Finding The System Guilty

Finding The System Guilty
By Andrew Sullivan

Grand Jury Decision Reached In Ferguson Shooting Case

Freddie declares “this outcome, and so many like it, are the result of a system functioning the way it is intended to function. Racism is baked right into the foundation”:

Every one of those grand jurors might have hearts of purest gold. The outcome was predetermined precisely because the outcome did not rely on the individual character of the jurors. We have police aggression against black people because the white moneyed classes of this country have demanded aggressive policing and the moneyed control our policy. We have police aggression because the War on Drugs provokes it and we still have a War on Drugs because the War on Drugs puts vast amounts of tax dollars in the hands of police departments and a voracious prison industrial complex. We have police aggression against black people because centuries of gerrymandering and political manipulation have been undertaken with the explicit purpose of empowering some people and disenfranchising others.

None of that can be solved through having pure hearts and pure minds. Racism is not a problem of mind. Racism cannot be combated by individuals not being racist. A pure heart makes no difference. In response to systemic injustice, you’ve got to change the systems themselves. It’s the only thing that will ever work.

Jamelle Bouie argues along the same lines:

It would have been powerful to see charges filed against Darren Wilson. At the same time, actual justice for Michael Brown—a world in which young men like Michael Brown can’t be gunned down without consequences—won’t come from the criminal justice system. Our courts and juries aren’t impartial arbiters—they exist inside society, not outside of it—and they can only provide as much justice as society is willing to give.

(Photo: Police confront protestors after rioting broke out following the grand jury announcement in the Michael Brown case on November 24, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. By Scott Olson/Getty Images)






November 25, 2014 at 11:36AM
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