Thursday, November 27, 2014


The "black criminal" is an idea, a narrative, really, which was socially constructed, that is, invented by society, shortly after the Civil War as a means of giving justification for the all new, post-slavery means of controlling America's black population, the criminal justice system. And it is a strategy that has worked exceedingly well, even decades after the end of Jim Crow, as a way to keep black Americans marginalized and on the outside of mainstream American life.

I'm forty six years old. I was taught as a young white boy to fear black men. I carried this fear into my adult life, and it wasn't until I started working, living, and otherwise associating with black people that these fears started to diminish. But it's still there, deep in my bones, and it comes to the surface sometimes. I hate it, but I don't think I can ever truly eradicate it from who I am. I can only acknowledge that it exists, and be ever vigilant, always ready to push it back into the dark hole in my psyche, the place it has always dwelled.

That's bad, of course, but I think I'm in a much better place than what is probably a majority of whites who refuse to admit that this even exists, and who allow the social conditioning they've received all their lives, the deep seated and emotionally powerful image of the "black criminal," to rule their minds without question.

A lot of the time I fear we're just totally fucked. And the seeming triumphant reaction of so many white Americans to the non-indictment of Darren Wilson simply reinforces that.