Continued fallout from Ferguson
President Barack Obama convened a very high-powered meeting at the Eisenhower Building in Washington, D.C., Monday, December 1. Later that night, Attorney General Eric Holder addressed a packed congregation at a church in Atlanta, Georgia. Both men, America’s chief executive and America’s chief law enforcement officer, sounded the alert that changes must be forthcoming in regards to the issue of race in America. But do they mean real change or just changes to enable maintaining the status quo?
Just a couple of days before, the White mayor of Ferguson, MO announced that Police Officer Darren Wilson had submitted his resignation, leaving the Ferguson Police Department. The mayor laid out items for reform. Are his words for change or words that mean “Wait until…?” The items of reform include:
Increasing the number of Black officers in the Ferguson Police Department. This should have been done five years ago.
• Incentive pay and bonuses for officers to reside in Ferguson as part of their employment agreement. This should have been done 10 years ago.
• A program to encourage more young candidates of color to attend the St. Louis Police Academy — should have been done 20 years ago.
• Other pertinent facts:
Most of St. Louis County’s 90 municipalities have their own police force, of which three-fourths are devoid of African American peace officers, an insult to the civil rights fighters and champions in St. Louis County. Ninety municipalities: It’s how they control diversity and opportunity — the politics of apartheid, American style.
• The largest Black newspapers in St. Louis and St. Louis County have been championing reform and change in St. Louis — just as this newspaper is doing for Minnesota — for reform and change (but not for change sake), continuing to walk in the footsteps of those Black pioneers like Jet Banks in St. Louis and Cecil Newman in the Twin Cities.
• “Ferguson rioters targeted Indian-run convenience stores.” (Note: “Indian-Americans own more than 20,000 properties making up more than 40 percent of all hotels in the U.S…employ nearly 600,000 workers…over $9.4 billion in payroll annually.” Why not slave-descended African Americans?)
• The Times of India notes, “The hotel industry in the United States, particularly the budget hotels segment, is dominated by people of Indian origin. Some 60 percent of all budget hotels, typically called motels, are owned by Indians.” Why not slave-descended African Americans?
Ever since the grand jury verdict of no indictment, far too many in the White fourth estate have attempted to imply that we in Black America are the problem. We in Black America rightly reject that.
We are at a repeat crossroads in regard to America’s unwillingness to honestly and courageously speak to and meet our collective responsibility to deal with the issue of race. And for those young people demonstrating across this country, we urge them, for the sake of those who have perished, be it a Black man on Staten Island, New York or an 18-year-old Black youth in Ferguson or a 12-year-old child in Cleveland, Ohio, the world must be made aware that Black Americans are weary of the broken promises and the denial of the problems and the rejection of doing the right thing, and to demonstrate for equal education, more jobs and adequate housing, not burning down businesses of other minorities.
We repeat again that the protestors, the Obama administration, and all people of goodwill are sending a signal that we must listen to the voices of protest and act accordingly. Failure to do so could cause tragic results that could continue to shred the very fiber and soul of our great nation.