White and confused #Ferguson

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Days after the failed indictment of Darren Wilson I see many of my white friends are still confused on this issue. One can only assume that they are not listening.  The message is clear.  It’s unambiguous, and simple enough to be tweeted. Let’s start with the first thing protesters chanted over and over again.

#handsupdontshoot  What is confusing about this message?  An unarmed teen was shot by a police while surrendering.  If you can’t understand the tremendous grief and loss that this should provoke, then I weep for your lost humanity. True, accounts differ and if there was any justice in the world there should, at the barest minimum, have been a trial.  But there wasn’t one.  At the end of the day not only was there no justice (not even for Darren Wilson if he deserved it) but Michael Brown didn’t even get a voice.  It was silenced.  What happened to him was dragged through the media and social media and insane pundits, but not the courtroom.  What we saw was the every member of the police, investigators, medical professionals, and even the courtroom and prosecutors close ranks around Wilson and they treated this case with shocking callousness.  A kid died and they left his body in the streets for 4 1/2 hours.  There has been a miscarriage of justice and people are angry about it.  And folks have the gall to wonder why people are upset.

#Blacklivesmatter  Maybe you’re the kind of racist who doesn’t believe this.  Perhaps you’re the kind that “Doesn’t see race at all”.  Maybe you’re the kind of racist who genuinely believes this but are still wondering why black communities are so outraged.  What should be painfully obvious is that minority community feels that they’re lives don’t matter to the rest of our society.  That millions of people genuinely believe that they matter less because of what they look like.  So much so that they can be killed with impunity.  They’ve seen innocent people gunned down with shocking regularity simply because they were black.  Like the gentleman wandering around a toy store with a toy gun who was shot on sight by police. Or a 12 year old kid with a toy gun that was shot on sight, or a teenager out to get some candy at a convenience store that was hunted down and killed.  The stories go on and on.  Most never make it to the press.  These people are merely mourned in obscurity as the violence continues.  Never mind that white people wander around stores with real guns all the time, or the blatantly unconstitutional stop and frisk policies of major metropolitan police departments that have frisked more minorities than actually live in the city.  Or the fact that Darren Wilson had absolutely no reason to stop Michael Brown at all.  There was no probable cause here.  At the time Wilson didn’t know about the robbery.  He had absolutely no business going anywhere near another pedestrian.  Brown, assuming he said the things he allegedly said, was perfectly within his rights to do so.  Yet this is a frightfully common experience for people of color.  Black lives DO matter, but black people are tired of being treated as if they don’t.  I would assume that would have been obvious.

White people protest, black people riot  -“where they live”.  –even animals don’t foul their own lairs and these crazy thugs destroy their own town. —  As far as coded language goes that goes near the top of the list.  Yeah when people protest, they’re angry, they want justice.  When they riot, they’re angry beyond mere protesting.  But it’s not the inhabitants of Ferguson that are doing the looting and it certainly isn’t just people of color.  The violence, as is very often the case in poor communities, is being imported from outside.   Even if it wasn’t, to characterize the entire movement or an entire community as dangerous and violent is the height of racism.  Yes there are a few bad actors and they need to be arrested, but the vast majority of protesters are doing so peacefully.  There’s an incredible double standard that my white friends may or may not be aware of.  Feel free to google, “White people riot”.  Perhaps we should say, “White people white over sports games and black people riot over injustice”  But let’s not say anything.  This isn’t our crises.  Let’s simply stand with our friends and neighbors against the evils of this world.

Some kid in….  More coded language.  –No one really cares about white people, or that people of color don’t care about white people.   What this is, is reverse racism because white people are better than black people because when our children get killed needlessly we don’t throw a national hissy fit —  Are you seriously this dimwitted? Yes when some white kid gets killed by the cops, on a personal level it’s every bit the tragedy of Micheal Brown.  The parents grieve just the same, the friends and community are just as affected.  However, this isn’t about a single incident.  We’re talking about a system that discriminates against minorities.  We’re talking about the widespread violence against them that the white community is terribly ignorant about.   We’re talking about the fact that I can mouth off to the cops and my black friends will get shot for it.  Yes I’m saddened by the tragedies that befall other people, including white people but how self-involved to you have to be for this to make sense to you or be about you?  Do you really need to pick this moment to feel superior to a class of hurting people?

If you genuinely wish to understand the events in Furgeson or Florida or all over this country, simply listen to the people screaming at the top of their lungs.


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