Editorial: Ferguson like Christmas in Bethlehem

Editorial: Ferguson like Christmas in Bethlehem
December 12
00:00 2014

(pictured above: Michael Brown)

Generally, those who celebrate Christmas mainly focus on the angels, Mary, Joseph, kings, and shepherds, but never on Herod and the soldiers who ordered the killings of all the male babies in Bethlehem. The first Christmas was a night of terror and tragedy for Jewish babies. Rachel wept for her children because they were no more according to the scriptures.

Bethlehem and Rachel are prototypes of Ferguson in America where black mothers are also weeping and grieving for their unarmed children who were killed by police and vigilantes. I believe many of the police and vigilantes are decent family men, women, some Christian and others of different religious or non-religious traditions.

When it comes to matters of race, however, the racist mythologies as it relates to people of color, these same people become sociopaths without consciences that disrespect, disregard, and devalue black life. They can neither feel nor affirm black existence. Over the centuries, certain racist myths were created that defined black people as inferior and non-human. After slavery and Reconstruction, black men were defined as violent brutes, rapists, and predators to be feared and killed without just cause.

Today, we see this same trend repeating itself of similar evil acts. The racist mythologies are culturally ingrained in America. It revealed itself in Ferguson during the unnecessary murder of Michael Brown, who was gunned down after surrendering, by Darren Wilson, a police officer.

Making the case to justify killing Mr. Brown is Wilson’s own testimony in which he said, Brown had an “intense aggressive face” and looked “like a demon.” An angry demon that could run through bullets, suggests Mr. Brown was non-human. You can connect the dots to previous killings of young black males where similar language was used by the police: Rodney King, who the police said rose up like a beast or monster and had to be beaten down; Neighborhood Watchman George Zimmerman, who profiled Trayvon Martin saying, “He looked “strange,” and “suspicious,” wearing a hoodie, and had to be killed. Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy playing in the park alone with a toy gun, was killed by a loose cannon, off-the-hook policeman, according their reports, who perceived Tamir as a criminal before he arrived.

It gets worse, according to Operation Ghetto Storm, a watch group that rendered its 2012 Annual Report on the extrajudicial killing of 313 black people by police, security guards and vigilantes. All of the people killed were not a threat to anyone. Yet, they were easy to kill because they were considered non-human.  Their lives did not matter.

Contrast these senseless killings of unarmed young black males with similar situations in the white communities, where there is a different standard of justice. In New Hampshire, at a pumpkin festival, many white people rioted, destroyed property that cost more than the property loss in Ferguson. There were no snipers on the roof, no armored cars, and no National Guards.  The local police handled everything “peacefully.”  On (the Cliven) Bundy Ranch in Nevada, a large group of armed white militias defended a man who refused to pay his taxes, threatened secession and were armed and ready to revolt against the government. Nobody fired a shot, but instead retreated. In Pennsylvania, a man killed a State trooper and he was captured three weeks later alive.

The hypocrisy of the judicial system that supports these senseless killings has recently been internationalized by the United Nations Committee Against Torture that criticized the United States in a report for patterns of police brutality and excessive force against racial and ethnic minorities across the country. It raised concerns about racial profiling and the growing militarization of police activities.

Most of us did not know that the local police were being militarized with leftover military weapons from the Middle East wars, which makes the police an extension of the military, the potential for a police state not under civilian rule. Why do we need this kind of hardware?

To get justice, we may have to take the U.S. to the United Nations for charges of genocide. The UN may have to commission an international “peacekeeping” force to protect the black community.

As long as the judicial system and those police are unfair, and perceive people of color as demons, non-humans, and fear black men, they should not be allowed to police black communities.

The senseless killings of young African American men are not only a threat to our safety, but a menace to genuine democracy.

Our struggle for democracy is not a black or white struggle, but the struggle of every nationality, race, sex, class and gender. We cannot be afraid to stand up.  If we do not defend it, we will lose it.

I encourage all of us to attend the march on Washington on Saturday, Dec. 13 that in situations where the police are involved in misconduct, a federal prosecutor be brought in to prosecute. Also, there is a need for a national commission on the policing of black communities.

Dr. John Mendez

Dr. John Mendez

A longtime social activist who has taken up causes locally and around the world, Dr. John Mendez is pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church.

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