I have never seen a man kick himself in his own behind. However, during the After Ferguson town hall meeting I did see a black shuck and buck banjo playing conservative perform public analingus on a white man from the Right-wing publication the American Spectator.
The latter is a relatively common act in post civil rights era America; by comparison, to see the former would be a truly compelling and interesting event.
PBS's special on Ferguson was well-intentioned.
Unfortunately, After Ferguson suffered from serious problems of framing, semantics, and substance.
To point. There is no "after Ferguson" because Darren Wilson, the cowardly thug cop who killed Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager who had surrender to him, has not yet been arrested, tried, and convicted for murder.
There is no After Ferguson because the structural issues of white supremacy and institutional racism that have made the black residents of that community into "custodial", second-class citizens in their own country, have not been addressed.
And ultimately, there is no After Ferguson because white on black and brown police violence within a broader context of societal/institutional white supremacy has yet to be properly corrected in post civil rights era America.
As part of the cultural trope and genre known as the "national conversation" on race, After Ferguson channels a narrative wherein there is some "crisis" about racism, the moment is treated like some type of surprise or outlier, and white supremacy is transformed by the mass media into something mysterious and unconquerable.
White supremacy in America is not a ghost, chimera, or "unknown unknown". Rather, it is one of the most documented sociological facts in American life and culture.
Confronting institutional white supremacy in a meaningful way would involve enforcing standing laws such as the Voting and Civil Rights Acts, expanding the America credo of "personal responsibility" to include white folks being made to confront their own racism and to do something meaningful and substantive about it, and locking up thug cops and other enforcers of racial terrorism such as Darren Wilson.
Institutional racism persists in 21st century America because too many white folks are materially, psychologically, and politically invested in perpetuating it. Unfortunately, basic ethical and moral guidelines such as the "Golden Rule" are trumped by the possessive investment in Whiteness.
The political theater that was PBS's "After Ferguson" contained two predictable elements.
The first was the presence of Ross Kaminsky, an arrogant conservative who recited tired white victimology laced talking points about "reverse racism", and thus how black justice claims for our full human rights are illegitimate, because they hurt white people's feelings.
During After Ferguson, Kaminsky unintentionally demonstrated the deep kindness, patience, and hospitality of black Americans towards white people. His tone deafness and racism should have moved the good black and brown people of Ferguson to put a rocket on his behind and blast him out of town on a rail.
Instead, they showed great comportment and patience towards him; we, those who are marked and categorized as "black" in America are a very kind people...even towards those folks who are undeserving of such treatment.
I would suggest that the more troubling character and dangerous character on PBS's After Ferguson special was Jason Riley, a standard self-hating shuck and jive black conservative political race minstrel.
Riley is a reminder that once and again, the sole purpose of black conservatives in post civil rights era America is to legitimate white supremacy, run interference for white conservatives, and to be human political waste receptacles for the many varieties of racism channeled by the White Right.
In all, the credibility of After Ferguson was undermined by the presence of Ross Kaminsky and Jason Riley.
TV news is a type of popular culture. We live in an era when empirical reality and truth are subverted by an intellectually vacuous need for "balance" in our political opinions. This obsession results in a news media that distorts the facts, betrays its obligation to be a check on power, and consequently creates a state of confusion among the general public via the circulation of disinformation.
For example, during After Ferguson, Riley was on a brief panel with some serious people who possess substantial expertise on matters of race and racial inequality. When asked for his thoughts about how to stop racism in America, Riley defaulted to some tired silliness about black people's behavior and "bad culture". Ahistorical, noxious, and foolish, he showed his toothy whites and grinned for the benefit of his white conservative masters because as we all know, black people are the ones most responsible for anti-black racism.
In America's racial discourse, black conservatives are the equivalent of those "scientists" and others who deny that global warming is real. In much the same fashion, the media will feature the 3 out of 10,000 climate scientists who hold this discredited view and present them as a type of reasonable balance to the standing facts and overwhelming professional consensus on the subject.
Black conservatives such as Jason Riley are a sideshow. In that role they should only be included--if at all--in substantive and intelligent discussions about racial inequality as performance artists in a political human zoo, playing a role where they will be made into objects of scorn, pity, and curiosity.
It is unfortunate that media events such as PBS's After Ferguson (and similar shows) that yearn to elevate America's "national conversation" on race, very often do the public a disservice by presenting verifiable and known facts about the nature of racial inequality in the United States as mere opinions or great mysteries, when the reality is much simpler.
But who would want to do such a thing when the "mystery" and "surprise" by too many in the (white) American public in response to the reality of racism in post civil rights era is so much more compelling and entertaining?