For the moment, the nation is focused on Ferguson. Americans are watching the felonious behavior of some young people who are tarnishing the legacy of Michael Brown and giving validity to conservatives and racists who argue, generally, that young Black men are hoodlums and menaces to society.

It’s sad to watch Michael Brown’s mother, Lesley McSpadden, plead for calm in her community while she is also grieving the loss of her son.

“It is important to distinguish activism from vandalism,” said Dr. Leah Gunning Francis, Associate Dean of Contextual Education at Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis, and the mother of two young boys.

“The thousands of concerned citizens who have participated in peaceful protests, prayer vigils and strategy meetings are actively seeking justice on behalf of Michael Brown,” said Francis, who is interviewing Black mothers for a national research study on young Black males. “But it appears that the few who are stealing and destroying property are acting on their own behalf and for personal gain.”

Francis attended a jam-packed community meeting Tuesday night where concerned citizens gathered inside a St. Louis church to hear from Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, who has called for the U.S. Justice Department to investigate Brown’s death.  

I understand the outrage and anger the community in Ferguson is experiencing. I’m angry and outraged, too, I also realize that racism, high unemployment, the paucity of quality public education in this country and a long history of distrust between Black men and police in Ferguson contribute to the rage among its citizens.

However, thugs in Ferguson know right from wrong. The looters who smashed windows and ripped off local stores don’t care about Michael Brown. They don’t care about justice for Brown and his family. They don’t care about Michael Brown’s dream of going to college. They don’t care about collective healing in the aftermath of this tragedy.

And let me be clear: I don’t believe these looters represent all young people living in Ferguson, but for the thousands of Americans – Black and white –who are watching this madness play out on national television, the looters are the perceived representatives of what Ferguson has to offer.

I’ve seen how civil disturbances can tear black communities apart. I’ve covered three major riots in my journalism career – two in Miami and one in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Often times, we burn down buildings in our own neighborhoods and then expect local and federal government to allocate funding for rebuilding and revitalization. It’s a twisted cycle.

Meanwhile, on Monday night, more than one thousand responsible citizens packed Murchison Tabernacle CME Church in St. Louis where civil rights leaders urged protesters to stay calm in the wake of Brown’s fatal shooting by a Ferguson police officer.

James Clark, vice president of community outreach at Better Family Life, a St. Louis social-service group, said local leaders have a civic responsibility to take charge peacefully.

“The eyes of the world are on St. Louis,” Clark said. “Let’s lead.”

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10 thoughts on “COMMENTARY: Looters Undermine Justice For Mike Brown

  1. October on said:

    Amazing, that type of comment coming from a Jew. I wonder what you would say if he had been a Jew and the AA community felt and blogged that type of sentiment? Racist pig

  2. What happend to this young man is horrible. I have only one other comment, I have never in my 50+ years heard of a black police officer killing a white teenager in cold blood, never.

  3. While it is completely understandable that the African-American community in Ferguson is UPSET regarding the MURDER of Michael Brown, looting, stealing, etc., are not acceptable!!!!!

    This is the same mentality that we projected back in the 1960’s when things became ugly!!!

    This young man deserves JUSTICE in the court of law, and we cannot take to the streets with our anger!!!!!

    If this unrest continues, there will certainly be more deaths because the cops will start shooting folks down in the streets like animals!–DON’T GIVE THE RACIST COPS THAT SATISFACTION!!!!

  4. Its time to stop treating black folks like criminals all the many cops are killing blacks for no reason.its different if someone charges an officer, or points something at an officer.and we shouldn’t be looting, but enough is enough.white folks cause there in position of power always look to cover up the real truth when it comes to blacks, this slave practice has to stop.very few white cops they go into white communites and kill white teens, why is it happening to blacks, they don’t care about black has to stop.

  5. Reblogged this on 247NewsFinance and commented:
    We are going to blog on the the dualit of manin its own frustration harms itself . Looting shows the worst part of man regardless of race.
    Looting will only weaken your position. #BlackAmericanWeb beat us to it. Going to the core of the challenge. These actions benefit the police.
    “How does stealing hair weaves advance the cause for social justice? There will always be those misguided souls who will exploit a legitimate movement as a rationale to misbehave. Simply put, looters are mangling the message.”

  6. Timekeeper on said:

    Whenever issues of race are being discussed on this website, it can, at times bring about the worst in some people. Certain individuals troll this site for the express purpose of saying the meanest and most vile things they can think up. Under the disguise of anonymity they feel emboldened to say the worst that they would never, ever say as a real person. Some of these trolls are paid by right wing groups who like to distort minority issues. Others, are simply hateful racists who have nothing better to do than to come on a minority website and stir up dissention. Whether it is Travyon, the woman punched by the highway patrolman, or in this case the young man in St. Louis there is always someone who cant wait to get on here and say something ugly.
    I know your kneejerk reaction is to respond. I would say to you though, they aren’t worth it. Jesus once said “It isn’t what goes into a man that defiles him, it is what comes out” If this is what is in their spirit, God will deal with them directly. All you have to do is move out of the way, because “His justice cometh and right soon”
    Stay positive and pray for this family to heal, and that perhaps law enforcement will finally see the error of their ways. I know that’s asking a lot, I hear you! But if just a few peple change their wicked ways, this young mans life wont have been in vain.

    • Wow Timekeeper, your wisdom is simply profound. So many vicious bigots log on to this website just to incite more hatred. I’ve often responded with anger, but recently have thought to myself “why even give them the time” You’re right, they are so not worth it, they’re cancerous and will only cause others to spread their evil. Thanks for your post, it was refreshing!!

  7. Harvey Weinstein on said:

    Regarding Michael Brown, what’s the big deal? We’ve got another Trayvon Martin thug pushing up daisies rather than using up scare community resources moving him in an out of the criminal justice system. Seems like a good trade for society.

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