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Students reflect on racial tension in Ferguson

Racial tensions in Ferguson, Missouri have sparked national discussion on race in the United States.

Eighteen-year-old Michael Brown was gunned down by Officer Darren Wilson on August 9 in the St. Louis suburb. Wilson, a Caucasian officer, shot Brown, an unarmed, African-American male six times in broad daylight.

Due to several different witness accounts, the certainty of facts surrounding the shooting has ignited public discourse in topics like racial profiling, segregation and equality.

As a multinational and multicultural university, ORU is not lost in the race debate, a debate that includes history, education and culture.

“There are a lot of barriers, it’s not just St. Louis. It’s not just black and white. It’s Hispanics and Jewish. It’s Bosnian and Caucasian,” said ORU student Emmanuel Logan.

A St. Louis native, Logan noted the stereotypes he commonly deals with as a black male.

“A lot of the people in St. Louis are against the North County area and there is a lot of segregation towards the African-American community to begin with,” he said.

Logan recalled moments with personal experience with this segregation.

“Right before I came here, I went to the mall and the white security guard followed me all throughout Macy’s,” Logan said. “I don’t even go to the mall anymore.”

Students agreed that there are still barriers and disconnects between those of different races.

Jaci Pringle, who lives 25 minutes away from Ferguson, said there were issues in that area prior to the shooting.

“This event just blew things out of the water and built on things that had already been happening previously,” Pringle said.

As a Caucasian female, Pringle said seeing a situation like this happen in the area she resides makes her feel like she is stuck back in the 1960s Civil Rights Movement.

Bethany Allen believes educating police officers to connect on a more personal level with the people they are protecting will help fix the disconnect.
Allen suggested police officers should be put in caregiver situations and not only trained for enforcement of law.

“Don’t just have classes to learn to run and shoot, but learn how to connect with people and be put in situations that are not about breaking crime but helping people,” Allen said.

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