Guys I knew in high school have posted links on Facebook, from notes of solidarity with soon-to-be-former Officer Darren Wilson to strenuous denunciations of the Ferguson black community and Michael Brown and his family. I've responded to many of them, sometimes letting my frustration and anger show. I would love to simply sit back and let their remarks flow over me like it is water and I am a duck' s ass. But as I pointed out, that is the definition of privilege. And I am prodded by the words of Desmond Tutu, that if we try to be neutral in the face of oppression then we have joined the side of the oppressors.
What galls me, not only in relation to the arguments they've put forward, but about similar arguments that regressives as a group have parroted, is the idea, as if it has never occurred to them, that what they accuse Michael Brown-and it is severely fucked up that anyone would use that term, willfully blind to the notion a killed black kid should be accused of participating in his own death-of doing is exactly the same as many of them have themselves done in the past, or have known people who have done similar things. No one deserves to be shot for having stolen from a store. No one who is unarmed deserves to be shot for charging a cop who is hundreds of feet away. (And despite the claims of Fox News, neither question is settled.)
If there is a people in America who should least have to protest against still having to protest this shit, it should be black people. Yet we are here, over two centuries after a revolution declared all Americans free, a century and a half after the last slave-bearing ship entered an American port, after a destructive Civil War, nearly five decades after passage of acts devoted to reconciling civil rights, and nearly a decade after a majority of Americans elected and then reelected a half black man with a funny name, still, still, protesting this shit. I like to think the sons and daughters of these guys with whom I've been arguing will not have to hold a similar sign or have similar arguments, but I am learning that hope, in addition to being feathered, may also be vain.