I heard a caller on Radio Times this morning mention how none of her white friends were as outraged as her black friends over what is happening in Ferguson, MO.
I agree. More people from all backgrounds need to be angrier and screaming louder in support for a community that is largely ignored in our country, and that is being silenced once more.
Even those on the other side, including the nut-bags should be supporting the locals in their response to an overzealous and over-reaching Police Force, and ineffectual and unresponsive political class.
But we all know what would happen if the Tea-Baggers came out in support of a Black Community fighting for their rights.
But I digress.
This story best represents for me what is going on in Ferguson. His sadness and anger are palpable.
As the Pastor, who is standing in front the young man, states “If it’s not touching you, if it’s not personal, that’s where there’s a problem.”
As a white dude from Colorado I cannot imagine what it is like to live in a world where every moment of everyday you’re automatically assumed to be the suspect, the criminal, the different, the other, the watched.
But as an artist I seek stories and narratives, imagery and words that can help me connect to anothers’s experience. The young man, Joshua, as well as Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, and all those silenced by violence, deserve the dignity of our support and to have their stories told.
Their narrative must be given respect, and must not include justifications for their deaths. These young men did not deserve to die, no matter what their actions. (And their actions are in dispute; there is no proof that Michael Brown stole anything. But he, along with others like him wasn’t given Due Process)
That is why the coverage of the story is so important. This event needs to become personal for all of us.
The Police fear this, that is why they don’t want Journalists exposing their actions. actions based in an irrational fear of the citizenry.
This diddy from the Atlantic by Ta-Nehisi Coates perfectly describes the Black experience, and how young Black men are being destroyed, and that “destruction is merely the superlative form of a dominion whose prerogatives include friskings, detainings, beatings, and humiliations. All of this is common to black people.”
The fact that people are at best being harassed, and at worst killed, by a increasingly Militarized police force is a problem for all of us. And we need to be angrier.
But again, that Police force fears it’s own citizenry. They see in us Terrorists and Bombers so they point their guns at us and chase us away.
It also fears the media because their fear is laid bare when their actions are exposed.
And know you’re is in trouble when Egypt criticizes the arrest of journalists and the military-grade quashing of civil rights.
Egypt you say? The surprise inherent in that fact is based on an assumption that we are somehow better than other Nations that struggle with their citizenry.
Coates continues, summing-up the idea that the United States are no longer (and maybe never was) the exemplar of a Free Society perfectly:
“Taken all together, the body count that led us to our present tenuous democratic moment does not elevate us above the community of nations, but installs us uncomfortably within its ranks. And that is terrifying because it shows us to be neither providential nor exceptional”
We could be better and set an example of how a Democracy should deal with it’s citizens. But instead we spend billions on Tanks and Armour and Weaponry, rather than community outreach programs, community self-policing programs, and more Police on foot in communities.
For one beautiful moment the violence subsided and people were given hope: rather than pointing a weapon at the people, a State Trooper walked with them. This should show us how the police don’t need armor to be brave. Bravery is facing the people, letting them speak for themselves and hearing them out, and even apologizing.
Their anger comes as much from not being heard as it does losing their sons.
That all changed when again, the Police assumed the people were a danger and tried to imprison them in their own homes.
It seems the Media is starting to get it, when CNN’s Jake Tapper said simply, “This Doesn’t Make Any Sense!’
No it doesn’t Jakey. It makes no damn sense at all.
And that pisses me off.