In my opinion, the Michael Brown shooting has been the most racially divisive incident in America since the Rodney King incident. People are divided, mostly (but not completely) along racial lines, about the shooting and about the grand jury decision. Those who see the shooting as either a racist incident (of which there is absolutely no evidence other than the victim being black and the police officer white) or an excessive use of force by a police officer completely disregard the evidence and facts that have been presented. Those who see only the criminal activity of Michael Brown and feel that he deserved to die ignore the human side of the incident - the fact that an 18 year old kid is now dead because of the poor choices he made. And of course there are the racists on the white side that believe Brown deserved to die simply because he was black.
Many black people see only the racial aspect of the case. Prominent black Americans from the President of the United States and the Attorney General, to black celebrities, to black activist leaders (which now includes the Attorney General), and now even pro football players are making this about race rather than fact. The now-well-known "hands up, don't shoot" mantra that has been the core of the protest in Ferguson has been proved by forensic evidence to be a complete fabrication. Indeed, Michael Brown was proved, by forensic evidence and eyewitness testimony, to have been "charging the officer like a football player," which explains why Officer Wilson shot him as well as explaining perfectly the injuries sustained by Brown.
Still, those who want to make this a racial issue refuse to accept the evidence because it doesn't fit their agenda. The protests aren't about Michael Brown but about anger, racial hatred and division. How can they be about Brown? Everything the protesters said about the incident turned out to be untrue. And burning down businesses doesn't exactly honor Michael Brown's memory.
In a rather distasteful show of
President Obama is meeting today with "young civil rights leaders to discuss the challenges posed by by mistrust between law enforcement and communities of color."
Several weeks ago he met with the protest organizers to encourage them to continue what they were doing. I wonder if the "young civil rights leaders" he's meeting with today are those very ones?
Eric Holder went to Ferguson to meet with the Brown family, the black police captain who was in charge of
As the protests continue and spread to other cities across the nation, many people of all ethnicities are getting fed up. Blacks and whites alike are condemning the destruction of property and the violence as not only unjustified but only making things worse. Blacks are threatening violence against whites in record numbers. Louis Farrakhan has threatened that the Nation of Islam will tear the nation apart over this incident.
So can the damage be reversed? It seems not - at least not right away. In the black community there is so much anger and hatred over the Brown case and such animosity toward white/black relations in general that I fear it will take decades to subside. The majority of whites in this country want peaceful and constructive relationships with their black American brothers and sisters. They also want justice for all. But they want that justice to be meted out by truth and evidence rather than emotion. And sadly, it seems we have a long way to go before everyone in the country feels the same way.