The verdict is in and now Ferguson is burning. Most of black America who heard the leaks, saw the delay in justice and witnessed the re-victimization of Michael Brown knew this was going to happen. It is always in the back of Black folks mind that when it’s your word against a white police officer’s word, it will not go well. The grand jury’s refusal to indict Darren Wilson on charges of murder or a lesser degree of manslaughter for the killing of the unarmed teen was a foregone conclusion. Now, there is a community in chaos and for some, the beginning of a Missouri race war.
How did America return to the violent civil unrest of 50 years ago? Did America not learn from the death of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.? King’s death and subsequent riots showed the political establishment that at that time in history it was not safe to kill. America was at a turning point during the 1960s. But King’s murder is not the same as Michael Brown’s murder. In the 1960s, Blacks did not have the power that we now have thanks to King’s sacrifices.
But now it’s safe to kill Negroes in Ferguson, Missouri, because, by the community’s own voter apathy, Negroes let it happen. There is no reason that a majority Black city that Blacks are not more representative in the city administration. Look at the killings of Trayvon Martin, Renisha McBride and the 12-year-old boy in Cleveland. It was safe to kill those individuals because of society’s perception of the value of black life. By saying it is safe to kill Negroes in Ferguson, it is specific. If Blacks in Ferguson voted and took an interest in the running of their city, incidents like Michael Brown’s death and other police abuse in Ferguson would not be as endemic as it is today.
But now as Ferguson explodes, it’s an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. However, as the protesters burn and loot the economic centers of their community, the aftermath will leave them blind and toothless. This is not to say that voting erases the oppression of the past but in AmeriKKKa, it is one of the tools that the Black community has to effect change. The other tool is behavior. Especially the behavior of our uneducated youth who riot with no direction for their rage.