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Black community consuming itself

Register • Aug 12, 2014 at 1:35 PM

Despair and outrage grows more contagious by the minute in Ferguson, Mo., a suburb outside St. Louis, where police shot and killed unarmed 18-year-old Mike Brown.

Witnesses have said Brown was walking with a friend when an officer in a car told them to get out of the street. As they continued to walk the officer exited his vehicle and fired a shot, prompting the two youths to run. When the second shot fired by the officer hit Brown he stopped and turned with his hands up, at which point the officer continued to approach with his weapon drawn and fired several more shots into the 18-year-old.


"He shot again and once my friend felt that shot he turned around and he put his hands in the air and he started to get down, but the officer still approached with his weapon drawn and he fired several more shots." — Dorian Johnson (witness)


Residents of the St. Louis suburb took to the streets having a vigil for the slain teen that evolved into demonstrations followed by rioting. Rioters damaged buildings and vehicles and looted  area businesses, resulting in over a dozen arrests. Police report that their helicopter and officers have been fired upon throughout the night but state that none were hit by the gunfire nor injured during the rioting.

Rioting following police on minority violence is nothing new in the United States.

Protesters rioted in Albuquerque in March following a police shooting injuring one officer and destroying property during the riot. Police shooting Latinos several times this year finally sparked rioting in Salinas Calif., this past May.

History shows that tension between police departments and minority communities are not a rare occurrence. From the Watts riot of 1965, to the Detroit riot of 1967, to the more recent Las Angeles riot of 1992 and Cincinnati riot of 2001, minorities have exercised their frustrations with law enforcement through rioting and looting.

For what? What has it accomplished? Can we honestly say that much has changed since we are witnessing history repeat itself still in 2014?

Truth is rioting and looting has only succeeded in releasing little tension and destroying the very communities in which we live.

A quick review of the history of civilization will show that the only force of nature that has brought about change in nations where people were being oppressed has been revolt.

The Haitian Revolution in 1791, Iranian Revolution in 1978, Cuban Revolution in 1952, Chinese Revolution from 1911-1949, and American Revolution are just a few examples.

How much would they have achieved by simply destroying their own communities?

Truth is any government or population comfortably in control of what is perceived to be a less powerful population is only going to re-evaluate their strategy and possibly relinquish that control if they themselves are accumulating damage.

To them atrocity is not measured by the loss of small businesses burnt to the ground. To them the definition of horrible acts are not the loss of oppressed lives. To them an unrelenting force is not a force that only violently consumes itself.

If a group of slaves were to destroy their slave quarters the master would not be in a panic, he would not gather his family and flee the plantation because he himself had not been targeted by the revolt. The respect and fear a slave has for his master will still be intact.

The slaves are just frustrated, they simply needed to blow off steam. He will let them calm down, exert a show of force, make an example out of a chosen few, tighten security for the time being and resume business as usual.

We as black people in the United States of America are fed up, we are frustrated, we are angry, and we are numerous. What we are not is organized. What we are not is united. What we are not is targeting our oppressors. By protesting and rioting we are not taking the necessary steps to ensure that we are respected as equal.

We are not obligated to shed blood and take what is theirs. We are obligated to exercise our natural right to make it clear the price will always be bloodshed for them to take what is ours.

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