I have to ask. It's not just Michael Brown. Or Trayvon Martin. Just this past week, cops in Cleveland shot a 12 old kid playing with a toy gun. Just shot him down. And then didn't even give him first aid. Or remember John Crawford, who was shot down in a Walmart when he was playing with a bb gun. Or Mirriam Carey gunned down in DC after approaching a Secret Service checkpoint.
Facebook has been grim. I have read so many white people completely dismissing the concerns about race. A Pew study reinforces that, suggesting that 63% of white people think that Michael Brown's death was not about race. All while another study shows that black males are 21 times greater than their white counterparts to be killed by police.
One of SOF's high school friends said, rather dismissively, that he didn't think of race. Of course, he doesn't have to. He can choose to think about race or not. He gets that option. That is almost a perfect example of white privilege.
Others bashed Brown's parents and community for allowing that kind of behavior to continue. (Should note, the right wing and media are already bashing the parents of the 12 year old.) And again, in white privilege, you get to focus in on the details of the individual case. You can choose to ignore the broader context. You can argue that the cop acted correctly in this tragedy. And you may be right, though I am not convinced. But the broader context remains the fact that black people are killed at a much higher rate. That should bother even conservatives.
But it doesn't. John Fugelsang noted wryly that the people who boast about not trusting their government suddenly trust it when an unarmed black person is shot and killed. I think that disconnect is about a lot of things, but including the idea that most well-intentioned whites (not Klan members, by any stretch) believe that racists are bad people--but they are good people--ergo, they cannot be racist. And ultimately, they have to answer that nagging question of if this level of racism ends up with dead black kids, their own safety and security is because they are white and well-off.
This isn't right. When cops shoot a kid playing with a bb gun and leave him to die, something is seriously wrong. When people look at the tragedy of Michael Brown's death and opine that he was a "thug" who "probably would have killed others"--something is seriously wrong.