Garner, Ferguson, and other things that break the heart of the humanist.

The jury failed to indict the cop who choked Eric Garner, and that has really made me upset and depressed today. The whole Ferguson thing was disturbing, but even more disturbing was the reaction of other people. What we really need to do is have a conversation about police brutality and why officers can be inappropriately violent and not be convicted of it. I have been sliding very gradually over to libertarianism over the past few years, and this is something that sparks that up again.

We also need to talk about how race effects how police react in tense situations. But instead of hearing people talking about that, they talk about ridiculous things like looters taking advantage of the protests. Being a white chick in Northwest rural areas in my growing years means I am not personally witness to the racial tensions in many other places. But I went to school, and there in the most basic of American history classes, it was made clear to me how the Civil Rights movement has been one that has been fought against every step of the way. It’s been fought with many¬†arguments, even Biblical ones, and many people who believe those arguments are still alive and influencing others today.

Just because people have had equal rights under the law for a few years now does not mean that all cultures have adapted to treat them as equals. Just a couple years ago people lost their shit over a mixed race family in a Cheerio commercial. Others can’t stop insisting that our black president is faking his birth cerficate and actually Muslim, insist on using the stereotype of a black ghetto woman using welfare to buy a big screen tv to deny aid to needy people, and try to call their racism by other names to distract us from what they’re really doing. We are not in a place where people are free of harmful prejudices against black people (or Muslim, or Chinese, or hundreds of others). Why are people trying to push past the race issue here? Do they want to live in a world where people can use their prejudices against you to get away with violence? Do they want to live where the police have special immunity against the consequences of wrongdoing? Let’s have the more important conversation, people. Just because a few people took advantage of the protest to rob and burn does not mean the meaning behind the protest is something we don’t need to talk about.

The good news is that they are looking into the trial and training police officers better. I really hope they take a good look at the justice process. Seeing many leaders like the New York Mayor and President Obama take interest in this is encouraging. Unfortunately, like most civil rights movements, it will take a long time and many more tragedies before we get enough people on board who are willing to say, “This is wrong. We will change. We will teach our children.”

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