MSNBC's Alex Wagner: "Half-Black" Obama "Doubling Down" On Using Thug, While Black Baltimore Mayor Apologized

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ALEX WAGNER, MSNBC: Brittney, you bring up this point in your writing today that it is as much a black-white issue as much as it's a black-black issue. I mean, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake is a black woman. Barack Obama is half-black, half-white, but is identified as a black president and they're using the word thug. Now, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has since apologized, but the president seems, if we're to believe the White House press secretary, defiantly sort of doubling down on this is how I describe looters and people who perpetrate violence. So what is that conversation in the black community?

BRITTNEY COOPER, SALON.COM: Sure. It's a conversation about what we call respectability politics, or this idea that the way that black people make the case that they are citizens and should be treated with respect is never to do anything wrong, to be buttoned down, to be educated, to always be articulate. To never express any kind of rage about the injustices that they face, to just go to work every day, and then trust the system.

So, for me, I don't like the narrative that says that this is about the violent actions of a few. My question is, where are folks supposed to put these decades and decades of rage after being mistreated by people who were sworn to protect them. The police officers have a higher responsibility to protect people in our communities because they have state power backing their right to use lethal force.

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