When my son was in high school, he was with a friend who stole something from a local store. The friend was seen and apprehended by police in a calm and completely nonviolent manner.
I was thinking about this incident after the grand jury declined to indict Ferguson, Missouri, police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown. The main difference between the two incidents? My son and his friend are white, living in a predominantly white town, and Michael Brown and his friend, Dorian Johnson, were black and lived in predominantly black Ferguson.
It made me wonder. Are there two Americas, one for whites and one for minorities?
I am grateful that my son’s friend was not physically harmed. But in another America, an 18-year-old boy is dead.
Some will say there is no comparison between the lily white enclave where we reside and the streets of Ferguson. They will say the shooting was not racially motivated, but justified by the threatening nature of the suspect.
If so, then explain to me why my own sister knows black parents – residents of a quiet, racially mixed suburb of Chicago – who are afraid for their sons. When asked, these African-American parents unanimously said the biggest fear they have is that their sons will be stopped by the police.
My son and his friend were able to learn from a youthful indiscretion. They have grown up safe and secure in a privileged position due mainly to the color of their skin.
But in that other America, the Brown family is mourning the death of their son. Michael Brown was denied the due process that was his right as an American citizen, and now his family is being denied justice in the death of their son.