Too often I find myself at home in the evening waiting to hear some news out of Ferguson, MO. It is now nearly 2 weeks since Michael Brown was murdered and yet that always seems to be the least discussed part of any media coverage that we see. The murder of Michael Brown only serves as the introduction to the nedia's almost ghoulish fascination with the protests and with itself.
The event that triggered the demonstrations and protests seems to be barely noticed anymore but somehow I suspect that the people of Ferguson, the people who knew Michael Brown, have forgotten about him. They have lost a friend. Michael Brown's family has lost a son. These are the facts that have gone missing. Imagine how you would feel if someone you knew, or a member of your family were murdered in cold blood in broad daylight by someone that historically will not be punished sufficiently for their crime. Would you be angry? Would you feel bitterness knowing that the person who committed this crime was more than likely to go free because of the color of their skin? Would you feel even more anger if the color of your family members skin had played a factor in this event? What if the color of the victim's skin prejudiced the scales of Justice in such a way that you knew that a fair trial and a just verdict were all but impossible?
We cannot sweep this problem under the rug any longer. If we truly are a notion of laws that hopes to see Justice equally served to all, then this environment has to be taken head on. The mindsets have to change. There is no room for any system that presents even the hint of unfairness or impropriety. We have to realize that these feelings did not just happen overnight. They have been festering for a long time, for generations, not simply for a few years.
We have to come to grips with the knowledge that this problem cannot be solved overnight. The prejudices that still poison us are learned from an early age. Hopefully they are better now than they were a generation ago, but they are nowhere near out of the picture. Even with the best and most concentrated efforts, this is a process that will consume our nation for at least 2-3 generations, but at the end of that time we will hopefully be the free people (all of us) that we currently only believe ourselves to be.
If it takes longer than the time to eat a taco, most Americans aren't interested in making that effort. But I say that it is vital that we do because without it we are facing the empty promise of America and not the America that we all want and deserve. Equality is not just an idea, it is something that will raise us all up to levels we never dreamed possible. There is no limit to the things we can achieve if we can eliminate the fear and hatred and prejudice that still governs us.
I don't believe in something being impossible simply because it has not happened. To me, that only indicates a lack of effort or a lack of belief in what is important. To be a part of such a grand undertaking should fill us with wonder and awe, not terrify us with shame and fear. I believe that without this movement for all Americans to enjoy equality that we are doomed to repeat the same mistakes over and over again. The only way to make things better is to work together to bring that change about. Silence and acceptance equals consent.