Saturday, August 16, 2014

I have a long way to go in race relations in the USA.

I spoke with several people today. People I know and mostly respect. 

I asked some straight forward questions when negative comments were made about Ferguson. One negative comment was, "As soon as the black officer arrived everything was fine." 

So, I asked, "Do you think there is racism in the USA?"

Answers: "Yes, in the past and still today."

Question: "Do you think Blacks hate Whites." (All those I asked were Caucasian.)

Answer: "Most definitely."

Question: "Do you believe there are bad people in the world?"

Answer: "Yes, there are good people and bad people."

Question: "Was Michael Brown, Jr. a bad person?"

Answer: "He stole, didn't he. Are you going to tell us he was a good person?"

Reply, "Yes, I believe he was a young, black man with great potential and everything anyone states is that he was on the right path to success and a happy life."

Question: "You stated Michael Brown, Jr. was a bad person. Did he deserve to die for stealing a package of cigars, if indeed he did steal them?"

Answer: "No, of course not, but, he did steal and I sincerely don't know the particulars of the circumstances that lead to his death. But, if the police officer felt threatened he would defend himself."

Reply: "The missing cigars was not the reason he died. The officer involved, Darren Wilson, did not know about any theft. Michael Brown was participating in demonstrations and he was wounded with one shot by Wilson when he was walking away from the officer after he was told to stop. After Michael Brown, Jr. was shot the first time he stopped and turned with his hands up and Darren Wilson continued to shot him twice more, one in the chest and one in the abdomen. Michael Brown, Jr. fell to the ground and died on the street without a jury, charges or a trial. He died innocently enough, in fear for his life and without the benefit of an EMT or emergency room. Now, do you think he should have died?"

Answer: "There needs to be an investigation." (all stated the same thing)

Reply: "This problem is not about young, black men, although they are frequently the victim. This is about over use of force in our society whereby innocent people without resources and/or good choices and/or social clout are gunned down like animals about to attack a police officer. This is about who has the power to kill and the use of this power. There have been investigations across this country without any police officer going to trial. What occurs after the deaths of these citizens is a lot of shifting of blame and very little acceptance of responsibility or acknowledgement there is something very wrong in this country. The other reason this is not a high priority is because the majority of victims are black. Do you remember the death of Trayvon Martin?"

Answer: "Yes, that was wrong. Zimmerman should be serving time in prison. He stalked the young man and if I were Trayvon I would have fought Zimmerman, too." 

Reply: "Do you think Trayvon was shot because he was black."

Answer: "I don't know." 

Reply: "If you don't know then how can you say Black People hate White People? Isn't that something you don't know, too."

We have a lot of work to do in this country. Our minorities are poorer and segregated and their importance to any city or town isn't necessarily important. They aren't really neighbors. They aren't seen walking to the public school bus everyday. They aren't seen cutting the grass or trimming the hedges or planting annuals every spring. They are marginalized and when there is 'law enforcement talk' about any questionable killing it is the police officer provided with reasonable doubt and without question. All my personal contacts are people I would consider to be reasonable, open minded and fair. I was completely shocked at their opinions. 

There is a lot of racism yet and the media has to carry their fair share of responsibility for the prejudice and mind think. They are carrying the news, the prejudice is built in.