Ferguson: White Supremacy’s Latest Round

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Ferguson Militarized Police photo

Highly militarized police units were brought in to restrict protests

AFRICANGLOBE – The news that a police officer shot an African American teen several times in the chest was shocking, horrifying, gut-wrenching. But it was not surprising. As even a weekly perusal of newspapers tells us, the murders of Black teens and men by private White citizens or police officers are common, ordinary, every day events. Two days after the shooting of Michael Brown, another young unarmed Black man, this time in Los Angeles, was shot by a police officer.

Yet, in the initial twenty-four hours after Michael Brown’s shooting, I saw flashes of the same questions in the comments to news articles and on Twitter: “What did he do?” “Why?” “Wtf?” Certainly, some of these were plaintive questions asked by grieving persons. But others reflected an earnest, though frustrating, innocence—one that found a shooting of a Black teen by a policeman to be unusual, accidental, coincidental, extraordinary. Their questions echoed as I flipped through the fleeting images that followed the news of the shooting—rows of police officers with shields and batons and terrifying looking dogs, pumped up and ready to attack–accompanied by articles about “looting and riots,” tear gas, sniper guns, and bullets.

Photo 6 in this New York Times slide show, among others, remains in my mind.

In the first three days after Michael Brown’s shooting, as the Black community gathered to protest his death, “left” media analyzed this event as if it were just a case of the police accidentally losing control. Elsewhere, mainstream news sites reported on the protests as if commenting on two equally strong baseball teams: The Cops versus Black people, rather than a case of Black protests against continual injustice.

Other news sites report “rioting” and “looting,” as if looting is the prime obstacle to safety, rather than protecting Blacks against an arrogant, secure police force.

I can hear the objections: but aren’t the police there to protect the general public? If that is the case, then where was the police response to the unconscionable looting of American homes, workers’ pensions, and minority homeowners, by American bankers–on the order of hundreds of billions of dollars—none of which engendered policemen with rifles, dogs, bullets, and shields to stop bankers and capitalists from plundering the meager wealth of poorer and darker persons, especially minorities? Why were there no police stopping banksters then?

Mark O’Mara, George Zimmerman’s defense attorney during his murder trial in the death of another young Black child, Trayvon Martin, claimed that the only reason that the officer’s name was being withheld was because of “social media threats,” and to avoid directing of the community’s anger onto the police officer. But it doesn’t take a law degree to understand that this is a fiction of legal defense, articulated to cement a long-standing narrative of innocence, to undergird the contrived narrative that the death of a Black teen somehow needs to be probed, explored cautiously, as if it were a unique event—before declaring that it was needless. In fact, as we know, Michael Brown’s life, as viewed by the proper bourgeois denizens and police force of Ferguson, was expendable. According to journalist Adam Hudson, a Black man is killed every 28 hours, justified by state-led policies from anti-loitering to the War on Drugs. How else to explain the consistent, multiple, constant deaths of Black men, except to understand their lives as expendable by a wealthy elite?

On CNN, African American journalist LZ Granderson was interviewed about his poignant, mournful, column on Michael Brown’s death, in which he named the many aspects of this shooting that had made him tired. Many of these statements were critical about the police, about the shooting of yet another young Black man, about fearing for his own and his son’s life, whenever they come into close proximity with a police officer.

Yet, the White talking head who interviewed Granderson picked up on his statement about being tired of the looting after a peaceful rally. This—this—was the statement that the White anchor picked up on: the looting (although he briefly acknowledged that the police needed to take a good hard look at themselves). But the CNN talking head did not raise the fact that Ferguson police felt justified in facing a mourning community, mostly composed of Black residents and friends of Michael Brown—with batons and shields and teargas and guns and hostile looking dogs. Nor the fact that the Ferguson police were shooting “beanbag rounds” at protesters. Nor Granderson’s statement about the fatigue of being afraid of walking in front of a police officer.

The shooting of Michael Brown is not a sudden, excessive, abusive, or random imposition of state power. It is rather a reminder of a certain state of the world that has been in existence for centuries—from slavery, to Black Codes and Jim Crow, both designed to maintain the indentured servitude of Blacks, to “stop and frisk” policing.  The above picture pulls back the curtain on the sheer, profound, constant presence of police power, protected by the law, in the service of elites. Philosopher Charles Mills gives it the technical term of “White supremacy,” and points to the racial contract–promising equality to all persons while withholding it from all sub-persons—Black slaves, their descendants, and other vulnerable minorities–as its evidence.

Ferguson Militarization State Terrorism photo

america has become one of the worst violators of human rights

When we see pictures of officers behind clear shields, spraying teargas at peaceful protesters, using dogs to hold Black men and women and teenagers and children at bay, the message that we are reading is not—as liberal journalists and pundits tried to persuade in the early days after Michael Brown’s death—that “the law” was attempting to “keep peace” and manage “social unrest.” Rather, the message that is being communicated is a reminder of the racial contract: Black Americans should know their place and submit to the orders of those who work on behalf of White wealth– the police force, the bankers, the realtors, the tax collectors, our local and state representatives.

 

Part Two

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  • https://www.facebook.com/liberalbasher James M. Baker

    Ya, Dredmermaid, Whites are the enemy. That’s why blacks only comprise 13% of the population but commit 59% of all violent crime (against whites, mostly) and of course the Tea Party and George W. Bush are to blame for it all: skyrocketing black abortions, fatherless single parent homes, violent crime, drugs, thuggery, the hip-hop subculture that glorifies all that garbage. Ya, blame Whitey and vote for Obama – that’s all you know to do. Obama screwed blacks by opening up the borders to every third-world disease-infested thug, terrorist and job taker in the world. At what point do blacks finally acknowledge that Obama shanked you fools.

  • https://www.facebook.com/MDotHitz Elliott TheProducer Malone

    Voting ain’t gon do shit!!! For one no more what senator, congressman, or president…..cuz Obama doesn’t really care….he acknowledged Robin Williams before the attempt of extermination and destruction of African-American culture which his wife and kids fall into category wise!!!!!!!……the government has an agenda……regardless of who you vote for…….that agenda will be carried out

  • https://www.facebook.com/MDotHitz Elliott TheProducer Malone

    -___________-

  • https://www.facebook.com/Ladysmile21 Ebonii Shante Blanton

    Elliott TheProducer Malone

  • https://www.facebook.com/zannoah.kinsman Dredmermaid Zck

    This is why black people need to vote and stop relying on our enemies to raise our kids and defend our lives and property. They do not have our best interests at heart. This need to be a lesson to black voters in every county. I hope they will vote these racists out by next election.

  • https://www.facebook.com/dumisani.zwane.10 Dumisani Zwane

    I find this background very disturbing unless I’m told that it’s the Black majority that elected voted those 5 councilors into power.

  • https://www.facebook.com/raghu.nandan.167189 ರಘು ನಂದನ

    Democratically chosen mayor right, not an autocrat!

  • https://www.facebook.com/kelechi.amasike Kelechi Amasike

    If the blacks are the majority voters in Ferguson County there’s no empathy here but pity.