This writer reflects on the issues arising following the August 9, 2014 shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer of the Ferguson Police Department, Missouri, United States of America, and the subsequent failure of a grand jury to commit the police officer to trial. Many of the issues he raises are peculiar to the United States, but there are striking similarities between the stereotypes in the US where you are Black or White or Yellow, and in Nigeria where you are Nupe or Itsekiri or APC or PDP. Ajibola Robinson posted this on his Google+ page as well as on his blog.
The elephant remains in the room.
The verdict is out, Darren Wilson walks, the streets burn, the media talks, and activists shout. The family hurts and everyone else talks and yet at the end of the day, work done will equal ZERO.
I am watching CNN's complete coverage of the second night after the Ferguson decision covering the protests from all angles and in all cities and all I can do is shake my head. Does even the highly respectable Anderson Cooper not get it? Does Chris Cuomo not get it? Does Don Lemon not get it? I don't know, but it seems they don't.
How about the protesters? They are walking, shouting screaming, wailing to where? To do what? To vent to display their frustrations and to complain about a perceived injustice. Understandable and fair. But they also don't seem to get it.
But what is the crux of this issue?
As I write this, media reports indicate there are protests around the country in about 37 cities. Atlanta, Los Angeles, New York, Boston, Baltimore, and many more, but that is not the issue.
The young angry black youth shout for justice, the mayor of Ferguson to the president to the grieving father asks for calm and peace. The the CNN polished professional black TV pundits seems to be speaking a different language from their polished professional white TV pundits about the same incident. Close! But that is not the issue.
Everybody has a cellphone and a camera, everybody has a blog, everybody is a citizen journalist, everybody is aware and everybody is enlightened. Everybody takes videos and pictures and uses Facebook Instagram and twitter, but that is not the issue.
Was he armed or unarmed!? Was he eight feet or twenty feet away!? Were his arms raised or not raised!? Did he charge or not? Did Officer Wilson fear for his life...!? But! That is not the issue.
Guess what, in three days’ time, most of those on the streets will be in the shops looking for a great deal ahead of the Christmas holiday, but that is not the issue.
Within a few weeks, as happened as far back with Rodney King, and recently with Trayvon Martin and now to Micheal Brown, life will go on. The streets will become peaceful once more, the burnt buildings rebuilt, yet the elephant remains in the room.
The elephant will remain in the room of Black, White, Asian, Latino and other families even as they gather in two days to enjoy a fantastic meal and give thanks at Thanksgiving.
A few months or even a few years from now, it will CERTAINLY happen again, sadly, this we know for a FACT. it might be Los Angeles, or Baltimore, New York, or New Orleans, or elsewhere.
What is the elephant in the room?
Police brutality? No. Cops killing unarmed Black kids? No! Prosecutors seemingly doing a weak and biased job? No! Grand Juries coming to unpopular decisions? No. Black on black crime? No.
The elephant is...
The elephant is... Why does the white woman still clutch her purse in 2014 when the young black man gets into the elevator, and why does the highly educated black father need to warn his black son about this?
The elephant is... why does a white father teach his son to seek and trust the police when in difficult situations and why does a black or Latino father feel the need to teach his son NOT to trust the police in a difficult situation?
The elephant is... Why the young black or Latino youth man feel the need to wear pants made for the waist on the backside and expect to be taken seriously?
The elephant is... Why does a white politician get asked if he has any black friends? Any why does the politician NOT get asked about having European friends?
The elephant is... Why does an African American woman feel the need to pen an article to ask gay white men to stop acting like black women?
The elephant is... Why does an average black or Latino man feel he needs to work twice as hard for the same paycheck as his white colleague?
The elephant is... Why do African Americans asking their fellow well-spoken upper class African Americans with differing opinions to stop "acting white"?
The elephant is... why did a white gunman who shot Gaby Giffords critically wounding her, and THIRTEEN others and killing SIX people get captured but a young black man with a toy gun, mistaken to be a real gun gets shot AND killed?
The elephant is... thinking we can live our racially separate lives in our various cocoons with minimal interaction with each other outside our places of forced interaction like at work, and expect to have a full fulfilling happy and incident free lives.
Finally, the elephant is... a 6 feet 2 inches tall officer now telling us for a FACT there is no way an unarmed 6 feet 2 inch tall black male would have survived an altercation with him, BUT a white man who shot and killed two policemen flees into the woods, is a trained marksman, armed and dangerous hides for weeks but DOES survive, comes out of the situation alive and will get his day in court...?
The elephant in the room is that which is preventing us from creating a true and real society of equals for all people of all races with as minimum as possible racial bias. One where a clear and identifiable majority of the people, not law enforcement, not the justice system, not government, but the people have chosen to live equally stand side by side, have similar opinions, goals and aspirations and coexist peacefully in the same space, governed by true laws of equality and thus benefiting all of society, not just part of society based on majority race or religion, gender or anything else.
The elephant is our society, it is the imbalance and lack of mutual understanding and tolerance in our society as a whole on BOTH sides of the divide.
Does anybody really and honestly want to get along? How many want to break the stereo types and take a chance at a better society? Or are we just satisfied scoring points, getting great ratings and remaining in our various colored cocoons?
Dealing with the elephant is beyond the cops, beyond the prosecutor and beyond the justice system. The work to be done is not on the streets but behind closed doors, at the dinner table, at the club, at department store and at the game, at the elevator and on the sidewalk. It is right there in our various living rooms, our colored cocoons where the elephant resides that the solution to the issue will be found.
The question is, is ANYONE really interested in dealing with the elephant in the room? Or is it easier to continue to ignore it and deal with the incidents as they flare up periodically?