The Race Conversation After Ferguson

Scott Olson/Getty

Scott Olson/Getty

By: April Ryan, |

This week marked the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, where decades ago thousands gathered that day for jobs and justice for black people in America. The overarching theme was, and still is, equality. Fast forward 50 years later this week, the world watched a Ferguson, Missouri mother lay her son, Michael Brown, to rest after being fatally shot weeks earlier by Police Officer Darren Wilson. Investigations are underway on various violations, including a probe into a possible intentional disregard for regulations when Officer Wilson fatally shot 18 year-old Michael Brown to death. Also, the federal government is looking into possible civil rights violations.

Emotions on all sides of the incident are raw as days of riots and protests were met with tanks and tear gas on a one mile stretch of a Ferguson street. But the nation waits for more answers. One of those answers is expected in about a month on the future of police officer Darren Wilson who shot Brown.

Bishop T.D. Jakes, Senior Pastor of the Potters House in Dallas, Texas

Bishop T.D. Jakes, Senior Pastor of the Potters House in Dallas, Texas

Bishop T.D. Jakes, Senior Pastor of the Potters House in Dallas, Texas serves on the Board of Directors as a private sector representative on the White House Task Force for My Brothers Keeper. Jakes attended the funeral of Michael Brown Monday, sitting next to the Head of the My Brothers Keeper task force, Broderick Johnson. Bishop Jakes contends statistics are “quite explicit” about passions on Michael Brown’s death.  He says, “the fault lines is largely along the lines of color and how this is perceived.” LISTEN: 

From the White House, to Civil Rights leaders, to local government officials there is a hope to defuse the volatile situation in Ferguson. One thought is for the conversation on race to continue. The White House believes America is currently having that race discussion. Bishop Jakes has held race discussions at the Potters House. He says his church “thinks out of the box” on issues like this as they lead a discussion stemming from the Trayvon Martin shooting death. Jakes says “America in general is having a discussion through these tragedies. And I would like to see us have a discussion without these tragedies. And I think that we should have these conversations without blood stains on seats and our young people laying on the ground and shot down like animals and left for hours unattended.”

Bishop Jakes says the conversation could come from the churches, the universities and not from the typical talking heads. Jakes feels many “factions of the church are in denial” as he is “embarrassed by the fact that the church does not want to take on this conversation outside the African American community.” Jakes also bemoans, “when I sit and talk to my white pastor friends they say this is not on their radar.”

Meanwhile, the family of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. feels his legacy is being marred by the violence in Ferguson after the death of Michael Brown.

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