it showed me something about myself too. it showed me that I hold prejudices and a low intolerance for black violence. not because it's black violence, but because of the premises and flimsy excuses they use to instigate and carry out that violence. it showed me how intolerant I am of white hatred toward blacks no matter the circumstances, no matter the cause and regardless of the catalyst. both sides seem to just need any excuse or reason to bring forward their intolerance and deep seeded, ingrained dislike and disdain for the other race. it showed me something else though. it showed me that I am part of a generation caught in between racism and tolerance. I was born in the south in the era of desegregation and the tail end of the civil rights movement. i was born and raised in the time of truly great leaders in this movement like martin luther king, john kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, bobby kennedy and the true activists that marched in Birmingham, Nashville, Mississippi and other southern states. we can remember the raw sensitivity that was present for our mothers, grandfathers and grandmothers during the time immediately after the 60's when America was set on a different course for all its citizens. a time when America finally recognized that all the citizens of this country are equal and deserve nothing less than that equality. we can remember the times when the country went thru an enormous adjustment for both blacks and whites. the whites for trying to adjust to the fact that now blacks were on a level playing field, not only in the moral sense but in the legal sense. the blacks trying to assert that equality and not step back an inch into the darker times prior. we adjusted, learned, accepted and moved on.
i can't give you a black perspective of ferguson. i'm white. what i can give you is this....perpetuating the ideology of racism and hatred, whatever the cause or catalyst, is nothing more and nothing less than destructive. when i see violence, looting, burning and hatred, i stop listening, even if you have a legitimate reason. when i see people like al Sharpton or shaun king speaking for you...and you accepting them....i no longer can hear you. just as you would not listen to the kkk or radical white supremacists express views concerning injustice or racism, i will not listen to the black equivalent, which is al Sharpton, shaun king and Louis Farrakhan. when i see both white and blacks evoking martin luther king, john kennedy, or other great civil rights leaders to justify their hatred, it saddens me.
ferguson has sealed its own fate with the help of a headline hungry group of news organizations. ferguson has doomed itself by allowing extremists on both sides to be front and center of the issues surrounding mike brown's death. ferguson, with the help of news crews, have allowed the peaceful demonstrations and the people who have a true stake in their city, to be overshadowed by the images of burning buildings. looting walgreens by thugs...yes thugs...and the face of al Sharpton front and center in news conferences. instead of ferguson being remembered where the young and old, black and white of the community came together to peacefully protest what they consider to be injustice, it will remembered for a city that torched itself in a radical, violent few nites of rioting and looting. instead of being a springboard for a dialogue that might once and for all rid us of racial intolerance and bias, it will be nothing more than another footnote on how not to protest brutality and injustice.
it doesn't look like, as a nation we will learn much from what's happening in ferguson. it looks like we are poised to repeat our past racial mistakes even more pathetically. racism is indifferent to national debate or twitter rants. it is unaffected by facebook or instagram posts. it can't be changed by policy or law. that's because racism hides in the deepest parts of our hearts, souls and our minds. it is uncompromising in its effort to derail peace and understanding in this country. we seldom choose racism, we inherit it thru the actions of our parents. we can fight racism with empathy and understanding. we need to put aside our destructive racist ideologies, toss aside the ones that perpetuate these ideologies and mobilize...gravitate...to each other. it looks like for now, we won't do this. instead we will continue to shout across lines called us...and them. we will continue to convince ourselves that this ferguson and the next ferguson will be because of "their problem"
god bless ferguson. pray for ferguson.
hands up....in despair and disappointment
see you around town l
since I wrote this entry, the verdict on the nypd officer has come forth and the country has reacted. the mistakes made in ferguson are being nullified by the reaction by the citizens of this country. eric garner was not angel. but his death was avoidable. I don't believe for a second that the officer intended to kill or seriously injure him. but the issue now is...he did. it has turned into a national forum on police violence in this country. I am a supporter of police depts. around the country and truly believe that most officers are good, decent human beings that do more good than harm and do their jobs daily with integrity, compassion and equal enforcement. but along with that belief I also carry the knowledge that some officers perform their duties with malice, anger and prejudices. it's unfortunate, but true. they violate the very oath they took to protect and serve the citizens of their community.
while ferguson was not the poster for correcting this situation, the eric garner case is. it has, at least in the short term, managed to bring us together in a common cause and hopefully will continue to do so. this is our chance to have change in our policing policies and tactics. carrying that further, hopefully cities will review the type of laws they have passed and be more diligent in passing new ones that put officers in a no win situation by enforcing petty ordinances and statutes. we need to remain peaceful in our protests and continue to resist the urge to turn this into a black/white and us/them shouting match across divide lines. we need to avoid the shaun kings, the senator kings of new York and follow our own basic respect and love for our fellow man...each of our fellow man. if we allow the extremist to divide us, then we all will lose and eric garner died in vain. we need to stop viewing eric garner as a black man and begin to recognize and refer to him as a man. the wrongs we need to address here go across lines of color, they supercede levels of wealth and go right to the core of our basic rights, freedoms and sense of being a citizen of a country where this sort of police action can be not only prevented, but proactively avoided. do what you must, but do it in peace. after this is all done, we still have to live together....hopefully wiser, more aware and more understanding than we began.