The ongoing situation in Ferguson, Missouri is difficult to watch unfold, but the truth is, it is just one of countless undisguised reminders we’re bombarded with daily that to be an African-American in the United States is often to live a hostile existence. We see unarmed black teens being slain like they’re not even human, many times by the very police officers entrusted to protect them, and we’re at a loss as to why this is still happening.
The question we must ask ourselves as a nation is: How many more of such deaths of black teenagers do we have to see before racism just sort of goes away on its own?
The racial discrimination and animosity that stained our country’s early history are alive and well today, and they will continue to flourish until they all just sort of stop. But when? How many more stories like Trayvon Martin’s or Michael Brown’s must we hear before racism just kind of fizzles out without me having to do anything about it? How many police officers will be placed on paid administrative leave for committing a heinous crime against a minority before the dire and awful realities that plague this country suddenly stop being so dire and awful?
How many more stories like Michael Brown’s or Trayvon Martin’s must we hear before racism just kind of fizzles out without me having to do anything about it?
It’s hard to say. It seems like so many of us have done our part by waiting for racism to take care of itself. We’ve blogged about racism’s prevalence in a supposedly “post-racial America.” We’ve complained about it on Facebook and occasionally signed petitions. Yet racism persists, and all we can do now is wait for the day when this whole thing more or less sorts itself out.
In the meantime, the only thing we can do is pray that the vigils and protests that black people are holding across the country will have some sort of effect that will get racism to finally stop on its own. And maybe a politician or someone could make an anti-racism law or something, too. Certainly couldn’t hurt.
Now, more than ever, we need to stand idly by for the day when well-behaved black kids can finally go outside and play without fear of unwarranted searches, incarceration, or worse. We must never stop waiting for the injustice to cease on its own.