Ferguson, Missouri has become a flashpoint.  The organizers behind the “astroturf” marches and protests against alleged police brutality and racism held a one-year commemoration of the killing of Michael Brown.  They had to put a face to the protests, other than “race-baiter #1” the Rev. Al Sharpton, who now has finally been disgraced by the knowledge of owing the IRS millions of dollars in back taxes. 

So enter Dr. Cornell West, “an American philosopher, academic, activist, author, public intellectual and prominent member of the Democratic Socialists of America.” West told CNN he went to Ferguson to get arrested because “there is a state of emergency and a sense of urgency when it comes to the situation of poor and working people in the United States and especially in Black America.”

So he and others turn the Michael Brown death by police officer Darren Wilson, deemed justified by the Obama administration’s DOJ leader, Eric Holder, into a “cause célèbre.”

Let’s review the death of Michael Brown. The 18-year old black teenager was a thief (stealing several packages of cigarillos from the local store), a bully (who jacked up the store manager who tried to stop him as he exited the store) who chose to walk down the middle of the street instead of on the sidewalk (high off drugs) and a thug who assaulted Officer Wilson by reaching inside his car and trying to take his gun then coming back to finish confronting Wilson before Wilson finally shot him. 

During the grand jury investigation, Brown’s partner in crime, Dorian Johnson, lied by telling them that Michael Brown held his hands up in an effort to surrender giving protesters a sound bite that said “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” before many of them broke formation to break into stores, stealing everything they could take out running and then setting fire to them.  At least 21 businesses had windows smashed in and or were burned down to the ground.

Where are the people who wanted to help these businesses rebuild?  Did Cornel West contribute to those business owners who had put all their savings into building a life for themselves and their children?

While West and others chant the name Michael Brown, do they know the name of Natalie Dubose, a young black woman, whose store Natalie’s Cakes and More was damaged during the riots? 

Because of some media coverage, Natalie received more than 8,319 donations equaling more than $271,127.  Did Cornel West donate some of his Harvard or Princeton money to help this small business owner in Ferguson – since he’s so concerned about the poor and the “economic abandonment” of black people in Ferguson?

What is Cornel West going to do “until justice is done,” “until full accountability,” “until all the police who kill black men go to jail” besides protesting just so he can go to jail?  What about the people who had their cars burned to the ground? Yes, there were civilians who had their cars burned in addition to police cars.

When are black folk going to stop being used to protest alleged murder by cop when hundreds of black men are murdered by other black men and nobody says a word?  Riots broke out in Baltimore when one black man
(Freddie Gray) died in the custody of police, but as of August 10, 2015, there have been 200 homicides – more than 100 shootings and 40 murders in May, 2015 alone.

Guardian Angels came out in Baltimore to self-police the city, while Oath Keepers came out in Ferguson “to protect the businesses from rioters and looters.”  But the media attention was different.  Guardian Angels were welcomed but the Oath Keepers were defined by the Associated Press (AP) as “far right anti-government activist group comprised largely of past and present military personnel, first responders and law enforcement personnel.”

Also according to the AP, the Oath Keepers were not welcomed by the St. Louis Police Chief Jon Belmar who called the bullet-proof vest wearing, gun-toting group (who came in after the violence),  “both unnecessary and inflammatory.”

But there would be no use for the Oath Keepers if the community would support the police whose job it is to keep the peace and arrest the law breakers.  When the black community stops protecting the law breakers and begins protecting the victims of these law breakers, the community will be better off.

And when the Democratic Socialist Cornell West stops taking advantage of the disadvantaged and “poor” people of color and begins telling the truth – that the disadvantaged in all the inner cities in this country are governed by his Democratic peers and politicians – then maybe the disadvantaged will take advantage of the opportunities that Dr. Martin Luther King (who West brags that he marched with) fought so hard to be available to all of us to help all of us prosper.

Barbara Howard is a political consultant, radio host and commentator and motivational speaker. She is Florida State chairwoman for the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and Trade & Travel goodwill ambassador to Kenya. She may be reached at bhoward11@bellsouth.net.