tressiemc

some of us are brave

What Is Left to Say?

In his 1934 essay, “A Negro Nation Within a Nation”, WEB DuBois wrote:

The colored people of America are coming to face the fact quite calmly that most white Americans do not like them, and are planning neither for their survival, nor for their definite future if it involves free, self-assertive modern manhood. This does not mean all Americans. A saving few are worried about the Negro problem; a still larger group are not ill-disposed, but they fear prevailing public opinion. The great mass of Americans are, however, merely representatives of average humanity. They muddle along with their own affairs and scarcely can be expected to take seriously the affairs of strangers or people whom they partly fear and partly despise.

For many years it was the theory of most Negro leaders that this attitude was the insensibility of ignorance and inexperience, that white America did not know of or realize the continuing plight of the Negro.  Accordingly, for the last two decades, we have striven by book and periodical, by speech and appeal, by various dramatic methods of agitation, to put the essential facts before the American people.  Today there can be no doubt that Americans know the facts; and yet they remain for the most part indifferent and unmoved.

 
This is not the first time that I have sought comfort in the classics. As James Baldwin once intoned, there is a kind of peace when you realize that you are neither the first nor the most mistreated in the long human history.
 
What is left to be said about a cop killing an unarmed teenager in the street, denying him medical care, and leaving his lifeless brown body on display for over four hours?
 
There is nothing new to tell white people about black life. Nothing.
 
Not that this kept the well-meaning from begging black folks to bleed for their confessions. They took to social media, wondering when Coates would get over his French lessons and tell them how to feel appropriately guilty. They emailed and called and texted their one black friend, asking for alms and sense of a senseless evil. I ignored them all. I hope Coates and all the Black Friends did, too. I hope you made crepes and hugged your babies and pruned your roses and made love in the club. I hope you did something human as you watched another black life be degraded and devalued for media hits. I hope you lived.
 
After hundreds of years of proving the humanity of black people, all non-black people should have a template to make sense of our annihilation for themselves. I wish them well in google and archives and quiet meditation but I do not want to bleed for you.
 
i do want to think out loud a bit on hashtagging for justice.
 
That’s what blackfolks did when Darren Wilson summarily executed Micheal Brown in broad daylight on August 9, 2014.

Black twitter, the affective decentralized socio-linguistic online collective, covered the shooting and the outrage using social media as a public square; tweets as chapbooks; networks as church basements. Hashtags like #mikebrown and #iftheygunnedmedown shifted media attention that was taking the usual Saturday evening break. By the time legacy media tuned in to what was happening in Ferguson, citizen journalists like Elon James were packing their bags to document it for themselves.

Black twitter shaped the media narrative.

But they were able to shape the narrative because of the conditions of new (-ish) media like NPR’s Codeswitch and Washington Post’s Post Everything. These new media verticals have somehow sped up even the 24 hour cable news cycle, which we would have once thought impossible. These outlets drew from bloggers and social media personalities who could bring with them some writing chops, an audience, and experience embedded in social media streams. Many of those were black. That is not an accident. Digital media appealed to blackfolks for the same reasons that any innovation appeals to us. It is a chance to up-end legacy structures and institutions that have shut us out.  We are early adopters not to be cool but to survive.

PostBourgie and the like gifted fuddy duddy legacy media outlets with writers and thinkers who know the new media landscape. That pays off for them when something like #mikebrown and #ifiwasgunneddown pops off.

The symbiotic relationship between these verticals and their embedded actors with coded black social media movements create the conditions for blackfolks to shape media narratives. You can see this impact in some early analysis of tweets using #ifiwasgunneddown. My database shows over 50,000 tweets, reaching over 104 million timelines in four days. Over three-fourths of those tweets came from mobile apps and platforms, as opposed to desktops. Black folks were on their phones, using visual and textual ethnography to construct a counter-narrative. Preliminary network mapping suggests it was embedded (mostly non-white) new media journalists that tipped the story into mainstream media coverage.

It’s tempting to think the counter-narrative won. In some ways, it certainly put the story on the media map. But it also suggests that the conditions of media matter, perhaps now more than ever. Without NPR’s Gene Demby or Washington Post’s Soraya McDonald or  MSNBC’s Joy Reid and (black voice adjacent) Chris Hayes, it is unclear that the counter-narrative would have worked. One need only look at CNN’s white out (pun so intended) of the protest that sprang up outside its studio as evidence that black journalists still matter to the coverage of black lives.

 
 
About these ads

40 comments on “What Is Left to Say?

  1. Pingback: Ferguson: Ten Bloggers Speak Out | findshoppingbuys.com

  2. Chris Kenny
    August 30, 2014

    Still won’t release my post from 8/25 eh?

  3. colonelbbw
    August 25, 2014

    The best way to end racial strife is to stop talking about race altogether…

    • tressiemc22
      August 26, 2014

      I will assume that you are new here.

      • colonelbbw
        August 26, 2014

        Yep I am new here ;)

    • james taylor
      August 27, 2014

      The best way to end rape…..is to stop talking about it. See how ignorant that sounds?

      • colonelbbw
        September 1, 2014

        wow lol…you can’t equate racial tensions to rape dude…two totally different situations man…see how ignorant that is dude??? Obviously, you can’t stop rape by not talking about it dumb ass…that is “something” that must be talked about…however, if you didn’t bring up someone’s race altogether no matter what situation you’re in that would end racial strife…in other words, if we started seeing each other as humans…as people…not just a color…which is what I meant before you decided to insult my intelligence which by the way was uncalled for because you know “absolutely” nothing about me or where I come from dude :)

  4. Chris Kenny
    August 24, 2014

    Katherine, Thank you for your civil reply, it is refreshing to see that in the comments on this blog. I understand your points, but what my first comment was in response to TMCs response to rsmit3. My point was that she cut him off without explanation. My point is that to end fear and distrust people need to communicate. Each of us needs to identify our racial prejudices and strive to prevent it from manifesting in our speech and behavior.

    rsmit3’s point about not allowing our individual prejudice from blinding us to the facts (or lack therof) and taking unreasonable positions

    This is her (his?) post.

    “Is there a difference between Black people assuming that the teenager was completely innocent, and White people assuming that he was a thug? You have decided, based on no real evidence, that Mike Brown executed. You have not waited for the evidence, you just decided. There are White people who have decided that Mike Brown was a thug and a criminal, and that the policeman was defending himself. Again, they have not waited for the evidence, they just decided. What’s the difference?”

    This is how TMC responded

    “Go away.”

    I called her out on it, suggesting that she harbored her own prejudice and in an effort not to offend, suggested she may have been having a bad day.

    She replied

    “I give exactly two cares less than zero about your assumptions of my day or proximity to “home”.

    I have been a fan of Tracy Chapman since her first album was released. She has a song titled “Bang Bang Bang”. It implores the listener to take a look inside themselves. It suggests we all learn to communicate with compassion and love before it is too late.

    “Before you can bridge the gulf between
    And embrace him in your arms
    Bang bang bang
    He’ll shoot you down”
    -Tracy Chapman

    You can’t pretend to be fighting racism when you don’t call it wherever and whenever it rears it’s head. Especially when it exists within ones self.

    Peace

    • katherinejlegry
      August 24, 2014

      Well Chris Kenny… the thing about this blog space of Tressie’s is that it’s for her writing and thoughts to be honest and pure and true to herself. As a writer, she is not writing words you (or anybody) prefers to hear, she is writing without audience. Not for audience. This means we can either reach her level or not. The invitation isn’t closed. It’s like Jazz, no offense to Tracy Chapman… most people don’t take the time to understand Jazz but the invitation is there. You have to learn how to listen. But you’re approaching from your own personal context as is rsmit3 and where your voices are valid as human beings, to suggest that Tressie is reversing racism (which isn’t possible) is why you can “Go away”. She isn’t going to humor that B.S. frankly. The reason that reverse racism isn’t real is due to the fact that it’s socio-economic power held by white empire that creates the oppression historically…and presently… and those power structures control all levels of institution and media.
      When you say “You can’t pretend to be fighting racism” I don’t think Tressie is pretending about a thing. If you mean me… I’m not pretending either. I have prejudices of my own sure… and they may block me from perfect communication as I decide what my duty is and how long to take explaining things, should I feel the need to build some kind of bridge. I keep my prejudices in check as I become aware of them and observe them or if someone calls me out when it’s valid, but in this case what I see in your feelings of rejection is that you want to argue Tressie down. You want her to admit something or confess something so she will see your side of things. So she will hear you and validate you to make some kind of progress… And Tressie doesn’t owe you that. The article she wrote is sound. If you read her other works and witness her lecture on video your world can open. That’s not up to Tressie to convince you. That’s your work. She doesn’t profess to know everything, rather she is dealing in macrocosm and microcosm and admittedly from her own neck of the woods. However when you write that she is “Harboring” her own prejudice because she might be “having a bad day” it’s trite sounding as offers go and makes you sound like a “worm”. I’m telling you this for your own good, not to be insulting. Just that you’re worming your way into defending rsmit3 by acting like you care. She has now created boundaries and you have to respect that. Maybe you won’t understand.
      As for what happened to Michael Brown he has launched a civil rights movement regardless of the circumstances. So talk to who will listen and respond and work against racism where you can. Where the road ends, find another. Best of luck.

      • Chris Kenny
        August 24, 2014

        Katherine Legry you said;
        “So talk to who will listen and respond and work against racism where you can. Where the road ends, find another.”

        So, in so many words; Go away. Also implying that this is not a place where anti-racist discussion is welcome.

        And for all this discussion, still, nobody has addressed the point that rsmit3 brought up. “Is there a difference between Black people assuming that the teenager was completely innocent, and White people assuming that he was a thug?”

        Personally I think there is little difference between them, they both are untenable positions if only because they are extreme. I would have liked to see any response that answered that question. Instead I read “Go away.” and some other non response by BOb that posed a different question presumably being asked by “one group of people”; “Are we sure that another cop killing an unarmed black person is a problem?”

        BOb could not provide me with the identity of that “group”. Yet he called my debating skills to task, accusing me of some unnamed “logical fallacy” before inviting me to “stick it up your own ass”

        So where is the intellectual honesty here? I agree with TMC’s tagline “some of us are brave”. But where are yall?

        You said that I said “Harboring” her own prejudice because she might be “having a bad day”” I did not. Go back and reread what I actually said. Two separate posts. Two separate Ideas. Put words into my mouth then attack me for it. I think that qualifies as a logical fallacy, Don’t you agree?

        You said I sounded like a “worm”, then proceeded to say it was for my “own good” and not to be insulting. Thanks i feel better now.

        You also said “The reason that reverse racism isn’t real is due to the fact that it’s socio-economic power held by white empire that creates the oppression historically…and presently… and those power structures control all levels of institution and media.” I believe you are confusing racism and oppression. Look up the terms and get back to me. By the way, there is such a thing as racially motivated oppression, so don’t give me more bs about “reverse racism” (what the heck is that anyway? Racial harmony i suppose. But a google search turned up this definition; “Reverse racism is discrimination against the dominant racial group in a society.”

        It’s still racism and I believe it is just as wrong. As the saying goes, two wrongs do not make a right. What do you think? Is racism only ok for some and not ok for others? Read the definition of racism. It is based on misconception. That is why we need a dialog, why we need communication, because if we learn to understand one another, then we will see that there is but little difference between one race and another. I am not talking about cultural, political or religious differences, but those things we have common as humans.

        Although our beliefs and opinions differ it is good to converse with you Katherine. I am still here becaus I DO care. This is not an act. I do not question your sincerity, please do not question mine.

        Martin Luther King III
        ““Because the only way you change is that you have to be at least communicating. If there’s no communication, then you can’t just let someone have an agenda,” King said, explaining that his father would often meet with whites who were opposed to equal rights for blacks to facilitate a dialogue.”

        Peace.

        • katherinejlegry
          August 25, 2014

          Chris Kenny, I don’t question that you feel sincere. Language is not just words, it is geographic, religious, cultural, economic, historic, symbolic, etc. and so communicating is hard. In terms of some psychology fields there is dialectical thinking where people can not communicate due to “approaches” that build walls. Communication is a choice and how we decide to cut each other off because we are impatient, or angry, or indifferent, or controlling, or reasonable, or logical, etc. is a choice. Yes, it behooves people of different races to learn how to communicate. That’s what the old civil rights activists are talking about. The kids or millennials are understandably feeling rage and they need to be taught the skills of how to turn anger into action according to the churches and older civil rights groups. This hasn’t been accomplished because of economics and the 1% controlling the wealth and outsourcing jobs, destabilizing infrastructure and not investing in communities. Corporate tax loopholes are about the bottom line and not the people in this country. Detroit is an example of what will happen if the wealthy continue to gut and outsource. Corporations being recognized as people in voting turns the people into objects. It’s about dollars not people. If black people are some of the poorest communities then this is about socio-economics which owns people. Black people can identify with the ownership intensely, right? Because slavery? America is the worst gap between rich and poor and the services are being cut which is anti-intuitive. Black mobility is tied to socio-economics as all political power is. That is the oppression which is a part of racism… we are divided and conquered further by a media which further propagates the black boys as “Thugs”.
          When you attacked Tressie for her own “prejudices” and inferred there was no difference between white or black prejudice, that is a basic definition of reverse racism. Which if you further research positions on the matter has to do with socio economics and dominant empire not really having the same issues. It’s like saying my rapist deserves equal consideration.
          In terms of Michael Brown being murdered by a cop, I believe that the police officer was under great duress and maybe needed to stop working before he shot Michael to death. I think the use of excessive force speaks for itself. I am willing to allow “justice” and for laws to be changed and actions to be taken to stop this from happening. So I’m working for peace and not inciting the mob against you, as you feel. I’m not telling you to “go away” in that you have to stop reading or anything, but after a certain point I can tell when some one is unwilling to hear what I’m saying. If you haven’t watched Tressie’s lecture you will miss a better sense of what she is even teaching. I’m not trying to defame you when I say “worm”… neither am I bothering with “polite” and that’s at risk of turning you off. Maybe there are better communicators to work towards peace, but I think honesty in how you come across is okay. I’m not intentionally bullying you. I’m fine tuning your ears. At least that’s how I see it. If I stop responding… don’t take it personal. That’s all I mean. Open dialogue is good, but it’s not my job to enlighten you. I think you don’t understand Tressie. I wish you could because it’s a blessing to encounter her teaching. But we all have different teachers. You may need a different one who you find more gentle.

  5. Pingback: To See The Danger Of Militarizing America’s Police Forces, Look SouthJobrny's World | Jobrny's World

  6. Chris Kenny
    August 22, 2014

    Ellen, what is it that you want me to understand? I understand that some policemen/departments are out of control. They act as if they are above the law and think themselves better than the citizens they are policing. Until there is accountability and oversight this trend will likely continue.

    http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/08/what-i-did-after-police-killed-my-son-110038_Page2.html#.U_d3tcVdVrM

  7. Mike
    August 21, 2014

    Here is a Pew analysis of Twitter post activity surrounding this. I think it bolsters your case: http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/08/20/cable-twitter-picked-up-ferguson-story-at-a-similar-clip/

  8. Allan
    August 21, 2014

    Thank you for writing this – always appreciate a chance to read your thoughts. My heart breaks for Michael Brown, his family, and his community. Thank you for writing about what’s happening in Ferguson.

    I’ve found too that twitter is the only place to follow this story. Embedded journalists and activists on the ground are providing news and heartfelt reactions to everything that’s going on, in real time. What would we do without twitter?

  9. tapati
    August 21, 2014

    OMG, you ask for evidence? Autopsy, witnesses… Y’all got the response you deserved.

    • rsmit3
      August 22, 2014

      The autopsy said he was shot from the front, not the back. The witnesses have conflicting stories. Some say he was kneeling in the street, others say he was running away, still others say he was charging the policemen. Which is right? Do you know?

    • dan
      August 25, 2014

      OMG its all conflicting and inconclusive, and like usual bias on both sides.

  10. Ellen E. Nippolt
    August 21, 2014

    Excellent reply, full stop.

  11. Pingback: Freedom Dreams | Gukira

  12. Christina Wintturi
    August 20, 2014

    After I was a few lines into the quoted passage at the beginning of the piece, I double-checked to see when it was written–because it’s true now.
    Good article, excellent points.

  13. Mike Burke
    August 20, 2014

    Interesting examination of the role of social media–best one I have seen so far on this complex and tragic case. Two things concern me a bit–what if social media gets things wrong, and others act on it? And does such apparent easy, fast access to information, regardless of quality, set up an expectation of real-world immediate action? Does our sense of time change in some way? I often wonder if the Internet has simply sped up our sense of how the world should work, as if somehow events that occur in real space and time are expected to occur much faster than they really can. And that much of our dissatisfaction with institutions of all kinds might be accounted for in part by differences in speed?

  14. rsmit3
    August 20, 2014

    Is there a difference between Black people assuming that the teenager was completely innocent, and White people assuming that he was a thug? You have decided, based on no real evidence, that Mike Brown executed. You have not waited for the evidence, you just decided. There are White people who have decided that Mike Brown was a thug and a criminal, and that the policeman was defending himself. Again, they have not waited for the evidence, they just decided. What’s the difference?

    • tressiemc22
      August 20, 2014

      Go away.

      • Chris Kenny
        August 20, 2014

        Seriously? That is your reaction to rsmit3? I believe that it is a valid question. Is it too hard a question? Or did it hit too close to home and you are uncomfortable looking at your own prejudices?

        What is the difference between sides when both jump to conclusions? Once that happens, the discussion ends and fights begin. Your reply is a good example.

        I will assume that you are only having a bad day and hope it gets better, because I am interested in your thoughts regarding this.

        All the facts in this case are indeed unknown other than the fact that yet another black man was shot to death by a policeman.

        • BOb
          August 20, 2014

          This is exactly what she is talking about. Are there really people out there saying “Are we sure that another cop killing an unarmed black person is a problem?” We all have the same facts, and we’ve always had them. We had them for Rodney King, for Trayvon Martin, for Oscar Grant, for Eric Garner, for Emmet Till, and so many more. We have the same facts, yet one group of people keeps coming up with the conclusion, “Are we sure we should be mad about this?”

          TMC doesn’t need me to argue on her behalf or defend her because I have no doubt that intellectually, she is Shaquille O’Neal to your Mugsy Bogues, so instead I’ll just tell you two to take your logical fallacies and high school debate tactics and shove them up your own ass.

          • Chris Kenny
            August 22, 2014

            You started out with a reasoned argument, making a point that I agree with, but ended with an insult. Congratulations on your debate tactics. But at least you had something constructive to say. With a little work, you could be TMC’s defender. (Notice that my proceeding paragraph contains two sarcastic remarks how did you react to them? Did it raise or lower your opinion of me or your desire to join me in conversation? Inflammatory language is not conducive to constructive conversation.)

            What a contrast to TMC’s responses to ; “Go away.” Or where she replied to me below with; “I give exactly two cares less than zero about your assumptions of my day or proximity to “home”.” Those responses do not sound very intellectual.

            I really would like to learn from my visits here, but time after time I am insulted (by her followers) , ignored or my comments aren’t posted. I once thought TMC was concerned with racism and bigotry. But she appears to have deep seated prejudices herself which taints her conversation.

            I believe open dialog is crucial to understanding. I believe it is a precursor to acceptance. If we ever want to see the end to racial strife, we must first learn to communicate civilly.

            • katherinejlegry
              August 23, 2014

              I’m going to jump in an assist you Chris Kenny. Crucial to your understanding is that 90% of the police force in Ferguson are white. They can not meet the needs of the community which is 70% black. The police are not fit for duty operating out of irrational fear. No matter what Michael Brown did wrong that night, he did not deserve the death penalty as decided by a trigger happy cop. He was shot 6-8 times, dead. Not wounded to be placed under arrest, but murdered. Then the Chief proceeded to defend his cops. He brought a military out to further traumatize and escalate the situation. He has trained his officers all wrong. If this wasn’t so, Eric Holder wouldn’t be investigating. The rioting and looting that the media focused on to make Michael Brown look worthy of killing is indicative of a community that has been betrayed by white authority and institutions since this nation was formed. But I won’t go that far back. I will focus you to the failed schools, food deserts, prisons based on punishment not reform, and the entertainment industry capitalizing on stereotypes such as gangsters and thugs to encourage fear. We have young black men expecting to get shot by police, not protected and served. They are not feeling loved. The emotional bonds needed in all relationships that are healthy, are trust, safety and comfort. The black community of Ferguson has been betrayed by the police department because there has been no “capital” built so that when these wrongful shootings take place, the situation naturally explodes. “Capital” is more than money for mobility, it’s the love a government shows for it’s people. So instead of looking at what the “thugs” are doing as they feel they have nothing much to live for because of historic racism and apathy, we should be looking at what creates this in the first place. Civil communication is awesome. Sometimes fools need to be ignored. And then… the loud angry scary violent revolutionaries have a place too, because wake the fuck up.

          • Chris Kenny
            August 22, 2014

            Which group of people are you referring to that are coming up with the conclusion you mentioned? I sure don’t ask that question. I am mad about it every time. I am a white male so I guess it isn’t the white male group you are referring to.

            This is an example of your prejudice. You wish to segregate an unnamed group and them paint them as thinking a certain way. You see although I am a member of the “white male” group, I am an individual. Until we learn to treat people as individuals instead of a class, bigotry and racism will never cease.

        • rsmit3
          August 21, 2014

          Here is an excellent evaluation of the situation in Ferguson. http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/08/18/1315081/-A-Cops-take-on-Ferguson?detail=email

        • Mikaila
          August 21, 2014

          Quite frankly, it doesn’t matter what assumptions one wants to make, because we live in a society that guarantees us the right to due process of law. I suspect the law enforcement officer involved did perceive Michael Brown as a threat, but that this perception itself is an example of the entrenched bias and hypercriminalization that is endemic to the US justice system. But perception of threat is not sufficient grounds to shoot and kill. Indeed, the band of situations in which it is justified for law enforcement to kill a human being are very, very narrow, and extend only to circumstances in which the shooting would protect law enforcement or civilians from being killed themselves. Otherwise, law enforcement officers are charged with arresting the individual they perceive as so threatening and allowing the legal system to do its work in determining innocence and guilt. We all know, of course, that the justice system itself is fraught with bias in every stage, and we all know that the justice system itself, despite the many years of death penalty reform, still executes innocent Black men or permits them to die in prison. As heinous as such practices are, however, they are at least embedded in a system of rules. When law enforcement officers shoot people on the street, they are not abiding by rules but are rather taking justice into their own hands, acting as judge, jury, and executioner at once. Such practices cannot be permitted in a civilized society.

          So while I am certain, given the evidence available to me as an observer from afar, that Michael Brown was an unarmed and peaceful young man, on some level that assessment should be irrelevant. What is relevant is that we do not shoot people just because we think they might be scary. And what is relevant is that a law enforcement officer observing the same behavior on the part of a Black man and a White man will likely come to different conclusions about how scary that behavior is. And what is relevant is that these biases continue to shape policing of all kinds, from the stop-and-frisk to the shooting, and that this is not acceptable in a democratic, civilized society.

          • rsmit3
            August 22, 2014

            But assumptions do matter. Assumptions drive citizens into the streets to burn and loot their own town. Assumptions drive police to gear up for war when facing citizens and the media. Assumptions frame the story before we know what really happened.

        • tressiemc22
          August 21, 2014

          I give exactly two cares less than zero about your assumptions of my day or proximity to “home”.

          • Chris Kenny
            August 22, 2014

            That is where we differ Tressie. I do care what you think. Why do you think I am here reading your essays?

            Do you want to end prejudice or propagate it? Until we as a species learn how to be introspective and identify our prejudice we will never get beyond it.

            • Ellen E. Nippolt
              August 22, 2014

              His body was left in the street for four hours.

              Chris, what is it that you don’t understand?

      • rsmit3
        August 22, 2014

        I will do that, Tressie, because it seems you do not want a discussion, but rather a soapbox. That’s OK. That’s what blogs are for. I’m just looking for answers. I’ve read all the comments and didn’t find any. I did find people who have already made up their minds. As the truth trickles out, we will all eventually know what happened, and then be able to make a judgement. Until then, I will leave you to your echo chamber.

        • katherinejlegry
          August 23, 2014

          rsmit3… The point is not the single event. Not the baseball… but the game, ok? So it’s based on the murder of Michael Brown, because his crimes that night were petty and he didn’t deserve the death penalty especially without judge and jury and being that three bullet holes went to his head, the cop was not only trigger happy but deeply paranoid. So… not to focus on the shooting, but the game: the community of ferguson is not reacting out of ignorance of facts. They are reacting to long term abuses and neglect… in addition to being tear gassed, made to endure curfew, obstructed from evidence and made to endure white people and cops defending white people and cops. The police force is 90% white. They can not meet the needs of a 70% black population and furthermore behave like a police state, fearing the citizens they are supposed to protect and serve. They aren’t supposed to be automatically looking at the people as criminals. Those are the citizens. The police chief defended only his cops and made no attempt to apologize or console the family. They went immediately to covering up and hiding the police officer. They have not built trust and so the rioting and looting and the civil peaceful protests are all indicative of a failed system. A rigged game. This case will be investigated as you wish… and you may keep your opinion that Michael Brown deserved to be killed…but that’s not the larger point. I don’t want to diminish the individual, but the cause is as follows: the chief should be fired for training a racist force. The cop should be tried for murder. The police force needs black officers hired and everyone needs diversity and sensitivity training. Prisons need to become about reform and not punishment. Families and jobs need to be available for people coming out of prison who made mistakes. People need chances. Not to be gunned down. There’s a lot more I could say, but Tressie isn’t on a soap box in an echo chamber. And her blog is for education if you will open to listening. You just aren’t hearing what you want and you’re spinning it because your comfort zone is not comforting. You shouldn’t be comfortable at the expense of Michael Brown. The emotional bonds crucial to all of us are trust, safety and comfort. These have been denied the black community of Ferguson. Michael Brown could have been asked if he was alright. If he needed help. Why he was mad. But he wasn’t. He was shot six times.

          • rsmit3
            August 24, 2014

            I did not say that Mike Brown deserved to be killed. You heard what you wanted to hear. I said I wanted answers. I said there is no difference between Black people jumping to conclusions from White people jumping to conclusions. I said that people are rising to Tressie’s defence without acknowledging the issue, but rather invoking history. You said that a White police force cannot police police a Black community. Really? You said Mike Brown was murdered. That is a legal definition. Has that been proven? No, but you have decided that that is a fact. You don’t want answers. You want to be right. Without evidence, there is no sanity, only mob rule. A Black mob, & a White mob. This is not what I want, but it appears to be satisfactory to you and Tressie.

            The policeman did not know that Mike Brown had just committed a strong-arm robbery, a felony. But Mike Brown knew. Maybe that influenced his behavior. I don’t know, but neither do you. The difference between you and me is that I want to hear the evidence, and that you have already decided. It is that deciding that caused Blacks in Ferguson to riot. It is that deciding that caused a White police force to arm for war.

            It is dangerous in this country to be Black. I know that. As a teacher, I counsel my Black & Hispanic students to stay clear of the police. It pains me to do that, but it would pain me more to see one of them hurt.

            I said I would go away, and I’m sorry to have violated that. If you don’t want to have a dialogue, then don’t. But don’t expect change.

            • katherinejlegry
              August 24, 2014

              I’m not instigating or condoning violence rsmit3. I am saying the police by shooting black kids are being judge and jury and have been trained and conditioned to view them as criminals no matter what the circumstances. Statistics show that more black men are arrested than whites and go to prisons for longer amounts of time for the SAME crimes. And by admitting you tell your non white students to avoid and not trust police, you understand that the police can also form an unjust and much better armed mob. I understand your wanting the evidence and justice and fair trials. So do I and I want the shootings by cops of black boys and men to stop because they remind me of lynchings. The NRA is assisting in a violent nation and are predominantly white. I view them as the legal KKK. I don’t like gang violence but cops don’t deal with them as people. In my community, we had a small task force that worked with gangs and getting former gang members to help, but the funding got cut and the program was eventually not afforded and now the violence is back up. They didn’t deem the original program as successful because they didn’t see fast enough change and it needed to be ongoing. But now the change without the program means more black people are getting shot by our police as well as their own. They are admitting the dialogue is needed, but they are tired of more discussions and no results. Too many parents have lost their children. They see themselves as handled and allowed to vent and no institutional change. Our police force is sexist and racist. My advice is not to tolerate it and let the cops keep shooting kids. It’s too hard to “avoid the appearance of evil” with racial profiling what it is. I obviously am willing to have a dialogue and do not believe I am “right” about everything. I’ve had the honor to learn from a diverse group of voices and I am not in total agreement with all methods of action but I damn well support the right to express the rage and not be told how to protest and not agree to the white way of how to have a revolution so they they are comfortable with it. Tokenism is not working. Trickle down isn’t happening. I don’t want to be right about that. It’s just the reality. But after revolution people need to deal with the recovery and we need vision and leadership. Do we have that? I don’t know. Should we be afraid of people who have suffered oppression rising up? Yes, it’s historically evidenced. Is it going to be sloppy and some people will riot and loot? Yep… that happens in many cultures that have suffered long term disillusionment and poverty. Do I want mobs? No. Neither does Tressie (not that I have to speak for her because I can not.) She has given a video lecture at Harvard where I got a sense of her realness. I don’t flatter people. I’m not part of an in crowd. I think she’s down to earth and intellectually high. If you’d what that lecture and see the broad spectrum she covers and the dots she connects you might understand she is not inciting mobs. Rather she is documenting them and showing technology and social media as tools from all levels of socio-economic advantage and or backgrounds. What gives people tools and what is entitlement, privilege…
              As for me saying you said Michael deserved to be murdered, I meant that it’s how it sounded from the words you use. I understand how loaded my language was. I think we need a short term and a long term strategy… for what has happened to Michael Brown and Ferguson and the whole country. I realize people can not live in fear and that mobs, riots and police with guns all cause fear. I simply don’t want it calmed to pacify. I want real change. And understanding the anger and having compassion for the “mob” is part of my nature. Because there are reasons people explode and they do need to own their actions and choices but if the laws aren’t fair in the first place, it’s a set up to start people off on such unequal terms and then say pull yourself up from your bootstraps…
              I know Michael Brown was needlessly shot. That lethal police force is too extreme. I know the police chief defended his own and offered no apology or calm to the community. This isn’t about being right or forming factions or mobs or staying angry. It’s about being willing to listen to those voices. And training police to see people with emotional problems and mental illness and not just targets. It’s not that we should all avoid cops and not all cops are bad anyway… but obviously Ferguson has major issues and that’s not me being “right.” that’s me stating the obvious. I’m sorry you feel excluded from the discussion, but I do believe we are having a beneficial one.

  15. kthornblom
    August 25, 2014

    I did not realize that my first comment had made through to you. Feel free to delete one of them.

Talk back...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Information

This entry was posted on August 20, 2014 by in Uncategorized.
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 16,466 other followers

%d bloggers like this: