I don't support the looting in Ferguson, Missouri. But I'm also tired of "turning the other cheek" and forgiving
By Brittney Cooper
The irony is that black people understand this heightened anxiety. We feel it, too. We study white people. We are taught this as a tool of survival. We know when there is unrest in the souls of white folks. We know that unrest, if not assuaged quickly, will lead to black death. Our suspicions, unlike those of white people, are proven right time and time again.
I speak to this deep psychology of race, not because I am trying to engage in pop psychology but because we live in a country that is so deeply emotionally dishonest about both race and racism. When will we be honest enough to acknowledge that the police have more power than the ordinary citizen? They are supposed to. And with more power comes more responsibility.
Why are police calling the people of Ferguson animals and yelling at them to “bring it”? Because those officers in their riot gear, with their tear gas and dogs, want a justification for slaughter. But inexplicably in that moment we turn our attention to the rioters, the people with less power, but justifiable anger, and say, “You are the problem.” No. A cop killing an unarmed teenager who had his hands in the air is the problem. Anger is a perfectly reasonable response. So is rage.
We are moving backwards because of the persistence of racism and a relaxation of the fight against it.
By Bob Herbert
Anyone who took Bush’s pledge seriously would have ended up disappointed because nothing of the sort happened. The poor black people of New Orleans faded back into the invisibility from which they had come.
It was ever thus: Some tragic development occurs; the media spotlight homes in on black people who had previously been invisible; instant experts weigh in with their pompous, uninformed analyses; and commitments as empty as deflated balloons are made. This time it’s Ferguson, Missouri, in the spotlight. And you can bet the mortgage that this time will be no different.
The precipitating events that cause these periodic national spasms can vary widely—the flooding of New Orleans, the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the beating of Rodney King. But these tragedies all emerge from the same fetid source—the racism embedded in the very foundation of America.
And it’s that racism—stark, in-your-face, never-ending, frequently murderous—that has so many African-Americans so angry and frustrated, so furious, so enraged. Black people all across America, not just in Ferguson, are angry about the killing of Michael Brown. And they remain angry over the killing of Trayvon Martin. And many are seething over the fatal chokehold clamped on the throat of Eric Garner by a cop on Staten Island in New York—a cop who refused to relent even as Garner gasped, “I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe.”
They are angry about all those things, but they are also angry and frustrated about so much more.
By H. A. Goodman
That being said, there have been at least five unarmed black men killed in the past month according to The Huffington Post, and when you combine these deaths with the manner in which they've elicited a public divide in perception, one can only come to this conclusion: Killing unarmed black men and claiming self-defense is the perfect crime in today's America.
The crime of killing someone is now turned into a battle of narratives where the only other person who could challenge the narrative is dead, and millions of people simply believe that the unarmed black man deserved his fate.
The reason for this sad and un-American reality is that once an unarmed black teenager like Michael Brown or Trayvon Martin is no longer breathing, the shooter can simply claim self-defense or get close to a million dollars in support like Darren Wilson. After all, the fact that being unarmed and walking toward a destination doesn't matter in the minds of many people. If he's a "thug" or a black male who allegedly robbed a convenience store (which the Ferguson officer had no way of knowing at the time), then their fate lies in the fact that they possibly used profanity, presented some sort of threat, or gave their shooters a reason to shoot and kill. Even the testimony of witnesses like Rachel Jeantel or Dorian Johnson, refuting self-defense narratives, are meaningless in the minds of many people.
By Johnny Silvercloud
The reason why this is a frustrating existence, is because we have a sizable majority who actually believe that as a reality, and in turn will not listen to your concerns. It’s the allegory if Plato’s Cave. The problem lies in the fact that the majority of the 77.9% are chained in the cave living an illusion while only the majority of the 13.1% are free to understand reality as it exists. In life, the 13.1% suffer a level of undue stress that the 77.9% does not. The majority does not listen to the minority. And the majority who are chained in the cave are the ones who makes all the rules.
I learned to read at an absurdly young age. I also learned how to speak more so from television than my own environment. In turn, I spoke proper beyond those of who made my surroundings. I always been the “smart guy.” I’m not sure how old I was, but I do remember I was in elementary school as a fourth grader when I was fully cognizant of the stereotype of the dangerous black male. Of course, what I did from there was simple; from then on I put forth a consistent effort to NOT fit the bill. I was the bookworm, the smart guy, the brains, the analytical, the inventor, the cerebral, the engineer, the maker, the black and nerdy. Kinda.
What I realized as an adult reflecting on the path I took explicitly, is that at a young age I was fully cognizant of white fear of my skin tone. It’s not a matter of knowing right from wrong, it’s a matter what white America thought of me. From then I knew what Afrophobia was. I was around nine or ten as a fourth grader, and that’s a young age to be thinking of socio-psychological matters if you ask me. In being socially aware since ten years of age, I now realize that I put forth conscious effort to be the “proper negro.”