The news accounts in recent weeks are tragically similar, from Los Angeles to Staten Island to Ferguson. Unarmed black men killed by police. But four years before anyone knew where Ferguson was located on a map, there was the fatal shooting of Danroy Henry Jr., known to his friends and family as "DJ."
The politics of respectability in the black community may not only hinder us from acting and engaging in the constructive protest, lobbying and collective action needed to create a more just society, as it has with respect to the Ferguson protests, but it may also prevent us from simply being and living freely.
We are, this year, 50 years removed from the civil rights movement's "Freedom Summer" of 1964. To be sure, changes in our society have been nothing short of revolutionary. Yet over half a century later, one wonders if white supremacy remains rooted in the American psyche. Is there a racial caste system in America?