The near riots and riots in recent memory have the same feel as the mob rule of a hundred years past – the difference being the color of the skin of the protestors. Make no mistake about it – these protests are about justice. Immediate justice. In every case the protesters are compelled to seek the justice they believe will not come without their intervention. Those beliefs are rooted in historical facts of previous injustice. But mob rule never gains justice. Mob rule is about vengeance and retribution.
In modern America, and across the globe, mob rule does not go unnoticed. Even the participants video their actions with their pocket camera. There is little dispute about what happens. The dispute is again about justice.
Let’s get right to it folks. White people are aghast that black people congregate in large numbers and march on government buildings in protest over the death of another black man at the hands of the police. As I type, the debate about justice rages in Charlotte, North Carolina. Another black man has been killed by police. The police officer is black, as is the Chief of Police. It appears this is not just a racial issue – but remember, profiling is not unique to any one race. This is about justice – and there is a question about police authority and abuse of power. The bigger question is about the American Justice System – and whether it works for everyone.
Harper Lee addressed racism in her first novel, “To Kill A Mockingbird”. Check out this scene:
The innocence of an eight-year-old girl diffused the mob. If only life were so simple. I am writing from St. Joseph, Missouri, where a black man was taken from the jail, lynched, and burned in1933. Two years earlier, in Maryville, Missouri, another black man was lynched by a mob. All in the name of justice. mob justice.
The atrocities of the lynching of black people led to the writing of the poem, “Strange Fruit” and performed by Billie Holiday. The strange fruit was of course the hanging of black people from trees.
We in America have the right to peaceful protest, to lawful assembly. We are free to speak. We are free to disagree with our government. The reality, I believe, is that black men are racially profiled. I also believe that some police officers are too quick to react to perceived threats. I have my own opinion on individual cases, such as Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, or Rodney King or O.J. Simpson. And my opinion is not relevant to this post. What is relevant is our ability to seek justice, to challenge authorities (our government), to lawfully assemble, to speak honestly about injustice.
I live in St. Joseph, Missouri, a bastion of pseudo-conservative tea party whine around crybaby deplorables. When they see the news of large groups of black people assembling in front of the courthouse in the county of yet another shooting of a black person, they immediately assume there are rioters that are out of control. The reality in the past couple of years is that most of the assemblies have been peaceful.
Ferguson, Missouri, is an example of peaceful protest gone wild. These actions are no less criminal than the white lynchings of black people a hundred years ago. We must be honest with ourselves. Are the black protests, and sometimes riots, different than the lynch mobs of white people less than 100 years ago.
Are there any saints among us?