America’s racial divide is alive and well. I thought when Barack Obama became President the racial gap would lessen, but has it widened? The idea of American being post racial is a joke. America refuses to look at its racist self. We deny. We ignore. We forget. We excuse. We even lie. We study.
The killing of the young man, Michael Brown, is a vivid reality of the injustices and the hate that still exists. Why was this young teen killed, shot down, murdered by a white policemen with his hands in the air begging, “not to shoot.” What made the policemen kill the unarmed 18-year-old Black male? Is this a display of police harassment or is it unadulterated racism?
The community reacted. They looted. They became violent. They protested. The protesters raised their hands, as did Michael. They wore scarves on their faces and took his name, identifying with the victim as the ordinary man. The local government reacted with military style defense. The area became a war zone. The police prepared for combat. The reaction was extreme. The story became national news.
Black people know this story. It is an American story. The leaders went to Ferguson. The Reverend Al Sharpton was citied for his remarks that talked about seeing the young man in the casket at the funeral. He has been in this situation before and speaks from experience. The grief overwhelms. The Rev. Jesse Jackson called for calm with the people as they walked the streets and he walked with them in protest of the murder. He too has experienced too many riots and angry citizens from the Deep South to the urban north. The Blacks leaders are talked about and called racial pimps, which they are not, because they come to the scene of the crime.
How long do Black people have to take cold blooded murder? The policeman, the murderer, is hidden. We have seen no pictures of him and it was a while before his identity was revealed, suggesting that he was allowed to leave town for his own safety.
The majority of Ferguson, Missouri is Black with a white government structure. Only three policemen are Black out of the city’s 53 squad. The hero of the day is a Black policeman who understands the community, walking like a policeman, talking like a preacher. The town has six White Councilmen.
Ferguson provides a micro vision of urban America. The tension is high. Ferguson could be in American city, any day. Blacks males are targeted; young Black males are under attack from their peers to policemen. They are targeted in every aspects of their living from walking to driving to shopping. There is a fear of the young black male. We see more than three Black males on a corner and you are ready to call the police, cross over or hold your purse tight.
At the same time, Blacks at all levels are frustrated with the ill treatment. Black are tired of the discrimination, the lack of, the lack of engagement, the poor treatment, the stereotype, the minority banner. Black people are tired of funerals for young children for stupid reasons. Ferguson could happen in any American city.
We have a contradiction. On one hand we progress to the heights of society at all levels but a mistaken identity on the urban streets bring you back to reality quickly. The President of the United States would be in danger to walk America’s urban street alone.
The rioting of Ferguson puts the race question on the front page and on the news talk shows. But the conversation is the same. The name changes but the crime doesn’t -- Michael Brown, Trayvon, Emmitt Till. Young Black boys getting murdered doing ordinary things by white men but in 2014 the young black males are also killing each other.
The crime is too high, the schools too bad and the politicians too insensitive. America needs to have an open and honest conversation at every level about race. The tensions are too high. We as a society can’t continue to take balloons, teddy bears and candles to the scene of the crime. And we can’t turn army tanks on American streets.
Filed under: African American