Ferguson, Race, and Why We as a Society are to Blame

A Uniform Stories Post

Uniform StoriesI originally wrote this post a year ago for Uniform Stories right after the Ferguson debacle.  A year later, things haven’t improved. I think the argument can be made that things have deteriorated even further.

What I wrote a year ago is even truer today than it was then.

This post originally appeared on the Uniform Stories website and is reprinted here with their permission.

Honestly, I thought about making this post about four words. Something akin to “just knock it off”.

Some of you would get it immediately, but that demographic is infinitesimal and you’d probably also live in my house, so let me expound.

I was on my second day of a two-week vacation when the Ferguson, MO incident happened.  I was gloriously unplugged for about two weeks.  Consequently, when I returned and caught up on current events, I saw that first Ferguson and then the country lost its collective minds.

Let me make a couple of things straight at the outset of this piece.

  1. This isn’t about whether or not the shoot was “good” or “bad”.

  2. This isn’t about Officer Darren Wilson or Michael Brown. The facts will come out in this case, no matter how much anyone wants to spin it in their direction.

No, this post isn’t about the involved parties. It’s about us.  Society.

The first thing you hear about in a case like Ferguson is “white cop” and “black victim”.  It’s never simply “cop” and “bad guy”. Good heavens, no. We wouldn’t want to paint the deceased as a “bad person”.  Why, that would be irresponsible, right?  I mean, aren’t we all innocent until proven guilty? Unless you’re a white cop, it seems.

If you’re a white cop, people start screaming for your job, your house. Your life.

If Wilson happened to be black, do you think Brown’s race would have been a factor in popular opinion?  It seems to me that we have forgotten what news organizations’ main function is.  It isn’t to report on news stories, my friends.

It’s to sell advertising!  The more we watch, the more the advertiser’s pay.  The higher the ratings, the higher the market share. It’s no mystery why the adage “If it bleeds, it leads” exists.  I live near a fairly violent area of the country.  In our morning lineups, there is story after story of violence in the city of Oakland, CA. Shootings, murders, robberies.  Many times, it is black-on-black crime.  Those stories get maybe 30 seconds of air time.

But white cop on black victim?  Oh, that’s Special Report time. Let’s chum those waters and get people really pissed off.  Sweet Mother of God can you imagine if they riot?!? We can play this out for days. $$$.

For the rest of the story, be sure to click over to Uniform Stories