Black Columnist: Kelly Thomas was “Niggerized”

Race in the Kelly Thomas killing has always remained the great unspoken among progressive activists, who bitterly say among themselves that the only reason people cared about the case was because Kelly was white and not black or brown (someone tell them about Ashley MacDonald). This led Thandisizwe Chimurenga, journalist and author of No Doubt: The Murder(s) of Oscar Grant, to bluntly tell gabachos angry at the Thomas fiasco “Welcome to Our World” in a piece posted to her website.

“Kelly Thomas was a castaway,” Chimurenga writes before invoking Cornel West. “In short, Kelly Thomas was “niggerized.””


Being disabled, Chimurenga points out, Thomas' life had no value for those who ended it in a deadly police encounter nor to an economy that saw him as “unproductive.” He was considered “blight” to business interests in the downtown Fullerton area. And when mother Cathy Thomas reacted to the verdicts exonerating Kelly killers Manuel Ramos and Jay Cicinelli by saying, “They got away with murdering my son,” she echoed Wanda Johnson, who said the same thing about her child Oscar Grant in Oakland.

During the course of the trial, the defense argued that Thomas was a violent schizophrenic and died of an enlarged heart due to meth abuse. “Kelly Thomas was put on trial right alongside of those who murdered him,” Chimurenga astutely observes. “Black folks know all about that. Just ask the parents of Trayvon Martin.”

None of this is or what Chimurenga writes is to browbeat folks for whom this outrage is a new experience. There lies an opportunity. “Respect for the dignity and human rights of those who walk or drive the streets–or sleep in them–must be made manifest from coast to coast,” she says of a need for a multiracial movement against police brutality. “The lack of accountability and privilege afforded to law enforcement nationwide simply has to come to an end.”

Should that come to fruition, imagine the possibilities.

“What a wonderful world this would be,” Chimurenga concludes.

Follow Gabriel San Román on Twitter @dpalabraz

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