Ferguson — another place, same story. A young man has to die because to some policeman, his skin color makes him more suspicious than others. Eighteen-year-old Michael Brown shares the fate of the 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, who was shot by a neighborhood watch volunteer in Sanford. For young African Americans in the U.S. it is still dangerous to act carelessly, to walk too fast or too slow. In too many cases it ends in death.
Prejudices among the population can only be overcome slowly. Public institutions like the police must be measured according to another standard. Something is completely wrong if, as in Ferguson, mostly white street wardens face a majority of black citizens.
Even more wrong is the reaction to the protests by the upset citizens who demand justice for the student’s death. Now dogs and fire engines have been replaced by tanks and snipers, which stepped in towards colored protesters in the lower-class suburb of St. Louis.
So Ferguson is transformed into a tragic symbol of a society that is far from being colorblind, and into a warning of the consequences of a militarized police that approaches citizens and journalists as if they were strangers, rather than protecting their rights.
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