Black Nails Hammered Down

The Young TurksBoys will be boys. I really believe that. People should be allowed to be themselves as long as no one is directly harmed. What that means to me in practice is that people should be allowed to take what drugs they like, fuck what people are willing, and say just about anything that comes into their little brains. Sadly, more and more those in power do not believe this. They think that everyone should be on their best behavior all the time. Or at least the poor and weak should. Or at least black people.

The Young Turks segment embedded below tells two stories that took place at a Wichita mall after the Zimmerman verdict. The first is of A. J. Bohannon, a young black man who got arrested for wearing a sign that read, “If I don’t stand for something then I will fall for anything #RIPTrayvonMartin.” Then shortly after that, a small group of people protested his arrest at the mall. Two white guys—one wearing a black shirt that read, “This shirt can say NIGGER because it is black”—tried to incite the protesters. They didn’t succeed, but they also weren’t arrested:

So what is the lesson here? Apparently, it is that if you are black with a real political statement, it is unacceptable. But if you are white with no other purpose but to just be an asshole, that’s just fine. This story upsets me greatly because it shows how racism actually works in the United States. It isn’t usually about people getting killed. Normally, it is just about beating down minority groups and keeping them in their “place.”

The key to these cases is exactly the opposite of the way that it should be. We have free speech rights especially for political statements. But when Bohannon tried to make a political statement, the mall authorities claimed that it wasn’t acceptable precisely because it was political. The white assholes could go anywhere in the mall. The authorities wouldn’t care because it wasn’t political. It was just boys being boys. And that is a huge problem. It also gets to an issue I have with libertarian thought where any kind of oppression is okay as long as it isn’t the government. Well, for we who are not loons, it is not okay.


It won’t surprise me at all to hear that the mall has issued a statement that explicitly racist t-shirts will not be allowed. But that will only be because of the recent politicization. The fact remains that the white guys walking through the mall with their t-shirts wouldn’t have even been noticed before. But a black kid? He sticks out. And you know what the Chinese say, “The nail that sticks out gets hammered.” In our country, the nail that sticks out is the person who isn’t white.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

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