizenship and the very lives of African-Americans, something that apparently is a regular occurrence in Ferguson. It seems that a substantial sector of white America is complicit in this process, the deep, dark dismissal of the humanity of millions of their fellow citizens.

A couple of links: This series of tweets explains why the case against Wilson is s strong, and how the appeals to racism work. Ta-Nahisi Coates on Ferguson.