Like many people, I spent a lot of last month clicking on links and reading tweets about the unfolding situation in Ferguson, Missouri, and growing more and more outraged, frustrated, and eventually despairing over the individual situation and the truths about race in America that it brought to the surface of our cultural consciousness.
Obviously I haven’t written anything here about it, largely because there are so many people already writing about it in a way that’s more informed, insightful, and nuanced than I could. As a white person, this is a situation where listening instead of speaking was really the better choice.
Today, #blacklivesmatter is hosting a #fergusonfridays chat on Twitter, and asking people to tweet about the ongoing situation in Ferguson (yes, it’s still going on, even a month later, even if it’s no longer trending) and to promote and support black businesses.
In support of the chats and hashtags, I’ve compiled some links to posts that I found interesting and relevant in the past few weeks.
A timeline of the first week and a half of events following Michael Brown’s murder.
A discussion of social justice fatigue, and why it’s okay to “sit one out”.
The New York Times profile that caused outrage in its attempt to depict Michael Brown as a troubled youth by referring to the fact that he complained about his parents on Facebook and sometimes talked back to them. Also, as a toddler, he was “a handful” and often climbed over the security gate and drew on the walls. By those measures, we were all troubled youths. It was disappointing that the Times felt that they had to attempt this character assassination, implicitly contributing to attempts to justify the killing instead of showing sympathy for the victim.
A thoughtful piece on the things that white people don’t understand about being black.
An article from an English newspaper comparing the Michael Brown killing to Jim Crow lynchings and calling on America to own up to its racism. Living in England, it’s always interesting to get an outsider’s perspective on what’s going on in America.
This article outlines some of the ways that white feminism has failed black women again and again, but notes that the events in Ferguson have forced some white feminists to really focus on writing about race and examine their privilege.
A school district not far from Ferguson officially banned its teachers from talking about the events in Ferguson, as parents were “worried” that such discussions could result in violence. Yeah, because ignoring things always makes them better. As a teacher, I find this reprehensible. The author points out how the school district that did this has implemented a social and emotional learning program in the school, as have many others (including the one where I taught in NJ). The author of this piece outlines the ways in which a discussion of Ferguson would very clearly meet the standards of a social / emotional lesson in the classroom; I’m glad he did that, because I often worry that programs like these are being given lip service instead of being genuinely applied in the classroom.
You can join the mailing list at Hands Up United to stay up to date on events in Ferguson, to see photos and videos from the protests, and to get involved in events supporting the Hands Up vision.
What have you been reading about Ferguson? Please share in the comments.