I know, this may not be all that popular, but so be it. I've been watching, reading and thinking about what is happening in Ferguson, Missouri, and a few truths stick out for me:
TRUTH - Black males are treated differently in this country by the police. Call it what you want, including racial profiling, but it's a simple fact. The way to solve this problem though is by holding the elected officials who run police departments, be that at a local and a state level, accountable. Police chiefs answer to mayors, and state police commissioners answer to governors. If either doesn't take a tough enough stand on racial profiling, eliminating bad actors, and making police forces representative of communities they serve, well then a change should be made using the voting booth, not the Molotov Cocktail. In my mind, black males should have the highest voting rate in this country, because they have the most at stake these days.
TRUTH - The only two people that actually knew what happened in the Michael Brown shooting are the late Mr Brown and Officer Darren Wilson. Mr Brown can't tell his side of the story, but Officer Wilson has, and that's the best we've got. Like it or not, Officer Wilson has a right to due process, even if it appears that the late Mr Brown didn't get any. Again, none of us reading this posting (unless you happened to be on the grand jury that heard the case, and even that's debatable) know all the facts of the case, therefore none of us are qualified to pass judgement. I know that's painful sounding, but what's the alternative? There simply isn't a scenario out there that will satisfy everyone.
TRUTH - Burning businesses in Ferguson, especially minority owned businesses, as an expression of outrage over the shooting of Mr Brown is an example of stupid, thuggish behavior at it's worst. It's proving fodder to the lowest of racist scum in this country. Those who are peacefully protesting the shooting of Mr Brown should be incensed at the violence being perpetrated in response to the grand jury verdict, and hopefully they are.
TRUTH - Most people will view the events in Ferguson through the lens that they've already established. Conservative? Well then, it's those "black people burning up their own neighborhoods again!". Liberal? Well then it's "Minorities have justifiable rage at white society keeping them down!". In reality and despite what many would like us to believe, this isn't a simple issue that can be easily codified and solved. Sorry about that short-attention span members of American culture. Too many black men...young and old...are treated as suspects even though they are perfectly innocent, yet it seems that too many black men (mostly young) glorify misogyny, violence and drugs as cultural expressions, even if they don't participate in such things. I get it in that it's difficult being a black male, yet on the same token, there's got to be zero tolerance for the "I am really mad at the shooting of Michael Brown, therefore I need to steal a TV" reaction because the tolerance of bad behavior simply validates the worst of stereotypes. On the other side of the equation, too many white folks, men and women, want to believe in the fairy tale of a color blind society. Sorry, but it's not a question of minorities simply having to "work hard to get ahead"; in reality, they have to work harder than whites to just maintain parody...forget about getting ahead...and most whites aren't willing to work that hard themselves.
TRUTH - The news coverage of what has happened in Ferguson has made it worse. Conservatives bobbing their heads in agreement to Fox News commentators or liberals doing the same for MSNBC talking heads is just another expression of the "it the other group's fault" mentality that we've created in the United States. The average American has been conned into picking sides in an ideological war that doesn't actually exist, except for in the minds of power-hungry politicians and (right or left wing) social issue bomb-throwers. If you are getting your news from only one source these days then you are really not getting the news...you're simply looking for and receiving validation for the world view that you already have burned into your head. Sorry, that's just the way it is. Do yourself a really, really big favor: Diversify your sources of information across all of the ideological spectrum. Why? Simple because no one group, ideology or cause has a monopoly on the truth.
TRUTH - In the end, violence only begets violence.
TRUTH - Ferguson is an avatar for a nation that really doesn't want to face it's on-going race relations issues.