• Thu
  • Sep 18, 2014
  • Updated: 7:02pm
CommentInsight & Opinion
LEADER

Ferguson exposes US policy fail

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 20 August, 2014, 4:45am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 20 August, 2014, 9:39am

The force used by US police to quell riots in the St Louis suburb of Ferguson creates eye-catching images. But the story is less about an oversized hammer being used against a nail than that five decades after the civil rights movement triumphed and with a black man in the White House, much still needs to change in America. Racial segregation remains rampant, yet is little mentioned until the simmering anger boils over, as with the killing of teenager Michael Brown.

Exactly how Brown came to be shot by a white policeman remains murky. Two investigations and a second autopsy will shed light. But the findings will not placate a two-thirds majority black community that feels discriminated against, nor will it lessen the racial divisions in the city of St Louis, the state of Missouri or any other place in the US where segregation is still rife. While surveys show circumstances for blacks are improving, there is still a marked gap with whites when it comes to law enforcement, health, education, jobs and wages.

A hope of the civil rights movement was that society would become integrated, a proverbial melting pot of cultures and races. That has happened in some places, but not all; parts of Buffalo, Cleveland, Detroit, Milwaukee and New York have divisions even wider than St Louis. Ferguson is majority African-American, yet 94 per cent of its police officers are white, as are its mayor and all but one of its councillors. It is a case of a white-dominated system not responding to demographic changes and the inevitable consequence that interests are poorly served. Put in that context, while the riots cannot be condoned, their cause is understandable. They are the result of frustration, of a silence that turns to a scream when a killing or beating is perceived as unjust, prompting emotions to boil over. That is what happens from time to time in the US; Brown's case follows a string over the years, among them Trayvon Martin in Florida, Amadou Diallo in New York's Bronx and Rodney King in Los Angeles. It will continue until policies become more inclusive and segregation is recognised as a problem.

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A Matsui
After the US genocide of the American Indians and the ethnic cleansing, the American Indians were put into concentration camps or reservations in which there are little jobs or economic prospects. Having "solved" the problem with the original landowners, Blacks slaves were made to work in the plantations. Evil is followed by even greater evil. Now the descendants of the slaves have no freedom or rights and US policies is to keep these groups of peoples oppressed using the highly militarised trigger happy police who regularly kill unarmed blacks. The US must be condemned for her massive human rights abuses. This is the most evil country in the world.
daniel.thaler.31
I read two very negative comments. Both commentors had Japanese surnames. What are you still **** off about the bomb or something? Let's see, how did that whole tragic chain of events start anyway? Oh yeah, the Japanese were dropping bubonic plague over towns in China just to see what would happen. Then they got really frisky. Or is it because Japanese living on the west coast were put into internment camps. Well, after you snuck attacked Pearl Harbor on our sabbath there was nothing to stop an invasion, or didn't you know that. We did, and blame Hirohito and your countries Shintoism for that, clown.
akronwalker@sbcglobal.net
As a American from a old American Family your article was very insightful and precise.
That America was a nation founded as a democracy that gave you the right to own a human being. In the words of Chief Justice Tanny no black man has any rights that a white man was obligated to respect.
The current President has had more death threats than all the other Presidents combined, and has been vilified in spite of over fifty super accomplishments.
America like Japan must atone for it’s past, Am I to forget 250 years of brutal treatment to my forefathers and mothers with no Atonement for my children.
maecheung
"Ferguson is majority African-American, yet 94 per cent of its police officers are white, as are its mayor and all but one of its councillors. It is a case of a white-dominated system not responding to demographic changes and the inevitable consequence that interests are poorly served"....Didn't the majority African-American vote for their mayor and city councillors?
M Miyagi
US policies on minorities is based on the inhumane application of deadly force and brutality with the objective to keep them down. The US is the biggest violator of human rights.
 
 
 
 
 

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