Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Ferguson and Civil Disobedience: A Human Rights Issue

Sara Niles

Riots and acts of ‘Civil Disobedience’, even peaceful protests are signs that something is wrong on a large scale. The history of civil disobedience in the U.S. has, in each individual case resulted when a sense of injustice lay smoldering in the minds of many until it erupted as a visible sign of unrest; a few examples from the past include the 1965 Watts Riot, which occurred hot on the heels of the Harlem riots a year before. In both cases there was a prevailing mindset of racial discrimination and maltreatment of Blacks, a sense of wrongness about things that festered untended by political forces. There needed to be change but no change was coming, and there was no sign of change in the near The earlier riots were clumsy attempts at forcing change and were forerunners of  the national acts of civil disobedience  that were to come, as more and more people became acutely aware of injustice.

The building mindset of racial injustice ignited a human rights storm that set the stage for the Birmingham Civil Rights Movement, with Martin Luther King emerging as its leader (http://www.detroits-great-rebellion.com/Birmingham.html). Change was being forged as history was made. The major work of the civil right movement took place in the 1960’s, but there is still work to be done when it comes of justice and human rights.

The issue at stake in the 60’s was a matter of being treated fairly, justly, and with respect, just as it is now in Ferguson, Missouri as crowds continue to protest the slaying of Michal Brown, an unarmed Black teenager, who was shot ‘at least six times’ according to autopsy reports, by a White police officer lCNN:Missouri Teen

The Civil Disobedience in Fergusson Missouri is a sign of a much bigger issue in the United States: a double standard between the treatment of Whites and Blacks in the justice system. The fair exercise of human rights applies equally to all races, and all economic divisions; because justice should be a basic human right of all people.