USA: Black poet: Darren Wilson saw Hulk Hogan and a Demon, not Michael Brown

In August Claudia Rankine, the lyric poet and playwright, visited Ferguson, Missouri, only weeks after Michael Brown’s death.

She had been invited to visit St Louis months before Michael Brown was killed to deliver a reading while she was finishing up her latest work, Citizen: An American Lyric, a book-length poem and her fifth collection. She spoke to people who lived in Brown’s neighborhood, just as she had with her black male friends whom she interviewed and asked about their experiences of racism in America for the collection.

Now her work, which had started as a re-telling of personal experiences of racism, as well as a general view of the country and race, had inadvertently become a companion to one of the most volatile moments in recent US history…

…Rankine is a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and professor of English at Pomona College and that two-decade long feeling of urgency she mentioned has seen her produce poetry that’s been short-listed for the National Book Award, and taken in subjects as unlikely as Zinedine Zidane’s infamous head-butt in the 2006 World Cup final and the portrayal of Serena Williams by the mainstream media…

…“Because racism works purely on perception – often times people don’t even know the other person – the book had to have a component that involved the visual. Looking and seeing and perceiving is also what I’m asking whiteness to do. To see what’s in front of them rather than what they think they’re seeing,” she says before referring to recent police shootings.

“They are clearly not seeing. Darren Wilson is seeing Hulk Hogan and a demon. He’s not seeing Michael Brown. The officer who shot Tamir Rice saw a 20-year-old black man and not a twelve-year old, and then it’s still problematic, because if he sees a 20-year-old black man he thinks that’s something to shoot”…


I am not familiar with the second case mentioned, but Michael Brown was fairly close to a demon as far as I can see. He was a huge man who had just committed a violent crime against someone much smaller than himself.

Black tribalism — my tribe is always right.  This attitude seems to be very widespread. We may be in for more violence.  

From The Guardian.

Share