There is an episode of a show called Quantum Leap that’s titled “Black on White on Fire.” This episode is about the Watt’s Riots that were held in Los Angeles in 1965. Here’s the Wikipedia article about it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watts_Riots
Does any of that sound familiar? If you thought about Ferguson, Missouri, you and I are thinking along the same lines. History is repeating itself.
I have been silent the last few days because I haven’t been sure of what to say. One of my closest friends lives in St Louis, and I’ve been scared for her and her family’s safety. Thousands of children have not had school. There has been violence and vandalism in that city because of the grand jury’s decision. Why? Why have people resorted to violence and vandalism? Why are cars being set on fire?
It’s not right. The violence and fires and vandalism are hurting the business owners who have done nothing to warrant such treatment. There’s a traumatizing aspect to all of this as well. Can you imagine being in first or second grade and looking outside your window to see a police car on fire and the local Walgreens in ruins?
Across the rest of the country, people have been protesting as well. That’s fine. It’s within everyone’s rights to protest peacefully. If you want to chant “Hands up, don’t shoot” and “Black lives matter,” then you’re welcome to do so.
Wait. Don’t all lives matter? Not just black lives or white lives or Asian lives? Yes. All lives matter. The core of the protests we’re seeing today is that black lives and white lives and all other lives are being treated differently. If Michael Brown hadn’t been black, would protests of this scale be happening? Probably not?
I know that’s not the situation, and I also know that there are plenty of statistics and opinions that show that non-white people are treated unfairly compared to white people. That is the issue. The United States claims all people are created equal, but those proclamations are just words until something changes.
If you’re going to protest, that is up to you. But don’t protest one person’s death because he was black and killed by a white man. Protest the circumstances that surround it. Protest the “black vs white” dynamic that has appeared by ignoring what someone looks like and focussing on their personality. Protest the contented silence that fills the air and engulfs every person every day by speaking when others are silent. Protest the empty words by working to make a difference.
Do it peacefully. To do otherwise makes the situation worse. To do otherwise takes us back 50 years to the Watt’s Riots. 50 years of progress, whether you see it as a lot or a little, will mean nothing.