The problem in Ferguson, Missouri, is not complicated. Rather, it is as clear as black and white.
America still refuses to come to grips with color. Until people -- white, black, brown, red, yellow, rainbow -- accept each other as human beings and not as distinct individuals within the same population, distrust, fear, and hatred will continue to haunt our American citizen identity.
A racist is defined not as a person within a distinct ethnic population, but instead as any person "who practices particular poor treatment of or violence against people because of their race."
For Christ's sake, all races should take pride in positive parts of their identity; however, no race should take part in anything that supports inequality or criminal activity in the name of the color of their skin. All of this activity simply adds to stereotypes and fuels the flames of bigotry that still burn in the hearts and minds of people who can't see beyond race.
Everyone I talk with about the Michael Brown incident includes speculation on racial judgment. Why? I believe racists -- white and black -- automatically use incidents like this to confirm their lingering distrust of those unlike themselves. I'm not saying that some of this animosity isn't warranted. I am saying that people who use and abuse others because they are white or black are simply in the wrong.
Let's review some obvious actors in the Brown incident that provided opportunities for racists everywhere to confirm their prejudiced views:
The robber (identified as Michael Brown) and the victims at the convenience store
Michael Brown himself
The police officers involved in the on-scene investigation
Officer Darren Wilson, the officer who shot Michael Brown
The eyewitnesses to the shooting such as Dorian Johnson
Brown's parents and attorney Benjamin Crump, who represented the family of Trayvon Martin,
Owners of businesses that were vandalized and looted
Outside influences that flocked to Ferguson to join local protesters including civil rights leaders like Reverend Al Sharpton and Reverend Jesse Jackson
The entire Ferguson Police Department
The Missouri Highway Patrol
President Obama and the Justice Department investigation
Governor Jay Nixon, City of St. Louis Mayor and other area leaders
Two reporters -- one from the Huffington Post and another from the Washington Post who were arrested by police at a Ferguson McDonald's
The St. Louis County Medical Examiner who conducted the autopsy of Michael Brown
Justice Department spokesman Brian Fallon said Attorney General Eric Holder who ordered a separate federal autopsy for Brown at the request of his family.
The National Guard brought to Ferguson by order of Governor Nixon
Attorney General Eric Holder who was ordered to monitor unrest in Ferguson by President Obama
Trayvon Martin's mom, Sybrina Fulton, who wrote a heartbreaking letter published in TIME magazine to the family of Michael Brown.
Brown's mother and father, Lesley McSpadden and Michael Brown, Sr., who traveled to Geneva, Switzerland, to testify before the United Nations Committee Against Torture as part of a delegation of human rights advocates organized by the New York- and Atlanta-based U.S. Human Rights Network. McSpadden also said on the Today Show, "When justice is prevailed, then maybe they'll regain their trust in the locals."
The grand jury that began investigating whether Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson should be criminally charged for the death of Michael Brown.
The NAACP that held a peaceful protest throughout Ferguson
Vonderrit Myers Jr., a second black teenager in the area, who became a shooting victim
Clergy and activist academic Cornel West arrested by police on "Moral Monday"
There is so much black and white interaction that transpired in Ferguson that so many closed minds wish to label as "racist." This unfortunate incident is rift with speculation, accusation, and mixed reports. No matter whoever is to blame for whatever, racists on both sides of the issue do nothing but encourage further violence and continued racial distrust and hatred.
It's time to stop blame in the name of race when the blame is unwarranted and liable to do nothing but build further racist views. I don't know all of the facts in the Brown case, but whatever they are, people who use the incident to stir undue hatred of Caucasians or of Afro-Americans are wicked.
"Mankind must evolve for all human conflict a method which
rejects revenge, aggression, and retaliation.
The foundation of such a method is love."
--Marin Luther King, Jr.
In 2014, Ferguson, Missouri should not be a step backward in racial equality. I hope the truth does prevail, yet I believe even if it doesn't, those who blindly continue to act with black or white bigotry are destroying the foundations of love so many have worked so hard to establish in America. Our land cannot be a place of injustice because of the color of your skin nor can it be a place where people cling to closed minds colored by bigotry.
I pray for colorless justice in Ferguson. God, please let people see that "wrong" and "right" are not to be judged in terms of black and white, but instead judged in terms of one humanity of like beings. Please alleviate the ugly distrust. Your will be done.
"Hatred paralyses life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life;
love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it."
--Martin Luther King, Jr.