Saturday, August 23, 2014


Now that Ferguson has calmed down (and the reality that that town's name will now stand for the events of the past week(s) to anyone who was an adult at the time) I wanted to muse out loud about some aspects of it.

First of all we all know, or should, that science proves what I intuited as a boy, that there's no such thing as "race"—and therefore no "racial purity" etc. It also shows that if we chart our familial connections completely, we all end up related.

So the "race" construct is about something else. And there are those who see it more as the conception of "race" mixed with the conception of "class" that caused the kind of misreading involved in the unfortunately not unfamiliar scenes of cops ridiculously overwrought (and overdressed and armed) in the face of some walking and shouting fellow humans. As though the cops were from some more respectable and legitimate "class" above however the victim's "class" was seen by the cops (actually more like "classless" I suspect in their perspective, as in "less" human).

But one of my oldest and dearest soulmate brothers (we became friends over half a century ago in the then legally segregated South Carolina where we were stationed in the military and pushed the limits of the legal racial restrictions) lives in the Ferguson community and has been telling me about throwback (though obviously not, just continuing) racial incidents between him and the police there for years and years.

And the thing is he's certainly more educated, knowledgable, worldly and—in most ways scientists would use to measure—"evolved" than any of the Ferguson police officers. And yet he has had to contend with scenes like his recently, pre-police group overreaction, substituting for his wife at a community meeting and not knowing which door to go through in a local building and trying the front door to find it locked he's suddenly confronted by a policeman with his gun drawn!

An elderly bespectacled gentleman who happened to be a few shades darker in skin tone than the policeman (no one is truly "black" or "white" in skin tone) trying to get to a meeting and trying the wrong door gets confronted with a drawn pistol. In that encounter, or another similar one when a Ferguson policeman pulled his gun on my friend, my friend said "What are you?" and the cop said "A police officer" and my friend said "Well act like one."

That's the answer, at least for those of us old enough or with enough history of police connections (my clan was and is still full of cops) that seems to be forgotten entirely in so many instances recently. Rather than behaving like people hired to protect the peace, as well as the lives and property of the people in a community, whether residents or passing through, too many local police forces are rather a collection of frightened overgrown (often in my area over steroid-ed) boys, and sometimes girls, who think (as do many criminals these days) that life is a video game.

There's always been "bad" cops, and there's always been prejudice, of one kind or another, and the police have always known who butters their bread, so to speak (as do politicians and most everyone else, which is why the Wall Street criminals are still free and Michael Brown is dead) and I'm not gonna solve the riddle of cultural expectations (Michael Brown behaved as many young men throughout history and all over the world have since Cain and Abel, i.e. physically aggressively in some situations) versus racial generalizations, but... seems to me, the desperation of ill-informed segments of the population who identify as "white"—especially in communities like Ferguson—is only going to get worse without a committed program of complete reeducation in the scientific realities of "race" and human interconnectedness.

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