Why does Roger Ailes want to see Mississippi burn?

Or Rudy Giuliani or the rest of the crew at Fox News?

Photography by Jonathan Bachman

Let me set this straight very simply. Someone punches me in the face. Repeatedly. I manage to get up and punch them back.

Ghouliani would have us believe that I am the instigator in that case.

Seriously, it is THAT simple.

Do I agree entirely with BLM tactics, rhetoric, source of funding, etc., etc., about a bunch of things I’m just not wasting my precious life fact-checking? No.

The problem when the people on the teevee screen say shit like this is that otherwise decent people who don’t feel racist because their own lived experience tells them they aren’t racist are reinforced in their comfort zones that there is no need to try to understand SYSTEMIC racism (as opposed to personal prejudices which we all have) and how, in a complex world, nothing is as simple as the whitewashers would have it.

Are blacks the most beaten and shot up population in the US? I could say no and link a fact. Or I could say yes and link a differently nuanced fact. But to hell with that. What matters is that there is a community in this country that, thanks to always on Internet connection, 24/7 news, and social media now know that from east to west, wherever there is a concentration of black and poor people, there is an appearance (if only that, which is extremely doubtful) that some cops of all colors go out of their way to make life hell for them. That’s antagonism. I hazard to guess that if someone went out of their way (or it even just looked like it) to make your life hell, you might resent it. Depending on how hellish, you might let your resentment show.

I am saddened that officers lost their lives in Dallas, moreso because it wasn’t necessarily the Dallas PD involved in the worst police abuses (perceived or otherwise) that triggered the lone shooter non-BLM protester’s rage. I am saddened at the needless loss of life in the black community. And yes, I say it’s needless. Why? Re: black on black crime, because neoliberal and conservative austerity policies drive black on black crime. Those failed policies are choices. Re: police on black crime, because over and over again we see examples of white people, violent white people, armed violent white people being taken alive. We know it’s possible. So what’s the difference? Is a violent black suspect (much less a compliant non-violent black profiled otherwise non-suspicious person) worth less effort? Less time? Less police training? I ask that latter part about training because maybe it’s actually a matter of training for all I know. Maybe, just maybe, the cops that successfully apprehend a violent white perp are better trained where they are, which probably isn’t where the quick-to-kill cops are killing black perps.

This is a complicated issue with roots that go way back. It’s going to take more than facile “he hit me back first” rhetoric from the ghouls at Fox News to lead to solutions. Worse, this kind of rhetoric plays into the hands of actual racists of the card-carrying KKK variety. Really, if someone were trying to err on the side of caution, is that where one places one’s bets? I’m not pro-Panther, don’t get me wrong, but I’ll say this much…I’d rather place my wagers on the genuinely revolutionary thought of Malcolm X than on the side pandering to the likes of David Duke while pretending they mean nothing of the sort.

Case in point: Baton Rouge is calling in support from Livingston Parish, LA police. Livingston Parish is a known hotbed of modern Klan activity, to the point where they have actively recruited for new membership by putting friggin’ flyers on people’s doorsteps in the area.

THAT is who this anti-BLM actual race-baiting politics ultimately riles up and radicalizes to the point of action. Do we want Mississippi Burning all over again? Because this is how we get that.

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