Two New York police officers were killed on Saturday. This is an unfortunate happening.

Spokespeople for the New York City police have responded in a predictable way by using the deaths of two officers as a means to delegitimize public concerns about police thuggery and murder in the aftermath of the public strangling of Eric Garner and the execution by cop of Michael Brown.

The Police Benevolence Association said this about the shootings in New York:

The head of the Policeman’s Benevolent Association in New Jersey said that the shooting of the officers was “spurred on by so much recent hatred aimed at officers everywhere.”

“Our society stands safer because of the sacrifices officers make everyday, but the hatred that has grown over the past few weeks in this country has gone unchecked by many elected leaders,” the official, Patrick Colligan, said in a statement posted on Facebook.

A declaration of war against people of color in New York has also been issued:
A statement purporting to be from the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, the biggest police union, blamed Mr. de Blasio for the shootings.

“The mayor’s hands are literally dripping with our blood because of his words, actions and policies,” read the statement, “and we have, for the first time in a number of years, become a ‘wartime’ police department. We will act accordingly.”

The statement instructed officers to forward it to colleagues, and it spread instantly through the department.

Threats of thuggery and retaliation have also been made against publicly elected officials:

The head of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, Patrick Lynch, blamed the mayor for the shootings as he addressed officers outside Woodhull Hospital after the bodies of Officer Liu and Officer Ramos were borne away.

“There is blood on many hands, from those that incited violence under the guise of protest to try to tear down what police officers did every day,” Mr. Lynch said.

“That blood on the hands starts on the steps of city hall in the office of the mayor.”

Now is a time of grieving, Mr. Lynch said. “We’ll mourn for our city and we’ll mourn for our brothers,” he said. “We’ll straighten our shoulders, we’ll stiffen our backs and we’ll wipe our tears.”

But he warned, “When those funerals are over, we’ll raise our heads and those that allowed this to go on will be held accountable.”

Social media has responded with the hashtag "#NYPDLIVESMATTER". This is a direct affront and effort to undermine the slogan "Black Lives Matter" and its affirmation of the value of black peoples' lives.

NYPDLIVESMATTER is a perverse and grotesque statement, one that assumes a lie and false assumption: of course the lives of police "matter"; there is an entire legal, social, and political apparatus to protect the police, and that empowers them to kill innocent people of color without consequences.

Moreover, that NYPDLIVESMATTER is positioned as a response to "Black Lives Matter" demonstrates how "law and order", white racial resentment, and white supremacy are deeply intertwined and almost inseparable in the (White) American political imagination.

America's police were and remain a deeply racist social institution. NYPDLIVESMATTER is a claim and assertion against the justice claims of black Americans. For White America, Right-wing authoritarians, the unthinking mass of the American public, and cop fetishists this is a zero sum process: the possessive investment in Whiteness mandates that one cannot accept how the lives of police are no more valuable and worthy than the lives of African-Americans.

White supremacy and white privilege also demand accountability from "black leadership" and those others who have spoken out against police brutality, crafting broken logic where somehow the protests against police brutality are responsible for the killing of two police in Brooklyn.

Misplaced norms of group accountability for people of color as viewed through the White Gaze are a fixture of white privilege. There is no reciprocity: the supporters of "Black Lives Matter" stand in sympathy with the two police killed in Brooklyn; police and their spokespeople rarely if ever stand in unity with the victims of police violence, thuggery, abuse, and murder.

If the colorline was a sporting event, the spectators are rooting for their respective teams with police on one side and black folks on the other. NYPDLIVESMATTER is cheerleading for a lack of accountability and preemptive violence by the police against African-Americans. Here, the rhetorical evasion in post racial, colorblind discourse will be the lazy out that "we support the police against "criminals" and "thugs" with "race having nothing to do about any of this!"

The obvious is also transparent as "criminals" and "thugs" are stand-ins for "blacks" and "nigger" in the post civil rights era racial discourse.

It is also important to note how NYPDLIVESMATTER exists within the same public discourse as language like "anti-police bigotry":

See this explanation from the Johnson County Law Center for example:

Why would anyone single out people of a certain profession and try to discredit or vilify that entire group?

Such wide-sweeping generalizations about blacks, jews, gays, or other minority groups are typically not tolerated. Yet, when people make bigoted unfounded statements about the policenobody seems to mind.

Like all bigotry, a few anecdotal stories are offered to support the vilification of a certain group. Those who buy into the hatred, soak up any additional data that supports their new found belief system, and ignore anything that challenges their world view.

It seems like just about every week we’re confronted with some new story of police brutality, incompetence, fraud, or other scandal. Most recently it’s been reported that police in North Carolina gunned down an unarmed man who was simply approaching them to request assistance at the scene of an auto accident. (Source: CNN) Another recent incident, in New York City, involved police shooting at an unarmed man in a crowd. They hit innocent bystanders instead. (Source: New York Post) Blended in with current news are reminders of past tragedies, like the story mentioned above of 20 police officers in Toronto who shot and killed a teenager with a penknife.

Let’s say there’s a police-induced tragedy each week. That’s 52 police-related tragedies per year out of about 800,000 officers who are serving. That’s an extremely small number of people making mistakes.* Yet, it’s not the perception we’re left with after following popular media.

Ultimately, we should all do our best to prevent the kind of thinking that demonizes any group of people based on the acts of only a few. Keep that number of 800,000 in mind. Each time you hear of a police officer who’s been convicted of corruption or some other scandal, remember there are another 800,000 good police who are ethically, faithfully, and compassionately serving their communities.

These are common rhetorical moves by the Right-wing in the United States. From "reverse racism" to "equality of opportunity" and "colorblindness", American conservatives have shamelessly, dishonestly--and to great effect--appropriated the language of progressives and liberals to work against the very goal of a more just society that the latter have struggled and died to advance.

Police are the direct hand and face of Power in the United States.

As such, they are the enforcers of the Racial State whose purpose is to feed bodies into the gaping maw of the new Jim and Jane Crow's prisons and jails. The notion that police are "victims" of "bigotry" is an absurd one. While their morality may in fact be stained, enforcers of power, by definition, are not victims of Power.

Contemporary America is a society that is sick with torture, white victimology, gross wealth inequality, and other illnesses that together have created a culture of delusions and lies. Plain spoken truths by people of conscience are a partial antidote.

I will attempt to offer one here: the lives of the police are no more valuable than those of Eric Garner or any other human being.

Human rights trump the "unique", particular, and somehow imagined as "special" lives of the police. We are all human beings with universal rights. The public good will be much better served when the police as a social institution (many of whose members feel empowered to violate the rights of non-whites, the poor, the mentally ill, and those others who society has marginalized) internalize and act upon such a basic and foundational principle.

In its deranged madness to prevent a second 9/11 attack on "the homeland", the United States tortured and brutalized suspected "terrorists" with drownings, beatings, forcing food through their anuses, handcuffing people with broken legs to the ceiling, parading them around naked, threatening to sexually assault their mothers and families, exposing them to extreme temperatures, and sensory deprivation.

This is a sterile bullet point-like summary--the irony of that office speak MBA language is fitting and unintentionally macabre and darkly humorous--of the tortures that the CIA will publicly admit to having committed; the real horrors are likely far worse, hiding behind redacted passages and in dark corners, hushed rumors that circulate in the alcohol influenced bar and private conversations of CIA agents and private contractors, never to be publicly admitted to or spoken of.

A willfully ignorant public and a deceptive lying chattering class wrap themselves in American exceptionalism as a means of claiming surprise, shock, and horror at the faux revelations in the CIA torture report. They do this because the truth cannot be reconciled with the myths of an America that never really existed.

America tortures people. It has done this domestically to war resisters, conscience objectors, pacifists, suffragettes, slaves, civil rights workers, and inmates.

Inflicting pain on the black body is a special obsession and paraphilia for white America. In its pogroms, land theft, and riots, white Americans lynched at least 10,000 black citizens.

The CIA torture report is a damning document and a difficult read. It is child's fare compared to the tortures inflicted on black people by white folks for centuries in their ritual birthright of American Apartheid and Jim Crow.

A member of the white lynching party that destroyed Mr. Claude Neal in 1934 offers this account of White America's habit of racial torture on the black body:

“After taking the nigger to the woods about four miles from Greenwood, they cut off his penis. He was made to eat it. Then they cut off his testicles and made him eat them and say he liked it. Then they sliced his sides and stomach with knives and every now and then somebody would cut off a finger or toe. Red hot irons were used on the nigger to burn him from top to bottom.” From time to time during the torture a rope would be tied around Neal’s neck and he was pulled up over a limb and held there until he almost choked to death when he would be let down and the torture begin all over again. After several hours of this unspeakable torture, “they decided just to kill him.”

The United States has tortured people abroad in its wars, secret prisons, and other covert operations. Because the United States has historically been, and remains in the present, a white racist society, it is far easier to torture those who are marked as some type of Other.

Thus, white on black and brown racial violence and torture is far more common than white on white torture.

The United States is also an expert in torture. Its School of the Americas taught soon to be petit-thug dictators and their secret police forces how to torture, intimidate, and terrorize their own people. The hundreds, if not thousands of amateurs in the art of pain would graduate from the School of the Americas as masters, proliferating and spawning many more minions in their own countries, like fruit flies or bacteria, as they "disappeared" and tortured "Communists" in the name of "democracy" and "freedom".

But ultimately, the United States tortures on both sides of the colorline--perhaps this is one of the few spaces that has been radically democratic and inclusive?

America's torture machine, and the culture of cruelty that produced it, exist internationally and across the colorline.

Torture is sustained and legitimated by the banality of evil and a numbness to violence and harm done to others as a learned behavior--one taught by violent movies, video games, and conditioned by a neverending "War on Terror" where robots and drones kill from afar with ruthless efficiency.

Consequently, the "War on Terror" is a persistent "state of emergency" that retards and damages a democratic polity and public sphere.

The philosopher and social critic Slavoj Zizek details this process with his usual keen insight:

The paradox is that the state of emergency was the normal state, while ‘normal’ democratic freedom was the briefly enacted exception. This weird regime anticipated some clearly perceptible trends in our liberal-democratic societies in the aftermath of 11 September. Is today’s rhetoric not that of a global emergency in the fight against terrorism, legitimising more and more suspensions of legal and other rights?

The ominous aspect of John Ashcroft’s recent claim that ‘terrorists use America’s freedom as a weapon against us’ carries the obvious implication that we should limit our freedom in order to defend ourselves. Such statements from top American officials, especially Rumsfeld and Ashcroft, together with the explosive display of ‘American patriotism’ after 11 September, create the climate for what amounts to a state of emergency, with the occasion it supplies for a potential suspension of rule of law, and the state’s assertion of its sovereignty without ‘excessive’ legal constraints. America is, after all, as President Bush said immediately after 11 September, in a state of war.

The problem is that America is, precisely, not in a state of war, at least not in the conventional sense of the term (for the large majority, daily life goes on, and war remains the exclusive business of state agencies). With the distinction between a state of war and a state of peace thus effectively blurred, we are entering a time in which a state of peace can at the same time be a state of emergency.

The CIA report, and the persistent "state of emergency" that was used to legitimate the crimes detailed therein, exists in the same moral, ethical, and cognitive space, as those white people which are stuck in the White Gaze, and twisted by white racial paranoiac thinking, who can watch the video of Eric Garner being choked to death, and subsequently reason that he is responsible for his own death.

The banality of evil is shown by the spokespeople and defenders of the CIA who are more concerned that wicked (and ineffective) torture was "understandable" in the context of America's fear of terrorism, and that those personnel who committed such deeds will be "unfairly" persecuted.

Fear as the justification for cruelty and evil is a common defense. It is deployed by both the nation state and individuals. Darren Wilson, the police killers of Eric Garner and Tamir Rice, and other white authorities retreat as a function of habit and training to this plea of "reasonable" fear (as processed through White racial logic) when they kill unarmed black and brown people.

It is empty and possesses little moral weight. Fear as a defense for wrong-doing is a surrender to cowardice and the most low thinking, practices that are more akin to that of impulsive instinct-driven beasts than human beings who imagine themselves as possessing the highest and most evolved capacity for reason.

Half of the American people have succumbed to the banality of evil and the cultural logic of torture.

A new poll by Pew Research details how:

Amid intense debate over the use of torture against suspected terrorists, public opinion about this issue remains fairly stable. Currently, nearly half say the use of torture under such circumstances is often (15%) or sometimes (34%) justified; about the same proportion believes that the torture of suspected terrorists is rarely (22%) or never (25%) justified.

Here, civil virtue and commonsense have been betrayed by fear mongering and manipulation: the American people are legitimating and rationalizing the very policies (directly through the physical act of torture; culturally through a numbing to poverty, human suffering, and an abandonment of a humane society) that have been and will en masse be turned against them in an era of Austerity and Inverted Totalitarianism.

There are many questions that cannot be asked within the limits of the approved American public discourse.

A basic definition of terrorism is the use of violence and fear to accomplish a political goal.

What if the language of "terrorist" and "torture" were applied to the behavior of the United States government and the American people both at home and abroad? Would the same justification for torture remain?

American exceptionalism--and nationalism more generally--can through arbitrary distinctions of territory, and the various colors of dye on a piece of fabric called a flag, make what is deemed to be wrong in one context legitimate and acceptable in another. The distorting of morality, reason, and ethics through nationalism makes the above questions verboten in American public discourse. This does not mean that such questions ought not to be asked or related scenarios explored.

White racial terrorism against people of color was and remains the norm in American life, society, and culture.

The Ku Klux Klan has been (and likely remains) the largest terrorist organization in the history of the United States.

For centuries, white slave patrollers intimidated, harassed, and killed both black human property as well as free people. American Apartheid, that period from the establishment of America as a slave society in the 17th century, through to the softening of legal white supremacy and the resulting colorblind and institutional systems of white racial advantage in the post civil rights era, use(d) violence--and the threat of violence--to intimidate and control the African-American community.

In the post civil rights era and the Age of Obama, America's police have continued with their historic mission of maintaining the colorline through committing acts of both interpersonal and institutional terrorism and violence against black and brown people.

The killings of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, and those hundreds and thousands of others (so many dead, which given the lack of police accountability and transparency, may never be fully and publicly known) killed at least once every 28 hours in the United States serve the political goal of maintaining state custodial citizenship, providing human beings for the profits to made by the prison industrial complex, and satisfying the psychological wages of whiteness in the form of "law and order" and a sense of safety and security from black people in a hyper-segregated society.

Torture as public policy by America's police and prisons has been condemned by groups such as Amnesty International and the United Nations:

The U.N. Committee against Torture urged the United States on Friday to fully investigate and prosecute police brutality and shootings of unarmed black youth and ensure that taser weapons are used sparingly.

The panel’s first review of the U.S. record on preventing torture since 2006 followed racially-tinged unrest in cities across the country this week sparked by a Ferguson, Missouri grand jury’s decision not to charge a white police officer for the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager.

The committee decried “excruciating pain and prolonged suffering” for prisoners during “botched executions” as well as frequent rapes of inmates, shackling of pregnant women in some prisons and extensive use of solitary confinement.

Its findings cited deep concern about “numerous reports” of police brutality and excessive use of force against people from minority groups, immigrants, homosexuals and racial profiling. The panel referred to the “frequent and recurrent police shootings or fatal pursuits of unarmed black individuals.”

Incidents of torture by the police against black and brown people are many.

In 1997, New York cops tortured Abner Louima, by anally raping him with a broomstick:

One officer, Justin A. Volpe, admitted in court in May 1999 that he had rammed a broken broomstick into Mr. Louima’s rectum and then thrust it in his face. He said he had mistakenly believed that Mr. Louima had punched him in the head during a street brawl outside a nightclub in Flatbush, but he acknowledged that he had also intended to humiliate the handcuffed immigrant. He left the force and was later sentenced to 30 years in prison. The commanders of the 70th Precinct were replaced within days of the assault. As the legal case wore on, Charles Schwarz, a former police officer, was sentenced in federal court in 2002 to five years in prison for perjury stemming from the torture case. A jury found that Mr. Schwarz had lied when he testified that he had not taken Mr. Louima to the station house bathroom where the assault took place.

Mr. Louima, who was born in Thomassin, Haiti, in 1966, and immigrated to New York in 1991, suffered a ruptured bladder and colon and spent two months in the hospital. The charges against him were dropped.

More than 100 black men in Chicago were tortured by police over the course of several decades in order to force them to give false confessions:

Men who say they were tortured by Chicago police into confessing to crimes they did not commit are renewing calls for compensation from the city.

They held a news conference Thursday to ask the City Council to pass an ordinance establishing a $20 million fund to torture victims who didn't qualify for settlements because of the statute of limitations.

More than 100 men have accused former police commander Jon Burge and officers under his command of shocking, suffocating and beating them into giving false confessions. Burge has never been criminally charged with torture.

But he is serving a 4 1/2 -year sentence for lying about the torture in a civil case, and was scheduled to leave prison on Thursday to serve the remainder of his time in a halfway house.

Michael Brown's body laying in the street for four hours; Eric Garner's plea for mercy that "I can't breath!"; the sodomizing of Abner Louima; the tortures that are day-to-day policy in America's prisons and jails; police brutality and militarization; the beatings, anal force feeding, sensory deprivation, drownings, and other cruelties detailed by the CIA torture report, are part of a broader culture of cruelty where human life is cheapened and debased.

Moreover, the culture of cruelty is international and domestic. On both terrains, it is far easier for the American state and its representatives to torture and render other violence against non-whites. White racial logic deems it acceptable to kill some nebulous brown Muslim "terrorist" Other in the same way that unarmed black men are transformed into "giant negroes" with superhuman strength who are demonically possessed while they supposedly attack white police officers.

If the Pew survey is correct--and half of the American people actually believe that "terrorists" from abroad should be tortured--then philosophical consistency should demand the same treatment for (white) American terrorists at home who harass, kill, or otherwise benefit from institutional and interpersonal white on black and brown violence by police and the state.

Such a suggestion may be met with shock or upset by those who are afraid to ask foundational questions about human decency and the Common Good outside of the comforting blinders of flag-waving nationalism and the panoply of myths which sustain a belief that America is "the best country on Earth".

Torture is wrong. It is unacceptable when done against "terrorists" or other "enemies of the state" abroad. Torture and terrorism are unacceptable when done by the United States government, police, or other representatives against its black and brown citizens and communities, as well as white folks too.

Moral consistency is the simplest of principles and behaviors; it is also very difficult for many Americans, especially those drunk on American exceptionalism and Right-wing authoritarianism, to comprehend and understand.

This is the failure of national character that made the horrors detailed in the CIA torture report possible.

All Americans of conscience should decry, condemn, and hold accountable the individuals, government behavior, and cruel policies detailed in the CIA torture report. Those same Americans of conscience should demand accountability from the police who kill unarmed and innocent black and brown people.

"Not in my name!" is a slogan and command for America's broken foreign policies to be corrected.

"Not in my name!" should be shouted (and acted upon) by all of our white brothers and sisters at the police thugs who are engaging in racial terrorism against the black community.

Tamir Rice was shot and killed by the Cleveland police for the "crime" of playing with a toy gun, and being black and male. Tamir was 12 years old. He is a child. Nonetheless, Tamir joins a long list of African-Americans, both younger than he, as well as much older, who have been killed every 28 hours by the police in the United States.

Gambling is ostensibly a habit of adults.

Tamir, like so many other black and brown children who are killed, arrested, and harassed by the police in the United States, lost to the odds in a life and death game where black men areat least 21 times more likely to be killed by the police than their white peers.

Young Mr. Rice joins a long list of black males who were killed for the crime of being black and alive and "suspicious": thus, they are made the "natural" targets of the police. Tamir was 12-years-old; he is now an adult from the moment he was "swatted" by a 911 caller, when the police decided to kill him without warning, refused to give him first aid assistance, and his dead body was added to the panoply of white on black victims of murderous violence by police.

Tamir was a child made into an adult when white racial paranoia and incompetence saw a 12-year-old with a toy gun as a grown man. Of course, 12-year-old white boys with toy--as well as real--guns are viewed as default angels, wrapped in and projecting white innocence. The chimera of whiteness as innocence persists even as these same white boys may be plotting to murder their schoolmates, neighbors, and parents by the dozens.

Once again, the White Gaze and white privilege are powerful intoxicants that numb the reasoning and thinking processes of too many of our white brothers and sisters.

Tamir is also a child made into an adult for the purposes of legitimating and rationalizing how 2 white police officers shot and killed him shortly before the Thanksgiving holiday.

He is part of a long chain of white on black murder by cops, lynching parties, pogroms, and state sponsored execution in the United States.

The social logic of infantalization, adultification, and niggerization ties this long and ugly history together.

Niggerization debases black humanity as something other and less than as viewed through the White Gaze: it is a state of existential terror, vulnerability, and being subject to random (white) violence.

Infantalization is the cultural logic that makes adults into children for the purposes of writing them out of the liberal democratic polity as full citizens. Infantalization is the Republican Party's rhetoric that black folks--as opposed to being sophisticated and rational political actors--are dumb, stupid, and stuck on a Democratic "plantation". Infantalization also drives the new Jim and Jane Crow in the form of voter demobilization, restrictive voting laws, and the Supreme Court's neutering of the Voting and Civil Rights Acts.

Adultification steals away the innocence and vulnerability of black and brown children. Race and childhood are social constructs. Historically, white racial logic has not allowed black and brown children the luxury of innocence or vulnerability. This has deemed that black parents give their children "the talk" about how not to be executed by the police.

In another era, the stealing of black childhood innocence took the form of learning the formal and informal codes of Jim and Jane Crow and the slave labor camp. The training and socialization of the schoolroom is a process through which black children are made into adults.

There, white children are "precocious" and "full of energy". Black children engaging in the same behavior are miscreants, trouble makers, and thugs in training who should be expelled, put in special education and remedial classes, or in jail.

How we who are black and American and have survived the triad assault from the forces of infantalization, niggerization, and adultification with our sanity intact is a testimony to the enduring power of The Black Freedom Struggle, as well as how we black folks are a hardheaded and determined group of people.

White supremacy and white privilege nurture moral rot and hypocrisy: one of history's great ironies is how White America has manifested all those failings along the color line while black and brown folks have maintained an even keel as they were assaulted by white madness.

As comedian Chris Rock recently explained in a much discussed interview:

“Here’s the thing. When we talk about race relations in America or racial progress, it’s all nonsense. There are no race relations. White people were crazy. Now they’re not as crazy. To say that black people have made progress would be to say they deserve what happened to them before...

So, to say Obama is progress is saying that he’s the first black person that is qualified to be president. That’s not black progress. That’s white progress. There’s been black people qualified to be president for hundreds of years. If you saw Tina Turner and Ike having a lovely breakfast over there, would you say their relationship’s improved? Some people would. But a smart person would go, “Oh, he stopped punching her in the face.” It’s not up to her. Ike and Tina Turner’s relationship has nothing to do with Tina Turner. Nothing. It just doesn’t.

The question is, you know, my kids are smart, educated, beautiful, polite children. There have been smart, educated, beautiful, polite black children for hundreds of years. The advantage that my children have is that my children are encountering the nicest white people that America has ever produced. Let’s hope America keeps producing nicer white people."”

The gun, and which groups possess the power to assert their will on others through gun violence, is central to the color line in America. The gun is at the heart of the Herrenvolk white democracy that Chris Rock so brilliantly exposes as ethically wanton and possessing debased values.

For example, if a white child was shot and murdered under the same circumstances as Tamir Rice the white racial frame would default to how this is a tragedy, one that is unfathomable and cannot be explained by appeals to normal logic. The police officers involved would shamed, defrocked, arrested, and run out of town.

America's historical and cultural script instead views the same scenario--where the key difference is the color of the person killed--as a puzzle with a simple solution. Tamir, or Michael, or Trayvon, or John Crawford, or Darrien Hunt, must have done something to incite and provoke their own murders by either white cops or white allied street vigilantes.

Here, blackness is a decision rule for how too many of our fellow white brothers and sisters reason backward to explain how the police (and others) are somehow right and just in shooting dead the Black Body. My use of the term "Black Body" here is intentional: white on black police violence is an attack on black people as individuals, but also on the black community, as well as against the power and symbolism of "blackness" in the white collective imagination.

Spectacular lynchings of African-Americans fulfilled this function in late 19th and early 20th century America. Stand Your Ground laws and murder by cop fulfill a similar role in the post civil rights era and the Age of Obama with its "post racial" fictions.

The gun is an object of worship for the White Right. They feed their own white babies and children to the gun god Moloch because the fetish object that is the gun has such a powerful pull over their emotions and thinking.

Individuals' political belief systems are complex and contradictory. Authoritarianism, conservatism, Right-wing partisanship, gun ownership, support for Stand Your Ground and concealed carry laws, and anti-black affect are highly correlated.

In the case of the Gun Right, does a love of guns--and the symbolism of the gun be it from a real or toy weapon--override anti-black racism and sentiment?

The Gun Right is the central phalanx of American movement conservatism. Conservatism and white supremacy are unitary in post civil rights era American politics. Consequently, macro level white supremacy and anti-black affect create the broad contours within with conservatives, and the White Right, more broadly, try to rationalize the killing of innocent and unarmed black people by white police and their allies in the United States.

To point. The "polite" white supremacist "news" and commentary site American Thinker has offered up a typical White Right-wing take on the killing of 12-year-old Tamir Rice by the Cleveland police:

Where were Mom and Dad?

Are the parents' personal histories relevant? In cases like this, those in the mainstream media like to blame society, poverty, racism, Republicans, and, of course, the police. So fair is fair. If cops' addresses can be published in the New York Times and their lives put under a microscope, then the egg and sperm donors of the young Tamirs who end up getting killed are fair game. After all, Tamir wasn't carrying a book home from the library; he was carrying and aiming an Airsoft pistol with the orange tip removed.

Somebody thought it looked real enough to call 911, and the rest is just a tragedy all the way around.

Tamir's life from the beginning seemed to be pretty tragic...

Who watched over Tamir while all this was going on? Grandma, Uncle Sam, or both? If the cop used poor judgment, what about the parents? Maybe if the corrupt, money grubbing race-baiters spreading lies about white privilege and racist cops would shut up, the so-called mothers and fathers in the black community abandoning their kids to the streets would actually care about them before they end up dead.

Blaming Tamir Rice for his death, and then using such a tragedy to smear and defile the black community and black peoples' families, has been echoed by Right-wing trolls and bigots across the Internet.

Symbolic racism, and conservatism as white supremacy, dictate what is a tired and repetitive script.

Drilling down, how does the Gun Right, as seen on one of its websites, "Bearing Arms",discuss Tamir Rice within and relative to that framework?

The comments on Bearing Arms are a mix of disgust at the behavior of the police officers who killed Tamir Rice, musings about an American public that has "unreasonable" fears of guns, and racist talking points such as the following:

I watched the same video. This Kid was walking back and forth pulling the gun out and pointing it at people. The police received calls about "A Man with a Gun". The video supports that call. The problem BOB. Is NOT with police or the placement of their patrol car. NO BOB! The problem was the total lack of PARENTING and instruction from MOM and DAD! This child should have been told: 1.) NEVER point this gun at ANYONE! 2.) Respect others especially Police and Teachers. 3.) Don't try and scare or intimidate people with this Gun. If any of those three simple rules were taught, Tamir would still be alive today. So, go ahead, blame the cops. When we both know it is the PARENTS fault!

Authoritarianism also colors how the killing of Tamir Rice is understood:

Well, unfortunately is not the first case and it will not be the last, and I think the bigger question here is not how many other kids have to die, but how many parents will actually pay attention and educate their kids about toy guns or guns in general, and more importantly how many parents will teach their kids to have respect and follow the instructions given by a member of law enforcement. - Sometimes society understands too late, that the underlying reason is not a trigger happy cop whose life is on the line on a daily basis, but the lack of accountability as parents to forge their kids in the right path of becoming law abiding citizens.

America's addiction to killing black people is the nexus of violence and race.

Race and racial ideologies are central to American history, life, culture, politics, and present. They are not sideshows or outliers in the American story.

Of the several hundred comments about the killing of Tamir Rice at the site Bearing Arms, the fact that a black person would be treated differently than a white person by the police is mentioned by only one commenter.

One comment on a Right-wing gun website does not constitute a representative sample of white racial attitudes in the post civil rights era. In addition, gun obsessives are possessed by their fetish object. Thus, the gun (and their fear that someone will strip them of their magical object) creates a tunnel vision through which they view the world.

Conservatives are also prone to simple and binary thinking. Systematic thinking is very challenging and difficult for those on the Right. These factors make nuanced thinking that considers both individual level behavior and attributes within a larger systems of power a high barrier that contemporary American conservatives find hard to hurtle.

The inability/determined unwillingness of many white Americans to "see" racism and racial inequality is a recurring theme in the post civil rights era.

The colorblind racist comments on Bearing Arms are instructive because of what they reveal about how "race neutral" thinking blinds people to social realities. White people with guns are not going to be killed by the police or other authorities with the same haste and extreme prejudice as a black or brown person with a gun. A white person with a gun is a "patriot" or "open carry" enthusiast and "gun rights" activist. A black or a brown person with a gun is a "criminal", "thug", or "terrorist".

At sites such as Bearing Arms, and in post civil rights America, more broadly, racism and white supremacy are reinscribed and reinforced by racial erasure and the act of not discussing and acknowledging how white privilege and white supremacy impact life chances in a negative way for people of color--and also constitute a set of unearned advantages for whites.

In all, white racial "colorblindness"--be it from Right-wing symbolic racists or "Liberal" aversive racists--is far more dangerous than caricatures of the KKK or skinheads because it sustains institutional white racism and systemic inequality.

The essential David Theo Goldberg offers the following analysis of the problematic that is colorblind racism in the post civil rights era. It is incisive:

In the absence of race as a tool for identification, racisms - the perpetuated contemporary legacies of racially driven structures and their effects - float free of racial significance. They become literally meaningless even as especially vicious racist acts and expression proliferate all around us, as we have been witnessing. Race disappears, and racisms are "freed at last" of any constraint. Their perpetrators easily deny any racial intentionality, and charge their accusers with racial malice thus reversing the effective perpetration of "proper" racist expression to victims, their supporters and critics of more or less conventional racisms. The legacy of racism is deemed irrelevant to the present, with responsibility both for any occasional anomalous outbreak of racism - disconnected from any other - and persistent social disadvantage delimited to individual effort and its lack. Postraciality is the end of race, and in its wake the endless extension of unmarked and increasingly unremarked racisms.

Post Ferguson slogans such as "Hands Up, Don't Shoot" and "Black Lives Matter" are compelling.

But what of the larger existential questions in response to the killings of Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, John Crawford, Darrien Hunt, and so many others, such as "how come black people are killed by the police for doing the same things as white people?" "Would Tamir Rice or Michael Brown be alive if they were white?" "Are black and brown Americans entitled to the same rights, liberties, and freedoms as white Americans?"

Those are challenging questions that few are willing to ask because the simple answer, that this is first and foremost a society founded for the benefit and privilege of "whites" over others on the opposite side of the color line, may be too much to accept, and impossible to reconcile within a multicultural American neoliberal corporate "democracy", one that still circulates lies about equality of opportunity and meritocracy.

If you have not yet read Darren Wilson's testimony to the Ferguson grand jury which decided that he would suffer no ill consequences for his decision to kill Michael Brown, please do so.

Wilson's description of the events on the day that he decided to shoot and kill an unarmed person cannot be adequately relayed to you by a second party.

The absurd, unfathomable, and fantastical story which Wilson spun out of the whole cloth in order to justify killing an unarmed black teenager combines the deepest and ugliest white supremacist stereotypes and fantasies about black folks' humanity such as the "negro fiend", "black beast", and "giant negro", with white racist paranoiac thinking, and dialogue from blaxploitation movies.

Darren Wilson's grand jury testimony purports to be an accurate description of his encounter with Michael Brown. In reality, it is closer to an amateurish summer stock theater production of the movie Birth of the Nation as performed by the KKK and/or Neo-Nazis.

After submitting a blank police report that provided no substantive information, Darren Wilson was trained by attorneys from the police union (a common procedure when police kill civilians), and had many weeks to prepare his grand jury testimony.

During that time, Wilson was privy to the narrative and witness testimony that he would be confronted by in court.

Wilson was also aided by a prosecutor who was not at all interested in finding sufficient probable cause to proceed with a proper trial for the latter's decision to kill Michael Brown.

Ultimately, Darren Wilson was either 1) coached to recite a profoundly racist and bizarre version of his encounter with Michael Brown; 2) is deeply mired in the White Gaze and White Racial Frame to such a degree that he actually believes the white supremacist fictions he told the grand jury; or 3) some combination of the above.

The American legal system is not separate and apart from the social norms, cultures, values, and beliefs which produced it. Rather, the legal system (as well as schools, prisons, hospitals, etc.) is a crystallization of American society and its hierarchies of power.

Social scientists and others have produced volumes of research which have repeatedly demonstrated how the American legal system reinforces, perpetuates, and reflects disparate racial outcomes and white supremacy. For example, their findings include how black Americans face racial bias and unfair treatment at every level of the criminal justice system from initial police encounters to sentencing and parole decisions. Juries are influenced by implicit racial bias. Juries are also less likely to find black witnesses "credible" or "believable". And perhaps most troubling, white jurors can be subconsciously primed by images of apes and gorillas--this deeply racist association between animals and African-Americans in turn makes white jurors more likely to give black defendants the death penalty.

The empirical evidence for white racial bias in the criminal justice system is the context which produced the Ferguson grand jury's decision in favor of Darren Wilson. White supremacy makes Wilson's testimony an "intelligible" and "legitimate" type of truth claim as understood by the jurors, and the broader white society that supports Wilson's killing of the unarmed black teenager Michael Brown.

White supremacy and white racial paranoiac thinking makes Wilson's following statements about Michael Brown believable and valid--as opposed to utterances and transparent lies that most certainly do not surpass the legal standard of "reasonable doubt".

Wilson told the grand jury the following:

1. Brown possessed super human negro strength as he effortlessly crushed the weak white man's flesh with one hand. "And when I grabbed him, the only way I can describe it is I felt like a five-year-old holding onto Hulk Hogan...Hulk Hogan, that’s just how big he felt and how small I felt just from grasping his arm."

2. Brown is so strong and possessed of giant negro powers that he could attack Wilson with one hand while using the other to give his compatriot Dorian Johnson the box of cigars.

3. Even though he was shot several times by Darren Wilson, Brown let out a bestial grown like a feral monster, seemingly impervious to the threat of bullets and harm, he then charged at the police officer:

"So when he stopped, I stopped. And then he starts to turn around, I tell him to get on the ground, get on the ground. He turns, and when he looked at me, he made like a grunting, like aggravated sound and he starts, he turns and he’s coming back towards me. His first step is coming towards me, he kind of does like a stutter step to start running. When he does that, his left hand goes in a fist and goes to his side, his right one goes under his shirt in his waistband and he starts running at me."

"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.

And the face that he had was looking straight through me, like I wasn’t even there, I wasn’t even anything in his way."

4. Brown apparently speaks like a blaxploitation movie character: "He grabs my gun, says, 'You are too much of a pussy to shoot me.'"

5. Brown, like other negroes, was irrational and crazed. Wilson was in a state of terror: "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."

6. Brown also has melanin powered super speed. Because blacks are apparently natural athletes with overdeveloped leg muscles, Brown ran away from Wilson so fast that he left a trail of dust at his feet in a manner akin to that of a Looney Tunes cartoon character: "When I look up after that, I see him start to run and I see a cloud of dust behind him."

7. Because Brown is a giant negro he towered over Wilson: "He then grabs my door again and shuts my door. At that time is when I saw him coming into my vehicle. His head was higher than the top of my car. And I see him ducking and as he is ducking, his hands are up and he is coming in my vehicle."

Darren Wilson's testimony to the grand jury mates a cultural script that views black people as inherently criminal with recent empirical research that demonstrates how white folks actually do believe that black people are "super human" and a mysterious type of Other.

Wilson's tale is also a reminder of how the near past of Jim and Jane Crow lives in the "post racial" present of the Age of Obama.

A black man is President of the United States of America.

But, a white cop can use language and white racial logic of 19th and early 20th century lynch law--with its fixation on "negro fiends", "imps of the inferno", and "noble" defenders of white society--to avoid going to trial for taking the life of an unarmed black teenager, while also being elevated to hero status (and financially enriched) by those sick and morally deranged white folks who want to live vicariously through the act of killing a black person.

Dred Scott is buried several miles away from where Darren Wilson killed Michael Brown. Scott, in one of the most infamous United States Supreme Court decisions, was deemed to not have any rights that a white man is bound to respect. Almost 150 years later, Darren Wilson used the same white supremacist logic, and in doing so offered a version of events that would have been a perfect fit for a 19th century newspaper article about the lynching, disembowelment, and vivisection of a black victim of spectacular white violence.

"History is a moving train". Ferguson is a reminder of how those historical continuities of white supremacy as enacted through the American legal system (and other cultural and social institutions) are still killing and murdering black and brown folks with impunity in the present.

The civet cat lives in the jungles of Indonesia. It enjoys eating coffee berries. However, the civet cat’s stomach is incapable of digesting them. The beans are subsequently excreted in the feces of the animal. Treated and “flavored” by the civet cat’s anal glands, the beans are highly prized by coffee aficionados, selling for 600 dollars a pound.

Picking through the political feces that are the comments sections on Right-wing propaganda websites such as The Blaze is not as lucrative. But, the process is very important for what it reveals about the worldview and ideology of movement conservatism.

Research in sociology, political science, and psychology has revealed that those with“conservative” political personality types see the world in binary and simplistic terms, are intolerant of ambiguity, more afraid of social change, highly deferent to authority, and have brains that are more highly attuned to feelings of fear and threat.

Conservative authoritarians are also much more likely to be racist, prejudiced, and xenophobic.

The Right-wing media machine is typified by “epistemic closure”. The self-reinforcing (and fictitious) narratives of the Right-wing media, when combined with selective information processing and cognitive bias by conservatives, has created an alternate world—one that is immune from the standards and facts that govern empirical reality.

Faith is a belief in that which cannot be proven by ordinary means; the Right-wing media is the temple at which movement conservatives fanatically pray and worship. The media elites and politicians of the American right speak in tongues to their congregation. To outsiders, this speech is gibberish and madness. For the Right-wing faithful, such acts are divine and prophetic.

Conservatives’ political personality traits, media, and a predisposition towards both implicit and explicit bias animus towards non-whites is crystallized in their response to the killing of Michael Brown and other unarmed black people such as Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, and Jordan Davis.

The American Right-wing’s defense of those who kill black people ranges from a barbaric and instinctive impulse towards homicidal ideation (as seen by those who defend Darren Wilson and have donated money to him as a form of bounty or prize for the new age lynching of Michael Brown) to a more mundane and quotidian belief that black people are a race of criminals, and it is best for “public safety” that the police and other representatives of the state treat African-Americans in a prejudicial and unfair way.

This continuum of behavior is an example of white racist paranoiac thinking.

White racist paranoiac thinking is dangerous and noxious because it devalues the lives of black and brown people, legitimates violence and cruelty by whites against non-whites, and twists the ethics, reasoning, thought processes, and morality of white folks in order to support unconscionable deeds.

The Right-wing (and mainstream) media have provided many notable examples of white racist paranoiac thinking (and of course acknowledging how the race-crime frame dominates the American news media writ large on a day-to-day basis).

Several decades ago, the videotaped beating of Rodney King was twisted and distorted by the White Gaze so that the victim was somehow a threat to the many police officers who savaged him.

When Trayvon Martin was killed by George Zimmerman, white racist paranoiacs and their allies spun a story where Martin was somehow “armed” with iced tea and the sidewalk: this was a provocation for the hunter Zimmerman to stalk and kill his prey Trayvon.

The thug cop Darren Wilson is made into a victim by white racial paranoia as the “giant” Michael Brown was “armed” with his “big, black, scary self” and despite multiple witness accounts that he had surrendered, and was not a threat after being repeatedly shot, somehow Wilson was “in fear for his life” and within his rights to shoot Brown in the head and face as a type of street vigilante by cop coup de grace.

These are examples of an aggregate process in American society. It is rare that one news item or editorial offers a self-contained example of white racist paranoiac thinking as a process of motivated reasoning and subsequent distorting of the facts.

In that regard, The Blaze's recent piece "New Claims Made by Grand Jury Witness Who Says He Saw Shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson From Start to Finish", is an ideal typical case.

The beginning of The Blaze's story presents some of the recent facts and “revelations” from a “black witness” to the encounter between Wilson and Brown (as likely leaked by the Ferguson prosecutor’s office):

An Ohio resident has reportedly revealed new details to the grand jury currently weighing a case against Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown. The unidentified witness claims to have seen the Brown shooting from start to finish.

In an interview with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the eyewitness recalled four key details

• After an initial scuffle in the car, the officer did not fire until Brown turned back toward him.
• Brown put his arms out to his sides but never raised his hands high.
• Brown staggered toward Wilson despite commands to stop.
• The two were about 20 to 25 feet apart when the last shots were fired.

The man’s account differs some with other Ferguson residents who have claimed that Brown’s hands were up in the air when he was shot and that he was running away from the officer the entire time.

Here, the framing is highly sympathetic--as is expected from a Right-wing muckraking site such as The Blaze--towards Darren Wilson.

The Blaze's story concludes with the conclusion by the “new” witness that:

After going over the entire incident in his head, the witness said he believes that Wilson is guilty of murder. "It went from zero to 100 like that, in the blink of an eye… What transpired to us, in my eyesight, was murder. Down outright murder,” he added.

The comments on "New Claims Made by Grand Jury Witness Who Says He Saw Shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson From Start to Finish" are very revealing: they show how white racial paranoiac thinking, as well as the cognitive and political personality traits of conservatives, combine to selectively filter information…a process amplified by the interplay of race, crime, and racial animus in the case of the Ferguson incident.

Here, the witness’s conclusion that Wilson murdered Michael Brown is utterly discounted and ignored, while the leading “facts” are unequivocally embraced to fit a prior belief.

Some examples:

1. What transpired was Officer Wilson stopping a threat that was an obvious danger to him. The public needs to know of Force Science and the dynamics of a violent, rapid encounter such as this. Everything factual stated by this “black” witness completely exonerates Officer Wilson. Brown physically fought Wilson & a shot was fired inside the police car. Brown ran. Wilson ordered Brown to stop. Brown physically came at Wilson a second time. Wilson discharged his firearm to stop Brown’s threat. Brown, despite an apparent gunshot wound, continued his threatening actions towards Wilson. Wilson fired again to stop Brown’s threat until, in fact Brown was stopped.

After going over the entire incident in his head, the witness said he believes that Wilson is guilty of murder. “It went from zero to 100 like that, in the blink of an eye. … What transpired to us, in my eyesight, was murder. Down outright murder,” he added.


2. I agree with your assessment 100%, however, after reading many responses, I believe some clarification is in order.

Body language is critical in this case. As Brown had already proven that he was quite capable of overpowering Officer Wilson, near instantaneous assessment of his every movement is a matter of life or death. any have interpreted hands out as being the same as hands up. There is a huge difference in the expressed body language when all factors are taken into consideration. Arms out to the side with the palms forward is anything but a submissive posture. Couple that posture with approaching, and refusing to comply when told to stop should be considered as extremely aggressive.

Doubters can deny it if they want, but look at Hollywood… Film is edited down to the slightest facial tick as the tiniest misplaced gesture at a crucial moment changes the entire storyline of the movie.

Simply, if you submit, you stand still with your hands up. To approach with hands to the side and out is a classical aggressive approach of someone that intends to overpower… It is the fighting posture of a wrestler.

Officer Wilson, commanding the perpetrator to stop was right to stop the approach of Michael Brown… especially when there was a second possible threat withe the presence of his friend.

3. exactly. First off, the store incident was enough and it brings the fact the Brown was being defiant from the onset leaving the store. Then defiant more in the police car. Otherwise, why and how did a shot go off inside of the police car. I do not see any police officer shooting up the inside of his car for no reason. Then Brown turning around walking towards Wilson with that “whatchya gonna do” gesture after Wilson told him to stop Everyone knows what that gesture is with a pimp stride in it. That showed further defiance. I do not see how it can be called “murder” from the sounds of what this witness side.  

4. By the way, shooting a fleeing felon is also allowed, and is not murder. Even if he was shot in the back of the head while he was running away, still justified.

5. Not just the dynamics of the first violent encounter, but the officer had his eye socket shattered, his bell was probably rang pretty badly from the impact, and his weapon had discharged during the struggle. He was most likely trying to recover from all this during the ensuing encounter. I wonder if anyone has addressed how this might have affected his eyesight or perception. If there were any adverse affects they were the responsibility of the deceased. We can only work with the tools we have. Any benefit of the doubt I will give to the officer.

6. Trying to follow this article is confusing to a rational person. As I read the “witness” account, it sure sounds like a case of self-defense to me. Then the article ends with the witness saying it was clearly murder to him. If it went from zero to 100 for the witness, think how fast it was going for officer Wilson. Also, if Wilson fired the first shot (or was it a shot fired in a struggle for the gun in the car?), why would he holster his weapon and then unholster it when the Gentle Giant turned to him and would not follow repeated commands to stop? Only because the officer felt his life was in danger from an out-of-control thug who refused to stop his attack / aggression towards the officer. But to the Black Klan (BK), what matters is it was a white officer and a black thug. If there was a video and audio making it perfectly clear Wilson was a victim of Big Mike, there would be denial from the BK.

These comments, selected from several hundred that are similar in tone and reasoning, exemplify the power of disinformation and propaganda, authoritarianism, white victimology, homicidal ideation, an embrace of the culture of cruelty, as well overt and covert racism that are common to movement conservatism in the Age of Obama.

As such, they are not a surprise.

What is important is that the deranged thinking of movement conservatives is not isolated to excuse-making and racial paranoia as a means of legitimating the killing of unarmed black and brown people by police and other white identified authorities. Rather, it envelops other matters of public concern that include the environment, economy, health care, tax policy, civil liberties, reproductive rights, international affairs, and other issues.

Extreme partisanship, polarization, and the alternate reality that has been created by the Right-wing media machine are on full display in how the White Right has responded to the killing of Michael Brown by Darren Wilson. Unfortunately, the bundle of attitudes, beliefs, and values that are central to white racist paranoiac thinking are also a threat to the common good more generally.

As with Michael Brown, the killing of a black person at least every 28 hours in the United States by police (and other white identified authorities) is an issue of race, crime, class, and justice. It is also a basic and fundamental human rights issue.

The culture and forces of cruelty, white victimology, and racism that defend and celebrate such acts of civic evil are the same elements which have broken America’s systems of government, and thus created a crisis of legitimacy in the country’s civic culture.

I have written extensively about the killing of Michael Brown by Darren Wilson; I will continue to do so in the future. Why?

In truth-telling about the killing of Michael Brown by Darren Wilson, we are exposing the reality of a society in which our civil liberties, freedoms, and basic rights to life, liberty, safety, and security are under threat.

Michael Brown’s body lay in the street as an act of racial terrorism by the Ferguson police against the African-American community.

His body was also a living, and now dead, symbol of a civic culture that is under threat by white supremacy, the culture of cruelty, and a strain of movement conservatism which wants to kill “the useless eaters” by using white racial animus and paranoiac thinking to destroy any hope that there will be a just and equitable society on both sides of the color line, as well as across divides of class and wealth.

The inevitable exoneration of Darren Wilson for the killing of Michael Brown is intended to send a message that “all hope is lost”. The question becomes, how will a “we the people” democracy respond to such callous indifference towards the lives of its black and brown citizens?

The trickles and leaks of information from the grand jury investigating the killing of the unarmed black teenager Michael Brown by the white police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri have turned into a flood.

This "new" information suggests that Darren Wilson will not be held accountable for shooting an unarmed person multiple times in broad daylight. It was already a fait accompli that Darren Wilson would not be arrested for the killing of an unarmed black person: any other outcome would be outside of America's long tradition of extra judicially murdering black and brown people.

The news media is also complicit with framing and circulating the leaked information in such a way as to exonerate Darren Wilson.

For example, the Washington Post has presented a one sided, rumor filled, and carefully framed story about Brown's autopsy as representing definitive fact--as opposed to information leaked by Wilson's defenders and a corrupt prosecutor's office.

Ultimately, what is the needlessly complex theater surrounding the death of Michael Brown at the hands of Darren Wilson can be crystallized down to one essential truth. Darren Wilson killed Michael Brown for the "crime" of being black and walking in the street.

This is not a new crime in the United States. Under the white racial terrorist regime of Jim and Jane Crow, black people were bullied and murdered for violating similar rules.

The present day version of this "crime" in the Age of Obama is demonstrated by Wilson's harassment of Michael Brown for "obstructing traffic".

Several decades ago, what is a very recent past in the highly polarized and racially segregated community of Ferguson and its surrounding area, this crime of violating white public space was known as "bumptious contact".

For this crime, black people could be arrested, beaten, and even killed for being on the sidewalk near a white person. Bumptious contact was part of a racist legal regime that included other crimes, both formal and informal, such as "reckless eyeballing", not yielding to white people at four way intersections, and asking to be paid a previously agreed upon price for one's labor.

This old fashioned racism of Jim and Jane Crow that lives in the present is circulating in one of the common defenses given for Darren Wilson's killing ways.

In the twisted imaginations of the white racist defenders of Darren Wilson, Michael Brown would not have been killed if he obeyed the following edicts when confronted by White authority. In online comment sections and other social media, Wilson’s homicidal ideation filled defenders have repeatedly suggested that:

all the boy had to do was to be polite. it will happen again- cos thugs arent polite”

The racial semiotics of this statement is not complicated. "Thug" is a contemporary and more polite version of the ugly word "nigger". "Boy" is a statement of racial humiliation and white supremacy that attempts to infantilize, emasculate, and rob black men of their dignity and rights.

"Polite" is a word rich with history and racial meaning.

The White Gaze deems that black people must and should always be submissive and defer to white authority.

Historically, the racial state and white authority are corrupt, and thus not worth respect or legitimacy by people of color--or ethically and morally grounded white folks.

However, when white racial logic evokes "politeness" in its discussion of black comportment and behavior there is an implied threat of violence. The impolite black body is to be policed, punished, trained, violated, and tortured--the whip, the lynching tree, the slave patroller, and the police have/do serve that purpose in America.

Black folks are victims of a cruel paradox in their submission to white authority, for even when they are "polite" and "respectful", black people are still subjected to violence and murder. The White Gaze is the ultimate arbiter of black submission. Consequently, it changes that criterion to satisfy White Power, White authority, and racial paranoiac thinking to fit the mercurial mood(s) of a given white person.

From slavery and Jim Crow to the era of Stand Your Ground, Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, and Michael Brown, white supremacy and the color line are maintained by codes and rules that are both formal (the law) and informal ("common sense" and "acceptable" behavior).

When Darren Wilson is not indicted for the murder of Michael Brown, Ferguson will burn. The strategic leaks of information by the prosecutor's office are a way of turning Wilson into a victim and Brown into a "thug", the instigator of his own suicide by cop.

Per routine, the mainstream news media will frame the righteous anger at a broken and corrupt system as one more episode of black irrationality from a people who collectively do not respect "the rule of law" and "the system".

The exoneration of Darren Wilson, a white man who killed an unarmed black person without proper cause, is an old American habit. The black community of Ferguson's reaction to his being allowed to walk free, financially enriched via paid for bounties from his supporters, and without negative consequences, are the sum total of many violations, both small and large.

The present is not an orphan. It has parents. The killing of a black teenager Michael Brown without negative consequences by the white police officer Darren Wilson is part of America's long dysfunctional family legacy across the color line.

White supremacy structures how the news media frames and reports events in the United States (and elsewhere). There are so many examples of this fact that the difficulty is not one of finding them, rather, the challenge involves which examples of white racial framing to discuss and detail.

Saturday's riot by white college students at Keene State College's annual Pumpkinfest is a priceless example of white privilege and white racism as a type of social practice and habit.

It was high comedy. Twitter had great fun with mocking and calling out the foolishness of the white pumpkin rioters.

It was also deadly serious. Fires were set, cars destroyed, bottles and other dangerous objects were thrown at random people, and the police were attacked by the white students at Keene's pumpkin festival.

In a stark and clear manner, white privilege and white supremacy color how the obnoxious and violent behavior of the white rioters at Pumpkinfest is described by the media.

Black folks who are protesting with righteous rage and anger in response to the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson have been called "thugs", "animals", and cited by the Right-wing media as examples of the "bad culture" and "cultural pathologies" supposedly common to the African-American community.

Privileged white college students who riot at a pumpkin festival are "spirited partiers", "unruly", or "rowdy".

Right-wing propaganda sites such as the Drudge Report pander black beast rapist negrophobia to their racist audience with grotesque images of "black crime" and "black criminality" as a standard theme. By contrast, the violent behavior of white college students is met with relative silence save for a description of the events in Keene, New Hampshire as "extreme partying".

And of course, the race of the rioting students is not mentioned by Drudge and/or the mainstream news media because Whiteness has no stigma or connection to criminality and violence as seen through the White Gaze.

The racial innocence of Whiteness is one of America's greatest lies as white folks, here demonstrated by acts such as racial genocide against First Nations peoples and racial pogroms against blacks, are the most violent and destructive group of people in the history of the United States.

White college students riot over pumpkins, but are mute and show no equivalent expenditure of upsetness or energy over the murder of Michael Brown and the many other black and brown people killed by the police and white identified vigilantes every 28 hours in the United States.

Hmm...I wonder why?

Privilege is the ability to deny reality by creating a bubble of willful ignorance around oneself.

This is true of white privilege, male privilege, heterosexual privilege, and all of the other ways that the dominant and the in-group benefit materially and psychologically from a culture that is designed to bend the world in the service of their will.

The mainstream media has, for the most part, moved on from the murder of Michael Brown and the gross violations of the black community's human rights by the police in Ferguson, Missouri. The twenty-four hour news cycle has a limited attention span; the corporate news media does not serve the public interest as it is first and foremost beholden to profits over people and truth-telling.

I will continue to write about and discuss the events in Ferguson because what has and is transpiring there is emblematic of America's national problem and sickness that is white supremacy. Ferguson is a petty fiefdom of meanness, cruelty, and racism; there are many Fergusons in the United States.

Yesterday, the Washington Post and the website Mediaite featured two news items about Ferguson that together constitute a textbook and ideal typical example of white racism in the post civil rights era.

Of course, the comment sections on both stories feature white racists publicly masturbating with their own political feces as is their preferred habit.

Nonetheless, both pieces are very revealing.

The Washington Post's story,"For some Ferguson whites, racial fault lines exposed by shooting come as a surprise", focuses on the ignorance and faux racial innocence that typifies Whiteness as a political and racial ideology.

"For some Ferguson whites, racial fault lines exposed by shooting come as a surprise" is also a clinic in aversive and symbolic racism.

But since the death of an unarmed black teenager at the hands of a white police officer, some African Americans are calling it segregated and racist. Now Singen has found herself talking in terms of “us” and “them,” “we” and “they.”

“I didn’t have any problems with anybody or any color, and all of a sudden it feels like we are being held responsible for something that’s not our fault,” Singen, 70, said as she left Faraci Pizza, a 46-year-old Ferguson business that has become a focal point of racial tension. “I don’t get it.”

That sense of shock is common here among Ferguson whites in the wake of 18-year-old Michael Brown’s death and the explosive protests in the days that followed.

Hart has lived here most of his 47 years. He was class president at McCluer High School. More than a third of the students were minorities then, and he said he could not recall a racist incident. He believes in building communities and the good of people — which made it possible to think that his town’s troubles could be helped, if not solved, by a slice of pizza.

White privilege and colorblind racism nurture a sense of white victimology and racial grievance mongering towards black Americans. White privilege also flattens history by presenting complicated matters of institutional racism and white supremacy as "simple" problems to be "solved" (here with pizza) by individual behavior as opposed to a serious and rigorous examination of inter-group power relationships.

The Washington Post continued:

“My biggest gripe is that no one is giving the justice system a chance to work out,” Hart said. “We don’t know all the facts, but there is an investigation and a process. This is America.”

Protests and arrests have continued in Ferguson and across the St. Louis area, though things have been less volatile than in the summer. On Saturday, black and white demonstrators bought tickets to a St. Louis Symphony performance and at intermission stood and sang “A Requiem for Mike Brown,” with mixed reaction from a stunned audience.

America is a society structured around maintaining white privilege and white supremacy. One of the ways that this is accomplished is by socializing the white public to believe that America is a meritocracy whose social and political institutions treat all people the same way--regardless of skin color. In turn, a belief in this lie nurtures resentment, hostility, and anger towards people of color because the latter's lived experiences battling white supremacy are translated by the White Gaze into complaining, belly aching, "reverse racism", and not being "patriotic" towards the "greatest country on Earth".

When institutional racism is exposed--only the willfully ignorant and those who have cultivated their own stupidity are surprised by these glaring inequalities--there is a hostile reaction by many white folks because they are wedded to the lies of American meritocracy and "colorblindness".

Moreover, the premise that white people have received unearned advantages means their dominant group position/individual success may not have been earned, but rather received unjustly at the expense of others. This is often too much for White America's collective and individual psyche(s), to process.

In contrast to the polite and restrained white racism of the Washington Post's story, Mediaite featured a video and accompanying story which shows the racial bigotry that hides in the the "backstage" of American life moved to the "frontstage" for all to see.

Mediaite reported how:

At the top of the video, an older gentleman looks directly at the camera and shouts about how if these (all-black) protestors had been working (at night?) “we wouldn’t have this problem!”

The crowd soon begins chanting “Let’s go Cardinals!” to drown out the protestors’ chant about “shutting the shit down” if they aren’t given justice for slain 18-year-old Michael Brown. That Cards chant quickly changed into “Let’s go Darren!” referring to Officer Darren Wilson, the Ferguson cop who killed the young man.

Things continue to get uglier as the video progresses.

One Cardinals fan calls a protestor a “crackhead,” while another fan presumably made eye contact with one protestor and began questioning his “tough guy” status, telling the unseen protestor that “if you ever saw me in the street, you’d look at the ground, that’s what you’d do.”

While one protestor waves an upside-down American flag (symbolic of “country in distress”), a blonde lady enters, telling the crowd: “We’re the ones who fuckin’ gave all y’all the freedoms that you have!” Another lady takes it upon herself to question the cameraman’s background, suggesting she doesn’t believe he’s an ex-Marine, while asking incoherent questions about his rank. All fun times.

Peppered throughout the rest of the video are “USA! USA!” chants from the Cards fans, along with one woman getting real clever and shouting at the protestors: “Africa! Africa!” There were also more calls for the protestors to get jobs, pick up their pants, and remove their caps.

I prefer honest white supremacists. Their behavior is refreshing.

The white fans at the Cardinals game, shouting their support for a police officer who killed an unarmed black person who was surrendering, hands raised, in cold blood, are racial contrarians.

 It is also important to note how their chants and screeds against the defenders of Michael Brown's right to life and our shared civil liberties reflect the standard racist talking-points of the Right-wing media and the Republican Party in the post civil era.

In all, the supporters of Darren Wilson are engaging in a type of idolization of their hero because they too would like to earn their bounty by killing a black person.

Homicidal idealization and symbolic racism have reduced the killing of Michael Brown by a cowardly white thug cop named Darren Wilson into a set of dueling chants at a sporting event.

The moral rot of the white fans at the Cardinals game who heckled and harassed the supporters of justice for Michael Brown are reminders of Mark Twain's wisdom in the classic book The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn where he wrote:

I didn't rightly know what to say, because I didn't know whether the boat would be coming up the river or down. But I go a good deal on instinct; and my instinct said she would be coming up -- from down towards Orleans. That didn't help me much, though; for I didn't know the names of bars down that way. I see I'd got to invent a bar, or forget the name of the one we got aground on -- or -- Now I struck an idea, and fetched it out:

"It warn't the grounding -- that didn't keep us back but a little. We blowed out a cylinder-head."
"Good gracious! anybody hurt?"
"No'm. Killed a nigger."
"Well, it's lucky; because sometimes people do get hurt.

Twain wrote that scathing observation of how white supremacy damages white people's ethics and morality in the year 1885. It is now 2014. Twain's insights remain painfully valid.

America's public discourse is obsessed with the cultural "problems" and supposed pathologies of black people. "What does it feel like to be a problem?" is the birthright slogan penned with existential ink on the minds and bodies of black Americans.

The events in Ferguson--as well as others such as mass shootings, right-wing domestic terrorism, breaking the economy--are a reminder of America's real problem: the United States has many cultural pathologies rooted in Whiteness and white privilege.

Instead of demanding that black folks fix their "bad" culture and demanding "where are the black leaders?", White America needs to exercise some of the "personal responsibility" it is quick to throw in the face of others by getting its own house in order. White America also needs to challenge its own "leaders" to do better and to act more responsibly.

Ferguson needs a better class of racists. America does as well.

Once more, and as Ethiop asked, what shall we do with the white people?

Several weeks ago, Levar Jones, a black motorist, was shot by a white South Carolina state trooper named Sean M. Groubert while complying with the latter's request that he present his drivers license for inspection. This unwarranted and unnecessary use of violence by Groubert was recorded on video. He was fired from The South Carolina State Police and subsequently arrested.

In the United States, the black body is so imperiled and used to being the object of white racial terrorism and violence that Levar Jones, an innocent man, apologized to Sean Groubert after being shot.

If there was not a dashboard camera, Groubert would have concocted one of the typical lies told by police officers--the "criminal" was reaching for a gun; he lunged at me in a "threatening" manner"; it was a "clean" shot because I was in "reasonable fear" of my safety--and been given a commendation and left free to walk the streets where he (or she) would continue to harass and murder other innocent members of the public.

The news media has responded to the video recording of Sean Groubert shooting Levar Jones with surprise. Headlines read that the recording is "shocking" or "unbelievable". The largely white commentariat on TV and elsewhere seem genuinely dismayed at Groubert's actions.

I would suggest there is nothing shocking, amazing, or surprising about Sean Groubert's shooting of Levar Jones in South Carolina. Perhaps, this is a function of my blues sensibilityand the common sense life skills that I as a black man have had to develop in order to navigate the color line in the United States?

However well-intentioned and sincere the concern and surprise by the (white) American public (and some in the chattering classes) towards the events in Ferguson, the shooting of Jones by Groubert, or the panoply of unarmed black men by the police ever 28 hours in America may be, their response is still colored by white privilege.

Black and brown Americans have been complaining about, organizing in response to, and publicly discussing police brutality and extra-judicial violence against their communities for several hundred years. Those concerns have largely been ignored by the white public.

The white racial frame deems that those life experiences must be invalidated as somehow exaggerations, lies, or a function of the "natural" irrationality of those who are not white--as compared to the natural "reason" and capacity for "critical thinking", "objectivity" and "rigor" which supposedly comes with being white and male.

It is also important to highlight the raw truth: many members of the white public are invested in white on black and brown police brutality and violence because of both their implicit, as well as overt biases against people of color.

Moreover, even when "habeas corpus" is, quite literally in these instances, in effect, where an unarmed or otherwise innocent black or brown person has been killed by the police or other white identified street vigilantes, and the events are recorded, white racial paranoia still finds a way to twist those events into a bizarre lie of a scenario in which the victim somehow provoked their own murder or abuse.

Eric Garner was killed by police and it was recorded on video. John Crawford III was killed by the police on video. Levar Jones was shot by police on video. And we can forget the recent recordings of a police officer beating a black woman MMA style on the side of the highway, throwing pregnant women on the ground, attacking street vendors, and the many other examples of police thuggery against unarmed, innocent people.

To be surprised by these events, given the history of the United States, and the many times that African-Americans and others have publicly protested police racism and violence requires cultivated racial naivete, willful ignorance, and the almost unique ability to ignore and dismiss the life experiences of the Other that comes with being a member of a privileged group in a given society.

Life in a white supremacist society exacts a high cost on the mental well-being, sanity, and overall health of non-whites. In such a culture, one of the most exhausting experiences is when white folks "discover" a truth that people of color have long known and communicated.

When white folks are surprised or shocked by anti-black and brown racism, I nod my head in acknowledgement of their discovery. I then respond, "did you previously think that black people were crazy? Were we lying all these years? Insane? Mad? Was there some concerted effort and conspiracy for us to lie about police brutality and racism more generally?"

The temporary disruption to white innocence and naivete by the "shocking" discovery that police kill and abuse unarmed people of color is a temporary emotional and cognitive state. Whiteness and white privilege are nothing if not a highly refined type of cultural and social amnesia.

By contrast, the white public and media's shock, surprise, and dismay at the murder of unarmed black men and women by police is a continual state of being for Black America.

White folks are just tourists in this world; we have to live in it.

In the aftermath of Darren Wilson's shooting of Michael Brown several weeks ago, an almost all white police department engaged in a riot against the black citizens of Ferguson, Missouri.

During those days of civil disturbance, police were recorded using racial slurs, threatening innocent people with violence and death, violating the Constitutional rights of journalists and others who attempted to monitor their street brigandry and hooliganism, and in all, treated the black community of Ferguson as though they were terrorists and insurgents—with the police conducting a mission of counterinsurgency and mayhem.

The Ferguson police are not ashamed of their horrible behavior.

Darren Wilson has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for his successful bounty and head-hunting campaign against an unarmed black teenager named Michael Brown.

Anti-black Homicidal ideation and racism drive Wilson’s supporters; they yearn to participate in a 21st century lynching party by proxy.

Ultimately, Darren Wilson is a protected man, receiving paychecks while the prosecutor and his home police department orchestrate a cover-up of his cowardly killing of Michael Brown.

It would seem that despite overwhelming evidence that Darren Wilson killed Michael Brown in an execution and vigilante style murder, that the latter, young Mr. Michael Brown, will receive no justice by the local authorities.

The police in Ferguson are emboldened by these events.

In fact, as reported by MSNBC and other media outlets, they are apparently so encouraged by a culture which enables, protects, and encourages white supremacist violence by the police and other white identified street vigilantes against people of color in the United States, that some members of the Ferguson police department have begun wearing wristbands which say “I am Darren Wilson”.

The symbolic politics of the “I am Darren Wilson” wristband makes clear what the black residents of Ferguson—and other communities in the United States—have known for decades and centuries. The police do not “serve and protect” black and brown communities, specifically, and the working classes and poor, more generally.

As descendants of the slave patrollers of the American slaveocracy, police are on the front lines of maintaining the hierarchies of race, white privilege, and white supremacy in the United States.

The “I am Darren Wilson” wristband evokes the demons of white racial terrorism against black Americans.

The wristband naturally leads to an existential question: what does it mean for a police officer (or one of their supporters) to say that “I am Darren Wilson”?

Darren Wilson repeatedly shot an unarmed black teenager who had surrendered to him.

It follows that:

“I am Darren Wilson” means that you idolize a killer.

“I am Darren Wilson” means that you support the killing of unarmed black people.

“I am Darren Wilson” means that you support white supremacy.

“I am Darren Wilson” means that you are a racial paranoiac so drunk on authoritarianism and racial animus that you can rationalize, in the face of the preponderance of the available evidence, the execution of an unarmed person for the crime of being black, breathing, and walking down the street.

“I am Darren Wilson” means that your ethics are so twisted and distorted by the white racial frame and white supremacy that you sympathize and empathize more with the white cop who killed an unarmed black teenager than you do with the person who was shot dead and left in the street for hours like garbage.

“I am Darren Wilson” means that your moral framework has been corrupted and ruined by white privilege and white racism.

The “I am Darren Wilson” wristband is not a minor accouterment or detail that is coincidental to a given police officer’s uniform: it is a major statement of power, politics, attitudes, and values.

The website Police One details the importance of a police officer’s dress and comportment:

The uniform of a police officer conveys the power and authority of the person wearing it. Clothing, including the police uniform, has been found to have a powerful psychological impact on those who view it. When humans contact other humans they subconsciously search for clues about the other person so that they can understand the context of the encounter. The police uniform is a powerful clue as to the wearer's authority, capabilities, and status.

Research has revealed that the uniform has a subconscious psychological influence on people, based on the person's preconceived feelings about police officers. When a person wears the police uniform, citizens tend to be more cooperative with his or her requests. People also tend to curb their illegal or deviant behaviors when a police uniform is visible in the area.

Research has revealed that alterations to the traditional, paramilitary police uniform can result in changes in perceptions by the public. The style of the clothes, the type of hat worn, the color of the material, and even the condition of the clothes and equipment have an influence on how citizens perceive the officer. For these reasons police administrators need to take their uniform policies seriously. The selection of a uniform style, regulations on the proper wear of the uniform, how well uniforms are maintained, and policies on when officers may wear plain clothes should all be taken very seriously.

The police uniform should be considered an important tool for every patrol officer.

In the context of the over-militarization of America’s police departments, the vicious violence of the police riot against the people of Ferguson, and the overt and covert racial animus that black folks in Ferguson and elsewhere have experienced at the hands of the police and other elements of the criminal justice system, “I am Darren Wilson” is an announcement that even in the post civil rights era that “we, the police, can, will, and have killed black and brown people with relative impunity…and will do so again”.

There is continuity to history. It proceeds with fits and starts, progress moving forward in the face and despite the best efforts of reactionaries and conservatives to derail and hold it back. History is also beset by a dualism where the habits of the past coexist with the present and the future.

White supremacy, as one of the most powerful ideologies in recent human history, follows those contours.

A black man is President of the United States in a moment of continual anti-black and brown violence by the police and the criminal justice system. There is obvious racial progress in many areas of American life. Yet, the country remains hyper-segregated, the job market still discriminates against people of color, and white privilege still over-determines and advantages the life chances of whites as compared to non-whites.

The intimidation and violence of the police uniform and the “I am Darren Wilson” wristband is a statement of white racist thuggery and intimidation against both the black body and the black community en masse.

The “I am Darren Wilson” wristband has ugly historical precedents: its ancestors include the white Ku Klux Klan uniform and the Nazi Swastika. All three are symbols of white supremacy, terror, and intimidation against people of color and those marked as the Other.

The KKK chose white robes as their uniform in order to intimidate free blacks by pretending to be the ghosts of dead Confederate soldiers.

The swastika was adopted by the Nazi Party as a way of harassing, threatening, and intimidating Jews (as well as other groups) who were targeted for destruction.

The “I am Darren Wilson” wristband is a claim to the right of preemptive and prejudicial violence by the police against African-Americans: it is a signal that that they too, could on a police officer's whim, be made into the next Michael Brown.

If there is any doubt that the killing of Michael Brown was influenced by racial animus within a broader cultural, as well as local context of white supremacy—and an utter contempt towards black and brown people’s lives—a person need only to look at the behavior of the Ferguson police department and Darren Wilson’s defenders and apologists.

The black residents of Ferguson are treated as less than full members of the polity, forced into a life of “custodial citizenship” by a police and local government which lords over their community.

For the white folks who support Darren Wilson, and the cops who wear “I am Darren Wilson” wristbands, this is the natural order of things--one that they are dedicated to protecting.