Ferguson and Homeland Security: Are they intertwined?

ThroughMyEyesnewAs we watch closely the events in Ferguson and greater St. Louis County, Missouri, we are disturbed to hear Democrats and Republicans say it is somehow related to the threat to America’s national security, as if Ferguson represents the beginning of an invasion from otherwise uninvolved Black communities.

As threats are made by real terrorists to fly their flag over the White House, we appreciate the personal and nationalist threats but not the suggestion it represents Black Americans. The sense of foreboding from the realness of the threats is being used as an excuse to tighten security for greater control of neighborhoods of color unrelated to the national security issues, as Ferguson demonstrates regarding the new debate over the militarization of urban police.

The Black community is keenly aware that not since the roundup of Japanese Americans during the Second World War, and the creation of internment camps, and the expression of fear during the urban riots of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, has the Negro population been as unfairly painted as a threat to our national security. Let’s cut to the chase: We in the Twin Cities are at the epicenter of the call for a reexamination of constitutional guarantees. We as Black Americans have a front-row seat watching how we are painted as scapegoats in dealing with this foreign threat to America, resulting in desired added layers of control on our neighborhoods by Homeland Security.

Just because three young men of American birth were killed fighting in Syria and Somalia under the flag of the newly declared Islamic State, does not mean that because they are Black the same position is held by Black America. Thhis kind of thinking is repeating the injustice to the Japanese in the 1940s and Black Americans in the 1960s. There is a difference between “Somali American” and “Black American.” It is very chilling as media and government officials discuss our Somali community as why America should fear its Black citizens. Novels and movies have romanticized the thousands of Whites who joined foreign wars on both sides. It is not a Black thing.

Don’t be fooled. This is real. The attorney for the U.S. district of Minnesota was summoned prior to these events to forge plans to deal with ISIS recruiting Somali Americans who are first-generation Americans born and raised here. In England there are more natural-born English citizens of Middle Eastern immigrants fighting for the Islamic State (IS) than serving in the British military.

We are concerned about this intensified examination and discussion regarding Black Americans, both male and female, as threats to our national security. The early warning sign in Ferguson of the militarization of predominantly White law enforcement agencies in the St. Louis area could be an excuse to do the same in the Twin Cities.

The Japanese Americans in the 1940s and African Americans in the 1960s were surprised, shocked and caught off guard by how swiftly their civil liberties and civil rights were taken away en masse, entire communities, not just individuals, despite many times their number of Whites being actively supporting the Japanese, German, and Russian causes.

We will not be surprised if Ferguson events regarding Officer Wilson are treated as business as usual, just as the same anger and frustration after the death of Trayvon Martin is just another forgotten American tragedy.

Even though we are at the epicenter of the debate discussing race relations in and immigration to America, steps need to be taken to keep what happened in Ferguson from being an excuse to be a precursor of militarized responses to our neighborhoods.

Stay tuned.

For Ron’s hosted radio and TV show’s broadcast times, solutions papers, books and archives, go to www.TheMinneapolisStory.com. To order his books, go to www.BeaconOnTheHillPress.com.