Monday, August 18, 2014

John Oliver, Ferguson, and Mike Brown

I've been thinking about doing a post on what's been going on in Ferguson. But really the words escape me. The problem is so complex that I know my words won't do it justice. However, John Oliver does a beautiful job summing up the problems behind what's currently going on in Ferguson. It's definitely worth the 15 minutes.

My mind keeps going back to Mike Brown and my heart just breaks for him.  18 years old. I remember when I was 18. You haven't experience life at 18 yet. There's just so much you just haven' seen, done, or experienced. You haven't had even a decent heartbreak yet. There's already such a senseless waste of life in the young black male community for treading down the wrong path. I don't know Mike Brown, I don't know the type of kid he was or the man he would become. But he was on his way to college, to try to better himself. That just doesn't seem like the wrong path to me.

There are a lot of questions left to be answered. But no answer will be able to justify shooting an unarmed 18 year old. If he were white, no answer would be able to justify shooting an.... unarmed 18 year old. If he were Asian, no answer would bel able to justify shooting an.... unarmed 18 year old. If he were Latino, no answer would be able to justify an.... unarmed 18 year old. What I am pleasantly surprised to see is that this isn't lost on the public. While it's unavoidable to discuss race in this situation, I'm finding that all communities are upset by the situation.  This is a human rights issues as much as it is a racial issue.

But again, my mind travels back to Mike Brown. I was thinking about him when I was driving for hours and it finally dawned on me. Mike Brown is my brother. I mean that Mike brown could have been my brother. I look at him and I see my little brother. I see Treyvon Martin and I see my nephews. I see Eric Garner and I see my brother-in-law. And suddenly I have genuine fear in my heart. Will one of my brothers get pulled over one day and scare a trigger happy cop? Will one of my nephews walk to the store for candy and take a short cut down the wrong street and scare a white man and loose his life for it?

Suddenly I'm afraid of having a son.  How will I protect him from a world that seems to be built against him? Is there a city I should move to where he would be safe?  Should I move to the best neighborhood with the best schools and white-wash him? Would that make him safer? Less likely to be racially profiled or discriminated against? Would I have to teach him how to talk to cops. How not to seem intimidating. Make sure to say yes sir and no sir when you're unfairly stopped while minding your own business. To control your anger when you're being treated a certain way because of the color of your skin. To make sure you're unassuming and not to hang out in large groups of black people unless you want to draw the attention of cops. Should I teach him that although he is as American as the next person, his right to bear arms would likely get him killed or arrested? How do you raise a black son in America?

Maybe I should just pray for daughters. While the black experience is still filled with challenges, it's easier for females. I don't carry the same disdain and fear as black males do for cops. I don't think about whether or not I appear threatening when walking down the street. I'll take being perceived to have a bad attitude any day over being shot unarmed for walking down the street. Maybe I should just pray for daughters.