This Week in Teens: Michael Brown Is Dead and Now We Know Who Killed Him
Have you read Nietzsche? Teens love the guy. I’m not super well versed in the German philosopher’s books, but I have read a few graphic tees with his picture on them, and from what I’ve picked up, the gist is that everything is inherently meaningless. So it goes with This Week in Teens, in which our only respite from the constant suffering around us is the comforting knowledge that life doesn’t have a purpose.
–America invented teenagers and apparently reserves the right to kill them, too. The biggest news this week—teen or otherwise—has been the killing of Michael Brown, an unarmed, black 18-year-old in Ferguson, Missouri. Police were quick to defend the act, while witnesses say that Brown didn’t do anything to provoke police, and was shot multiple times “until he just dropped down to the ground and his face just smacks the concrete.” Protests over the killing were countered by a militarized police force, complete with SWAT gear and armored vehicles. The incident has been covered from every angle: how Ferguson is America’s latest racial hotspot; how this represents a sort of Chekhov’s (military-grade machine) gun and the inevitable conclusion of post-9/11 defense spending; how eight unarmed teens are still at large; and how white people in suburban St. Louis don’t give a shit.
It took a bunch of protests for Ferguson police to name Darren Wilson as the officer who killed Michael Brown, which they finally did Friday morning. Police also released a report saying that Brown was a suspect in a “strong-arm robbery” of a box of Swisher Sweets cigars, and that Wilson was responding to the crime when Brown was killed. Whether Brown actually shoplifted is unknown at this point, not that it would in any way justify his death. All that’s clear is that we’re in a pretty terrible place right now, and there is no obvious path for things to get much better.
Being born a woman is an awful tragedy. Yes, my consuming desire to mingle with road crews, sailors and soldiers, bar room regulars—to be a part of a scene, anonymous, listening, recording—all is spoiled by the fact that I am a girl, a female always in danger of assault and battery. My consuming interest in men and their lives is often misconstrued as a desire to seduce them, or as an invitation to intimacy. Yet, God, I want to talk to everybody I can as deeply as I can. I want to be able to sleep in an open field, to travel west, to walk freely at night.
What’s interesting is that once again, like with Paula Deen, America is captured by an individual white person who says really racist things and kind of conveniently overlooks their actually racist acts.
Donald Sterling had been known to be a perpetrator of housing discrimination. But not many people cared about that. But once he said no Black people at his games… that was when everybody got mad! Or at least pretended to.
Why is that?
America is a lot more concerned with appearing post-racial than actually being post-racial. Time and time again racist acts are ignored and swept under the rug. But every once in awhile a white person will be publicly dragged for saying something very racist.
That’s the unspoken rule in American race relations: you can be racist but don’t sound racist. You can treat people of color horribly, but you can’t verbally express that you want to treat them horribly. That is crossing the line in America. This isn’t 1965 anymore.
So every once in awhile a high profile white person forgets that we’re in “post-racial” America and that saying racist things is not okay and they become the white guilt scapegoat for the season. The white liberals condemn them and the white conservatives halfheartedly defend them on the basis of “free speech” and whatever other excuse. And white America sighs and says, look, we’re not racist!
Meanwhile Black players are still akin to slaves within an elaborate and lucrative plantation system. Meanwhile Black people in general are facing exacerbated economic barriers due to race so that they can’t be at many of these games anyway, even if they wanted to. Meanwhile there are Black and Latino families being denied housing. Meanwhile, in Paula Deen’s case, Black workers are still being under-paid and unacknowledged for the recipes they created.
—excerpt from “A Donald Sterling Problem or an American Race Problem?" @ One Black Girl. Many Words. (via daniellemertina)