Ferguson Shooting: Reconciliation with Protesting Citizens

Protests from the African-American community in the U.S. are intensifying after a white policeman who shot a black teenager was not charged with any crime, revealing that discrimination and disparity still remain today. President Obama, the first African-American president of the U.S., should definitely do his utmost to address these issues and the lack of charges.

The shooting of the 18-year-old teenager took place on Aug. 9 in Ferguson, Missouri. The police released a statement that the officer was assaulted and fired in self-defense. On Nov. 24, the grand jury accepted the officer’s assertions and made a decision not to prosecute. Protests spread across the U.S. in opposition to this decision, some leading to riots.

The African-American community’s anger was fueled by the presence of a racially imbalanced grand jury, composed of nine white and three black members. The fact that only three of Ferguson’s 53 officers are black, when African-Americans make up two-thirds of the city’s population, is conspicuously notable in the nature of the conflicts between officers and black residents. The fact that a black person killed the father of the prosecutor in charge, who was a former police officer, also raised suspicions.

The community’s anger is motivated by a longstanding dissatisfaction with discrimination. Although 13 percent of the U.S. population is black, and despite the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 and the Civil Rights Act which abolished racial discrimination in voting, education and employment 50 years ago, discrimination and disparity have not disappeared.

According to The New York Times, 3 percent of black males and 0.5 percent of white males have served in the military, one out of 15 black parents, and one in 111 white parents had children serving in the military, and a large difference exists in crime rates between races. Getting rid of disparities that correlate with crime is an urgent issue.

In an interview on U.S. television, the white police officer in Ferguson who fired his gun said that he felt his life was in danger when the unarmed black teenager approached him with his hand stuck between his belt and his pants. Believing the teen had a gun, he fired. This incident also brings to light the problems in a society with guns. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, an African-American, made clear that the FBI is also investigating the case.

Although President Obama called for interracial harmony and was elected with overwhelming support, there have not been any noteworthy accomplishments during his administration concerning racial issues. In the midterm elections this month, the opposing Republican Party gained the majority in both the Senate and House of Representatives, only adding to the stalemate over policy and societal division. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights pointed out in a statement that many African-Americans die in conflicts with police officers. The U.N. commissioner also requested an investigation into the effects racial issues have on the administration of justice, adding that the international community is watching the United States.

In order not to squander the significance of being the first black president, President Obama must use his remaining two years in office to work earnestly for the sake of the national harmony.

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  1. As a citizen of the United States , a senior citizen , I am still appalled at the shocking degree of INEQUALITY in America. The police in ANY capitalist society will defend the private property of the rich with pit bull loyalty and brutality. The black people here-living in so called SLUMS- correctly perceive the cops as THE MAN, the ENEMY. But why are they over-represented in the U.S. military ? Why should young black people fight and die to extend this very same unjust system- falsely called DEMOCRACY-to foreign lands like Iraq, Pakistan, Syria, and Afghanistan ? In Iraq the Abu Ghraib prison atrocity best represents both the foreign and domestic policies of the American ruling class. To die and degrade yourselves for THEM ?
    Who speaks for black Americans today ? Phony Democrats ? My guess is that young black people will soon be listening again to the militant voice of Malcolm X, assassinated almost a half century ago:
    ” Show me a capitalist “, Malcolm said, ” and I’ll show you a bloodsucker.”
    The Democrats should at least return to the real liberalism of Franklin D. Roosevelt, the great president elected in 1932 to deal with a nation devastated by the Great Depression.
    ( http://radicalrons.blogspot.com )

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