Tag Archives: Michael Brown

Why We Need/Don’t Need Black History

I ran a Shame Day post a while back about “Black History” (or the whitewashed version that gets fed to us), and in it, I referenced this clip with Morgan Freeman:

I promised to shortly address Mr. Freeman’s comments-

-and promptly forgot about it for two years.

Well overdue, here’s why we desperately need Black History, and why we simply don’t.

Bear with me here.

Because We Don’t Have Real History

Again, we’re fed an overwhelmingly whitewashed and simplistic version of history. Lincoln benevolently freed the slaves and then, roughly 100 years later, MLK Jr. led a series of peaceful protests which ended segregation, and everybody lived happily ever after.

In reality, folks largely lost faith in peaceful protest as the 60s wore on, turning instead to self-defense, nationalism, revolution, and other techniques.

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The Face-Punching Waiter: Another Culture Wars Parable

We return once more to your stereotypical American diner. Seated in a booth by the window is yours truly, glancing over the menu while absentmindedly flicking my cigarette lighter on and off.

“Excuse me, but you can’t smoke in here.”

I turn to see a waiter standing over me.

“Beg pardon?”

“You can’t smoke in here”.

“But I wasn’t smoking.”

“Sir, you need to stop smoking in here.”

“But-”

At this, the waiter hauls off and socks me straight in the face.  He turns around and promptly walks off. Regaining my senses, I begin to unleash a torrent of confused profanities, leading the manager to saunter over and ask what what the problem is.

“That waiter just punched me in the face!”

A weary smile flickers over the manager’s face.

“Yes,” he says, “Well resolving conflicts with customers is part of the waiter’s job.”

“Yeah, I know, but he punched me! Did he have to punch me in the face?!”

“Waiters are given excellent training on resolving customer complaints.”

He punched me in the face!”

I lift my hands from the bruised cartilage of my nose, already beginning to turn a lovely purplish color.

“Ah,” said the manager, “well as we all know, waiters have a stressful and thankless job…”

SO!?!?”

“…And when you think about it, most waiters don’t go around punching people in the face. Most waiters are good waiters.” Continue reading

The Trial of Michael Brown

These are the facts:

Michael Brown is dead and Darren Wilson, the man who shot him, has been acquitted by a jury.

The public seems to have latched onto this, interpreting the court’s decision as being not only evident of Wilson’s “innocence” but Brown’s guilt.

But guilt over what?

The past days have seen a reversal of public opinion on Michael Brown, with many online posting gifs of the alleged petty theft he committed shortly before his death. Captions have included statements like “a reminder of who Michael Brown really was” and comments as to his size and stature.

Readers, am I the only one who doesn’t think Michael Brown should be tried over how tall he was? Continue reading

Obama Doesn’t Care About Black People(?)

During the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, when many poor and black residents of New Orleans continued to struggle for survival, rapper Kanye West angrily commented that the current president “[didn’t] care about black people.” A decade later, and the sentiment of the White House doesn’t seem to have changed much. In spite of the overwhelming support given by black Americans to Obama during his candidacy, it often seems that he’s less than willing to return to the favor.

Take, for example, the execution of Troy Davis.

Troy Davis was convicted in 1991 for the shooting of a Georgia police officer- a crime which he denied until his dying day. In the years following his conviction, greater and greater evidence arose suggesting that Davis was indeed innocent. By the time of his death, seven of the nine key witnesses who had helped convict recanted their testimony, many citing police coercion. Of the two remaining witnesses, one reported that he was no longer certain and the other was believed by many to have been the actual gunman.

Support for Davis’s release poured in from across the globe, even gaining such notable supporters as former president Carter, archbishop Desmond Tutu, the former head of the FBI, the head of the NAACP, and congressman and civil rights veteran John Lewis.

In spite of the worldwide campaign on his behalf, Davis was executed on a late September night in 2011- the one man in the world who could’ve saved him not even lifting a finger. In spite of the rumors (swiftly discredited) that Obama had reached out to the state of Georgia, the president, by all accounts, sat idly by during what many labelled a modern-day lynching, the White House only confirming that the president would not involve himself. Continue reading

Fergustan

On the ninth of this month Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown during a traffic stop. The subsequent days have seen massive protests in both the city and across the nation, matched only in their intensity by the crackdown of the local police.

Now while the police have just now cited that the deceased Michael Brown was the suspect in a local convenience store robbery (nothing has yet been proven), the cops have nevertheless come under widespread criticism. By all accounts, 18-year-old Michael Brown, who has no record of bad behavior- criminal or otherwise, surrendered to Wilson after a brief struggle. Despite his raised hands and his shouts that he was unarmed, Wilson opened fire anyway, shooting the teenager no less than six times.

We could talk about the struggle that allegedly occurred, the protocol in place for such events, and a host of other factors, but ultimately the fact that Wilson shot and killed an unarmed teen remains undisputed.

But we’re not here to talk about that.

We’re here to talk about the days that have since passed.

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