Johnny Robinson, Oscar Grant, Sean Bell, and now Michael Brown. Fifty years after the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the monumental legislation intended to outlaw discrimination and segregation based on race, America has yet to live up to its promises. Fifty years later, race can and will be used against a black man walking the streets of his own country. Fifty years later, the black experience of two seemingly different generations are beyond paralleled and are indeed associated by more than genealogy.
In reality, our America has not changed. The tokenism Martin Luther King Jr. once spoke about still exists today, with new faces and names. It has pacified some and driven others to declare our nation as a post-racial society where instances like the numerous killings of young black men are only coincidental or due to the black man’s affinity for criminal activity.
On August 9, 2014, Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year old soon-to-be college student, was shot six times and killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. After a peaceful candlelight vigil in his honor, protests and riots ensued. For nearly two weeks after Brown’s death, protesters and journalists were met with hyper-militarized police officers who used tear gas and rubber bullets to hinder their constitutional rights of peaceful assembly and freedom of speech.
Police brutality continues to steal security, peace of mind, and lives from the black community, oftentimes without penalty or even recognition of oppression. After continuous inaction from political and law enforcement entities, grief, frustration, and desperation, worsen exponentially until the boiling point is fiercely met, resulting in a reactive rather than proactive response from the nation’s leaders.
In Ferguson it is clear the pattern remains as does the pain that boiled over in Watts in 1965 and Newark in 1967.
They prevail because historical civil rights legislation, progressive laws, social welfare programs, expansion of a black middle class, and even electing a black president do not directly address the ideology and system of racism, which foster an America that allows white police officers to use deadly force against black people two times per week. These tokens, while necessary, are only battling the offspring rather than proactively fighting the war against America’s founding father—racism. Black lives will forever be disposable, and police brutality and the riots that will inevitably result will persist until this country, and all of its citizens, candidly address and take intentional, proactive, and permanent action against this intractable, curable, ailment.
3 thoughts on “Michael Brown: Addressing the Root of Historical Parallels and Patterns”
Good blog! What about black on black crime? About 90% of crimes committed against black people or by black people. Also, are we racist (making decision based on skin color) towards each other? How do we choose who we want to date, hang out with, live in the same community with, marry, etc. When I was coming up, I use to hear back mothers telling their daughters to marry light skinned men with curly hair so they can have pretty grand babies. Is that not racism? As long as we have different shades of skin, there will be racism in our society. We just need to love ourselves, be confident in who we are and be MODEL CITIZENS as best we can. This way we may be able to change perceptions of how we are viewed and reduce the amount of decisions that are based on race.
My 2 cents.
Sometime we must examine the effect of a disease based upon the affected population and the cost for a cure to the current prevailing customs, profit / loss, to the decision makers of the time. We must also understand the intent of the medicine prescribed as a cure for the disease. The “Condition” is Slavery; The “Cure” is the 13 Amendment. The Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution abolished slavery and involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime. It was passed by the Senate on April 8, 1864, by the House on January 31, 1865, and adopted on December 6, 1865. On December 18, 1865, Secretary of State William H. Seward proclaimed its adoption. It was the first of the three Reconstruction Amendments adopted following the American Civil War.
Brilliantly expressed. Even with our education, we’re failing to use it as our defense for equality, but rather we’re using it as an offensive to help the oppressor with our conservative thinking, on what’s required of the black experience. We can’t continue to be followers of a system that trains us in both positions, of education and our positions of poverty. God bless the child that has it’s own, and this certainly means independence, but it also means; love at heart for self and culture. Jlwjr; Be Bless sis!