A long time ago, an observant man from this organization summarized people who subscribe to dialectic axioms as “folks who believe that once you identify ‘what it is,’ you’ve automatically identified ‘what it’s not.’” Many news organizations use this tactic, either by accident or by design, to simplify a complex world for their audiences.
So … since New York Times reporter John Eligon wrote an article that says Michael Brown, the now-deceased young man of African descent, was “not an angel,” what does this make Darren Wilson, the Ferguson, Missouri police officer who killed him?
The Times’ failed literary device that linked Michael Brown’s nightmarish skyward vision of a devil chasing an angel with the Paper of Record’s subsequent depiction of Brown as someone who was inauspiciously cast from heaven – given America’s history with racism, Brown’s death, and the emotionally-charged parties connected with the former and the latter – creates the appearance of a painfully familiar story which justifies the killing of another person of African descent at the hands of an oath-taker focused on performing a social good.
In other words, a real angel with a badge, despite his own troubled background, shot the devil in Ferguson Missouri on the afternoon of August 9, 2014, as the media’s dialectical reasoning would suggest.
So, how bad was Mr. Brown, aka The Devil?
Elogin’s Times article reports that Brown wrote on his parents’ walls as a child, drank alcohol, occasionally smoked marijuana, and got into one fight.
According to the Centers for Disease Control’s 2013 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (pdf), a study that relies on students admitting to engagement in what the CDC would call risky behavior – Brown would be a member of the more than 66% of high school students who drank alcohol.
My quick and dirty calculations using the US Census data (pdf) tell me we’re talking about nearly 14 million high school kids who admitted to drinking alcohol, which means the actual number who took a drink could be higher.
Using the same report, Brown would be among the 40.7% of high school students who smoked weed, and one of nearly a quarter of all high school students who got into a fight.
I have no useful data to share about writing on Parents’ walls during one’s formative years…
The CDC data, with the Times’ logical overlay, would suggest there are more devils, both Black and White, to be marked for justifiable extermination. I suppose the police are just starting with the Black ones for the moment…
Meanwhile, we don’t seem to know much about Officer Wilson, Brown’s killer. The Times attempts to help us form a picture of Wilson by reporting that his Mother was arrested for financial crimes that included identity theft, and Wilson was a high school sophomore when she died. Wilson worked in a police department that was so racist and poorly run that it was shut down by the county.
Using the NY Times’ dialectical logic where Officer Wilson didn’t receive the “not an angel” label, Wilson was trying to do right in this wicked world, despite being a victim of his background.
The Times public editor saw how badly Elogin’s article was received, and published a retraction of sorts, but the thematic damage has already been done. The fear of an Evil Black Man has been reinforced with one more article.
Besides, isn’t it easier to beg forgiveness than it is to get permission?
song currently stuck in my head: “why can’t we live” – cash mccall