After the fatal police shooting of unarmed 18-year-old Missouri teen Michael “Big Mike” Brown, President Obama urged people to have a discussion ‘in a way that heals, not in a way that wounds.’”
So, what healing discussion should we have? Perhaps one that says: we are not what the media depicts us to be.
Once word got out that Brown had lost his life in close range at the hand of Ferguson, Missouri Officer Darren Wilson, nine people ranging in age from 19-38 took to looting and rioting Foot Locker and Princess Beauty Supply Store–each of the nine face felony charges relating to burglary and theft along West Florissant.
But if you recall media reports over the first few days of after Brown had been slain, the entire Ferguson County was up in arms and no one was safe.
Do the majority of black people agree with looting and/or rioting? No. That is never the answer. And according to Professor Brittney Cooper, “the answer also isn’t preaching to black people about ‘black-on-black’ crime without full acknowledgment that most crime is intraracial. The answer is not having a higher standard for the people than for the police.”
It seems that when black people get mad when unarmed teenagers are gunned down, the spectator response to looting rioting is “you’re driving business away,” from conservative commentators like Glenn Beck. There is a voice that is being stifled and when our black president finally comments, as mildly as he did, you have commentators like Todd Starnes from FOX news saying, “Pres. Obama is just looking out for his people.”
Which people are you referring to, Todd? The American people or black people?
When black people can’t see clearly through painful eyes and take to looting or other forms of expression, they are labeled as domestic terrorists. But when right-wing “terrorists” in America blow up abortion clinics, shoot Jewish community centers, encourage modern day KKK meetings or cut off the water supply to people in Detroit, they are following their constitutional right to have freedom of expression. The facts don’t lie.
Marc Lamont Hill, a writer and host for the Huffington Posts says, “A Black man in America is killed every 28 hours by police or vigilantes. THAT, not rioting, is domestic terrorism…”
The issue is finding a way to move past the anger. Anger is what makes people act out in ways that they wish they hadn’t in retrospect. But how do you comfort growing negative feelings towards a nonchalant judicial system? The reality is for the black community is that the justice system simply does not measure up to our standards. Numerous cases of unsolved murders, no due process or restitution for a victim’s loved ones are what the black community sees regularly. These emotions cannot be put into words because while prejudice towards black people does exist, it’s rare to find an openly racist cop or a judge. The prejudice is nuanced; it’s woven into the system, and it builds with each interaction until, at last, it results in unequal justices.
There is no comfort that can arrive fast enough, or resolve that can come quick enough. People are concerned for their black husbands, sons and brothers.
Brittney Cooper says, “I refuse to condemn the folks engaged in these acts, because I respect black people’s right to cry out, shout and be mad as hell that another one of our kids is dead at the hands of the police. The police mantra is ‘to serve and to protect.’ But with black folks, we know that’s not the mantra. The mantra for many, many officers when dealing with black people is apparently, ‘kill or be killed.'”
But again, we are not what the media depicts us to be. We are strong descendants from King and Queens of Africa. We are trailblazers in technology, music, medicine, sports, art and chosen heirs to the Father’s Kingdom.
Malcolm West, 26, tells West Angles Online, “I took place in the Hands Up Don’t Shoot rally right where it all happened. Don’t believe what you are seeing in the media. Things are peaceful. No one is rioting or looting.”
Married couple, Cory James, 30 and Rebecca James, 35, both agreed that the city was as peaceful as it has ever been. Rebecca says, “All the years spent in St. Louis, living in the inner-city and suburbs of St. Louis, I have a diverse perspective of how this city runs. The air here is peaceful. People are looking out for one another, sharing their food or water with each other [during the protest].” Cory says, “taking part in this rally made me feel like justice was prevailing. Outside of marriage and conceiving a child, this is the most exciting experience ever in life. My wife and I feel like the new era Civil Rights Activists.”
Hands Up Rally in New York
Hands up don’t shoot in Kansas City
Most media outlets are designed to incite an outcry and not necessarily designed to report the news. Stories are fabricated, wounds altered. But we cannot let our emotions get caught up in a situation that may not exist. Continue to pray and protest peacefully. Hold your loved ones a little tighter and believe that better days are coming.
Remember the God you serve. Remember His promises to you. Hold on to His faithfulness.