'But at the same time, it is as necessary for me to be as vigorous in condemning the conditions which cause persons to feel that they must engage in riotous activities as it is for me to condemn riots. I think America must see that riots do not develop out of thin air. Certain conditions continue to exist in our society which must be condemned as vigorously as we condemn riots. But in the final analysis, a riot is the language of the unheard.'
-Rev Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, 'The Other America'
That Dr.. King quote is what is going through my mind as I see my people being attacked by Officer Oppressor in Ferguson, MO and other places inside the borders of the United States.
This isn't a post-racial society. It is still racist because white people refuse to see and keep trying to delude themselves into thinking that this country has evolved when it comes to race relations.
Sadly, it hasn't. This country is more polarized racially than it was when I was a kid growing up in the late 60's and early 70's. I'm also well aware of the fact as Dr. King also eloquently pointed out in that same 'The Other America' essay, this is a racist country dominated by whiteness, white supremacist attitudes and actions.
We also have the problem that because of the toxic legacy of slavery, for the last four centuries Black lives have been dehumanized to the point that our kids get shot by the police and Zimmerman wannabees with no punitive consequences to the perpetrators of those shootings.
And enough is enough. Far too many of our kids are experiencing death by po-po.
It's clear to our nation and the world the racist nature of American policing when police do everything possible to deescalate an armed standoff with Cliven Bundy and his white-wing thugs, but respond with over the top paramilitary force, tear gas, rubber bullets and drawn guns to peaceful African-American protestors demanding justice in the murder of an unarmed Michael Brown.
All Ferguson, MO residents and by extension, the African-American community wants are answers to why an unarmed Black college-bound kid was shot and killed Saturday by a white police officer.
We have been met by stonewalling, refusal to name the police badge wearing perp out of 'concerns for his safety', cricket chirping silence, racist disrespect and over the top paramilitary police force.
If that were happening to your community and it was your kids being depressingly killed every year by police that don't look like them or even live in their neighborhoods, would you be sitting silently on your hands about that injustice?
Nope, I don't think you would.
As civil rights movement icon Congressman John Lewis (D-GA) said, "The death of Michael Brown is a grave tragedy the community of Ferguson, Missouri should not have to bear. How many more young men of color will be killed before we realize that we have a problem in America? We are permitting the incarceration and shooting of thousands of black and brown boys in their formative years who might have become great artists, leaders, scientists, or lawyers if we had offered them our support instead of our suspicion?"
The bottom line is oppressed people will not remain oppressed forever, nor will they allow themselves to be continuously disrespected. Sooner or later there will be a reaction to the injustice, hence the protests you're seeing play out in Ferguson and now other cities around the country.
It's also why you're hearing that classic NWA rap song right now as the soundtrack to what's going on in that suburban St Louis city.
Since the Ferguson, MO police and leadership in that community failed to respectfully respond to those legitimate questions the family and others in the city had concerning the Brown murder by po-po, now you're hearing them articulated in the language of the unheard.