Somebody help me understand this paradox all over the country: The mainstream big business press has run headlines saying in effect, “Blacks lied; Mike Brown didn’t have his hands up and didn’t say don’t shoot.” But then they spend time in their articles admitting that racism does exist. What they are trying to say is that racism doesn’t exist unless it’s approved by them. If Black folks complain about racism, at bottom it’s likely not true, so it doesn’t count.
Imagine that. Those whose job it is to mislead, misguide and misinform and sometimes lie, are calling Black folks and other witnesses in Ferguson liars.
I disagree with the mainstream press; Brown’s killing was racist. Despite all of the grand jury findings and despite the “No Justice” justice department report, there is no denying the fact that Mike Brown, Jr. should still be alive and racism was indeed the reason he died.
Even if young Brown didn’t hold his hands up, and even if he didn’t say “Don’t shoot,” — I believe he did — he still should not have been shot. And I notice in their rush to call Blacks liars, they fail to mention that the wounded man was more than 100 yards away from Darren Wilson.
They also want us to overlook the fact that Brown ran away from Wilson. They also want us to overlook the fact that supposedly Wilson stopped Brown because of a shoplifting charge. They overlook the fact that Brown was not wanted for assaulting or killing anyone, but had allegedly shoplifted.
They also want us to ignore the fact that we all live under a Constitution and that we have the right to trial by jury. They want us to believe that cops have the right to be judge, jury and executioner. They want us to make an exception for the rules of jurisprudence when it comes to Black people.
Let’s be honest, Wilson would not have treated a White middle-class shoplifting suspect the same way. Anyone who says so is a liar. The real aim of this crusade to call Black folks liars in the case of Mike Brown, Jr. is to pull Black folks and sympathizers in line with the law-and-order mindset or the slave mentality perspective, which says if we (the system) say it’s legit then it’s legit, never mind the mitigating circumstances
In other words, we — the system, their media, their cops — reserve the right to decide who has the right to life. If one of our law enforcement kills one of you, on some level it’s okay.
Now at the same time the mainstream media pretend they agree that racism is indeed a problem, but notice how along with all the so-called sympathy there is no call to just stop shooting unarmed Black and Brown people. And notice that in none of the articles do they even hint that Darren Wilson could have avoided killing Brown, or even that his death was a tragedy that should not have happened.
They will give us Eric Garner, John Crawford and Tamir Rice because there is nothing they can do about it. They were caught on film. They are setting the stage for the next time a Black person gets their brains blown out and there is no film, only witnesses — particular Black witnesses — that the country will be able to dismiss because after all, Black people can’t be trusted. They aren’t credible.
This reminds us that slavery is not as far in our past as we think. For lots of years Black people were not allowed to testify against White people. And that’s what this gets down to, the word of Blacks against Whites, and in this case White law enforcement.
Very subtly underneath is ignoring of the fact that a human being, a Black human being, was killed by law enforcement. And the so-called evidence that clears him does not out-weigh the moral imperative: “Thou shalt not murder.”
Wilson made an immoral choice; he choose to take the life of Mike Brown when he did indeed have other options. The idea that a Black man was so large and menacing — that he was more dangerous than a man of equal size with a weapon — is consistent with an old meme: Negroes are just dangerous; they aren’t quite human after all.
The point is not debating what Brown actually did while trying to keep from being murdered. The point is he should not have been murdered. The more things change in this country, the more it stays the same.
Justice, then peace.
Mel Reeves welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mel Reeves was the community editor at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder until he passed away on January 6, 2022. He had a long and storied history working at the MSR.
Find more about Reeve’s life and legacy here: spokesman-recorder.com/category/remembering-mel-reeves.