What the New York Times did to Michael Brown today was not merely slander. It wasn’t a case of a lack of journalistic integrity.
Highlighting that a black teenager was “no angel” on the day he is being laid to rest after being hunted and killed by racist vigilante forces is not an unfortunate coincidence.
The New York Times deliberately played into an archaic American tradition in devaluing both the merit of black life and the tragedy of black death.
They chose the day of his funeral, as his family, friends and activists everywhere have to grapple with a human being lost to pontificate about how he was “no angel”. Michael Brown was many things to many people; a son, a brother, a cousin, a nephew and another black causality of murderous police institutions and today, amidst all the racist violence he, his loved ones and community have had to endure, he was going to finally receive the respect and moment of honor he deserved and NYT decided today, of all days, to tune in their audience onto wholly irrelevant facts about his life - that in turn, transform the very injustice surrounding his death and the following police violence that plagued Ferguson into a national panel about whether or not his death is actually worth mourning and their language suggested that to them, it indeed is not.
This was hardly an accident or mistake. This is the perpetual hostility that is met against black life in America. The consensus is that black people deserve no respect and for black life to be legitimized and honored, we must meet a list of prerequisites. Subsequently, if black people aren’t valued, neither are our deaths understood as tragic or murders seen as criminal action.
This has been the atmosphere of America since its inception and much has not improved.
Far fewer articles describe the other constitutional violations taking place on the streets of Missouri, and those violations are every bit as urgent as the infringements on speech and assembly. We’ve seen very little coverage of the use of tear gas and rubber bullets as constitutional violations. But the due process clause bans the police from using excessive force even when they are within their rights to control a crowd or arrest a suspect. And tear gas is in a category all its own. Not only is unleashing it into a crowd an unconstitutional exercise of excessive force, but its use is banned by international law. That’s one of the reasons Amnesty International sent a team of investigators to Ferguson. Similarly, the use of rubber bullets under the circumstances is also unconstitutional. Some kinds of rubber bullets are more unconstitutional than others, because certain types are more likely to injure and maim.
But excessive use of force is only the beginning. Pulling people out of the crowd and arresting them without probable cause (or for being 2 feet off the sidewalk) violates the Fourth and 14th Amendments, particularly when those arrests are disproportionately of black protesters. The general arrest statistics in Ferguson reveal what looks to be a stunning constitutional problem. According to an annual report last year from the Missouri attorney general’s office, Ferguson police were twice as likely to arrest blacks during traffic stops as they were whites. Emerging reports about racial disparities in Ferguson’s criminal justice system and the ways in which the town uses trivial violations by blacks to bankroll the city (and disenfranchise offenders) all represent constitutional questions. Why don’t we characterize them as such? These are not just violations of the law or bad policy. These are violations of our most basic and fundamental civil liberties.
Of course, probably the biggest potential constitutional violation of all—and eyewitness testimony suggests this as a real possibility—is the alleged use of excessive force by the police in shooting an unarmed 18-year-old at least six times. Under the law, each of those bullets must be separately justified, as necessary, even if one believes the officer’s story that Michael Brown rushed him. To be sure, the news media has covered this, but very few of us talk about the shooting as a potential violation of the Constitution. Remember, the Constitution is the foundational bargain between the people and their government, the framework on which our legal order rests. When we fail to talk about the arrests, searches, racial profiling, and government brutality in constitutional terms, we are failing to capture how profoundly the state has betrayed its promises.
The casual police abuse in Ferguson, following men down a seemingly otherwise empty street, shooting them in the back with rubber bullets, and arresting them without Miranda warnings for failing to follow orders never given. And doing so while aware that the men are reporters who they must have known would tell their story.
That they are willing to go to such lengths with reporters who are sending the stories to the world almost instantly screams that not only do the police operating in Ferguson believe that they are in the right, they expect everyone else to see it that way as well. These police have absolutely no expectation that they will ever face any consequences for their behavior in these last two weeks.
I’ve had an account on okc for a couple of years and it’s always interesting to me when they ‘analyze the data’.
OkTrends is original research and insights from OkCupid. We’ve compiled our observations and statistics from hundreds of millions of OkCupid user interactions, all to explore the data side of the online world.
In this analysis, they ran 3 experiments: Love is Blind, or Should Be; So What’s a Picture Worth and The Power of Suggestion.
tomlinshaw au where louis is still working at toys r us and professional childadult nick grimshaw goes in to buy polly pockets for his co-worker’s birthday and then spends the next day complaining on the radio about how rude and unhelpful toys r us employees are
so much time and effort went into an ad for a band’s perfume but imagine putting effort into promoting an album or any sort of music at all! imagine! what a laugh that would be! honestly
They did put effort into promoting their album. It was called 1D day and it was a glorious 7 hours of One Direction promoting their third album, Midnight Memories, by performing songs off said album, streaming the album for a few chosen fans, and many other fun and exciting games.