If America was a civilized society, or remotely true to its label as a nation founded on equality for all, no human being on Earth would have predicted the decision not to indict the white Ferguson police officer who gunned down an unarmed African American teenager, Michael Brown. However, America is not a civilized society and the concept of equality for all its citizens is exactly that; a concept. In fact, what America really has always been is a nation founded on the principles of apartheid, or the policy of racial segregation and political and economic discrimination against non-whites.
The decision not to indict Darren Wilson was as predictable as the decision to announce that the killer was innocent at night and the Missouri governor’s declaration of a state of emergency a week before the grand jury reached its pre-determined conclusion. No American should delude themselves that the grand jury’s “verdict” was ever going to resemble justice, because as the past few years, in particular, have demonstrated, the idea of killing unarmed African American youth with impunity is as deeply rooted in Americana as calling out the military to suppress African Americans’ constitutional rights to peaceably protest.
It is important to remember, that within a week of Michael Brown’s murder, four other young, unarmed African American males were gunned down by white police officers who were, like Wilson, exonerated of any wrongdoing. It is just the way it is in apartheid America, and just like after the murder of unarmed African American teenager Trayvon Martin, the rage over racially-motivated murders will die down until the next young unarmed African American male is gunned down and the African American community is portrayed as dangerous; that is the message white supremacists, Ferguson police, and conservatives hope Americans take away from Ferguson over the past few months.
When Missouri Governor Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency, his reasoning and statements defending his decision revealed that his only regard was protecting white people from African Americans. Nixon said, “As part of our ongoing efforts to plan and be prepared for any contingency, it is necessary to have resources in place to support law enforcement and protect those exercising their right to free speech.” Nixon said the national guard is prepared to secure command posts, fire stations and other public buildings, as well as free up law enforcement officers to “remain focused on protecting constitutional rights;” whose rights Nixon fails to mention.
As NAACP President Cornell William Brooks said, “Governor Nixon’s decision to declare a state of emergency without evidence of violence or danger only threatens to stir up tensions and denigrate the peaceful efforts of countless non-violent activists.” Brooks also rightly noted that Nixon’s declaration was “premature in its application and presumptuous to the hundreds of peaceful demonstrators who have embraced their Constitutional right to protest.” Nixon defended his actions by claiming that “All people in the St. Louis region deserve to feel safe in their communities and to make their voices heard without fear of violence or intimidation;” but he was not referring to the African American community that have faced police violence and intimidation while protesting peaceably in the wake of the Michael Brown murder.
Nixon said. “Public safety demands that we are fully prepared for any contingency,” and in apartheid America, it includes using the national guard to suppress peaceful protestors who are angry and holding demonstrations over the Michael Brown killing and that of yet another young black man by a St. Louis police officer. At least President Obama finally acknowledged that the reaction to apartheid, injustice, and racially-motivated murders by police officers is justified.
The President said, “the angry reaction was understandable,” and that the “police need to work with the community, not against the community” and that “this (racial injustice) isn’t just an issue for Ferguson. It’s an issue for America.” An issue, he said, “that communities of color aren’t making up.” However, he also said “that progress won’t come by throwing bottles, smashing car windows, vandalizing property, and hurting anyone” and “talked about ways that concerns can be channeled constructively.” The question, though, is how do a suppressed people channel their concerns in an apartheid nation constructively when just the idea of peaceful protests over the gunning down of unarmed Black youth engenders a militarized response? Human beings can only take so much suppression and violence before they abandon peace, and over the past few years, people of color have exhibited incredible restraint in the onslaught against them by white supremacists whether it is Republicans thwarting their voting rights, or white police officers murdering their children.
President Obama also said, “There’s never an excuse for violence,” and it sounds like something a President should say, but he is saying it to the wrong people and he likely knows it. Americans have not heard much from any politician telling white cops, white supremacists in the Ku Klux Klan, or neighborhood watch murderers that “there’s never an excuse for violence,” especially gun violence against unarmed Black youth. But that is because in apartheid America there is always an excuse, and reason, for white people to use violence; regardless if it is white cops gunning down unarmed Black Americans, white supremacists threatening armed violence against peaceful protestors and journalists, or armed militias threatening gun violence against federal officers executing two federal court orders with veritable impunity.
America is just as racist against people of color today as it has ever been and it is a fact of life the entire world is aware of, including the United Nations. If the calls for race war since Americans elected an African American man as President aren’t proof enough, the unwarranted murders of unarmed African American males by white police officers and announcement at night that Darren Wilson was justified in gunning down an unarmed teenager to shift attention to the Black community’s outrage and not the farcical grand jury decision. It just goes to prove that America still is, as it always has been, an apartheid nation; likely what teabaggers and Republicans claim make America exceptional.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.