by T.D. Jakes
When Lesley McSpadden and Michael Brown Sr. made plans to drop off their 18 year old son Michael at Vatterott College, a technical school near their Ferguson, Mo. home for the start of his freshman year, never could they have imagined that rather than celebrate his triumphs, these deeply grieved parents would instead be planning his funeral.
As I glance at the 20 candles glistening atop my own son’s birthday cake on a warm August afternoon, the irony is not lost as I too prepare for the trek that millions of parents make ritually each fall, dropping their offspring off at colleges, universities and trade schools across the nation. Yet, unlike the majority of parents, I now have the added burden of knowing that recent events have placed my sons squarely on the endangered list.
It’s becoming an all too familiar vignette of distraught mothers and fathers helpless to shield their sons and daughters against societal woes, and unforeseen circumstances that would find them scanning crime scene photos instead of gleefully posting ‘first day of school’ snapshots on Facebook and Instagram.
The seemingly willful killings of unarmed black men like Michael Brown, Jr. in Missouri, Trayvon Martin in Florida or Eric Garner in New York, all have their origins in the odious practice of racial profiling.
According to U.S. News and World Report, African Americans in Ferguson, Mo. are not only stopped more often, they are also searched and arrested more than whites, even though the data show that whites are more likely to be caught with contraband if searched. In short, whites were stopped for actual suspicious behavior, whereas black were routinely stopped for racially motivated reasons.
Although legislation was put forth to end this heinous exercise, the state of Missouri’s own 2013 statistics show the disproportionate execution of “just-us” Ferguson-style: Of the 5,384 police stops, 686 were white, while 4,632 were black. Of 611 searches, 47 were white, 562 were black. Of 521 arrests, 36 were white, 483 were black.
As a father of three African American sons and a pastor to more than 15,000 black men not to mention the other 23 nationalities that make up The Potter’s House of Dallas, I’m deeply troubled by the constant erosion of the black males whose battle to survive poverty, drugs, violence, dropout rates and other community maladies only to come to such a forlorn and hideous end! We certainly don’t need the added burden of racial profiling or any form of injustice leveled against our already perplexing ills.
And while the exact details of Michael Brown’s death continue to unfold, his parent’s anguished cries on television remind me of how onerous the task is for mothers and fathers in our communities to dodge the bullets of black-on-black crime, disenfranchisement, disillusionment, and a justice system whose own statistics reveal racial disparities and poverty itself as the twin scions of sociological toxicity.
I cringed at the attention that would not likely have been given to this case had the community in one accord not demanded a thorough investigation! Nevertheless, I am grateful for the attention that this outcry has received from the highest levels of government!
With the nation’s outrage in full view, I believe that this case gives an outlet to a rising sense of power felt by parents and youth alike to call into question the questionable behavior exhibited by those who are sworn to protect and serve all citizens.
While I applaud the people’s right exercise their first Amendment right to protest, I strongly urge the anger displayed thus far in the disruptive elements of the protests to be quarantined and channeled away from vandalizing our communities and replaced with a careful scrutiny of how the Attorney General through our judicial system will handle the investigation of this extremely disturbing case and how those responsible will be held accountable for their actions.
My hope is that the glaring lens of media brings enough light to offset the heat of the seething anger that’s rumbling under the skin of a frustrated and enraged community!
SOURCE: Huffington Post