So, it would seem that a group of citizens in Ferguson, Missouri, do not like it when an agent of the local government charged with enforcing the peace allegedly guns down a boy who was fleeing for his life. Because when you strip away the layers of race, that is what you remain with: A boy who was fleeing for his life was gunned down by an officer of the law.
Once the dust settles, and saner heads prevail, I’m quite sure we will be subjected to lectures on how this is reflective of life in a so-called post-racial America, and how this is merely a facet of the complexity of race in this country, and so on, and so forth. But that merely strikes me as just another way of justifying—if not legitimizing—gunning down a boy fleeing for his life. You know, like they did in Florida not too long ago.
For what this proves is the lie behind post-racial America. We should all be unquestioningly horrified when a boy who is fleeing for his life is gunned down by an agent of the law, no matter the circumstance. But a not insignificant percentage of us—almost certainly white—will question why he was fleeing in the first place, as if fleeing is excuse enough to gun down a boy, and because, you know, he was black. They may not come out and say that last part (although some will) but they will certainly be thinking it.
Because the fact is that there is no post racial America. It was not post racial after we fought a civil war to free the slaves. It was not post racial after ending the Jim Crow laws and lynching. It was not post racial after the civil rights battles and desegregation. It is not now post racial after electing a black president. And it never will be as long as it is acceptable to gun down a boy fleeing for his life.