A lot of people are upset at the article in the New York Times that labeled Michael Brown as “no angel.” It’s not that the article makes the case that because he did things that a lot of eighteen year old kids do such as blaze a doobie and get into rap music, that somehow he got what was coming to him. It doesn’t.
The issue is the disproportionate level of law enforcement being meted out to people of color and minorities and at a harsher level than it is to others who are neither. The situation in Ferguson is the dramatic demonstration, showing us just one example of what happens in communities all over this country. It also brings out the angels of our nature; the knee-jerk response by defenders of the police and the visceral anger of a community that has all too long felt both ignored and victimized by their elected officials and authorities.
Whether or not one young man was “no angel” isn’t the point. Neither was the person who killed him, nor the people who created the situation that caused it, or those who exploited it. None of us are.