Another America?



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 Рresidents of a quiet, racially mixed suburb of Chicago Рwho 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.




2 thoughts on “Another America?

  1. I have so many conflicting thoughts about this. I wasn’t there. Even people who were there have differing accounts. Michael Brown was a repeat offender and he assaulted the officer, Derrick Williams, prior to the shooting that ended his life. I will bet that your son’s friend did not resist arrest. My dominating thought, though, is that this case was tried in the one place sure to get it all wrong: the sensationalist media we’ve come to love. The disconnect between the conclusion drawn from evidence and witness testimony and that drawn from media coverage is striking.

    Yes, of course, people of color are justified in fearing the police. But a trial by public opinion does nothing to further justice.


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