America the free, the beautiful, the progressive.
Unless you happen to be a young black man, then you are automatically a thief. Or a rapist. Or a murderer, and general delinquent who smokes weed, and therefore deserves to die.
Now, that is a strong statement. However, over the course of the past five years, America’s melting pot has reached the point of boiling over, as, time and time again, minorities are murdered in the streets, their killers going free by and large, and profiting as well.
Welcome to post-racial America, where guilty until proven innocent is the new normal, and minor crimes such as theft deserve an on-the-spot death sentence.
The same excuses are trotted out like show ponies, by media outlets and Facebook analysts with degrees in armchair investigation alike. “If this was a black cop shooting an unarmed white male, what do you think would happen then?” Surely not the same level of media coverage, but this precise incident has happened, with the cop being acquitted of all charges. This cop did not get a fat deal offered to him by a news outlet for an exclusive interview. There are no kick-starters being funded in support of his acts. This particular murder is in equal parts a profiling issue and police state issue, in which cops are granted a level of nigh-immunity for their actions. This is definitely a problem, this also is not the most pressing incident at hand.
The problem at hand is the fact that these killings are happening in higher frequency in minority neighborhoods, and, in the case of Ferguson, the straw that broke the camel’s back. Mike Brown, whether or not he committed that robbery, did not deserve to be gunned down , nor did his body deserve to lie in the street for four hours, a half-assed attempt at blocking the crime scene erected around him.
Take into consideration one of the more recent incidents – the Tamir Rice shooting. Reports of a twelve-year-old playing with a pistol in a gazebo were phoned in to the Cleveland Police Department. The caller stated that he believed the gun was a fake one in the call to 911. That much can be agreed on by the general public. From there, facts deviate into “they said” versus video evidence. The gun in question was in fact a pellet gun, sans orange toy indicator cap. Police reports versus surveillance video paint two different tales: testimony from the cop claims that he did not follow orders to put his hands up.
Two seconds. That is the approximate amount of time between the cop car coming to a stop and the police firing on him. Then there is the three minutes and forty-nine seconds between the call for help and first-aid being administered. Did those almost four minutes have that much of an impact on his survival? It may have. That is not stopping public reaction, however. How can you justify the murder of a twelve-year-old because his father has previous convictions for domestic abuse? You cannot, full-stop. Tell that to the news sites that are trotting out this story, however, dragging his name through the mud.
There is also Eric Garner and Oscar Grant, if you want to check out a couple of the more high-profile cases over the past few years. Michael Brown is not an isolated case, a one-off.
The trending hashtag, #BlackLivesMatter is another sticky topic and it has been hijacked to push a number of agendas. Looking at you, Matt Walsh and your incredibly shitty opinion piece on outlawing abortions to preserve black lives. This is not an opportunity to piggyback on a larger cause to push your own questionable agendas. We know that black-on-black crime is a problem, thanks for the reminder. It needs work, but what it does not need is commentary from the cheap seats. Abortion is a whole other ball game, but we will not even delve into pro-life versus pro-choice, with a healthy dose of bootstrapping and not wanting to help contribute to the upbringing and care of a child whose life you forced to happen by not allowing an abortion.
The counter-hashtag/trending topic “All Lives Matter” is another issue in which people attempt to hijack a conversation that needs to be held. Yes, all lives matter, and no one is disputing that, but now the issue at hand is that minority lives are being severely undervalued in comparison to non-minorities. The same people championing this counter-hashtag are undoubtedly the same ones who take offense to being told “Happy Holidays,” rather than “Merry Christmas.” No one is valuing one above another, this is the focus that needs to be addressed because it is most prevalent.
Stop trying to make everything directly relevant to yourself.
Fact of the matter is that the Michael Brown shooting was not one isolated event. This is one shooting in a long line of many, both law enforcement and otherwise. No case is ever black and white, or black versus white, in these cases. Some go punished, many more do not. Protests are being labelled as riots, because this is what the news outlets pick up on—not the quiet protests, but the disruptive, destructive elements that are a small part of a whole. No, not every protestor is out there breaking windows and looting stores. This level of protest creates an unsafe environment and an intense level of civil unrest, no one is lauding this. What the ultimate goal is to bring attention to these occurrences in a time where we have supposedly progressed past our bigotry and racism because there’s “equality” in the world.
If your Black Friday shopping is disrupted by BART being blocked, imagine how Thanksgiving must have felt for the Brown family—their whole lives have been disrupted while Darren Wilson walks away. These minor breaks in your routine are not hurting you, save for causing annoyances. What is hurting is the public sentiment of anti-protestors, the pro-Wilson supporters. The fact that Brown’s mother never married his father, and that his grandma raised him means that dysfunctional minority family units are the issue to these people. The lack of family values creates thieves. Because, you know, criminals are never spawned when born in wedlock.
You may not like how people are reacting to this incident, and the resulting court decision. However, by opening your mouth, and regurgitating quotes from off-brand “news” sites such as “Right News Daily,” or “Conservative Now,” you are not helping the issue. Nor are you helping with blanket statements such as calling protestors “uneducated, welfare-grubbing idiots” and scoffing that they need “real jobs.” Stop undervaluing the problems of others because they do not apply to you, nor do they fall in line with your own social/political agenda.
You are justified to your opinion and free to voice them, but you need to not freak out and throw out shitty infographics that boil down to a lot of stupid text over a photo as your “checkmate, protestors” offensive to being questioned. While you are at it, stop side-stepping around the valid questions posed to you, and patting yourself on the back when you manage to turn the debate inward, to black-on-black crime, or questioning why Obama is not promoting healthy family ideals in minority families. Pretty sure we all know what the reaction would be if Obama started a campaign to encourage family togetherness in minorities.
You may not be part of the “problem” as it is. You may say you are “color-blind” and claim that “facts are facts,” behind your phone screen, sharing articles you barely skimmed just to look as if you are aware of current events, but you definitely are not helping in moving toward resolution.
*This is an editorial piece and does not necessarily reflect the views of the staff or the publication.