Out of the smoking wreckage of a built-to-fail half-hearted request for a grand jury indictment and the resulting street protests that laid waste to Ferguson, Missouri, we are once again having a ‘conversation’ about race in America.
Americans are very good at having ‘conversations’ about the social ills that befall us, particularly the ones that we bring upon ourselves. Solutions, we don’t do so much.
Screw-ups and failures become ‘teachable moments,’ which is shorthand for “momentary expression of concern that will inevitably lead to yet another ‘conversation’ that will go nowhere because another shiny object elsewhere requires our attention.” We are a nation of meeting-takers, that grand and glorious process that brings us together to offer input on an endeavor while at the same time spreading the blame in case things go south. Then we drop it, because why risk doing something and face a scintilla of criticism or flack?
The ‘conversation,’ that developed after the Ferguson grand jury punted should about been about police indiscriminately killing black men in the street but instead, led by Rudy Giuliani — under whose watch Abner Louima and Amadou Diallo ‘interacted’ with New York’s finest in unpleasant ways — it turned to ‘why are black people killing black people.’ We saw the same misdirection following the slaughter at Sandy Hook when we should have said and done something about the easy access to cheap and plentiful guns, and instead turned to ‘why are our schools gun-free, — more teachers packing heat, please.’
There really is no problem in this country we can’t make worse by proposing counter-intuitive idiocy to solve it. At that , we excel. U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!
What has particularly incensed the commentators who don’t wish to discuss racism in America has been ‘hands up, don’t shoot,’ a gesture representing the way that Michael Brown died. Following disgraced lying ex-St. Louis cop Jeff Roorda’s sad winge over Rams players coming onto the field Sunday with their hands up in a gesture of solidarity, MSBC’s Joe Scarborough has been having a 3-day ragegasm over hands up. Possibly thinking about a questionable death and proclaimed innocence touched something very deep within Morning Joe’s conscience or psyche, or maybe he is officially launching his 2016 presidential campaign.
Fox blonde Megyn Kelly whitesplained to an African-American congressman that Brown didn’t have his hands up …. despite testimony showing that 16 out of 29 witnesses who appeared before the Ferguson grand jury said he did, with only two specifically stating that he didn’t. Apparently, witness testimony that supports a white cop killing a black teen is weighted differently in white people math.
Scarborough and Kelly hate ‘hands up’ because they know exactly what it is: a sarcastic and full-throated “fuck you” to police departments and a society that denies the value of black lives. ‘Hands up’ is a reminder that no black man or woman is safe on the streets of America from police departments and courts who fail to hold police officers responsible for their bad actions whether it be fueled by racial animus or incompetence. The only other industry that is as forgiving at being bad at your job is as a member of the wingnut welfare commentariat for whom racial animus is a résumé sweetener. Just ask Michelle Malkin or Keith Ablow.
There is a war going on against black Americans by taxpayer-supported employees. This year we have seen Michael Brown, Kajieme Powell, John Crawford, Darrien Hunt, and 12-year-old Tamir Rice gunned down by police officers who continually fall back on their belief that their lives were in danger when evidence shows that they were not.
You will be happy to know that the same grand jury wasn’t as lenient with the guy who filmed Garner being strangled.
So now we will launch into another ‘conversation’ and we will express a limited amount of concern that maybe justice wasn’t carried out and there are lot of grey areas that deserve more time to study than police office Timothy Loehmann gave Tamir Rice (2 seconds) before he gunned him down.
And while we’re doing that, African-Americans will continue to put their hands in the air in the hope it will remind a ‘conversing’ America that they are tired of being murdered by bad cops.
It may be tiring to keep you hands in the air all the time, hoping you won’t be shot — almost as much as being black in America — but it sure beats the hell out of the alternative.