I genuinely believed that overt racism was a thing of the past and that underlying racism posed more of a threat in modern day society. I thought that racism in 2014 no longer meant Nazi supporters and KKK militants. I believed that today our main problem was to tackle institutionalized racism and subconscious white supremacy. I was wrong. Racism incorporates all of the above and more.
After everything I have witnessed and experienced in my own life, somehow I am still shocked by the treatment of the Ferguson case. I am dazed as to why anyone would support Darren Wilson, the policemen who murdered Mike Brown, an unarmed black teen. The hashtag #SupportDarrenWilson has gained momentum on Twitter and over $100,000 has been raised aid of him, now exceeding the amount donated to Brown, but why?
An unarmed teenager was shot multiple times and no arrest has been made. Multiple witnesses have said that Mike Brown had his hands up when Wilson shot him. So, on what grounds do they support Wilson. What evidence apart from the word of one man, Wilson himself do these people have to show that Wilson had the right to murder Brown. It appears as if the $100,000 is a reward.
It has recently been announced that the jury responsible for evaluating Brown’s death and concluding whether or not to file criminal charges against Wilson, is composed of six white men, three white women, two black women and one black man. In an area where two thirds of the population is black it raises questions as to why the composition of the jury is so racially unequal. Nine votes will be needed to indict Wilson.
Since the shooting, an police officer who has been involved in Ferguson has been suspended for racial discriminatory remarks. Dan Page, who worked in Ferguson during the protests, was suspended after a video surfaced showing him making racist, sexist and homophobic comments. During the speech, Page declared himself “a killer.”
I’m sure, I am not the only one who is wondering why he felt so comfortable to openly utter hatred. Is this the culture of the US police and military?…A terrifying thought.
Two other officers have also been suspended for violent and inflammatory remarks. A video of Police officer Lt. Ray Albers surfaced of him aggressively pointing a weapon at a crowd of Ferguson protesters.
Additionally, Matthew Pappert, posted notes on Facebook, including a statement that allegedly said Ferguson protesters should be “put down like rabid dogs.”
Thankfully, for the most part I have been following grass roots journalists who have migrated to Missouri, finding innovative ways to tell the stories of the community. I am forever grateful for these men and women who have made it their mission to broadcast the truth.
However, other network stations continue to perpetuate untruths. They continue to dehumanise the African Americans involved, reporting predominantly violence and looting, refusing to understand why these people may be so angry. Refusing to report that ‘One black male is killed every 28 hours in the US’ this being by police officers or George Zimmermann type vigilantes. Refusing to acknowledge that the community is involved in mainly peaceful protest. These stations are refusing to report the black women who have been arranging organised, calm demonstrations or the military style policing that has been enforced since the shooting. There is so much injustice that occurs as a result of misrepresentation and biased stories, this is criminal.
It seems to me that not much has changed in recent decades, there may be an African- American president but the shooting of so many black men is reminiscent of the lynchings in the 60s. I’m hopeful that the shooting of Mike Brown will be a catalyst for the new Civil Rights Movement and that from this unrest and change will come.