Riots have broken out in the American Midwest city of Ferguson, Missouri, in the wake of a white police officer not being indicted after shooting a young unarmed African-American to death.
Protests have spread to every region of the U.S. It reflects the strength of the opposition against the decision not to prosecute, but [such] violent behavior that threatens civilian life is certainly not acceptable. The United Nations and other authorities have called for restraint. I would like to see the chaos cease as soon as possible.
The incident and [subsequent] riots have once again brought to the surface the profound darkness of American society’s racial conflict. How does one take decisive action to resolve discrimination and disparity? Other nations are closely observing the tendencies of a major power that appoints itself as world leader. President Obama and the United States should probably be acutely aware of that.
The fatal shooting of a young African-American occurred in August of this year. Immediately following the incident, there was also the chaos of violent protests, clashes between residents and the police force, and looting. The fact that this time, once again, protests have broken out shows the deep-rooted mistrust the black community has toward the ruling class — local state authorities and police.
Although whites occupy the overwhelming majority in Missouri, conversely, two-thirds of Ferguson’s population of approximately 21,000 residents are African-American. Nevertheless, the mayor and a majority of the city councilors are Caucasian, while on the other hand, a great majority of those impoverished are African-American. The police are almost exclusively white as well, and roughly 90 percent of all traffic stops, police questioning and arrests are focused on the black population. After the August incident, the police’s use of armored vehicles intended for the battlefield, as well as their heavily-armed suppression of residents also brought criticism.
In the U.S., 150 years have passed since President Lincoln proclaimed the emancipation of slaves in 1863 during the Civil War. This year marks the 50-year turning point since the establishment of the Civil Rights Act, which determined the legal equality of blacks and whites. However, the issue of racial discrimination has not yet been resolved.
While President Obama criticized this uprising, stating there is “no excuse for violence,” it reflects an underlying knot in the stomach [of the U.S.] that African-Americans don't feel they are treated equally by the police. As president, did he choose his words carefully, I wonder? Nevertheless, behind the riots, even after Mr. Obama’s inauguration, there are those who point to disappointment within the black community that America has not progressed toward a resolution of discrimination and disparity.
I would like Mr. Obama to pour all of his energy into putting an end to racial issues during his remaining two years in office. To Mr. Obama, who experienced a setback in the midterm elections, it will likely be even more challenging. But isn’t setting a course for ending discrimination the mission of the first black president?