United We Grow Divided We Fail

The other night, I sat with my family and watched the announcement from Ferguson in shock and disbelief…not because I expected the announcement to be different but because they were actually making this announcement in the dead of night in a community that was already deeply wounded. The fact that not one person thought against that decision is still appalling. Did he/she/they honestly think that the people “of”…and “not so of” Ferguson would NOT riot?? Let me be clear in saying that I definitely do not condone such violence and destruction but then again, I don’t condone a person not even getting a trial for his part in the murder that led to this but…what do I know?

I hated seeing the destruction of Ferguson, the teargas, smoke, gunshots, fire, armored vehicles…a revolution that could have been avoided. I watched my son care and then not care because in his words…

“What’s the point?”

I didn’t expect everyone to feel my grief in hearing that decision but I also didn’t expect such hate. Through Facebook, I watched people from my own local community and learning community cheering about an officer not charged while justifying his actions with Mike Brown’s apparent lack of respect for the law because death by firing squad is the new accepted penalty for the unarmed fleeing.

I think that the comment that hurt the worst was this comment…”I don’t understand how people are completely excusing the actions of this marijuana smoking thug”…or something to that nature…because this was from a fellow educator with a now questionable belief of what constitutes “a thug”.

Maybe I expected too much in people understanding the ramifications of living in a community that has been historically plagued with racial divisiveness.  It’s a bit odd but I thought that people would have understood that in a community like Ferguson, a fair grand jury was just as impossible as a fair trial. Unfortunately, I had to endure reading all about the “crime excusing” evidence and wait for it…the inclusion of three black grand jury members. (Yes, someone actually mentioned that)

Personally, this was tough because I could not think about Mike Brown without thinking about my own brother, a young man who has had his own bouts with the law in many forms. He is days aways from being off probation and I have watched him struggle for years with finding his place in life through multiple crimes and even a gunshot wound that was inches away from taking his life. Yet, he is still here and thankfully doing quite well. Sadly, I imagine that many of the same people would have also ignored my brother’s right to live.

I think of my son and the road that lies ahead for him. As much as I am fighting like crazy to help him become the man that he was created to be…I struggle with knowing that he too could in fact make some bad decisions. I pray that he refrains from being a chalk mark on the ground because I can only imagine what people might have to think about him.

Honestly, there is no imagining what people think of my brother or my son because I read what people thought. My son…my brother…my cousins…my friends…are all Mike Brown. At least we are clear on that part.

Call me naive but maybe I expected a little bit of humanity and humility. I didn’t get that at all. What I got instead was a big dose of “Oh my gosh…did you really just type that and hit enter?”

What Now?

If this case has shown nothing, it has clearly drawn a line showcasing what people believe. Please stop saying that this is not about race because it is. The first step to healing is acceptance. Right now, we’re still stuck in denial. We can’t move forward until we face the obvious.

Comments 1

  1. I am white. I cannot imagine how it feels to be you on this no matter how I try. I worry about he parts of our justice system that are broken and unfixed because the people with the authority to fix them are unaffected in large part by their brokenness. I have a son who wil be out on parole soon and face awful discrimination that comes with being a convicted felon. Some elements of this are not only about race.
    I am Christian. I believe that the true power to solve much of this lies in the union of people of faith of all colors and may have to begin with people of MY color admitting that there is something wrong with the system. No one can be surprised by President Obama saying that something is broken and wanting to fix it. If our next president is white and HE is willing to declare the same thing –now that would get the attention this deserves.
    I fear that this will get lost in the reaction to the post decision violence which will serve NO useful purpose. I abhor it’ you abhor it, even Michael’s parents condemn it. Yet it goes on because it has a life and agenda of its own. Stealing hams from a neighborhood deli will serve NO one in this except the one eats the ham.
    My pastor ( @bobrobertsjr) says that the larger community of our faith is key to this and I agree. Legislation never changed anyone’s heart, though it can get our attention and give our faith a chance to work its miracle. We should seek the legislation necessary to effect change, but know that the ultimate change has to happen at a whole different level. Understand I am not talking about the church here — that institution is almost as broken in many instances. I am, however, talking about my faith, your faith, and narrowing the color chasm that lies between.
    This whole thing has to matter to me, white or not, Texan or Missourian, because that bird will eventually come home to roost. Because it is the right thing for it to matter. Because this is not just your dismay. It is ours.

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