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.
Yes, non-churchgoing Catholics should be included in those who supported Obama if the same criteria is being used for other people too. And Catholics themselves don’t focus primarily on one’s personal relationship to Jesus to decide if one is Catholic or not. Being a Catholic begins with baptism, usually as an infant, and also has far more to do with family identification and culture for that reason. For over 40 years I lived in a city that’s 77% Catholic (Buffalo, NY), and I can vouch that “lapsed Catholics” tended to consider themselves Catholic, unless they altogether left Catholicism for another belief, including atheism, and despite not “practicing,” at different times in their lives where religion was appropriate (like marriage, “First Communion,” confirmation for teens, and funerals), they turned to the Catholic Church. They also had a Catholic understanding of Christianity, which they tended to bring to life (Buffalo, a highly liberal Democratic place, was and is post-Christian and largely antagonistic to anything more than a moderate amount of faith - anything more is commonly seen as zealotry). And, too, “lapsed Catholics” tend to remain tied to the Catholic Church if they don’t embrace another belief through their family ties. Overall, there is an undeniable connection between heavily Catholic (or Catholic heritage, if you will) areas and voting Democrat, just as there is between heavily evangelical areas and voting Republican.
It’s true that non-church going Catholics voted for Obama but this is precisely why it shouldn’t be said that “Catholics voted for Obama” because this implies that true, real Catholics (the ones who obey all church teaching) also voted for him.
However as you correctly pointed out, so many who really aren’t Catholic consider themselves so, and these did indeed vote for him as well as anything “Democrat” really. Sadly the need for social justice has supplanted all other church teaching in the minds of such people. Many are also big union types.
It’s so difficult to actually demonstrate this division that I’ve given up fighting when people say “Catholics voted for Obama” because ultimately, to a non-Catholic, who’s to say they are wrong? A Catholic like me? It comes across as self-serving, ultimately, to those who are not willing to believe there can be people who claim to be Catholic to their last dying breath. But in reality are not.
Just know though, that to true Catholics the claim and the reality behind it are equally abhorrent.
Well, respectfully, I think you’re missing the point. Say, for instance, if those people only think they’re Catholic, as you say, is that their fault, or are they not getting certain truths from your church? Isn’t it the case that if Nancy Pelosi and Ted Kennedy can be Catholics in good standing, that if they hold similar beliefs they should be able to be, too? Also, there’s your liberal, abortion-supporting nuns and people like Father Pfleger in Chicago. Like Paul wrote, “a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.” To the Catholic Church, Nancy Pelosi is a part of the body of Christ, but Christians who believe the whole Bible and believe in the Gospel, aren’t.
I think a number of things about this column, and the Brown shooting and the aftermath. Above all, I believe what Proverbs says about the Lord hating when, knowingly, the innocent are convicted and the guilty are set free. In the Trayvon Martin case, the media coverage and even some of the government actions taken were so unjust that it almost made it too difficult to sort out the actual facts. I spent a lot of time on the internet talking to people, or trying to, about the facts of the case because I was concerned about all the misinformation being put out.
But also because I’m a Christian and believe the Lord requires me to pursue justice to the best of my ability, I have to say that there is quite a lot of open racism on the right, which comes out whenever something like this happens. I was disappointed to see WorldNetDaily, for example, which I respect quite a lot, also engage in some racism by offering as one choice in a poll on who is to blame in Ferguson, “the little white police department.”
All the racism I see on the right troubles me because in recent years I’ve gotten to know many black people on a personal level and some are good friends. That only happened fairly recently, though, because I lived in Buffalo, NY, most of my life, and it is also is a very segregated place, like St. Louis County is said to be. New York State has the most segregated schools in the country, which also means segregated neighborhoods, and that was my experience. I grew up in one of the suburbs, with just a few black children and no Hispanics that I recall, and until I was 36 (I’m 44 now), I never knew one black or Hispanic person on a personal level. I still might not, but the Lord threw me into such difficulties that I collected public assistance for a time and then went to work in a couple of factory jobs, and also couldn’t afford a car so I needed to take the bus. But I’m very grateful for those difficulties that the Lord had me go through, because otherwise I believe I would now have the type of life which my university education and the life I’d started to live as a lesbian would be expected to lead to.
And from the changes brought by my difficulties I also began to meet and get to know many black people, including some of them closely, as I said. I also have moved to the Bible belt, to one of the most integrated states. In fact, I’m writing right now from a very nice library in the “black section” of town, where both the patrons and staff are a racial mix, and every time I’m here I see white soccer moms with young children, so they can’t be afraid of coming here. And I started coming to this library without knowing at first that the surrounding neighborhood was predominantly black. I take the bus but didn’t pay attention to the scenery, and the side streets the bus goes down would look to a white person from Buffalo to be white suburbs, yet I can confirm now that most people I see living in the area are black. And in all my daily dealings lately with black people, including many at work, I haven’t detected that they want to or do harbor resentment and rage against white people for what happened in Missouri. I would not say that race is no longer an issue here, but the personal relationships between people of different races that most people seem to have certainly discourage both blacks and white from being hostile to friends of a different skin color because of what happened in Missouri. Or another way to put it is that as far as I’ve seen a great many people do just look at things as involving race in one way or another, but that it’s more important to look at people as individuals.
So, as a Christian who has gotten to know and care about a lot of black people, I hope the truth is established in Missouri, but know the Lord will take care of it, and I hope and pray that Christians who are white will also stop tolerating racism, because I know it isn’t right and is a most unchristian way to treat other people.
He was 18. Old enough to enlist and be sent into harm's way. Just like many other 18 year old have been. I don't see her going on about their deaths. The brave young men we've lost protecting our freedom, protecting the rights of the rioters and looters and those making fools of themselves over a dead thug. Those brave young men weren't children. Neither was this thug.
White Catholics vote in roughly the same way as White Mainline (non-Evangelical) Protestants. They were a little less for McCain and a little more for Romney, but neither group actually favored Obama. In other words, Catholics who've been here a while have assimilated and vote pretty much the same way as their Protestant neighbors do.
Seeing the son you raised turn into violent thug.
As *old line*, *mainstream* Protestants do. Evangelicals are MUCH more conservative.
Yes, but years ago there weren’t that many Evangelicals living where Catholics did. All that came as something of a surprise when Carter got elected in the 70s. Of course a lot has changed since then — people moved around more, Evangelicals became a more prominent part of American life — but basically, where I live, Catholics came to mirror the views of the largely mainstream non-Evangelical Protestants they lived among. So opinions like the writer’s aren’t a Catholic so much as an American, or if you like, a “Blue state” thing.
And I have one more thought to add as well. For awhile now I’ve been wondering if the divide between Catholics and other Christians has anything to do with racial segregation in our country. It doesn’t need to be said that most black people aren’t Catholic and there are relatively few Catholics in the U.S. who are. As I said, I come from Buffalo, which is 77% Catholic and highly segregated, and if you look at heavily Catholic areas racial segregation also seems high. The Northeast in general has been reported to have the most segregated schools, and is highly Catholic. Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, all well-known for their “ghettoes” but also highly Catholic and highly segregated. This incident happened in St. Louis County, which is the highly Catholic part of a state that isn’t highly Catholic. And Obama won St. Louis County yet it’s said to be highly segregated. In Baton Rouge, Louisiana, another highly Catholic area, some white citizens are trying to break away from it in order to form a city that’s mostly white for the sake of schools.
The questions I’ve had, then, is if the divide between Catholics and other Christians has contributed to racial segregation, and if so, how has it and how much has it. I’m an evangelical Christian who believes that the Catholic Church is in the wrong on a number of things, but my beliefs on Catholic doctrine aren’t the way in which these questions came up for me. During the 2012 election, some liberals starting talking about racism in the South as Rick Santorum started winning there, and the liberals talking about it included people at the Guardian, who seemed to think that racism in America was a Southern thing. I did some digging then and found the U.K. itself is over 90% white, and also started looking at Northern racism, and how much of it exists in strongly Democratic states. Now more recently I’ve looked at segregation in highly Catholic areas, that also happen to be strongly Democratic areas.
There’s a fluff story floating around that goes through the 50 states naming the top four religious traditions. Pretty much any state where mainstream Protestants and Catholics are over-represented (compared with national averages) leans Democrat to varying degrees.
Like it or not, America’s Progressive tradition is an outgrowth of Protestant Christian spiritual ‘Great Awakenings’. Catholicism, by definition, doesn’t leave much room for a spiritually-based change in social outlook.
I listen to Catholic radio quite a bit and the other day it was Patrick Madrid, I believe, who said that probably during the 70’s most of the American Catholic leadership were Democrats. It would not surprise me, though, if many today were also. And the Catholic Church has also embraced the world much more than evangelicals have, although with evangelicals that’s changing for the worse now, too. Catholicism rejects Genesis as history and believes in evolution, and instead of the Bible as moral guide it has believed in looking at things to determine right and wrong. So if a Hollywood movie carries antichristian messages and values throughout it but manages to have a worldly good defeats evil message, the Catholic church will approve of it. You are also hard-pressed to find spiritual counseling because one’s problems are thought to be psychological in nature, and the spiritual is only thought of as a last resort, if that. Catholics are also not a tiny minority in America but the largest denomination and in a great many places the largest by numbers when Christians are considered according to Catholics, mainline Protestants, and evangelicals.
One recent poll dealt with what cities were most and least Bible-minded, and that heavily corresponded to Republican and Democratic areas.
If ‘Bible-minded’ means evangelical, yes indeed.
The reality is that we’ve reached a point where only a very specific belief in Biblical morality can even yield common sense. The culture no longer conveys any such sense indirectly.
The culture simply worships mere naked power without thought of transcendent right and wrong.
According to survey, they asked people if they had read the Bible in the last week, and if they strongly believed that the principles in the Bible were true. Based on that, the South was the most Bibleminded, and I believe something like the top ten were all there. The Northeast was the was the worst, with some cities at 10% and they had most if not all of the top ten least Bibleminded. New York City, maybe the most influential city in the world, was at 18.8% (I just went and refreshed my memory on this). Next on the least Bibleminded was the West, and the Barna group report on the study says there was an “outlier” with Cedar Rapids, Iowa, also scoring extremely low. Looking at the religious profile of the city, though, the low score isn’t surprising: Catholic 40.8%, United Methodist 13.1 , Evangelical Lutheran Church of America 9.9, Lutheran Church 5.6, Presbyterian Church (USA) 5.0.
Without knowing the study’s methodology, New York City may not be as low as expected because of the high concentration of religious Jews.
Would reading the Koran count?
She assumes “facts” not in evidence, ignores or down plays other “facts” that don't fit the narrative she apparently desires.
We don't know whether or not the officer is guilty of inappropriate use of force. That is a decision belonging only to the jury who hears the case.
She is violating one of the first principles of civil rights: the presumption of innocence. The officer and the dead man are both presumed innocent at this point.
Rumor and counter rumor are not evidence. I'll wait for the real trial, not this media circus.