- Posted August 19, 2014 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
AMERICA, WE’RE BETTER THAN THIS! PART II
As I watch with incredible disbelief of what is occurring in Ferguson, MO this evening, I am embarrassed for this great country that I love so much. The vacuum of leadership that has paved the road for the over-police-militarized response we're witnessing on American soil is not reflective, nor an example of the America of Regan, Kennedy, Roosevelt, Clinton, or even Nixon. Leadership in times of crisis will never be perfect, however leadership MUST SHOW UP and BE ACCOUNTABLE, especially when the entire WORLD is watching.
Now, let's put race aside and be fair. President Bush was widely criticized by the African American Community for taking 4 - 5 days to respond to the crisis caused by Hurricane Katrina. Today, finally, in response to Mike Brown being gunned down by a Ferguson, MO police officer, President Obama indicated he's now sending Attorney General Eric Holder to Ferguson, MO in an attempt for our federal government to personally provide an example of executive leadership. It only took 9 days.
Mr. Obama went on to further state, and I quote: "...giving in to anger through looting and attacks on police only stirs tensions and leads to further chaos. Overcoming the mistrust endemic between many communities and their local police requires Americans to "listen and not just shout." Obama then went further to state: ""There are young black men that commit crime. We can argue about why that happened - because the poverty they were born into or the school systems that failed them or what have you- but if they commit a crime, then they need to be prosecuted." Obama went on to state: "Because every community has an interest in public safety."
Ok, here's where I again know that my African American Intellectual contemporaries are not going to like what I'm about to say:
Mr. Obama, shame on you, Eric Holder, and the entire Black Elite crowd that forms your many minority associations. The Black Elite; individuals who have distanced themselves so far from traditional civil rights issues that shaped the legacy's of civil rights activists and true leaders within the African American community, individuals like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X. Great men who fought and died for civil rights causes that served as the foundation for change that ultimately launched many careers of those considered members of today's Black Elite.
News flash Mr. Obama: There are also young white men that commit crimes in America. Many of whom experienced privileged, wealthy upbringings, only to turn to crime to enhance their "Street Cred". We can argue about why that happened Sir, whether it was due to their resentment of their private school opportunities, because of the wealth they were born in to, or the superior school systems that uniquely prepared them to continue the legacy of wealth and privilege their families have become accustomed to, or what have you- but they too also commit crimes. However make no mistake about it, the level of prosecution and police interventions non-minorities are subjected to NEVER, EVER resemble what is occurring in Ferguson Mo. (I think of former Philadelphia Eagles coach, Andy Reid, who despite his incredible wealth and fame, had two sons who were repeat law-breaking offenders.)
Mr. Obama and Mr. Holder, I must ask: While Mr. Obama stated: "Because every community has an interest in public safety", why then have you taken longer than President Bush took to address the issues African Americans faced in the aftermath of Katrina, to address the issues African Americans are now facing in the aftermath of yet again another senseless extinguishing of young black life in Ferguson, MO?
This elitist President for whom I have to admit, I voted for, appears to be increasingly and incredibly disconnected from real Civil Rights issues that impact African Americans in our urban communities. Crime is not a race issue, no more than domestic violence is a gender issue. Whether street crime, or white collar crime, crime is crime, and you'd think the President of the United States would realize that before stating, especially as an African American male, that; "but if they (young Black men) commit a crime, then they need to be prosecuted." There is either an arrogance or ignorance in this statement, or possibly both. How is it that African American's who are disproportionately subjected to biased and often deadly confrontations with law enforcement personnel within their communities, often finding themselves victimized by the hands of those sworn to protect and serve their interests, have to hear from a dis-affected African American elitist President who believes the unrest and vandalism occurring in Ferguson, MO is being perpetrated specifically by young black men?
As CNN reported throughout the evening, those protesting the events surrounding Mike Brown's death were peaceful, law-abiding citizens of the United States of America. However, there were multiple accounts of "outside interests" who were attempting to bait the incredible assembly of militarized law enforcement personnel into a violent confrontation. Who are these "plants"? Where are they coming from? And, most importantly, WHERE IS THE LEADERSHIP OF OUR ELECTED OFFICIALS AT THIS NATIONAL TIME OF CRISIS?
To the young men and women of Ferguson, MO, as well as many other minorities throughout America that have become accustomed to witnessing aggression against our specific demographic of people, and then witnessing the amazing, unprecedented assembly of militarized law enforcement personnel, perhaps by design, where existing tensions could be further antagonized and inflamed, possibly resulting in more violence and otherwise volatile scenarios, I say to you, do not take the bait. Do not fall into this trap. If you see someone either looting, or speaking about the possibility of looting, stop them in their tracks. If you see someone either inciting violence, or discussing the possibility of perpetrating violence against the unwelcomed presence of law enforcement personnel within your community, your home, stop them in their tracks. Remember Detroit, MI, LA Watts, and other riots that only served to render the communities in which you live, the communities where you are raising your children, your families, overcome with joblessness and despair once the smoke clears. Stop the violence in it's tracks, and prove to the world that you are part of America, and that America is better than that.
Understand that when the fires fade and the smoke clears, the law enforcement personnel who descended upon your community with their tear gas canisters, gas masks, and other militarized weaponry, they don't live there, and when the smoke clears, they all will be going home. Home, to manicured lawns, luxury vehicles, back yard barbeques and family vacations, while you'll be left to rebuild. It's not worth it. Let the peaceful protests yield their desired outcomes, and let the investigative and legal processes, (Yes, I know you have little faith in these processes, justifiably, however, you can NOT tear down your own community out of frustration. You and your families will be the ones who suffer, not them.) take their course.
Now is the time for peace. Now is the time for true leadership. Now is the time for real change, Change That We Can All Believe In. No, NOT the change being driven through political correctness from the White House, rather change that you control. Yes We Can! We can choose to change the outcome. Choose not to become the next Watts, or Detroit. Choose positivity, in the face of extreme adversity, as you continue to demand justice.
Ferguson, MO, you are BETTER than what is being portrayed on television. Remember Michael Brown and others like him. Violence will beget nothing! When everyone goes home, what remains will be YOUR Home.
Believe in Mike Brown, Believe in the future. You ALL are BETTER than this!