I have no doubt that the standoff in Ferguson -- the demand for change -- goes this deep. I also have no doubt that tear gas won't pacify the protesters and replace their anger with fear of authority. Neither will all the military hardware the Defense Department can supply.
Clergy and lay people have played a crucial role in Ferguson. These religious leaders provide a buffer at protests, press for justice for Michael Brown, and witness against systemic racism and inequality.
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If you also believe that most Black families in the United States have talked about Ferguson, what does it say about the rest of us if we have not?
I hate the fact that people pretend that if you're black and keep out of trouble and do the "right" things, you'll be protected. That's a lie! I've never been in trouble, yet I'm almost always afraid of law enforcement. I've seen too many things to feel safe.
It's fine for pundits to yearn for open dialogue and rhetorical leadership from the White House. It's less helpful for them to ignore the unpleasant realities of nasty partisan politics in the age of Obama. It does no good to pretend race baiting hasn't become a badge of honor and a professional path to success for lots of right-wing pundits.
It's time for Missouri's right-wingers to leave the nineteenth century behind. It is time for all Missourians -- indeed, time for all Americans -- to start building a more just and equitable world, one free of institutional racism and yawning racial disparities.
Venting is easy and natural in these circumstances; restraint is hard. By rational, reasoned response we can block the next senseless killing and break the age-old pattern that has become ordinary in our country.
Aggressively punitive and extreme drug policies are steeped in racism. Inherent in the response to drug law enforcement is a biased approach and stark double standards in the perceived threat of drug use by marginalized people.
My preferring not to have intercourse might be less about a distaste for the actual act (or pain, or boredom) than it is about the way in which too many guys approach it, not just as the endgame but as the only way to truly score.
It's up to elected officials in Ferguson and communities across the country, and to the people who live in them, to address the deep-seated societal problems that fueled the explosion of outrage following the Brown shooting.
The point is that black American life and white American life stay rigidly separated at absolutely key moments of human communication. Do some people feel they are "better" than some other people? Or maybe it's not that at all. Does it, in fact, cut far deeper?
Improving policing in departments with entrenched cultures has proven a challenging endeavor. Departmental culture plays a defining role in how police officers conduct their work, and it flows from the top, or, as they say, rots from the head.
We know all too well the proximate causes of the rage in Ferguson but there are other much deeper socio-economic causes as well, namely the way the school systems, the economy, and particularly the labor market are structured so as to exclude cruelly so many from the American Dream.
It's almost as if they are saying please don't go away, please stay, because the moment you leave or turn the channel, no one will care anymore. They will go back to struggling in silence and irrelevance.
The politics of respectability in the black community may not only hinder us from acting and engaging in the constructive protest, lobbying and collective action needed to create a more just society, as it has with respect to the Ferguson protests, but it may also prevent us from simply being and living freely.
The nation's focus on the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri confers yet another opportunity for deeper racial understanding, but like other (too many other) teachable moments arising from the tragic loss of young black life, the opportunity is fleeting and frail.
Lance Gross has come a long way since his days at Howard University, where he contemplated a career as a professional track and field athlete. Making the decision to pursue his dream of acting and taking the jump to move to Hollywood has proved to be life changing.
This week, the 28 year-old actor will star opposite heavy-hitters like Academy Award-winner Forest Whitaker, Regina King and America Ferrara in the romantic comedy 'Our Family Wedding.' The film tackles the topic of an interracial couple who decided to get married and the difficulties they face when they meet each other's family.
It marks, perhaps, the first wedding movie to tackle the subject of what happens when a Latino and African-American decide to tie the knot.
For Gross, the timing to shoot a wedding film couldn't have been better. The Oakland native is marrying 'America's Next Top Model' winner Eva Marcille in July. So wedding planning has really been on the brain.
"It's weird, working on this movie...was like a really bad test run of my wedding," he joked. "But, I felt like this is all the stuff that went wrong [and] it went wrong in this movie, so it's not going to go wrong on my wedding."
The NAACP Image Award-winning Tyler Perry discovery added, "I caught myself pulling things I didn't want for my wedding from this movie, like no goat at all...and a better cake."
Unlike Marcus, his character in the Rick Famuyiwa-directed film, Gross said the most stressful part of planning his real-life nuptials has been "writing the checks because I write the checks and I gotta pay for it."
After the large-scale wedding, complete with four hundred guests, the couple will honeymoon in Portofino, Italy.
Then, in August, Gross will begin shooting the sixth season of the hit TBS series 'Tyler Perry's House of Payne,' where he stars as Calvin Payne.
"It's definitely a lot more relaxed doing a film -- working with Tyler Perry is unlike any other sitcom show," he shared.
Perry has been known to pack in a hectic shooting schedule of three or four episodes a week, with only one day for rehearsal, which Gross said is "the best boot camp you can get."
In between 'Payne' and the film promotion, Gross revealed that he got really close to nailing a part in the upcoming revival of August Wilson's play 'Fences' opposite Denzel Washington and Viola Davis. He's staying positive that one day he'll be bigger than Will Smith.
"I'm a person who believes in the law of attraction, so if you claim it, it's going to be," he said.
"I didn't expect Tyler Perry to walk in my acting class and basically give me a job. I knew it would be hard work to break in, but I was always hopeful and knew it was going to happen."