This short essay contextualizes the New Year's Day 2009 murder of Bay Area youth Oscar Grant, placing his murder by police, the arrest, charging, trial and conviction of the police officer, and the media and community reaction in a vast historical and geographic context. The situation is read in relation to other spasms of racial violence in American history. Finally, the Grant tragedy is situated within the post-2008 Obama-era, with its fantasy of racial harmony.

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