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Facts and Farragos

by Dan Albertson

24–25 November 2014

As someone with few white friends, and someone who finds much of white culture to be alien, one may expect me to be in sympathy with people baying for blood in Ferguson, Missouri.

I am not, however. I am a pacifist, but more pertinent here, I am someone with no tolerance for hypocrisy.

Sure, white people and black people alike are always on the prowl for the next cause célèbre.

Sure, this story has larger implications.

Sure, not all black teenagers are thugs-in-training.

Sure, institutional racism is real.

Sure, police officers are not perfect.

Yet the case of Michael Brown is not a gentle fit into this manichean world, of us versus them.

Maybe he was innocent, a victim of time and circumstance, but maybe he was not. No one will ever know for sure.

All the same, no one should expect a grand jury to reflect popular opinion when the case is as nebulous as this one is. The legal ramifications would be pernicious.

Moreover, the skeptic in me wishes to make clear that the self-righteous among us, including among white people, seldom have even a moment for the countless black teenagers who die at the hands of other black people day in and day out.

Adding a white officer into the equation in no way changes the above reality. On the contrary, I suspect that it provides cover for those who wish to ignore, and thus prolong, the status quo by eclipsing it with a sensation.

When the bleeding hearts begin to show as much attention to the daily ravages of an unmentioned yet ever-present battle in the streets of many American cities, brewing for decades, coupled with a commitment to tackling the manifold issues giving rise to such violence, then and only then will I consider their concerns to be sincere.