Ferguson and Healing America’s Race Problem
Last night, in St. Louis County, Missouri, a grand jury of 9 white people and 3 black people failed to reach the 9 people required to indict Darren Wilson, a white cop, in the killing of Michael Brown, a black boy. The prosecutor, Bob McCullough, smugly castigated America, the media, and social media before delivering the news.
I mourn with Michael Brown’s family in my own way. I did not lose Mike as a relative or son, but I did lose him as a skin-brother whose death didn’t have to happen, no matter whose side you take on this.
I am not surprised by the Grand Jury’s decision. I expected it, but I am disappointed. Aside from the fact that it seemed that McCullough’s office presented evidence in a way to get Wilson off scot-free, I just always want more from our justice system. A trial would have been good for the community, even if it resulted in a jury acquitting Wilson of all charges. The grand jury hearings are held in secret and the evidence presented is being released to the public, but the picture of Darren Wilson so far with his injuries don’t seem to me like injuries sustained from someone who was afraid that a “demon” (his description of Brown’s face) would take his life with the third punch to his face. It honestly looks like sunburn and getting too happy with a razor for his line-up.
But what’s done is done. Overall, this problem is police brutality, which affects far more black people than any other race of people. It seems that cops always use lethal force when a black person is involved and get away for making mistakes like mistaking someone for someone else even when others are yelling at them that they have the wrong person and decide to take a life. It seems that white people can be serial killers, give cops the chase, threaten cops, and even attack cops mercilessly and get taken in alive. Black folks don’t seem to be as lucky.
Police brutality isn’t limited by race, however it seems disproportionate to black people, brown people next, other races, then whites last. Yes, white people are out here getting killed by cops for “mistakes” and the cops get off for the killing with no seeming remorse or pain over what they did. It’s not like war. At least pretend you care. They went too far and have no culpability. It’s disgusting. Cops need to be retrained on things like this. Maybe now they will. This movement isn’t dying off and we’re not letting up.
Finally, a lot of people are saying this is about a “thug” who stole some cigars and got rightfully taken out for fleeing a police officer after hitting him. Because that happens evenly across the board, right? (Look at that video in the link.)
Race is a factor and it’s time we admit it. Race is always a factor in America, but it doesn’t always have to be a negative factor. This country was founded with an assumption that anyone who wasn’t a land-owning white male was less than human. It took almost 100 years to get black (and other) men full citizenship rights and it had to happen as punishment for the South rebelling against the Union. It wasn’t altruistic or even seen as the right thing to do – black men becoming human in this country was nothing more than a chess piece used to really stick it to the South for being bad children. Let that sink in.
Is it wrong? Yes. But it’s how the country was set up and never really broke away from it. Most other former colonies of Western European nations relinquished power and it returned to the natives while the colonizers mostly went back home. That didn’t happen in America. They dug in. They developed systems to keep white people on top and only broke away those systems as either punishment or a bargaining chip for other things. I mean, the Civil Rights Act comes closest to the nicest and right thing America has ever done for black people and it still wasn’t enough.
We have an opportunity now to move forward, but we won’t get “there” until we embrace race in America, with all the good and bad that comes with it. It’s unpleasant at times and everyone has to look at where accusations of racism have been wrong and right on all sides, but we can do this. I know we can. I just wish we would stop being so lazy and just get it done. Embrace race, America. It’s part of what makes natural-born-and-raised Americans who we are. It’s a part of us. Stop running from it and embrace it. It doesn’t have to hurt (for long) but we have to do this in order to properly move forward and start healing America’s race problem. Otherwise, we’re left with fits and starts, and I’m tired of those. It’s time for leaps.
Embrace it. Grow from love. Be well.