The Daily Kos posted this article on September 29, 2014. Since then the avalanche of written and video arguments against asking people to “check your privilege” has skyrocketed across social media. Comparative yeahs and nos are equal. But the understanding of what privilege really means is, sometimes by default, becoming patently clear. Surprisingly, some even feel victimized when asked to respect the boundaries of others. Amazing.
However well-intentioned and sincere the concern and surprise by the white American public and some in the chattering classes towards the events in Ferguson, the shooting of Jones by Groubert, or the panoply of unarmed black men by the police ever 28 hours in America may be, their response is still colored by white privilege.Black and brown Americans have been complaining about, organizing in response to, and publicly discussing police brutality and extra-judicial violence against their communities for several hundred years. Those concerns have largely been ignored by the white public.
In September 2014, Sean Groubert, a South Carolina State Trooper shot a young African American man, Levar Jones, on his way home from work, seconds after asking for his driver license. Jones was only shot in the hip but the video shows the lightning attack on him by Groubert as he reached for the requested document.
What’s striking about this case is how swiftly Groubert escalated the incident from a routine traffic stop to the use of potentially deadly force — and the fact that he did so without any apparent provocation whatsoever. Only four seconds pass between when Groubert asks Jones for his license, and when Groubert fires the first of four shots at the unarmed driver.The other thing that’s striking about this case, however, is the fact that Groubert will actually face criminal charges for his actions. According to The State, Groubert faces up to 20 years in prison if he is convicted. He was also fired by the highway patrol on Friday.