Monday, August 25, 2014

Race in America

It's not pleasant to be black in America, especially if you happen to be young and male.  It's not even especially pleasant to be a Harvard educated, dark complected President of the United States raised in a middle class white household who won office with a ton of Wall Street money.  The die-hard racist elements in American society don't make any particular distinctions.

 Black Americans were jubilant when the Hawaiian was elected and re-elected.  It seemed like some sort of turning point.  It wasn't.

I suspect the biggest problem is that so many white people (and Asians as well) think young black men are just too damned scary.  George Zimmerman thought Trayvon Martin was so scary he just had to follow him and shoot him.  Police officer Randall Kerrick thought auto accident victim Jonathan Ferrell was so scary he just had to shoot at him twelve times, hitting him with ten bullets.  There are plenty of other examples, so we don't have to speculate on why police officer Darren Wilson just had to shoot Michael Brown six times — twice in the top of the head, suggesting that he might already have fallen down face first after the other four shots.

So why are young black men so scary?  Well, part of the answer is that a lot of them want to look scary.  They want to look like those thug rappers, perhaps, or they want to look scary so other people will just leave them the hell alone.  Maybe, sometimes, it works.

Sometimes, though, it doesn't.

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