Print Edition: September 3, 2014
North America has come far from where racial injustice use to be since the civil rights movement in 1964. In fact, our generation has never lived in a society where there were legal restrictions on people due to the colour of their skin. For that we should be extremely grateful. Skin colour should have no role in how people treat one another.
However, the topic of racial injustice has been stirred up with the shooting of Michael Brown, an 18-year-old African American, by Caucasian police officer Darren Wilson.
We have yet to uncover the reason Wilson shot Brown. Some would say Brown’s death is yet another case of racial animosity.
Wilson’s action may have also been rooted in law enforcement procedures. According to CNN U.S., officers are trained to fire at threatening objects until the threat stops. They are to aim their way up from certain points of the body towards the head.
Whether or not Wilson’s decision to shoot Brown ran deeper than law enforcement procedures, his actions reveal a human tendency toward violence.
However, the response from activists and the Ferguson community was no less violent.
The Washington Post detailed some of the chaos: “A day after Brown died, violence erupted. Stores were looted. A gas station was torched. Shots were fired at police.”
Also, in an interview with Fox News, the wife of a Missouri police officer who started a Facebook page in support of Officer Wilson and law enforcement officials said the page received numerous death threats towards law enforcement officials as well as Wilson.
Is animosity really an appropriate response if people want to end racism and violence? What if other lives are lost due to the riots?
Wilson’s accusers are offering the same kind of behaviour they oppose.
The reactions of someone under duress reveal a lot about who they are. We scream for equality, be it between races, genders, or religions, but what do we do about injustice on a personal level? How do we treat others as an individual?
Regardless of how good a person is in the eyes of society, we are in a constant battle of controlling immoral impulses. The real issue lies with what we do as a result of those impulses. Do we act because it may fulfill some momentary desire, or because they are hard to control? When we act violently, we harm others.
The anger people feel towards the fact that a young man was killed is completely appropriate. Anger is a proper response to injustice. However, violence as a response to this anger is not. We need to treat each other with love and respect regardless of our emotions.
It is only when we acknowledge this concept and begin to live by it that people will receive racial equality, see justice in the world, and experience peace instead of violence.
It’s easy to blame racism for violence and injustice, but we all need to dig deeper into our inclinations toward violent behaviour; the human race needs to acknowledge we are immoral by nature and need to respond against our natural inclinations towards aggressive behaviour. Violence is not a good reaction to violence.