- Posted August 28, 2014 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Police brutality protests
Why I have no Idea if Darren Wilson is Guilty or Not: Response to Omekongo
This is in response to Omekongo's piece "Why I think Darren Wilson is guilty: a reflection on stereotypes"
which I thought was really really good.
It is in my blood. It is how I was raised. My parents never explicitly told me to treat everyone to the same chance to be a friend and trusted, but they did not have to. Growing up on military instillation people are housed together on and off post. There is no institutionalized racial segregation. Zero. None. There are no racially segregated neighborhoods because when military personnel arrive to a new post they and their family get the quarters that are available and they all look the same. The only difference is between officer and enlisted in some cases. And there are no differences in the schools on post. We are all thrown together.
As a five year old in Kindergarten I had no concept about race. I knew people looked different. Some by skin color. But the other white kids looked different too. Their facial features were different, the shape of their bodies were different, their gender was different. A difference in skin color meant no more than the other characteristics.
I remember the kid I did not get along with in 2nd grade happened to be white. He was a dick and I did not like him. My best friend in that same grade happened to be black. On the street I lived on I had three black friends and one Hawaiian friend. Well at times we were friends, at other times we hated each other. Typical kids regardless of race. Half the kids on my soccer team were not white. Half of those on my football and baseball team were not white either. The teams we played against off post were mostly white and black for at this time I was living in the South.
It was not until high school when we moved off post that I noticed some self segregation but not much. It was still a military town and many of the kids grew up in the same environment I had. My best friends in high school was one Puerto Rican, three Orientals, two white kids and a black kid. But I also played sports and so half the kids I played with were black and hispanic. We socialized outside of sports too. No matter what someone's race was we respected each other based on our ability to play or even if someone was not that good just the heart to come out and be part of the team.
I have never once, zero times, witnessed police treating any of my friends differently from me nor have I ever witnessed any of my friends of any race be disrespectful toward police in the very few interactions we ever had with them.
Today, many moons removed from high school, I live in the South again, and I live fairly close to a military instillation. I still play sports as do most of my friends which is how I know them, that and church. Half the guys I play ball with are not white. A new group of guys has also started playing with us. One of them is a black guy that mentors a group of younger ones that have had drug related issues. Those of us that have been playing together for quite some time welcome them with open arms. We think it is the greatest thing that late at night when other people are out doing stupid crap, they are there with us just having a good time and staying out of trouble. Respect is shown by all regardless of background or race.
Now a separate story that happened just last week. I was doing some work in a very ghetto neighborhood. Narrow streets, unkempt yards of mostly dirt, dogs chained up, shoe box style houses ect ect. A group of very loud people were outside already drinking and shooting at a basketball hoop, their little kids running around every which way with no supervision and each one of them wanted to shake my hand and loudly kind of obnoxiously greet me. Yes I was somewhat uncomfortable with these WHITE people.
A single black guy was also at the same house I was at doing some work while the white folks now sitting on their front porch were messing with him "Oh my gosh! I'm the only black person here. I've never seen so many white people in all my life" they were saying toward him. When he and I were out back out of earshot of them I was laughing when I asked him if they were giving him a hard time.
His response: "I gotta get out of here" he said laughing. We both could relate to each other. Our race, and the race of those people had nothing to do with it. It was the way they were acting and the things they were saying. I am sure some of them were decent people they just did not act the way I would act with strangers around trying to do some work. If they had been black I would have been just as uncomfortable around them. I simply did not know them.
My point is my upbringing allows me to not judge people based on their race. I will judge them on a whole lot of other things, but race is not one of them. And it is not so much judging someone like condemning them to Hell or something, obviously I do not have the power to do that, but like everyone else I make judgments about who I will associate with. Race is not not one of the factors.
So here is my response to Omekongo:
I do not know if Darren Wilson is guilty of murder or even conducting his encounter based on Michael Brown's race. All I know about him for a fact is:
He is white
He is a police officer
He shot Michael Brown who had no weapon
He shot at him at least six times and hit him that many
He was recently awarded by his police department
That is all I know about him. None of that by itself or together makes him guilty of murder or justifies the shooting. I have too many unanswered questions.
All I know about Michael Brown for a fact is:
He is black
He did not have a weapon
He recently man handled someone while stealing
Other than that I do not know a single thing about him. None of that by itself or together means he should be shot dead. But I have too many unanswered questions about what was going on at the time of the shooting.
Now I do realize there are some bad cops out there that have even gotten away with murder. But that is irrelevant to me because we are not dealing with all cops or some cops or a particular group of cops. We're dealing with a single cop.
If Darren Wilson unloaded six rounds into Michael Brown and all there was was an argument then Darren Wilson is guilty of murder.
If Michael Brown physically assaulted Darren Wilson then he is not guilty of murder.
It is one or the other and nothing I know at this point about either one of them leads me to believe one way or the other.