A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Bridges From Ferguson

In many ways, Michael Brown isn't the ideal  poster child for the movement that has blossomed as a result of his death. He and a friend robbed a convenience store. This wasn't a Stop n Frisk gone bad. Maybe he shouldn't have been killed, but he wasn't coming home from Grandma's minding his own business when he was confronted by police, as I've read in some advocacy pieces. 

And Ferguson isn't the exemplar for a community deserving of sympathy. If they voted and participated actively in local government, Ferguson residents would have a police force and municipal government that better represented their interests.

Intractable problems get worked out as people form bridges and become better acquainted. As long as barriers keep communities insular and separate there will be no peace. Michael Brown's death unfortunately will not bring understanding, not to those who see no problem with high black incarceration rates and high male black mortality rates. 

Who knows? Brown's death might cause law enforcement to rethink policing policies that focus on poor, urban areas, thereby filling courtrooms and prisons with young black men. But if that change comes, it will be because of the tumult over his death, not the circumstances. 

Aberdeen has long been segregated by race. One part of town was labeled Africa on an old map. Only participation in municipal government and social organizations, and personal and community bridge building, offer any hope of real understanding and progress. 


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