What happened to those who claimed that after the 2008 election of Barack Obama, we entered into a post-racial society?
It was always an unfounded assertion, since by every economic and social indicator racial minorities, such as African-Americans and Latinos, are still significantly below whites in various opportunities, including economic, educational, housing, access to medical care and others.
The recent killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown by a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo., also reminds us that with respect to the criminal justice system, a disproportionate number of African-Americans and Latinos, especially young men, are more likely to be harassed by police, arrested and imprisoned.
Ferguson is the death nail in the coffin of the post-racial adherents. Race is still well and alive in this country despite advances largely through the struggles of those who have suffered from racism.
I find it hard to watch those whites who consistently defend the police against charges of racism, as has been the case in Ferguson. The policeman who shot Brown should have been detained, arrested and charged with murder, or at least manslaughter.
If I went out and shot someone who was unarmed six times, as the officer did to Brown, I would be arrested under probable cause and charged. Why isn't the officer being arrested and charged? Being arrested and charged under probable cause is not a conviction. That may or may not come later, but the officer clearly killed Brown, so there is probable cause to arrest the officer and charge him with the killing, especially since Brown was unarmed.
The problem is that the law enforcement system is skewed to protect the police and against racial minorities. That is why we see so many young African-American and Latino men in our prisons. Yes, some deserve to be there, but many are also there because our laws are tinged with racism that in many cases already assumes that these young men of color are guilty.
Ferguson is a wake-up call that we have not seen an end to racism in this country. Only by organizing and struggling will the besieged communities be able to confront and hopefully end such a travesty in our history and society.
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