Source: Emil Guillermo/Diverse Education
For all your friends who believe we’re somehow “post-racial,” I hope they’ve been watching the news unfold in Ferguson, Missouri.
If we’re celebrating 50 years after the signing of the Civil Rights Act, it’s hard to believe after watching the news there’s been that much progress.
50 years? All negated by a few days in Missouri.
I lived in St. Louis just 13 years after the Civil Rights Act passed and can attest to the segregation that existed back then. Give it time? St. Louis has only calcified in its segregated trends since then, and it has established a negative legacy in everything from housing, education, employment and particularly in law enforcement.
Would more Black cops have helped in Ferguson?
And when the Missouri State Highway Patrol was put in charge to help the majority White cops, they weren’t much better. A 2011 report showed the troopers had a minority employee makeup of just 4.62, plainly stating that “the largest disparity exists among Blacks.”
When Capt. Ron Johnson was trotted out there like the White bureaucracy’s human shield, it was embarrassing.
All Johnson could do over the weekend was apologize to the community with a heart-felt, “I’m sorry.”
And then Missouri’s Gov. Nixon called in the National Guard.
It shouldn’t take more Black officers to help law enforcement to understand what it means when a Black 18-year-old approaches with his hands in the air. That should be enough communication needed. But with the absence of trust and a lack of diversity, only skin color mattered to the cops in Ferguson.