With each of these shootings/chokehold deaths/stand-your-ground atrocities, police and the judicial system are seen as enforcers of an unjust status quo. Our anger rises, and riots demanding justice ensue. The news channels interview everyone and pundits assign blame.
I’m not saying the protests in Ferguson aren’t justified—they are. In fact, we need more protests across the country. Where’s our Kent State? What will it take to mobilize 4 million students in peaceful protest? Because that’s what it will take to evoke actual change. The middle class has to join the poor and whites have to join African-Americans in mass demonstrations, in ousting corrupt politicians, in boycotting exploitative businesses, in passing legislation that promotes economic equality and opportunity, and in punishing those who gamble with our financial future.
Otherwise, all we’re going to get is what we got out of Ferguson: a bunch of politicians and celebrities expressing sympathy and outrage. If we don’t have a specific agenda—a list of exactly what we want to change and how—we will be gathering over and over again beside the dead bodies of our murdered children, parents, and neighbors."
This is probably the best thing I’ve yet read concerning Ferguson, Mike Brown and all the background issues. Kareem really nailed it.
Injustice makes God angry, it made Jesus angry, and as Christians it should certainly make us angry too.
Don’t rationalize it, defend it, apologize for it - speak truth to power and stand up for the oppressed. Our attitude should be informed by Scripture, especially the many (many) passages that address injustice and defending the oppressed against the powerful, NOT BY POLITICS.
Open your eyes, consider the history of our country for the last 400 years or so, and realize that the system today is still - not surprisingly - full of bias along racial lines. Blaming the recipients of that bias and oppression for their situation, and suggesting that they simply haven’t worked hard enough to get out of it, is insulting to their intelligence and to your own, and does nothing to solve the problem.
saying “well, he shoplifted, what did he expect?” (he didn’t; the piece of the video you saw on TV has been pretty carefully edited by the same people who have been beating and arresting reporters without charge, issuing death threats on camera and flat-out lying about events, which tells you how much credence you should give to the video they released) - this is very much akin to saying “well, she shouldn’t have been wearing that dress - *it’s her own fault*, what did she think was going to happen?”
remember: just because you personally aren’t the target of systematic bias, violence and oppression does not mean it doesn’t exist. asserting that if minorities just acted better or worked harder or pulled up their pants or learned to speak English better or [irrelevant cultural touchstone here] that the system would no longer be rigged against them is like saying that the answer to violence against women is the hijab.
So, when the police are dressed like combat troops, it’s not a fashion faux pas, it’s a fundamental misunderstanding of who they are. Forget the armored vehicles with the gun turrets, forget the faceless, helmeted, anonymous Robocops, and just listen to how these “policemen” talk. Look at the video as they’re arresting the New York Times and Huffington Post reporters. Watch the St Louis County deputy ordering everyone to leave, and then adding: “This is not up for discussion.”
Really? You’re a constable. You may be carrying on like the military commander of an occupying army faced with a rabble of revolting natives, but in the end you’re a constable. And the fact that you and your colleagues in that McDonald’s are comfortable speaking to your fellow citizens like this is part of the problem. The most important of the "nine principles of good policing" (formulated by the first two commissioners of the Metropolitan Police in 1829 and thereafter issued to every officer joining the force) is a very simple one: The police are the public and the public are the police. Not in Ferguson. Long before the teargassing begins and the bullets start flying, the way these guys talk is the first indication of how the remorseless militarization has corroded the soul of American policing."