The civet cat lives in the jungles of Indonesia. It enjoys eating coffee berries. However, the civet cat’s stomach is incapable of digesting them. The beans are subsequently excreted in the feces of the animal. Treated and “flavored” by the civet cat’s anal glands, the beans are highly prized by coffee aficionados, selling for 600 dollars a pound.

Picking through the political feces that are the comments sections on Right-wing propaganda websites such as The Blaze is not as lucrative. But, the process is very important for what it reveals about the worldview and ideology of movement conservatism.

Research in sociology, political science, and psychology has revealed that those with“conservative” political personality types see the world in binary and simplistic terms, are intolerant of ambiguity, more afraid of social change, highly deferent to authority, and have brains that are more highly attuned to feelings of fear and threat.

Conservative authoritarians are also much more likely to be racist, prejudiced, and xenophobic.

The Right-wing media machine is typified by “epistemic closure”. The self-reinforcing (and fictitious) narratives of the Right-wing media, when combined with selective information processing and cognitive bias by conservatives, has created an alternate world—one that is immune from the standards and facts that govern empirical reality.

Faith is a belief in that which cannot be proven by ordinary means; the Right-wing media is the temple at which movement conservatives fanatically pray and worship. The media elites and politicians of the American right speak in tongues to their congregation. To outsiders, this speech is gibberish and madness. For the Right-wing faithful, such acts are divine and prophetic.

Conservatives’ political personality traits, media, and a predisposition towards both implicit and explicit bias animus towards non-whites is crystallized in their response to the killing of Michael Brown and other unarmed black people such as Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, and Jordan Davis.

The American Right-wing’s defense of those who kill black people ranges from a barbaric and instinctive impulse towards homicidal ideation (as seen by those who defend Darren Wilson and have donated money to him as a form of bounty or prize for the new age lynching of Michael Brown) to a more mundane and quotidian belief that black people are a race of criminals, and it is best for “public safety” that the police and other representatives of the state treat African-Americans in a prejudicial and unfair way.

This continuum of behavior is an example of white racist paranoiac thinking.

White racist paranoiac thinking is dangerous and noxious because it devalues the lives of black and brown people, legitimates violence and cruelty by whites against non-whites, and twists the ethics, reasoning, thought processes, and morality of white folks in order to support unconscionable deeds.

The Right-wing (and mainstream) media have provided many notable examples of white racist paranoiac thinking (and of course acknowledging how the race-crime frame dominates the American news media writ large on a day-to-day basis).

Several decades ago, the videotaped beating of Rodney King was twisted and distorted by the White Gaze so that the victim was somehow a threat to the many police officers who savaged him.

When Trayvon Martin was killed by George Zimmerman, white racist paranoiacs and their allies spun a story where Martin was somehow “armed” with iced tea and the sidewalk: this was a provocation for the hunter Zimmerman to stalk and kill his prey Trayvon.

The thug cop Darren Wilson is made into a victim by white racial paranoia as the “giant” Michael Brown was “armed” with his “big, black, scary self” and despite multiple witness accounts that he had surrendered, and was not a threat after being repeatedly shot, somehow Wilson was “in fear for his life” and within his rights to shoot Brown in the head and face as a type of street vigilante by cop coup de grace.

These are examples of an aggregate process in American society. It is rare that one news item or editorial offers a self-contained example of white racist paranoiac thinking as a process of motivated reasoning and subsequent distorting of the facts.

In that regard, The Blaze's recent piece "New Claims Made by Grand Jury Witness Who Says He Saw Shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson From Start to Finish", is an ideal typical case.

The beginning of The Blaze's story presents some of the recent facts and “revelations” from a “black witness” to the encounter between Wilson and Brown (as likely leaked by the Ferguson prosecutor’s office):

An Ohio resident has reportedly revealed new details to the grand jury currently weighing a case against Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown. The unidentified witness claims to have seen the Brown shooting from start to finish.

In an interview with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the eyewitness recalled four key details

• After an initial scuffle in the car, the officer did not fire until Brown turned back toward him.
• Brown put his arms out to his sides but never raised his hands high.
• Brown staggered toward Wilson despite commands to stop.
• The two were about 20 to 25 feet apart when the last shots were fired.

The man’s account differs some with other Ferguson residents who have claimed that Brown’s hands were up in the air when he was shot and that he was running away from the officer the entire time.

Here, the framing is highly sympathetic--as is expected from a Right-wing muckraking site such as The Blaze--towards Darren Wilson.

The Blaze's story concludes with the conclusion by the “new” witness that:

After going over the entire incident in his head, the witness said he believes that Wilson is guilty of murder. "It went from zero to 100 like that, in the blink of an eye… What transpired to us, in my eyesight, was murder. Down outright murder,” he added.

The comments on "New Claims Made by Grand Jury Witness Who Says He Saw Shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson From Start to Finish" are very revealing: they show how white racial paranoiac thinking, as well as the cognitive and political personality traits of conservatives, combine to selectively filter information…a process amplified by the interplay of race, crime, and racial animus in the case of the Ferguson incident.

Here, the witness’s conclusion that Wilson murdered Michael Brown is utterly discounted and ignored, while the leading “facts” are unequivocally embraced to fit a prior belief.

Some examples:

1. What transpired was Officer Wilson stopping a threat that was an obvious danger to him. The public needs to know of Force Science and the dynamics of a violent, rapid encounter such as this. Everything factual stated by this “black” witness completely exonerates Officer Wilson. Brown physically fought Wilson & a shot was fired inside the police car. Brown ran. Wilson ordered Brown to stop. Brown physically came at Wilson a second time. Wilson discharged his firearm to stop Brown’s threat. Brown, despite an apparent gunshot wound, continued his threatening actions towards Wilson. Wilson fired again to stop Brown’s threat until, in fact Brown was stopped.

After going over the entire incident in his head, the witness said he believes that Wilson is guilty of murder. “It went from zero to 100 like that, in the blink of an eye. … What transpired to us, in my eyesight, was murder. Down outright murder,” he added.

IT DOES NOT MATTER WHAT YOU EMOTIONALLY FEEL ABOUT THE INCIDENT MR. BLACK WITNESS!!!! WHAT YOU DESCRIBED WAS NECESSARY FORCE TO STOP A THREAT!!! THIS CASE IS CLOSED!!!!

2. I agree with your assessment 100%, however, after reading many responses, I believe some clarification is in order.

Body language is critical in this case. As Brown had already proven that he was quite capable of overpowering Officer Wilson, near instantaneous assessment of his every movement is a matter of life or death. any have interpreted hands out as being the same as hands up. There is a huge difference in the expressed body language when all factors are taken into consideration. Arms out to the side with the palms forward is anything but a submissive posture. Couple that posture with approaching, and refusing to comply when told to stop should be considered as extremely aggressive.

Doubters can deny it if they want, but look at Hollywood… Film is edited down to the slightest facial tick as the tiniest misplaced gesture at a crucial moment changes the entire storyline of the movie.

Simply, if you submit, you stand still with your hands up. To approach with hands to the side and out is a classical aggressive approach of someone that intends to overpower… It is the fighting posture of a wrestler.

Officer Wilson, commanding the perpetrator to stop was right to stop the approach of Michael Brown… especially when there was a second possible threat withe the presence of his friend.

3. exactly. First off, the store incident was enough and it brings the fact the Brown was being defiant from the onset leaving the store. Then defiant more in the police car. Otherwise, why and how did a shot go off inside of the police car. I do not see any police officer shooting up the inside of his car for no reason. Then Brown turning around walking towards Wilson with that “whatchya gonna do” gesture after Wilson told him to stop Everyone knows what that gesture is with a pimp stride in it. That showed further defiance. I do not see how it can be called “murder” from the sounds of what this witness side.  

4. By the way, shooting a fleeing felon is also allowed, and is not murder. Even if he was shot in the back of the head while he was running away, still justified.

5. Not just the dynamics of the first violent encounter, but the officer had his eye socket shattered, his bell was probably rang pretty badly from the impact, and his weapon had discharged during the struggle. He was most likely trying to recover from all this during the ensuing encounter. I wonder if anyone has addressed how this might have affected his eyesight or perception. If there were any adverse affects they were the responsibility of the deceased. We can only work with the tools we have. Any benefit of the doubt I will give to the officer.

6. Trying to follow this article is confusing to a rational person. As I read the “witness” account, it sure sounds like a case of self-defense to me. Then the article ends with the witness saying it was clearly murder to him. If it went from zero to 100 for the witness, think how fast it was going for officer Wilson. Also, if Wilson fired the first shot (or was it a shot fired in a struggle for the gun in the car?), why would he holster his weapon and then unholster it when the Gentle Giant turned to him and would not follow repeated commands to stop? Only because the officer felt his life was in danger from an out-of-control thug who refused to stop his attack / aggression towards the officer. But to the Black Klan (BK), what matters is it was a white officer and a black thug. If there was a video and audio making it perfectly clear Wilson was a victim of Big Mike, there would be denial from the BK.

These comments, selected from several hundred that are similar in tone and reasoning, exemplify the power of disinformation and propaganda, authoritarianism, white victimology, homicidal ideation, an embrace of the culture of cruelty, as well overt and covert racism that are common to movement conservatism in the Age of Obama.

As such, they are not a surprise.

What is important is that the deranged thinking of movement conservatives is not isolated to excuse-making and racial paranoia as a means of legitimating the killing of unarmed black and brown people by police and other white identified authorities. Rather, it envelops other matters of public concern that include the environment, economy, health care, tax policy, civil liberties, reproductive rights, international affairs, and other issues.

Extreme partisanship, polarization, and the alternate reality that has been created by the Right-wing media machine are on full display in how the White Right has responded to the killing of Michael Brown by Darren Wilson. Unfortunately, the bundle of attitudes, beliefs, and values that are central to white racist paranoiac thinking are also a threat to the common good more generally.

As with Michael Brown, the killing of a black person at least every 28 hours in the United States by police (and other white identified authorities) is an issue of race, crime, class, and justice. It is also a basic and fundamental human rights issue.

The culture and forces of cruelty, white victimology, and racism that defend and celebrate such acts of civic evil are the same elements which have broken America’s systems of government, and thus created a crisis of legitimacy in the country’s civic culture.

I have written extensively about the killing of Michael Brown by Darren Wilson; I will continue to do so in the future. Why?

In truth-telling about the killing of Michael Brown by Darren Wilson, we are exposing the reality of a society in which our civil liberties, freedoms, and basic rights to life, liberty, safety, and security are under threat.

Michael Brown’s body lay in the street as an act of racial terrorism by the Ferguson police against the African-American community.

His body was also a living, and now dead, symbol of a civic culture that is under threat by white supremacy, the culture of cruelty, and a strain of movement conservatism which wants to kill “the useless eaters” by using white racial animus and paranoiac thinking to destroy any hope that there will be a just and equitable society on both sides of the color line, as well as across divides of class and wealth.

The inevitable exoneration of Darren Wilson for the killing of Michael Brown is intended to send a message that “all hope is lost”. The question becomes, how will a “we the people” democracy respond to such callous indifference towards the lives of its black and brown citizens?

The trickles and leaks of information from the grand jury investigating the killing of the unarmed black teenager Michael Brown by the white police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri have turned into a flood.

This "new" information suggests that Darren Wilson will not be held accountable for shooting an unarmed person multiple times in broad daylight. It was already a fait accompli that Darren Wilson would not be arrested for the killing of an unarmed black person: any other outcome would be outside of America's long tradition of extra judicially murdering black and brown people.

The news media is also complicit with framing and circulating the leaked information in such a way as to exonerate Darren Wilson.

For example, the Washington Post has presented a one sided, rumor filled, and carefully framed story about Brown's autopsy as representing definitive fact--as opposed to information leaked by Wilson's defenders and a corrupt prosecutor's office.

Ultimately, what is the needlessly complex theater surrounding the death of Michael Brown at the hands of Darren Wilson can be crystallized down to one essential truth. Darren Wilson killed Michael Brown for the "crime" of being black and walking in the street.

This is not a new crime in the United States. Under the white racial terrorist regime of Jim and Jane Crow, black people were bullied and murdered for violating similar rules.

The present day version of this "crime" in the Age of Obama is demonstrated by Wilson's harassment of Michael Brown for "obstructing traffic".

Several decades ago, what is a very recent past in the highly polarized and racially segregated community of Ferguson and its surrounding area, this crime of violating white public space was known as "bumptious contact".

For this crime, black people could be arrested, beaten, and even killed for being on the sidewalk near a white person. Bumptious contact was part of a racist legal regime that included other crimes, both formal and informal, such as "reckless eyeballing", not yielding to white people at four way intersections, and asking to be paid a previously agreed upon price for one's labor.

This old fashioned racism of Jim and Jane Crow that lives in the present is circulating in one of the common defenses given for Darren Wilson's killing ways.

In the twisted imaginations of the white racist defenders of Darren Wilson, Michael Brown would not have been killed if he obeyed the following edicts when confronted by White authority. In online comment sections and other social media, Wilson’s homicidal ideation filled defenders have repeatedly suggested that:

all the boy had to do was to be polite. it will happen again- cos thugs arent polite”

The racial semiotics of this statement is not complicated. "Thug" is a contemporary and more polite version of the ugly word "nigger". "Boy" is a statement of racial humiliation and white supremacy that attempts to infantilize, emasculate, and rob black men of their dignity and rights.

"Polite" is a word rich with history and racial meaning.

The White Gaze deems that black people must and should always be submissive and defer to white authority.

Historically, the racial state and white authority are corrupt, and thus not worth respect or legitimacy by people of color--or ethically and morally grounded white folks.

However, when white racial logic evokes "politeness" in its discussion of black comportment and behavior there is an implied threat of violence. The impolite black body is to be policed, punished, trained, violated, and tortured--the whip, the lynching tree, the slave patroller, and the police have/do serve that purpose in America.

Black folks are victims of a cruel paradox in their submission to white authority, for even when they are "polite" and "respectful", black people are still subjected to violence and murder. The White Gaze is the ultimate arbiter of black submission. Consequently, it changes that criterion to satisfy White Power, White authority, and racial paranoiac thinking to fit the mercurial mood(s) of a given white person.

From slavery and Jim Crow to the era of Stand Your Ground, Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, and Michael Brown, white supremacy and the color line are maintained by codes and rules that are both formal (the law) and informal ("common sense" and "acceptable" behavior).

When Darren Wilson is not indicted for the murder of Michael Brown, Ferguson will burn. The strategic leaks of information by the prosecutor's office are a way of turning Wilson into a victim and Brown into a "thug", the instigator of his own suicide by cop.

Per routine, the mainstream news media will frame the righteous anger at a broken and corrupt system as one more episode of black irrationality from a people who collectively do not respect "the rule of law" and "the system".

The exoneration of Darren Wilson, a white man who killed an unarmed black person without proper cause, is an old American habit. The black community of Ferguson's reaction to his being allowed to walk free, financially enriched via paid for bounties from his supporters, and without negative consequences, are the sum total of many violations, both small and large.

The present is not an orphan. It has parents. The killing of a black teenager Michael Brown without negative consequences by the white police officer Darren Wilson is part of America's long dysfunctional family legacy across the color line.

White supremacy structures how the news media frames and reports events in the United States (and elsewhere). There are so many examples of this fact that the difficulty is not one of finding them, rather, the challenge involves which examples of white racial framing to discuss and detail.

Saturday's riot by white college students at Keene State College's annual Pumpkinfest is a priceless example of white privilege and white racism as a type of social practice and habit.

It was high comedy. Twitter had great fun with mocking and calling out the foolishness of the white pumpkin rioters.

It was also deadly serious. Fires were set, cars destroyed, bottles and other dangerous objects were thrown at random people, and the police were attacked by the white students at Keene's pumpkin festival.

In a stark and clear manner, white privilege and white supremacy color how the obnoxious and violent behavior of the white rioters at Pumpkinfest is described by the media.

Black folks who are protesting with righteous rage and anger in response to the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson have been called "thugs", "animals", and cited by the Right-wing media as examples of the "bad culture" and "cultural pathologies" supposedly common to the African-American community.

Privileged white college students who riot at a pumpkin festival are "spirited partiers", "unruly", or "rowdy".

Right-wing propaganda sites such as the Drudge Report pander black beast rapist negrophobia to their racist audience with grotesque images of "black crime" and "black criminality" as a standard theme. By contrast, the violent behavior of white college students is met with relative silence save for a description of the events in Keene, New Hampshire as "extreme partying".

And of course, the race of the rioting students is not mentioned by Drudge and/or the mainstream news media because Whiteness has no stigma or connection to criminality and violence as seen through the White Gaze.

The racial innocence of Whiteness is one of America's greatest lies as white folks, here demonstrated by acts such as racial genocide against First Nations peoples and racial pogroms against blacks, are the most violent and destructive group of people in the history of the United States.

White college students riot over pumpkins, but are mute and show no equivalent expenditure of upsetness or energy over the murder of Michael Brown and the many other black and brown people killed by the police and white identified vigilantes every 28 hours in the United States.

Hmm...I wonder why?

Privilege is the ability to deny reality by creating a bubble of willful ignorance around oneself.

This is true of white privilege, male privilege, heterosexual privilege, and all of the other ways that the dominant and the in-group benefit materially and psychologically from a culture that is designed to bend the world in the service of their will.

The mainstream media has, for the most part, moved on from the murder of Michael Brown and the gross violations of the black community's human rights by the police in Ferguson, Missouri. The twenty-four hour news cycle has a limited attention span; the corporate news media does not serve the public interest as it is first and foremost beholden to profits over people and truth-telling.

I will continue to write about and discuss the events in Ferguson because what has and is transpiring there is emblematic of America's national problem and sickness that is white supremacy. Ferguson is a petty fiefdom of meanness, cruelty, and racism; there are many Fergusons in the United States.

Yesterday, the Washington Post and the website Mediaite featured two news items about Ferguson that together constitute a textbook and ideal typical example of white racism in the post civil rights era.

Of course, the comment sections on both stories feature white racists publicly masturbating with their own political feces as is their preferred habit.

Nonetheless, both pieces are very revealing.

The Washington Post's story,"For some Ferguson whites, racial fault lines exposed by shooting come as a surprise", focuses on the ignorance and faux racial innocence that typifies Whiteness as a political and racial ideology.

"For some Ferguson whites, racial fault lines exposed by shooting come as a surprise" is also a clinic in aversive and symbolic racism.

But since the death of an unarmed black teenager at the hands of a white police officer, some African Americans are calling it segregated and racist. Now Singen has found herself talking in terms of “us” and “them,” “we” and “they.”

“I didn’t have any problems with anybody or any color, and all of a sudden it feels like we are being held responsible for something that’s not our fault,” Singen, 70, said as she left Faraci Pizza, a 46-year-old Ferguson business that has become a focal point of racial tension. “I don’t get it.”

That sense of shock is common here among Ferguson whites in the wake of 18-year-old Michael Brown’s death and the explosive protests in the days that followed.

Hart has lived here most of his 47 years. He was class president at McCluer High School. More than a third of the students were minorities then, and he said he could not recall a racist incident. He believes in building communities and the good of people — which made it possible to think that his town’s troubles could be helped, if not solved, by a slice of pizza.

White privilege and colorblind racism nurture a sense of white victimology and racial grievance mongering towards black Americans. White privilege also flattens history by presenting complicated matters of institutional racism and white supremacy as "simple" problems to be "solved" (here with pizza) by individual behavior as opposed to a serious and rigorous examination of inter-group power relationships.

The Washington Post continued:

“My biggest gripe is that no one is giving the justice system a chance to work out,” Hart said. “We don’t know all the facts, but there is an investigation and a process. This is America.”

Protests and arrests have continued in Ferguson and across the St. Louis area, though things have been less volatile than in the summer. On Saturday, black and white demonstrators bought tickets to a St. Louis Symphony performance and at intermission stood and sang “A Requiem for Mike Brown,” with mixed reaction from a stunned audience.

America is a society structured around maintaining white privilege and white supremacy. One of the ways that this is accomplished is by socializing the white public to believe that America is a meritocracy whose social and political institutions treat all people the same way--regardless of skin color. In turn, a belief in this lie nurtures resentment, hostility, and anger towards people of color because the latter's lived experiences battling white supremacy are translated by the White Gaze into complaining, belly aching, "reverse racism", and not being "patriotic" towards the "greatest country on Earth".

When institutional racism is exposed--only the willfully ignorant and those who have cultivated their own stupidity are surprised by these glaring inequalities--there is a hostile reaction by many white folks because they are wedded to the lies of American meritocracy and "colorblindness".

Moreover, the premise that white people have received unearned advantages means their dominant group position/individual success may not have been earned, but rather received unjustly at the expense of others. This is often too much for White America's collective and individual psyche(s), to process.

In contrast to the polite and restrained white racism of the Washington Post's story, Mediaite featured a video and accompanying story which shows the racial bigotry that hides in the the "backstage" of American life moved to the "frontstage" for all to see.

Mediaite reported how:

At the top of the video, an older gentleman looks directly at the camera and shouts about how if these (all-black) protestors had been working (at night?) “we wouldn’t have this problem!”

The crowd soon begins chanting “Let’s go Cardinals!” to drown out the protestors’ chant about “shutting the shit down” if they aren’t given justice for slain 18-year-old Michael Brown. That Cards chant quickly changed into “Let’s go Darren!” referring to Officer Darren Wilson, the Ferguson cop who killed the young man.

Things continue to get uglier as the video progresses.

One Cardinals fan calls a protestor a “crackhead,” while another fan presumably made eye contact with one protestor and began questioning his “tough guy” status, telling the unseen protestor that “if you ever saw me in the street, you’d look at the ground, that’s what you’d do.”

While one protestor waves an upside-down American flag (symbolic of “country in distress”), a blonde lady enters, telling the crowd: “We’re the ones who fuckin’ gave all y’all the freedoms that you have!” Another lady takes it upon herself to question the cameraman’s background, suggesting she doesn’t believe he’s an ex-Marine, while asking incoherent questions about his rank. All fun times.

Peppered throughout the rest of the video are “USA! USA!” chants from the Cards fans, along with one woman getting real clever and shouting at the protestors: “Africa! Africa!” There were also more calls for the protestors to get jobs, pick up their pants, and remove their caps.

I prefer honest white supremacists. Their behavior is refreshing.

The white fans at the Cardinals game, shouting their support for a police officer who killed an unarmed black person who was surrendering, hands raised, in cold blood, are racial contrarians.

 It is also important to note how their chants and screeds against the defenders of Michael Brown's right to life and our shared civil liberties reflect the standard racist talking-points of the Right-wing media and the Republican Party in the post civil era.

In all, the supporters of Darren Wilson are engaging in a type of idolization of their hero because they too would like to earn their bounty by killing a black person.

Homicidal idealization and symbolic racism have reduced the killing of Michael Brown by a cowardly white thug cop named Darren Wilson into a set of dueling chants at a sporting event.

The moral rot of the white fans at the Cardinals game who heckled and harassed the supporters of justice for Michael Brown are reminders of Mark Twain's wisdom in the classic book The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn where he wrote:

I didn't rightly know what to say, because I didn't know whether the boat would be coming up the river or down. But I go a good deal on instinct; and my instinct said she would be coming up -- from down towards Orleans. That didn't help me much, though; for I didn't know the names of bars down that way. I see I'd got to invent a bar, or forget the name of the one we got aground on -- or -- Now I struck an idea, and fetched it out:

"It warn't the grounding -- that didn't keep us back but a little. We blowed out a cylinder-head."
"Good gracious! anybody hurt?"
"No'm. Killed a nigger."
"Well, it's lucky; because sometimes people do get hurt.

Twain wrote that scathing observation of how white supremacy damages white people's ethics and morality in the year 1885. It is now 2014. Twain's insights remain painfully valid.

America's public discourse is obsessed with the cultural "problems" and supposed pathologies of black people. "What does it feel like to be a problem?" is the birthright slogan penned with existential ink on the minds and bodies of black Americans.

The events in Ferguson--as well as others such as mass shootings, right-wing domestic terrorism, breaking the economy--are a reminder of America's real problem: the United States has many cultural pathologies rooted in Whiteness and white privilege.

Instead of demanding that black folks fix their "bad" culture and demanding "where are the black leaders?", White America needs to exercise some of the "personal responsibility" it is quick to throw in the face of others by getting its own house in order. White America also needs to challenge its own "leaders" to do better and to act more responsibly.

Ferguson needs a better class of racists. America does as well.

Once more, and as Ethiop asked, what shall we do with the white people?

Several weeks ago, Levar Jones, a black motorist, was shot by a white South Carolina state trooper named Sean M. Groubert while complying with the latter's request that he present his drivers license for inspection. This unwarranted and unnecessary use of violence by Groubert was recorded on video. He was fired from The South Carolina State Police and subsequently arrested.

In the United States, the black body is so imperiled and used to being the object of white racial terrorism and violence that Levar Jones, an innocent man, apologized to Sean Groubert after being shot.

If there was not a dashboard camera, Groubert would have concocted one of the typical lies told by police officers--the "criminal" was reaching for a gun; he lunged at me in a "threatening" manner"; it was a "clean" shot because I was in "reasonable fear" of my safety--and been given a commendation and left free to walk the streets where he (or she) would continue to harass and murder other innocent members of the public.

The news media has responded to the video recording of Sean Groubert shooting Levar Jones with surprise. Headlines read that the recording is "shocking" or "unbelievable". The largely white commentariat on TV and elsewhere seem genuinely dismayed at Groubert's actions.

I would suggest there is nothing shocking, amazing, or surprising about Sean Groubert's shooting of Levar Jones in South Carolina. Perhaps, this is a function of my blues sensibilityand the common sense life skills that I as a black man have had to develop in order to navigate the color line in the United States?

However well-intentioned and sincere the concern and surprise by the (white) American public (and some in the chattering classes) towards the events in Ferguson, the shooting of Jones by Groubert, or the panoply of unarmed black men by the police ever 28 hours in America may be, their response is still colored by white privilege.

Black and brown Americans have been complaining about, organizing in response to, and publicly discussing police brutality and extra-judicial violence against their communities for several hundred years. Those concerns have largely been ignored by the white public.

The white racial frame deems that those life experiences must be invalidated as somehow exaggerations, lies, or a function of the "natural" irrationality of those who are not white--as compared to the natural "reason" and capacity for "critical thinking", "objectivity" and "rigor" which supposedly comes with being white and male.

It is also important to highlight the raw truth: many members of the white public are invested in white on black and brown police brutality and violence because of both their implicit, as well as overt biases against people of color.

Moreover, even when "habeas corpus" is, quite literally in these instances, in effect, where an unarmed or otherwise innocent black or brown person has been killed by the police or other white identified street vigilantes, and the events are recorded, white racial paranoia still finds a way to twist those events into a bizarre lie of a scenario in which the victim somehow provoked their own murder or abuse.

Eric Garner was killed by police and it was recorded on video. John Crawford III was killed by the police on video. Levar Jones was shot by police on video. And we can forget the recent recordings of a police officer beating a black woman MMA style on the side of the highway, throwing pregnant women on the ground, attacking street vendors, and the many other examples of police thuggery against unarmed, innocent people.

To be surprised by these events, given the history of the United States, and the many times that African-Americans and others have publicly protested police racism and violence requires cultivated racial naivete, willful ignorance, and the almost unique ability to ignore and dismiss the life experiences of the Other that comes with being a member of a privileged group in a given society.

Life in a white supremacist society exacts a high cost on the mental well-being, sanity, and overall health of non-whites. In such a culture, one of the most exhausting experiences is when white folks "discover" a truth that people of color have long known and communicated.

When white folks are surprised or shocked by anti-black and brown racism, I nod my head in acknowledgement of their discovery. I then respond, "did you previously think that black people were crazy? Were we lying all these years? Insane? Mad? Was there some concerted effort and conspiracy for us to lie about police brutality and racism more generally?"

The temporary disruption to white innocence and naivete by the "shocking" discovery that police kill and abuse unarmed people of color is a temporary emotional and cognitive state. Whiteness and white privilege are nothing if not a highly refined type of cultural and social amnesia.

By contrast, the white public and media's shock, surprise, and dismay at the murder of unarmed black men and women by police is a continual state of being for Black America.

White folks are just tourists in this world; we have to live in it.

In the aftermath of Darren Wilson's shooting of Michael Brown several weeks ago, an almost all white police department engaged in a riot against the black citizens of Ferguson, Missouri.

During those days of civil disturbance, police were recorded using racial slurs, threatening innocent people with violence and death, violating the Constitutional rights of journalists and others who attempted to monitor their street brigandry and hooliganism, and in all, treated the black community of Ferguson as though they were terrorists and insurgents—with the police conducting a mission of counterinsurgency and mayhem.

The Ferguson police are not ashamed of their horrible behavior.

Darren Wilson has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for his successful bounty and head-hunting campaign against an unarmed black teenager named Michael Brown.

Anti-black Homicidal ideation and racism drive Wilson’s supporters; they yearn to participate in a 21st century lynching party by proxy.

Ultimately, Darren Wilson is a protected man, receiving paychecks while the prosecutor and his home police department orchestrate a cover-up of his cowardly killing of Michael Brown.

It would seem that despite overwhelming evidence that Darren Wilson killed Michael Brown in an execution and vigilante style murder, that the latter, young Mr. Michael Brown, will receive no justice by the local authorities.

The police in Ferguson are emboldened by these events.

In fact, as reported by MSNBC and other media outlets, they are apparently so encouraged by a culture which enables, protects, and encourages white supremacist violence by the police and other white identified street vigilantes against people of color in the United States, that some members of the Ferguson police department have begun wearing wristbands which say “I am Darren Wilson”.

The symbolic politics of the “I am Darren Wilson” wristband makes clear what the black residents of Ferguson—and other communities in the United States—have known for decades and centuries. The police do not “serve and protect” black and brown communities, specifically, and the working classes and poor, more generally.

As descendants of the slave patrollers of the American slaveocracy, police are on the front lines of maintaining the hierarchies of race, white privilege, and white supremacy in the United States.

The “I am Darren Wilson” wristband evokes the demons of white racial terrorism against black Americans.

The wristband naturally leads to an existential question: what does it mean for a police officer (or one of their supporters) to say that “I am Darren Wilson”?

Darren Wilson repeatedly shot an unarmed black teenager who had surrendered to him.

It follows that:

“I am Darren Wilson” means that you idolize a killer.

“I am Darren Wilson” means that you support the killing of unarmed black people.

“I am Darren Wilson” means that you support white supremacy.

“I am Darren Wilson” means that you are a racial paranoiac so drunk on authoritarianism and racial animus that you can rationalize, in the face of the preponderance of the available evidence, the execution of an unarmed person for the crime of being black, breathing, and walking down the street.

“I am Darren Wilson” means that your ethics are so twisted and distorted by the white racial frame and white supremacy that you sympathize and empathize more with the white cop who killed an unarmed black teenager than you do with the person who was shot dead and left in the street for hours like garbage.

“I am Darren Wilson” means that your moral framework has been corrupted and ruined by white privilege and white racism.

The “I am Darren Wilson” wristband is not a minor accouterment or detail that is coincidental to a given police officer’s uniform: it is a major statement of power, politics, attitudes, and values.

The website Police One details the importance of a police officer’s dress and comportment:

The uniform of a police officer conveys the power and authority of the person wearing it. Clothing, including the police uniform, has been found to have a powerful psychological impact on those who view it. When humans contact other humans they subconsciously search for clues about the other person so that they can understand the context of the encounter. The police uniform is a powerful clue as to the wearer's authority, capabilities, and status.

Research has revealed that the uniform has a subconscious psychological influence on people, based on the person's preconceived feelings about police officers. When a person wears the police uniform, citizens tend to be more cooperative with his or her requests. People also tend to curb their illegal or deviant behaviors when a police uniform is visible in the area.

Research has revealed that alterations to the traditional, paramilitary police uniform can result in changes in perceptions by the public. The style of the clothes, the type of hat worn, the color of the material, and even the condition of the clothes and equipment have an influence on how citizens perceive the officer. For these reasons police administrators need to take their uniform policies seriously. The selection of a uniform style, regulations on the proper wear of the uniform, how well uniforms are maintained, and policies on when officers may wear plain clothes should all be taken very seriously.

The police uniform should be considered an important tool for every patrol officer.

In the context of the over-militarization of America’s police departments, the vicious violence of the police riot against the people of Ferguson, and the overt and covert racial animus that black folks in Ferguson and elsewhere have experienced at the hands of the police and other elements of the criminal justice system, “I am Darren Wilson” is an announcement that even in the post civil rights era that “we, the police, can, will, and have killed black and brown people with relative impunity…and will do so again”.

There is continuity to history. It proceeds with fits and starts, progress moving forward in the face and despite the best efforts of reactionaries and conservatives to derail and hold it back. History is also beset by a dualism where the habits of the past coexist with the present and the future.

White supremacy, as one of the most powerful ideologies in recent human history, follows those contours.

A black man is President of the United States in a moment of continual anti-black and brown violence by the police and the criminal justice system. There is obvious racial progress in many areas of American life. Yet, the country remains hyper-segregated, the job market still discriminates against people of color, and white privilege still over-determines and advantages the life chances of whites as compared to non-whites.

The intimidation and violence of the police uniform and the “I am Darren Wilson” wristband is a statement of white racist thuggery and intimidation against both the black body and the black community en masse.

The “I am Darren Wilson” wristband has ugly historical precedents: its ancestors include the white Ku Klux Klan uniform and the Nazi Swastika. All three are symbols of white supremacy, terror, and intimidation against people of color and those marked as the Other.

The KKK chose white robes as their uniform in order to intimidate free blacks by pretending to be the ghosts of dead Confederate soldiers.

The swastika was adopted by the Nazi Party as a way of harassing, threatening, and intimidating Jews (as well as other groups) who were targeted for destruction.

The “I am Darren Wilson” wristband is a claim to the right of preemptive and prejudicial violence by the police against African-Americans: it is a signal that that they too, could on a police officer's whim, be made into the next Michael Brown.

If there is any doubt that the killing of Michael Brown was influenced by racial animus within a broader cultural, as well as local context of white supremacy—and an utter contempt towards black and brown people’s lives—a person need only to look at the behavior of the Ferguson police department and Darren Wilson’s defenders and apologists.

The black residents of Ferguson are treated as less than full members of the polity, forced into a life of “custodial citizenship” by a police and local government which lords over their community.

For the white folks who support Darren Wilson, and the cops who wear “I am Darren Wilson” wristbands, this is the natural order of things--one that they are dedicated to protecting.

Charles Cobb is a veteran of the Black Freedom Struggle. He was on the front lines of the insurgency against Jim and Jane Crow and its regime of racial terrorism.

Cobb is also the author of This Nonviolent Stuff’ll Get You Killed: How Guns Made the Civil Rights Movement. He has both the practical credibility that comes from risking his life in the fight against American white supremacy during the civil rights movement, and the research/academic credentials to locate his own individual experiences within a broader historical and theoretical context.

Writing for the Washington Post online, he recently dropped what fans of professional wrestling call a "pipe bomb".

A pipe bomb is when a person tells the truth instead of limiting themselves to the official public script and/or narrative.

The public discourse on the police riot in Ferguson that occurred in response to the execution of Michael Brown by the cowardly thug cop Darren Wilson has--with the exception of the Right-wing hate machine--largely been framed around police brutality, white racism, and black victimhood.

Because of the clear and obvious questions of morality and injustice at play, the dominant media frame has (and in my opinion quite correctly) placed the responsibility for the police riot and momentary spasmatic citizen's revolt, on the local and state authorities in Ferguson, Missouri.

While acknowledging the fact of white police thuggery and racism, Cobb's essay, "Black people had the power to fix the problems in Ferguson before the Brown shooting. They failed." asks raw questions about black folks' responsibility in perpetuating the conditions of their own disenfranchisement.

Cobb writes:

Many images that came out of Ferguson, Mo., last month looked like scenes from Birmingham, Ala., in the 1960s: the gun-wielding police officers, the sign-carrying protesters and the chants demanding equal treatment and human dignity. But that’s where the similarities ended.

For all the righteous indignation it inspired, the Ferguson turmoil has become the latest in a series of flash-in-the-pan causes that peter out without inspiring lasting movements for racial justice. As an organizer for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in Mississippi during the ’60s, what I learned was the importance of organizing at the grass-roots and how even small actions at this level can have national impact. That is why I cannot help but notice that many black leaders, in their efforts to drive change, are ignoring some of the great lessons of the Southern Freedom Movement.

For one, the black leaders we most often see in the public eye have become experts at complaining about what the white man does to black people. Al Sharpton and others fill their rhetoric with fury about the white power structure, but ultimately serve messages that are superficial and myopic. To be clear, I am no right-wing ideologue blaming black people for the oppression that has beset them for generations. At 71 years old, I have experienced my share of brutal and dismissive racism. But this one-track approach will not generate change. Perhaps the great lesson of the southern Civil Rights Movement is that as much as it challenged white supremacy, it was the challenges that black people made to one another that truly empowered the movement.

He continues to bring the heat here:

Now consider Ferguson. Only 6 percent of eligible black voters participated in the last municipal elections — this in a town that is more than two-thirds black. No wonder the six-person City Council only has one black member and the 53-person police force only has three black officers. Just two generations ago, black Southerners endured arrests and beatings in order to vote. And yet, it seems we’ve already forgotten the immense power of the ballot. With the existence of the Voting Rights Act, low black voter turnout or registration cannot be charged solely to white people, no matter what machinations they use to suppress voters.

Black people are not faced with anything like the violence that confronted those seeking voting rights five decades ago. Let’s end the excuses. The people of Ferguson have all the power they need to simply get rid of their unrepresentative government — vote them out. This does not take any great political computation.

The abysmal voting numbers in Ferguson — and in communities like it around the country — are a failure not only of the people, but of black leaders. We see them parachute in and out of Ferguson, Harlem and Sanford, Fla. We see them on TV. We see them in marches. But ultimately, they offer nothing enduring.

Charles Cobb has brought to the public forefront the conversations which occur in the semi-private spaces of the black counterpublic.

He is also signalling to how in a digital global era the events in Ferguson (and elsewhere) are mediated visuals which are depicted in a spectacular fashion that in turn create a sense of immediacy on the part of the viewer, but where the images themselves (and the momentary public outrage they create) may not result in long-term systemic change because substantive political work takes blood, resources, and long-term planning, sacrifice, and energy.

In all, "hashtag activism" and "liking" posts via social media are not replacements for real, substantive politics.

Cobb is also asking an important foundational question about what constitutes a "leader" for a given community? This is very timely given the recent release of the The Root's List of 100 Top Black Influencers under 45. While I like and respect the work of many of the folks included on the list, one must ask, how is their work actually impacting and improving the day to day life chances of black and brown people? Should this be a criteria for being considered a "black leader" or "influencer"?

And are leaders a reflection of the particular social and political circumstances of a given era? Is there some universal rule or definition?

Cobb's essay is bold and necessary; it is also missing some nuance. The people of Ferguson and other dis-empowered communities do not participate in government because they correctly sense that the State is non-responsive to their needs and lacks legitimacy. However, this calculation leads to do a dualism and feedback loop: the State is non-responsive and does not serve the needs of the black and brown folks of Ferguson and similarly situated communities because the latter are not participating and included in it.

It is important to locate this angst, citizenship, and non-participation within a dynamic context. Racially discriminatory laws remove millions of black people from full democratic citizenship because felony disenfranchisement deems them as unable to vote. Black political leaders and organizations were destroyed by a decades-long effort by the federal government and other actors to discredit, kill, undermine, and imprison them.

The remnants of the civil rights movement were then corralled into the "success" of leading bankrupted central cities that were robbed of resources by suburbanization, globalization, and the removal of federal support for America's cities just at the moment (what was not a coincidence) when they became more black and brown demographically.

In addition, during late 1960s and 1970s many civil rights leaders were bought off and cooptated by corporations and private foundations that sponsored events and conferencessuch as the 1972 National Black Political Convention.

Black politics and its traditional models of protest, organization, and engagement are obsolescent and ineffective in the post civil rights era and its long shadow of the neoliberal state, austerity, and consumer fundamentalism.

Naivete about the relationship between government and civic involvement must always be pushed back against: Power does not want an active citizenry; an elite and corporatist democracy wants to limit effective citizen participation not expand it.

The people of Ferguson, and the majority of the American public, are forced to deal with the consequences of a broken and ineffective government that is working precisely as intended by the 1 percent, the rentier banking and finance classes, and the other members of the American plutocracy and deep state.

Dysfunctional government creates a lack of faith in democracy. Neoliberal governance and policy makers use those feelings to expand their influence and power. Empirical research has documented how American policy makers are most responsive to the demands of the richwhile being relatively indifferent towards the needs and wants of the American people.

There are a litany of reasonable and centrist public policy positions and initiatives which are favored by the American people but that its elected "leaders" ignore. American government officials also have contempt and loathing for the public.

Sheldon Wholin's vision of what he termed as "inverted totalitarianism" is the result of the above processes.

In the United States, inverted totalitarianism is also advanced through the rise of persistent and intrusive surveillance technologies, anti-democratic interest groups that subvert the public will as enabled by the Supreme Court and decisions such as Citizens United, and an exhausting and distracting media environment in which spectacle has replaced responsible reporting and advocacy work.

Could it just be that the people of Ferguson know that "normal politics" and the system are a sham? And if so, what are the alternatives to the United States' broken, non-responsive, and corrupt arrangement(s) of political power?

As reported by the St. Louis Post Dispatch, new public opinion research by the Remington Research Group has revealed that 62 percent of white St. Louis residents believe that the killing of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager who was shot multiple times while surrendering with his hands in the air, by a white police officer named Darren Wilson, was justified.

The support by white St. Louis residents for the killing of Michael Brown is not just a simple matter of a difference in public opinion regarding how individuals locate matters of public concern within their own cognitive schema.

Instead, their attitudes are formed in relation to a given social and historical context. Consequently, the political attitudes of Darren Wilson's white supporters reflect a society that is organized around a racial hierarchy which privileges Whiteness.

Remington’s poll is part of a larger constellation of data on white racial attitudes in response to the Ferguson incident, specifically, and the realities of white on black racism in the post civil rights era, more generally.

In August, a poll by Pew Research found that:

...the public overall is divided over whether Brown’s shooting raises important issues about race or whether the issue of race is getting more attention than it deserves: 44% think the case does raise important issues about race that require discussion, while 40% say the issue of race is getting more attention than it deserves.

By about four-to-one (80% to 18%), African Americans say the shooting in Ferguson raises important issues about race that merit discussion. By contrast, whites, by 47% to 37%, say the issue of race is getting more attention than it deserves.

These results echo earlier polls that reveal how whites and people of color are starkly divided in their opinions about the permanence and power of racism in determining life chances.

As a point of comparison, at the height of the civil rights movement, a moment when Jim and Jane Crow segregation and racial terrorism were still a de facto state of affairs in much of the United States, white folks reported to Gallup and other pollsters that black people had equal opportunities in America.

White America's willful denial and delusions about the twin realities of white supremacy and white privilege are a recurring feature of American cultural and political life.

Race is operative, both on a personal and institutional level, in Darren Wilson's decision to shoot and kill Michael Brown (for example, see the over policing of black and brown communities; the historic origins of modern American police departments in the American slaveocracy; racially disparate treatment by the American "criminal justice system"; and empirical research on implicit bias by white police towards black people).

The preponderance of the social scientific evidence on American social and political life demonstrates that the standing decision rule should be that racism is almost always a variable influencing interactions across the color line, as opposed to needing some extraordinary standard of evidence to demonstrate such a basic fact.

Ultimately, because America is a racist society, the attitudes and values of its citizens, to varying degrees, will reflect that trait.

This is a macro-level claim and observation.

The masses may be asses. While the extreme political polarization of the Age of Obama hascomplicated the thesis, with the exception of "engaged" partisans, the American public has historically been considered "non-ideological", possessing little substantive knowledge about political matters.

Racial attitudes are an outlier.

Both white and non-white Americans hold consistent beliefs about race and public policy, racial attitudes help to structure other political attitudes and values (including partisan identification), racial attitudes are relatively stable across one's life span (with general replacement, elite cues by the media and other actors, and social movement activity helping to account for the rise of "multicultural" America), andthe decades-long divides between Democrats and Republicans about questions of race, social justice, and public policy have remained relatively stable.

Moreover, the chasm in public opinion between whites and blacks regarding Ferguson, and police abuse more generally, also reflects how "old fashioned" racism, authoritarianism, and symbolic racism have combined together in modern American conservatism.

It is more likely than not, that the majority of the white respondents in the Remington survey possess some degree of either conscious or subconscious racial bias, animus, or resentment towards black and brown people.

[The power of white supremacy as a cultural force is also revealed by how 35 percent of black respondents also supported Wilson's killing of Michael Brown.

White supremacy is one of the most powerful ideologies and inventions in the modern era: people of color are not immune to it; some people of color, most notably black American conservatives, even seek out its approval.]

Drilling down, I am very curious as to the type of racists that comprise the 62 percent of white respondents in the Remington survey who support Darren Wilson's killing of Michael Brown.

While not an exhaustive list, I would argue that the 62 percent of white respondents to the Remington group survey consist of the following types.

These categories overlap and are not mutually exclusive from one another.

Racial Contrarians. Any observations or opinions offered by a black person, individually or as a group, about racism, as it relates to the latter’s own personal life experiences, are immediately suspect. For this type of white racist, black people are viewed as inherently irrational, hyper-emotional, stupid, too sensitive, and possess a distorted view of American society because of their "obsession" with racism. The white racial contrarian views all black people's truth claims, regardless of the empirical data in support of them, as suspicious and unfounded until proven otherwise (preferably by a white person).

Old fashioned racists and those with feelings of homicidal ideation. The cowardly police officer Darren Wilson has raised more than 500,000 dollars for his defense fund. As exemplified by the comments on the websites through which those funds were donated, the people who offered monetary support to Darren Wilson consist of a good number of traditional "old fashioned" racists.

Their donations to Wilson are a type of new age lynching photography wherein they are enjoying the thrill of killing Michael Brown by proxy; this is a disturbing and frightening type of white on black homicidal ideation.

Aversive and symbolic racists. The behavior of aversive and symbolic racists constitutes what has come to be known as "modern racism". The aversive racist publicly subscribes to norms of racial egalitarianism, but in private, as well as subconsciously, possesses negative sentiments towards blacks (and other people of color, to varying degrees).

Psychologists Adam Pearson, John Dovidio, and Samuel Gaertner describe the aversive racist in the following way:

Aversive racists, in contrast, sympathize with victims of past injustice, support principles of racial equality, and genuinely regard themselves as non-prejudiced, but at the same time possess conflicting, often non-conscious, negative feelings and beliefs about Blacks that are rooted in basic psychological processes that promote racial bias...

The negative feelings that aversive racists have towards Blacks typically do not reflect open antipathy, but rather consist of more avoidant reactions of discomfort, anxiety, or fear.

Symbolic racists believe that black people violate American civic norms such as hard work, individualism, patriotism, and impulse control. Symbolic racists also possess high levels of white racial resentment towards people of color--African-Americans in particular--and are highly motivated in their political decision-making and racial attitudes by stereotypes which link black people to criminality, rape, violence, and other types of social disorder.

Symbolic racism is one of the core tenets of contemporary, post civil rights era American conservatism. It is embodied by the Southern Strategy, "birtherism", racial dog whistle politics, and the white supremacist paranoia and overt racial hostility towards President Barack Obama by the White Right and the Tea Party GOP.

As demonstrated by the Remington Group’s poll, aversive and symbolic racists support Darren Wilson because of their subconscious racial biases, identification with an ostensibly race neutral belief in the merits of "law and order", and a belief that black people are inherently criminal, dangerous, and a threat to white society.

The 62 percent of white respondents in St. Louis who support Darren Wilson's killing of Michael Brown mirror other larger national surveys and experiments which show that white Americans support racist, and punitive punishments for black offenders--even when they have been made aware that the punishment is racially discriminatory and unfair.

For at least 300 years, America's police departments have served as the armed wing of the Racial State. In that role, they help to maintain and monitor the color line in the service of white America at the expense of blacks, Latinos, First Nations peoples, and other non-whites.

By analogy, America's wars abroad are fought by an increasingly small percentage of the population; drones are making killing a "clean" and "bloodless" affair for the American people and its leaders.

Supporting a system of white privilege and white supremacy, America's police departments function in much the same way in how they treat black and brown communities. White America can look away and feign ignorance until events such as Ferguson momentarily force the reality of racist policing to the national front stage. But ultimately, racist police practices are perpetuated and overlooked because white society deems them a net gain and a social good because they protect "us" from "them".

The divides in public opinion regarding the events in Ferguson, the killing of Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, and many others by white police or white identified street vigilantes, as well as the resulting racially incendiary language online and across the Right-wing hate media, indicate that white supremacy remains a serious social problem in the United States.

Racism is not a mental illness. However, the metrics and tools that have been developed to measure it are extremely helpful in trying to understand and locate white racism within a proper social, historical, and political context.

In response to the Holocaust, Gordon Allport developed a scale for measuring racism and prejudice.

As described by noted psychologist Alvin Poussaint:

Extreme racists' violence should be considered in the context of behavior described by Allport in The Nature of Prejudice. Allport's 5-point scale categorizes increasingly dangerous acts. It begins with verbal expression of antagonism, progresses to avoidance of members of disliked groups, then to active discrimination against them, to physical attack, and finally to extermination (lynchings, massacres, genocide). That fifth point on the scale, the acting out of extermination fantasies, is readily classifiable as delusional behavior.

The public speech acts and other behaviors by the defenders of Darren Wilson and his ilk, both online and across the public sphere, more generally, exemplify the range of behaviors identified by Allport. The White Right's response to the election of Barack Obama, twice, is also a mass display of the guidelines developed by Allport for measuring white racism as a continuum of violent acts that culminate with racially delusional behavior.

The divergences in white and black public opinion about the killing of Michael Brown reveals one of the central paradoxes of American life during post civil rights era America.

Black people as a product, consumer good, image, and embodiment of the “cool pose” are loved, emulated, and imitated. Yet, 91 percent of white Americans do not have one black person in their social network.

While the black culture industry can sell blackness to White America through rap music, sports, fashion, style, and other venues, the American media still circulates distorted, inaccurate, and deranged depictions of black humanity to a global public. The news media is especially guilty in this regard: television news programs misrepresent and exaggerate the amount of crime committed by black people while simultaneously under-reporting the amount of crime committed by whites.

It is likely that the vast majority of the 62 percent of St. Louis respondents who support Darren Wilson, the cowardly cop who shot and killed an unarmed and surrendering black youth named Michael Brown multiple times in broad daylight, do not have personal animus towards Michael Brown the person.

However, the white respondents in that survey, as well as in others, hold bigoted, hateful, and racist ideas towards the idea of Michael Brown as a black person--and the idea of him as a black male.

America is a racially segregated society. The white collective imagination fills in the gaps in its understanding of black people as real, complex, dynamic, human beings with the fictions, fantasies, and lies they have learned from the mass media, the educational system, friends and family, churches, as well as social institutions.

The result of these processes is a white collective memory which reinforces white privilege and depicts non-whites as somehow less than and inferior relative to white people.

In this twisted worldview, it is wholly rational and reasonable for a person to believe that Darren Wilson was "within his rights" to kill Michael Brown.

White privilege distorts and ruins the ethical, moral, and cognitive processes of those who subscribe to and are invested in Whiteness. The 62 percent of white St. Louis residents who support Darren Wilson are proof of that fact.

13 years have passed since Al Qaeda attacked the continental United States. There is a particular type of hurt when outsiders attack the "homeland".

On the morning of September 11, 2001, many Americans stood with mouths agape, wondering "how could they do this to us?" Others shook their heads, asking, "why do they hate us so much?" The American people, drunk on lies of their country's exceptional nature, willfully blind to the deeds and acts done in their name abroad, too many of whom would rather watch stupid human tricks on the TV, they the products of failed school systems and a deceptive 4th Estate, latched on to such empty questions--questions which both then and now have readily available answers.

Ignorance is a sweet pablum until it makes one sick. The pundits, policy wonks, and other inside experts knew, understood, and could readily explain the concept of blowback, its relationship to American foreign policy in the Middle East, the rise of Osama bin Laden, and the organization that the Western media would christen as Al Qaeda. Alas, truth-telling about 9/11 would be punished. It was and remains far easier to embrace lies such as "unknown unknowns" where 9/11 is framed more as some mystical, bizarre, and unpredictable event than it is to talk in a direct and clear fashion about how America's policies abroad can and do have implications for the American people at home.

In many ways, the noted American public intellectual Cornel West has the first and last word on the emotional and psychic impact of September 11th on the (white) American public. When the planes were brought down on that day, and the national security surveillance state reached out to touch even white folks (in relatively minor ways) as compared to how it has historically treated people of color, West brilliantly observed that white Americans had been, for a moment, "niggerized".

They were made to feel unsafe, insecure, vulnerable, and subject to random violence. White privilege works as a shield against such feelings as experienced by white Americans en masse. The lie that Whiteness is a type of existential innocence means that most white Americans are complicit in a type of historical and contemporary amnesia--what is a break in the chain of cause and effect--that makes it extremely difficult for them to understand how they could be disliked as a people and targeted for group violence.

Al Qaeda's attack on the United States was not a motherless child.

In many ways, the attacks on September 11, 2001 were a gut punch to the stomach of White American racial innocence.

By comparison, black and brown Americans have a long experience with "niggerization" and what it means to be subjected to random, unjust, violence that is designed to make them feel insecure. In total, Black and Brown America have had centuries of practice in trying to navigate white racial terrorism, and also developing the defense mechanisms necessary to survive its assault.

Stated differently, September 11th was an attack on the American people by a foreign terrorist organization.

But, what if your experience as an American was that of being routinely attacked and terrorized by your own country and fellow citizens because you were a person of color on the wrong side of the white on black enforced color line?

The activist Bill Fletcher Jr. has written a great short essay called Suspected of Being Black. It grapples with questions of terrorism and the American habit that is the extra-judicial murder of black people in a snug and powerful way.

Fletcher begins with the following observation:

Two recent killings, one of Eric Garner in New York and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, speak to a very different reality experienced by African Americans compared with whites in the USA. Without going through the details, there are certain questions that can be asked to anyone in the USA and, depending on the answer, one can ascertain what I would call the ‘racial terror index.’

Here are a few examples:

Are you generally afraid of the police?

To what extent do you expect there to be a possibility that you will be stopped by the police? Have you ever been trained on how to respond if you have been stopped?

If you were in a car that broke down, how likely are you to knock on someone’s door seeking help?

If you are man, how likely are you to drive long distances with a female of another ‘race’?

If you had difficulty getting into your own home, how likely would you be to contact the police and ask for their help?

How many neighborhoods do you need to be careful in transiting for fear that the police will stop you?

What white America largely misses is that there is a system of terror under which African Americans constantly live. It is not the terror of Al Qaeda but a terror that began with slavery and continued during the reign of the Ku Klux Klan. But it is also represented by lynchings and false arrests. It is truly terror because it can come at any time and be directed at any individual, but it also is the use of violence against civilians in order to advance a political objective. In that sense it is no different—in fundamentals from a car bombing.

He continues:

The personal uncertainty and insecurity that so many white Americans felt and expressed post-September 11th terrorist attacks came as such a shock to the system…but not for African Americans. For African Americans, living with uncertainty is about living in the USA. Living with the reality that at any point and for any reason, we may be ‘misidentified’ by the authorities, and jailed or killed; we may be targeted for extra-judicial harassment and killings; we may be humiliated by the authorities, yet obtain no apologies. We may be otherwise silenced.

The (apparent) surprise nature of the events of September 11th cause the American people deep pain.

Al Qaeda's attacks on the American mainland pierced a veneer of invulnerability, caused national trauma, and excited a war fever blood lust that almost destroyed the American economy while killing thousands of American soldiers, crippling and otherwise injuring many thousands more, and subsequently wrecking the American middle class.

If "terrorism" is wrong when directed at the American people, it should be wrong when used abroad, and especially as directed by one group of Americans against another in the "homeland".

Moral consistency ought to demand that the tears, memorialization, pathos, reverence, and public memory of 9/11 be similarly reflective about the terrorism which has been visited upon the people of Ferguson and Michael Brown. A mature understanding of terrorism, state violence, and race would also locate white on black and brown state violence within a continuity of terrorism both in the United States and around the world.

In many ways, American Exceptionalism is a bridge too far. Consequently, the adherents to that civic religion are unable and unwilling to acknowledge that terrorism and state violence are American traditions.

It is far easier to find righteous anger when "those people" attack "us". White privilege and the white racial frame make it difficult for the owners of Whiteness to be introspective, and thus to ask, "what must it feel like to be a person of color, and a member of a community, that is routinely terrorized by the police and other white-identified vigilantes?"

The killing(s) of Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, John Crawford, Eric Garner, Jonathan Ferrel, and so many other unarmed black people by white police and other street vigilantes are acts of political violence and terrorism. The attacks on 9/11 were more spectacular. The killings of black people by white police and white-identified street vigilantes every 28 hours, within a decades and centuries-long continuum, has exacted a far higher body count and is no less traumatic to our families and communities.

It is tragic that the flag waving patriotism of September 11th has not been turned to larger questions of social justice, equality, and how to make sure that no American is ever subjected to terrorism and violence by their own government.

The defenders of Darren Wilson, the white police officer who repeatedly shot an unarmed black teenager named Michael Brown at least 6 times in Ferguson, Missouri claim that “the facts” will clear their champion of any wrongdoing.

Unfortunately for Darren Wilson, the facts of what transpired on the day when he shot Michael Brown in the face and body with multiple bullets have not been kind to him.

Independent witnesses have told the press and federal investigators how Michael Brown was unarmed, had surrendered with his hands in the air, and was repeatedly shot by Darren Wilson. These witnesses are African-American.

For the white bigots who defend Darren Wilson, as well as the Right-wing hate media that stoke the flames of white racial resentment and white supremacy, black people’s truth claims about racism (regardless of the mountains of empirical evidence in support of their experiences) are de facto and a priori judged to be insufficient by the White Gaze.

This is part of a centuries-long tradition in America, where for most of the country’s existence, African-Americans were not allowed to testify in court or to have any type of legal standing.

In the post civil rights era--and especially since the election of Barack Obama--the Tea Party GOP and the White Right have demonstrated that they would like to return to an arrangement of civic and public affairs in which black people are silenced and muted. In all, the Tea Party GOP and its allies yearn for the civic erasure of black and brown people—it enrages the White Right that they cannot follow through on their wishful dreams of social and political death for black Americans.

The American Right-wing’s defense of the killer cop Darren Wilson is instinctive: it is an extension of a base hostility to the freedom, well-being, life, liberty, and happiness of black and brown Americans.

To point. The most morally rotted and ethically suspect supporters of Darren Wilson have collectively donated at least 500,000 dollars to protect him from the consequences of killing Michael Brown.

As I wrote here, donating money to Darren Wilson (and other white vigilantes and extra-judicial killers of black people such as George Zimmerman) is the new lynching photography of the 21st century. Instead of buying postcards of hung, tortured, and burned alive black bodies, those who donate to Darren Wilson enjoy the vicarious pleasures of killing a black person by proxy. Michael Brown, and by extension other black American men, are born with a bounty on their heads.

Darren Wilson is the white gunslinger who brought the black “thug” to “justice”. This is cathartic violence for the White Right and its Fox News driven propaganda machine.

The supporters of Darren Wilson are enjoying the fun of a thrill kill; they are sharing ownership over the deed by donating money to their idol Darren Wilson.

Two new witnesses to the shooting of the unarmed black teenager Michael Brown by Darren Wilson have now come forward. As reported in Sunday's edition of the newspaper St. Louis Post-Dispatch, two white construction workers watched Darren Wilson shoot dead an unarmed and surrendered Michael Brown.

According to their accounts, Michael Brown was not “charging at” or “attacking” Darren Wilson as the professional liars in the Right-wing hate media have suggested to their supplicants--and an easily duped 24/7 corporate mainstream media which is desperate for any new “information” on the Brown case, however specious or incorrect it may in fact be.

The account provided by the new witnesses corroborates the version of events offered by previous witnesses in which Darren Wilson repeatedly shot an unarmed person from some distance away whose hands were raised in the universal sign of surrender.

Darren Wilson chose to shoot Michael Brown. As detailed by the witnesses, as well as the audio recording of the events that day, Darren Wilson chose to stop shooting Michael Brown for several seconds…before then delivering the final shots to his head and face.

The white racial paranoia of the American Right demands that Michael Brown be vilified, “niggerized”, and thus made responsible for his own killing at the hands of Darren Wilson. The White Right (and too many members ofthe white American public, more generally) is cognitively, emotionally, and materially invested in the over-policing, harassment, and violence of the police against black and brown communities.

Those sentiments have deep historic roots.

During the 19th and 20th centuries at least 10,000 African-American men, women, and children were killed by white racial terrorists. The white owned newspapers and other media of the era justified and legitimated this violence.

The Southern press would often detail how the lynch mob was comprised of “honorable men”, doing their “civic duty”, and who were burdened with the “responsibility” of “protecting” white society against black “criminals” and “troublemakers”.

The spirit and energy channeled by the white 19th and 20th century press to legitimate and honor the white supremacist terror afflicted on black people by the white public is none too different from that channeled by the American Right-wing media in the 21st century, when the latter defends the killers of unarmed black people by white cops and other white-identified vigilantes.

Writing in the journal American Nineteenth Century History, Susan Jean describes this phenomenon in the following way:

The Courier-Informant’s reporting was typical of portrayals of ‘warranted’ or
‘respectable’ lynchings. The most conspicuous feature of such reports was the salacious language used to describe the black man, his alleged crime, and the lynch mob’s actions…

Newspapers that branded a lynching victim a ‘black brute,’ an ‘inhuman fiend,’ or an ‘imp of inferno’ were from the start helping to exonerate the lynch mob. In depicting the bestiality of the black man and by contrast the sweet, delicate, and innocent nature of his alleged victim, reporters were courting the fury of their readers and encouraging them to identify with the lynchers…

The people who punished the negro considered that they were doing their duty to their community, and they went about the business in the most orderly manner, and no unseemly passion or excitement was shown whatever.’

When a white mob lynched Charles Scarborough for attempted rape in 1909, ‘There was no excitement in the matter at all. The people were determined that the negro should pay the penalty for his attempted crime: that was all.’

White supremacy and white privilege are interrelated political and social projects that have evolved over time and which continue to exist in the present: white violence towards the black body is a fixture of this system.

In the 19th and early 20th centuries Michael Brown would be a black “fiend”, “beast”, or “giant negro”. In the 21st century, Michael Brown (and other black and brown victims of police violence) is depicted by the Right-wing media as a “thug”, or as a person who was “armed” with his “strong, scary, self.”

The Right-wing media and its public will lie and misrepresent the information provided by the new witnesses to the killing of Michael Brown by Darren Wilson because they are racial paranoiacs who have so internalized white supremacy and white privilege that it has distorted their understanding of reality.

While some psychologists and mental health professionals have suggested that racism is a type of mental illness, I have long-subscribed to the idea that white racism is as much a choice about personal behavior, as it is a system of power relationships.

The defenders of Darren Wilson are not all mentally ill or pathological racists (althoughundoubtedly some of the latter are among that group). Rather, they are morally bankrupt people who devalue the lives of non-whites, and believe both consciously and subconsciously, in the superiority of those who are “white” over those who are “black” and “brown”.

The most salient facts about the killing of Michael Brown by Darren Wilson are not complicated. Numerous witnesses have said that Darren Wilson shot Michael Brown multiple times. Michael Brown was unarmed. Michael Brown had surrendered.

The context for the killing of Michael Brown by Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri is provided by a country that has a centuries-long history of racist violence by the police against people of color.

For example, Darren Wilson is a member of an organization that engaged in a racist police riot against the black community in Ferguson. In addition, the police department in Ferguson has been targeting the black community in a racist debt peonage/collection racket where over-policing (tickets; court fees; fines and arrests for petty crimes on exaggerated charges) has been used to fund the township.

And perhaps most damning, prior to his employment with the Ferguson police department Darren Wilson was a member of another police force that was disbanded because of a history of racial violence.

The facts are not kind to Darren Wilson and his decision to kill Michael Brown. Unfortunately, white privilege, white supremacy, and the racial paranoia that sustains the defenders of Darren Wilson and the White Right exist independent of empirical reality.

White supremacy is one of the biggest lies in modern human history. Its supporters and adherents live in a fantasy world of white innocence and superiority, one that is juxtaposed to a fictive belief that black people are a natural race of violent degenerates.

Those who defend Darren Wilson are simply following an old American cultural script.