I have a few random musings about the goings on in Ferguson:
- Everywhere I look, on Facebook and Twitter, I see people who are very certain in the fallout of the death of Michael Brown. As an African American male, I do connect with the frustration of being seen immediately as a threat. I think police harrassment is real. But I feel comfortable judging the white police officer who shot Brown as immediately guilty. Contrary to what others might say, we court of law needs to figure out what happened. I feel uncomfortable with the linking of the incident with other larger issues. It almost seems like people are using this event to talk about their pet issue.
- I also take issue with those who want to side with Officer Darren Wilson. There are still some conservatives that tend to give the police the benefit of the doubt, something they don’t extend to African American males.
- I’m always a bit wary about using the “White Privilege” approach. I know that it happens, that it’s real, but I’ve always been uncomfortable with how it is used. The point of talking about white privilege should be about how certain things in society are biased towards whites and then offer that people find solutions to the problem. However, in practice, the whole exercise seems to be about making white people feel guilty. If people think this is an important part of the discussion, then let’s bring it up without trying to implicate your next door neighbor.
- Why was Michael Brown’s body allowed to stay in the street for four hours?
- What role does the church have in all of this? Besides issuing statements, that is?
- Conservatives seem bent on focusing on cultural breakdown to the extent of crowding out other problems between African Americans and the police. I think culture does play a role. I think we have to do more to discourage things like teen pregnancy. We also need to look into stregthening the social ties that seem to be missing in many African American communities. Sadly, too many conservatives tend to use cultural argument as a bat to beat African Americans. Writer Cathy Young brings up an article I read shortly after the Trayvon Martin verdict by Heather MacDonald. The author, who write for City Journal says this about the concerns of African Americans in how they are treated by the police: “Here’s a proposal: For a good five-year stretch, blacks bring their crime rate down to white and Asian levels. Once it becomes widely understood that blacks are no more likely to steal, rob, rape, or shoot than whites or Asians, we’ll see if blacks still elicit the defensive reactions.” Wow. And you wonder why people think conservatives are racist?
- There is , however a kernel of truth in MacDonald’s views. Behavior does need to change. There are many groups that are working to give African American males a chance and keeping them out of prison. There needs to be more.Bringing up ethical and moral young men is not a cure-all, but it might make a difference.
- It’s been heartening to see some conservatives and libertarians such as Rand Paul question some of tactics used by local police forces.
- I wish African American leaders would not use phrases like “war on black men” or “genocide” when talking about police harrassment. If this was a hundred years ago when lynchings were taking place, I could the legitimacy. But what is happening now is not intentional or planned. This isn’t slavery, this isn’t Jim Crow, this isn’t apartheid. Yes it is a problem, a major problem, but this isn’t the equivalent of Emmett Till. War is a word that expresses intent. I might be wrong, but I don’t think police departments are targeting us for elimination. Bias is something that has to be rooted out, but let’s keep in perspective. What is happening is probably more unconscious. It’s still wrong, but it’s not a plan to wipe out black men.
- It’s interesting that we talk about interactions with the police as if every police force in the country is full of only white people. What about cops of color? What effect do they have within police forces?
- We keep saying that there needs to be a conversation on race. What does that look like? What is the goal to be accomplished?
- Why is the police so suspicious when it comes to persons of color? Is some of their bias grounded in truth?
- When President Obama began running for President is when I started to hear the phrase, “post racial.” I wonder if people thought the election of an African American to the presidency would be end all racial problems.
- Interesting that all of this unrest didn’t happen in the urban core of St. Louis but in a suburb.