Kids are expelled for drugs or carrying knives. They are given detention when they swear or wear the wrong shoes. So why is racist bullying not taken as seriously? Why do many teachers close their eyes to name calling and "small" scuffles?
Aggressively punitive and extreme drug policies are steeped in racism. Inherent in the response to drug law enforcement is a biased approach and stark double standards in the perceived threat of drug use by marginalized people.
If you also believe that most Black families in the United States have talked about Ferguson, what does it say about the rest of us if we have not?
It's time for Missouri's right-wingers to leave the nineteenth century behind. It is time for all Missourians -- indeed, time for all Americans -- to start building a more just and equitable world, one free of institutional racism and yawning racial disparities.
I must be the most serene dude on the planet, because I swear to you that I have never hurled a racial invective at someone. No, not even when I was a kid. And no, not even when I was drunk. I'm not boasting, because it would be pretty sad if I wanted kudos just for avoiding hateful insults. To me, that should be basic behavior.
I recall visits in grammar school from "Officer Friendly." He would give us tips on how to be safe when walking to and from school. Officer Friendly told us that in an emergency, we should seek out a police officer, because their job was to serve and protect. What ever happened to Officer Friendly?
How do you convince the people of Ferguson that we're one American family? How do you convince Michael Brown's grieving parents of our common values and equality under the law? Does the president even believe that what he said is actually true? Healing hasn't happened yet because old wounds were never resolved.
With each killing in which a police officer is held unaccountable, with each instance of brutality where justice is delayed and perhaps never served, American men of color are reminded that for them, institutional racism is no mere abstraction.
Some predominantly white school districts in greater St. Louis area are voluntarily cutting tuition for transfer students to ease racial segregation. More districts need to take the initiative to integrate schools, and the state.
Michael Brown's death is the merely the latest in a long line of episodes in which white police officers used deadly force against unarmed black men. African Americans are four times more likely than whites to die during an encounter with an officer.
Mainstream media don't want to acknowledge the basic humanity of a dead black kid. We see it all the time. Just look at #IfTheyGunnedMeDown. I'm horrified and outraged that it is not safe to be a black person in America.
I revisit a 1988 documentary in which Angelou and I attended a conference on "Facing Evil," held in the Hill Country of central Texas. Evil was a topic about which Angelou, the victim of childhood rape and virulent racism, had a lot to say.
I actually like the "broken window" theory, which is one reason I am marching on August 23, I just think the theory is being seriously misapplied. It is long past time to fix the real broken windows in our society that have victimized many but especially African American men.
Mike Brown's face appears in my mind and it is changing, constantly shifting, reflecting the smile of every black child I see. Shivers run up and down my spine.
While pledging non violence, many are coming to the conclusion that it's time to take a stand against an unabated offensive targeting working people and other minorities that has systematically eroded their rights, their livelihoods, their future.