This is a post that I wrote in response to a professor in a Sociology class I am currently taking. The course is on Race and Ethnicity. The professor sent an email to all the students in the class on the first day. She noted that she wanted to include the events that are occurring in Ferguson, MO, among other places, but it was too late to change the syllabus.
Because this is an on-line class, there can be very little deviation, but she wanted to set up a discussion board where the students could give their opinions on current events as they related to Race in America.
The discussion board is entitled, "Police Murders of Young Black Men". My response will not be posted on the course website, I would like to pass and believe that antagonizing the professor on the first day is a bad idea. I reserve the right to change my mind and engage in a thoughtful and fruitful discussion on the social construct of race and how it affects our society, but I'm going to wait and see who posts what and what the responses are.
This speaks volumes about higher education in America today. The fact that a student would be reticent about speaking his mind and voicing his opinion is a result of the inordinate power that is handed to professors in our institutions of higher learning, and the fact that colleges are a breeding ground for political correctness.
Higher learning is supposed to be about questioning everything, even, no especially, conventional wisdom. When our children learn that it is in their best interests to march, goose-stepping to the drumbeat of an angry mob, our future is lost.
Enjoy the post, and wish me luck in the class. This may be a tough one...
I don’t want to start the course out on a bad note, but is anyone else a little uncomfortable with the title of this discussion board? If it refers to Ferguson, which I have been following a little, enough to know if there had been a trial and a conviction of the police officer, I think it’s wildly inappropriate. I was raised to trust the police. My parents taught me that they were the good guys. Because of that, I have never trusted the police. I spent my 20’s listening to Public Enemy, NWA, Ice T, and all the other angry young black men of rap and hip-hop, and I’m a white kid from a pretty affluent suburb. However, I think that there has been a rush to judgment by a lot of people about the Michael Brown shooting, and other similar situations. It may turn out that the officer acted wrongly, and it would come as no surprise to me if he did. I just think that we are too quick to point fingers and blame racism for every act that harms people of color. This sort of reaction, time after time, leads to situations like the one in Rotterham, England. Allegedly, up to 1400 young girls were raped and abused over a period of a decade or so. They went to the police and to the authorities many times, but their complaints were ignored. They were ignored because the girls were poor and white, and the alleged attackers were Pakistani immigrants. The officials feared that they would be branded as racists if they investigated the girl’s claims, and who really cares about poor, white girls in a multicultural society? I don’t know if Michael Brown was an innocent victim, he may very well have been. Whatever he did, he certainly didn’t deserve to die for it, shoplifting is not a capital offense in this country, but I would bet my life that the girls, some as young as 11, did nothing to deserve the abuse they received, or the blind eye and cold shoulder they got from the authorities in England. Power tends to corrupt, and abuse is more a symptom of power than racism or classism or any other ism. The more power we give to the police, the government, authority in general, the more likely they are to abuse that power. Focusing on trivialities like skin color, gender, and socio-economic status does little to solve the problem, help the victims, or prevent further abuses. All it does is make Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson a lot of money, terrorize an otherwise peaceful town for weeks, and set the stage for another fruitless discussion on “Police murders of young black men”. The real problem is power and authority placed in the hands of people that we don’t know, and who don’t know us.