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From Crispus Attucks to Michael Brown: Race and Revolution


From Crispus Attucks to Michael Brown: Race and Revolution

Amy Goodman

March 5 marks an important but oft-overlooked anniversary. On a winter’s day 245 years ago, in the year 1770, an angry crowd formed in Boston, then the capital of the Province of Massachusetts Bay. People were enraged by the extortionate taxes imposed by the British Parliament. In order to quell the public furor, the British sent troops, who violently quashed dissent. On that cold day, people had had enough. Word spread after a British private beat a young man with the butt of his musket.


I wish Michelle Alexander were the new attorney general.


Brown’s death did appear to be the result of excessive force. If it was, the consequences should be severe for the shooting officer and the department. That said, it’s more than a little ridiculous that the alleged excesses of Neighborhood Watch guards and police officers are constantly in the news, while the ongoing crime wave in America draws little attention. For instance, a nearby medium-size city has become like something out of the Old West, with shootouts occurring virtually every day and the average weekend death toll regularly hitting eight, 10 or 12, often innocent bystanders. What’s more, that same pattern is occurring across America, transforming the U.S. into something akin to a Third World nation, except here we have nicer cars getting their windows shot out. With that going on, it’s understandable that many Americans appear callous to the spectacle of people getting shot to death while in the process of committing crimes. As for the Ferguson situation, while I deplore the bully-boy tactics used by that department in suppressing demonstrators, even a layman can see that the Justice Department report unfairly cites various numbers. For instance, about 90 percent of the area surrounding Ferguson is African American, so it’s only reasonable that about 90 percent of its arrests and tickets involve African Americans. The DOJ is playing political games by citing Ferguson’s own 67 percent African American population when the town is heavily traveled by other residents. But all this is relatively unimportant when compared to the tsunami of violent crime washing over America and its many negative consequences. It’s time TV’s talking heads paid some attention to that for a change – not that they will, since the corporate media spend most of their time yammering about obvious grievances.


You could have said that violence aimed at the Black community AND that which is present in cities are BOTH a problem. Instead, you play down the attacks on the Black community by trying to say that more pervasive violence exists elsewhere.

Do you realize that the Criminal Justice system targets Blacks in most regions and that prisons hold a disproportionate percentage of persons of color; and that all this latent labor has turned into a new Plantation System?

I think you’re either quite insensitive to the rampant levels of institutionalized racism, or purposely posting a deflective argument to take the spotlight off what’s going on.


Nope, I fully agree that the system is racist. I just wish that the media would show some proportion in discussing crime. Black people being killed and locked up is just part of that broader issue. We shouldn’t only complain about problems in one sector while the entire nation is under siege. In a given week countless Americans are killed unfairly by criminals and you rarely hear anyone mention their civil rights – especially their right to live in peace. And what if a fairly large majority of those killings were committed by one ethnic group – say, immigrant Tibetans? Wouldn’t someone in the media point that out?