The Burden of the Perfect Victim: Being An Angel Is Now the Standard For Avoiding Public Execution

The Burden of the Perfect Victim: Being An Angel Is Now the Standard For Avoiding Public Execution

 

Mike Brown is buried, but rage over his death and too many others like it - see horrific updates on the "suicide" of Victor White - churns on. Inflaming it is often shameful media coverage that echoes, sometimes unconsciously, flagrantly racist tropes of the past. Exhibit A: This week's New York Times profile of Mike Brown, which aims for empathy that is promptly obliterated by noting that Brown was "no angel" because he smoked weed, allegedly shoplifted and wrote rap songs that were "by turns contemplative and vulgar" - which is to say, he was like any other kid, or for that matter biped, in his "unremarkable humanity." The piece has sparked a host of furious protests that, in effect, " A large number of American teenagers live exactly like Michael Brown (but not) shot in the head and left to bake on the pavement." There are also, inevitably, Twitter hashtags #NoAngel and #IDeservedIt, in which people confess to the terrible crimes of their youth - "I argued with my mother, I cheated on a test in 6th grade, I didn't like spinach, I'm from Detroit, I've had a Netflix video for over six weeks" - so if they're murdered by racist cops they likely had it coming. Laugh, cry, fight for change.

Update: Proof it can happen to anyone if they "fit the description" - ie: black male.


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