Den of the Cyphered Wolf

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Angry Black Man: Everything Old Is New

Okay so for the last few days I've been Tweeting about my Black Friday shopping list, mostly because I've been working my ass off to be in a position to actually enjoy the holidays rather than siting in a corner desperately trying to avoid my family so I don't have to have an uncomfortable series of conversations about how my life is going this year,

But part of me feels that spending so much of my attention on that stuff when the world is turning makes me look like a jackass so here goes.

My feelings on Ferguson and Michael Brown are complicated.  While it's barely relevant I actually was in St. Louis when the news of Brown's first hit for a family event and made it out just as the local news was picking it up. Part of me wants to say that colors my view but it 's more of an interesting fact that makes me think about it.

To sum up. I'm not angry but concerned and more than a bit forlorn.

First off all Michael Brown isn't a martyred saint. That's not to say he deserved to die but to me it looks as though his death was mostly an unfortunate accident. I suppose my point is that I have a problem seeing Michaal Brown as Emmett Till. In this specific case there is some gray and nuance and it rankles me that in pursuit of larger systemic societal  issues people are ignoring that nuance.

Let me be clear. Racism exists. In the context of Ferguson many people have made that point, including The Atlantic's Ta-Nehisi Coates, but I feel a need to separate systemic racism and unfair resource allocation, both of which need to be discussed and remedied, and the individual case of Brown's death.

Part of that comes from where I live. I don't live in Detroit but not far from it. I have a reluctance to talk about the issues of the city because I am an outsider yet I can't ignore that it has severe economic and political problems, many of which are catch-22s that are incredibly difficult to solve regardless of coming out of bankruptcy.

Whenever I ponder these issues my mind keeps going back to one theory. That the 1967 Detroit race riot was a flashpoint.

The riots had causes and the racial tension that precipitated them shouldn't be ignored, but I think to myself of all the waste, the stores that were destroyed, the stores that left, the people and minds that not just left but were permanently darkened by the riots. I think of all that that was destroyed, looking at the closed schools, abandoned blocks and boarded up stores and say to myself.

"Damn. We did this."

You know. I've seen people who were angry. And thought they should be but I thought we were past the days of riots.

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