Although I think the documents I have compiled for this archive tell the story well enough, and I think it is understood that black men being villified in the media and then being murdered due to fear and misunderstanding is an actual problem, inevitably there will be the person who disbelieves.
To that person or persons I say, ‘have a graph’. African-Americans are more than two times as likely as any other race in America to be killed by police. More than two times as likely. Ruminate on that for a moment. The people who are hired and payed from taxpayer pockets to keep people safe are killing black people two times as often as they kill anyone else.
There are two conclusions to draw from this.
Conclusion A: Black people are more than twice as dangerous than any other race of person, inherently.
Conclusion B: Black people are unfairly typecast as dangerous by the media, by police, by average Americans, and as a result of being perceived as dangerous, are unjustly killed by the people who should be protecting them.
Consider the documents within this archive, and I think coming to the correct conclusion is easy.
This document opens with a poem from Langston Hughs, and it does what this archive does, it examines what the media’s being fed and what Americans are led to believe. We are never shown positive role models for black men on television, no positive stereotypes beyond ‘good at sports’ and ‘strong,’ because with that strength comes the modern veil, the ‘angry’.
The image of black men as dangerous, angry, rapist, violent thugs is all some people ever see of black men, and so when one of us is murdered, or shot at, or disenfranchised, it is always seen as ‘what we deserve’ for breaking the law. Regardless of whether or not any law was broken, and ignoring the fact that breaking the law is not grounds for execution.
It was touched on briefly in an earlier section of the archive, but the entire purpose of examining these documents is to understand how much the narrative we’re being fed shapes us, and how ‘subtle’ that narrative can be.
Here we go over the ‘lone wolf’ phenomenon, and how odd it is that whenever a white man murders multiple people, they’re termed a ‘shooter’ instead of killer, thug, or terrorist. The first things you’ll see about them (and you can watch this phenomenon live as the Abortion clinic shooting story unfolds) is that they were always some form of ‘loner’ and will be called ‘mentally ill’, regardless of how alone or how mentally ill they actually were.
Never are their actions a result of a wider phenomenon, never are the ‘leaders of the white community’ called to task and told to take responsibility for these murderers, and never are their actions linked to a wider culture of violence. (Except perhaps violent videogames, but that excuse has fallen out of favor.)
The dichotomy is as clear as the hypocrisy is.
Another well-known case, Garner was killed for selling unfiltered cigarettes (which cost the city approximately 50 cents) and refusing to comply with his arrest. No CPR was performed on him after he was choked, cuffed, and left on the street, despite him saying he couldn’t breath eleven times before losing consciousness.
By now we know the details, right? Its all old news. What we don’t understand, perhaps purposefully, is the coverage of his death. Every single crime Garner had ever committed was dragged into the open. We saw the same thing with Mike Brown, with Trayvon Martin, and perhaps the only reason we haven’t seen it in other cases like Tamir Rice is because Rice was too young to be labeled a ‘thug’ yet.
The unspoken message is as loud as it can get. ‘If you commit a crime, the police are entitled to murder you’. Why is that message being broadcast? The inability for whites to understand that something may lurk behind black faces besides anger and violence is to blame. The -veil- is to blame. And until we recognize as a culture that that veil still exists, people will continue to die. Murdered by the organization they pay their taxes to to keep them safe.
I’m sure you’ve seen this one by now. Laquan McDonald, shot seventeen-eighteen (depending on who you hear it from) times, once in the head, while fleeing police officers on foot with a folded knife in his pocket, high on PCP. Another officer afraid for his life. You know how this ends.
A dead man with a bullet in his head and a cop kicking his corpse.
And watching the video, you can see McDonald veer away from the officer, knife still folded, as he attempts to escape. He still dies, and the overarching message for black men in America is becoming more clear. If you flee the police, you die. If you hold your hands up, you die. Don’t attract their attention, and you live.
This is the message we’re being told about our public servants. The people who exist to keep us safe. Because they have no way of knowing if we mean them harm.
This article is the Northern perspective of a pastor on the discussion of racism with white people, and how difficult it is to approach and fix the racial problems plaguing our society. Though the author doesn’t use the term ‘double consciousness’, he hits the nail on the head when he pinpoints why race discussion in America goes no where.
Black people must constantly self-police when it comes to discussing anything involving their race, moreso when protesting problems they perceive with race, or else they get the ‘angry black’ label and ignored. Which itself is the modern equivalent of Jefferson’s veil. Instead of being inscrutable, black people are now categorized as ‘angry’, and therefore incapable of rational discussion.
Many black people just give up talking about race, knowing if they get at all emotional, they’ll simply be shut down. Their silence in the discussion simply leaves more room for the narrative of them being angry to be spun, leaving the ‘race discussion’ stuck in a circular direction.
I’ve talked a little bit about the narrative pushing these violent events in previous portions of this archive, and I know that to most, the narrative is fairly transparent, it doesn’t require much explanation. Still I think it is important that I make it clear what I mean with simple compare and contrast document.
Surely we all remember Ferguson, right? The constant media coverage on the rioting, the looting, the violence, the roving gang of horrible thugs destroying their own neighborhood? And for what? The death of a black kid who was ‘no angel’. He stole, after all. And despite the fact that being a thief is not grounds for immediate street execution, that still doesn’t justify black violence.
Pumpkins, on the other hand?
Pumpkins are a serious matter.
Let’s talk about Tamir Rice. Another semi-famous case involving a twelve year old black boy killed for having a toy gun. Now the officer (and his defenders, hired and not) claim that with how realistic toy guns are, the officer ‘couldn’t have known’ that Tamir Rice didn’t have a real gun.
After all, twelve year old black children are known to be gun-toting cop killers, right? And with that black veil of a face, there was no possible way the cop could tell if Tamir was just a regular kid, playing around with a toy gun.
This particular incident is a little more famous in South Carolina, mostly because of how damning it was to the officer in question. The officer in the video above claimed for his defense in court that his victim had stolen his taser, so he was afraid for his life, and that’s what justified the shooting. As the video clearly shows, the victim had no access to the taser until he was already facedown on the ground, dead.
But let’s give the officer the benefit of the doubt. Maybe too many Walking Dead binges are to blame for his life-threatening fear of violent black men.
A victim of the toxic narrative of threatening black males, this man, Levar Jones, was shot at a South Carolina gas station just last year. The story barely made national news and was dropped fairly quickly, because Jones did not press charges and the dashcam footage left very few ways for the media to spin Jones into a threatening criminal who deserved to be shot.
Perhaps the most frustrating thing about this video, and about the narrative that allowed this situation to happen, is that this man was shot for complying with what the police ordered him to do. He grabbed his license, as he was asked to do, he moved away from the car, he held his hands up, and made no threatening gestures.
He was still shot four times.