The streets of Ferguson went up in flames after the verdict was rendered concerning the non-indictment of Officer Darren Wilson for killing the unarmed teen Michael Brown. Brown’s stepfather has now been accused of inciting a riot by repeatedly yelling, “Burn this b***ch down!” This yell of frustration, or episode of raw emotion, came as the mother of the slain teen broke down uncontrollably in despair.
Acts of violence are not the answer for change, neither is the criticism of the onlookers. The judgmental disposition against these people who are ignorantly showing support to the Brown family while releasing anger and frustration in an inappropriate and unacceptable manner adds to the problem. Instead, consider what could happen if people across the country would stop and think of what they can do to help those who have historically been oppressed.
Many people are saying racism no longer exists and that change came long ago. The grave reality is racism is alive and well across ALL races and as long as people act as if it does not exist nothing will change and the problems will not get solved. In light of the verdict, coupled with last night’s actions, those that sit in harsh judgement should stop and read Ferguson’s history on racial tension. Perhaps more people will understand their anger and frustration, even while disagreeing with the method of expression.
The acts of outrage, violence, looting and destruction were out of order – without question, but when people are overtaken with hopelessness they generally do not stop to think rationally and make sound decisions. Also it is important to note the fury demonstrated upon hearing the verdict was not all relative to the Michael Brown murder. This outcry came on the heels of years of oppression and civil unrest.
Brown’s stepfather, who abruptly turned to a host of people and began yelling repeatedly, “Burn this b***h down!” was obviously distraught as he watched the woman he loved cry hysterically. It is painful beyond explanation for a man to see his loved one hurting without a means to fix the problem or stop the pain. Although his method was unorthodox, if one looks a little closer into the background of these residents they would have a better understanding.
The family’s attorney has said multiple times this case was handled poorly. The Brown family objected to the prosecutor from the very beginning, so of course they feel slighted. Brown’s parents feel as if they have been treated unfairly and their son’s death has yet to be vindicated.
It is amazing to some that others who have never been African-American, lived in Ferguson, nor experienced the oppression of many minorities – not just African-Americans – would have the audacity to sit in judgment. In the heat of the tension and pain these people were feeling it seems that others who were not directly affected would have held their “social media” tongues and found a human ear to express their disdain.
The insensitivity of other races during this tragedy has been uncalled for and unethical. Does everyone have the right to their opinion, yes, but they also have the right to be responsible with it. It seems history is a great indicator of future expectation and with this in mind the outcome was just as many within the black community predicted. Nevertheless, this did not change their level of hope for change.
Officer Darren Wilson was not indicted in the Brown murder and this angered many, however what was most painful was the absence of “the need” for a trial. The absence of a trial was perceived differently depending on one’s experience. Again, take a minute with all of the tablets and Smartphones in existence to Google Ferguson’s history and perhaps it will jar a different type of emotion for anyone with a heart for justice.
While it is true that Brown’s stepfather may have incited a riot by yelling to a group of angry protesters, it is also true that he was a victim the pain on a higher level. What was witnessed as he yelled out to the crowd was an act of raw emotion unharnessed. Acts of violence are not the answer for change; in the aftermath, people all across the country should step outside of their judgmental boxes and strategize on a better tomorrow for all humanity.
Opinion by Cherese Jackson (Virginia)