Ferguson & Florida – $4 the price of a black person’s life
My friend Kate said this, in reaction to the decision of the Grand Jury not to indict Darren Wilson of Ferguson PD in the shooting of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown Junior: “$4. If as the media / police who are trying to slander Michael Brown Junior are telling the truth and he did shoplift, then that’s the value of a young black male life in rural USofA.”
Apparently Darren Wilson, a trained police officer, chose not to use or wear a taser because it was “uncomfortable”* and therefore only had potentially lethal force available to him to deal with any situation. He felt threatened, stating “He looked up at me and had the most intense aggressive face. The only way I can describe it, it looks like a demon, that’s how angry he looked. He comes back towards me again with his hands up”.*
Even in his own statement to the Grand Jury, Darren Wilson states Michael Brown Junior’s hands were up. The six foot four inches tall, 200 pound police officer was terrified of an unarmed teenager. So when Michael Brown Junior ran away, what did this terrified officer do? Get out of his car and shoot at him, aiming for the head because that is “all I could see”* of him.
Does anyone else think the testimony he gave was profoundly racially prejudiced? Describing a tall heavily built black man as a demon, that harks back to the good ole days of lynch mobs and overt media racism. Now black people are covertly demonised and we are trained to fear and suspect black teenagers; the boys are ‘gangsters’, the girls are ‘sluts’. This is the culture in which all black people are taught to be obsequious, be gentle, be open, assume that every white-identified (because racial heritage is not always obvious) person will be afraid and may hurt you. To ‘yas masser’ to the privileged, just in case.
I am deliberately using strong and inflammatory language because I am more than livid about this. I don’t want to be white and live in this world. This world of beating down the black man, of beating up the black woman. Marissa Andrews, forced to plea bargain and serve jail time to avoid being imprisoned for up to 60 years; her crime was to defend herself against her violent abusive husband by firing a warning shot away from any person**. She and all others who may try to defend themselves have been told “don’t shoot”. It makes me sick, and I have had enough.
Why were the testimonies of several witnesses, all of which independently corroborated the fact that Michael Brown Junior had his hands up and was saying “don’t shoot”, seen as less than that of one police man who was trying to avoid indictment and potential jail time, and all that would entail? Could it have anything to do with the fact they were ALL black?
Ferguson has suffered enough and I hope the people there can find some sort of peace. I doubt it though. Not now. There was never any expectation of justice, and that is perhaps the most telling point of all. Justice does not exist for the black people of the United States. It seems that electing a black president has simply made the racism more extreme, and the fear of the privileged intensified. Never have the white privileged elite fought so hard to maintain control. Remind me again what colour the 1% are? What colour the justice department is? What colour the judges, lawyers, bankers, powerful, elite are?
I don’t live in the United States. I live in the United Kingdom, where our government has recently stated that it wants to arm our police force. We had a riot in August 2011 when armed police responded to a perceived threat of violence from a man who was unarmed, killing him. Guess what colour he was? So we cannot ever assume that Ferguson wouldn’t happen here, it would and it has.
This is a global matter. The United States sees itself as the world leader and in this case it is the world leader in racist violence and oppression. We must all therefore show we do not support this in any way, shape or form.
$4 is the value of a young male black life, even less for a young black woman. If you as a white person aren’t angry, if you aren’t ready to rise up and fight the privilege you have been gifted with for no reason other than the colour of your skin, then you are part of the problem. Don’t be that person.