I have been in twitter arguments for the past two days over the Grand Jury decision handed down Monday in the Ferguson MI shooting case of Michael Brown. While the case should not be focused on the color of Michael Brown’s skin it is. While everyone should be focused on the fact that an eighteen year old is dead because of an over the top police response, that fact is getting lost in all the talk of racism. The fact that the cop was white and the victim was black is all that people are seeing.
I for one would be just as outraged by the outcome of this case were the victim white, for me color does not come into the equation, and I will tell you why. A cop (who could be purple with blue polka dots for all it matters) shot an unarmed citizen (who just happened to be black) and killed him. That is unacceptable no matter what color the victims skin might have been. For me the Ferguson shooting is just one more example of the police brutality that is becoming commonplace in North America.
There was another shooting in August, the same month Michael Brown was gunned down. It happened in Salt Lake City. A man named Dillon Taylor (who just happens to be white) was shot and killed by a cop (who just happened NOT to be white) the only difference between the two shootings is that the cop in the Salt Lake City case was wearing a body cam. No one screamed “racism” no one took to the streets in protest, in fact most people missed the case entirely because the victim was white.
This is not a racial issue, it never was, but people like Al Sharpton can’t stop themselves from playing the racism card every time there is a police shooting of a black person by a white cop. Granted, perhaps in this situation Officer Wilson is a racist, I don’t know, I have never met the man and can not speak to his attitude towards black people, but I also don’t think racism is the issue here. All across North America cops are shooting first and asking questions later. Cops shooting unarmed “suspects” is a regular occurrence these days, but people are so wrapped up in the racism quilt that they can’t see the forest for the trees.
That’s a problem, because the real issue here is the rise in incidents of police brutality, and the use of lethal force where lethal force is not required. By reducing Michael Brown’s death to a racial issue we take the public’s attention away from the true problem, cops who abuse the power they are given. The Michael Brown shooting should have raised concerns over how cops are handling the take down of a suspect, instead everyone is focused on skin color. Would Michael Brown still be alive today if he was white? I don’t think so. Michael Brown would have been shot regardless of his skin color because that is the way cops do things these days.
So what am I really saying here? Simply this, we need to handle the problem of cops thinking themselves above the law. We have to push for action to be taken against these officers who draw their guns first without trying to resolve the situation without violence. We also need to stop blaming racism every time a black person is killed by a white cop and realize that racism is not the issue, cops getting away with murder while on duty IS the issue.