The killing of Michael Brown and the city of Ferguson, Missouri, are indicative of larger issues within American society, SIA reports citing the AA.
This was illustrated Monday night as scores of protesters from different ethnic groups gathered across the country to unite against Brown’s killing, the U.S. justice system, and the decision not to bring charges against the man responsible for his death.
Protesters chanted “Black lives matter” and “This is not a moment but a movement.” Others shouted, “No justice, no peace,” after a Missouri grand jury declined Monday to indict white police officer Darren Wilson for fatally shooting Brown, an unarmed black teenager.
The protesters in Ferguson issued an open letter Monday night that read in part, "We march on with purpose. The work continues. This is not a moment but a movement. The movement lives."
Part of that work includes erasing perceived historical racial injustices within the U.S. justice system and working to increase law enforcement's sensitivity to the black community.
University of California professor Hatem Bazian echoed what many blacks and minorities feel: inequalities in the justice system has produced an us-versus-them mentality in many minority communities.
“The protests symbolize the militarization in our society, how the police and security structured post 9/11 that is increasingly militarized - almost symbolic of a constant internal war.”
That internal war has produced casualties but the number of victims is growing on one side.
“The numbers are just constantly piling up, and that can be seen in the newspapers daily, as African-Americans have been shot by the police for a variety of reasons,” Bazian said, while adding that such killings have turned into “routine” news.
The St. Louis prosecutor’s decision not to charge Wilson with a crime but leave that decision to a grand jury goes to the heart of the issue. Since Brown’s death, many in the black and activist communities have asked: If roles were reversed, would charges be brought against a black man for killing an unarmed white man?
"We saw how completely unfair this process was," Benjamin Crump, a lawyer representing the Brown family said Tuesday. "We object as publicly and loudly as we can on behalf Michael Brown Jr.'s family that this process is broken. The process should be indicted." Crump added.
“African American society is basically a shooting ground for police to express their view of 'fighting crime' but, it is a much, much deeper problem than that,” Bazian said.
More than 1,000 mostly teens of different ethnicities gathered in front of the White House Monday night to “wake up” President Barack Obama, about the “injustice” in the grand jury's decision.
“A black person can go to jail for one witness, but if you are a white police officer, and have four or five witnesses, and plus you are seen in video, but still they can not put you in front of a jury?,” said Eugene Puryear from the DC Ferguson movement. “It is not acceptable." DC Ferguson movement is a Washington-based protest organization formed after Brown was killed.
Bazian argues that the protests also symbolize growing inequality, repeating slogans that have become a mainstay in national protests.
Despite constituting just 13 percent of the U.S. population, blacks account for 28 percent of total arrests, according to census data.
“I think a larger aspect of people, society in general, and government, has failed in addressing some of the political issues, and also disappointment with the Obama administration.” Bazian said.
"The silence we had since August, it is because we waited on the decision over the police officer who shot Mike (Brown), but now, we see that system does not work in this country" said Samuel, a 21-year-old Georgetown University student.
The issues of racial and social inequalities are beginning to have an economic effect on the U.S. and could stunt its future growth potential.
Ratings agency Standard & Poor's, which seldom gets involved in social affairs issues, issued a dire warning in August that inequalities in America are "dampening" overall growth, and would likely persist into the next generation.
"At extreme levels, income inequality can harm sustained economic growth over long periods. The U.S. is approaching that threshold," the agency said in a report.
Blacks are more than twice as likely as whites to be unemployed, and are twice as likely to live below the poverty line, according to Labor Department data.
According to Bazian, racism is an open scar in the United States, and the murder of Michael Brown is just one scene, and justice for blacks will remain a dream as long as the state "fails to account for racism."