Barack Obama, Ferguson, and the Evidence of Things Unsaid

Black people know what cannot be said. What clearly cannot be said is that the events of Ferguson do not begin with Michael Brown lying dead in the street, but with policies set forth by government at every level. What clearly cannot be said is that the people of Ferguson are regularly plundered, as their grandparents were plundered, and generally regarded as a slush-fund for the government that has pledged to protect them. What clearly cannot be said is the idea of superhuman black men who “bulk up” to run through bullets is not an invention of Darren Wilson, but a staple of American racism.  TA-NEHISI COATES, The Atlantic


  1. I think America is having a relapse back into values that existed in the 1950’s and it can be laid at the feet of the National Rifle Association and rabid politicians who set civility aside, and patriotism, to win a political point. America is no longer a land vast of vision and values, but of hyperbole and political gameplaying. The social idealism spawned by hippies and marchers in Selma came in like a wave, splashed on the beach for a few decades, and is now ebbing in the churning brown froth of a backward flowing rip tide.

      • manuel buencamino

        Jason Riley writes as if the playing field were level. Coates points out that it is not by citing the policies and laws that tilt the field against blacks. The “help” given to blacks covers the uneven playing field instead of leveling it. Coates provides evidence that proves the old saying, “Blacks have to be twice as good.” You can see the truth in this saying by looking around you – from the very top you see that a black has to be an Obama before he can become president while a white only has to be a George Bush or a Reagan. The same thing goes for jobs.

        A good illustration of this “twice as good condition” is in the field of sports. When the ban on blacks was lifted, blacks were given the opportunity to show that they could be just as good as whites because the sine qua non of all sports is a level playing field.

        Riley creates a world that does not exist and then criticizes his fellow blacks for not measuring up to it.

        • Ah, MB, please show proof that Obama is twice better (or ‘twice as good’ as you say) than a George Bush or a Reagan. I don’t think the American people will agree with you on that but that’s just me.

          • manuel buencamino

            Here’s what Jason Riley, a WSJ and Fox News contributor, had to say about Ferguson. The video is worth watching because the transcript below is only what Riley said. The other guy’s point was not transcribed. See

            Here’s a transcript of Riley:
            “Yeah, the left is selling a false narrative here. We have too many dead black bodies in this country. But cops are not the reason. The black homicide rate is much too high. It is the leading cause of death for young black men. But blacks also commit seven to 10 times more violent crime in this country than whites do, and 90 percent of their victims are other black people. We have so many dead black bodies in this country, Megyn, not because cops are shooting them, but because other black people are shooting them. And the left is selling a false narrative pretending that the opposite is true.

            “The issue here is black criminality, not the behavior of cops. It’s the behavior of the young black men in these communities. Whenever a Ferguson goes down, we start talking about racial profiling, we start talking about poverty, we start talking about unemployment. We start talking about tensions between the cops and black people. Those are facts. Those are not causes. The cause here is black criminality, the fact that blacks, who are 13 percent of the population, are responsible for an outsized amount of violent crime in this country. Until that ends, you are going to have racial profiling. You are going to have tensions between blacks and whites.

            “It’s not about the police, it is not about the over-policing of black communities and young black men getting picked on by cops. Blacks are arrested at the same rate that victims of crimes identify blacks as their assailants. Cops are in these communities because that’s where the 9-1-1 calls originate. They’re originally there stopping blacks from harming one another. This is not about the cops.”

            Now you know where he is coming from.

  2. manuel buencamino

    There is still the laws, both federal and state, over housing, education, voting, sentencing etc. that institutionalize discrimination against blacks. Until the racist infrastructure is taken down, every change even the election of a black president is purely cosmetic.

  3. manuel buencamino

    I am not comparing Obama to other blacks. I am comparing what is expected of blacks to what is expected of whites. I am saying that an Obama with the IQ of Dubya would have never made it past a city council seat in Chicago.