Media Hype: Fuming Fires of Racial Tension
The fires of racial tension have spread across the United States with a heightened sense of ferocity that hasn't been seen since the height of the Civil Rights Movement. From Los Angeles to New York protests have caught the eye of not only local but national media. While some in the African American community have called for calm amidst the grand jury decision not to bring charges on the officer who shot and killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri; unfortunately, many have demanded retribution against police officers, who they view as targeting young black men. Statistics do not back up their claims of police targeting young black males but that doesn't change the perception by a large segment of the African American community that this is indeed a serious problem affecting anyone with a dark skin pigment.
This perception is brought about by the nearly one million African Americans who currently reside in our prison system, along with the six to one ratio of blacks to whites who are arrested and eventually incarcerated in the United States. As of 2001, one in six black males have been incarcerated at one time or another, while young, black males make up 44% of the youth detained by police with 58% of the black youths detained being admitted into state prisons. This alone is an astounding number but does these stats mean that blacks are unfairly being prosecuted. The answer to that would be a resounding no.
In 2002, blacks represented more than 80% of those sentenced to federal prison for the use and sale of crack cocaine. With 59% of those in prison on drug offenses being African American. Without question the numbers are high for the incarceration of blacks compared to whites but that doesn't change the fact that those who were arrested were guilty of the crimes of which they were charged. They were allowed a trial and found guilty by their peers.
The race hustlers such a Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson claim that the system itself is racist but lets put that view into perspective. If the system was truly biased then that would mean not only are they declaring the cops who arrest these offenders as racists but, also they are stating that the jury, judges and lawyers who prosecute these black youths would also have to be in on the conspiracy. Which would mean that African Americans who are police officers, judges, lawyers and those who make up juries across America would be willingly taking part in the racist criminalization of their own community. This alone sounds absurd when actually putting it into perspective but public opinion doesn't always care about the facts, instead, it is rooted in emotion and according to a 2013 Pew Research Center survey, 70% of blacks believe that whites are treated better by cops. Even President Obama said that the distrust of the police by the African American community is "rooted in realities" giving even more credence to the idea that the system is rigged against black youth.
President Obama's statement is a dangerous accusation of law enforcement agents, especially, since he is over the very cops he claims to mistrust. Since the death of Michael Brown many politicians, celebrities and athletes have protested what they deemed as an excessive amount of police brutalities against black males but according to Real Clear Politics, between 1976 and 2011, 7,982 blacks were murdered, 94% of those killed were a direct result from black on black crime, with 227 blacks being fatally shot by police, which amounts to 2.8% of black fatalities coming at the hands of the police. The stats show that this is hardly an epidemic affecting the black community. Unfortunately, the media resents those who speak the truth. Anyone who has spoken out against the riots resulting from the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner were deemed as racist no matter their skin color and those in the political arena have done nothing but stoke the flames of distrust among the police and the protesters.
The recent murders of two NYPD officers has begun a new conversation on just how much responsibility and blame the media should accept for the uprisings taking place across America. Without question, most of the vitriol towards those wearing a badge is in direct correlation with the animosity brought about by race hustlers and political figures looking to either make a name for themselves or to score points with their constituents. Even though, these leeches are directly responsible for blurring the lines between truth and fiction; while occasionally inciting violence against those who are there to protect and serve. However, they are not the ones to blame for the deaths of those police officers. That blame falls directly on the person who committed the heinous crime. He was a sick individual who used Michael Brown and the riots as a reason to murder. That doesn't excuse those who are instigating and promoting violence, even if their message is meant to be nothing more than a rallying call. It only means that the blame game detracts attention from the one who actually pulled the trigger.
While the riots might not have brought about the change that most protesting were looking for. It did however, bring light to the despicable nature of some elected officials. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio who campaigned against the stop-and-frisk policy done by New York City police officers while on the campaign trail, found himself in hot water after recent comments of his fear that his biracial son might be targeted by the police. His comments have furthered the rift between the mayor's office and the NYPD. This tension only escalated after the deaths of the two NYPD police officers, as many cops and politicians within the state believed that the blood was on his hands for not only his previous statements about the NYPD but, also, his soft approach to the Eric Garner protests. Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani somewhat defended de Blasio against the accusations that he was responsible for the officers deaths by saying in an interview on Fox News "I don't put the blood of these police officers on the mayor's doorstep," however, he went on to state that the mayor was partly to blame for the toxic atmosphere brought about by the protests and de Blasio's previous comments about the police which resulted in the deaths of the fallen officers.Even Moveon.org which is usually on the frontlines defending liberals against attacks on the right have lambasted the mayor over the incident and even went so far as to bring about an online petition calling for de Blasio's resignation. So far the petition has been signed by over 60,000 people.
"The Hands Up, Don't Shoot Movement" has been seen from the streets of Seattle to the House floor in Washington D.C. with several members of Congress in a sign of solidarity with protestors, lifted their hands in the air, bringing with them a wave of adulation and condemnation. While St. Louis Rams players committed what most believed to be an offense worthy of a severe fine with their hands up motion before their game against Oakland. The whole movement is based off of early reports that Michael Brown had his hands up when police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed him. This was later proven false according to autopsy reports but that hasn't stopped the sign from being used by those who believe that the young man was gunned down by a white police officer.
Al Sharpton has become one of the most noticeable figures of the movement with his provocative condemning statements against Darren Wilson and police officers in general, while, also, becoming a rather popular guest at the White House. Sharpton has never been one to shy away from controversy, as he seems to always put his two cents into any situation dealing with race relations. Unfortunately, he has never been a calming presence and instead, has made a name for himself for inciting riots and bringing about disorder wherever he makes his presence known. He along with the Black Panthers have called for Darren Wilson to be strung up on numerous occasions, even if he was proven innocent. It is clear that Sharpton deemed Wilson guilty from the start and creating a disturbance was his real, true goal in his recent trips to Ferguson, Missouri.
Race relations in this country is at an all-time low with few believing that the United States is making strides in filling the gap between the races that slavery created. In fact, the election of the first black president has seemed to cause more friction than healing. For the most part Obama has done his best to stay away from actually furthering the conversation when it pertains to race relations and only seems to have an opinion when his poll numbers are floundering.No matter which side of the issue you stand on, we need to take a moment to step back and rethink this violent trajectory that we are headed in. Is racism alive and well? Yes, but is the blood of innocent police officers going to bring back Michael Brown or Eric Garner? I would like to think that Americans as a whole are better than this. Violence only brings about more violence and those who seek to inflame the situation are the real villains of this tragic story.