Illustration by @imfabulous13
Last Monday, hundreds of thousands of people across the country held their breath waiting for the grand jury decision on whether to indict Darren Wilson for killing Michael Brown. As St. Louis prosecutor Robert McCulloch drew out the announcement and activists and agitators refreshed Twitter feeds, it became exceedingly obvious that there would be no indictment. And another thing was clear as well: Those paying attention were disappointed, but not surprised.
Time and again, we are provided tragic proof that the criminal injustice system works. When an unarmed black teenager is gunned down by a white cop, the system is there to make sure the officer stays free. Often, the police hide behind internal review boards and have the advantage of being pals with the people or offices examining them. Again, the system works. The injustice system, that is.
On a democratic level, many point to our having a black president as a sign of progress, and certainly it is. But let us not forget the outrage the past two elections have caused, the so-called “birther movement” that claims Barack Obama isn’t American enough to be president, or the reactionary trend toward voter identification laws that overwhelmingly affect people of color, who are less likely than white people to have a valid ID.
The so-called “signs of progress” in this nation are the exceptions, not the rule or the norm. As such, bit by bit, we must dismantle the system that allows—and encourages—this to happen. As evidenced by last week’s nationwide demonstrations, there will be a fight, but there will be resistance, and there should be no puzzlement over why we must indict America.
No justice. No peace.