Michael Brown. A name the world knows. A name whose legacy will forever live on as another statistic, another victim lost to the inequality and injustice deeply rooted within our American culture. Michael Brown. An unarmed black teenager whose life was cut short by the prejudice and stereotypical views our society continues to ignore. Michael Brown. One person whose tragedy encompasses thousands of others who have lost their lives before him.
I do not know what to do. I do not know what to feel. I am a white woman, whose suburban life protects me from the injustice so many people I know, and all those I have ever met, endure. I will never know what it feels like to live every single day of my life under the microscope of scrutiny, presumed guilt, and blatant inequality. I will never know what it feels like for my children to be scared to walk down our neighborhood street, fearing their presence will cause others to panic, assume, react. I will never know what it feels like to be a black American, whose freedoms as an America citizen are half of their white neighbors.
What I do know is, I am a proud American who is angry. I am angry that America, a country who steps up to the plate to protect the world from disasters, disease, and injustice, fails to protect a majority of her own. I am angry that our society fails to acknowledge, react, and change the white male dominated agenda.
Ferguson is a microcosm of the ignored realities within our society. Like Michael Brown, Ferguson is a name, a town, a reality of what it is like to be black in America. Injustice runs rampant, ignored by those who see it, felt by those who live it. Democracy is put on the back burner while stereotypical, racist beliefs of those in charge govern the land. Being black makes you a criminal, guilty by skin color. Being a young black male makes you an armed and dangerous thug, guilty by ignorant fear.
I do not understand. I do not understand the fear and hatred people have toward a person with dark skin. I do not understand the ignorant thinking, the racist remarks, the violent acts. I do not understand why me and my children get to live a life of innocence while my neighbors must live a life shrouded in fear. It is not fair. It is not right. It is morally, socially, and culturally unacceptable. Yet, we as a whole, ignore it, choose to accept it, do not do something to change it.
America is a country whose freedoms are a beacon to those around the world who strive for better. America is seen by those in other countries as the land of opportunity; a place where every single person is free to live. Yet, for those of us who see the realities, America is becoming a country whose dark secrets of social inequality and selective democratic rights reign, while individual freedoms to live life are constrained.
Change needs to happen. Real change, not the made up, political rhetoric spoken to gain votes in an election. The white male agenda of suppressing the voices of all other citizens can no longer be tolerated. Each of us need to step up to the plate, speak out against the injustice, and mobilize in a way which makes our individual voices louder and more powerful than big money, lobbyists, and those who continue to govern our country. I do not know the clear cut answers that will help change our culture. But I do know there is a way, if we are all willing to stand up and speak out to protect one another.
Michael Brown was a human, a son, an American citizen, and a child who lost his life by those whose job it was to protect him. Michael Brown, those who have lost their lives before him, and those who will fall victim to the injustice in the future, cannot die in vain. We cannot allow their names to continually become another statistic, another racially motivated crime, another victim lost to the social inequality sweeping through our country's culture. It is our job as citizens of America, as mothers, as decent human beings, to do the right thing.
It is our job to say enough. It is our job to change the future of America.
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."-Maragret Mead