In the opening of my review of the documentary The Internet's Own Boy, which is about the life and tragic death of Aaron Swartz, I wrote:
In 2013, Aaron Swartz, a young computer genius, committed suicide because President Obama failed to keep the promises that brought him to power. This is not a stretch. And Swartz is just some of the blood on the hands of our country's first black president. Obama promised us change, but instead the policies of his predecessors remained unchanged.
The first comment to this review had this to say:
You need to edit out the President's race from this particular article. It implies that his blackness has something to do with Swartz's suicide and makes this article and publication appear incredibly racist.No—it is not racist. The color of the president is very important in this case. The truth of the matter is that people who happen to have brown or black skin should be more sympathetic than white Americans to the kind shit that led to Swartz's death. They more than white Americans should know that the law system is not that just, often benefits those who are wealthy, is staffed by career-oriented professionals, and produces politically motivated results. Swartz did not face a justice system in the terms of a standard white person but in those that many blacks can easily understand and sympathize with. This shit is systematic. This is how it really works. You were caught on the wrong side of the law, which often happens to be the black side.
When I call out the president's color is it because he should have done or said something based on a justified understanding that brown and black people have about the American legal system. Sorry. It is time for some real talk. Obama is a black president, which is why he had to say something about Trayvon Martin, who was found guilty by this society's standards even before he committed a crime.
Screenings of The Internet's Own Boy begin tomorrow at Northwest Film Forum.