My heart aches for the parents of Michael Brown, the young man killed in Ferguson MO this past week. I cannot imagine losing my son, especially in such a violent way. I also feel for the family of the officer who shot him. While the officer may be guilty of misconduct, his family is innocent, yet they are now receiving death threats. I feel for the store owners who have lost their living and for the community that is being torn apart.
I understand the need for justice, for closure and the desire to make sure that this shooting and others like it aren’t swept under the rug, but does the continued violence aid that cause or just increase and prolong the agony of those suffering? If the violence hadn’t happened and national attention wasn’t focused on the small suburb of St. Louis, would the investigation have moved or would it have just been closed? It’s hard to tell. Would the peaceful protests have garnered the same amount of attention?
The conflicting stories add to the confusion and I would imagine to the frustration of those seeking the truth and trying to help the community move forward. Today I saw a news story on those leaders who are trying to keep the protests peaceful. They are trying to weed out the troublemakers and urging those with good intentions to forgo the violence. Many believe that there are just a small group of outside agitators that continue to rile the crowds up, like the lawyer from DC who is trying to place himself as a major player in the civil right movement.
Watching the developments in Ferguson has made me look at my own actions and those around me. I have friends from a variety of ethnic backgrounds and I believe I treat them all the same, but I watch others that would say the same thing and hear them make the occasional stereotypical generalization about groups of people and realize, they have no idea how that sounds. Do I do the same and not realize it? Do we all? I hear these remarks, not just from white friends, but across the board? Is there something hidden in our DNA so ethnocentric that we automatically make assumptions about others to make us feel superior?
I like to think I’m the type of person who would stand up if I saw someone being discriminated due to race or any other reason, but would I recognize the subtle discrimination that take place on a daily basis?
As I continue to watch the events in Ferguson unfold, I pray for peace for the community and families involve; and also pray for my own evolution and continued growth in the area of acceptance and tolerance.