Shades of Freddie Gray.Mack Lyons Tuesday, April 28, 2015 awareness, crime, ethnic relations, injustice, LEO, police brutality, post-racial America
Another day, another dead black American, another outrage.
These days, black Americans are being murdered like clockwork by men and women charged with protecting the public. Except protecting and serving the public takes a back seat to a whole host of corrupt behaviors, none least the brutalization and wanton murder of black individuals.
Judging by history, these things are to be expected. Bigotry against the dreaded Other has always been iron-clad policy, even in today's so-called "post-racial" environment. Institutional enforcement of said bigotry has also been de rigueur, especially when fears of being overrun by said Other has always lurked in the back of mainstream America's collective mind since colonial times.
So Freddie Gray's death at the hands of the Baltimore Police Department is, in history's grand scope, nothing out of the ordinary. The only remarkable thing about it is the reaction it elicited from the city's black residents.
And even that response doesn't seem out of the ordinary. Protests and demonstrations have been the default method of expressing outrage by a people who feel otherwise powerless to prevent these atrocities from happening, The attendant rioting and looting is another side of that response, mostly done by those whose sheer anger and fury explode into a whirlwind of fire and shattered glass, interspersed with opportunists in search of a quick profit from chaos.
Mainstream America has always looked at these displays with a bit of bemusement, especially when burned-out businesses and overturned cars come into focus. If anything, these displays are treated as proof positive of law enforcement's raison d'etre - to prevent so-called lawless elements from initiating these displays in the first place.
So it's not out of the ordinary for a white American to see a phalanx of police officers in full riot gear facing down a lone demonstrator and dismissing the entire thing as the taxpaying public getting it's money's worth. In a way, they would be absolutely correct.
It's also not out of the ordinary for the mainstream American media to write off the entire exercise as just another mass exhibition of black America's latent criminality. Acknowledging the unreconstructed public's confirmation bias happens to be a great way of raising viewership, even if it's at the expense of a people who suffer day in and day out.
It's no wonder that mainstream American media outlets are more interested in slow-panning property damage and opportunists with stolen goods in hand. It's those sort of things that make for good ratings and even better outrage porn among unreconstructed minds.
There's no arguing that Freddie Gray in no way deserved what happened to him. No human being deserves to be brutalized to the point of paralysis, coma and eventual death. There's never an excuse for it and there never will be.
Regardless, what happened to Freddie Gray is just one of a long, depressing and seemingly unending line of atrocities committed mainly by law enforcement officials throughout the U.S., with the occasional "concerned citizen" or vigilante delivering a helping hand*. The slave patrols, "heroic" klansmen and angry mobs of "respectable Christian" whites might not be taking part in these modern-day tragedies, but their spirit remains in full effect.
* As seen in the murder of Trayvon Martin