It was about the first black president, right? (You can make out the rapper rhyming to “This is the President.”) What happened when the first black president went to jail? That was the big hook. You could say it was about the Black Lives Matter movement, that it’s a movement about black people, but in fact it was about the prison industrial complex. The prison industrial complex, which is based on a mythological idea that blacks and whites have some special nature when it comes to violence. Black people tend to see the world through different lenses.
It is true that there is something called the black brain and white brains. It’s important to recognize that these differences are not the result of a particular genetic defect.
We live in a period in history when we’re living in a highly racially polarized society. And people who are more privileged have been able to use black pathology to advance an agenda of division and racism. The truth is that there are differences in black brains. The question is what is the causal connection?
On race and the police
The history of policing, particularly in the black community, is a story of white racial anxieties and black racial liberation. I always have to explain that my view of black and white is informed by my experience. If Trayvon Martin had been white, I would not have cared about him and I would not have pursued justice in his case. But that does not mean I support the racial profiling of black people as a form of punishment. As a matter of fact, the number of people who are killed by the police who, at the time of the killing – if Zimmerman had been white, I would not have had the same emotional reaction. It was not a white privilege issue.
If you compare the situation the Trayvon Martin case presented to a situation that exists in the United States and one in which police in the South African apartheid state murdered thousands of people in what the U.S. calls the “loot death” – the situation is the same. The difference is that the South African police, who were supposed to be doing their job effectively, murdered those people who were suspected of being black and not black.
That should give us pause.
In the South African case, when people were shot, you could expect to see a white police officer – and it turned out that many weren’t. The idea was to use force to stop the threat to the public. In the U.S., it’s different. The purpose of violence in
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