"What Killed Michael Brown?" Dr. Shelby Steele Releasing Controversial Documentary

AP featured image
Trinetta, center left, 19, and Triniya Brown become emotional during a memorial service for their brother, Michael Brown, on Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018, in the Canfield Green apartment complex in Ferguson, Mo., where Brown was shot and killed by former Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson four years ago. (Cristina M. Fletes/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP)


In the summer of 2018, I had an opportunity to meet one of my conservative heroes. Best selling author, noted intellectual, and Emmy award-winning documentary filmmaker Dr. Shelby Steele.

Dr. Steele came to St. Louis with his wife Rita and son Eli to work on their latest film. The name of their project was called, “What Killed Michael Brown?” Here’s the synopsis from the film’s website:

Acclaimed writer, Shelby Steele, has long argued that systemic racism is more a strategy than a truth, and that the universal oppression of black Americans is largely over with.  But the 2014 shooting of a black teen, Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Missouri by a white policeman shook the nation to its core. During Steele’s investigation of Ferguson, America was once again rocked by the brutal killing of George Floyd. Didn’t these killings, and the long list of others like them, put the lie to Steele’s argument?

In a Zoom press conference with journalists last week, Dr. Steele said the main goal of his film is to “simply reveal these kinds of [race] fictions. We’re not partisan. We don’t get into politics. It’s cultural. We get into the cultures where the real contest is and that’s where we try to start.”

This film was originally planned to be released to coincide with the five-year anniversary of Michael Brown’s shooting in 2014 by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. The release was delayed but it’s fortunate that it was.


The controversial deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and others this year by the hands of police officers make the questions asked by Steele in this controversial film even more relevant.

Since the Zoom press conference, and the subsequent articles that have been published, there has been great anticipation for the release of this film.

Most feedback has been positive but unfortunately, there has been negative feedback from the unlikeliest of places and that’s from Dr. Steele’s fellow Conservatives!

Here are a few examples of the negative comments that were left on the film’s Facebook page:

“Just more racist Black Lives Matter and if you think you see something noble in this movement that’s because you’re still dreaming. Wake the f*ck up people!

“Sounds like a biased documentary…”

“All lies…America’s Whites are not racist…There is no systemic racism in America… All lies.”

Chill out, my fellow conservatives! Do you actually believe an author who writes books with titles such as “White Guilt: How Blacks and Whites Together Destroyed the Promise of the Civil Rights Eraand “The Content of Our Character: A New Vision of Race in America” and who is a regular guest on Mark Levin’s FOX program is a flaming liberal who supports the Marxist organization BLM?


I have to be honest that I’m disappointed in the reaction from my fellow conservatives. The liberals are usually the ones who think with their emotions and who jump to conclusions that confirm their biases.

Yes, Dr. Steele is a conservative but he is known in his documentaries to be objective and fair. This documentary will ask questions that weren’t asked during the aftermath of the shooting and will examine themes that are uncomfortable for both liberals and conservatives.

Stay tuned for the release of this important film on streaming platforms on October 16th.

You can listen to Dr. Steele talk about his documentary on this episode of my podcast, “Watercooler Politics with Chris Arps.”


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