Monday, August 18, 2014

Why Michael Brown's Death has Sparked Protests Around the Nation

The protests in Ferguson not only reflect rage at the killing of an unarmed man, they reflect longstanding discontent of a Black community living in a small city where the reigns of power still lie in the hands of white leaders and major institutions are still white dominated. Ferguson is 67 percent Black but only 3 out of 33 police officers are Black and the school board is entirely white. Relations between police and the Black community have been polarized for some time.  Which is why this unfortunate death triggered 7 days of protests, with no end in site, Also, there are many cities and towns just like Ferguson where similar conditions prevail, hence sympathy protests have taken place all over the US.. In the last twenty years, there has been a substantial migration of Blacks out of the center of cities into small towns and suburbs and more wealthy people have moved into the inner city, And many of those towns and cities have majority black populations and overwhelmingly white police forces and political leadership, just like Ferguson. Hence what happened there has struck a chord

As for Barack Obama, his presidency has coincided with deteriorating conditions for the majority of African Americans  largely because of the spill over from the subprime mortgage crisis, where many African Americans lost their homes, and the Great Recession, where many African American lost their jobs.  He is admired in the Black Community but has not had the power to change trends in US society which have lowered wages, shrunk the middle class and concentrated wealth at the top, all trends which have disproportionately affected the Black community

As for the future, Black americans are going to have to fight for better job opportunities, less restrictive policing, less drug arrests and imprisonment of non-violent offenders, better schools, and higher wages.  Those are policies which can only be achieved as part of broad social justice coalitions