Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood


“Without justice, what are kingdoms but great bands of robbers?”
~ St. Augustine

The New York Times tells us that, “After hearing testimony for nearly three months in the death of Michael Brown, the 18-year-old unarmed African-American who was shot by Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Mo. A St. Louis County Grand Jury is nearing a decision on whether to bring criminal charges against the officer.”  

Many of us are waiting and worrying about that final coming decision, which will inevitably reignite long-simmering debates over local police relations with minority communities.

Be Misunderstood, Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood
courtesy Thought Catalog

Big-city police departments all over have said they’re well-equipped to handle unruly crowds after the verdict is announced. There are 12 jurors – three of which are black. What are their beliefs? Are they deciding out of personal experience with profiling and racial unrest? Are the others strong enough to over-ride their own beliefs to convict a white police for a black teenager’s murder?

The Jury’s Decision can be like a window that is opening up between the races. I hope our minorities remain open to the idea that no one is indispensable to anyone else.

We must learn to get along with each other to empower others and ourselves.  We the People must accept the fact that we are a collective that best works when everybody gets along. It is true we do have the power to protest anything we feel that is not in our best interest.

However, we should not make it a life-style. No matter what color we are, we should have the presence of mind not to exacerbate a social problem by promoting hate, riots, violence and destruction.

Instead of protesting what they do not have, they should be celebrating what they do have. When I was young, my family had to drive an hour up hills and down hills to get to a market for food and goods, which took almost a whole day. I appreciate Walmart being just a few blocks away. Ferguson protesters seem to have so much time. Perhaps they should put some time in on restoration and revitalization of Ferguson. After all, it was our local Soulard, Missouri, who individually made a united-front that made the area habitable and historic again. It is true Soulards had more money to work with, but it was their hands that delivered a run-down sector of the city into a charming and profitable environment for everybody.

Let’s get a little closer to home and take a good look at our hearts. Has our governing enabled or neglected the poor to stay poor?  Perhaps, the minorities in Ferguson and other areas need to look deeply in their hearts to determine why there is such a racial divide. Judge Judy says, “Unemployment is not a way of life but a gift of time to retrain for another job.”  Having babies is not an occupation, nor is living on welfare. All races seem to be enjoying a lot of free time because they are not working but cashing in on phony disability claims. Social Security is such a mess. It has taken my son five months to make an address chance at Social Security for his checks.

Those of us working would love some free time to write or read, or work on our house or neighborhood environment. We could volunteer to clean up the streets, pain white lines or pick up trash. We could help our neighbors and local businesses spruce up their homes. Just talking about something doesn’t make changes which is why I am writing. There is an evil in laziness. Sadly, stand-alone faith and fortitude are rare ingredients these days. Let’s change that.

The jury system is one of the few remaining checks on the system. We must utilize this tool to the fullest measure if we ever hope to non-violently fight tyranny. With freedom comes responsibility. The jury system is the government coming before us asking for permission. In that sense, we are not “tainting ourselves by participating in the system” as some would have us believe. If I understand it right, Jury Nullification only occurs when a jury acquits a defendant, even though the members of the jury believe the defendant to be guilty of the charges.

This may occur when members of the jury disagree with what the defendant has been charged with, or believe that the law should not be applied in that particular case.  The nullification trend in recent years has largely focused on gun control, health care, national standards for driver’s licenses, legalizing marijuana and gay marriage rights.

We all have a definite but unknown quantity of hate we can disburse easily onto others especially our loved ones. But, do we have enough love for other minorities?   I don’t want to live in a world where fear rules. Picasso says, “You must be extremely careful not to make the slightest excessive demand that might prevent it from developing to the greatest extent over the longest period…If the wings of the butterfly are to keep their sheen, you mustn’t touch them.

We mustn’t abuse something which is to bring light into both our lives. Everything else in my life only weighs me down and shuts out the light.” I hope the Final Decision will be like a window opening up for Ferguson exposing their better side. I want communication to remain open. I do not want the sands of time to run out for peace between the races. Loneliness hurts. Rejection hurts. Profiling hurts. Misunderstanding hurts. Living in terror is not an acceptable way to live in the land of freedom.


  1. Joyce White says

    Where is your passion guys? Why is there no discussions about what is happening in Ferguson?

  2. Daphne Shapiro says

    Hey Joyce,
    Thanks for another worthy and insightful piece.
    I understand your comment and underlaying frustration. The overdosis of information the media are spreading is what makes people wary, and may suppress their passion. Here in Europe, we get only the highlights; not much discussion. But I have to assume this is different on your side of the Atlantic.

  3. Joyce White says

    Thanks for your comment Daphne, I expected some discussion on Ferguson, and as expected, it has caught fire all over the world including New York, China and Washington, D.C. I think people take freedom for granted.

  4. Andy Bachman says

    Your essay makes a lot of sense, Joyce.
    Somehow the discussion shifts to those making the ‘wrong’ statements:

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