Today I am sending love and light and courage to all mothers of black sons; their hearts must be in their throats. Every day. All day. But especially today. Because racism in America is so not not a thing of the past.
The American justice system has again declared that its okay for an adult white man with a gun to kill an unarmed black teenager because the adult is afraid. It is one highly questionable shocking thing for an untrained, self-appointed vigilante alone in the dark to claim a level of fear that justifies killing - and have the courts uphold that claim. The Ferguson incident is something different, more frightening, dangerous and depressing.
I don’t know what happened in Ferguson. But one must question how a trained police officer, pledged to protect citizens, inside his vehicle with a gun and backup on the way, facing a teenager with only cigarillos in his hand, whose crimes are lifting a handful of tobacco products from a convenience store and walking in the street — how can that officer be so afraid and so without options that he must shoot to kill. Multiple times. Before backup arrives.
We have to ask, why are the Ferguson police so afraid of those it is their duty to protect? Do they receive no training in race relations, or conflict resolution, in take down and control, in any form of self-defense that does not rely on lethal weapons?
Racism is fear of someone who does not look like you. Fear as a legal justification for police shooting down citizens in the streets institutionalizes racism. Fear as justification for transforming a grand jury into a secret trial for the killer further institutionalizes the racial divide.
Divided we fall. A people living in fear of each other cannot achieve optimum health, or high productivity, or spiritual advancement, and certainly not liberty and justice for all.
My hope lies with the mothers and fathers and spiritual leaders in Ferguson and across America who call upon themselves, their sons and their neighbors —yet again— to be the ones to demonstrate restraint under pressure, to practice non-reaction when provoked, to keep thinking in the face of fear, to live up to being an American. Stay strong, Mothers.