California-born, Tokyo-based Dexter Thomas, Jr is a scholar of music and Internet culture at Cornell University. He is finishing his book on Japanese hip-hop this year. He tweets at@dexdigi.
For a moment there, things were looking pretty good. A boy shot multiple times with his hands up. College bound. Poor. Innocent. And in response: helicopters and tanks. Maybe this time, we thought, they would believe us.
But that’s all been ruined.
We now have all sorts of reasons to make us doubt Brown’s humanity. He may have stolen some cigarillos. He may have been facing the officer when he was shot. He got shot in the top of the head, which might mean that he was surrendering, or might mean he was being defiant. He made amateur rap songs. Perhaps worst of all, he’s been caught grimacing at a camera making a contorted peace sign, and it turns out that he was pretty tall.
And Fox News has been trying to cast doubt on whether he was actually going to go to college in the first place.
All signs that his life was worth less than we might have hoped.
It’s like what happened with Trayvon Martin, really. Over the course of a few days, he went from an innocent boy holding a bag of Skittles to a vicious, ruthless thug. We found out that he smoked pot. We found out that he said bad words. We found out that he was wearing a hoodie. We saw a picture of him making an angry face. Zimmerman’s lawyers released his text message logs, and we found out that he didn’t speak the Queen’s English.
And with each new revelation about both of these boys — some true, some false — we let out another collective sigh. We had been let down.
To continue reading the rest of Dexter’s article (which is something Bryce thinks you should do, thus why he asked Dexter if he we could syndicate this in the first place), click here to find its original posting on Medium.