Every major media outlet, international or American-based, has been covering the mayhem in the streets of Ferguson, Missouri for the last two weeks. Liberal and moderate media reported the story first because of it concerning a civil rights issue. Starting last weekend, as the protests, riots, and looting grew in response to the militarization of the local police force, right-wing media outlets like FOX News began to cover the story, recognizing that it was headline-worthy material. As the conflict has become mass publicized, like any major issue, the two political spectrums have developed contrasting stances. The left, myself included, see the protests as a justified retort to the racial discrimination many blacks in Ferguson have experienced for years by the police. The right has also developed their own opinion on the situation. They have come out supporting Darren Wilson, the white police officer who shot unarmed Michael Brown, and oppose the majority sentiment that sympathizes with the protesters.
Here is a clip of law enforcements “experts” on FOX News giving their opinion on the situation in Ferguson:
Firstly, I agree with them that police should be militarized during a natural disaster, but to say it that police militarization is justified to combat protesters and some violent rioters is ridiculous. What threat do they pose that the police need snipers, stun grenades and military equipment? The protesters certainly don’t have that type of equipment.
There have been some reports of rioters throwing molotov cocktails at law enforcement, but none of them possess any dangerous weapons like the ones the police are threatening to shoot them with if they come too close. Also, Bo Dietl’s justification for militarization that muslim extremists threaten Ferguson is completely senseless. The notion that muslim terrorists are plotting to invade Ferguson, Missouri is pure stupidity. Even if he was making the claim that muslim extremists’ encroachment on our native cities rationalizes police militarization, that still doesn’t have anything to do with these protests over the fatal shooting of a young black man by a white police officer. If muslim extremists were causing terror within our national borders, it would be the U.S. military who is to combat them, not a local police force. Considering this, Dietl’s argument is revealed to be even more irrational.
When Dietl brought up the issue of black on black violence occurring in Chicago and all over the country to supersede racial discrimination in Ferguson, it wasn’t the first time that has been said on FOX News. While observing the right’s reaction to the story, i’ve noticed several times that conservatives bring up the violence in African-American communities between blacks themselves, to give the impression that they truly care about black people and that our attention should rather be on those communities. It’s true that hundreds of young black men die each year in cities like Chicago due to gang violence, much more than the number of black males who die in police shootings. What these right-wingers fail to realize is that racial discrimination and police brutality on blacks such as the cases witnessed in Ferguson, is root of every problem for the African-American community. If they only opened up an American history textbook, they’d know that Blacks have been mistreated in the U.S. for centuries, from slavery to Jim Crow segregation. When considering this chronic mistreatment of blacks by whites, they would know that our society is still deeply affected by the conditions blacks suffered throughout history, and after examining cases like this fatal shooting in Missouri, it becomes obvious that blacks have still not obtained their full civil rights. It would be wonderful if African Americans really did have equal opportunity, but sadly, that’s not the case. Blacks are often prevented from attaining high or well paid jobs because whites are the ones in control, and discriminate against them. Due to this lack of opportunity and education usually experienced by blacks, their ability to climb up the social hierarchy is significantly small, and they are reduced to living in ghettoes, where crime is widespread and living conditions are abysmal.
Yet, despite these obvious facts, most conservatives believe there is no longer a race problem in America. Its sad that they can be so ignorant of such a conspicuous and important issue. Only through educating the public on these social ills will popular sentiment grow in support of the black community’s battle for equal rights. White America needs to know and realize that racial discrimination is still a very serious issue in this country. Once they realize this, we can start to rally for another civil rights movement, and stories like this situation in Ferguson are good beginnings for such a campaign.