Unlike conservatives, I don’t feel it’s incumbent upon black people or anyone to explicitly condemn the rioting, looting, and general disorder taking place in Ferguson, Missouri. This is for two reasons: First, no matter how much some people use it as an excuse to commit crimes, this is about the shooting of Mike Brown and the search for justice. Second, I just assume that people are against crime and chaos. And anyone who isn’t against those things is hardly a person worth listening to in the first place.
But what about when someone goes out of their way to say they refuse to condemn this criminal activity? Furthermore, what do we make of someone who authors the following statement:
“Beyond shock, I continue to be appalled at the extensive lengths to which the police have gone to protect Officer Darren Wilson and his family from any public reproach or reprisal in Mike’s death. They delayed the release of his name in order to provide him enough time to leave town.”
That’s Brittney Cooper of Salon, who’s also an Associate Professor at Rutgers University. Last week I pointed out her deeply problematic comments in which she explicitly refused to condemn rioters because, she said, “I respect black rage.” In doing so, she not only gave moral cover to the rioters, but implied that some black people are so angry they just can’t control themselves.
But as bad as that was, her lament that Wilson and his family didn’t remain in Ferguson to face “public reproach or reprisal” is disturbing. Cooper isn’t an some anonymous troll on a liberal blog. This is a professor at a major university seeming to suggest that what was needed in the aftermath of the shooting was some degree of public vigilantism, and that it was unacceptable that the focus of that “black rage” she was talking about would leave town amid riots while a federal investigation is conducted.
The certainty with which Cooper and others talk about Mike Brown’s death is stunning. Just like Wilson’s supporters are so cocksure that he had no choice but to kill Brown, Cooper is one hundred percent convinced that this is yet another example of racism in law enforcement — which is very real — that she can shoehorn into her preferred narrative.
It’s quite possible that Wilson profiled Brown and used excessive force, and that he should be put on trial for it. But that’s the entire point of an investigation: to ascertain what happened.
But Inspector Cooper already does know what happened, apparently. And not only that, she seems to be insinuating that a little mob justice should be part of the sentence.