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Thanks to Monday’s ruling of a St. Louis County grand jury choosing not to indict Darren Wilson, a white police officer, in the slaying of 18-year-old Michael Brown, an African-American in the predominately black St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, a much-needed and frank discussion on race relations and use of force by police needs to happen.
Brown’s death—along with the slaying of 12-year-old Tamir Rice for carrying a toy gun—sparked civil unrest that utterly explode into an ugly storm of chaos, destruction and rage late Monday, has spilled over nationally—most notably in Cleveland, with protesters peacefully blocking traffic on the Downtown Shoreway during rush hour.
Whether it is on a random friend’s post, or even in private discussion boards, the hot-button topic of Brown’s death and Wilson acquittal is along racial lines, super-delicate, often nasty, vile and far from civil and logical—which is needed now more than ever.
For all of it’s many gifts in this new age of information, social media was used as a flash point to fan the flames of racism—black and white— and misinformation such as how and why Brown was shot added credibility to the protesters otherwise glorified vandalism.
Before the indictment, many tried to portray Brown as “an angel” gone too soon, and while some may still contend that and now see him as a martyr, commentary online made it seem like he was the new Rodney King of the Social Media Age.
Basically I will use an old saying that I learned many years ago; believe half of what you see and none of what you hear.
When the grand jury reached their decision, based on the many inconsistencies propagated through the media, it showed the lack of credibility of social media and the conclusion of facts and forensic evidence, trumping emotional outcries for racial injustice.
Again, this is just this writer’s own opinion, but due process was done in the fact that Brown was caught committing a robbery, and was unfortunately gunned down by Brown from the front—not the back, as so many would have you believe.
While I will leave this blog as a platform for readers to reach their own conclusions, the objective and non-bias conclusion that I have come to is this; Brown committed a crime, was asked to stand down and move over to the sidewalk, an altercation broke out resulting in Wilson having to fire his weapon after Brown attempted to flee.
Whether or not Brown had his hands up or not will always be debated, but what cannot be debated is that due process was served by the grand jury in putting Wilson on trail for Brown’s death, just that the much-desired result was not reached.
With prominent celebrities such as Kevin Hart, LeBron James and politicians such as Rev. Al Sharpton weighing in via social media, the riots and looting in Ferguson has become the new lightning rod for race relations in present-day America and why discussions are needed to resolve it.
Honestly, what good will destroying your own community do?
It will not bring Brown back from the death, nor will it accomplish the goal of finding Wilson guilty of voluntary manslaughter, all the rioting and senseless destruction has done is show the ugly underbelly of how awful race relations truly are in America.
I say this, not as an African-American, but as a proud citizen of the greatest country on Earth, we are at our most divided time in American history since the Civil War, both politically and socially–which is the seed for today’s race problems–we need to unify as a country once more. Whether you are a Republican, Democrat, black, white, we need to be real Americans once more.
While emotions are still running raw, and a lot of pent-up anger and outrage is now being exorcised, what the Ferguson protestors need to do is focus on asking for a special task force with community leaders on use of force and bettering black and white race relations, instead of making things worse and destroying themselves in the process. #Ferguson
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