Things in Ferguson have progressed from a terrible incident that needed a thorough formal review, to a reasonable protest for justice that some assumed would not happen, to an unreasonable call for quick justice based on what people chose to believe, to violent protests and looting from opportunist who really didn’t care about Michael Brown, to other opportunists who sought to sell their brand, to anarchists and professional agitators from around the country enticed by the stage, the bright lights, and provocation of the media.
Racial divide is often the blame. It is my contention, however, that race is not the real issue here—broken families are! In recent times, race was THE issue when justice was questioned regarding Blacks, so it is difficult to get away from it. Certainly race has a place because statistics show Blacks have more chronic family issues; and not enough Blacks are represented in law enforcement for reasons that include a lack of interest, qualifications, and prejudice.
It is a lazy person who will not go through, or wait for, the proper process to find answers. Answers to questions are too often assumed, too often slanted, and too often rushed. The reason issues are often not resolved, is because the wrong questions are asked, or the right questions don’t go deep enough!
The following process is what must happen to get to the root of any issue. Not but a handful of people in the night streets of Ferguson care about what I am about to suggest or explain. That is part of the problem! I hope you can have patience and follow me through to conclusion.
In engineering, when something goes terribly wrong, the cause is analyzed with something called the “5- Why Analysis”. Here is a simplistic example:
Problem: An Airplane Crashes
Why 1: Why did it crash?
Answer 1: The wing broke off.
Why 2: Why did the wing break off?
Answer #2; The supporting beam failed.
Why 3: Why did the beam fail?
Answer 3: It had a structural flaw that cracked because of vibrations.
Why 4: Why did it have a structural flaw?
Answer 4: While the wing design was good, the beam material was bad.
Why 5: Why was the material bad?
Answer 5 Because the tests used to look for flaws were not designed or performed properly.
Solution: Correct material tests to find all known possible flaws or correct the process of performing the tests.
Note that the root cause was not that the wing fell off!
To get to the root cause of an issue, you must drill down from general questions to specific questions. Here is a more specific and timely example.
Why 1; Why is violence and looting almost always in poor neighborhoods?
Ans 1: Because clashes between authorities and citizens are more frequent.
Why 2; Why are clashes between authorities and citizens are more frequent?
Ans 2: Because there is more crime and there is more suspicion between citizens and authorities.
Why 3: Why is there more crime and suspicion?
Ans 3: Because education levels are low, jobs are scarce, and authority is not respected. (And authority is not always perfect, causing suspicion, which could be another 5-Why analysis.)
Why 4: Why are education levels are low, jobs are scarce, and authority not respected?
Ans 4: Because it is not an area with a large base of strong families.
Why 5: Why is this an area without a large base of strong families?
Ans 5: Because less than 30% (example) have fathers in the home to help guide young men and women.
Solution: Devise programs that will provide encouragement, incentive, and training to allow men to be a larger part of raising their children!
In this analysis, the Ferguson ‘unrest’ issue is not about race--it’s about the struggles of the family! I would have no hesitation whatsoever to walk in a Black neighborhood with a large base of strong families at 2 AM . Nor would I likely walk at 2 AM in a white neighborhood without a large base of strong families.
The fault lies with both the police and the community. Assumptions are made that are often wrong! And, unfortunately, the violent acts and images of a few Black men, magnified by media coverage, understandably frighten many--and unfairly tarnish all Black men.
Certainly race is a peripheral issue because there are few Black fathers in the home, resulting in a poor social and often violent upbringing. Subsequently, the profiling will be projected unto the innocent--who look, or act in some ways, like the perpetrators! There are many secondary causes for all of the troubles between police and the Black community. But the root cause is the lack of fatherhood/mentors in Black communities, which is chronically more prevalent than in other racial groups. Only 28% of Black families include two-parents as compared to 70% in white families. If that number was reversed, then it would be white kids having the majority of issues with police.
My opinions will not be accepted by many in the Black or more liberal community. It is up to Black leaders to fix troubled Black youth caused by a lack of good role models. Only the brave jump in, with both feet, to resolve the family issue in any ethnic group. Solve the fatherless family issue and I would predict a much brighter future for all and--much less looting and violence!