Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thoughts on "Post-Racial" American society

As I write these few words, the entire nation is debating. The Grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri decision not to press charges in the death of Michael Brown, who was killed in an encounter [the details of which are highly disputed, but the outcome obviously undeniable] with a local police officer named Darren Wilson  has ignited not only protests, but it has even come down to rioting and looting. Certainly criminal elements always emerge in these type of situations, taking advantage of the atmosphere to create anarchy and steal [after all, the Brown's family church as well as places such as an  AUTOZONE store  were destroyed [ see ].

Yet, this has been felt nationwide. Protests are taking place all across the USA. President Obama has made comments on it. On the INTERNET, we can find solidarity rallies and tweets from people worldwide. If we are such a 'post-racial' society, why is it that these things are happening?

While it is quite encouraging to see Non Blacks protesting alongside African-Americans nationwide, it's obvious that problems still exist. Quite frankly, it goes beyond this one man's death. As I see it, these problems can be summarized in the following fashion [1] A perception that Blacks and other minorities are simply criminals at nature, an image that has been sustained for decades by the entertainment industry.  [2] An increasingly alarming trend nationwide on the part of Law enforcement to use deadly force and ask questions later. [3] Community and family ties are not as strong as in the past.

This brief post cannot cover everything. In essence, this is simply a rant. But it's a rant that searches for solutions. While protests certainly generate media attention, what happens when the media goes to another story? It's certainly true that burning stores in one's own community will not bring any healthy solutions, but what can be done, practically, to prevent things like this from happening again?

I tend to think solutions include, but are not limited to [1] Deeper and stronger community ties. These ties have to cut across racial, religious, and class ties. Poverty is not some moral disease, thus poor people should not be ignored. The type of society that used to exist must be revived, wherein people know each other, neighbors look out for each other, who will address crime in their own neighborhoods and families. How can that be done? By family involvement in the lives of the youth. This should not be taken as blaming the victim [in this case, Michael Brown], but in addition to cleaning up our own neighborhoods, it would also limit our contact with situations in which police would potentially get involved. [2] There has to be a removal of stereotypes. This is easier said than done, but in all honesty, because of how we have been socialized, Blacks are quicker to be seen as dangerous than Whites! [3] On the part of law enforcement, obviously in the Ferguson context, there will have to be seen more and more Blacks and other minorities added to the police force.

Just some thoughts..


Anonymous said...

Until we see our fellow man as just that instead of black or white, Christian or Muslim, American or Russian there will always be conflict. Racism, stereotypes and hate are learned behaviors while Love is intuitive. What we have learned has superseded what we already know.....and that applies to much more than the situation at hand.