End Mass Criminalization of Black and Brown Youth

End Racism and Discrimination

End Homelessness Now

Expand and Protect Social Security

Support Labor, Jobs for All

The People's Budget

Gender-Neutral Treatment - The Equal Rights Amendment

Tuesday, 25 November 2014 00:00

Ferguson Is a Wake-Up Call That We Are Not Post-Racial

Written by Peniele E. Joseph | The Root
Protesters in Ferguson, Mo., on Nov. 25, 2014, respond to the St. Louis County grand jury decision not to indict Police Officer Darren Wilson in the killing of Michael Brown.  Protesters in Ferguson, Mo., on Nov. 25, 2014, respond to the St. Louis County grand jury decision not to indict Police Officer Darren Wilson in the killing of Michael Brown. SHAREE SILERIO/THE ROOT

Ferguson is ground zero for all Americans who are interested in a vision of social justice that transcends anything we have ever achieved.

acial injustice is alive and well in America—and our nation will never achieve racial peace without justice.

Monday night’s announcement of the grand jury’s decision not to indict Ferguson, Mo., Police Officer Darren Wilson on any charges in the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown sparked a series of, at times, violent protests in Ferguson and sympathy demonstrations in Oakland, Calif.

And as protesters marched, President Barack Obama played good cop on national television,imploring the nation to remain peaceful, while St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCullough—who announced the grand jury decision—played bad cop, appearing to blame the media for tensions in Ferguson over the last several months.

This is a wake-up call for those who editorialized, after Obama’s 2008 presidential election, that we were entering a “post-racial” age. And all fair-minded people interested in social justice should be angry.

But this moment also provides a new generation of Americans—both would-be activists and not-so-innocent bystanders—a searing national lesson about our nation’s racial politics.

First and foremost is that black lives, especially those of young black men, continue to hold less value in the eyes of the law and the nation.

Anticipation of the grand jury decision played out as racial theater in the streets while the whole world watched, and the massive law-enforcement presence echoed aspects of this past summer’s showdown between police and protesters, when Kevlar-wearing officers patrolled the streets in military-style vehicles more suitable for Iraq and Afghanistan.

Three months after Wilson shot and killed Brown in broad daylight, the entire nation waited in anticipation of the decision; residents organized a makeshift memorial at the site of Brown’s death; crowds of protesters, police and journalists formed an uneasy community of witnesses gathered in downtown Ferguson to respond to the decision.

And though previously seen police belligerence was held largely in check, police still released smoke bombs and engaged in sporadic skirmishes with protesters—with the National Guard’s visibility seemingly designed to protect, as Gov. Jay Nixon suggested, “life, property and freedom of speech” ... in exactly that order.

No society, however, can promote law and order in the absence of justice.

Indeed, the roots of racial unrest in Ferguson, the wider St. Louis County and around the nation are found in deep structures of inequality that no amount of state repression and violence can ever quell.

Ferguson’s past summer of racial unrest, anger and upheaval revealed the stubborn persistence of institutional racism so pernicious as to have been normalized. Brown’s death rightfully became a flash point for simmering issues of race, class and the injustice of the American criminal-justice system.

The deeper issues at play here, ranging from residential segregation, catastrophic rates of unemployment, failing public schools and the systemic racial profiling of African Americans by law enforcement, plague the entire nation but haven’t received serious policy attention in over a generation—putting America in the midst of a racial crisis that predates Michael Brown’s tragic death.

Ferguson’s legacy is in providing moral and political clarity, not just to the immediate circumstances surrounding Brown’s shooting, but the larger social and political context that made his death possible.

We can best honor his life, and death, by pursuing a measure of social justice that surpasses even the historic political and legal victories associated with the civil rights movement—that we celebrate, ironically, in our popular culture with movies like the forthcoming Selma—even amid Supreme Court challenges to voting rights, mass incarceration and renewed public school and residential segregation, our popular culture continues to celebrate the civil rights era through a Martin Luther King holiday, monument and forthcoming movie.

Such commemorations ring hollow in the context of Ferguson, as the nation congratulates itself for vanquishing past racial demons while ignoring the new Jim Crow that engulfs our present.

Ferguson also offers an important opportunity for all Americans. While activists are right to take their outrage to the streets, major public policy changes and democratic participation is the key to the social change this country desperately needs. These changes are both racially specific and universal, making Ferguson ground zero for all who are interested in a vision of social justice that transcends anything this country has ever achieved.

Link to original article from The Root


Read 5456 times

Latest Economic and Social Justice News

  • 1

Willie Nelson - Keeping the Postal Service Alive

Email President Obama Stop the Dakota Access Pipeline

Featured News

  • Veterans Arrive at Standing Rock to Act as 'Human Shields' for Water Protectors +

    As tensions grow in North Dakota, with multiple eviction orders facing the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in their battle against Read More
  • Michigan Fights To Avoid Delivering Water To Flint Residents +

    The ongoing crisis has left the city without safe drinking water for over two years, but the state claims water Read More
  • The System IS Rigged!—The Electoral College and the 2016 Election +

    Donald Trump was right: the system is rigged! But it is rigged for the Republicans, not the Democrats, for conservatives, Read More
  • BREAKING: Cop Who Shot Keith Scott on Video Will Not Be Charged +

    The Charlotte police officer who killed Keith Lamont Scott will not be charged. In a news conference on Wednesday, R. Andrew Read More
  • Army Corps Says It Won’t Forcibly Evict Standing Rock Water Protectors, But Refuse To Elaborate +

    In a follow-up of its letter to leaders of the Standing Rock Sioux and Cheyenne River Sioux Tribes, the U.S. Read More
  • DAPL Investors Getting Antsy: If Pipeline Doesn’t Move Oil by January First the Contract EXPIRES +

    Though water protectors have held their ground at Standing Rock against the Dakota Access pipeline for months now, they need Read More
  • WV Supreme Court: No Pipeline Surveys for Private Gain +

    West Virginia property owners won an important case at the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals on Tuesday when that Read More
  • Clinton Campaign Joins Jill Stein’s Recount Of Votes In Wisconsin +

    Hillary Clinton’s campaign on Saturday announced they would participate in former Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein’s recount of the Read More
  • Sioux Tribe Leader Responds to Army Corps Eviction Letter With Ominous Warning to US Gov’t +

    In response to the altogether shocking announcement the Army Corps of Engineers will be evicting water protectors from the Oceti Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
  • 13
  • 14
  • 15
  • 16
  • 17
  • 18
  • 19
  • 20
  • 21
  • 22

Economic and Social Justice Calls

  • 5-4-2016 Economic and Social Justice Call
    The team explores the concept, economic theories and realities of achieving Full Employment in the current economy. Guests include Conor Williams, the secretary of the Transitional Jobs Collaborative in Milwaukee and Michael Darner, Executive Director of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
  • 02-03-2016 Economic & Social Justice
    Listen to this month's call led by Jim Carpenter as we discuss the state of our current economy, the impact of poor economic choices, and the other factors that play into the declining situation around the country, and in the world in this open and guided conversation.
  • 01-06-2016 Economic & Social Justice
    PDAction Board Member Donald Whitehead, and former Ex. Dir. of the Coalition for the Homeless leads the discussion on homelessness, with input from Joel Segal, PDAmerica founding member and National Director of the Justice Action Mobilization Network. Special focus is given to the housing crisis, the role of the banks, programs used by other countries to alleviate the problem, as well as the fact that women are the most adversely affected by this issue. H Con Res 98 - Resolve to Eliminate Homelessness - has been introduced in Congress by Rep. Alma Adams (NC-12) and is endorsed on this call.