The nation and world has been focused on the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, over the killing of unarmed black teen Mike Brown and the police response. Protests turned violent as an over-militarized police force descended on the black community. Media outlets have shown residents being tear gassed, shot with rubber bullets, pepper bullets and assaulted with flash-bang grenades. These shocking images seem out of place in America, especially under the nation’s first black president. The criminalizing of black skin from the days of Jim Crow to today’s post-racial society has never ended but has continued. Even President Barack Obama has been labeled a criminal by many in the white political power structure with racist white Americans agreeing and perpetuating this stereotype. Black people from all socioeconomic groups can’t seem to escape this truth.
In mainstream media, the violence is being labeled as racial unrest but this is not a fair categorization. What the nation and world is witnessing should be called righteous indignation over police oppression. The residents of Ferguson did not start the conflict; it was the action of the police that created the conflict. It originated with the gunning down of Mike Brown and continues throughout the farce of an investigation headed by an oppressive establishment.
Neither the body nor the autopsy results have been released, so the public does not even know officially how many times Brown was shot. In addition, Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson has refused to release the name of the officer involved in the shooting. If we take the story of Mike Brown’s death out of the present and look upon it with the lenses of the past, it becomes a familiar tale. It’s the tale of a black person murdered under mysterious circumstances and a grieving mother. How unfortunate that in 2014 a black family still must go to the police that killed their loved one and beg for answers and the body so it can be buried and the police chief says “no.”
Oppression is not something new, black people have been well aware of it since the days of slavery with the overseer now being the officer dressed in blue.