Unarmed black man or unharmed black teen…it makes a difference

While watching the CBS Evening News I heard the anchor refer to Michael Brown as an unarmed black man. The term stopped me. I actually used it in an earlier post, but was Michael Brown a man? He was a teenager. He was a boy with a future that was violently destroyed last Saturday, but when you think of teen you realize this was a conflict between a man and a boy. It’s easier to accept the situation if you view Brown as a man, but an eighteen year old is not a man. It is interesting how black males are frequently given labels that the majority find appropriate for the time. My grandfather was called a boy for most of his life. He was the patriarch of our family, a respected deacon in his church and a boy on his job. Big Papa was a man but he was not called man until he was close to the end of his life. How Brown is defined makes a difference. If you see him as a boy you will view the conflict as a fight between a man and a boy and that is rarely a fair fight.

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