The entire situation stemming from the killing of the black man in Ferguson, MO, is another in a long line of incidents that illustrate that we are still far from full equality for people of color.
There is much in the reactions to this incident that follow a common pattern.
First, outrage in part of the community, in particular the black community. Understandable in every way.
Next, the overwhelming police response. Largely peaceful protests met with automatic rifles and snipers. This is disproportionate response, and is un-American.
Conservatives immediately started counter-memes. I find this pathetic. It is an attempt to justify that the killing is not relevant. I’m sure it’s not, to them.
A typical meme is to post a reference to some white person who was killed by a black, and why doesn’t that have the media attention. Or perhaps they reference killings in Chicago, typically because in some way the Chicago situation is Obamas fault. Or they post… jokes related to the killing.
One thing I noted on Facebook related to Ferguson was a reference to the “Black Panthers” leading a protest. I started looking for information related to this, and found that references were generally in two groups. Sites like Huffington Post, CBS News, the NY Daily News, and several other news outlets typically referred to one guy affiliated with (sometimes to “members of”) the New Black Panther Party being at the protests, and trying to calm things. Sites like Right Wing News, Gateway Pundit, and the like claimed that the New Black Panthers (and some referred to “Communists”) were leading the protests. The conservative sites, frankly, don’t have much credibility.
While a number of liberals and news people have suggested that President Obama should go to Ferguson personally (whether this is a good idea or not is up for debate), conservatives have found reasons to bitch brainlessly about the President. I’ve personally seen comments about how much Obama is on vacation (in spite of this stupid canard of Obama taking huge amounts of vacation being debunked by thinking people).
At my dental appointment this week, the hygienist had Fox News on. She made numerous comments that she stated as fact: “He was stealing, he got what he deserved”. “He was a thug”. “Those people riot and steal for any reason”. I asked her who reported he was stealing, and she replied “the news”, gesturing towards Fox News.
Conservatives, in general, don’t give a shit about blacks. The long history of slavery, legalized discrimination, suppression of voting, and limited opportunities for blacks in education and work has resulted in everything from ghettos and blighted neighborhoods, to the persistent poverty that drives higher crime. Conservatives like to sniff that the shooting of a black person by the cops is somehow made less horrifying if protestors loot. We get that looting is wrong, guys. Why don’t you try not hiding behind that sort of crap, and help fix the situation caused by the white majority over DECADES?
It has been reported that the governance of the city of Ferguson is overwhelmingly white, while the population is largely black. It has also been reported (but I’ve not verified) that the voter turnout in the past election was 15%. If you don’t vote, the other side does not need to worry about voter suppression. The people of Ferguson got the government that was elected by those that bothered to vote. If they want it to change, get to the polling places.
A major point that is missed by conservatives (whether deliberately, or through cluelessness), is that the shooting of a black, unarmed man by a white officer is different from civilians shooting each other in Chicago (mandatory statement: it’s still not acceptable). The defining difference is that the killing was done by a police officer. In most cases in this country, the police are the ones with the weapons. 100% of cops have guns, and probably less than 1% of citizens. How this supposed street encounter between an unarmed man and a cop in a car escalated to the unarmed man being killed certainly bears some investigation.