Monday, March 9, 2015

#Notallfergusonpolice or When the Department of Justice Makes Racist Cops Cry in Ferguson

On occasion, the unconscionable mates with the ridiculous and gives birth to the absurd.

As reported by the Daily Mail, there is at least one (of likely many) such occurrence in Ferguson, Missouri.

Because of the Department of Justice's scathing report on endemic, institutional, habitual, cultural, and routine white supremacy among his department and brethren, a Ferguson police officer's feelings have been hurt--he has been made to cry.

An angel has now earned its wings:
A serving Ferguson police officer revealed that he broke down in tears after he read the Department of Justice report which condemned his force and said: ‘I just close my eyes and wish it wasn’t like that’. 
The officer said that his colleagues were ‘good cops’ and that they were ‘hurting’ just like the rest of the community. 
In an exclusive interview with Daily Mail Online he said they were all standing behind embattled Ferguson police chief Tom Jackson but were fearful they would lose their jobs if the department was shut down. 
He said: ‘People who don’t know me see me and then they hate me. That’s not fair....I’m not going to hate people because they are venting. 
‘It’s tough but I still have to get to work. 
‘I have to take it because they are venting and we have to let them vent, but I will protect this city, I will protect Ferguson’... 
The officer said: ‘There are guys who write a lot of tickets, yeah, but I don’t think it was any different from other departments.

The officer said that in the wake of the report the mood on the street had been hostile.
He said: ‘When we get to some of these calls people are yelling profanities...they are filming us and that didn’t happen before. 
He added: ‘The biggest thing that hurts is how the community feels, what are they feeling. That’s very important to me.. 
‘Sometimes I just sit there and cry...
The Daily Mail continues:
...The Ferguson police officer said the report misrepresented not just the force, but the city. 
'The report is hard to read, but that’s not me,' he said 
‘I am good with the people, the community. We have good officers. Do they write more tickets than some people? Maybe. But they are good officers. 
‘This hurts, it really does. When you read it, you read it as a city as a whole. You read it like everybody is like that, but not everybody is like that.’
The oral traditions of black and brown people contain wisdom about the power of white women's tears to make our lives a living hell (see the lynching tree in the United States). It would seem that white men have now learned the same lessons.

The deflection and denial by Ferguson's officials about the racist practices of their government, the predictable and on script screeds by the likes of Patrick Buchanan in defense of their hero Titan negro hunter Darren Wilson, and now the supposed pain of the Ferguson police in response to being called to marginal account for their bigotry, are (again) examples of white privilege and white supremacy as both quotidian behavior and political ideology.

A white cop's tears in response to the Department of Justice report on institutional white racism--white supremacy--in Ferguson presents another opportunity (there are after all a near endless supply of such moments in the Age of Obama) to sketch out the contours of Whiteness in the post civil rights era.

Whiteness is a social, political, and cultural system that involves maintaining the inter-group privilege, power, and superiority of those people who are arbitrarily grouped into and known as "white" in the United States and the West.

Whiteness functions as a type of privilege, psychic and material wage, and grants its "owners" the label and title of being "normal"--or in the United States the unmarked, not hyphenated, and assumed to be the "real" and essential "American".

Whiteness is also invisible to its owners as a day-to-day matter; Whiteness is hyper-visible to those others who live along and on the other side of the colorline.

The concept and term "Whiteness" refers to the macro level social construct that works through and is manifested as hegemonic power. Akin to the relationship between individual "men" and "masculinity", Whiteness works through, can be channeled by, and profoundly impacts the identity formation of individual people who are marked as "white" in the West.

There, many if not most white folks do not reflect on what it means to be "white"--unless said identity is threatened and/or the taken for granted benefits and unearned advantages are perceived as being denied.

All white people are beneficiaries of Whiteness to varying degrees--even if all white people are not active signatories to the social contract of Whiteness and White Supremacy.

The lower case "white" refers to individuals who happen to be members of that socially constructed racial group. The upper case "White" signals to Whiteness and questions of group domination, subordination, and Power.

It must be reiterated that Whiteness is a cultural and institutional force. As such, there are black and brown people who benefit from, worship, and are complicit with Whiteness and White Supremacy.

Clarence Thomas is one such person.

As seen in the Daily Mail story, Whiteness and White People exhibit and are afflicted by what social scientists have described as "white fragility". This concept describes how white privilege and other types of social conditioning can make white folks feel defensive, threatened, and vulnerable when they are held accountable for their complicity with racism.

This is a handy defense mechanism: if science fiction is one of the most political of storytelling forms, white fragility is like the death curse of the xenomorphs in the Alien films.

Like H.R. Giger's classic monsters in that movie franchise, Whiteness spits acid on its enemies when either hurt or killed.

This is an apt metaphor for White Victimology.

White Victimology twists reality, robbing white folks of ethical culpability and responsibility for their active and passive benefiting from White Supremacy. Stated differently White Victimology is the psychological predisposition and decision rule that allows white perpetrators and beneficiaries of racism to reimagine themselves as being unfairly judged.

In post civil rights America, this crystallization of white racial logic deems that being accused of racism is a far worse thing than being a victim of white on black and brown racism.

[For example, white victimology also allows white folks to be more offended by their being asked not to use hateful language such as the word "nigger" than by the evil wickedness--never forgetting that "nigger" was a word invented by White Society--which birthed it.]

Reading the Daily Mail story about white cop victimology blues in Ferguson, I wonder if the crying police officer shed any tears about Michael Brown, the black folks whose jobs were lost because of police harassment, the wage and wealth theft by Ferguson's police against the black community, or the state of terror and racial intimidation inflicted upon African-Americans by the Ferguson police?

Did this hurt and pained Ferguson police officer ever out his racist peers? Did he defend the black folks of Ferguson who were being victimized by a racist debt peonage collection scheme?

Where were the tears then? I think we all know...


kokanee said...

I don't buy this guy's sincerity at all. White victimology is so cowardly and that's what these guys are: cowards.

Learning Is Eternal said...

So... It was ok when he/they were likened to murderous white supremacist Darren Wilson? No tears then? A report comes out calling your dept. on its piss poor policing, racial profiling, bigotry, ***eh, hmmm.*** exposing your system of serfdom thru modern peonage by way of debtors prison... And that made you cry?


These them same jokers who scream "why" when Pearl Harbor and the WTC get hit but refuse to acknowledge the perpetual Omar Little like robbing spree Amur'KKKa been on since its inception that brings forth such retaliatory propagandized as terrorism to the public.

I take that back. Even Omar had a code.

This system of white supremes is truly an amazing one. Not only are you rewarded for killing black denizens in any city, it demands your compassion for the assassins of your loved ones over your own grief.

joe manning said...

White supremacy is "lived" as a cultural element. Its stability probably could not be maintained from generation to generation unless it functioned in a communication process in the interaction of a plurality of actors. This explains the officer's defensive reaction. He sees a threat to his livelihood and more importantly to his very being. His comments function to promote solidarity with his fellow racists who reflexively rally to his defense toward the preservation of their collective privilege. Ideally this illustrative essay will shame the racist into acknowledging the antisocial nature of othering in general and white supremacy in particular.

Wild Cat said...

OT, of course, but I felt my neighbor a few 'hoods south, Ta-Nehesi Coates, was very lenient with the murderer, Darren Wilson, in his recent essay, which is otherwise brilliant:

OT, again, but in the 1970s, I remember "Cry the Beloved Country" was a fetish teaching item in the 1970s; this was much needed---and expose on apartheid in South Africa---but it was conducted in the white 'hoods of eastern NYC that that convenientlty informed every African-American apartment-seeker that every inn was closed:

The next movement is in Madison, WI. Check out today's Democracy Now (news section):

Jado said...

"The officer said that his colleagues were ‘good cops’ and that they were ‘hurting’ just like the rest of the community. "

As 'good' cops, did they arrest the 'bad' cops when they knew that the 'bad' cops were breaking the law? This is what drives me nuts.

chauncey devega said...

Isn't that always the question? Thus the lie that all cops are heroes, have a hard job, and and are just trying to do it well.

chauncey devega said...

I have lots of respect for Coates. He gave WARN love when it first started. I do not understand his move on that Ferguson piece. As more and more info comes out it seems that Wilson was clearly encouraged and enabled in killing Brown, there was a racist cover up, the grand jury was rigged, and poor old Mr. Wilson had a "reasonable fear" i..e the defense that is used to kill unarmed black and brown people for his life. As I wrote, what is legal is not what is just. A bunch of b.s.

chauncey devega said...

Shame? Racists? Goodness no. The more you call them out the the more emboldened they become.

chauncey devega said...

Armed to the teeth with the power to kill yet they are always afraid of someone.

Wild Cat said...


My only theory was that he saw sociopath Wilson as a dead end for the Justice Dep't; he saw, perhaps, that going after the entire police force would be a better gamble.

As for Wilson, let's hope the Brown family's civil lawsuits ruin the rest of his odious life.

joe manning said...

Self hatred is an invariable contingency of racism White guilt and shame are factors in the progression from slavery to Jim Crow to color blind racism. The more racism is exposed the more it is extinguished.

chauncey devega said...

Chess not checkers.

kokanee said...

If police officers are really so afraid, why are they so aggressive and provocative?

I think there's going to be a push for less lethal ammunition like rubber bullets. Unless police officers are going into a known dangerous situations, there's really no need for such lethal force. That's doubly true for rookie cops.

kokanee said...

Cops: Some of us are good therefore the police as a whole is good.

Us: A lot of the police officers are bad, really bad to the point where we cannot trust the police force to protect us. Fix it. And that's putting it mildly.

Lkeke said...

It's just fu*** ing amazing to me. They are not the ones dying, none of their loved ones have been hurt in any way. No one is actually physically hurting him at that moment, but he's crying. He's hurt.

I try to be a compassionate being but sometimes, like Khan says, He tests me!"

Wild Cat said...

Who knows.
Maybe rational self-interest on TNC's part. ("Stay employed . . .learn French . . . get a job with a Parisian pub.")
Maybe disputing the "innocence" of professional murderer Darren Wilson as found by the Justice Dep't would hinder his argument that Ferguson is a racist shit hole (as found by the Justice Dep't).
I wonder---when it comes crashing down and we're under entire rightist rule---who do they kill en mass? The people of a certain ethno-religious identity closely associated with the failed neocon agenda and the focus of various lunatic conspiracy theories or those familiar and easy targets: the African American community that is outnumbered 9 to 1.

DanF said...

"Do they write more tickets[...]? Maybe." Jaybus. He just shrugs that off like having a bullshit $300 fine drop on your head is just a nuisance and not the crippling expense it often is. And it's FOR NO VALID REASON - Just gotta show who's boss. Even if you can't get worked up over the blatant racism, it's a disgusting abuse of power - maybe shed a few tears for that? Maybe? Hello Mr. Protect Your City? Dissolve this police force.

Wild Cat said...

Kudos to Michael Brown's mother for not approving of anything less than the dismantling of the Ferguson "police force."

SW said...

Locally, I doubt that the Ferguson police force is the worst offender. I expect/hope that their are more dominoes to fall with a vast majority of the municipalities that dot I-170.

I'm not sure how the City of Ferguson survives as is. The City's second largest budgeted revenue item for 2014 was Fines and "Public Safety" at $2.7MM. The City was already budgeted to operate at a loss of $7.3MM.

I suppose a good place to start is reducing the number of police officers, who account for almost 50% of the City's 134 employees.

beulahmo said...

I can't tell you how much I love Attorney General Holder for pouring the resources necessary for getting this investigation concluded and reported out so soon after D.A. McCulloch's disastrous grand jury decision announcement-diatribe in November. Considering the depth of information researched and analyzed, I think the DoJ produced results with amazing speed.

The report's presentation of hard, cold, irrefutable numbers -- the sheer volume of abuses heaped upon Ferguson's black residents and the statistical evidence of disparity in treatment -- creates a stark contrast to this police officer's self-pitying bullshit. It's simply impossible for a person to absorb the information presented in the DoJ report and then hear this police officer's lament without thinking that it would've been more appropriate and understandable if he'd expressed anguish over the pain experienced by black residents in Ferguson all these years.

But this guy only talked about how very sorry he was for himself and the rest of the Ferguson force. That's almost as bad as having a hostile reaction to the report. I mean, he'd look a little less monstrous if he'd have given one of the other typical White responses to information like what's in the DoJ Ferguson report -- that is, to make a statement like this for example: "When I read the statistics in the report and realized the whole impact this situation was having on people of Ferguson, I was devastated. I just cried. I never realized it was so bad for black folks in
(Typical reaction of "benign" members of Whiteness.)"
But no. His sorrow is for himself.

Anyway. I might be wrong, but I feel that the DoJ report's timing and thoroughness -- coming so soon after November's announcement of the grand jury decision to not indict Officer Wilson -- is more powerful in countering this White Victimology because the events that triggered the investigation are still fresh in the public's mind, so it's easier to integrate this information into context and an understanding of events as they played out in Ferguson.

OldPolarBear said...

This is pretty late and possibly a little bit off topic, and I heartily endorse every word you said and agree with most of these comments. Since the whole thing about ticketing and arresting people to raise revenue was mentioned, I would like to add that there is an aspect of this that I have not seen mentioned much.

Note that I am NOT saying this thing is an excuse for this horrible behavior of white city governments and cops, only that it might be a factor driving it. Anyway, one of the reasons that municipalities are often strapped for money is because of property tax rollbacks undertaken as "tax relief." This often happens at the state level, with legislatures passing and governors signing legislation that "rolls back" and limits the authority of local governments to set their own property tax rates. It then becomes very tempting to offset tax revenue losses with ticket revenue, like from red-light cameras and other enforcement measures. Ferguson obviously went absolutely apeshit in this direction. Needless to say, these so-called "tax-relief" efforts are almost always done by GOP legislatures and governors.

Gable1111 said...

It would be one thing if Ferguson did that to every citizen, but it chose to damn near exclusively put this on blacks and, as the DOJ found, because they were black. This was done not just to raise money but also to indulge their racist beliefs about black people and the desire to keep them in a subjugated state.

Besides, if you look at the number of cases they generated vs. The number of black residents, control for tickets given to those that didn't live in the city, and we're talking multiple cases per resident.

As you say a lot of cities in anti tax states rely more on tickets for revenue. But they spread it around. Ferguson made it a point to put that pain on black folk. Because they were black.

OldPolarBear said...

Agree absolutely that it was racially targeted in Ferguson for all the reasons you said. That's why I want to make it very clear I don't think it is an excuse or justification, just a factor. The only thing I might disagree with is that it would be ok if it were spread around to everybody or made more "fair." I feel strongly that fines for misdemeanors of this nature should only be considered as deterrents for the offense -- never primarily as revenue.

The connection I was trying to make, and I apologize for it being OT and done somewhat clumsily, is that the tickets-as-revenue model is partly a result of conservative policies. Conservatives hate cities, especially majority black cities, and there has been a GOP war on cities (owing on especially since Reagan.

But certainly, no doubt about it, the push for revenue found an already existing fertile seedbed of toxic racism in Ferguson and it's mostly PD.

chauncey devega said...

You are spot on. This is a much larger problem. What do you think will happen?

Gable1111 said...

I hear you Bear. That kind of piracy is never good. Here in Chicago Rahm has colluded with cronies and the usual city grifters to rob folk blind with these red light

Gable1111 said...

What's pathetic is what's giving this clown a sad is self pity over being called out on the racism of his friends and peers and how monstrous this makes them look, and the implication that is some how "unfair" to him and his coworkers/friends because they are "good people" to each other. And thus everyone else, including black residents they abuse day in and out, are supposed to see their "goodness" and when they don't just "proves" what they are doing to black residents is not just their job but deserving as well. And thus in the minds of people like this they even convince themselves that abusing black residents for race and profit is outside of any moral considerations; it just "is."

SW said...

I think that Ferguson and some other smaller municipalities with the same problem will fail to thrive and hopefully just be absorbed into St. Louis County as unincorporated areas.

Further compounding Ferguson's financial issues is the fact that they failed to meet this year's March deadline for filing racial disparity data related to traffic stops with the state. This is illegal and may result in funding cuts by the state. Other municipalities that are very near Ferguson, Jennings and Wellston, also failed to report on time. These are two cities that are probably just as bad, if not worse than Ferguson in terms of the local government and police force's relationship with the its citizens. In fact, Darren Wilson's first police job was with the Jennings police. This force was disbanded and reassembled a few years ago due to extreme racial tensions with the citizens of Jennings.