Sunday, August 17, 2014

On race in America

Electing a black President did not end racism. We do not live in a "post-racial" society. As the events in Ferguson, Missouri, have shown over the past week, we still have loads of segregation and institutional racism in twenty-first century America.

I am a white male and I've never been confronted by a cop for walking down my street. I've never been followed through a store because they thought I might steal something. I've never been pulled over for driving while white. I've never been turned down for a job for my skin color. I've never had anyone curse at me for being white.

I really don't have any idea of the amount of crap the average black American goes through week after week, year after year. But I have ears and I can read. Too many people say Black Americans are being "too sensitive" and "whiny" about having to put up with this daily abuse. (They say the same things about women as well). But I believe people when they say these things happen. How can you not? Frequent incidents like those in Ferguson confirm it.

So here's a tip. If you happen to find yourself having the types of thoughts that have been rampant on Facebook and comments in news stories about the tragic killing of an unarmed teen, how he was "asking for it" or that "those people are animals" or that black parents should "teach their children how to behave", just STFU.

If you were constantly hassled by the police, you'd be pissed off too.

If your son was shot dead by police for jaywalking, you'd be pissed off too.

If the police responded to an injustice by ignoring Constitutional freedoms and acting like a freaking army of occupation, you'd be pissed off too.

Until you've walked a mile in their shoes, you don't get to condescend.

Until we extend economic opportunity and equal rights to everyone, and while we continue to militarize our police, we will continue to create these types of situations.

Ferguson is our fault, not Michael Brown's. He's the victim.

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