If I hear “it’s not about race” one more time, I’m going to lose my shit. We’ve all heard the numerous reports coming out of Ferguson, Missouri after the killing of Michael Brown over the past couple of months. The facts of the story remain that Michael Brown was unarmed when he was shot and killed, Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson has still not been charged with any crime, and the Ferguson police department has used tear gas and military grade equipment aimed at citizens of the Ferguson community who are simply upset that one of their own has been killed without any consequences.
Whether or not you believe that race had any influence in the aforementioned details of the story, overnight Michael Brown’s memorial, made up of letters, teddy bears, and flowers, was burned to the ground. The memorial, which I’m sure his mother, coping with the loss of her teenage son, visited frequently, was a simple, beautiful gesture to honor the teenage boy who is now dead. The teenager who planned to go to college, who had a family and friends, and who was shot without ever having a chance to plead his case, now cannot even have a memorial to honor his death.
I could read you endless statics about how a third of all black men can expect to be in jail at one point in their lives, or about how the War on Drugs blatantly discriminates against blacks at alarming rates. But instead, just look at pictures of Mike Brown’s memorial. Just think about how his community, his close friends, and his mother must feel knowing that even in death, Michael Brown cannot deserve the respect and dignity of having a memorial in his honor. Then try to tell me this incident is not about race.