Institutional racism is about a system the makes and has made it possible for "bad apple" after "bad apple" after "bad apple" to be recruited, trained and deployed -- again, and again, and again. Yes, individuals must be held accountable for their actions, but so do the systems that empower them.
One of the deeper, darker questions concealed in the maelstrom of rage and grief of Ferguson is this one: What if Officer Darren Wilson had not been armed when he told the two teenagers to get out of the street?
I am an American of Indian (sub-continental) descent, and I have been racially profiled. I can understand why this happens, but it can be frustrating at times, and occasionally humorous.
The military mission is to confront and kill a defined enemy. The peace officer has no enemies. His or her mission is to protect the community and everyone within it. No matter what crime they may have committed, all are entitled to the protections of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and due process.
I think about my teenage years: Broke. Confused. Horny. Doing stupid shit. Which brings us to Ferguson. Which brings us to Mike Brown. Which brings us to a militarized police force that enforces laws on a community that it doesn't know.
It's time to listen to the hopes and fears of all Americans. It's time to recognize the injustices that we must eliminate to ensure all Americans can pursue their dreams. And we must do it before the rage our nation has witnessed permanently supplants hope.
With two parallel investigations -- one state, one federal -- proceeding into the tragic August 9 killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown by Ferguson, Missouri, police officer Darren Wilson, a key issue in both investigations will be whether the officer had a reasonable fear that he was facing serious bodily injury or death.
"Shoot first, ask questions later" used to be a joke, meant to emphasize the idea of getting things done more efficiently by dealing with questions of...
One possible way to empathize with the plight of my fellow Americans is to imagine a world where statistics from the Pew Research Center, NAACP, and other reputable sources are reversed.
It is not surprising that a local prosecutor would believe that a local police officer was "entitled" to "the benefit of the doubt."
Our police departments should not become dumping grounds for weapons makers looking for new clients to replace sales for waning wars abroad. Nor should they be repressive agencies that treat the public, especially black men, like enemies.
There needs to be an organized national movement that proposes and lobbies for policy changes in law enforcements that need it and then in the state legislatures, Governor's Mansions, and Congress. Let the deaths of Martin, Garner, Bell, Grant, and countless others not be in vain.
The Deciding Force project is building a database that shows patterns in police/protester interactions to determine how certain actions ignite violence. One such example is how an emotional outburst can escalate into a volley of rocks and tear gas.