Time Magazine just did a great series of articles about what happened in Ferguson, MO. Reading it helped me put the pieces together more clearly. I could see the connections that alluded me in the national news’ coverage. One particular piece in the series caught my attention. It was an opinion piece by six-time NBA Champion and MVP, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Kareem is not one to hold his tongue on any issue and his stance on Ferguson and the connection to history was no surprise to me.
And, unless we want the Ferguson atrocity to also be swallowed and become nothing more than an intestinal irritant to history, we have to address the situation not just as another act of systemic racism, but as what else it is: class warfare.
In his article he talks about the Kent State shootings in 1970 where students gathered to protest the Cambodian Campaign – an invasion of Eastern Cambodia by US and South Vietnam troops during the Vietnam War. Students, angry about the ongoing war, clashed with police ultimately resulting in the police firing 67 shots at unarmed protesters killing 4 students and wounding 9. This sparked multiple protests and unrest across the nation.
Ten days after Kent State there was a similar incident at Jackson State University in Mississippi, only the unarmed students shot by police were black. There was no national outrage. His point is that this time around the eyes of the nation and the world is on Ferguson and this moment of opportunity to discuss, not racism, but classism as the dividing line. He goes on to lament the status quo and provides statistics to support the fact that the “American Dream” is dead for the poor and middle class.
Take the time to read it and comment here for further discussion. I’d like to know how others feel about the underlying cause of the divide in America. Is it race? Is it class? Or something else.
Tags: Human Rights, Injustice, Protest