By Chauncey DeVega
The United States may have a black man who happens to be President. But racial equality, justice, and the radically democratic transformative possibilities that Obama symbolized seven years ago have not been translated into substantive improvements in the life chances for people of color more generally, or the black and brown poor in particular.
In response to the killing of Freddie Gray, Baltimore’s ghetto youthocracy responded with protests and street violence, but the deeper and more substantive causes of Baltimore’s violent spasm (and Ferguson and other sites as well) are long simmering grievances and righteous anger at an American police establishment that is racist towards black Americans, and a society where its supposed “meritocracy” is broken by the colorline and class inequality.
There is a ritual that accompanies these moments of protest by black Americans, and the wholly predictable urban unrest that follows the repeated killings of unarmed black people by police.
The high priests of public opinion take to the TV, radio, and Internet and summon the memory of Brother Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to condemn black folks who are “rioting”, for the latter are violating the sacred covenant of “non-violence” for which King, as one of America’s greatest