Rude Pundit with a heartfelt exposition on the same principle once expressed by Martin Luther King Jr. as "rioting is the language of the unheard":
That photo is of police patrolling the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, in the wake of a night of riots and looting in the wake of the shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown by a white cop. In that suburb of St. Louis, the population is 67% black, but there are only 3 black cops on the 53 person police force, with 2 other non-whites). What's fascinating about the picture is that the front line of five officers (two from other areas, no doubt) is all black while behind them are roughly a dozen and a half white cops and not a single other non-white one. (Side note: Has anyone written about GOP opposition to Obama as a symbolic castration and its effect on blacks in this country?)
And that's the problem, isn't it? It's that no matter where black men turn, there are always white men with guns right behind them, whether it's asshole cops or asshole gun owners. No matter if there's a black man in the White House; there's always a power structure founded on and fostered by whiteness that exists with little challenge.
What is there to say about the riots, about the looting, about the burning of businesses in Ferguson? Yeah, it's wrong to steal shit and fuck up buildings. It's more wrong to gun down a kid who, according to many witnesses, had his hands up and, according to official reports, was 35 feet away from the police car. If you believe the law is no longer on your side - indeed, if you believe its enforcers are using it to harm you - why the fuck wouldn't you riot? Tea Party assholes march around with their guns out right after mass shootings, and no one shoots them down. Maybe it's time for some Black Panther action.
Frankly, it's a shock that there aren't more riots, in Staten Island and in Dayton, in just the last few weeks of cops killing black men. As Brittney Cooper writes in Salon, "To be black in this country is to be subject to routine forms of miscalculated risk each and every day. Black people have every right to be angry as hell about being mistaken for predators when really we are prey."
I see a lot of people around the internet today who are calling the rioters and looters "criminals." I also notice these morally scrupulous types aren't calling the cop who shot an unarmed teenager a criminal, or anything like it. I sometimes wonder what it would take for white people to really understand what it means to be under constant suspicion and siege. They really think all these victims are guilty?
Our "justice" system is so thoroughly corrupted that the last time I was called for jury duty, I flat out told them I am much less likely to give credence to anything a cop says. And yes, I understand the various pressures they're under -- but I don't trust them to tell the truth about anything. Now we add military weapons and tools to the mix, and we have one fucked-up situation.
At this point, the only way out of this mess would be for Congress to hold televised hearings on police brutality and accountability. Because the fish rots from the head, and no one in local politics, anywhere, will ever do a thing to stop it.
It has to stop.
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