Ferguson, Missouri is suddenly on the map.  You probably have no real idea where it is, but you know the name, and it’s claim to shame. With very little really invested in what is going down in the Greater Missouri area, it’s been hard to get my head around all the reactions. For the most part, demonstrations around the US have been peaceful.  That’s not been hard to do, since Monday night was one many shamed ‘Fergusonian’ would like to forget.  Shops looted and properties and cars set alight, and yesterday, 44 people were arrested. And yesterday was considered quiet and uneventful!  Some people have asked me what smashing a shop window, and stealing a case of beer out of an off-license, has got to do with Monday’s controversial Grand Jury decision, and the initial answer is, well, nothing.  It has nothing to do with it.  For minorities in the US, it’s not only about the controversial judicial outcome; that was just the straw that broke the camel’s proverbial back. I’ve been reading too many opinions on all that is going on, and it’s clouding my own judgements a little bit.  Not being an American, experiencing life on the ground, and also exposing myself to too much skewed mainstream media, has got me feeling too far out of the loop to really grasp this properly.  It has taken a Facebook post from NFL player, Benjamin Watson, to shed some much needed light on this for me, and it will help you too.  It’s powerful beyond what I had imagined when I first started reading it, and I simply must share it with you.  Here’s Benjamin Watson on Ferguson:

“At some point while I was playing or preparing to play Monday Night Football, the news broke about the Ferguson Decision. After trying to figure out how I felt, I decided to write it down. Here are my thoughts:

I’M ANGRY because the stories of injustice that have been passed down for generations seem to be continuing before our very eyes.

I’M FRUSTRATED, because pop culture, music and movies glorify these types of police citizen altercations and promote an invincible attitude that continues to get young men killed in real life, away from safety movie sets and music studios.

I’M FEARFUL because in the back of my mind I know that although I’m a law abiding citizen I could still be looked upon as a “threat” to those who don’t know me. So I will continue to have to go the extra mile to earn the benefit of the doubt.

I’M EMBARRASSED because the looting, violent protests, and law breaking only confirm, and in the minds of many, validate, the stereotypes and thus the inferior treatment.

I’M SAD, because another young life was lost from his family, the racial divide has widened, a community is in shambles, accusations, insensitivity hurt and hatred are boiling over, and we may never know the truth about what happened that day.

I’M SYMPATHETIC, because I wasn’t there so I don’t know exactly what happened. Maybe Darren Wilson acted within his rights and duty as an officer of the law and killed Michael Brown in self defense like any of us would in the circumstance. Now he has to fear the backlash against himself and his loved ones when he was only doing his job. What a horrible thing to endure. OR maybe he provoked Michael and ignited the series of events that led to him eventually murdering the young man to prove a point.

I’M OFFENDED, because of the insulting comments I’ve seen that are not only insensitive but dismissive to the painful experiences of others.

I’M CONFUSED, because I don’t know why it’s so hard to obey a policeman. You will not win!!! And I don’t know why some policeman abuse their power. Power is a responsibility, not a weapon to brandish and lord over the populace.

I’M INTROSPECTIVE, because sometimes I want to take “our” side without looking at the facts in situations like these. Sometimes I feel like it’s us against them. Sometimes I’m just as prejudiced as people I point fingers at. And that’s not right. How can I look at white skin and make assumptions but not want assumptions made about me? That’s not right.

I’M HOPELESS, because I’ve lived long enough to expect things like this to continue to happen. I’m not surprised and at some point my little children are going to inherit the weight of being a minority and all that it entails.

I’M HOPEFUL, because I know that while we still have race issues in America, we enjoy a much different normal than those of our parents and grandparents. I see it in my personal relationships with teammates, friends and mentors. And it’s a beautiful thing.

I’M ENCOURAGED, because ultimately the problem is not a SKIN problem, it is a SIN problem. SIN is the reason we rebel against authority. SIN is the reason we abuse our authority. SIN is the reason we are racist, prejudiced and lie to cover for our own. SIN is the reason we riot, loot and burn. BUT I’M ENCOURAGED because God has provided a solution for sin through the his son Jesus and with it, a transformed heart and mind. One that’s capable of looking past the outward and seeing what’s truly important in every human being. The cure for the Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice and Eric Garner tragedies is not education or exposure. It’s the Gospel. So, finally, I’M ENCOURAGED because the Gospel gives mankind hope.”

You can link to Benjamin’s Facebook page, here.

This is bigger than I thought.  I’ve no reason to consider much about what was taking place, but my eyes are now wide open.  What is happening is important, and even as a non American, there is much that is going on my own nation that fits this like a glove.  It’s very easy to look outside of ourselves and looking inside of ourselves requires a lot from us, something we’re not always prepared to do.  The persecutor and the persecuted need to introspect; because sometimes the only way for things to change, is for us to change.  But are we prepared to?

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