Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Blindness And Deafness Of Racist Rage

I pledge allegiance to the flag
Of the United States of America
And to the republic for which it stands
One nation, under God, indivisible
With liberty and justice for all.
You say you want justice for the events in Ferguson, Missouri.  Oh, really?  I don't think so.  Since early August, you have been demonstrating both violently and peacefully throughout the St. Louis area, telling all of America that if the Grand Jury did not rule to indict Officer Wilson that there would be hell to pay.  Thank God that the Grand Jury took a good length of time to examine the evidence  --  all of the evidence available  --  and to offer justice for all, not just Michael Brown, Jr.

For Mr. and Mrs. Michael Brown, Sr., there can never be enough "justice".  The baby boy they gave to this world will never grow to full manhood.  The young man they loved even when he misbehaved will never grow old.  A lynch mob set on Officer Wilson would not be sufficient to assuage their pain.  Although it may lessen with time, and warm memories fill in the emptiness, it is what it is and nothing can change it.

To express the obvious, none of us have perfect children  --  not the Browns, not myself, not even the President and Mrs. Obama.  We adults are not perfect ourselves, so how can we expect to rear perfect children.  And we all love these babies of ours through thick and thin.  There would be something wrong with us if we did not. 

But, there are things we do that make the situations worse than they have to be.  For one, we can be in denial about what is really going on with our children.  At least in the early stages of the rage, the Brown family refused to view the video of Michael's behavior in the convenience store.  Because of that, they did not know how out of control he was that day.  Had they watched the video, it would have been apparent to them that he was no stranger to violence and that a person who behaved as he did was engaging in bullying behavior.  And before you strike out at me and say that he didn't deserve to die, let me say that nobody does, whatever the color of the skin or how deep the anger and rage.

Another thing that would have helped the situation was if the Browns had hired a white lawyer, instead of an enraged and racist African American.  It would have been better for them, too, if they had used someone with a better success rate.  For instance, had he actually been effective in the case concerning Trayvon Martin, a real travesty of justice, they would have had a stronger voice.

And then there is the problem with using blackmail to attempt to control the situation anyway.  Besides the fact that blackmail is illegal, people eventually get tired of it and take legal action, or worse.  Who knows, we white folk might eventually get so sick and tired of your riots and temper tantrums that we throw a few ourselves.

There is also the embarrassment that this situation offers to your more cultured and reserved members of our society.  One African American man wrote a Facebook article in which he disclaims the behaviors because they tend to reinforce the negative opinion other cultures have of the African American community.  It would, no doubt, leave the Reverend Martin Luther King in despair.  Have they learned nothing from me, he might want to ask?

There is also the problem of yelling that police officers not shoot an unarmed man.  This viewpoint that people are not dangerous if they do not carry a gun, is a national problem of denial.  Control the guns, control the guns, everybody says.  But as recent events show clearly, a lot of damage and death can fall in the wake of a man with a knife, or a fist, a choke hold, or even a bad attitude. 
Some people are saying that Michael's size should not be considered a factor.  Baloney!!!!  Did you see how he stuck his arm straight out and moved that convenience clerk across the floor?  Size does matter.  Anytime you have a confrontation with someone larger than yourself, you are going to need some very effective self-defense skills to come out the victor.  An officer seated in a car, who cannot open his door and stand, is in a very vulnerable position.  And the trigger finger on that big fist was headed toward the trigger of the officer's gun.

Wearing blinders and not listening to the position of everyone simply propels rage in ourselves and others.  Constantly expressing our hurts and rage, serve as a bad model for our children.  When they lack our maturity and self-control, they strike out on the basis of our anger, sometimes getting themselves in over their heads.  In situations where there is real racism and real profiling, it is best to work from the inside  --  with our votes, our service to our community, and with our willingness to be a shining example of dignity and respect for each other.  Violence and blackmail and blind and deaf rage do nothing to improve our interactions with each other.  And as the very astute African American man said on Facebook, violent protests simply show the whole group up to be exactly what the most racist among us think the race to be.

To African American activists across the land, pick your issues with great care from now on out.  Not all situations are so obviously inappropriate as the Trayvon Martin situation.  Your collective voice will be more effective if your issues are pure.  Make sure the autopsy results match the verbal reports of witnesses before you jump on the bandwagon of rage.

Justice is meant for all Americans, not just the black or the dead.  Justice even applies to our police officer's who risk their lives for us all the time. 

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