Of course, the protesters in Ferguson are now using the gesture of two arms in the air in a tactical way. As much as it symbolizes that one is not an active threat or that one is submitting, that gesture (as we sketched the other day) has suddenly taken on a symbolic life of it’s own. That said, it can now be used as a statement as one marches in protest (perhaps toward a police line) or to shame the police when cameras are present and the gesture is juxtaposed in the same frame, for example, with legions of mostly white riot cops.
Still, this screenshot published last night by InfoWars says it all, doesn’t it? In a single picture, it captures the double-bind, the bait-and-switch, the potentially lethal double-cross that can happen like-that on any doorstep or at any traffic stop. And, it’s what people suspect went down with Michael Brown.
What the image illustrates, in fact — using two people to lay it out — is the life-and-death question mark facing any single black youth in any officer’s sight. What the photo conveys is that, all too often and instantaneously, there can cease to be any daylight or differentiation at all between giving it up and (even with your back turned) getting taken out.
More Bag on Ferguson:
If it Loots, it Leads: Stereotyping the Police Shooting of Michael Brown
Beyond the Hoodie: Michael Brown’s Extended Arms
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