The ongoing protests over the tragic shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., have brought much-needed attention to racial tensions as well as the militarization of police forces all over America. Mark Fiore's latest animation sends a powerful message about the callous, seemingly automated governmental response to the killing and subsequent demonstrations, reminding us that the idea of a "post-racial America" is nothing but propaganda. Watch as the fictional "Department of Post-Racial America" issues a warning via an Emergency Alert System reminiscent of a dystopian film and read about the animator's inspiration below.
What better way to defuse racially-charged tension following a police shooting of an unarmed man than with a show of militarized force? Cue the tough talk from the pudgy pink police chief. Wait, scratch that, let's try bringing in a handsome African American highway patrolman who uses a soft touch and hugs demonstrators.
On second thought, let's get tougher, then bring in the National Guard. Curfew? Yes! Whoops, maybe not. Oh, and don't forget to arrest a handful of reporters along the way. This is like the Keystone Kops, except those cops didn't have grenade launchers, automatic weapons and mine-resistant armored vehicles.
The situation in Ferguson is a tragedy on many levels. An unarmed kid on his way to college was shot and killed (yes, he also apparently stole some Swisher Sweets cheap cigars and had marijuana in his system, neither of which are capital offenses). It seems like we blinked twice, and our local police forces were replaced with creepy, faceless militarized enforcers. Amidst all the flashing lights and military hardware, let's not forget that there are a lot more Michael Brown's out there. (You can find more links to stories behind the cartoon here.)