Socialized into a deeply internalized sense of superiority and entitlement that we are either not consciously aware of or can never admit to ourselves, white people become highly fragile in conversations about race."Getting it" when it comes to race and racism challenges our very identities as good white people.
On election night in 2008, I would have been stunned to learn that black people would continue to be killed in broad daylight under Obama's presidency. And my tears would take on new meaning had I seen a future in which a black president mostly says nothing as black citizens are routinely targeted for mass incarceration and killed by police.
Not even minimal justice was in the cards for the loved ones of Michael Brown or the occupied community in which he lived -- because that's not how it works. Officer Wilson, whatever he did inside or outside the state's rules on the use of lethal force when he confronted Brown on the afternoon of Aug. 9, was on the front line of a racist and exploitative system.
Here's what I'm doing -- as a white, middle-aged, middle-class clergywoman, 552 miles from Ferguson -- to prepare for the moment when the announcement is made. While your own choices about what to do will likely be different, depending on who and where you are, I encourage you to make plans in advance, hoping for the best and preparing for the worst.
The Republican Party, as the instrument of the forces of corporatist oligarchy, has had a major hand (more so than the Democrats) in injuring the economic prospects of these men. But the ways these injuries have been inflicted are more hidden than the social revolutions that toppled the old order of automatic superiority.