(Note from 2018: If you’re reading this, the worst has happened. The officer was exonerated of all charges. Michael Brown, who was racially profiled and murdered, for walking while black, has not had justice. His family still suffers under the stigma created by white normative people in the media. #BlackLivesMatter has been cruelly co-opted by white supremacists running #BlueLivesMatter. Up is down and down is up. Flint has been poisoned by their government and children are being cruelly ripped from their asylum seeking parents, at the border. The current POTUS is set to establish himself as dictator and white men still think that bike lanes are the most urgent issue facing the bicycling community.)
The Roads are for moving People.
A car is one way to move people. So is a horse, a truck, a motorcycle, a bicycle, and legs. Legs move people. Legs have been moving people for millions of years. In fact people got tired of using their legs and invented the wheel so they could put their feet up and rest.
I’ve heard about the tragedy in Ferguson. I’ve heard that the first issue the officer had with the young man was that he, the young man, was walking on the road. Well, that is what a road is for! Walking moves people and the modern paved roads were invented to move people with less difficulty than rutted dirt roads.
From what I have heard this wasn’t about concern for the young mans safety. This was about someone who was potentially getting in the way of cars. That young man had every right to be there. He had every right to cross the road and expect to be given due care by motorists who happened upon him.
It’s a cultural issue. One that has been deeply ingrained into our psyche ever since automobiles began to dominate the roads.
Remember the Civil Rights movement was originally argued over transportation. The rights of people to access the same facilities as other people with out regard for their heritage.
Car culture and hatred appear to go hand in hand. The idea that it is o.k. to besmirch, accost, and verbally assault someone just because they are not in an automobile has to end.
I could be wrong, but I believe that the underlying current here is road rights, exacerbated by a media induced stigma on young men in economically depressed and ethnically diverse neighborhoods.
People should feel safe letting their children travel and play upon their neighborhood streets.
It is a sick society, a car sick society that we live in. The very idea that being on the street could be cause for suspicion is deeply rooted in the automobile industries quest to rule the road. A quest that has killed millions of people and assisted in the downfall of our economy.
There are a lot of ways to be prejudiced against someone. That child had more going against him than the color of his skin.
Think about it.
Why don’t more African Americans ride bicycles?
100% of African Americans surveyed said they were afraid of hostility from motorists.