Hat tip: Democracy Now
LIZA: “This is an excellent interview with Bryan Stevenson. Amy Goodman deserves much credit. She is the only TV reporter with anything close to a national audience who consistently reports truthfully on Ferguson and many other cases of police brutality and killings. She covers topics that our corporate media wouldn’t even consider airing.
I keep thinking about this simple yet very poignant statement posted by DeRay McKesson on Twitter awhile back, “We will protest until we can live.” We know that at the very core of this movement is a demand for the most basic of human rights, the right to live. And the evidence is overwhelming that the right to live, even now in 2014, is being denied to so many people of color in this country, mostly black men. The list of stolen lives seems endless. Protestors carry signs that say, “Stop killing us.”
So, yes, we know this is “bigger than Ferguson.” What is significant about Ferguson is that these protestors have put their bodies on the front lines of a populist movement that is essentially about human rights. And we are in awe of them.
The good ol’ white boys may have their militarized police force and their useful idiots in corporate media to spread lies for them, but the truth is that we are witnessing the last gasping years of white power. Make no mistake, they know this, and everything they do is about prolonging the time they have left. A major populist movement shortens that time.
Therefore, the movement must be put down. The police are supposed to scare the hell out of everyone with their military tactics, tear gas, rubber bullets, and real bullets so that people who are engaged in peaceful protest just simply become too afraid to face them. Corporate media’s role is to inform the good, white, Christian, salt-of-the-earth folks that all of this force being used against the protestors is justified. Their job is to keep people as far away from the truth as possible and to believe that these are isolated events, that what happened to Trayvon Martin has nothing to do with what happened to Michael Brown. The ultimate goal of those who collude to prolong white power is to weaken or delay the movement because they know who owns the moral high ground.
In this interview, Bryan Stevenson talks about the lies people have been told about people of color and the need to start telling the truth about history. I can say from my own experience that one of the most significant cultural differences between blacks and whites in this country is that black people know their history. When it comes to their own history, most white people in this country are not truth seekers. I don’t understand this because I want to know everything, and I want the truth. You don’t have to be a genius to realize that history is one long continuum and what is happening today is intrinsically linked to the past. This is why so many problems do not get solved or even defined correctly because of this refusal to acknowledge the importance of knowing our history, the factual version not the revised. Corporate media preys on this ignorance.
Bryan Stevenson is optimistic that people in this country would be outraged if they knew the truth. Of course, he said this in relation to his own work with wrongful convictions and excessively harsh treatment of people, especially children, in the criminal justice system. Perhaps he’s right that in these individual cases of proven and extreme injustice there would be outrage. I’d like to have at least that much faith in the goodness of humanity. But what about Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown and God knows how many others? Where is the outrage for these brutal race killings? I think about Oscar Grant and the video of his murder by the BART cop who served ten months, not even a year. How much more truth could there possibly have been?
I hope that everyone appreciates the brilliance President Obama’s timing of the executive order for immigration reform. Populism is contagious. And it is populism, these major groundswell movements that will strike the blows at white power and lead us forward to justice and equality. But there is so much work to do. It is 2014, and there are black folks in Ferguson demanding the most basic of human rights, the right to live, and there are opposing forces that would still deny them that right.”