Generational difference in Ferguson response
November 26, 2014 § 1 Comment
I observed a generational difference in the response to Ferguson and other similar white police-black victim shootings. In my experience, the response was generally uniform for anyone within a 10-15 year range (I am 23) and in conflict with individuals beyond this range.
Too often, after the public discovers an act of police brutality, calls for prayer are heard from around the world. You can hear it from almost any where. But most loudly it is heard from the black church, an institution ran by individuals 45 and up.
There are many issues with this response but I will focus on a few to chew over during Turkey Day.
To advocate for prayer in response to a tragedy but especially the tragedy of a police shooting is inefficient. For example, my friend’s brother was killed by Dallas police. Telling her to pray doesn’t fix her two problems: reviving her brother and punishing the officer. In my personal opinion, praying does nothing at all for anything but for my prayerful readers, continue praying (as if you needed my approval).
(And to prove I don’t hate religion, here we go! My father, a pastor, always reminds his congregation that “faith without work is dead” and “what is prayer without action”.)
The response is ineffective because it does absolutely nothing on earth, here in the real world, where black people die at the hands of police. Laws do not change from holding hands in prayer or meeting in prayer circles but from action on the ground, be it civil disobedience, academic and intellectual molding, or the legislative leg work.
In addition to praying in general, in light of Ferguson, we are instructed to “Pray for Peace” on the night of police officer Darren Wilson’s potential indictment. As the world watched and waited for the verdict, the dominating theme was peace. Peace. Pray. Peace. Perhaps my priorities are out of order but, in this case, the need and urgency for justice far outweigh calls for peace.
To pray for peace puts the burden on the victim; to get in line and act righteously, regardless of the outcome. Is keeping agitators in line more important than demanding (and praying, if you wish) justice? Already a victim, black America doesn’t need to be told anything other than a confirmation that the perpetrator will receive punishment.
Figuratively speaking, rape victims are being told to stop crying, wipe their nose and to calm down–this is more important than catching the rapist.
The older generation has failed us enormously and respond to every racial situation the same: pray and vote. Occasionally we are told to not sag, also, or asked “What would MLK do?”
There is something brewing in the hearts and minds of Generation Y, or the Millenials, and let me assure you that it doesn’t relate to peace. My generation isn’t sick and we aren’t tired; we are alive, healthy, pissed off, and have a low tolerance for systematic bullying.
We are done following orders.
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