Ferguson, Mo. (CBS ST. LOUIS) — Filmmaker Spike Lee says the fatal shooting of unarmed Ferguson teenager Michael Brown is indicative of a national “war on the black male,” and that the “uprising” in Missouri is a response to years of racial tension and discrimination between U.S. authorities and the black community.
Speaking with CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Tuesday, the outspoken director said that the African-American community “can’t take it anymore” and that he hopes the situation “will really blow up” in order to get the message out that the country has finally hit a “tipping point.”
“When people get to a point, to the tipping point they can’t take it anymore and I’m not saying that people should burn down stuff, riot and loot and I don’t want to the use the word riot. I’m going to use the word uprising,” said Lee. “This is not the first time we’ve seen this, and I just hope that things will really blow up, the people aren’t happy with the verdict of this upcoming trial.”
Lee rejected the notion that the U.S. is now a post-racial society, pointing to a string of historical violence against black Americans.
“Many people thought that the moment that President Obama put his hand on Abraham Lincoln’s bible and took the oath, racism would disappear, gone, for the post-racial era,” continued Lee. “That is not the case. If you look what happened in Ferguson, it happened in L.A. with the Rodney King verdict and Liberty City in Miami and happened in Detroit ‘67, happened in the assassination of Dr. King and happened in the Harlem riots.”
Lee criticized the use of military-grade weapons and uniforms being used by American police to control protests sparked by the shooting of Brown.
“We don’t need snipers on top of tanks pointing at civilians,” Lee said, encouraging retired Lt. Gen. Russel L. Honoré, the person who headed up the military response to Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, to help cool things down in Missouri. “I understand that there’s tear gas and provocateurs, but we need somebody who’s going to cool things down.”
Lee added that African-Americans have been targeted by American culture on my fronts.
“I just think there is a war on the black male, and it’s tearing the country apart, in my opinion,” Lee said. “It’s not just killing us — it’s educational system, it’s the prison system, it’s these young black men growing up with no hope. It’s systematic.”
Lee concluded: “I see it. It’s about Trayvon Martin and Michael Davis and Michael Brown shot a couple days ago in St. Louis. A couple blocks away another African-American man was shot, was shot and killed today. They said he had a knife. I think there is a war on the black male and it’s tearing the country apart in my opinion.”