Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Takeaways from Ferguson

            Let's try to look at this as color-blind as we claim to be. A "meek" man who would "flee from danger", as his family said, robs a convenience store and assaults a clerk. He and his friend are walking down the middle of the street with stolen goods when a police officer tells them to move because they are blocking traffic. The young man allegedly, as accounts and the bruises on the officer testify, charged and “punched and scratched (the officer) repeatedly, leaving swelling on his face and cuts on his neck” (http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/11/24/never-before-seen-photo-of-officer-darren-wilsons-face-after-ferguson-shooting-released-as-part-of-grand-jury-evidence/). The officer is able to grab his handgun and shoot the 6'4", almost 300 lb. man. I would consider this reasonable self-defense. Now the kicker: the officer is white and the man he killed is black. Why does this change the self-defense case? I don't know. We have to move past assuming that because a white man kills a black man, it is automatically a racially-motivated murder. Things are usually much more complicated than that. If this would have been a white man killed, we wouldn't be seeing this on the news for an extended length of time, three months of riots that are still escalating, and so much rhetoric and ink spilled on the subject. Are we really looking at this objectively, or letting racial hysteria enter in?
            This isn’t a statement about black people or white people or race in general. This is a cut-and-dry criminal investigation that concluded with the obvious decision to not charge a police officer who killed a man in self-defense. But the Jesse Jacksons and Al Sharptons of the world, and of course the president, have to fuel the fire with their assumed racism. Blacks kill blacks and whites kill whites at much higher rates than one race kills another. And blacks kill whites twice as often, percentage-wise, as whites kill blacks. And just because a person of one race murders a person of another race doesn’t mean that the motive was racism.
            This is not about racism. I am not saying that there isn’t racism in the world. I’m not saying there aren’t killings and police brutality done due to race. But we can’t jump to an immediate conclusion that something is. Please tell me we are better than that as a society. I fear we aren’t.
            Doubtless a radical race-baiter would call me racist for daring to suggest that there could have been another motive besides race. His family said he was gentle. And the neighbors of the man who hid women’s bodies in his house in Cleveland thought he was okay too. Anyone can be blinded by their love for someone, but true character will eventually show. Robbery and assault don’t speak well of one’s character.
            Listen here, folks. I have more black friends than I could count. I have friends of all different backgrounds and minority statuses. I don’t care. Are there differences between us? Yes! And it would be boring if there wasn’t. But that doesn’t predispose us to hate each other and live in a cloud of mistrust. This nation has a history of racism, but that doesn’t mean we have to cling to it in the present. There are whites and blacks alike who want to, because of intolerance or victim-playing, but I think a lot of us see through that.
            It starts in the leadership of the black community. A man like Martin Luther King, Jr. is rolling in his grave. He didn’t preach hatred of whites, or mistrust simply because of race. That’s exactly what the white racists were guilty of. He preached unity and brotherhood. Many black leaders today don’t want the integration men like MLKJ fought for. Take Oprah berating Raven Simone for wanting to be called “American” instead of “African-American”. Blacks are just as much American as I am. I don’t call myself a European-American. Our ancestors have been here for the same amount of time. These “leaders” want to hold on to the race card and racial distinction for times of desired use.
            It starts with the leadership. And it starts with families teaching their children respect, and honor, and virtue, so kids, white black or whatever, don’t end up on streets robbing stores. What the common themes behind stories like Michael Brown’s is the failure in the family, the black community leadership, and society for failing them and allowing them to be in that position. That’s not an excuse for them. If you’re old enough to be robbing a store you’re old enough to know better. But kids are being put out into the world without proper instruction. This should be the takeaway from these stories. “How can we as a community and society avoid letting kids slip through the cracks?” Not, “How we can blame the police or white people?”
            As a friend of mine said: “Not all cops are bad. Not all black people are criminals. Not all white people are racist. Stop Labeling.”
            Will we ever see a day when people, black, white or otherwise, “will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character”?

            As for an immediate answer, just ask the city of Ferguson.

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