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Forum Post: Things To Stop Being Distracted By When A Black Person Gets Murdered By Police

Posted 8 years ago on Aug. 14, 2014, 8:09 a.m. EST by flip (7101)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

08/12/14 by Mia McKenzie

A Black person is murdered by cops, security guards or self-appointed vigilantes every 28 hours in the U.S. The killing of an unarmed Black teenager named Mike Brown in Ferguson, MO, which has resulted in protests in that town and harsh police push-back and brutality against even more of its citizens, and which, via social media, has gotten the attention of people around the world, probably isn’t even the latest occurrence, at just three days old. Talking to people on Twitter about Mike Brown and what’s happening in Ferguson right now, I’ve noticed (again) how easily folks get distracted when Black people are murdered by the police. It seems as though every detail is more interesting, more important, more significant—including looting of a Walmart in Ferguson, which a local Fox news station focused its entire coverage on—than the actual life that was taken by police. So, to get folks back on track to focus on what matters most here—the killing of yet another unarmed Black teenager—I’ve compiled this list of 6 Things To Stop Being Distracted By When A Black Person Gets Murdered By the Police.

  1. Over-Simplified Talk of “Riots” According to media outlets and some residents, there’s been rioting in Ferguson since the killing of unarmed teenager Mike Brown. There have been reports of peaceful protests turning less than peaceful, with people confronting cops, throwing things at them, etc. I don’t know if the stories of rioting are true. Most of the video I’ve seen of Ferguson shows the protesters themselves gathered or marching relatively calmly. Angry sometimes, sure. But anger is a perfectly normal response to your unarmed teenage neighbor being gunned down in the street by police (police who have now showed up at your peaceful protest with attack dogs and riot gear). But let’s get something straight: a community pushing back against a murderous police force that is terrorizing them is not a “riot”. It’s an uprising. It’s a rebellion. It’s a community saying We can’t take this anymore. We won’t take it. It’s people who have been dehumanized to the point of rightful rage. And it happens all over the world. Uprisings and rebellions are necessary and inevitable, locally and globally. This is not to say that actual riots don’t happen. White folks riot at sporting events, for example. Riots happen. But people rising up in righteous anger and rage in the face of oppression should not be dismissed as simply a “riot”. Don’t be distracted by terms like “rioting”. Whether you’re for or against uprising and rebellion (side-eye if you’re against it, though), it’s a tool, not the issue itself. The issue is yet another Black teenager murdered by police. His name was Mike Brown.
  1. Looting Looting is often part of the “rioting” narrative. Peaceful protests that turn violent are often accompanied by looting. During the first night of the Ferguson protests there was looting reported at various locations nearby. Looting—stealing merchandise from vandalized businesses during a protest—happens separate from the actual protest taking place and its actual organizers and participants in every case I’ve ever heard about, anywhere, ever. Looting is often an opportunists’ game. Looting, too, is about power. When people have nothing and something happens to remind them, in a big way, that what little they do have can be taken away in an instant, including their lives and the lives of their children, they may reach for any semblance of power or control they can get. That might mean breaking a window or even starting a fire. It may mean taking something. Something you’ve been told you can’t have because you’re not human enough to live, let alone prosper.

Also (and this important), looting as a crime is NOT on par with the taking of someone’s life. Property is not a life. In this country, police protect property while killing human beings. Sometimes they, as well as civilians, kill human beings in order to protect property. That’s wrong. That’s savagery. Whatever you think of looting, though, remember this: it’s not the issue, either. The issue is yet another unarmed Black teenager murdered by cops. His name was Mike Brown.

  1. Celebrities Please don’t get distracted by celebrities. At times like this, famous people sometimes say really important, helpful, intelligent things. Other times, they open their mouths and the most ridiculous hot ass-garbage comes pouring out. (I’m looking at you, Morgan Freeman/Bill Cosby/Don Lemon.) Then everyone spends all day talking about the celebrity and what they said rather than talking about the issue. The issue is yet another unarmed Black teenager murdered by cops. His name was Mike Brown.
  1. The Murder Victim’s Past I wish I didn’t have to tell some of you that victim-blaming when a Black person is murdered by police is a huge no. That it doesn’t matter if they were on the honor roll, or smoked weed sometimes, or were going to college, or what brand of hoodie they wore, or even if they spent time in jail at some point. That the right to walk down the street without being a target for murder by the police isn’t a right one should have to prove themselves worthy of. That we should all just have that right by virtue of being human beings. When you’re Black, you don’t always get the benefit of being seen as a human being, though. Black people are seen as ‘up to no good’ by default. The truth is that our lives, like anyone else’s, are filled with good choices as well as mistakes, achievements we’re proud of as well as missed opportunities. Successes. Failures. Just like everyone else. But what’s also true is that we, as marginalized people, get fewer do-overs. The system is rigged to punish us at every possible opportunity. Longer prison sentences compared to whites who commit the same crimes and disproportionate rates of suspension and expulsion for even Blackpre-schoolers attests to this. If we were to talk about a victim’s past, we would have to talk about it in a context of oppression. But, you know what? We don’t need to talk about it at all. Because it is irrelevant to issue of their victimization. Just like bringing up a victim’s past to justify her rape is wrong, bringing up a victim’s past to justify his murder by police is also wrong. Yes, even when those people are Black. The victim’s past isn’t the issue. The issue is yet another unarmed Black teenager murdered by police. His name was Mike Brown.
  1. Respectability Politics Respectability politics is part of almost all of the things I’ve listed here already. It plays its part in most of the ways we get distracted when a Black person is murdered by the police. It’s there in the idea that protests should always be non-violent; it’s there in the idea that looting erases someone’s humanity; it’s there in the idea that the victim’s past, if not squeaky-clean by white supremacist capitalist patriarchy’s standards, makes their victimization less valid. It’s always there in the way people talk about Black youth. I’ve seen the following sentiment expressed on Twitter in response to Black folks murdered by police: “Stop giving them a reason to shoot you!” I’ve seen some version of that tweeted by people of all races, but the ones that concern me most come from Black folks themselves. Y’all. This country has spent the last several centuries systematically killing Black people. Black death is built into the system. Black death, alongside Native American genocide, built the system. Yet, whenever yet anotherunarmed Black person is killed by police, it’s somehow our fault? We must’ve been threatening/drunk/holding a BB gun/maybe possibly shoplifted some candy? Because after 500 years of never needing a reason, they suddenly need a reason? No. No. They have never needed a reason. I understand how hard it is to accept that as a Black person your life means so little in this country that you can be killed by police for nothing. That walking down the street while Black can be the only reason your life, or the life of your son or daughter or father or partner or friend, ends. You want there to be another reason,any other reason. Yesterday on Twitter, @prisonculture wrote, in response to a tweet suggesting Black people can dress better to avoid being murdered by the authorities: …”looking the part” doesn’t help you brother…I’m so sorry. I feel so much compassion for you. How do you absorb & internalize that you are killable, always killable? You create your own fictions. To survive, to live. I understand. I, too, understand that it’s hard. Almost too hard to bear. Who wants to have to carry these things? Especially when you’re young and dreaming of a life without barriers based on your skin color. But pretending we can “respectable” ourselves out of racism is dangerous. And it will not save you. Please don’t let respectability politics distract you from the issue. The issue, again: yet another unarmed Black teenager murdered by police. His name was Mike Brown.



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[-] 4 points by beautifulworld (23729) 8 years ago

Great post. So many excuses used to blame the victims of these types of incidents as well as the communities they come from. That has to stop. And what people have to do is start looking at what the real roots are. Roots that reach far back in history but whose legacies are alive and kicking here in the twenty-first century.

[-] 1 points by MattHolck0 (3867) 8 years ago

those jews Europe pushed into Israel mid 20th century are native born there now

[-] 3 points by Nevada1 (5843) 8 years ago

Why Are Police Bothering So Many Young Black Men In The First Place


[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (33802) from Coon Rapids, MN 8 years ago

Hmmmmmmm good question - maybe they could get some tips from Clive Bundy? And perhaps it might be a good idea if when going out in public that they wear "white Face" ( make-up ).

Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 05:53 AM PDT Ferguson Police Tear Gas Reporters then Disassemble Their TV Equipment

by TeamSarah4ChoiceFollow

BTW - just how filthy are the police actions and living conditions in Ferguson - that the police dismantle equipment of the media - I mean isn't the lame stream media the faithful friend of the police state?

[-] 2 points by Nevada1 (5843) 8 years ago

Direct assault on media-------Indicates the direction US is going.

Anonymous taking action-------


[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (33802) from Coon Rapids, MN 8 years ago

Another Night of Police Violence in Ferguson; Governor Relieves Local Police of Protest Duty

About time to call for a withdrawal of the apparently militant white supremacist Ferguson police force - the only question now - would be - is this gonna get worse with the replacements that get sent in.

Seriously - at this point in time? - With the criminals running the finances ( wallstreet and Fed reserve ) with apparent full control of government as well and full control of local police. Would it be so horrible if Anonymous could and DID crash the financial sector as well as all governmental communications ( state and federal ) ?

I predicted earlier ( and it took no stretch of imagination to see the coming circumstances of wide spread riot and civil disobedience ) - that this country was heading to hell in a hand-basket.

[-] 2 points by MattHolck0 (3867) 8 years ago

if the internet went down|

I would first suspect the government taking actions in secret

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (33802) from Coon Rapids, MN 8 years ago

Absolutely - so it would be nice if it were only wallstreet banks - that get shut-down.

[-] 1 points by MattHolck0 (3867) 8 years ago

as though banks are not public ,

they don't have the protection of being public information

[-] 1 points by Nevada1 (5843) 8 years ago

Go Anonymous!

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (33802) from Coon Rapids, MN 8 years ago

Yeah - and viva anonymous - besides. Though it can be quite difficult for those of us who have never considered how to be truly anonymous - to get there.

[-] 2 points by MattHolck0 (3867) 8 years ago

hoods are to protect the identity of the clan members

[-] 1 points by Nevada1 (5843) 8 years ago

Perhaps, the USG can arm the Klan, as with ISIS.

[-] 1 points by MattHolck0 (3867) 8 years ago

soylent green is made of people and so are media organizations

[-] 2 points by MattHolck0 (3867) 8 years ago


another bites the dust

[-] 3 points by grapes (5232) 8 years ago

It is the U.S. achieving yet another new stage of non-suspect citizenship. Walking-while-black has been made a capital-punishment crime executable on the spot.

[-] 2 points by MattHolck0 (3867) 8 years ago

before three bullets were unloaded into the unarmed, 25-year-old black man, who was on the ground.

lying down don't help neither

[-] 2 points by grapes (5232) 8 years ago

Lying-while-tinfoil-protected, my police dinking cap's antennae have received a new directive - charge that no-longer-unarmed cadaver with three counts of illegal possession of a deadly weapon.

[-] 0 points by DKAtoday (33802) from Coon Rapids, MN 8 years ago

Well tin-foil protective clothing "would" seem to be an unconscionable use of tin-foil - though probably would have been viewed much more darkly had it been aluminum foil usage.

[-] 2 points by grapes (5232) 8 years ago

Sorry, it should have been lying-while-black. There are laws IN THE BOOKS to punish lying to police officers. The U.S. is starting to enforce its LAWLZ for a change.

[-] 2 points by MattHolck0 (3867) 8 years ago


i think the looting was coincidental or opportunistic

and less extensive as the attention given to it

[-] 2 points by MattHolck0 (3867) 8 years ago

Egypt lives under military rule

A military funded and supplied by foreign interest and weapons companies

[-] 1 points by beautifulworld (23729) 4 weeks ago

NYC's to pay millions to protesters from the George Floyd Protests.


"Attorneys for the protesters who sued said they believe it to be the “highest per-person settlement in a mass arrest class action lawsuit in New York City history,” they said in a release.

The demonstrations in New York were among many that erupted nationwide in the wake of George Floyd’s death in police custody in Minneapolis. The New York Police Department came under heavy criticism for its treatment of protesters.

The class action lawsuit, brought by five plaintiffs in October 2020, alleges that “the New York City Police Department arrested and charged the protesters without probable cause and subjected them to excessive force, as part of a planned police action involving some of the most senior members of the NYPD.”

BRAVO. Fight for your right to protest! It is a fundamental human right and is enshrined in the U.S. Constitution. It is PROTEST that formed this nation!

P.S. Miss you flip. Hope you're well.

[-] 1 points by Nevada1 (5843) 8 years ago

Amnesty International Sending Human Rights Delegation To Ferguson


[-] 1 points by MattHolck0 (3867) 8 years ago

It is good to get international attention