I've written this post probably 5 times the last 4 nights, never quite getting it right. Whether it's due to conflicting thoughts, self censorship or my general inability to express exactly what I want to say, this has been one of the most challenging things I've ever written.
First and foremost, as a middle class white man I feel like I have absolutely no right to even pretend to understand the state of racism and poverty in America. Anyone else in the same position as myself who thinks they do are completely fooling themselves. The term "white privilege" is thrown around way too often, but you can't pretend it doesn't exist. I've never known the feeling of being judged simply by the color of my skin. I've never had someone cross the street to avoid walking past me. I've never been followed around a store in a misguided attempt to keep me from stealing. I don't bare the burden of 200+ years of bigotry and discrimination
How anyone, white or black, can shoot an unarmed man 12 times and not even have to face a jury of his peers is not only insane, it's absolutely frightening. Regardless if Darren Wilson felt he was in immediate danger or not, that's for our criminal justice system to determine. In a jury trial we're told if there's any reasonable doubt whatsoever we must acquit. A grand jury proceeding is by it's very nature the exact opposite. If there's any doubt whatsoever of someone's innocence, you indict. Cop, soldier or civilian - if you shoot anyone 12 times there should be some doubt of your innocence. Not saying you're guilty, but you at least have to stand trial for your actions.
Then there are the riots. All people have a breaking point. No matter of race or social and economic background eventually people cannot take anymore. Only the truly privileged and sheltered don't grasp this basic concept. When a group of thousands of people, even when their original intention may have been to have a peaceful protest, reach that point this will happen. Watts in the 60's, Stonewall in the 70's, London in the 80's or L.A. in the 90's. All were people who'd been pushed to that point by civil injustice. White people riot over the stupidest shit imaginable. Rioting over basic human rights is admirable compared to a sporting event.
People fail to realize that their constant straw man argument of "if it were a black cop and a white kid" is not only inherently racist, it's easily refutable. How? If it were a black cop and a white kid THERE WOULD HAVE BEEN A FUCKING INDICTMENT. If you honestly think there isn't racism in modern America you're just not paying attention. Go read the comments about Obama on any social media site on the internet. Is it unimaginable that some of the same people who thrive on internet anonymity aren't also police officers, district attorneys and grand jury members?
It's hard to believe just 6 years ago I thought electing our first African American President was a sign that we as a country had finally left the dark ages of the civil rights struggle and were ready to join the 21st century. How naive. It's only brought the undercurrent of hidden hate to the surface.
I don't know what it will take for everyone to be not only considered but more importantly treated as equals. Male, female, black, white, straight, gay. None of our lives or more valuable than another's. Only when we all realize this can we truly heal and move forward.