Skip to comments.Considering three factors at play in Ferguson
Posted on 08/20/2014 6:25:11 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
I want to consider three things in this blog: first, the harm that has been done; second, our white gaze; and third, nonviolent direct action.
Michael Brown is dead at 18. He graduated from high school and was headed for college. The promise of his life is gone. He leaves behind parents and brothers and sisters, extended family, friends, neighbors, teachers. His body lay in the street for hours and the watchers, standing outside the yellow crime-scene tape, must have been harmed by that experience. For all of them, Michael's death leaves a lifelong void. What can be worse than the death of a child?
Michael's death has stirred deep emotions, some conscious and some never recognized until now, among African-Americans who have endured humiliation at the hands of police. His death has raised the new fear in younger children that they, too, could be shot suddenly. Some of the released anger has been expressed in looting and burning, and overnight Monday, two people were shot. And so the harm widens in the community, reaching businesses and workers and neighbors afraid to come home from work in the dark. Schools are closed, a learning loss, and it will be a while before some of those children are able to focus on reading and arithmetic.
The police have been harmed, too. The community has lost respect, trust and confidence in them. They probably disagree among themselves about what could or should have been done and about what to do next. Officer Darren Wilson, who shot Michael, is, I imagine, also suffering, as is his family.
In these short paragraphs, I can only hint at the deep suffering of the Ferguson community, which has also lost its reputation as a quiet, comfortable residential township. But this is what we must do first, each of us: Consider the harm that has been done.
Our white gaze
I wrote a blog about the reverberations in the black community over the death of Trayvon Martin. George Yancy's "Walking While Black in the 'White Gaze' " that appeared Sept. 1, 2013, in The New York Times chilled me to the bone. He writes about how it feels to be black and be looked at by whites and the efforts of blacks to express the "lived interiority of racial experiences." I know the facts of many of those racial experiences, but I don't know the lived interiority, no matter how much I listen and read.
I thought about Yancy's piece right away when I read the responses to my first blog about Ferguson, published Aug. 15. My blog was about the struggle and the suffering of the community. But the comments focused on whether Michael Brown was guilty of stealing a handful of cigarillos and attempting to intimidate Wilson. Nobody even asked if death was the appropriate punishment for these offenses or considered whether Wilson used excessive force. The comments are the comments of white people making judgments.
To focus on the robbery or looting or to imagine, as one respondent did, an entire scenario of how the shooting could have played out is distancing behavior. Instead of considering the harm and suffering -- including the suffering of the police -- most of the comments deny the existence of police oppression and instead blame the victim.
What do we see? Yancy reminds us of President Barack Obama's reflection that Trayvon Martin could have been his son. Yancy says: "I wait for the day when a white president will say, 'There is no way that I could have experienced what Trayvon Martin did (and other black people do) because I'm white and through white privilege I am immune to systemic racial profiling.' "
Nonviolent direct action
I feel some bitter amusement when pundits complain that protest actions are not nonviolent. Why should we expect nonviolence? Do the schools teach the history of labor union strikes and sit-ins? Do they teach about Gandhi's march to the sea to make salt? Is the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" required reading in American history?
Here's a link to a heartbreaking series of a dozen tweets from St. Louis City Alderman Antonio French. Antonio and I ran together on a school board slate eight years ago. He's 32 now, and I have enormous respect for him. But he's flying by the seat of his pants, trying to create a safe and respectful space for the voice of protest.
I'm not much of a champion of private property. Life is more important than property. Human rights are more important than property. But I do know a lot about nonviolent direct action because I have had a lot of opportunities both to deliberately risk arrest myself and to work as a peacekeeper and as an observer at actions. What I see in Ferguson with my white gaze is a community unprepared for the shock of Michael Brown's death.
The police thought that they were prepared, equipped as they were with Pentagon cast-off body armor and weaponry. Their solution was to get tougher, then feel surprised and offended when the protesters didn't obey their orders, sort of like the Germans invading Belgium a hundred years ago who were surprised and offended at the resistance.
The community, like Antonio, flew by the seat of their pants. They are still flying blind, testing the effectiveness of prayer, of rallies, of marches, of Molotov cocktails. They are attempting to make an indelible memory. They are trying to make Michael Brown's death a sacrament that has the power to change white behavior.
Yes, I'm looking at the scene with a white Catholic gaze. But that's who I am. That's what I bring.
I call liberal white uninformed wasted angst.
No, you're looking at the scene with a fool's gaze.
Like too many other incidents (Duke Lacrosse "rape" hoax, Tawana Brawley rape hoax, Trayvon Martin's death, ad nauseum), when the original story hits the newswires, good and decent people of any race are rightly appalled by the supposed crime. Only when the truth of what actually happened gets out, we change our minds and become appalled by the self-serving lies and ugly propaganda that the usual suspects have been dishing out.
Good and decent people are saddened by true acts of racial violence, however those mentioned above (and, increasingly it looks like the Brown shooting is another example) have turned out to be something entirely different. Whereas disreputable race-war-mongers like Sharpton and Jackson and their enablers in the government and media have a different reaction to reports of such incidents - rather than being saddened, they are overcome with glee as they see an opportunity to gain politically and financially from promoting the lies and false narrative of the event.
"White gaze"? How obnoxious and false a formulation can you racists come up with...
Ping. The kind of thinking that got Obama 53% of the Catholic vote.
There was a time when I referred to catholics in unflattering terms, but I grew older and mellowed. But I am getting back to the point where I have nothing nice to say about them when it comes to politics. People like the idiot author of this article are really making it hard for me say anything nice. Flame on, but this country is being driven into the ground by democrats, aided and abetted by the majority of catholics.
The author of this piece is naive...to say the least.
“There is no way that I could have experienced what Trayvon Martin did (and other black people do) because I’m white and through white privilege I am immune to systemic racial profiling.”
This is another white apology article. NO, I don’t know what it’s like to be racially profiled but tired of having it thrown in my face. Black community needs to step up and take responsibility for their own families and lack thereof. Baby momma’s raising children by multiple men; generational food stamps, drugs, crime, black on black crimes and murders.
I want the black community to stop playing into the mentality of race baiting by Al Sharpton, Jessie Jackson, etc. They keep us divided. I want our President to quit throwing his comments into every white on black incident while ignoring the black on white knock out games.
I am just sick of it all- blacks rioting and looting is done to emit fear-fear to the point that police and others are afraid to respond because it will be considered just another attack on the black folks.
You have a right to protest but you do not have the right to destroy property in doing so.
I am tired of getting the chip on the shoulder look from a black person merely because I am courteous and hold the door for them when I am leaving- like, how dare you. I was raised to be courteous, so wtf’ever.
I am tired of the racial comments at work when a black employee who is not doing their job, calling in sick all the time and threatens to file a discrimination lawsuit against a boss for calling them out on their work ethics.
I am sick of black parents and other black kids telling children not to act white by doing good in school. Ironic isn’t it? Don’t do good in school so that you can have a better life down the road because somehow that makes you a white honkey. But yet you complain how it’s unfair that you can’t get a head because you were born black. Which is it? You want it both ways, that is, it’s whitey’s fault you just can’t get ahead in life.
Getting off my soapbox, fire away....
Look at the source.
American churches have joined the government’s charity army and left God’s. For they can not serve two masters.
It’s not a racial issue.
It’s an issue of respecting legitimate authority.
Many criminals don’t respect legitimate authority. When they degenerate further they attack legitimate authority.
The dumb ones refuse to yield and when they attempt to use deadly force against those armed LEOs, they find themselves losing to the LEO who enforces his legitimate authority. It isn’t racial, but those who want to condone criminal behavior now attempt to rationalize their criminal thinking. They won’t change. They now seek to identify their race with criminal thinking and then try to rationalize their frustrations by blaming anybody who opposes their insatiable desires.
Bad things can happen to you when you commit robbery and assault, then punch a cop’s eye out and attempt to take his gun resulting in an unintentional discharge, then run away and charge at him when he tells you to halt.
I disagree. Ferguson Mayor sent out a press release today saying that no Ferguson police are participating in protest control.
The children are being occupied as best can be by encouraging them to go to the community library between 9am and 4pm for classes and a quiet zone.
A protest for civil rights becomes hypocritical when violence is encouraged or excused. Nonviolent protests get the point across much better than a protest that devolves into looting and rioting, which becomes the focus as the original message fades quickly into the background. jProperty is important because property belongs to other individuals and destroying their businesses violates their own civil rights to 'life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness' - in this case, their very livelihoods.
The National Catholic Reporter is a liberal newspaper.
Meh - Catholics are for “Social Justice” or so claims the local “Catholic Charity” as they load up on tons of Gov’t swill.
The entire show in MO has turned into Kabuki Theater.
The Dems using it to PROVE it’s 1960 all over again, Civil Rights, Mississippi Burning never left and guess who the only party can protect the Pour and Starv’n?
Nixon is a pandering idiot and the Press is not just a willing accomplice, they are Fellow Travelers.
A pox on the lot of ‘em.
They continue to ignore that order. There is nothing "Catholic" about them.
She’s been drinking the Communion wine, again, and in “massive quantities”.
White, liberal self-flagellation guilt trip.
In other words, she’s full of crap.
You know what I'm talking about even if the writer of this swill doesn't.
This sounds just like the same bilge that appears regularly in our local rag, the Kansas City (Red) Star!
Black pastors are out regularly on various street corners with black women and girls of the area, quoting scripture and bemoaning community neglect over the death of another black child or young person.
Unfortunately, on Sunday, those same pastors never, ever venture into the part of the bible that mentions chastity and the sin of fornication, of bringing children into the world without being married to the father of that child, about the tragedy of raising fatherless children, especially the boys.
Those same black pastors preach love, forgiveness, and the sin of racism inferring that some how the white community surrounding the urban core, is responsible for drive-by shootings over drug deals and gang bangers who feel "disrespected" by another person.
The editorial writers picking up on the same theme, continue the same narration of community neglect, poverty and racism is what is killing blacks in the neighborhood.
I'm sorry but I'm fresh out of sympathy here. Guys and gals who volunteer for jobs of attempting to protect the weak and innocent in the violent urban core not only care for those they are attempting to serve but place their very lives at risk each and every time they pin on the badge. Make mistakes, yes, errors in judgement under "fire" so to speak but many of those in the communities who do not appreciate their efforts, threaten them with violence and mayhem each and every day.
Anyone in the community not welcoming the police presence, is free to call drug dealers, people hopped up on PCP, or gang bangers when their child is missing, someone shoots up their homes or physically assaults the,.
This writer is an idiot... and reflects the worldview of most Catholics.
Everyone close your eyes, white gaze solved.
There is something quite "Catholic" about the National Catholic Reporter.
The Catholic hierarchy is for example, a principal enabler of Obama's illegal immigration schemes, as demonstrated by their support, tacit and otherwise, for the Children-Dump on the southern border.
The Catholic hierarchy refuses to publicly chastise loud abortion supporters like Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, Andrew Cuomo, Teddy K, etc.
Here in Maine it is Catholic Charities who colluded with a Left-Wing Governor to bring in many thousands of lawless polygamous Somali Muslims. As soon as the young men among them are fed and cleansed of parasites, they return to jihad in the ME with American passports.
A majority of Catholics apparently voted for Obama. Perhaps these Catholic voters are stuck in some sort of Dennis Day Time Warp when it was possible to be both a patriot and a Democrat. Bottom line, the Left has a pretty damn good lock on the American Catholic Church. IMNVHO, the hierarchy is abusing its authority by politically supporting the Democrats in general and this foul administration in particular.
BTW, the claim that "Catholics supported Obama" is true only if you include non-churchgoers and Hispanics. Exclude either group and Catholics rejected Obama twice. Exclude both groups, and the margin is substantial. I'm not sure why the church should catch any blame at all for how non-churchgoing "Catholics" vote; if they don't obey the church when she tells them to attend Mass weekly, they're hardly going to obey the church when they go into the voting booth.