On August 9th 2014, Michael Brown was shot by a police officer, sparking a national conflagration which has been burning brightly since, casting light on the anti-black violence endemic to American white supremacy.
His name was emblazoned into the minds of black Americans of all walks, but particularly young black Americans, many of whom may have grown up under the delusion that the use of state-sanctioned violence against black bodies was an endangered species after having been hunted to near extinction in the years following the Civil Rights Movement.
If there appears to be a newfound sense of urgency in this newest batch of racial advocates, it is because they face a history that repeats itself ad nauseam, with little hope for the sort of radical systemic change that is necessary to right past wrongs and finally extricate black America from the “Other America” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. so often criticized America for ignoring.
In another historical re-enactment (of Ramsey Orta), the man who filmed Tyrone’s body and called for him to receive medical treatment was arrested for “resisting arrest”, and later released with documented injuries from his arrest.
As if revisiting the Ferguson of a year past, many peaceful protestors were arrested in St. Louis, including esteemed activist, philosopher, and first black Philosophy Ph.D. from Princeton, Cornel West .
A year later, young boys are still being shot in the streets of Ferguson, and those who film potential police misdeeds are still going to jail for it. With each new violation failing to make a difference in culture, accountability, or policy, we are left with two looming questions:
If teenagers being shot in the streets and bystanders being bullied and arrested for filming cops is not enough, what atrocities will it take to spur real, politically driven change?
And if that never happens, how long before black America — and its liberal allies — decide enough is enough with their voices being unheard?