When Will it End?
by Sarah Lessard on October 2, 2014 - 10:04pm
The article Dueling narratives in Michael Brown shooting, by the 9 writers who contributed to the article such as Eliott C. McLaughhlin and Joe Sutton from the CNN U.S News website on September 16th, 2014 explains the different versions that the police and the witnesses gave to what happened before the shooting that killed 18-year-old Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Missouri. There is a version that states that Michael Brown physically assaulted the police officer and struggled to obtain the officer’s weapon after the officer asked Brown and his friend to ‘‘get the f*** out the the street’’ (Brumfield, et al., 2014). The other version coming from Brown’s friend Dorian Johnson, 22, is that the police officer concluded that Brown was the one who committed the robbery a few minutes earlier close to where the officer found Brown. The police officer drew his weapon towards him and shot him several times even though Brown was not armed. Later on, an autopsy concluded that Michael Brown had been shot at least 6 times, including twice in the head. Several protestations followed this event justifying this act as being racist towards Michael Brown, who was black. The fact that he was shot more than 6 times is considered an abuse of power used by the police officer and the assumption made thinking that Brown was the criminal because of the colour of his skin is a sign of racism.
Black people in America should not think that being African American turns their life into a nightmare. Every year, about 400 African American people are killed in the United-States extrajudicially by the police simply because they are perceived as criminals (Heath, Hoyer, Johnson, 2014). I strongly disagree with the reason that Michael Brown was shot for being in the wrong place at the wrong time and for being a victim of racism. This man was not armed and he clearly let the police officer know before being shot several times due to a racist assumption. First of all, the fact that Michael Brown was stopped by the police because of the colour of his skin is a clear example of racism and generalization according to race. Brown was a victim of negative classification by Officer Darren Wilson because African-American people are generally stereotyped as criminals, dangerous and as thief's. When a person is in a position of authority, such as a police officer, it is very important to stay neutral towards different stereotypes because it can lead to fatal mistakes. This racist ideology shapes how ideas and perceptions ‘‘treat’’ race and in this case the judgement made by the police officer had been affected. One of the strengths of this article is that it shows how black people are badly treated due to negative stereotypes that they are victims of. Also the fact that more than one version has been explained in the article shows how people from different ‘’races’’ tend to see certain things a lot differently. For example, the police officer saw Michael Brown as a suspect and wanted to intervene for his own safety and for the safety of others while Brown and his friend saw the intervention of Darren Wilson as an extremely unfair act based on their race. A weakness in the article is that the aftermath of the event is barely explained. I think that what happened after this tragic event can support how terrible it has been for Michael’s family, the black population living in today’s society and the police department. Racism is a reality which badly affects millions of lives. To conclude, I am pretty sure that this event would not have happened if Michael Brown would have been white and free from racism. Racism and stereotyping is still a major problem in today’s society and this problem has lead to the loss of many innocent lives.
Brumfield, B., Carroll, J., Cuevas, M., Karimi, F., Martinez, M., McLaughlin, E., Pearson, M., Sutton, J., & Shoichet, Catherine. (2014, September 16). Dueling narratives in Michael Brown shooting. Retrieved September 29, 2014 from http://www.cnn.com/2014/08/19/us/ferguson-michael-brown-dueling-narratives/
Heath, B., Hoyer, M., Johnson, K. (2014, August 15). Local police involved in 400 killings per year. Retrieved September 19, 2014 from http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/08/14/police-killings-dat...