Ferguson, Missouri is home to Charles Blow, writer for the New York Times, quoting James Baldwin who said, “The most dangerous thing in the world is a Black Man with nothing to lose.” Officers with gas masks and automatic army weapons prepared to fight the Black citizens seem to be operating from that perspective. The citizens, operating from built up anger, come to a head with the manner in which the officials of the city of Ferguson, Missouri are treating the police officer who shot Michael Brown six times killing him in the middle of the street, in the middle of the day.
The officers, including Darren Wilson, the shooter of Michael Brown, are being protected while no one is protecting the rights of the citizens. It brings to mind George Wallace standing in the door of the University of Alabama saying, “Segregation now and segregation forever.” Wallace was the Governor of Alabama. He was a public figure but his idea was toppled by the truth.
Ax handle swinging restaurateur, Orval Faubus, another southern governor, vowed to maintain racism and segregation as public policy. The American schools and education policies were dedicated to teaching Blacks their place in the kitchen and in the fields. It just didn’t work.
We want our fair share and we’ve earned it. Building America’s great economic system for no pay, little pay, but never equal pay for our contribution to the great economic system that is America In the hundreds of years in America, have come to a head, now in Ferguson.
We have contributed Berry Gordy and Motown, with its international stars like Michael Jackson, the Jackson Five, Diana Ross and the Supremes, Smoky Robinson, Ebony/Jet publishing giant and creator John Johnson, and Wall Street conqueror, Reginald F. Lewis, who created TLC and millions of dollars out of nothing.
Oprah Winfrey, casino and hotel owner and cable television giant Don Barden created millions out of the entertainment industry. And yet our collective memories are filled with low wages, high unemployment, death and lynching’s, designed to keep us in our place, by taking the lives of many of our people like Emmett Till, Medgar Evers, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Trayvon Martin, and now Michael Brown. Who is really surprised that the natives would get tired of a system that has reserved the bottom of the barrel as their place in society?
The American communication system has served as a great equalizer. It tells us that if we get an education and move in the right circles, we can do and be anything in this great land, even become the president. And yet, every few years some try to return us to the ways of the past with places like Ferguson, Missouri and Mike Brown.
In Ferguson, the authorities dropped information, one piece at a time, instead of treating the officer like anyone else that shoots and kills another in cold blood. First, they would not tell the world who the cop was that shot the child. Then, they didn’t want to release the information of how many times and where he had been shot. Don’t they know about cell phones and cameras and that everybody has one.
What we need is to prepare for the next storm against us. We must be educated and prepared. We should expand Black Colleges and build more colleges dedicated to equalizing the opportunities in America for jobs. We must register to vote and then go to the polls vote in our best interest. That means we must also vote out of office those against us.
Black America is frustrated with being left out. We are saying, “Grow up America! We all contributed to this country, and we shall not be denied.”