After a night of turning up and after issuing a statement on the death of actor Robin Williams, President Obama finally got around to saying a word or several about the killing of Michael Brown and the ensuing situation in Ferguson, Missouri. Obama’s remarks, as many of us expected, were as tepid as his dance moves. In his statement, the POTUS began by saying that folks should take a “step back and think about what we’re going to be moving forward.” The POTUS–again, as expected–delineated how he talked to various members of the state, the state the police officers who killed Michael Brown essentially represent, and that he would ensure that justice was served. Obama concluded with these remarks:
Of course, it’s important to remember how this started. We lost a young man, Michael Brown, in heartbreaking and tragic circumstances. He was 18 years old, and his family will never hold Michael in their arms again. And when something like this happens, the local authorities, including the police, have a responsibility to be open and transparent about how they are investigating that death and how they are protecting the people in their communities. There is never an excuse for violence against police or for those who would use this tragedy as a cover for vandalism or looting. There’s also no excuse for police to use excessive force against peaceful protests or to throw protesters in jail for lawfully exercising their First Amendment rights. And here in the United States of America, police should not be bullying or arresting journalists who are just trying to do their jobs and report to the American people on what they see on the ground.
We lost a young man, Michael Brown, in heartbreaking and tragic circumstances.
We “lost” Michael Brown? Really? We lose keys, wallets, phone numbers, the tops of toothpaste. And tragic circumstances are things like, I dunno, house fires. Walking down the street on the way to your grandmother’s house isn’t really all that tragic. Being confronted by the police for minding your own damn business isn’t really tragic. It’s a reality of life for black men throughout this country. And when they die during those confrontations, we don’t lose them. They are violently taken.
And when something like this happens, the local authorities, including the police, have a responsibility to be open and transparent about how they are investigating that death and how they are protecting the people in their communities.
Right. Because we can totally trust local authorities. Also, I have no idea what, exactly, “protecting” is a euphemism for in this statement, but I have several ideas. I do know that protecting is not what police are doing in black communities like Ferguson.There is never an excuse for violence against police or for those who would use this tragedy as a cover for vandalism or looting.
Why did no one line edit this statement? This was thoroughly unnecessary and an attempt to create a false equivalence for Obama’s subsequent comments about the police brutality protesters were subject to.
The decision not to show up in Missouri and stay in vacation mode and this statement that yet again show that Barack Obama is deathly allergic to the term black even when nothing to lose. It’s also the latest indication that, unless he has an opportunity to chastise, Barack Obama does not care about black people. Rather, he is the figurehead of a white supremacist state who will only ingratiate himself to black people when it benefits him. Obama apologists will suggest that he “can’t win” or that his words were strategic. What, in this 11th hour, is Obama trying to win? What is the strategy for? What I see is a politician who was given the chance to actually articulate a truthful position and chose, if I am being generous, to equivocate and reiterate a baseless narrative of black pathology.
I don’t expect the POTUS to say much of anything that articulates that white supremacy is at work here. But I do hope that his comments once and for all serve as the last piece of evidence some need to understand the reality that Barack Obama will not do anything to undermine white supremacy and the racism it feeds upon. Those gestures to a black collective–giving dap, listening to Jigga–are empty performances meant to titillate. The emperor is wearing clothes, yes, but please know that there are no black leather jackets and berets in his closet. Barack Obama is the figurehead of the power our very existence fights. Obama just ain’t that into us. There’s no other way to explain how he could have witnessed what happened in Ferguson and acted the way he did.
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