Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Ferguson still on my mind

I've been a Facebook hack today. My tendency toward OCD leads me to get everything done way ahead of time that I can, so now I'm preparing for Thanksgiving with all my children and grandchildren--all 16 of us--but I've got everything done ahead of time I can. I can't focus on writing that novel I've put away temporarily, and I've got the chili book all ready except for three images--and they're promised either for tomorrow or Saturday. I even have shopping lists done for next week in preparation for the arrival of my kids for a second family gathering.
So what's a girl to do with that extra time, besides read--which I've done--and troll Facebook, where of course I've read more about Ferguson that I ever needed to. I recognize there's something fascinating about violence, even for those of us who abhor it, and I've watched the fires burning looting, running, shouting, on the news with a sort of fixed attitude I can't explain. It's immeasurably sad to see people burning their own people's homes, cars and businesses. It struck me today that in the 1920s at the Greenwood riot in Tulsa it was whites burning black homes; today it is blacks burning their own community. It speaks of a deep frustration that goes way beyond the killing of Michael Brown. He has become a symbol and a martyr for a cause--and not an unjustified one.
I have friends on both sides of this particular fence--those in law enforcement who praise the decision and talk of the police right to defend, of Michael Brown's offenses (being huge is one of them), of the fact that he had just robbed a store and beaten the owner. My liberal friends talk of racial injustice, an unarmed kid against a trained officer with a gun, a white against a black.
The truth is we'll never know the truth. It's kind of like JFK's assassination--all those pages and pages of documentation, and I don't think we'll ever know what really happened. But it points to a crying need in our country--a need for racial justice, for police officers who don't stereotype and don't shoot first, a need for minority communities thate responsibility for their actions--and their neighborhoods.
I've also read today several poignant pieces by black parents who write about their fear for their children, for sending them out into a biased world. With four children, I already know the fear of letting them go as teenagers--I cannot imagine adding in the racial factor.
America has lost its way on several fronts, and I pray God we are strong enough to put ourselves on the straight and narrow path again. But for now, I have no answers about Ferguson nor about how to fix America. But fixing it needs.

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