Liberal writers wrestle with Ferguson facts
Stumbling across the truth, but picking themselves up and carrying on
John McWhorter’s Time essay on Ferguson demonstrates his graceful way with words, and his struggle to fight the truth about Ferguson. The only bit of truth that survived McWhorter’s preferred narrative is this:
I’m not sure that what happened to Michael Brown — and the indictment that did not happen to Officer Darren Wilson — is going to be useful as a rallying cry about police brutality and racism in America.
McWhorter recognizes that, yet it is instructive to see the mental gymnastics he performs in order to stay with the liberal line:
The key element in the Brown-Wilson encounter was not any specific action either man took — it was the preset hostility to the cops that Brown apparently harbored.
So far, so true—although Brown’s hostility, and the acting-out of that hostility, seems hardly to have been limited to cops.
But then McWhorter writes this:
And that hostility was key because it was indeed totally justified.
So, despite the fact that McWhorter goes on to agree that Wilson’s actions were not necessarily motivated by racism, and despite the fact that he even acknowledges that Brown had just robbed a convenience store, and despite the fact that McWhorter knows nothing—absolutely nothing—of Brown’s actual attitudes towards police, why he might hold those attitudes, and what his previous encounters with police had been, he claims that this supposed attitude of Brown’s was not merely justified, but totally justified.
McWhorter goes on:
The right-wing take on Brown, that he was simply a “thug,” is a know-nothing position. The question we must ask is: What is the situation that makes two young black men comfortable dismissing a police officer’s request to step aside?
Let’s see: arrogance? Drugs? A sense of their own physical strength, and a history of using it to dominate over those smaller and physically weaker?
No, not at all:
These men were expressing a community-wide sense that the official keepers of order are morally bankrupt.
So, McWhorter knows that Brown’s actions were the result of his strong sense of morality, and his “totally justified” judgment that Wilson and all his fellows were “morally bankrupt.”
And what is to be done, according to McWhorter?:
What America owes communities like Ferguson — and black America in general — is a sincere grappling with that take on law enforcement that is so endemic in black communities nationwide. As Northwestern philosopher Charles Mills has put it, “Black citizens are still differentially vulnerable to police violence, thereby illustrating their second class citizenship.”
We troglodyte know-nothings, who cannot dismiss and/or imaginatively justify Brown’s reprehensible actions, refuse to take McWhorter’s far more nuanced position, which is that Brown was not the individual that he was, making incredibly bad choices. To McWhorter, Brown is a sociological construct responding to forces that justify any behavior, and it is white America which must always seek the answers within itself, because it is always and eternally guilty.
Black people in general are “differentially vulnerable to police violence,” but what might the cause of that be? Surely it can’t be that they are more likely to be violent criminals who attack police, as Brown was? That’s putting the cart and horse in the wrong order, according to McWhorter, who seems quite certain they are merely reacting to the perception that police are against them.
And I wonder what McWhorter would like to happen, other than “sincere” soul-searching by guilt-ridden white people. Should white police (or black police, for that matter; I’m not sure McWhorter exempts them, either) allow themselves to be beaten to a pulp or killed by their own service revolvers in order to demonstrate their sociological sensitivities towards violent criminal black youths such as Brown as interpreted by nonviolent professors such as McWhorter?
McWhorter goes on to add that (although there’s absolutely no evidence of this) Brown came back towards Wilson “likely trying to indicate surrender.”
But despite distortions of the record like that, McWhorter realizes that Brown represents a tough case to use to make the point he wants so desperately to make, and he at least is honest enough to say as much:
…I fear the facts on this specific incident are too knotted to coax a critical mass of America into seeing a civil rights icon in Brown and an institutionally racist devil in Wilson.
It appears that McWhorter would dearly love it if America could be “enlightened” (his word, not mine) by the Brown/Wilson case into believing just that, in order to reflect the higher truth of racism in America as he sees it. But he regretfully realizes that Brown was just too thuggish, Wilson too blameless, and the facts too stubborn (although not for lack of trying to misstate them).
Here is the best example of McWhorter struggling with the truth, and partially accepting it:
The Ferguson episode…requires, as a rallying point, a degree of elision, adjustment. It will require turning away from Brown’s criminal act just before the incident, and his conduct toward a police officer a few moments later, based on the tricky proposition that these things must have no bearing whatsoever upon how we evaluate the succeeding sequence of events. The now iconic gesture, the hands up in “Don’t shoot” surrender, will become sacrosanct regardless of the evidence as to whether Brown actually held his hands up in that way. Icon, sacrosanct — there is an aspect of the ritual here.
But ritual dazzles more than it convinces. Beyond the converted, the less committed observer will see the facts piling up and conclude that one can be fully aware of racism’s persistence and yet still feel that the part racism played in Brown’s death is too abstract to qualify as a Selma-style — or even Trayvon-style — teaching moment. We need here Selma, Sanford — we want to make all of America put down their beers and feel this turning point.
McWorter wishes Brown were a better victim, and Wilson a better villain, than they actually were. Another Selma—now, that would be the ticket! But at least he acknowledges that Wilson and Brown didn’t quite fit the bill. The amount of “elision, adjustment” that would be required to believe they do—the ability to say that 2 + 2 = 5 with a straight face—is just a little bit beyond him.
However, John B. Judis manages to go further towards truth in his TNR piece on the very same theme, “The Ferguson Decision Was Not a ‘Miscarriage of Justice.’ Liberals Need to Accept That.” Judis regretfully writes:
While the grand jury and federal and local investigators received witness testimony that was contradictory (which is in line with what criminologists expect in these kind of cases), it received physical evidence from autopsy and DNA and hospital reports that wasn’t open to the same kind of questions. This evidence suggested that there were grounds for believing that Brown had scuffled with Wilson in the police car and had even grabbed the officer’s gun. That conformed roughly to Wilson’s own account of what had happened in the police car.
The physical evidence ruled out that Wilson had shot Brown in the back while running away, as Brown’s companion Dorian Johnson initially had claimed. And it was not conclusive one way or the other on whether Brown had, after he turned around to face Wilson, tried to surrender. In all, the forensic evidence did not prove Wilson innocent of killing Brown when he was trying to surrender, but it also did not give the grand Jury “probable cause” to indict him on that basis. Other evidence may surface, but from what the grand jury learned, I think it did the right thing, and that it’s also unlikely—given this evidence—that the federal government, which must meet an even higher evidentiary standard, will choose to indict Wilson.
There’s a lot more hemming and hawing and parading of liberal bona fides by Judis in the article to prove that his heart’s in the right place and that of course there’s plenty of racism among American cops, probably even in Ferguson. But in this case? No:
Liberals took the decision by the grand jury to symbolize, or stand in for, the greater injustice of the Ferguson and of the American criminal justice department. But in fact the reverse occurred. They projected the larger injustice of the system onto the grand jury’s ruling.
I’m not sure why Judis was able to go this route and allow that much truth into his column. And what does it mean that he does? Probably not all that much. Judis’ article may merely be an illustration of what Churchill once said:
Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened.
What articles like these two probably indicate is that liberals and the left realize that the facts of the Ferguson case present them with a particularly uphill battle, and that they would do well to stumble, pick themselves up, bide their time, and wait for the next opportunity to indict white America.
[Neo-neocon is a writer with degrees in law and family therapy, who blogs at neo-neocon.]
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Another Liberal idiot spewing Liberal idiocies.
Yeah, I’m not about to worry about fisking any article from Time. It once was a reasonable news mag, but that changed around Watergate, they and other media outlets sailed off the left edge, never to return.
My father had subscribed to all three – Time, Newsweek, and US News & World Report – for about 20 years, then began dropping them after Reagan won the White House. Got too much for him to take after a while.
Oh, it’s FAR, FAR WORSE than that. McWhorter is casting Michael Brown, and in fact every one of the rioters in Ferguson, as a REVOLUTIONARY.
McWhorter is making a moral equivalency between the rioters as fighters of corruption, ethical rot and moral bankruptcy in the police while casting those same police as the morally bankrupt, corrupt cops using their power to keep the Black man down.
McWhorter is effectively saying that there is no law higher than ones self choices, because the law that is imposed has been corrupted, and anyone who tells you different has been incorporated into a decadent and corrupt system, and thus must be rebelled against, violently if necessary. Once that equivalency is engrained and continually present in the mental construct of the community, the community itself becomes utterly lawless without dire intervention (on the order of conquest).
It’s the “White Privilege” “Institutional Racism” “Structural Racism” horse manure. Riot because you’re not getting your fair share. Funny how nobody ever thinks “I might not be doing my fair share of the work if I’m not getting what I think my fair share of the payout should be.” They never think “well, I didn’t spend 7 YEARS in school, and go into debt up to my eyeballs to make the money that the lawyer down the street is. NO. They only ever think “well I worked harder than him TODAY, so I deserve more PAY than him today, and since I’m not getting it, I might as well STEAL it from him.
So it’s not just truth that is relative, but law, justice, and one’s moral authority to execute police officers for doing their job where they are not wanted.
Maybe the current Liberal idiot can explain his point to this guy.
Or maybe to this other guy
Gonna call them racists too?
You should also mention the reason why Officer Wilson was at that location in the first place, what he was doing while Brown was robbing that store:
I think I said, as the neon handwriting on the wall was glaring before the grand jury’s decision, that Brown as an individual would be unimportant, and his use as a symbol would be all that mattered.
Mythology. And so many people in America NEED to believe in myths. There’s good money…and power and cheap, unearned self-righteousness…in myths.
We have gone from Rosa Parks and Jackie Robinson to Travon Martin and Michael Brown.
A sub-culture in decline defined by their heroes.
In many respects heroes of the larger American culture are unimpressive, too.
One of the most profound comments I’ve seen yet on Ferguson!
If you’re a race hustler or a prog who uses race hustlers as useful idiots, there just aren’t enough examples of racism to maintain the income you’ve become accustomed to. At some point you’ve got no choice but to create racism where there isn’t any.
Brown, Trayvon, the beer summit Professor Gates, etc., etc. When was the last time a genuine incident of racism made the news?
The re-election of Barrack Hussain Obama.
If the fact that Officer Wilson didn’t want to share his gun with Michael Brown isn’t an example of racism, I don’t know what is.
The reason the Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown cases became national news and racially divicive issues, is that both cases were both known from the beginning to be justified shootings. There was no rational way to support the perps. So the stories were deliberately distorted (disobeyed police orders – hands up) so the stupidos in the Democrat base could be whipped into a frenzy, with no chance of reconciliation with Rational Americans. The Democrats are deliberately trying to foment a race war.
It has to be over a bogus issue, to prevent both sides from uniting over a real issue, and working to heal the breach that Democrats rely on.
This is what Democrats do. This is what Democrats are.
Democrait delenda sunt.
It’s Black Liberation Theology writ large. It’s what Jeremiah Wright preached to Barack Obama for 20 years. Everything that black people do is always thrown back as racism.
Wow! That paragraph is GOLDEN!
“We [right-wing] troglodyte know-nothings, who cannot dismiss and/or imaginatively justify Brown’s reprehensible actions, refuse to take McWhorter’s far more nuanced position, which is that Brown was not the individual that he was, making incredibly bad choices. To McWhorter, Brown is a sociological construct responding to forces that justify any behavior, and it is white America which must always seek the answers within itself, because it is always and eternally guilty.”
Just look at last week’s panel on Meet the Depressed–Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! How dare Rich Lowry offer absolution! Next, we’ll be expected to hop down from our “perch of privilege”.
So, John McWhorter, “F**k what you have to say!” is really equivalent to, “Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting”? Well, marijuana does expand the mind…
Progressives seem to think that that Blacks are to be treated like small children who have gone astray. They need to coddle and protect these poor souls whom their Creator was so niggardly when they were placed on this planet.
Charles Barkley on Ferguson Looters: “SCUMBAGS!!”
Works for me,’Yo.
cops shoot alot of criminals … stop raising criminals in the black community … cops will stop shooting them …
The “discussion” America needs to have isn’t about racism but about urban black “culture”. And yes, there are plenty of lily white and Hispanic kids who buy into that garbage as well. The sense of entitlement, the wholehearted embrace of violence and thuggish behavior is going to result in a lot more dead young men and women before that toxic culture is jettisoned.
They want a myth that will not bear scrutiny. They will call it “controversial.” I have seen this, before. It is bullshit.
“Conflicting testimony” is the preferred formulation at the moment.
Which is derp-tastic. If you EVER see a trial or an grand jury INQUIRY, you are gonna see some “conflicting testimony”.
Plus, when you have perjurors, they bring their own “conflicting testimony” with them.
After Obama took office, the Communists felt comfortable enough to come in the open. The DOJ had no qualms supporting the New Black Panthers by withdrawing from a case they had already won. With the response to Ferguson, we see the most blatant lying from the media and talking heads.
The average Joe or Josephine does not spend their days reading grand jury transcripts. They rely upon the media, experts, and politicians to be truthful.
When everyone either obfuscates or lies about what happened, then no wonder so many people are protesting.
Maybe a lot of people in the “black community” distrust the police because the police get in the way of their preferred activities — like robbery and theft, dealing drugs, attacking people just for entertainment or for gang initiation or out of anti-white hostility.
I suggest that the “black community” (or a substantial part of it) owes the rest of America some serious reflection on why there are so many police in black neighborhoods; why white people do not feel safe in black neighborhoods or around young black males with a certain attitude about them; and why white people might have good reason to be sick and tired of the constant blame-shifting when it comes to violent and antisocial behavior, not to mention the utterly mendacious narrative about black people regularly being killed by white people.
White people over the last several decades have done plenty of soul-searching and outreach etc. when it comes to race relations. On top of that, a generation or two of white Americans has a fairly good record when it comes to treating people equally regardless of race. It’s long past time for the “black community” to acknowledge that problems in race relations in America today might have something to do with their own behavior — with rampant criminality and an entitlement mentality and the constant accusations of racism (i.e. of moral inferiority) lobbed at white people.
Rudy Giuliani was right. He quoted the stats of black-on-black crime, as well as the stats on police officers killing people, and the racial make-up of these encounters.
Very sad that the world won’t accept the facts, and that the media won’t report them to the public.
One of the liberals argues in the comments section in the piece you cite that Giuliani is lying about the number of homicides because the 9/11 attack victims are not included. Arguing with these idiots is an exercise in futility. There’s a reason they make stupid comments – they ARE stupid.
“Ferguson is Everywhere”
The names of more recent victims of white racism apparently just didn’t come to mind, so today Jesse Jackson had to invoke Medgar Evers (killed in 1963).
Even a racist has the right to defend his life against an object of his hate. The ONLY relevant legal question here is “Was Officer Wilson justified in his use of deadly force in defense of his life?” If the answer is “Yes,” then whether or not Wilson is a racist is completely irrelevant. “Is Officer Wilson a racist?” is question that requires an answer only if the answer to the first question is “No.” Only then can racism be considered a possible factor in Brown’s death. This may really be what’s driving the protests – ending the investigation at “lawful self-defense” deprives the race-hustlers of an inquiry into Wilson’s presumed racism, because legitimate self-defense makes a subject’s “racism” irrelevant.
What the rioters are succeeding in doing is creating/supporting the very stereotypes they claim they resent. The absolute worst things anyone has ever said about black ‘culture’ are being glorified by the media and the rioters on the national stage.
Their behavior is absolutely savage. And they’re doing it nationwide on television. For months on end.
If they had set out to put on full display the absolute worst members of their ‘culture’, their mob mentality, their violence, their total lack of respect for civilization, and their “you owe me a lifetime of welfare” attitudes, they couldn’t possibly have been more successful.
They’ve successfully set back race relations in America by at least a generation and we will ALL pay the consequences of it. Minorities trying to live the American dream, and being denounced and hated by these savages for “acting white” will suffer. Thousands more whites, or non-whites that look white to a savage, will suffer brutal attacks and murders over the next few years do to the incitement – glorification, really – of violence currently on display.
The media’s complete failure to hold them accountable will only enable more of their violence. Which is what the Leftist media WANTS. For political reasons. The fact that law enforcement officers are being prevented at local, state and federal levels from dealing with this wave of violence by Leftist politicians will only encourage and enable much greater violence in the future.
I weep for the future of my country.
If you still support Democrats after seeing the Obama administration in action for six years, then you are a traitor to America. You must hate absolutely everything it used to stand for.
Pharrel Williams tweeted (accurately) that Brown had acted like a bully (though he wasn’t exactly defending Wilson either), and many in the “black community” responded with outrage, suggesting inter alia that Williams had given up his “black card.”
So if you want to be authentically black, apparently, you should never, ever label another black person as a bully or a thug. But it’s completely fine to attack another black person as an “Uncle Tom” for being a Republican — which seems to be considered a much worse betrayal of blackness than merely being a thug or a violent criminal.
Now, who is it that’s guilty of ugly stereotyping?
You know, all this irrationalism, political paralysis, and rioting in the streets has happened before, less than 100 years ago. We Americans used to say, “It can’t happen here”, but just look around you. The Ominous Parallels – The End of Freedom in America
I know it’s not really touched on in this article but I am so frustrated with the idea that what Ferguson/America needs is more Black police officers or a racially parallel police force. Haven’t we already tried segregation and affirmative action in the USA.
Maybe what should happen is that only white offices should patrol mostly black districts and only blacks should patrol mostly white districts!
Okay, if it sounds ridiculous it’s because its just down right stupid and racist!
How is electing a Black President working out for race relations? But to be clear the deciding factor is not that President Obama is black that is the issue, it’s that he is a racist!
Christopher Roupe, Euharlee, Georgia, Valentine’s Day, 2014.
White female cop shoots and kills white teenager (17 years old) when he opens the door to his home.
She was there with another cop to serve a warrant for a relative. The cop claimed to hear the action of a gun before the child opened the door, so she took out her weapon and shot him as he opened the door, claiming he was holding a gun.
Family says he was holding a Wii controller. He was in the Jr. ROTC. Wanted to join the Marines after graduation. Straight up kid.
No indictment. As far as I can tell, no discipline. Maybe she was let go. She had been let go by another police agency because they didn’t like her police work. Too bad Euharlee didn’t check up on that.
The Ferguson crowd can kiss my ass.
It wouldn’t matter how many stories or statistics you present them about the facts of police killings or interracial violence. The rioters and their abettors wanted an excuse to riot and to attack white people and to perpetuate the narrative of racial victimhood.
A lot of people have profited from the victim narrative, but it’s getting difficult for them to find real examples of white racism or systemic discrimination in a society that gives advantages to black people and that elected a black president — so they’re absolutely thrilled on the rare occasions when a black person comes to harm at the hands of a white person, and they turn a rare event into an illustration of an allegedly regular occurrence.
Some of them surely know it’s a rare event, but it feels so very good to accuse white people (or other white people) of gross injustice.
That one’s a keeper.