Last year an unarmed African-American was gunned down in Ferguson, Missouri, and an unarmed African-American was choked the death in New York — for selling loose cigarettes. People of color can’t help but to think that there are disparities between how African-Americans and whites are treated when they commit a crime.
Whites have shot numerous people in places such as movies theaters and schools (where many children died), yet they are looked at as mentally ill people who couldn’t separate fantasy from reality, and many are still alive today. But when African-Americans commit a crime, they are looked at as demonic people who had to be destroyed. Consider George Zimmerman’s excuse for killing Trayvon Martin and police officer Darrell Wilson’s excuse for killing Michael Brown; both teens were unarmed, but their killers were either acquitted or not even indicted.
Police officers have a certain mindset when dealing with people of color, formed in part in response to the way African-Americans are portrayed on television, in movies and in the media.
We need to have an honest discussion about race; if not, these problems will continue to erode our country. We continue to have this peaceful tension that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. discussed in his “Letter From a Birmingham Jail.” Outside we’re peaceful, but inside the tension is boiling, and the issues we are seeing today could cause it to boil over.
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Therefore we — people of all colors, races and creeds — need to come together, before we fall apart. As President Abraham Lincoln said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” That was true then, and it is true today.
Victor L. Rodgers