Let us be vividly clear about this.
What the New York Times did to Michael Brown today was not merely slander. It wasn’t a case of a lack of journalistic integrity.
Highlighting that a black teenager was “no angel” on the day he is being laid to rest after being hunted and killed by racist vigilante forces is not an unfortunate coincidence.
The New York Times deliberately played into an archaic American tradition in devaluing both the value of black life and the tragedy of black death.
They chose the day of his funeral, as his family, friends and activists everywhere have to grapple with a human being lost to pontificate about how he was “no angel”. Michael Brown was many things to many people; a son, a brother, a cousin, a nephew and another black causality of murderous police institutions and today, amidst all the racist violence he, his loved ones and community have had to endure, he was going to finally receive the respect and moment of honor he deserved and NYT decided today, of all days, to tune in their audience onto wholly irrelevant facts about his life - that in turn, transform the very injustice surrounding his death and the following police violence that plagued Ferguson into a national panel about whether or not his death is actually worth mourning and their language suggested that to them, it indeed is not.
This was hardly an accident or mistake. This is the perpetual hostility that is met against black life in America. The consensus is that black people deserve no respect and for black life to be legitimized and honored, we must meet a list of prerequisites. Subsequently, if black people aren’t valued, neither are our deaths understood as tragic or murders seen as criminal action.
This has been the atmosphere of America since its inception and much has not improved.
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