Season's Greetings

Reuters/Jim Young

  • Officer Darren Wilson’s Grand Jury Testimony” – The New York Times with relevant excerpts from the released testimony. It is, unsurprisingly, full of dehumanizing imagery right in line with the racist stereotype of the monstrous black man.

    And when I grabbed him, the only way I can describe it is I felt like a five-year-old holding onto Hulk Hogan.
    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.
    At this point it looked like he was almost bulking up to run through the shots, like it was making him mad that I’m shooting at him.

  • On Being a Black Male, Six Feet Four Inches Tall, in America in 2014” – W. Kamau Bell on the lengths men in big, black bodies have to go to seem unthreatening. Notable is that, at 6’4″, Bell is the same height as Michael Brown was. And Darren Wilson is.
  • Barack Obama, Ferguson, and the Evidence of Things Unsaid” – The always-crucial Ta-Nehisi Coates on the historical trends evident in the President’s response to the grand jury’s failure to indict. The subtitle of the piece is “Violence works. Nonviolence does to.” Which leads me to…
  • In Defense of Looting” – Willie Osterweil writing for New Inquiry, and making many important points. I don’t know that I agree with all of them, but I agree with a lot. My position on looting was best captured by someone on twitter who, in linking to this same article, said she was “anti-anti-looting.” (And the article itself has a footnote about the clunky yet necessary phrase, “not-non-violent.”) That’s where I am. When systemic protections have failed a community as profoundly as the police have failed the citizens of Ferguson, there should be a severe cost and a varied response. Nelson Mandela was, by his own admission, a saboteur and a terrorist. After the cops get away with killing and demonizing an unarmed child of your community, I understand the desire to set flame to a squad car, or smash a window. I’m not for it, but I get it, and I’m deeply suspicious of the motives of those in power who hand-wring about how terrible looting is while police seem able to kill with impunity.
  • Ferguson Shows How the Police Can Kill and Get Away With It” – Molly Crabapple on just how severe this problem is, and how the people marching in protests “are too clear-eyed to accept courts rigged in favor of murderers. They do not believe that victims must only respond with passive grace.”
  • Finally, when something makes me as angry as this does, I try to give money to people I believe might know better than I do how to take action against it. I’ve donated to the NAACP, the ACLU, and Amnesty International, and would encourage others to do the same.