Each week I write a political issue that affects you and the world around you.
This week’s “Weekly Political Report”: Race “Does” Matter in America (The Ferguson Edition)
This post was inspired by my mentor Dr. Cornel West
(Photo credit: Flickr User Joe Topichak)
On Aug, 9th 2014, America and the world witnessed yet again the death of another unarmed African American teenager by the hands of a law enforcer. Michael Brown, a 18 year old, was fatally shot by 28 year old police officer Darren Wilson, and has started an uproar in the streets of Ferguson, Missouri. Now in its 11th day, there has been no sign of peaceful resolution, to either curb the violence between Ferguson citizens and police officials or reduce the armory and weapons of the police force (military tanks, tear gas, etc.)
While its still unclear of what really happened between the teenager and the police officer, Americans are stilled faced with this divisive status quo:
An unarmed black male shot (multiple times) by an armed white police officer–no sugar coating.
Rather than talk about the evidence of this case or the witnesses’ accounts of what actually happened, I will instead talk about why “Race ‘Does’ Matter in America” from a political stand point and what must be done in Ferguson, Missouri (and across America) to prevent this from happening again–using concrete facts and examples.
Why Does Race Matter in America?
From a political standpoint, we are a nation of immigrants and “Race” implicitly drives the day in America–whether it be socioeconomic status, jobs, voting rights, immigration, foreign policy, the justice system, etc.. We come from different walks of life in different shapes, sizes, faiths, and shades of color. And what Americans (and citizens around the world) need to have is “perspective.” To recognize that each race has a history of discrimination, and not be so quick to “brush it off”.
This incident of Michael Brown is a tragedy and comes from a long history racial discrimination which young black men and women in America have been wrongfully targeted by law enforcement or the justice system for no reason except for the color of their skin–dating back to the Civil Rights and Segregation era. And it is because of the unwillingness of people (like the law enforcement) to not recognize this history, that we see “Race and Police Brutality” again and again in American Television–whether it be the post-Civil Rights era (like Rodney King) or today’s era (like Trayvon Martin & Eric Garner). The history is there, and will repeat itself until it is recognized. Brown University and other sources have published this report:
- St. Louis. situated just below of Ferguson (where the shooting took place) is the 9th most segregated metro area in America, as of 2010. (Brown University)
- In a town that’s over 60% black, Ferguson has: a police chief and a mayor that is white, only one city council that is black, one school board member is black, and just 3 out of 53 police officers are black. (US Census; City of Ferguson; Ferguson)
- In 2013, Ferguson police officials have arrested 483 black people while 36 white people were arrested–and when Ferguson police officers arrest and search black people for contraband, only 1 in 5 are caught with them verses white people in Ferguson which is much higher, 1 in 3 (Missouri Attorney General)
These are the facts and they are not sugar coated–you cannot deny them. Many Americans, who will read this, won’t view it as a big issue (versus what is going on now in Ferguson, Missouri). But, politically speaking,
“If you have a body of government that is disproportionate to the size and views of one minority population (a minority classified by gender, race, or religion) in one particular region, the results are catastrophic!
Political unrest is bound to happen, example being today. This is a political issue as much as it is a racial one. However, the core reason why I think “Race ‘Does’ Matter in America” (which goes back to having “perspective”) is the current crises in Iraq.
In July 2014, I did a radio talk at UR Business Network on the collapse of the Post-Iraqi War government. And what I said in that talk–as to “why the new Iraqi government collapsed?”–was this: the Shia government (the current Iraqi Government) marginalized their minority tribes the Sunnis and Kurds–especially the Sunnis– with their heavy armor military presence and force. This in return led to the growing opposition against the Shia government!
So it doesn’t matter where you are in the world. As long as you have a body of government that marginalizes one minority group by police or military force, you will always have political unrest in the streets.
The political disaster in Iraq is happening in the same fashion in Ferguson, Missouri. You can call the Mike Brown shooting “a freak accident” or “self-defense” all you want, but given the concrete facts from credible sources and the political perspective of having a disproportionate government overwhelm a minority population, the Michael Brown shooting incident cannot be brushed aside nor can “Race” in America.
Not to say that the government in Ferguson, Missouri will collapse, but the elements of political terror and unrest will continue unless there is a solid conversation on “Race” in Ferguson and a body of government that will represent all minorities–which is similar to what America is doing in Iraq today.
What must be done in Ferguson, Missouri (and across America) to prevent this from happening again?
First, bring Darren Wilson to trial and let the system work under Eric Holder’s watch. Second, Ferguson citizens and the police force must establish a truce of non-violence (during and after the Michael Brown trial) and start having a serious dialogue on racial disparity in their city–re-evaluate the current city government (and law enforcement) and find ways to discourage racial profiling and encourage racial diversity that will reflect the minority population of Ferguson, then, Third, have Perspective!
The sooner Americans, and citizens across the globe, have this perspective of not marginalizing a minority group, the better. The city government of Ferguson, Missouri, by all means, must not reflect the same intrusive acts done by the current “collapsed” government of Iraq–it cannot oppress or overwhelm any minority population by military tanks or force.
We are Americans and we treat Americans as our own–Michael Brown is an American! Like it or not!
Mistakes have been made in the Michael Brown incident, but Ferguson and the State of Missouri can still resolve this matter by reducing the huge racial disparity in the workforce and have a government (and police force) that is reflective of the African-American community.
The ultimate goal, in my opinion, is to set up a training course, for law enforcement and Americans, on “Racial Harassment” (like “Sexual Harassment”) that will teach people the existence of racial discrimination in America and learn how to conduct themselves in a professional manner to prevent acts of racial prejudice–and I call on President Obama to enact this legislation.
For more people and politics go to www.urbusinessnetwork.com
Here is a source where I pulled my facts from: Ferguson is 60% Black. Virtually All its Cops are White (Mother Jones)
DISCLAIMER: THIS IS MY OWN POLITICAL OPINION. FOR QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS PLEASE DIRECT THEM TO MY CONTACT PAGE
FYI: This will be my last Weekly Political Report for Fall 2014. For more of my political editorials go and click on “Weekly Political Report” located on the right hand side of this page below my profile pic. You can also go to Archives which is located above, next to Home Page, read more of political editorials
If you like this editorial, please send it to friends and family, so we can stop the violence in Ferguson, Missouri
Also here are two YouTube videos, that I found very helpful, to explain the war in Iraq and an idea of a training course on “racial harassment”.
This video is part 2 out of 5 videos of an documentary done by Bill Cosby. I recommend you watch all the parts.