Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Thoughts on Ferguson

Today, the verdict for the Ferguson shooting was released where they acquitted the police officer who fatally shot Michael Brown. Now before I move on to my own personal commentary about this situation, I would first like to formally state that I hold no judgment or opinion as to the verdict. I have not spent the appropriate amount of time reading up on this case and cannot definitively make a judgement as to what occurred. The only statement I can make, is that regardless of the fact that it was cold-blooded murder or self-defense, someone died. Someone's son was taken from them violently and that is a tragedy in itself. My prayers go out to the family, and to those who have been personally affected by this tragedy.

I would like to address this issue in a variety of ways.  First off, a comment about how this issue is not something that is to be taken singularly and that it should be addressed as part of a narrative that has plagued the development of the United States.  I also want to comment on the larger picture of racial profiling. Finally, I want to provide with a tangible albeit dissatisfying solution.  

Racism, racial profiling, xenophobia, oppression.  These terms describe the colorful and violent history of the United States.  From the blatant inhumane treatment during the time of slavery, to the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.  Despite a melting pot of various racial identities and ethnic groups, the US has not been fair and has most certainly not treated the people of color on the same level as the Anglo population.  Now this can be observed through violence against the colored, or it can be seen in the various diasporas that form in cities.  Chinatown, Little Tokyo, Little Italy, Filipinotown...so on and so forth.  The self segregation and blatant segregation from both parties contributes to the violent outbreaks that occur when they clash.  As a result, we have cyclical events that occur.  Blatant police brutality leads to riots, which leads to an increase in police force, armaments and aggressive tactics, which leads to blatant police brutality.  Alternatively the cycle could also work in a different yet similar way.  Misunderstood actions leads to riots, which leads to an increase in etc...which leads to potential more misunderstood actions.  Where is the solution?  I'll relay that at the final section.  

However, I have one last point that will make sense in this section.  Why is it that there is national uproar when an African-American teenager is shot by a police officer, when Chinese students are mugged and left to die and get a small headline?  Why is it that civil liberties of the Muslim population or just those with dark skin and voluptuous beards get violated so easily and no one cares?  Is it because of the inane guilt that Americans have because the African-American population was so heavily mistreated that they feel the need to report any and all violence that is perpetrated against them?  In other words, why is a nation, that was built on the idea of immigrants, has such a culture of racial profiling and xenophobia?  It's a question that will most likely never be answered, but it is a question that needs to be asked.  Because when such questions are asked, that's when people pause and reflect.

So what is a solution to prevent if not break the cycle?  For one, the disarming of police forces.  The tactics and armaments they use are not befitting for typical law enforcement.  Historically, when things have gone out of hand, the National Guard was called in to deal with such violence, not a civilian police force.  Practices must be made for disarming the police, as well as the aggressors.  It is not beneficial for both sides when it breaks into violent conflict.  The level of distrust among the colored population and the police force breeds the potentiality of violence, a disarming may help ease the tensions.  In most other nations, police officers don't carry firearms.  

I know people are going to disagree with what I'm saying, and I know much of this post is idealistic and does not reflect the point of view of someone who has been actively been oppressed.  This problem is systemic, which means solutions must also come from within the system. It saddens me that a nation, like the US, which is seen as an international leader if not role model, is dealing with this issue as a singular event without references the core problem that creates these events. I'm just a voice among many.   If anything, I want it to be known that I am praying for the families, for peace, for justice, for a day in which race, creed, ethnicity, does not matter.