Dangerous to whom?
(CNN) — Over the past two days, President Barack Obama has finally weighed in on the tragic shooting of Michael Brown, as well as the wave of protests that emerged in its aftermath. In an official White House statement on Wednesday and a brief speech from Martha’s Vineyard on Thursday, the President played his usual role of “the uniter,” preaching calm and healing to the American public.
I wish he’d just said nothing.
… But unlike black-on-black violence, which is tragic but typically punished through proper legal channels, killings of unarmed young people by law enforcement continue to happen with impunity. Instead of acknowledging the legitimacy of black anger over this, the President simply told us to calm down and stop looting. In doing so, he joined the chorus of far too many politicians and civil rights leaders who understate and trivialize righteous anger in order to show the public that they have “the people” under control.
Perhaps most frustrating, however, was the president’s insistence on using the language of equivalence when describing the rioting. Similar to his “Philadelphia Compromise” speech on race back in in 2008, where he ignored the legacy of white supremacy and placed the racial frustrations of white and black Americans on equal historical tiers, Obama chided both black rioters and Ferguson police with the same moral tone.