First they came for the Black people, and I did not speak out

(title in reference to “First they came …“)

It’s the year 2014, in the United States of America, and the people whose entire livelihood is supposed to be the protection of civilians–the keeping of peace, the upholding of our freedoms, the protection of citizens–have donned military garb, weapons, tactics, and ideologies, and are advancing on American citizens with loaded weapons in broad daylight.

Police officers patrol a street in Ferguson, Missouri August 11, 2014 Mario Anzuoni/Reuters
Police officers patrol a street in Ferguson, Missouri August 11, 2014 – Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

Peaceful protestors, legally gathered and protected by the First Amendment, and journalists, also protected by the First Amendment, have been fired on with rubber bullets and tear gas, arrested without warrant or cause, and been forcibly removed from public spaces.

Copyright St. Louis Post-Dispatch 2014 David Carson
Copyright St. Louis Post-Dispatch –  2014 David Carson

All of this is happening, and my Facebook timeline remains full of babies, memes, surveys, and links to Robin Williams videos. Obama hasn’t said hardly a thing. Mainstream news is covering immigration and Robin Williams. If it weren’t for Twitter I wouldn’t even know this is going on.

This is interesting, because this wasn’t what happened with Sandy Hook. Or the Boston marathon bombing. But this is what happens with violence in Chicago.

It’s because this is what we expect. It fits our narrative of the world. Black people in urban settings fighting the police? Look at the kid they shot. His pants were sagging. He was walking in the middle of the street. Look at the interview with that guy who’s protesting–he was speaking in Ebonics. Probably didn’t even finish high school. Look! They’re looting. This is why they can’t have nice things.

So when the police don military garb, we watch it happen like we watch Israel firing on Palestine. “I wish this weren’t necessary,” we say, shaking our heads like a parent who’s telling a child “I’m not going to enjoy this” as they prepare to spank their child. But it is necessary, of course. These people.

Sandy Hook and the Boston Marathon bombing shook our worlds because they happened in our worlds. If Michael Brown, the 18-year-old whose death sparked the current protests, were a White kid in suburban Gainesville, my Facebook feed would not be empty. If the protestors being shot at by police were in the middle of Ann Arbor, the news media would not be silent. If the back yards being filled with tear gas were in Andersonville or Evanston, Barack Obama would have said more than a short paragraph. When the places we expect to be safe are made unsafe, we’re not silent for long.

But Ferguson, Missouri is a primarily Black city where 18-year-old boys sag their pants and the almost-all-White police force yell at those 18-year-old-boys to “get the fuck on the sidewalk,” and those boys respond that they’re almost home, and when we think of that home–and that sidewalk–we think of projects, dilapidated apartments, tiny browning yards with rusted clotheslines, and it’s so different than our yards, our houses. If we had read this story and pictured our manicured yards with no sidewalks, our wide and slow subdivision streets, and then we added a police officer and an 18-year-old, the cop would be slowing down to gently tell Johnny to remember to stay to the side of the road, and now that I mention it Johnny would for sure have a car and wouldn’t be walking in the road anyway.

You’ll notice that the people who are most upset about this are the people who’ve read this far and said to themselves, “Why the hell is this writer saying ‘We’ when I clearly don’t identify with what he’s saying?” The people who are most upset about the situation are not, surprisingly, anti-big-government libertarians decrying police overstepping their bounds and breaking the First AmendmentThe people who are most upset about this are the people for whom Ferguson, Missouri is their world. People who grew up in Miami. In Chicago. In Atlanta. People whose ancestors were slaves. Whose parents and grandparents sat at the back of the bus. Whose experiences of police behavior have never made them feel protected and respected.

In the poem I linked at the top of this post, pastor Martin Niemöller wrote about the Holocaust and the cowardly behavior of those who knew they would be protected–at least, at first.

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

This is what we’re doing. We’re watching our brothers and sisters, our fellow countrymen, marched on by a militarized, First-Amendment-breaking attack force, and we’re doing nothing. Because it doesn’t affect us. It doesn’t unsettle us. It doesn’t make is imagine that happening in our neighborhood, because our neighborhood doesn’t have dark boys with sagging pants walking to decrepit apartments.

In my last post I urged White America, especially White Christian America, that this is the time to listen, not speak (in response to the Zimmerman acquittal.) I’m urging something different this time.

White America–and Asian America, and Latin (U.S.) America, and everyone else–this is the time to get upset. This is the time to find some piece of this insanity and allow yourself to see how wrong this is. Pick a piece. Government and media aren’t doing anything about it. Cops acting as military and disrespecting citizens. Intrusion of private space. Journalists locked up. Breaking the First Amendment. Racist cops. Dead innocent young boys. Whatever it is, let it get you riled up that you actually want to do something. 

Get so upset that you start looking at plane tickets to Ferguson. Realize that this is a massive civil rights issue. This is absolutely absurd and both reflects and predicts a broken, evil thing.

And then find every opportunity you have to act on that. Petition. Call. Inform. Donate. Console. Whatever it is you have in your power to fight this.

In my last post I encouraged you to not be That White Person, who, in the face of Black pain, says “Well, technically…”.

This time, I’m encouraging you to be That Other White Person. The one who, in the face of White apathy towards Black pain, acts counter to your culture and stands in solidarity with people whose neighborhoods might not look like yours. Put yourself in their shoes and see how absolutely insane this situation is, and then act accordingly. Don’t let this happen unchallenged.

 

* Note: My first tendency when I started learning about issues of justice and racialization was to want to run away from my race. These days I want to build bridges, and you can’t build a bridge to your own people group if you refuse to identify with them. This is why I’ve used the phrase “we” so often, and why I’ve used it when describing some things that I certainly don’t believe–but I do think are a part of the general consciousness of the largest segment of the country.

* Another Note: As I was writing this post, several mainstream media sources have started covering aspects of the situation on their web sites/blogs. That’s a good start.

COMMENTS HAVE BEEN CLOSED.

Matt

185 comments

  • I am silent because I don’t know enough of the facts surrounding this situation to make a sound judgment. A fool rushes to judgment.
    Your post is seeks to divide based on generalizing people along stereotypes.
    Please rethink what you’re saying. I want justice. Justice is accompanied by truth. I see a lot of generalized opinions, and few facts in your post.

    • Hi Jacob,
      If you read my post and think that my intention is to divide, you’re missing the point.

      • Please remember many of these officers are simply doing their job and protecting the innocent people that were terrorized earlier in the week. Many of them have families at home that they just want to return to. Not all cops are bad and frankly I’m tired of people grouping them all together. What do you think that does to the good ones? All of the hate and mistrust toward this occupation because a small group of them abuse their power. Their families live in fear, they are screamed at and spit on. Does the media also tell you that there has been plenty of gunfire, mostly directed at the police? They are not there because of peaceful demonstrators. It is the lawlessness and destruction that brought them in. I live in this area, I personally know people on all sides of this. It is sickening and heartbreaking in so many ways. By the way, those journalists where in an area that was already being cleared by the police, they were asked to identify themselves and did not. Being a journalist does not put you above the law. Be there to report bit don’t cause more trouble just so you can see what happens.

        • Hey Amanda,
          Thanks for commenting. I personally have a ton of respect for the majority of police officers I’ve had the pleasure of interacting with. Not all. But many. However, even if there are individual police officers in Ferguson whose attitudes were good, it wasn’t enough to prevent the sum total influence of the police in the situation being as I described here. Does that make sense? It’s possible that MANY of the police were simply doing their jobs and wouldn’t have chosen to act this way given their own control of the situation. Unfortunately, the fact remains that they did act this way, whether by the order of commanders or because they personally wanted to, and the end result was the same.

          In terms of what brought the police in, there are timelines and audio available regarding how, when, and why the police responded that show that they weren’t, in fact, responding to the negative things that happened–looting, etc.–but instead they sent the riot control forces long before anything happened that would even potentially merit it.

        • There are media blackouts, no fly zones, military type vehicles and highly armed police. And the most gunfire was taken by an unarmed 18 year old walking home.

        • You do know the facts. If you were born in America, you know the facts very well. But, I’ll entertain you: the town of Ferguson has a police force that has 3 THREE black officers-all the other officers are white. Another fact: the town of Ferguson is 70% black. Another fact: that boy was shot in the back ten times in broad daylight. Yet another fact: the cop will get away with it because the dead boy has black skin; and the man with a gun had white skin.

          • I hear you. I had to remind my peers (other African-Americans) that there are some that get. They know our history too… so they are aware of the “facts” before it is posted. They know the mistrust and the mishandling of police and “overseers” in the black community. They see it too. Some still want to say… let’s wait for the fact or it is justified because they kill themselves too. Terrible how anyone can so easily criminalize an entire race from stereotypes and not digging deep into history. It repeats itself. But I am warmed to the core when I read things like this. There was alot of solidarity in community. White mothers just as enraged as I was because they knew Mike Brown was unarmed. They knew deep down it was already injustice. Alot of them have biracial children and knew that the world sees them as black and it could easily be them next.

            Balance y’all. We ALL need each other. White&Black people help to create and maintain the underground railroad, freed the slaves, fought for civil rights, and help vote a black man president. For every racist attack there’s been another nonblack hand to reach out in SUPPORT&SOLIDARITY. It’s important to maintain a balanced worldview. #love

            Even the NAACP was formed by a group of influential whites and blacks hoping to counter the influence of Booker T. Washington. Educate yourself so we don’t breed hate.

            To honestly espouse equality one must defend it impartially in the present, never avenging the inequities of the past. #thatsall

        • Amanda, you do realize your comments also apply to the young black men that are killed by people with a badge and a power-trip.
          I’ll show you:
          Please remember that many of these black men are just living their lives, they ARE innocent people and have been terrorized [and shot and killed] earlier during the week. Many of these black men have families they want to get home to. Not all black men are bad, and frankly I’m tired of people grouping them all together. What do you think that fired to the good ones? All of the hate and mistrust toward the men with brown skin all because a small group of them make ignorant choices? Their families live in fear many of them are degraded and harassed. Does the media also tell you that the town of Ferguson is 70% ‘black yet it’s police for is virtually 100% white? These citizens are not out there protesting because of the police officers that are doing their job; it is the lawlessness and destruction and abuse of power that brought them in. I was raised in this country and slavery is not something that happened in a school history book; my grandma’s grandma was sold like cattle and looked at as a dog. Sickening and heartbreaking in so many ways. By the way, I’m so glad those journalists where there to record the events. The police were trying to clear out people who were peacefully gathering in a public area- their 1st Amendment right- just because you’re an officer doesn’t put you above the law. Be there to keep order, but don’t fire rubber bullets and use gas masks just because you don’t side with the protesters.
          You see Amanda, your statements are valid for both the officer and the boy he murdered.

          • THANK you, Mila. I was just about to post the exact same response. But you got there before I did.

        • Hi, Amanda. I understand your comments and your heart is in a good place. I must say, however, that I disagree with you because I sense some naivety. When you said, “all of the hate and mistrust toward this occupation because a small group of them abuse their power” it struck a chord with me. I’m from Portland Oregon, where unfortunately our police force has been known to use excessive and deadly force over and over again (with no consequences.) When I see this happening all over our country, as well as in my own backyard, I fear it’s no longer just a “small group” of people abusing their power. You should be upset with these crooked cops for creating a situation in which they make the good cops look bad. If the good cops are really as good as you say they are, why arnt they crying out for the injustice of this young man? Why arnt they putting down their riot gear and joining the citizens who have every right to be outraged that another young black man has been viciously murdered by a fellow officer? Why arnt they saying enough is enough? Where are these good guys? They are protecting a murderer. Standing by his side. As long as people continue to give them excuses, they will continue this type of behavior and someday your child could be staring down the barrel of an officers gun and there will be no justice for them. This has to stop and we have to start somewhere.

          • I completely agree. I’ve had 3 people I knew killed by Portland police while they were unarmed.

        • I just want to say, without judgement, that as sick as you are of good cops being grouped in with the minority of shady ones, I am 10x as sick of being grouped in with a criminal stereotype that makes up a SMALL fraction of the people in my ethnic group. Characterizing all cops as crooked get’s on your nerves, but the characterizations of black people gets kids killed.

      • I don’t think anything you stated promoted division..being white with mixed children (Latino & black) I’ve stirred away from white culture due to the ugliness I’ve seen. I’m thankful for your point of view and encouragement to create a stronger unity for injustice. This is real stuff, real people are dealing with. I’ve lived in a not so nice neighbor-HOOD when just married and seen the way police treat us that lived there. And now living in the suburbs I of course don’t encounter that. But my husband has encountered being pulled over and harassed for nothing several times. All because he worked graveyard and apparently had to be up to no good driving to work to support our family at midnight.

        That boy no matter what didn’t deserve to die. A life shouldn’t be taken away so easily. I thought a gun was a last resort? Sad. Thanks for your openness and vulnerability.

        • “Steered away from white culture because of the ugliness I’ve seen”??? What ugliness?

          • if you dont understand, it might be best to keep quiet

      • Sorry for being so short last night in my response. I want to elaborate a little, so people can get my objection to your post.

        I agree that there are far too few people in our churches who are concerned with justice.
        I agree that the church’s responsibility is to promote justice. This is a theme throughout the Old and New Testament.
        I believe that inaction can be a sin.
        I agree with that this man’s death was unjust if the statements made by some of the witnesses are true.

        But I disagree with several things you’ve said, and I disagree generally with your tone.
        I understand that you want to stir the troops with a passionate post to move them to action, but we don’t have enough evidence to believe the shooting was unjust, and if the shooting was unjust, I assume we will see justice. Many assume that it is unjust, but we should be responsible not to protest injustice if we are unsure there is injustice to protest.
        I don’t think you’re intention is to divide, but it is the result. You speak against the militarization of the police. What does that even mean? Are you simply speaking out against the police who use weapons used in war, but are okay with protective gear? The problem isn’t with the militarization of the police, but the misuse of weapons on people. I have no problem with police using the most sophisticated armor or weapons, as long as they deal justly.
        Your post negatively stereotypes police.

        “Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools.” -Ecc. 7:9
        “Justice too long delayed is justice denied” -MLK Jr.

        Both statements are true.

        Over the next several days, we should mourn with those who mourn.
        Soon, if there is no justice, let’s stand up with those being treated unjustly.

        • There is NEVER a just reason to kill an unarmed man. As a civil servant, he is charged to practice more restraint….that officer didn’t do that…in fact, he did the polar opposite abd used deadly force (shot 10 times). Now you tell me how JUST that was

          • I’m not excusing the actions of the officer, but there are DEFINITELY situations where using deadly force on someone who is unarmed is an appropriate solution. Unarmed doesn’t mean not dangerous or able to take your life. If I’m ever faced with a situation where I’m outnumbered or heavily outmatched in some kind of dispute and I feel like my life is in danger, you better believe I’m breaking leather and stopping things before I get beaten to death. A properly used fist is a weapon indeed.

            Now that said, if the eyewitness accounts are accurate, this police officer needs to be relieved from his duties and charged with manslaughter at the least. I really wish ALL police forces at least had dash cams and lapel mics running while on duty, the technology is incredibly cheap and it goes a long way to solving these finger-pointing exercises.

        • The simple fact alone that you stated if the killing was unjust then I assume we will see justice is an issue in itself…that’s the entire problem. Whether it’s proven or not we have never seen justice for these types of killings and that’s why they keep happening. Did Oscar Grant see Justice? His killing was on tape. And more than a few people testified he didn’t do anything. Did Sean Bell see justice? And these are only the situations going national. I could go on forever with stories from MY state. My city. Blinders are real in this country and you happen to be wearing a very thick pair sir…

        • Jacob, your response is part of the problem. Action like this, unjustified murders of minorities, keep occurring and each time, most people respond just like you: assuming that if it was unjust, it will be proven so and that it might not be unjust. How many times does this need to occur for you to see the pattern? How many times do cops need to get off with virtually no punishment for you to admit that the system is not fair and does not treat people equally? There were people who told Martin Luther King Jr. to wait patiently for the right time. But the right time is now, not the future. People are being mistreated now.

        • Jacob: “we don’t have enough evidence to believe the shooting was unjust”
          When is shooting an unarmed person who has their hands up ever justified? I’ll wait while you think, but I’ll give you a hint: NEVER!

          “if the shooting was unjust, I assume we will see justice.”
          what in your lived experience would make you think we will see justice? in all the accounts of unarmed black men brutalized by police, in how many of them was justice done? is this assumption that the justice will be meted out by the same force responsible for the initial injustice? Come now! I have some oceanfront property in Kansas to sell you.

          “You speak against the militarization of the police. What does that even mean?”
          He’s likely speaking of the tear gas – a chemical weapon banned by the Geneva convention in international warfare – and the rubber bullets used against protesters exercising their First Amendment Right to peacefully assemble. Or the armored war tanks used and assault rifles and gas masks worn by police long before any violence occurred. Any quick search online will turn up dozens of comments by former military indicating they were not that armored up when they went on patrol IN A WAR ZONE.

          Clearly you are searching for reasons to excuse away this behavior and this situation. You are desperately searching because it is painful to accept the reality of the world black and brown people live in. And if it is painful for you to even briefly imagine it, consider what it might be like for them to exist in it every single day. You are strong enough to open your eyes and see clearly and refuse to continue burying your head in the sand.

    • Jacob,
      Its sad you devoted time to justify bring silent instead of simply doing something. Newsflash: we are already divided, this is why Ferguson happened. And the more people uses excuses to do nothing, the more instances like this will happen. If you choose to sit back, fine your choice. But don’t try to blame others that challenge mainstream to hold you accountable just so you can continue to do nothing. There’s an old saying “a hit dog will holler”. If you didn’t feel guilt, you wouldn’t have felt the need to reply to this post. So stop feeling guilty and do something, or just stay completely quiet.

      • Please don’t pass judgment on my motives, since you don’t know them.

    • That is why he is saying get upset at the injustice that we see against the citizens that are protesting in a legal way. He is not saying get upset as if you know exactly what happened that Saturday. Get upset at the police arresting a journalist for doing his job and writing about what he saw there while just sitting in a McDonalds. Get upset at the police using M-16’s to forcibly push people back into their homes. Get upset at the police using rubber bullets on peaceful protesters not even caring that in the house nearby there’s children watching.

    • “I am silent because I don’t know enough of the facts…” Here is a fact. Every citizen of the United States is given the constitutional right to trial before a jury of peers, with the burden of proof laying on the accuser. It does not matter what Mike Brown did, because he was shot 10 times and left in the street for hours without being arrested, without being tried, without evidence. You’re an ignorant emotionless fool.

      • I’ve already stated that I’m ignorant of the facts that are needed to make a sound judgment on the matter. Almost everyone is ignorant at this time.
        A fool rushes to judgment, so I’m trying to avoid acting foolishly.

        Shouldn’t we wait for the cop to be arrested and tried by a jury before passing judgment like a jury?

        • Are you ignorant to the facts because you have not taken the time to do the research? Or because the words of Black men and women who witnessed the shooting of Mike Brown are of no credibility in your eyes?

          “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

        • How long are we supposed to wait? Why wasn’t he arrested already? Why haven’t they released his name?

        • Jacob- You are obviously a reasonable, logical person. To try and have this conversation in such a manner is in vain. People don’t want logic and reason. They want passion and action, often at the cost of truth and fairness. I agree with what you’re saying and understand where you’re coming from. I just don’t think you’re going to find a lot of that on this blog.

          • wait until they come for your son, connie; then let’s see how reasonable and logical you would be

          • What is the logic and reason that people don’t want Connie? You and Jacob seem to be the only ones interested in ignoring the facts.

            A right to be tried for any crimes by a jury of ones peers, not gunned down in the streets while one’s hands are up. The people’s right to peacefully assemble. The freedom of the press. You either don’t know the constitution and the basic laws this country is founded upon, or you don’t believe they apply to your fellow countrymen with darker hued skin. Which is it?

            “There is none more blind than he who wishes not to see.”

        • It must be nice to live in your world. Do you pay attention to what goes on in his country at all? How often do you see these cops arrested for the these murders and actually given the trial they deserve? They are usually put on paid leave until an investigation comes back and proves they were not guilty of anything despite the facts. That is why people are protesting because there has never been and will never be “justice” in this country for people like Michael Brown or anyone who looks like him.

        • Jacob why is there a question if the account of the eye witness is accurate or not? What about a man holding his hands in the air symbolizing surrender would cause him to be fatally shot? This is what matters and why you as a US citizen and seemingly a CHRISTIAN should DEMAND accountability.

    • A boy lies dead in a pool of blood and with some wounds in the back. He should not be dead. That is not a rush to judgement.

    • Some have clearly misunderstood the mans article. Yes are doing their jobs . But this isn’t a argument of white vs black the conversation is much deeper than that. Its a civil rights issue for all . Freedoms that we hold close or freedoms that were made by “founding fathers are being stripped in front of us and no one cares. Your constitutional rights are at jeopardy. The late MLK said injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.. So it may be Ferguson backyard today and then the whole America tomorrow .. STOP IT NOW.

      • No, his post was not misunderstood. Those of us with eyes can clearly see the individuals who live in complete darkness, who are blind even when its day of the fact that “we” all have constitutional rights that have already been shattered for far too long, and the results from it all are running in overflow in the very souls of so many that have watched it happen and did nothing but try and mine their own business and maintain their own souls.

        But now their souls ache with fear that those same streets, allies, jail and prison cells,the lakes and rivers that are filled with so much blood of black America and thinking,”My soul, body and mind and family too is Next just because I silently said nothing, and did nothing.” And when no one else is around to pick on guess who’s next!

    • “It is us today, it will be you tomorrow.” – Haile Selassie I, Emperor of Ethiopia

    • Jacob, You’re silence is part of the problem!

      He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it. -Martin Luther King Jr.

      Thank you for this post Matt, we need more men as brave as you.

    • Jacob, you’re not the first to say that. Here is a quote for you: “what details do you need I can give them to you. Here you go –> mike brown was not a thug, has never been arrested, has no criminal record, graduated high school and was on his way to college this monday. The police office shot him while he had his hands up and he was unarmed. When he hit the ground the police man walked over to him, stood over him and shot him several more times, two of which hit him in the head. There are your details I live in st. Louis. Every time we defend social justice that’s black and white it’s not always hyper exaggerated, racist or extreme” @thisl aka Travis, Tyler, St. Louis Christian Rapper.

    • jacob, that sounds to me like a “well, technically…”. i bet you either did not read the post or you did not understand it at all.

    • When you say don’t know all the facts, I get it. Never jump into a battle unarmed. Don’t trust the news or what you’ve heard because, let’s face it, that stuff can be incorrect.
      All I would like for non-Blacks to see is this:
      ~A black, unarmed male was shot multiple times & left dead in the street for 4+ hours.
      ~The American citizens protesting the events surrounding his death, have been met with a military-grade show of force from the local police department.
      I don’t want anyone to journey into a realm of activism that makes them feel uncomfortable, because the fight we’re a part of is not for the meek.
      We don’t have all the details. We weren’t there. I’m not asking you to judge anyone in a hurried manner, but I know you’re an intelligent man Jacob. We both know you don’t shoot me if I’m unarmed. We both know you don’t use force on a peaceful protest. It was wrong when they did it to the participants of the Occupy Movement & it’s wrong now.
      Those are all the details we’ve got. Ina world where your voice is much more likely to be heard than my own, silence is compliance. And I know there is a much greater good within you. Compliance with inhumane treatment of American citizens isn’t the answer.

  • God bless you for your courage Matt. I have to say, the silence regarding current events in Ferguson in the mainstream has been disheartening, and disturbing. Have we really allowed history, media and culture to dehumanize our fellow citizens so much, to where we can’t bring ourselves to care about “the least of these?”
    “We must learn to regard people less in the light of what they do or omit to do, and more in the light of what they suffer.” -Dietrich Bonhoeffer

  • Hey Matt, I think this is a good, courageous post and this is an issue that is ignored in all of America’s churches. Whites go worship in their white churches (even then often divided young and old), blacks go to their white churches, Koreans to their churches, Spanish speakers to theirs, and so on and so on.

    Desperately missing in the American Christian culture is any kind of multiculture. Far, far too often, we think of ourselves as Americans or white Americans or whatever FIRST, and as Christians second, and then think of people who dont belong to that second as something foreign or “other”. ALL Christians need to meditate on that and evaluate where their heart is on those kinds of cultural biases.

    White Christians, being predominately conservative, need to be just as vocal in rectifying the social injustices caused by the current government system as they are about pro-life causes or other issues sensitive to them. On the whole they are failing to do so, and on the contrary theyre pushing to perpetuate these systems. Side note, I don’t think its fair or helpful to single out white libertarians as being unconcerned about tonight – like you said, they expected this. They’ve been the only ones in the GOP and among a small minority across either party pushing for sentencing reform, an end to the drug war, lamenting the disproportionate racial outcomes of the justice system, and pushing for more parental control in schools where they’ve regularly highlighted the plights of inner city minority families. Plenty of mainstream libertarian (both PoC and white) voices are very vocal about whats happening in Ferguson: Radley Balko, Rep Justin Amash (Arab descent), Dana Loesch, Kmele Foster (African-American), and so on.

    To piggy back on to what you said: It starts with getting involved, and getting intimately involved with your city. All parts of it. The black neighborhoods. The white neighborhoods. In my town, the Vietnamese neighborhoods. Keep dialogue open and keep your heart open. Make time to worship together in order to grow those emotional bonds that can strengthen the intellectual bonds (“Sure I *know* I should be more upset but its not like its anyone I know”). While recognizing the significance of race, guard against treating members of other races as a monolith. Careful how you speak (“You’re basically white, LOL,” the white girl said to the black guy).

    Anyways at this point it almost doesn’t even matter what you’re saying as long as youre engaged in some kind of dialogue, because that dialogue hardly even exists at this point (although that is changing I think much through the efforts of guys like Lecrae who I found this post from).

    So Grace and Peace, hope God continues to use you as an instrument to instruct and guide people in accordance with His will.

  • Great article. I grew up in Southern Louisiana where half of my friends were black. What I don’t understand is when white people try to help raise awareness to what’s happening within these communities, we get slapped down immediately or called names. I don’t think anything can be done to stop the violence unless the people causing the violence wants it to stop. They have to be in charge instead of being the victim. There are many avenues of outreach for them if they can just get there.

    • Hey Michell,
      A lot of our attempts to raise awareness unknowingly reveal our ignorance or prejudice. However, sometimes we’re shut up just because we’re foreign to the situation. In the end, the best solution is for us to actually be invested and involved in a neighborhood with true relationships where we’re humble listeners, not folks attempting to be White Saviors.

      Think about the “them” you’re talking about, and the ideas you have about what puts them in the situations they’re in. Then go make a serious attempt to enter into deep, humble relationship with them and their community. Be an advocate *for* them to other people who are *against* them.

    • I have never been turned down from the opportunity to join in solidarity with protests, movements, civil unrest and events to raise awareness by members of the Black community.

      You also don’t need to qualify how many Black “friends” you have to try to boost your authority on the subject.

      The people causing the violence in this situation are the police, so I agree with you on that point: they have to “want” the violence to stop and be in charge instead of playing the victim. Cheers.

  • I am a white mother of 4 who lives in Ferguson with my husband. I live in a diverse neighborhood. I live in a modest 1000 sq ft ranch with browning grass. My kids are a minority in their school, but don’t notice or care. Our best friends are Mexican Americans and Black Americans. I am perfectly comfortable being a minority in my city and have never felt out of place. I went to pick up trash and glass along W. Florissant Ave. were the looting took place with volunteers today. One man yelled from his car, “Go Home” I wanted to yell back, ‘I am home I live a mile down the road.’ I try to respect the police although my one encounter with them was not pleasant. I know their job is a difficult and often dangerous one. I watched on TV as looters and thugs tore up my city and made it seem like a scary place instead of the family-friendly, nice neighborhood I know it to be. I believe in an American’s right to free speech, but when the police ask the protestors to demonstrate peacefully in the daylight hours so we can avoid the thugs (who took advantage of a man’s tragedy to loot and destroy businesses) having the opportunity to do it again, I don’t understand the problem? The police are in riot gear to protect themselves from the bullets that have been flying, they have thrown tear gas after a molotov cocktail was thrown at them. The police have shown much restraint while being disrespected. If the officer who killed Mike Brown is without justifiable cause, let him rot in jail. But aren’t we supposed to wait for all the evidence and a judge and jury for that, or should we release his name now and lynch him? Please help me know what I can do to help my city?? Am I a racist without knowing it? I feel uncomfortable when I see people with their pants half way down walking with an attitude but their color doesn’t matter. I feel just as uncomfortable if the guy is white or black and a smile immediately dissolves that fear. The break down of the family and welfare have made life very hard for some people. Hard to break out of patterns of destruction. How would you suggest I help my city besides standing on my knees? Do I have attitudes that need to be changed? Help me understand. Thank you!

    • Hi Kendra,
      Thank you so much for sharing! I’m sad to hear that you were made to feel unwelcome so near your own home–I don’t think you should have had to feel that way. I understand some of the anger that man must be feeling, so I would extend him some grace, but I would love to extend the same to you: You shouldn’t feel bad just because you’re White.

      The looters did a bad and wrong thing, and it’s terrible to hear about the pain it’s caused so many people in Ferguson.

      The police were in riot gear with assault rifles during the day. They shut down journalistic efforts during the day. And they mistreated journalists and protestors during the day. Regarding protestors’ actions at night, I understand your question about respecting the police’s opinions–I think that’s a much more nuanced question than I can fully answer.

      I don’t know anything about you to think you’re racist. You haven’t written anything in your post that marks you as a racist.

      I’m not the right person to tell you what to do, but the good thing is, there are such people in your city. If you’re really interested in understanding how to be an agent of change in your city, find the people who are doing good in the neighborhoods you care for–church leaders, non-profit leaders, etc–especially those who are primarily run by folks from within that community, and ask for the opportunity to learn at their feet. Join, listen, learn, contribute. Pray. Love. You’re not *obligated* to do this, but if you’re looking to be more involved, considering getting so invested in that community that, if something like this were to happen again, and you were cleaning up glass, that same man would call you by name, hug you, and you would say to him “I can’t believe this is happening in *our* neighborhood.” I don’t claim to understand you or your neighborhood, but I know that developing relationships with folks different from you where you begin with a humble listening posture will go a long way.

      Thanks so much for your comment, Kendra.

      • Thank you for your insights and suggestions. I would like to try to be more involved!

    • Kendra,

      I too wish you did not feel unwelcome in your own town. I agree with Matt about linking up with leaders that are advocating for change. In order to be active in change it is important to understand the psychological foundation of the change that we wish to make. Yes, the looting and rioting is not the wisest response, however, you have a group of people that do not know how to process their emotions. The looting is a result of bottled up anger, frustration, and oppression with no knowledge of how to channel it or cope. Hence, eruption of irrational behavior. I think change starts with building a rapport with the community that surrounds you. Volunteer in the community that surrounds you and get to know the people in the community that surrounds you. Once a rapport is built then they will be open to consider your suggestions and ideas. This is where education comes in. How do your strategically respond to situations such as what happened in your town and what can we do to prevent it? Now, their ears are open because they are familiar with you and they trust you. We can get more done with collaboration than we ever can with competition.

      • I totally agree with your point about the looting. I don’t think people take the time to really process that we all aren’t able to process our emotions in a constructive manner. As you said, without education or the right tools, the hopelessness of the situation can leave you frustrated, causing you to act irrationally. This isn’t the first time something like this has happened in that city. That’s why some are reacting in that manner. I don’t condone it, but I know where it’s coming from. I’ve see a lot of video in which citizens are protesting PEACEFULLY and the police rush/approach them with tear gas and rubber bullets, even in residential neighborhoods. That’s absurd!

    • You’re not a racist Kendra.
      Karma will, without sympathy, come back upon those who took a precious situation & used it as an opportunity to loot/cause destruction.
      I don’t think you’ll understand the anger we feel, but that so okay. Don’t wreck you brain trying to level with it, because trust me you are fortunate that you can not.
      Continue to portray Ferguson in a warm, bright light. It is very necessary at this time when the media is doing the exact opposite.
      Just have grace & leniency for your neighbors, the Black ones. Kendra we’re so blind with rage & nowhere to put it. Keep your babies close, but do not shield them from this. They need to see.
      When you here your White counterparts speaking ill of the situation or speaking ill of Black people as a whole, speak up! Don’t let your friends slander. That’s when we need you to speak up most. That will help stop the perpetuation of Blacks as violent & ill-mannered people. You speak well of your children’s friends, and do so fervently. Don’t second guess your opinions of Blacks that you know, because this display of emotions that is translating into anger is a white-hot pain that has been itching to bubble over for quite some time.

  • The biggest misconception is that this is a race issue. Mike Brown could have been any of us, anywhere, at any moment. He lost his life in mere seconds and all it took.was a scared cop with an itchy trigger finger. It’s a mistake to think that this could only happen in the hood; Ferguson is an okay neighborhood. If it happened there it could happen anywhere, and if it happened to a normal everyday teen it could happen to you, and that should terrify you.
    The response by law enforcement to the shooting in and of itself should be enough to have every US citizen outraged. Their further actions in dealing with the protesters is an on the rights of every person in this country. The same people firing rubber bullets and tear gas at unarmed citizens, trying to impose curfews, refusing to allow access by the media and arresting journalists for continuing to cover the events are the people in charge of keeping you and yours safe. That’s maybe the scariest thing of all. It’s so much bigger than race. This is about our inalienable rights and whether we’re willing to just give them up. It has grave implications for all of us regardless of skin color.

    • Hi AL,
      I would disagree about the race issue, but we’re definitely on the same page about the police response. It’s completely inappropriate and very scary.

      • You disagree that this is not about race, and yet the Occupy protestors (whom btw were made up of both whites and blacks, but mostly whites …ALL of whom were peaceful) suffered a coordinated police/military crackdown just a few years ago that was nearly identical to this one. That was the first time that militarized weaponry was used against civilians. This Ferguson disaster is the second. I have to wonder why you didn’t feel that the Occupy crackdown was relevant enough to this incident to be mentioned in your article. Could it be due to the fact that it doesn’t quite fit into your “this is about race” narrative?

        Things that make ya go hmmm…

        • This isn’t a newspaper, and I have no obligation to mention the entire history of the militarization of American police; neither do I have an obligation to share the entire history of racialization in the Western world. Not mentioning an incident doesn’t indicate whether I do or don’t think it’s related. The militarization of America’s police and the ongoing racial issues are both at play in Ferguson.

  • Many thanks for this great article, for telling the truth as is presenting itself. Thanks for not being a coward like the mayority of Americans because they call themselves many great things, how they delude themselves saying that they are brave, noble generous number one in the whole world, but they only tweet…..but so ready to act and go to the border to be vociferous against hungry, destitute children; but they are on Face-Shit ready to post a selfi, because American Narcissism and arrogance does not know limits. America was founded on very nasty foundations and that nastyness have been allowed to accomodate white privileges and that white mentality is so sick and evil that now it cannot be taken anymore. Please, excuse my bad English and the fact of not being able to express myself as well as a person with your level of education but, I know that you will listen because I see that, you do not run away from your own shadow and there is hope only in people that get naked and stand in front of the mirror and do not hide or deny the uglinness they see in themselves, but there is compassion and acceptance. But how can that be done through Facebook, tweeting, watching the nasty tv, vulgar radio, magazines and newspapers that are there to prevent people to see reality? This mediums are the tools to perpetuate the irrational, unsustainable way of living. Before I came to this country I used to have admiration for anything American, now I have Nausea and want to run sway and fast. I do not hold false hopes but this state of things are calling for very drastic remedy. Please do not think that I only will criticise this country which I feel I do not fit or belong (only a deluded sick person will want to belong) I wool also will do it in my country and in a more crude manner. I wish you the best and I do not see your whiteness but your Humanity.

  • Stunning piece. Left me with feelings of pride and vigilance (if that makes sense). It’s awesome that you get it and I pray a God uses you more to help others understand.

    Strong work.

  • Nice story (I guess), but get to the point! I stopped reading because of all the other non-relevant stuff is discussed.

  • But haven’t they already come for the Latin people? Anyone who doesn’t so call “belong”?

    • In some ways, they’ve already come for the Black people. And the Latin people. And in some contexts Jewish, and South Asian, and East Asian, and Middle Eastern, and even in some contexts poor/uneducated White. They’ve come for anyone who looks “foreign”, anyone who’s poor, anyone who talks differently.

      You can apply “they’ve come for” to many groups in many ways, and I wouldn’t deny the oppression and pain that many groups have endured in many ways, times, and contexts. Rather, I only hope to write about my thoughts on this particular situation, today. I hope that makes sense.

  • Christopher Roupe. Heard of him? Didn’t think so, either have I. 17 year old white kid answered the door with wii controller, cop shot him dead.
    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/georgia-teen-holding-wii-remote-shot-cops-front-door-family-lawyer-article-1.1619842

    You know why you don’t hear these stories? Because the media doesn’t report when white kids get shot. It probably doesn’t even happen as often. But when a black teen gets shot, Rev Al and Jesse Jackson are on the case to make everyone hear about it.

    Zimmerman got the piss beat out of him before he took Trayvon’s life, you’re saying ZImmerman shouldn’t have defended himself? Like in this case, we don’t know all the facts 3-4 day after it happened. It took months before we saw Zimmerman’s battered and bloody face. I was really upset they didn’t arrest ZImmerman and I had egg on my face because he never should’ve been.

    What if audio of the officer yelling “he’s grabbing my gun” comes out? Are you going to apologize? Take this back? Delete it? Peaceful protesters aren’t being shot at, police are trying to prevent looters and thieves from destroying their OWN town. Why shouldn’t we call for peace? For looters and rioters to peacefully resist the police?

    Why don’t we ask our black neighbors to heed the words of Martin Luther King that have so long been forgotten. He would be shocked how he is so admired one day a year but his words aren’t heard the other 364. He would be apoplectic at the plight of the inner cities and the unwillingness to stand on their own two feet. MLK taught nonviolence in the face of violence and yet just two generations removed, we fully expect blacks first reaction to negative energy to be violent.

    We should be empowering blacks, telling them their lot in life isn’t laid out for them, that they can make something of themselves. They can live in the suburbs. blacks don’t have to go to prison if they stay on the right path and run from violence. That having kids isn’t a recreational activity. Telling people that it’s easy to spend other’s money but working for your own and saving is so much more rewarding.

    • Your comment reflects a lot of assumptions–about who the protesters are, about what I’m addressing with my writing, about what Black Americans are and aren’t heeding, and how MLK would respond to the present situation. A lot of them reflect misinformation. Some of the (“unwillingness to stand on their own two feet”) reflect, at best, desperate misinformation and, at worst, prejudice and racism. Please, spend some time with the Black people you hope to inspire and see what their lives are like before you claim to understand what their situations, motivations, and sources of education are like.

    • Mark,

      Speaking as a black man who grew up in the suburbs, has never been to prison, who isn’t violent, who is waiting until marriage to have kids, who has been fortunate enough to get a good education, and who is working to earn and save my own money, I find some of your comments to be pretty offensive and uninformed.

      It likely wouldn’t be helpful or respectful to if we tried to hash it out in the comments, but I would at least ask you to consider what it’s like to live in my world before you offer insights as to what’s wrong with it and how to fix it. My experience in the suburbs as a law abiding citizen hasn’t been quite so rosy. Imagine the challenge of trying to have an “empowered” life for black people that didn’t have the resources I had growing up! It’s not quite so simple as telling someone to calm down and make different decisions, even though those things can have a positive impact on the process.

      As a side note, I can’t stand Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson. Simply seeing them makes me cringe. I would much rather live in an America where they didn’t have so many causes to support so I didn’t have to see or hear them. Unfortunately, they are some of the few people that consistently (and loudly) speak and stand up for the Black community. I much prefer voices like Dr. King’s. He definitely taught non-violence, but not passivity. One challenge of his day was that non-violent resistance was met with violence. It ended up costing him his life, and it still happens today. Dr. King also preached Jesus. Both sides of this conflict in Ferguson should consider and respond to Dr. King’s words both about non-violence and Jesus.

    • Mark, why do you assume that “blacks don’t have to go to prison if they stay on the right path and run from violence?” Statistics show that minority youth tend to get harsher punishments for minor crimes than white youth. Minority youth are pushed into the criminal justice system, whereas their white counterparts are often given community service. This results in huge differences in outcomes for the groups. When youth are forced into the criminal justice system, they tend to cycle in and out, whereas those that are given other options usually end up okay as adults. Yet you assume that the disparity in outcomes is the result of African Americans’ unwillingness to “stay on the right path.”

    • HI! I’m Black and I just wanted to inform you that I know I can live in the suburbs. Do you know how I know that? Because I do and always have. I also know that I can make something of myself. Do you know how I know that? Because my parents required me to. I know that my life isn’t laid out for me. Do you know how I know that? Because my parents made very clear that if I wanted what they had or more, I’d have to work for it. I know that having kids isn’t a recreational activity. Do you know how I know that? Because my mother has been teaching sex education for 35 years and sat down and explained how to conduct myself and both of my parents made sure I understood and fulfilled what was expected of me (and it wasn’t being a “baby mama”). I know that I don’t have to go to prison. Do you know how I know that? Because I feared my parents and grandparents and I didn’t want to disappoint them. I know that in order have anything in this world requires hard work and good financial sense. Do you know how I know that? Becuase my mother and father took me to Bank of America at 13 and opened up a bank account for me, taught me how to balance a checkbook, and taught me how to save. And you know what else? I’m not the only one. I’m not an anomaly. I grew up in a middle class, hard working Black neighborhood of teachers, social workers, postmen, doctors, business owners, corporate executives, etc. who were all homeowners. You see Mr. White Man, us Black fold don’t need you to liberate us and explain the world to us. Yes, there are poor Black people, but there are poor Whites as well who have been poor for generations and never aspire to anything. The same is true for any other race/group of people. Please don’t lump us all into one group. And please don’t think that it’s the White race’s responsibility to educate the Black race on how to be a human being. It’s not needed nor is it wanted.

  • What about the supposed looting of a dozen or more stores by the looters? Wouldn’t that constitute the need to protect the store owners? Or are the reports of looters not true?

    • There was looting, and it was wrong. The rubber bullets and tear gas were in a completely different situation.

    • The police showed up in force with automatic assault rifles, and police dogs BEFORE the looting started. I’ve watched the video with my own eyes. They destroyed a peaceful candlelight vigil at the spot were Brown was killed. Meanwhile, people from OUTSIDE of the town came in and looted – because the police were “occupied”.

  • I did not read your entire post because in the first 2 paragraphs you make a bold and completely false statement. Those “peaceful” protesters who had rubber bullets and tear gas shot at them were the rioters and looters who were destroying Ferguson, MO. They are the ones who looted and then burned down a gas station for no other reason than to be destructive. That wasn’t a peaceful protest. They are the ones who were shooting at the helicopters flying overhead and throwing bricks and shooting at the cops trying to keep the peace. Don’t mistake those people for the ones who are asking for answers and peacefully demonstrating during the daylight hours. They are NOT one in the same and it is irresponsible of you to report as such.

    • Hi Carolyn,
      Your statement is untrue. The rubber bullets and tear gas were shot at large crowds of protestors. Some of those crowds actually contained a few people making the bad decisions of throwing rockets and molotov cocktails. However, the vast majority of the crowds *did not*. And to say that you know that the people in the crowds last night were the same people that had (illegally, wrongly) looted stores the previous night extends yourself a much greater knowledge of the situation than you actually have.

      I’m not a reporter, my statements were not untrue, and your comment here reflects a deep misunderstanding of the nature of the protests. I understand your perspective and I understand the sources that are showing you that these things are the case, but they’re not. Sorry.

  • This is a great post, insightful, and necessary addition to our social climate. I pray along with you that that the silence of the masses on the sidelines will be shattered sooner than later. As we both know the changes are coming down hard and heavy and we will all have to face it. Only God knows our hearts on the matter and I pray the world will make a change as we echo this sentiment far and wide. Great Post bro. #JesusOverEverything #PUSH

  • Thank you for standing up for fellow humans.

    I am writing this from Europe and your words have been heard.We are all human beings and once people around America realise this then it is possible to build a harmonious society.Make this a chance to help fellow human beings get their dignity back,make this an opportunity to remind the world that everybody deserves a chance.
    Lets get beyond naming skin colours and lets start trying to work with humans,fellow humans who are just that,human beings.From one human being to another.Have a great day

  • Article says “but this is what happens with violence in Chicago” the event was in Ferguseon Mo., not Chicago, Illinois

    • Yep. I understand that line can be confusing–this was a segue to my next point; what I’m saying is that the violence in Sandy Hook & Columbine affected places that majority American culture consider “safe,” whereas the violence in Chicago–and in Ferguson–doesn’t.

      • This! ~20 young black kids, mostly men are killed every weekend in parts of Chicago. In neighborhoods no one cares about. It barely makes the news other than a Sunday night talley of the number of young black kids murdered. We get labeld as Chiraq, like it’s a joke. No one cares about a young black boy being murdered becasue the media will portray him as a thug, a lfe not worthy with no future any way. He was scary and bad and that is used to justify a young man’s murder. This isn’t the first time a white police officer murdered a young, unarmed black man. But these police officers have got to be arrested and tried for murder. They have to be subject to the laws they vow to uphold & protect. They have to have their weapons taken away until they can prove that they will not, ever again, excute young unarmed black men for walking down a street. When no action is taken agaisnt them, they will not stop. When people don’t care, they will not stop. When the media portrays every single young black man as a scary thug, they will not stop. It’s systemic, endemic, institutional, and it’s horrible. There is no justifcation for a public execution of an unarmed young man or person, ever.

  • That was a grat post. I will be sharing this. I’m from L.A., CA originally and a recent transplant to the STL area. How can people see this shit and not think there is something horribly wrong.
    Focusing on the looting and the violence is counterproductive. Thank you. I will be sharing this a little later.
    <3
    Peace and love

  • 2 points.
    1. The “donning of military garb” is a weak attempt of a scare tactic. The tactical uniform is irrelevant to this story but is tactically imperative for comfort, longevity of use, and increased tactics and weapons of the general public.

    2. You say peaceful protests, it is apparent you have an agenda and refuse to acknowledge the looting, vandalism, and assaults on innocent tax payers during these “peaceful protests you speak of.

    In closing if the facts of the case reveal that an innocent male was killed in cold blood then justice is due harshly and swiftly. However, in the mean time let go of the scare tactics and report all aspects of the story truthfully not just what supports your premise.

    • It’s not a scare tactic, and it is absolutely relevant.

      I have no issue with acknowledging looting, vandalism, and assaults; however, the poor choices of a small minority of folks in response to the situation don’t define the majority.

      I’m not a reporter, by the way. I’m not even a writer. I’m a computer programmer who has some strong feelings and wants to share them. 🙂 I do, however, want to tell the truth. Take a look at this picture of what UK riot police, for example, look like in comparison to the Ferguson riot police. Do a little reading about the militarization of the U.S. police force. This is not hyperbole or scare tactics.

  • I used to think our criminal justice system was basically OK, until I had the misfortune to be caught up in false accusations. I now look at all things with a sceptical eye….

  • While I applaud you for publishing a different perspective, much of the content is speculation since the Ferguson PD hasn’t released much information, and honestly eye witness accounts are as biased as Foxnews and MSNBC. I think you’re right about the government taking away all rights. Its been going on for several decades.

    • Thanks, Joel. I have a particular opinion about the specific situation with regard to Mike Brown and the police officer who shot him, but in the end it’s only an opinion. My writing here attempts–who knows if successfully–to talk more about our response to the the protests and the subsequent police overaction, and less about the shooting itself.

  • Shall we pay no attention to the violence, looting and destruction of property because that also does not happen in our world? Why do you not mention that there are people that are systematically destroying the property and livelihood of our fellow countrymen, brothers and sisters? Why are you only concentrating on one side of this? The looters also need to be exposed and prosecuted for the criminals they are. Maybe I will just book that plane ticket….and start a line of defense in front of businesses owned by people that have NOTHING to do with the horrible death that occurred. Because THOSE brothers and sisters need some help too.

    • Hey Travis,
      I’m pretty sure there’s been much work done by people far closer to the situation than I am to expose the looters. That’s not a missing voice. To be honest, just my immediate circle of friends has been full of folks focusing entirely on that aspect of the situation.

      Do go buy that ticket. Meet the store owners (innocents hopefully protected by insurance but definitely not at fault), meet the looters (misguided people who hopefully have realized that there are better outlets for their legitimate but misdirected rage), and meet the protestors (a completely different group than the looters, and one whose story in this article is not diminished in any way by the existence of looters.)

  • Thanks for this post, going to share on social and start conversations.

    It also may encourage people to share even more so if there were social share buttons on your blog posts.

  • Great Article! Cheers.
    Have you come across, British journalist, Paul Mason? He’s written a book recently, ‘Why it’s Still Kicking Off Everywhere’ the New Global Revolutions, Verso. He works for Cannel 4 News and recently was embedded in #Gaza. Specialises in Economics and Culture, interested in social media and how it’s changing social and political protest movements and their tactics, across boarders, cultures, race and faiths.

    • I haven’t, but I’ll definitely take a look–thanks Alex.

  • Dear God, this post just gave me a ton of hope. Thank you for your courage, sir.

  • WelI do agree with you over how Americans need to fight for our rights. I know the government has over steps there bounderies, but when citizens burn down buildings and loot everything thing and act as if we are a third world country. There is something wrong with that too, I have seen this first hand in Louisville KY. A black boy got stabbed On a bus and the media said itwas someone white And a riot broke out here.so it was not as bad but it still happens then later we found out that it was a black guy that stabbed a black guy. you need to read the post on whitegirlbleed a lot it’ll help you out.

    • I think looting is absolutely the wrong response. Agreed.

      I also think looters and protestors aren’t the same people.

      I don’t even think all the protestors handled themselves impeccably in every situation. But most of them did. And the police didn’t act the way they did to people who were being violent, or to people who they had identified as having any connection to looting the night before, or people who were breaking the law. They acted the way they did to everyone. Protestors. People sitting silently in the street with their hands up. Journalists. Everyone.

  • I think this is one of the most horrible pieces… premature, to say the least! Without knowing all of the facts, you want to condemn not only the policeman involved, but the entire WHITE country as well! If the policeman acted without cause then he should suffer the consequences. If there was cause, then what? Should white America still feel guilty and ashamed? Or should you feel ashamed? I am so tired of being told that I should speak out.. for what? For the ‘peaceful protestors’ looting, shouting and antagonizing the police? For those who are taking advantage of this situation for their own benefit (Al Sharpton & the like)? So what if the police force is almost all white. Without knowing anything other than that single statistic, you are inferring wrong-doing on their part, as if they only hire white officers. Have they not hired black officers who have applied? Have black officers applied or gone through the proper training? Or does the black community hate authority or are they willing to get involved and better their community by becoming an officer?

    I do not apologize for being white.
    I do not apologize for waiting for the facts before rendering my own opinion or judgement on a situation–only God can truly pass judgement on a man.
    I do not apologize for knowing that I would cross a street if I encountered a man coming the other direction late at night if I was scared, whether he was black or white.
    I do not apologize for telling my own stepson to pull up his damn pants and present himself to the world with some dignity and self-respect.
    I do not apologize for teaching my children to speak proper English, not ebonics or urban slang.

    No, I cannot identify with ‘black pain’.. I am a minority in my own town and I have seen how me and my children are treated because of it. The honest truth is that the actions happening right now are just as bad, if not worse, than the action that started this whole thing. These reactions perpetuate the stereotypes and do nothing to dispell them.

    • Hi Shell,
      You read a lot of statements into my post that weren’t there. Condemning, shaming, requiring apologies for being White. You’re reading me judging you, making statements about how you should behave in certain situations, telling you how your kids should speak. I understand that my writing here has triggered a lot of emotions regarding these situations in general, but when your comment shows you railing against a series of statements and positions I didn’t say or take, I’m not sure how I can respond to you.

    • Really? Looting and causing damage to inanimate objects is “just as bad, if not worse” than the killing of an 18-year unarmed kid? I cannot imagine how you could actually believe that.

  • Really, you. Couldn’t be more wrong! If this happened to a white kid, you wouldn’t have heard anything! Wouldn’t be looting and all the ugliness either! Nobody cares when Blacks victimize whites, that’s TRUTH!!! Jason

  • I do know racism exists. There are racist judges, web developers, cops, plumbers, contractors etc but more overwhelmingly there are people who are not racist in this country. I tend to believe that as a whole, we (the collective group of Americans) aren’t out to harm, keep down black America.

    I tend to believe that one, two or three cops in an escalated situation can make stupid, ignorant, biased, split-second decisions. Like shooting that kid. It’s terrible, shameful and sad, something higher up should have been done quickly.

    From what I’ve read the rubber bullets and tear gas was shot at looters or riot control not peaceful protestors. I have a hard time believing that a large group of cops (as many 20+) banded together to shoot rubber bullets as peaceful protestors. Do we really think there’s an entire police force out to hurt, keep down an specific ethnicity? Are they KKK members? Probably not, they’re cops that have been in numerous highly dangerous situations before in those same neighborhoods. It’s easier for me to believe the cops shot rubber bullets were scared themselves in front of a group of angry people or violent group or already in a riot-like state. Maybe one cop fired moments too soon, maybe they fired at the right time to stop something bigger, I really don’t know. No one will actually know, I just don’t believe the entire police force is out to hurt black America and stop peaceful protests.

    If you believe the police force wanted to stop a peaceful protest what does that look like (possible satire) “Chief, we need to stop these black people from chanting and peacefully protesting”, “Okay let’s shoot rubber bullets at those dark people and they’ll just leave”. “Good idea, fire away”. I just seriously doubt it’s a police force trying to stop a peaceful protest, something happened in that moment that a police force go to extreme measures to keep a group of people at bay. We’ll probably never know the truth.

    ———

    Not in the defense of anything just sharing a thought. Overwhelmingly white people are actually scared of black people. I’m not I have plenty of black friends. But we’re even scared to say “black person”… we’ll whisper it instead of saying it. We’re scared to even get near a discussion about racist because we don’t want to be called racist. My black friends and I call it “white guilt”. We can’t even have an open discussion among races so we have a long way to grow as a group of humans.

    • Hi Allan, thanks for your comment.

      I agree that the majority of White Americans are not racist against Black people. I do, however, think we uncritically participate in a racialized society. There’s a huge difference. Racists actively hate and oppose people of different races. We, on the other hand, are more likely to just sit back and assume things are OK as they are. It’s not as bad, but it’s still bad.

      In terms of the cops’ behavior, if you have time to watch the live feeds from last night, you’ll see that there were very peaceful protests that were shot/gassed. See one example here.

      I don’t think the police are all racists. Maybe some of them are. But I think the sum total of the actions of the police force acted in a way that is A) out of control for what is appropriate for police, regardless of race, regarding how militarized they are, and B) enforced and continued the racialized society I mentioned earlier–which makes sense, considering that they are tasked with enforcing the very societal structures that establish and continue the racialization.

      You’re entirely right. “I saw a ::whispered:: Black ::end whisper guy walking down the street.” We have all of these issues, and White guilt is usually the first response to understanding the weight of the situation. The next step after White guilt, though, is owning up to our own brokenness, being willing to really understand and engage with it, and learning to step into situations like this as an advocate, a listener, and a bridge builder.

      But, yah, to summarize: I don’t think, or suggest, that the entire police force in Ferguson is composed of racists. I think the system, the entirety of what happened, was totally screwed up, and they were one cog of many in that whole screwed-up-ness. It’s not a free pass for them, but it also doesn’t mean they woke up yesterday morning saying “How can I oppress a Black person today?”

  • If those who are following the activities of Ferguson, MO – think the civil unrest is just about the young man and the police officer you are only partly correct. That situation is a small component to a very complex social problem. Michael’s death was the straw that broke the backs of the people. People are no longer wanting to tolerate the inhumane treatment of our race and more specifically our boys and husbands. The family structure of African Americans was destroyed many years ago(with the intent to keep them under control) ~ google willie lynch) and as we as a community try to improve it – the systemic systems are in place to maintain its destruction. The inhumane treatment, constant harassment, killings, raping, one sided media portrayal, etc is a part of today’s system designed to help keep “those folks” in there place. ~ thus get your F***** A** on the sidewalk. We have 1st Amendment rights like others but are not able to exercise them unless we get permission and that only comes when others are comfortable. Well time out for comfort. I do not condone violence from anyone but I do expect to be treated fairly, humanely and with consideration.

  • I was born at 2822 Burd Ave in St. Louis city. I am white and the “good citizens” migrated north and my mom and dad moved us to a white neighborhood, Jennings, Mo. My rich cousins lived in the next community over … In Ferguson, MO. We became Catholic because most of the public schools had become primarily black. I remember when the first black family moved to Jennings, the good white people burned a cross in their front yard. No riot police to break up the angry white mob. It was on Shirley Avenue in the late 60’s. St. Louis city has no affiliation with the county. It is one of a handful of cities that have this distinction. It has no extensive light rail system because “they might come out here.” We had election day last Tuesday and the County Supervisor jib was a referendum on being for or against merging the city with the county. We are the 7th most segregated city in the US. It is all about race in St Louis. I am a white man who has seen the injustice and strife of the black man in St. Louis. Until we face reality here, we will have Fergusons, Jennings, us and them, black and white. May God help St. Louis and pray that there will be no more Unarmed boys or girls black or white gunned down by preconceived, prejudiced emotions. In Jesus name I pray.

  • Your stance on the subject is very riveting and very inspiring, but I would prefer if you gave more of the story behind your topic, and provided more facts. And while I think it’s awesome that you are encouraging white people to take action, I do not think that White people are the only people that can do something.

    • I agree. Everyone can do something. But my message is primarily to Majority Americans, which are primarily White. RE: Facts, I’m working more on gut and emotions here. Other folks have got the facts down already. 🙂

  • I loved this article, and I’m thankful you are so stirred about this issue in this country that you wrote about it. It hits home with me. Recently, in my (white) family of four in which I am a daughter and a sister, we had a pretty heated argument. The police were called by my mother and I was unaware, in my quarters of the house, talking to my sister about how the day could have turned around for the better. Suddenly, two policemen knock on my door and let themselves in. I began to cry quite loudly and scream at the sheer fact that two strangers were invading my space. My crying came as a threat apparently, and the policemen escalated very very roughly from calm to exaggerated action. They told me that if I could not calm down, I would be going to jail, and that the way I was acting showed them that I NEEDED to go. I was standing on my bed with a taze gun pointed at my face and in the next minute, forcibly handcuffed in front of my entire family of four. This injustice is rampant among all races and I was charged with assault. I have not assaulted anyone.

  • Hey Matt, did you see these peaceful rioters and journalists arrested with your own 2 eyes?

      • What this person is getting at is that you don’t know how “peaceful” they are. Today a report came out that they’ve been throwing rocks all morning.

      • To quote you-

        “…Government and media aren’t doing anything about it. Cops acting as military and disrespecting citizens. Intrusion of private space. Journalists locked up. Breaking the First Amendment. Racist cops. Dead innocent young boys. Whatever it is, let it get you riled up that you actually want to do something.

        Get so upset that you start looking at plane tickets to Ferguson. Realize that this is a massive civil rights issue.”

        I’ll agree with you that the lack of response from our government is disturbing. We have problems in the homeland and nothing but a Russian missile hits a plane and were all over that one. I’ll never understand that. Of course like always there’s probably more going on than what reaches the public eye.

        I disagree that media isn’t doing anything about it but that’s not the reason I’m here.

        The next part is what bothers me. The town of Ferguson has ravaged itself. The cops are there to enforce the law and protect the people. Now I’ve seen MORE than plenty of video where the cops ALLOW peaceful protesters. If there is video of peaceful, law-abiding protesters being hit by tear gas please point me in that direction so I can see cops denying citizens of their first amendment rights. Excuse me while I choose to put my faith in the police over a bunch of angry people who have massacred their hometown.

        Journalists. I will start out by saying I trust them as much as I trust politicians (very little). I NEVER know what I should or shouldn’t believe because of how the story is presented. For example, CNN and FOXNEWS could report on the same story and I hear two different stories. It really is a joke.

        You totally make an assumption that the cop that shot the boy was a racist or that the cops in this area are racist.

        Finally, the boy. You call him innocent and he was. Innocent until proven guilty by a jury of your peers. The cop that shot him is also innocent. He hasn’t been proven guilty of anything. I’m not 100% certain but I’m sure cops have the right to protect themselves if they feel peoples’ lives are in danger. The only way you will be able to convict this cop of murder is if all of the witnesses stories line up. Only time will tell on that.

        So you want me to get upset over this civil rights issue. Upset. Truth of the matter is no one knows for sure if this actually is a civil rights issue. It seems to me you’re jumping the gun a little bit. Would there be civil rights issues if a black cop shot me when I was innocent? I don’t know for certain but I’m guessing no. This probably doesn’t mean much coming from a while male but if the African-American community wants racism to go away they can’t continue to hold us to double standards for something that happened 50, 100, 150, 200 years ago. If SOME whites hate ALL blacks and SOME blacks hate ALL whites where does it end?

        I could go on and on about what I believe we can do to fix the problems of our society but none of it will work. That’s why I choose to place my faith in God. I have hopes that one day when I leave this world which WE have damned and continue to make worse I will finally reach a better place (idk if you’re a believer or not so I’m sorry to add my 2 cents there at the end).

        • Here are two:

          http://boingboing.net/2014/08/14/video-of-ferguson-police-gassi.html
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zApzDwjxfgs

          There are a lot more available if you google a little. Quite a few here as well:

          http://new.livestream.com/accounts/9035483/events/3271930

          Your assumptions about my assumptions are incorrect. Read the post again. You’re discussing the particulars of Mike Brown’s death, and while I think you and I might argue about how much we can conclude from the information available to us, if you read the post you’ll notice almost the entirety of it is about the actions we DO have documentation about–that is, the protestors and the police’s response. Well documented. Video. Blog posts. Twitter. Even news media, as of late last night this morning.

          • The problem with all the video I’ve seen is the ambiguity of literally every video. None of the video ever shows if it’s peaceful or not. It could be do to people shooting the video right when the shooting starts or the media cutting out peaceful protesting to make the cops look better. I haven’t seen anything that can prove anything.

          • @Andrew– I didn’t see anything ambiguous about the first link I clicked above. It showed tear gas thrown at reporters who were filming apart from any crowds.

  • I am a son of Memphis and hate to see the sins of my city repeated in another. I will be That Other White Person. “I Am A Man.”

  • I think its a bit rough to assume because he’s black that people don’t care as much. You’re stating a whole lot for someone who hasn’t been around the situation at all. I think there are too many assumptions here. Good points though, but took them a bit too far.

  • I truly welcome and admire your willingness to see the matter from the point of view of those not genetically similar to you.

    The killing in Ferguson of the unarmed youth is symptomatic of the hatred (not fear) that many whites have toward blacks of all stripes. Particularly now that one occupies the Whitehouse, as it has debunked the myth of white superiority.

    Your comparison of how a white kid v. black would have been spoken too is spot on. The unwillingness or designed inability of some to see the blatant disparities is at the root of our divide in this country. A divide unfortunately many wish to widen.

    We have to follow the lead of Martin Luther King Jr., and make to tolerance of discrimination more costly than it is to eliminate it! He did not hesitate to label racist as racist.

    The call now is to progressive whites to do the same and not allow bigots to continue to define your culture for all the world to see e.g, Ted Nugent.

  • Mr. Stauffer: I’d like to share this post on my Facebook page, is there a way to do that? (Sorry, I’m not very tech savvy!) Thank you.

  • Thank you for this.
    If I did not have friends, black friends, who live in the US, I would oblivious to this entire story. And yet, my social media is full of the travesties in Palestine, Israel and Iraq but missing are the stories about the injustices that are happening here.
    I can barely comprehend that any of this is actually happening.

  • I’m not disagreeing with your main points, but be careful how much you stereotype white and black skin color. You’re talking about differences in culture, not differences in race. The different cultures happen to be associated more with one race over another, but neighborhoods, expectations, and width of streets have nothing to do with actual race- solely cultural influences and environment. I’m the only white face on my street, and nowhere in your article did you leave room for suburban black or urban white empathy. I respect your points, but not your methods of reaching those points. Be careful how much you assume all white people have no clue period, even though there is often a poor response when called to action on our part.

    • Sam, thanks for commenting. In my post, and my opinions, there’s plenty of room here for Black people in mansions, White people in abject poverty, White people who do agree with me and Black people who don’t. I don’t assume all White people have no clue. I’m White and many of my sources of information are not Black. If you read through the post recognizing that I’m not making blanket statements about all White people, you’ll be able to see that I’m intentionally talking in broad strokes. I do it knowingly, intentionally, and with much space for variance within each race, each ethnicity, each socioeconomic status, and each neighborhood. There are exceptions to every rule, every grouping, every statement about more than one person. But we can still (carefully, intentionally) make statements about broader movements in social, cultural, and political groups without descending into gross stereotypes and profiling.

  • This is where I am confused about most of these rebuttals. Technically the majority argument is saying that we don’t know the truth yet so how can we make an accurate assessment of what really happened? The problem with such a statement is truth can be dictated by many factors. Depending on the Truth you side with. Honestly you have people saying they have been eyewitnesses to this hennas crime but that was not enough truth. You are wanting your truth to come from a particular source. And each source in it self has something to gain or lose. Media, Police, African American people, White people ect. So depending on the truth you are seeking that will define the truth you decide to believe. The unchanging fact is we will never ever know the entire truth of a circumstance unless we’re eye witnesses, and even then we can not see the motives in a mans heart, that is left to God alone. So the only truth we can hold to is what the word says. Clearly it calls for us to be the peace makers. You can pick out particular scriptures that prove your point any one can do that I am guilty of doing that my self to prove a point. but looking at the bible in its entirety the general message is there is sin and evil that plagues the earth. Jesus Christ came to set us free from that. We are called to be ambassadors of this truth. So whether or not this young man was murdered just or unjustly by our definition. The overall picture is death like this is unjust period because it is symbolic of a much larger issue in our world the issue being lack Of Christ in our hearts. Fighting this issue only brings us to be puffed up with knowledge fighting our truth vrs another persons truth and in that there can be no winning. No true justice or peace. So I challenge you brother to look outside of circumstantial evidence and see in the spiritual our world is in need of a color blind faith that brings hope to a lost and hopeless world.

  • Are you saying that Israel is wrong for defending itself? Just wondering.

    Also, I have noticed that our police have been militarized and some aren’t friendly at all so it would not surprise me if this kid from Ferguson was shot in cold blood just because he wasn’t the “right” skin color. It all depends on what actually happened. Both sides of the event are different except for the shooting part. If the cop was pushed back into his car, then he could have arrested the kid for assault. But shooting him? That’s just wrong.

    • Hey Jeremy, I’m not stepping into the Israel/Palestine conversation for the sake of this post. Just drawing a comparison. Thanks for asking!

    • [Edited: Sorry, I’m not interested in this turning into a space to debate Israel vs. Palestine.]

  • I think a lot of people who have their preconceived notions that the police were acting within the confines of the law, based on the merit of their job title, can learn empathy from this; thank you for your thoughts. I enjoyed this refreshing take from a person who has compassion.

  • My newsfeed is covered with stories about this situation. It has been for days…maybe because I live in the state. It hurts my heart that my beautiful, dark skinned, daughter could face poor treatment simply because she is brown. We live in an area that many consider the getto, and as a white person I am the minority. My family chose to become involved as foster parents to help children of all colors find safety. Sadly, the children, and adults for that matter, in Fergeson aren’t very safe right now. With that said, order could be returned if the rioters would go home and stop destroying property. Rioting isn’t going to bring safety to the community. I believe it would be foolish for the police to remove their presence while people continue to trash the very neighborhood they call home. There are no easy answers, but uncontrolled anger will only make the situation worse. In the mean time all I can do is hug my daughter and teach her to be a law abiding citizen. I hope peace comes to the hurting people of Fergeson quickly.

  • Thank you for writing this. You nailed it! I am the Caucasian wife of a Black man and we are raising our biracial daughters, who as pre-teens are beginning to wonder if the world will be safe for them. We are allied with you and I am so grateful for this post.

    • I have the same concerns. Live free. Let your spirit live in joy, not in fear. We’re the writers of our lives. Write something great.

  • First I came (clicked) for the Niemoller reference, and the article did not disappoint.

  • This to me doesn’t seem to be a racial problem. If a white man reached for an officers gun I would expect deadly force be used on him as well.

    Here is the most recent timeline from USA Today
    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/08/14/michael-brown-ferguson-missouri-timeline/14051827/

    The shooting of Brown seems to be justified. “Brown physically assaulted the officer, and during a struggle between the two, Brown reached for the officer’s gun”. If this is true, that is a cause to use lethal force. Although shooting the man 10 times was very unnecessary.

    Following this, dozens of stores were looted, death threats to police have been made, and several NON peaceful protests have occurred with several injuries. What exactly do you expect the police force to do when this happens? They don’t have a choice to use force for their own safety. Even if the majority of the protestors are non violent apparently there are many who aren’t. This is just making the situation worse…

    • I expect a lot, and a lot better, than what happened here. If you don’t mind, check my responses to a few of the other folks in here, as I’ve said the same things a lot of times here RE: looting. Thanks!

  • Matt, fourth paragraph down you name Chicago. Is this correct or did you mean Missouri? Perhaps I misread. Thanks for the bl

    • Hey Bill,
      It was a bit of an awkward transition; I was intending to show how both Chicago and Ferguson are primarily Black neighborhoods in which violence happens with little to no White outrage. Thanks!

  • Infowars has been covering this event. But sir, you’re wrong about SH, and the BB. “This is interesting, because this wasn’t what happened with Sandy Hook. Or the Boston marathon bombing. But this is what happens with violence in Chicago.” It’s exactly what happened at the Boston Bombing. Door to door searches, and gun confiscation. Just like in katrina. Cops are out of control. They are militarized, breaking posse comitatus. Go to info wars. They’re covering it.

    • Thanks for your comment, and the link Patrick. But when I said this didn’t happen at Sandy Hook or the Boston bombing, I was talking about the lack of coverage and outrage, not the militarized police. I agree with you. Police militarization is indiscriminate in the US.

      • Oh cool. Exactly, Matt. We do know, however, that the “media” is owned and operated by five corporations. Keep up the good work. Write, and write some more. We’re behind you one hundred percent. I’ll be sharing your stuff on Facebook, and the http://www.dailypaul.com. We’re not conspiracy theorists, we’re conspiracy analysts. If you’d like to learn more, watch a documentary on YouTube called, A Patriot In The Making. Us Libertarians are fighting for our Constitutional Republic like never before.

  • Great post. Love your perspective. My hat also goes off to Antonio French who has bravely been getting the truth out there. People want to get fed by the media & become bullies behind the keyboard. Nice to know not everyone is a sheep, there are still some that seek the truth & do what’s necessary to get it. Please share any opportunities you know of that can help. Right now I’ve been sharing via social media, but I’d like to do more.

  • Why is it that when we are posed with a challenge to simply act and take initiative we instead want to go into long debates? This is why we are not being productive and things like this are going on in our communities. Even if you don’t agree with some of the things on this post or the timeline of facts just respond to the challenge. Why can’t we humble ourselves and admit that we do fall short of helping those that we think “don’t deserve it” or whatever cloud of bias we have to lead us into not taking action. Are we going to sit down and keep silent or are we going to show sacrificial love and intercede for others who are hurting? Lets stop quarreling and start acting.
    This is an awesome message and convicted me. The poem by Martin sealed it for me. May we not wait until things like so affects our circle and our loved ones. I’m praying how God can use me in light of this situation.Thank you for exposing my ignorance on some issues and allowing me to seek change.

    • Keep speaking truth to Power, Olaronke. Tell someone once a day about how our government is turning our Constitutional Republic into a fascist oligarchy. Grab a camera, make a difference! Peace.

  • The sad thing is that many of the responses don’t even address that a young man was shot 10 times even though he was holding up his hands and unarmed. Furthermore, his body was left in the street for several hours.

    • Exactly! It’s called “blowback”. What if it was done to one of our children? They are baiting us into a confrontation. And just like Oscar Grant, we cannot allow the “peace officers” to murder our children.

  • You mentioned Gainesville, so I’m curious would there be a riot here if a white kid was shot? I’m not sure, because there would not be a race question. We would just assume there was a reason he got shot. If he was innocent, still there would be no riot because there would be no concern about justice. Other than that, I think the overall message is worthy and powerful.

  • So your definition of peaceful includes throwing Molitav cocktails and burning stores to the ground?? You’re way off base son. Go to ferguson and see the protests.

    • OK, dad. So, you’re in Ferguson, and you can give me more detail?

  • [Editor: Not really interested in racist comments, either.]

  • First let me acknowledge that I totally disagree with the looting and damage to businesses.

    However, as I read the thread, continously people are commenting about looting and damage to businesses. Last time I checked comparing a human beings life to a business is an unfair and ignorant comparison to say the least. Why? There will be insurance that will revive that business and in no way could insurance ever revive a LIFE.

    We all are waiting for ALL the facts. We just want some accountability! When is it ever ok for those PAID to protect and serve us, to shoot “TO KILL” first. I don’t doubt that they encounter scary situations daily. But if they can NOT do their jobs due to OVER-FEAR, that may cause them to KILL innocent people; then guess what? They have the option to choose another occupation.

    Too many families are having to bury their loved ones for foolishness at the hands of people whom CHOOSE to protect and serve us. But they are failing to uphold their oaths. It needs to cease. These families deserve justice. The black community deserves to not have to fear flashing lights & uniformed men/women.

    Enough is enough!! You may not be able to symathize, but its never to late to learn how to EMPATHIZE!!

    (P.S. Love the post Matt)

  • The more I see, the more I am appalled. My family has lived on the edge all of our lives by being ordinary. We welcome everyone and for that reason we were pushed out of town. My father dared to welcome everyone as a pastor and he lost his church because of the Klan in Burgess, VA. We just don’t make any difference between people and that upsets people. Say we, every single time. You visit prisoners one person at a time, it makes a difference. I’m going to go to a predominantly and historically African-American school and hope to hit my own hid a number of times for not seeing what is in front of my face. Make a difference.

  • speaking as someone white enough to be a color test for mayonnaise….
    1. Speak up. keep speaking up. the main reason this got ANY attention was when they fired tear gas straight at the news crew with no protestors in sight. (and arrested the two in the McDonalds). otherwise we would never have heard of it
    2. take a look at how the media portrays white shooters, versus black victims. (google #IfTheyGunnedMeDown for some examples) a white guy who SHOT AND KILLED people is portrayed as “troubled, but brilliant student” a black kid who was GINNED DOWN is portrayed as “wearing a hoodie, with a history of discipline troubles”. and then look at the photos of each the papers choose to run.
    3. the police get military eqquipment and shiny new toys, you think that stuff will sit unused? you think they will have it gather dust in a warehouse? no… like ANYONE they want to use the neat toys they have. we got a new APC? heck yes we want to use it… also if you dont use it you never get more…
    this leads to a military build up in the police.
    4. the police are paid , at least in part these days, by asset seizure, and by “prisons for profit” supporters. they have a financial incentive in finding assets to seize, and putting people in jail. this has to stop
    5. the politicians who supposedly control these guys are doing fine thanks, how about firing them all… especially any DA that supports asset seizure.
    6. many SWAT teams here in the northeast have been organizing as extra territorial corporations, moving them OUT of control and oversight by the citizens. this should be illegal.

    there. step by step what you need to do. and most of it involves speaking up, continuing to speak up when they try to blame it all on “one rogue cop” and voting.

  • The fact of the matter is, our police have gotten out of control. And why shouldn’t they? We see these videos of police behaving poorly, violently, dangerously- and we do nothing. There is no revolution. There’s no push back. We are subdued. I’m guilty of inaction too. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to fight. I’m scared to physically show up and protest- I have 2 kids and a disabled mom that depend on me, and I know damn well a cop could shoot me 10 times and get a paid vacation for it. But at the same time, I’m outraged. I WANT to fight. I want to do something other than complain about it on the internet. I resent the fact that I feel scared instead of protected when the police come around. I resent the fact that I have to regularly remind my son that if he is stopped by the police he is to keep his hands up and away from his body, and tell them they need to call his mom before they talk to him, but be respectful and passive, so the cops don’t feel threatened. I shouldn’t have to tell my baby these things.

  • It’s funny but I see a lot of posts where people talking about they don’t have enough proof to pass judgementioned but I bet if those were white kids being kill daily by black cops I’m sure it’ll be a much different song they’ll sing.

  • If history is any reminder then it wouldn’t have been covered by the news if it was a white kid.

    Christopher Roupe was a 17 year old ROTC student with aspirations to join the Marines. He was shot and killed earlier this year because he answered the door holding a Wii remote.

  • Great article, I reposted a link to it on Facebook. Thank you for understanding and speaking on the issue, your voice can reach people that ours can’t. Hope that one day this can really be one country/one America, where issues happening to people of color matter to mainstream America also and work is done to decrease violence and inequality.

  • This is why the second amendment is so important. If you are decrying local police militarization by calling for more FEDERAL police militarization you’re wrong too. All Americans need not live in fear and this is done by holding our elected officials and government officers accountable. If you fear the gun you should not be putting MORE in the hands of police you do not trust. Armed citizens keep government honest. At some point simply speaking up won’t help but fighting back will.

  • I am going there

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