Obviously today is a sad day in our history as a nation. A young man is dead, and there is no justice for the family. But what makes it worse is that instead of making a positive change, there are protests in the streets, and more death.
I plan for this to be a short post, but those of you who have been following me since the beginning know how difficult that is for me… But I will try.
I want to offer my condolences for the family, first and foremost. No one can imagine the pain you must be going through at this time, particularly when it seems obvious that justice will not be given. When a person’s life is cut short, there is always the hope that the person who took that life will be punished for their actions. In this case, the system failed. Punishment will not be given, and I am sorry for that.
And how I wish I could end this here, with a heartfelt apology and hope that we can do what we can to move on from this painful memory, but the people won’t allow me to stop there. The people have taken upon themselves to get violent. Tear gas has been ordered. People have been injured. Twitter exploded with the news so that even in Texas I can see the images of injured people, and the emotion-inducing images of the SWAT team or riot squad in military formation beneath the Season’s Greetings sign.
People are calling this a race war.
I cannot deny that the initial situation was race related. It seems that the racial tension in Ferguson, MO has been mounting as the number of white citizens to black citizens has flip flopped in the last few decades.
But does rioting fix the problem?
Does looting in one’s own neighborhood solve it?
How does resorting to violence and negativity fix anything?!
On the one hand, we have African American citizens saying that they are being targeted because of their color/race.They site the statistics that white people are arrested less than 25% as often as people of other races in the area. A quick search while I was looking for images to accompany this post showed me that a little less than a third of the people in Ferguson are white. So, yes, less white people would be arrested. Admittedly, the proportions still don’t quite add up, but there may be other factors other than just racial targeting involved.
Then, on the other side of the issue, I’ve heard (although not specifically in this case) that African American people tend to be more violent. There have been studies on the issue, about why African Americans are forced into a life of violence. and it tends to do with being in a state of poverty. I’m not 100% convinced that poverty is a race issue, as I’ve already tried to establish in my post about gentrification, but I think a strong case can be made that people in a state of poverty are more likely to resort to violence, often because it is a necessity for survival. So, whether being poor is a race issue or not, there is a stereotype (rightly or wrongly) that people of color, not just black but hispanic and other races as well, tend to be more violent than their anglo neighbors.
Rioting and looting kind of proves the point.
Seriously, people, what does this sort of thing solve?
I’m not saying that the protests are not righteous. A grave disservice was done to the family by not prosecuting this officer, Darren Wilson. What I’m saying is that the way in which it is being handled proves the stereotype, effectively increasing racial tension instead of creating a solution.
How can giving the police a negative impression of an entire race of people solve anything?
It’s a basic problem of logic:
If the police believe all people of color are violent, then they will use extreme force when dealing with people of color.
When large groups of people of color react with violence, it perpetuates the stereotype, making the police more likely to use extreme force when dealing with people of color.
What could have been done instead? I honestly don’t know, but that is the conversation we need to be having. Someone has to take the initiative to create change. The police aren’t going to do it, especially when their ill-conceived stereotypes are consistently reinforced by the actions of the African American community.
So, I say again, I am so sorry. My thoughts and prayers are with the family of Michael Brown. He was a young man taken before his time. Justice has not been served, and I am truly sorry for that. But, I am also sorry that his memory will now be tainted by the riots and looting done supposedly in his name.