Monday, September 8, 2014

The Facts are None Too Kind to Darren Wilson: How Will the Right-Wing Hate Media Distort the New Evidence in the Michael Brown Murder Case?

The defenders of Darren Wilson, the white police officer who repeatedly shot an unarmed black teenager named Michael Brown at least 6 times in Ferguson, Missouri claim that “the facts” will clear their champion of any wrongdoing.

Unfortunately for Darren Wilson, the facts of what transpired on the day when he shot Michael Brown in the face and body with multiple bullets have not been kind to him.

Independent witnesses have told the press and federal investigators how Michael Brown was unarmed, had surrendered with his hands in the air, and was repeatedly shot by Darren Wilson. These witnesses are African-American.

For the white bigots who defend Darren Wilson, as well as the Right-wing hate media that stoke the flames of white racial resentment and white supremacy, black people’s truth claims about racism (regardless of the mountains of empirical evidence in support of their experiences) are de facto and a priori judged to be insufficient by the White Gaze.

This is part of a centuries-long tradition in America, where for most of the country’s existence, African-Americans were not allowed to testify in court or to have any type of legal standing.

In the post civil rights era--and especially since the election of Barack Obama--the Tea Party GOP and the White Right have demonstrated that they would like to return to an arrangement of civic and public affairs in which black people are silenced and muted. In all, the Tea Party GOP and its allies yearn for the civic erasure of black and brown people—it enrages the White Right that they cannot follow through on their wishful dreams of social and political death for black Americans.

The American Right-wing’s defense of the killer cop Darren Wilson is instinctive: it is an extension of a base hostility to the freedom, well-being, life, liberty, and happiness of black and brown Americans.

To point. The most morally rotted and ethically suspect supporters of Darren Wilson have collectively donated at least 500,000 dollars to protect him from the consequences of killing Michael Brown.

As I wrote here, donating money to Darren Wilson (and other white vigilantes and extra-judicial killers of black people such as George Zimmerman) is the new lynching photography of the 21st century. Instead of buying postcards of hung, tortured, and burned alive black bodies, those who donate to Darren Wilson enjoy the vicarious pleasures of killing a black person by proxy. Michael Brown, and by extension other black American men, are born with a bounty on their heads.

Darren Wilson is the white gunslinger who brought the black “thug” to “justice”. This is cathartic violence for the White Right and its Fox News driven propaganda machine.

The supporters of Darren Wilson are enjoying the fun of a thrill kill; they are sharing ownership over the deed by donating money to their idol Darren Wilson.

Two new witnesses to the shooting of the unarmed black teenager Michael Brown by Darren Wilson have now come forward. As reported in Sunday's edition of the newspaper St. Louis Post-Dispatch, two white construction workers watched Darren Wilson shoot dead an unarmed and surrendered Michael Brown.
According to their accounts, Michael Brown was not “charging at” or “attacking” Darren Wilson as the professional liars in the Right-wing hate media have suggested to their supplicants--and an easily duped 24/7 corporate mainstream media which is desperate for any new “information” on the Brown case, however specious or incorrect it may in fact be.

The account provided by the new witnesses corroborates the version of events offered by previous witnesses in which Darren Wilson repeatedly shot an unarmed person from some distance away whose hands were raised in the universal sign of surrender.

Darren Wilson chose to shoot Michael Brown. As detailed by the witnesses, as well as the audio recording of the events that day, Darren Wilson chose to stop shooting Michael Brown for several seconds…before then delivering the final shots to his head and face.

The white racial paranoia of the American Right demands that Michael Brown be vilified, “niggerized”, and thus made responsible for his own killing at the hands of Darren Wilson. The White Right (and too many members of the white American public, more generally) is cognitively, emotionally, and materially invested in the over-policing, harassment, and violence of the police against black and brown communities.

Those sentiments have deep historic roots.

During the 19th and 20th centuries at least 10,000 African-American men, women, and children were killed by white racial terrorists. The white owned newspapers and other media of the era justified and legitimated this violence.

The Southern press would often detail how the lynch mob was comprised of “honorable men”, doing their “civic duty”, and who were burdened with the “responsibility” of “protecting” white society against black “criminals” and “troublemakers”.

The spirit and energy channeled by the white 19th and 20th century press to legitimate and honor the white supremacist terror afflicted on black people by the white public is none too different from that channeled by the American Right-wing media in the 21st century, when the latter defends the killers of unarmed black people by white cops and other white-identified vigilantes.

Writing in the journal American Nineteenth Century History, Susan Jean describes this phenomenon in the following way:

The Courier-Informant’s reporting was typical of portrayals of ‘warranted’ or ‘respectable’ lynchings. The most conspicuous feature of such reports was the salacious language used to describe the black man, his alleged crime, and the lynch mob’s actions…

Newspapers that branded a lynching victim a ‘black brute,’ an ‘inhuman fiend,’ or an ‘imp of inferno’ were from the start helping to exonerate the lynch mob. In depicting the bestiality of the black man and by contrast the sweet, delicate, and innocent nature of his alleged victim, reporters were courting the fury of their readers and encouraging them to identify with the lynchers…

The people who punished the negro considered that they were doing their duty to their community, and they went about the business in the most orderly manner, and no unseemly passion or excitement was shown whatever.’

When a white mob lynched Charles Scarborough for attempted rape in 1909, ‘There was no excitement in the matter at all. The people were determined that the negro should pay the penalty for his attempted crime: that was all.’

White supremacy and white privilege are interrelated political and social projects that have evolved over time and which continue to exist in the present: white violence towards the black body is a fixture of this system.

In the 19th and early 20th centuries Michael Brown would be a black “fiend”, “beast”, or “giant negro”. In the 21st century, Michael Brown (and other black and brown victims of police violence) is depicted by the Right-wing media as a “thug”, or as a person who was “armed” with his “strong, scary, self.” 

The Right-wing media and its public will lie and misrepresent the information provided by the new witnesses to the killing of Michael Brown by Darren Wilson because they are racial paranoiacs who have so internalized white supremacy and white privilege that it has distorted their understanding of reality.

While some psychologists and mental health professionals have suggested that white racism is a type of mental illness, I have long-subscribed to the idea that white racism is as much a choice about personal behavior, as it is a system of power relationships.

The defenders of Darren Wilson are not all mentally ill or pathological racists (although undoubtedly some of the latter are among that group). Rather, they are morally bankrupt people who devalue the lives of non-whites, and believe both consciously and subconsciously, in the superiority of those who are “white” over those who are “black” and “brown”.

The most salient facts about the killing of Michael Brown by Darren Wilson are not complicated. Numerous witnesses have said that Darren Wilson shot Michael Brown multiple times. Michael Brown was unarmed. Michael Brown had surrendered.

The context for the killing of Michael Brown by Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri is provided by a country that has a centuries-long history of racist violence by the police against people of color.

For example, Darren Wilson is a member of an organization that engaged in a racist police riot against the black community in Ferguson. In addition, the police department in Ferguson has been targeting the black community in a racist debt peonage/collection racket where over-policing (tickets; court fees; fines and arrests for petty crimes on exaggerated charges) has been used to fund the township.

And perhaps most damning, prior to his employment with the Ferguson police department Darren Wilson was a member of another police force that was disbanded because of a history of racial violence.

The facts are not kind to Darren Wilson and his decision to kill Michael Brown. Unfortunately, white privilege, white supremacy, and the racial paranoia that sustains the defenders of Darren Wilson and the White Right exist independent of empirical reality. 

White supremacy is one of the biggest lies in modern human history. Its supporters and adherents live in a fantasy world of white innocence and superiority, one that is juxtaposed to a fictive belief that black people are a natural race of violent degenerates.

Those who defend Darren Wilson are simply following an old American cultural script.


Myshkin the Idiot said...

Ben Stein compared a DOJ inquiry into Mike Brown's death to lynchings in the 19th and 20th centuries. Said they were the same thing.

This is good writing here, Chauncey.

persephone said...


Gable1111 said...

Awesome writing. Reading it I alternate between tears and rage.

chauncey devega said...

Thank you. Tried to say something important while also returning to some things we have already discussed. Still important to do so even if preaching to the choir in some respects.

There is so much here. I may save the longer followup for the WARN book at some point, maybe not.

chauncey devega said...

Read the attached article on lynchings and then look at some examples of how the right-wing media have discussed brown, Trayvon, and other innocent black and brown folks who are killed by white vigilantes. Eerie.

chauncey devega said...


Gable1111 said...

I've read the 19th and early 20th century newspaper reports on lynchings, and they read as almost fairy tales in the scripted way the victims are routinely described as brutish, while the white mob is "doing its moral duty," to protect the honor of a flower of innocent white womanhood or some such tripe. Disney couldn't have done better. But they were playing it straight when they wrote that way back then, testament to the extent that this culture of violence was the norm in white society. This was "news."

Fast forward to today and its no different. MIchael Brown, Eric Garner and now John Crawford III are being "niggerized" after the fact to justify their killings as "honorable." There may not be a white lynch mob carrying ropes and torches, but judging by the comments and polls, the thoughts and sympathies of far too many are no different.

mbfromnm said...

State sponsored terrorism aimed at maintaining white dominance at all costs.
The more things change, the more they remain the same. The assumptions about the "rightness" of white rule are widespread in my elite college town. Education has no correlation with lack of white superiority.

Courtney H. said...

Excellent commentary, Chauncey!

I do not know if I have posted this before, but this video discusses the media propaganda machine and its depiction of Blacks in the media:

DanF said...

Actually I'll be surprised if the testimony of the two white observers will move the needle for the white right - far easier to just move the goal post - "Just because they saw what happened from a distance, doesn't mean they know what actually went down. What was Brown saying? Did he make a sudden move that they didn't see?" Rationalizing is much less difficult than altering ones world view. Like the song says, "A man sees what he wants to see and disregards the rest."

chauncey devega said...

People actually by those odious and empty looking books. Why? What is the appeal? His repeating of lies about Brown are boilerplate. Most of the comments white conservative talking point garbage w. a pretense of sophistication.

joe manning said...

Great expose of the way the media heavily rotates violent images of murder so whites can get a vicarious kick out of their proxies conducting such "lynchings." Its a window into the culture of white supremacist pathology.

balitwilight said...

Good points. Sadly though, according to polls, about 63% of "white" Americans do not believe that the gunning down of an an unarmed "black" teenager raised important questions about "race" in America.

That 63% number far exceeds what can be reassuringly termed the "white" right. Reptile-brain perceptions of "identity" trump polite political spectrum. Just as in Israel where about 93% believe it is acceptable to inflict injustices on what they call "The Arabs" (Palestinians), the same group dynamic is in effect here with "white" people in America.

Even more depressingly, just 7 out of 41 members of the Congressional Black Caucus voted (after Ferguson!) to demilitarize the police forces; army surplus equipment that is so disproportionately deployed against "black" people. This multi-tentacled entrenched apartheid system is a deep and vast problem here in America.

Chris said...

He should not have been shot. But DID he rob a store? Did Michael verbally assault a police officer? Did that officer verbally assault Michael? Did Michael physically assault a police officer? Did that officer have a concussion and thus bad judgement? Did Michael reach for the officer's gun? - Rhetoric is not relevant; opinions, emotions, the past, someone else, somewhere else. White opinions. Black opinions. - Whites should stop treating blacks unfairly. You make good points Chauncey, but the legal world is not about ALL of white and black American history. What are ALL the facts on THAT day? If Michael had said, "I'm sorry officer. I was walking in the middle of the road. It's hot. Have a nice day.", maybe nothing would have happened. - Racism has to end. No argument. Darren WIlson is not EVERY other black injustice that has EVER occurred in America. To act like he is, is the same as the blind KKK, "he's black", injustice. Your opinions are well taken. I was not there. Were you? - Let's hope for change in many ways. Let's hope for justice. More black policemen in Ferguson. No more racism on either side. Neither blacks nor whites nor Darren Wilson should be arrested and charged because we are angry. - Darren himself knows if you are 100% correct, if every word you wrote matters in this case. But I would argue that you add to much to this pot of stew. Focus on the facts. Make a list of those facts and leave opinions and generalizations out. Offer a solution that is NOT based on anger nor being on the defensive. If you ARE a strong, wise, educated, successful black man, then your life speaks for itself. Any and every black man or woman. Change your community. Be the city council. Be the police. Be the business owners. Be the lawyers. Be the judges. Be the TV pundits. BE the change that needs to happen. Be, "I did not like this, so I changed it". I hope the police force recruits more black officers to represent the community. I hope Darren Wilson says what his mistakes were that day and that justice prevails. Michael sounds like he was a great guy in many ways. But did he honestly make some mistakes that day and in that moment? Darren did, I believe. Did Michael?

chauncey devega said...

I would usually delete such false equivalency, new age, colorblind racist tripe. But, I will leave it up as an example of the types of narratives that will be trotted out to defend a cop guilty of murdering an unarmed person for the crime of being black, walking down the street, and breathing.

Plus, there is lots going on in this comment about implicit bias, the rhetorical strategies of the new age cyber racist, stereotypes about emotion black people who are thus irrational, etc. etc.

Never mind this gem: "No more racism on either side." Stupidity vomited through ignorance.

White supremacy is somehow morally and ethically the equivalent of people of color's very benign, patient, and too kind response to it. Please.

I do think you should try your hustle somewhere else as it is so naked and transparent. WARN is about serious folks talking in a serious way about these matters. We don't treat the purveyors of white supremacy or other types of bigotry gently or kindly.

balitwilight said...

Chauncey doesn't need to tabulate it here. The preponderance of evidence (including eyewitness accounts) is out there for anybody to weigh. Based on the evidentiary preponderance - for this incident, as well as the hugely disproportionate number of "black" people similarly killed in America - the burden of proof is on your invidious proposition that "maybe Michael Brown contributed to his own murder".
When teenagers in "white suburbs" are also expected to bow and scrape to obscenity-tossing police officers who stop them arbitrarily for walking in the street a block from their homes, or otherwise be subject to a hail of bullets; when teenagers in "white suburbs" are piled like cordwood into prisons and serve decade sentences for using the same drugs that "black" teenagers have their lives routinely destroyed for, then you might want to revisit your proposition.

Myshkin the Idiot said...

"BE the TV pundits"


Miles_Ellison said...

There is convenient amnesia when it comes to the seminal role that racism and white supremacy have played in modern conservative politics. There is also convenient amnesia about the fact that all those "KKK Democrats" later became Republicans. The philosophical wellspring of modern American conservative thought, William F. Buckley, was a dyed in the wool white supremacist, though you'll never hear anyone on the right who trolls for black votes by using the"Party of Lincoln" dodge.

skilletblonde said...

If you are 10 years old reading this blog or if you are a 100 years old, this is a drama that is played over and over throughout your life, when you are black. Your family, your neighbors, your friends all know of someone who was killed, beaten, or harassed by the police. It's pathological. It's also as normal as rain in America for black people. However, at some point we should say enough is enough. I do not trust the American judicial system to do what is right. I also think we are beyond marching. The only marching I would do at this point is to the United Nations.

Moreover, the Republicans want to sue President Obama, well dammit, we better think about creating a fund to sue the Republican Party. Since Nixon, the Southern Strategy- (scandalizing African Americans as freeloading criminals), has been utilized by the Republican Party. The Dumping of crack in black neighborhoods while privatizing prisons, came out of the Reagan Administration. In my opinion that was the Hiroshima Bomb on the black community; crack cocaine. The damage it did is near irreparable. It obliterated the black community.

Most of us have family that is in the military or has served in the military. What in the flying hell are we fighting for?

Myshkin the Idiot said...

I say they can have Lincoln, another white supremacist. Why have him when you could claim Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth or any other liberator as a part of your ideological foundation.

Ken Joyner said...

Was Michael Brown a "thug"?

Gable1111 said...

Yeah, that crap was boilerplate as well. The same old warmed over sh*t.

bgal4 said...

respectable folks work from facts and avoid promoting lies and distortions for personal power.

It was the crowd's unruly behavior including gunfire that deterred the transport to the mortuary.

bgal4 said...

pure nonsense. anyone with ethics and integrity can easily source accurate information Brown's body was covered in about 12 min with a sheet, the video produced by residents prove this. The interview I posted in with the contractor whose job was transporting the body. You are full of hate, and need to lie and attack decent folks to promote an agenda, not the truth. Despicable .

chauncey devega said...

Thank you for cleaning up some of the garbage that snuck through. Moreover, why would any official spokesperson about the events that day have any credibility what so ever given the cover up, lying, and other incompetence on display.

Chris said...

"white privilege, white supremacy" - wasn't no white privilege nor supremacy in my house. My mother put cardboard in her shoes growing up. We slept two to a room in a small ranch house. I wore hand me downs. - Crack was in my town. I didn't smoke it. Girls went to my high school. I did not get them pregnant. Gangs ran around my neighborhoods. I did not join one. Guys went to school stoned on weed. I did not smoke with them. Guys were thieves. I did not steal with them. My father stayed there for me through thick and thin. - There are blacks who will tell you, that some black problems are also, in addition to white racism, caused by blacks themselves, to themselves and to other blacks. - BE the solution. Get elected. Become a lawyer. Become a professor. Become a police chief. Too many black young men choose NOT to BE the solution. Take the white man's job. Make HIS money instead of him. Stop complaining ad nauseum about how whites did this and that. Find Jesus. Stop being angry, finish school and be the intelligent solution. Take away his job. Many blacks do and I applaud them for it. Some have been my bosses and I've worked under them with nothing but respect and a smile. As a young 20 something I worked with Blacks and Hispanics who were my favorite people in the world. We did not hate each other. We chose to love each other and BE the solution. One guy was working six days to put his daughter thru college. Personally, I think both men made terrible mistakes that day. RIP Michael. More hate ain't the solution.

Chris said...

Nothing stops a racist white man in his tracks more than being more intelligent and more successful than him. Take his job. That police station never should have had all those white cops in a black neighborhood. To all the racists down South, "get over it". God put us all on the same Earth. - Points well taken about the racist cops. They are a disgrace to the uniform and should go work on a loading dock instead.

fishermanswhooper said...

This blog is embarrassing. Supporting Darren Wilson is a fact driven inquiry and the facts support his version of events. Dorian Johnson is a pure filth liar, flanked by 2 guys placed to intimidate others in the initial interview. Same goes for Tiffany Mitchell, I don't know or care if she was intimidated or not, it doesn't matter, her story isn't credible. As for all of the other witnesses, they were in no position to see anything.

Since a guilt by association is done about Darren Wilson's previous employer, then guilt by association to Lesley McSpadden robbing and aggravated assualt with her family of goons is fair game.
But hey, blacks want to burn down some more of their neighborhood supporting a violent robber shot by the police then trying to escape then trying bumrush a cop with a gun (bet the idiot thought Glocks only had 6 rounds), then go for it.