Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Written by Natasha Wong, Class of 2016

Only a small spark is needed to ignite a fire; in this case, an 18-year-old black teenager, shot by a police officer. This little spark has managed to light a fire in the community of Ferguson, Missouri, igniting one of the most controversial disputes between law enforcement and citizens.

Despite its small town roots, this story has spread throughout the country, making its way to international news. It all began when the aforementioned teenager, Michael Brown, was shot by a police officer,causing an outrage within the predominantly black community, adding to the already high tensions between them and the largely white police force. This only served to worsen ties, and cause the massive rioting and protests we now hear on the news.

Since the incident, marches and protests were being held not only in Ferguson but on the streets of Washington, DC. The message they are trying to convey is simple: stop the abuse of authority. Bearing messages such as “Hands up! Don’t Shoot!” and “How many must die?”, they were trying to show the unfairness of the police, all of this relating to the incident in Ferguson.

Ferguson is a predominantly black community as mentioned before, with 64% black citizens, 33% being white and the remaining consisting of other ethnicities. Of the 54 law enforcement officers in the community, only 3 are black. However, blacks account for 86% of traffic stops and 92% of all arrests in the community-according to The New York Times. This serves to prove the immense power balance of the white police against the black community, which when separated like so, causes spite, anger and discrimination.

Since the shooting, the police have had to resist the outraged cries of the citizens. The way they handled it was unprofessional and heavy handed. Their actions have only managed to aggravate the people and exacerbate the situation. These foul tactics included, according to citizen statements, using illegal chokeholds and shouting racial slurs.

One is shocked by all of this: the severe imbalance and abuse of the power given unto the police. The situation has brought doubt and suspicion upon the competency of the police force, and whether it really has been doing its job objectively. It also raises questions of whether the issue of racism in America has really shown such positive improvement as has been claimed.

There are many ways of looking at this situation but there is no reasoning for the blatant racism shown not only by Ferguson's police force but also by members of America's white community. 

Amidst the pain and grief endured after Michael Brown's death, will there be justice?
by Anonymous 22:44 23 comments | in , , , ,


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