Monday, December 1, 2014

Hiding in the minutiae of specifics

So I am only going to say this... both sides of this debate are oversimplifying the complicated issues that this case exposed.

Yes, the facts are pretty clear; Mike Brown committed a crime; he stole five dollars worth of cigarillos. When confronted, he was disrespectful and then attempted to engage in a scuffle with Officer Wilson and he was shot with a graze wound to his hand in the struggle. After that struggle, he took off running and the officer gave chase continuing to fire. I have little issue with this as it is standard protocol; a suspect attempted to steal the officers gun, and I am pretty sure his intent was not to diffuse the situation by stealing the gun.

The evidence also points out, however, that the fatal bullet entered Brown from the top of the head in a downward trajectory. We know this was not at close range, but it is still a fact that Brown’s head was lower than the gun when he was shot with the fatal bullet.

But the truth is that these are simply the facts of an individual case and, while media pundits on both sides of the argument want to make this a single case issue, it is not. Oh, sure, those that are interviewed and willing to talk are the ones who do so in a manner that does not do justice to what the true issue is: long term institutional racism that DOES exist whether we want to accept it or not.

Last week I did a little article about this case and pointed out that the media is a main culprit in our interpretation of events. There are approximately 37,500 arrests every single day in America. My point then was that every day in America there are 37,125 arrests made without incident or police abuse. And where is the news reporting this very good number? Non existent. However, if FBI statistics are to be believed approximately one percent of arrests contain excessive force and police brutality that is criminal in nature. One percent sounds small… but of 37,500 that means that every single day 375 people have excessive force/brutality used against them. That is unacceptable.

The vast majority of people who have this excessive force or brutality used against them are minorities. That is just a fact that we can no longer ignore; except right now the media is creating its own racial divide to keep us on the same path that we say we want to get away from. Any instance of police abuse is unacceptable… 375 is beyond intolerable.

The Rams players are American citizens, as such, they have every right to raise their arms in protest of a system they feel is broken. Their employer, if they so choose, can punish them for doing so in the fashion they did, but the NFL has decided not to… who are we to question their choice of the right to free speech? That is part of the problem. We look at the evidence from our own perspective and tell others that they do not have a right to their feelings? I do not know what it is like to grow up black in America. I was raised in one of the whitest states in the nation. I have no clue what it feels like to feel as if no one cares about what happens to us in my community. But I do know that “DWB” is real. I have seen it in action and it is abominable that in 2014 we still condone this with arguments.

The media does not actually want to talk about the true issues. They have advertisers to please and their programs are produced to appeal to specific demographics to keep those advertising dollars flowing. The community of Ferguson is one we will never be able to understand as we do not live there.

Last week was a ridiculous version of manufactured consent gone wild. Rioting and looting simply to take advantage of what COULD have been a real game changer. Instead, all we did was watch as two groups of people further distanced themselves from each other and further entrenched the racial divide that exists in this nation.

We need to stop arguing about this one case and create a dialogue about the REAL problems. As long as we allow ourselves to be consumed by the minutiae of this individual case, there will be no growth in the dialogue that needs to happen.

Fear mongering is alive and well in this case. We are kept in fear to avoid an ugliness just under the surface. There is an ugliness few want to accept or face, so they change the conversation.
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