Roots of the Riots


Brandon Woods, Editor-in-cheif

Millions of people across the nation watched their television screens attentively as St. Louis County’s leading prosecutor Bob McCulloch took his steps to the podium to deliver the grand jury’s decision on whether or not to indict officer Darren Wilson. After anxiously waiting for approximately 100 days, the time had finally come to hear the announcement.
Sweating through his linen suit, McCulloch ran through the evidence and accusations of the grand jury’s investigation, and the nation of America learned that Wilson was not indicted for the murder of the unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown. Ten minutes later, tensions began to rise, as loud chanting and sorrowful cries filled the streets of Ferguson. Peaceful protests turned into violent riots as over 20 local businesses were looted and burned down, and the police began to deploy the infamous tear gas along the street of South Florissant. The effects of injustice were apparent once again.
African-American citizens accounted for the majority of the people present at the protests after the grand jury’s decision as well as protests that occurred in August when Brown was first shot. Considering that the majority of the people were black, it doesn’t take a genius to see that there is a huge burden that hovers over the African-American community. It is quite evident that racial disparity is still prevalent within the community of Ferguson, and even the entire St. Louis area.The dilemma of racial disparity has been present in St. Louis for many years, as the city is categorized as being one of the most segregated metropolitan areas in the United States. The high walls still exist between black residents and the white supremacy that dominates the city’s government and law enforcement, with Ferguson being one of the more segregated areas. The disparity is visually seen through the crime statistics and law enforcement positions that are held. The mayor and police chief of Ferguson is white, as are five of the city council members. The disparity is most evident within the police department, where only three out of the 53 Ferguson police officers are black. When it comes to crime statistics, blacks account for 93 percent of all of the arrests that are made, according to a report in the Considering the immense imbalance within the black to white ratio, the violent effects due to injustice is almost intuitive.
Many of the people who watch as the effects of injustice unfold, with most being sophisticated middle class individuals, watch the turmoil in disgust. They label these people as “thugs,” and animals, grieving for attention. But they don’t understand. They are ignorant to the racial disparity within the governmental systems and the problems that many blacks are faced with when they walk through the streets. They forget about America’s history, and how blacks were oppressed continuously for decades ever since they we were brought over on the slave ships in the late 1700s. The derogatory language, false accusations and pure ignorance is what angers me and most other blacks. The idea of being profiled because of the color of my skin sickens my soul. Having a limit set on my freedom and prosperity because of the fact that I am a walking black man annihilates me, because I am being judged for the wrong reasons.
If one actually takes the time to analyze the disparities of race, economics and education within the African-American community, they will then begin to understand that being black in America is not easy at all. Racial segregation has always and forever will be America’s biggest problem to overcome.
Racial disparity and discrimination serves to be the basis for the violent outcomes of the grand jury’s decisions. Considering that the Ferguson governmental institutions are dominated by whites, it seems to be that protesting and riots is the only way for the African-American community to have their voice heard on a larger scale. Although nothing excuses the looting and burning down the businesses, it is clear that governmental powers have not dispensed justice equally. The death of the unarmed teenager was heartbreaking to most, but it serves to be a reminder or possibly a breaking point for the racial differences that still exists across the cities and suburbs of America.