AFRICANGLOBE – The trickles and leaks of information from the grand jury investigating the killing of the unarmed Black teenager Michael Brown by the White police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri have turned into a flood.
This “new” information suggests that Darren Wilson will not be held accountable for shooting an unarmed person multiple times in broad daylight. It was already a fait accompli that Darren Wilson would not be arrested for the killing of an unarmed Black person: any other outcome would be outside of America’s long tradition of extra judicially murdering Black people.
The news media is also complicit with framing and circulating the leaked information in such a way as to exonerate Darren Wilson.
For example, the Washington Post has presented a one sided, rumor filled, and carefully framed story about Michael Brown’s autopsy as representing definitive fact–as opposed to information leaked by Darren Wilson’s defenders and a corrupt prosecutor’s office.
Ultimately, what is the needlessly complex theater surrounding the death of Michael Brown at the hands of Darren Wilson can be crystallized down to one essential truth. Darren Wilson killed Michael Brown for the “crime” of being Black and walking down the street.
This is not a new crime in the United States. Under the White racial terrorist regime of Jim and Jane Crow, Black people were bullied and murdered for violating similar rules.
The present day version of this “crime” in the Age of Obama is demonstrated by Wilson’s harassment of Michael Brown for allegedly “obstructing traffic”.
Several decades ago, what is a very recent past in the highly polarized and racially segregated community of Ferguson and its surrounding area, this crime of violating White public space was known as “bumptious contact”.
For this crime, Black people could be arrested, beaten, and even killed for being on the sidewalk near a White person. Bumptious contact was part of a racist legal regime that included other crimes, both formal and informal, such as “reckless eyeballing”, not yielding to White people at four way intersections, and asking to be paid a previously agreed upon price for one’s labor.
This old fashioned racism of Jim and Jane Crow that lives in the present is circulating in one of the common defenses given for Darren Wilson’s killing ways.
In the twisted imaginations of the White racist defenders of Darren Wilson, Michael Brown would not have been killed if he obeyed the following edicts when confronted by White authority. In online comment sections and other social media, Wilson’s homicidal ideation filled defenders have repeatedly suggested that:
“…all the boy had to do was to be polite. it will happen again- cos thugs arent polite.”
The racial semiotics of this statement is not complicated. “Thug” is a contemporary and more polite version of the ugly word “n*gger”. “Boy” is a statement of racial humiliation and White supremacy that attempts to infantilize, emasculate, and rob Black men of their dignity and rights.
“Polite” is a word rich with history and racial meaning.
The White Gaze deems that Black people must and should always be submissive and defer to white authority.
Historically, the racial state and White authority are corrupt, and thus not worth respect or legitimacy by Black people–or ethically and morally grounded White folks.
However, when White racial logic evokes “politeness” in its discussion of Black comportment and behavior there is an implied threat of violence. The impolite Black body is to be policed, punished, trained, violated, and tortured–the whip, the lynching tree, the slave patroller, and the police have/do serve that purpose in America.
Black folks are victims of a cruel paradox in their submission to White authority, for even when they are “polite” and “respectful”, Black people are still subjected to violence and murder. The White Gaze is the ultimate arbiter of Black submission. Consequently, it changes that criterion to satisfy White Power, White authority, and racial paranoiac thinking to fit the mercurial mood(s) of a given White person.
From slavery and Jim Crow to the era of Stand Your Ground, Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, and Michael Brown, White supremacy and the color line are maintained by codes and rules that are both formal (the law) and informal (“common sense” and “acceptable” behavior).
When Darren Wilson is not indicted for the murder of Michael Brown, Ferguson will burn. The strategic leaks of information by the prosecutor’s office are a way of turning Wilson into a victim and Brown into a “thug”, the instigator of his own suicide by cop.
Per routine, the mainstream news media will frame the righteous anger at a broken and corrupt system as one more episode of Black irrationality from a people who collectively do not respect “the rule of law” and “the system”.
The exoneration of Darren Wilson, a White male who killed an unarmed Black person without proper cause, is an old American habit. The Black community of Ferguson’s reaction to his being allowed to walk free, financially enriched via paid for bounties from his supporters, and without negative consequences, are the sum total of many violations, both small and large.
The present is not an orphan. It has parents. The killing of a Black teenager Michael Brown without negative consequences by the White police officer Darren Wilson is part of America’s long dysfunctional family legacy across the color line.
By: Chauncey DeVega
Washington Post’s “FALSE HEADLINE” On Michael Brown Autopsy Report