FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Why We Need Black Anger

The entire world witnessed American police murder, but time stopped for black people when Alton Sterling and Philando Castille died on camera. Alton Sterling was killed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, shot to death as he lay subdued and helpless. The trauma of that moment was still fresh when Philando Castille was shot after he told police he had a licensed handgun. His partner Diamond Reynolds was composed enough to film the scene. Castille lay dying but she understandably felt compelled to address his killer as “sir” as she and her four-year old child were treated like criminals.

The reaction of rage was immediate and was tempered only by grief. It is not the first time that 21st century lynchings were seen by millions of people. But by now we know that the outcome doesn’t change whether the victim died in secret or on camera. There is rarely any justice because the system is designed to potentially treat every black person the way it treated Sterling and Castille.

That anger was short lived and disappeared when the tables were turned on police in Dallas, Texas. A man by the name of Micah Johnson, now dead at the hands of police himself, is the named suspect in the shooting of five officers during a protest march.

Black people are taught to hide their anger. The deaths of the Dallas police were a signal to stop demanding justice and begin the foolish and dangerous loop of sentiment. Just at the moment when rage was most needed, hand holding, candle light vigils and pleas for calm became the order of the day.

The corporate media needed to take black anger off of the front pages and the airwaves. Every photo of a black cop crying over his dead colleagues was placed front and center. Black protesters who shook hands with red necks were lionized. Every image of a white cop hugging a black child was suddenly deemed prize worthy.

The turn of events showed the depth of black American miseducation. The same feelings which brought rage upon seeing Sterling and Castille dead suddenly became useless, even damaging.

Even the victims’ families gave condolences and asked for calm. The Sterlings and the Castilles should have felt no need to say anything about the Dallas police killings and yet they succumbed as well.

The two dead men were all but forgotten after police died in the way that black people do every day. Suddenly love was in the air. Love, healing, togetherness are worthy but not when rage is justified. These otherwise laudatory feelings are used to silence black anger when it is needed most.

The media promoted the foolishness and made no attempt to do the work of journalism. Every day an average of three people die at the hands of police in the United States, 1,134 in 2016 alone. Other nations have never had that number of police killings in their entire history. This data alone should be the catalyst for investigative reporting.

Instead the media use well known racists like Rush Limbaugh and Rudy Giuliani to stoke useless anger and divert attention. Their opinions are irrelevant and giving them a forum is a substitute for raising the questions that white supremacy would prefer to keep covered up.

Of course some of the “kumbaya” nonsense was prompted by repression against those who spoke out in their righteous indignation. A black firefighter was under investigation for saying that police need “bullets to the head.” He didn’t actually shoot anyone. That right is reserved for cops.

Of course the sorry spectacle is all reinforced by Barack Obama. His comments on the killings of Sterling and Castille were as Cornel West said, “weak.” It is obvious that Obama never likes to talk about black people. His resentment at having to do so is palpable. He certainly won’t side with people who love him and risk angering the white people that he loves instead.

According to press reports he called the shooting of the Dallas police a “hate crime” and compared it to the mass murder of black churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina. This same president never used his authority to prosecute even one killer cop.

Showing anger towards Obama would be the truest test of black political development. For now black people need help even acknowledging that they are angry about their condition at all. Expecting more than that is a vain dream.

More articles by:

Margaret Kimberley writes the Freedom Rider column for Black Agenda Report, where this essay originally appeared. 

Weekend Edition
July 20, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Atwood
Peace or Armageddon: Take Your Pick
Paul Street
No Liberal Rallies Yet for the Children of Yemen
Nick Pemberton
The Bipartisan War on Central and South American Women
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Are You Putin Me On?
Andrew Levine
Sovereignty: What Is It Good For? 
Brian Cloughley
The Trump/NATO Debacle and the Profit Motive
David Rosen
Trump’s Supreme Pick Escalates America’s War on Sex 
Melvin Goodman
Montenegro and the “Manchurian Candidate”
Salvador Rangel
“These Are Not Our Kids”: The Racial Capitalism of Caging Children at the Border
Matthew Stevenson
Going Home Again to Trump’s America
Louis Proyect
Jeremy Corbyn, Bernie Sanders and the Dilemmas of the Left
Patrick Cockburn
Iraqi Protests: “Bad Government, Bad Roads, Bad Weather, Bad People”
Robert Fantina
Has It Really Come to This?
Russell Mokhiber
Kristin Lawless on the Corporate Takeover of the American Kitchen
John W. Whitehead
It’s All Fake: Reality TV That Masquerades as American Politics
Patrick Bobilin
In Your Period Piece, I Would be the Help
Ramzy Baroud
The Massacre of Inn Din: How Rohingya Are Lynched and Held Responsible
Robert Fisk
How Weapons Made in Bosnia Fueled Syria’s Bleak Civil War
Gary Leupp
Trump’s Helsinki Press Conference and Public Disgrace
Josh Hoxie
Our Missing $10 Trillion
Martha Rosenberg
Pharma “Screening” Is a Ploy to Seize More Patients
Basav Sen
Brett Kavanaugh Would be a Disaster for the Climate
David Lau
The Origins of Local AFT 4400: a Profile of Julie Olsen Edwards
Rohullah Naderi
The Elusive Pursuit of Peace by Afghanistan
Binoy Kampmark
Shaking Establishments: The Ocasio-Cortez Effect
John Laforge
18 Protesters Cut Into German Air Base to Protest US Nuclear Weapons Deployment
Christopher Brauchli
Trump and the Swedish Question
Chia-Chia Wang
Local Police Shouldn’t Collaborate With ICE
Paul Lyons
YouTube’s Content ID – A Case Study
Jill Richardson
Soon You Won’t be Able to Use Food Stamps at Farmers’ Markets, But That’s Not the Half of It
Kevin MacKay
Climate Change is Proving Worse Than We Imagined, So Why Aren’t We Confronting its Root Cause?
Thomas Knapp
Elections: More than Half of Americans Believe Fairy Tales are Real
Ralph Nader
Warner Slack—Doctor for the People Forever
Lee Ballinger
Soccer, Baseball and Immigration
Louis Yako
Celebrating the Wounds of Exile with Poetry
Ron Jacobs
Working Class Fiction—Not Just Surplus Value
Perry Hoberman
You Can’t Vote Out Fascism… You Have to Drive It From Power!
Robert Koehler
Guns and Racism, on the Rocks
Nyla Ali Khan
Kashmir: Implementation with Integrity and Will to Resolve
Justin Anderson
Elon Musk vs. the Media
Graham Peebles
A Time of Hope for Ethiopia
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Homophobia in the Service of Anti-Trumpism is Still Homophobic (Even When it’s the New York Times)
Martin Billheimer
Childhood, Ferocious Sleep
David Yearsley
The Glories of the Grammophone
Tom Clark
Gameplanning the Patriotic Retributive Attack on Montenegro
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail