Both protesting the shooting death of Mike Brown at the hands of a Ferguson, Missouri officer under disputed & controversial circumstances.
Both express outrage that the shooting represents more than this one insular case but also (like the others) a pervasive breakdown in trust and understanding between police forces and the communities they are paid to serve and protect.
They both are speaking to a perception in the media and society that they are menaces to society.
Individually, the photo on the left is an example of “Respectability Politics” where the man, outfitted in a White T shirt, shorts that are so long they come down close to his ankles and a back pack feels obligated to announce to America that although he may appear to them to be a common “thug”, he is an “Educated Black Man, a Business Owner, a Father and A Husband.”
Even though he is not wearing any gang insignia or necessarily wearing the uniform of a “thug”, he still feels it necessary to apologize via his sign for being comfortable in casual clothes and scaring others while doing so.
And that is just it.
It’s a very sad and unfortunate commentary.
The fact that he feels he must apologize for living and must live the type of life to make others comfortable by getting a degree, marrying and having a kid to be “respectable” and acceptable.
Yet, he is only acceptable and respectable in a suit and tie and in the office.
Once he loosens his tie and kicks back in summer casuals, he melts into the streets as just another common “thug.”
[Won’t get into the daughter’s sign. She just wants to live with her dad. She just wants to live. *Tears*]
The photo on the right is the correct answer to the
respectability politics the guy on the left is grappling with….
No one should have to apologize for merely existing.
photo: (left) Scott Olson/ Getty images ; (right) unknown.