Some people might say that I have no place commenting on what’s happening in Ferguson because I’ve never had to spend a day as a Black men. But I don’t have to be a Black men to empathize with the pain of Michael Brown’s family. I don’t have to be a Black men to recognize injustice. I don’t have to be a Black men to be disgusted by what is happening in our county. I don’t have to be a Black men to know that Black lives matter. In fact, I think that if only Black people cared about Black issues, and if only Gay people cared about Gay issues, and if only undocumented people cared about undocumented issues- we would never see any change or progress. The rest of what I am about to say is just from me, Julissa. Not Julissa as an immigrant rights activist- in fact, I can’t even call myself that, because I have yet to do very much on that front.
Darren Wilson not getting indicted is cause for protest. I am not saying he was guilty or not guilty, but there was certainly enough of a question mark to warrant further investigation.
Michael Brown robbed a convenience store, but he was not in some crazy police chase because he robbed said convinience store. He was walking in the middle of an empty street- jaywalking. We’ll never know the full details of what happened that day. What we do know is that an 18-year-old Black teenager was shot…. SIX TIMES, by a White cop.
Maybe, just maybe, Darren Wilson was fearful for his life. But to me, the real question is WHY? Would he had even stopped and told Michael Brown to get off the street if Michael Brown didn’t look the way he did? Would Darren Wilson have pressed the issue?
Now, I am going to say something not-so-popular. Michael Brown punched the cop, he put himself in danger. BUT here is the thing, he didn’t deserve to be shot.. SIX TIMES. AND… why should it be a life-threatening danger in the first place?
The reason Darren Wilson might have been scared for his life, and the reason Michael Brown’s actions were life-ending, and the reason Wilson wasn’t indicted is because our culture tells us so.
Everything we read on the news, the TV series, the films we watch, the music we listen to— It all tells us to be scared of a Black Teenager, it all tells us that a White Cop is acting in self-defense. I love what Benjamin Watson had to say, “I’M FRUSTRATED, because pop culture, music and movies glorify these types of police citizen altercations and promote an invincible attitude that continues to get young men killed in real life, away from safety movie sets and music studios”.
Laws have made it illegal to segregate schools. Laws have made it illegal to discriminate based on race, gender, sexual orientation, or religion. Laws are suppose to protect us from these type of injustices, but as evidenced by what is happening in Ferguson- laws have failed us. Not just once, many times.
Policy can change, but until our culture changes, these things will keep happening in all of our communities. We have to reject what we see on TV, question what the news tells us. We must tell our own stories, write our own films, and change our culture. We must reject what is told to us about us.