Truth, Justice and the American Way

Much of the nation, it seems, is surprised at the findings of deep and embedded racism in the police department of Ferguson, Missouri …and I am wondering why.

The Department of Justice’s report found that there was a pattern of racist behavior on the part of not only police officers in Ferguson, but also in the court system there. Among other things, the report found that African Americans were more frequently arrested and jailed than white people, for the most trivial of “offenses,” including jay-walking and having a tail light out – and were subsequently charged fees and fines. In other words, they were arrested for profit gain of the police department. (http://www.cnn.com/2015/03/04/politics/ferguson-justice-report-shocking/index.html)

Then there was the harassment. Ever the harassment …Michael Brown and his buddy were harassed because they were walking in the street. That sort of harassment was not and is not uncommon, the report said.

African-Americans were the only citizens in Ferguson bitten by police dogs. There is so much more. The entire report is available for “us the people” to read. We need to do it.

The report, said one commentator, indicated not only racism, but a breaking of federal, state and local law. In other words, the report indicates that the police department broke the law.  Some of the Constitutional rights of the Ferguson were violated as well.

That’s the report. For us who live as African-Americans, the findings are not surprising.

Michael Brown’s shooting death was not the only death by police officers that bothered not only Ferguson but people all over the United States. Brown’s death was part of a pattern of abuse heaped upon people of color in this country for generations.

Black people have been saying it forever…I guess, though, that nobody really believed us? I guess they thought we were just whining …and that we should just shut up and get over it?

The Department of Justice report vindicates and affirms what black people have been dealing with for generations. Yes, yes, yes, there is black-on-black crime, but I repeat: most of the time, when a black person kills another black person, the offender is arrested, tried and jailed.

When police have killed black people, however, they have historically gotten away with it. There are a host of families in this nation, going back literally generations, who have never gotten justice for their loved ones killed by law enforcement and the justice system.

The question is, now that the report has been released and the numbers in the report indicate a serious problem …the question is, what do we do now? Not just in Ferguson, but all over this nation? Racism as a disease is not relegated only to Ferguson. Racism is an American illness. It is everywhere.

To add insult to injury, the Department of Justice report revealed racist emails sent on official police stationery by high ranking police officials which denigrated and disrespected President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. News anchors reporting on this seem genuinely surprised, and all I can say is, “seriously?”

Wasn’t it Superman who flew through the air in the quest for “truth, justice and the American way?”

Superman failed.

Clearly, there needs to be a new mechanism that forces Americans to get their heads out of the sand and admit to the racism which is part of the foundation of this nation. Denial hasn’t worked, meaning, denying racism has not made it disappear. Indeed, as in any untreated illness, denial has only made the disease worse.

The protests that erupted after Ferguson speak to a fatigue of people, frustrated about being ignored and pained that their (our) pain is never and has never been validated or acknowledged as real.

It is real.

How long can a nation ignore such heinous hatred? Not much longer, I don’t think.

Just my opinion.

A candid observation.

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Comments

  1. Caroline says:

    The results of the report are certainly not surprising. It’s a reality that black people have been living for generations, they didn’t need statistics to validate their experience. But that’s a good question, now that there are statistics, what will they do now? Pretend that these racist practices are out of the norm and only happen there? Maybe. Hold those high ranking officials responsible? Who knows.

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