Is Riotting in Ferguson the Answer?

Bret Barnum, Devonte Hart

As a young African American male, I can understand the rage that many are going through this evening. We feel as though our voice is not being heard. We feel as though our lives are not as valuable (being shot down and no one seems to care). I get it, I really do.

So what is the solution?

Many think that burning down buildings or commanding attention by doing riotous acts will cause mainstream media to take notice. Many of my own colleagues have contemplated doing something over the top, to make people pay attention.

In the classic movie Boyz in the Hood, Ice Cube makes a dramatic monologue that still resonates today. He says “Either they don’t know, don’t show, or don’t care to know what’s going on in the hood”. The only time that it raises the consciousness of mainstream America is when there is a tragedy like this one, or the senseless black on black crime that is taking place in Chicago. Most in mainstream America have no clue of the dynamics that take place in these poverty stricken African American neighborhoods. But I still say that rioting or acts of violence further perpetuates the stereotypes that most of America has about African American men, or the neighborhood as a whole.

As Christians, the answer is to show love. The foundation of all of Christ’s teaching was to love. And this is the time to do just that. This is a time to show forgiveness. A time to show compassion. Only in doing this will communities begin to improve, and break the cycles of poverty, teen pregnancy, and high crime.

I think we should start a revolution of random acts of kindness. Find a stranger, and just do something so good towards them, that it blow their mind. Similar to the movie Pay it Forward, do something good, and expect them to in turn, do something good for someone else. Isn’t this the essence of what Jesus was teaching?

I believe a revolution of love, compassion, and forgiveness is the only way to save these communities, and begin to let the world hear your voice. It has happened before. In the 1970’s and 1980’s in South Africa, in the midst of a racist, horrible apartheid system, the people did not riot, use violence, and burn down their own buildings. In the city of Soweto, they used peaceful protests, forgiveness, and love and changed not only their city, but the entire nation. When Nelson Mandela took office, this powerful platform was known to the entire world.

Love and forgiveness is the only way to effect lasting change in a community

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