On Ferguson – The System Isn’t Broken, It Was Built This Way

25 Nov

I have an uncle who was a cop.

His kids, my cousins, were around my age and when we visited our family in Québec every summer I practically lived at their house. As soon as we got to my grandmother’s house, all rumpled and grumpy from our eight hour drive, I would start dialling my cousins’ number on her beige rotary phone. I spent the whole damn school year waiting for summer, and my time with my cousins, to come; we wrote each other letters all through the dreary winter, hatching plans for new summer exploits. Life with my cousins – swimming in their pool, family barbecues, playing hide-and-seek in my grandmother’s mammoth hedge at twilight – was lightyears better than my boring life in Ontario.

Pretty much every summer my uncle would, at some point, take us to visit the police station. He would pretend that we were criminals and take our fingerprints, maybe a pretend mugshot. He would let us explore the holding cells they had at the station; I remember being utterly fascinated by them – bare blank rooms in miniature, each with its own personal toilet and sink. One time I lingered so long that he threatened to lock me in if I didn’t come out soon. I said that was fine, and asked what the prisoners were going to have for dinner. I wasn’t afraid. I had no reason to be afraid.

Like most white people, I grew up with the idea that the cops are on my side. Over and over again, I was told that the police were here to protect me. As a little kid, I was told that if I was ever lost or in danger, the first person I should try to find was a police officer. I was taught that this is the system; I was taught that the system was here to take care of me.

What I was never taught was that the system takes care of white people like me first, and everyone else second. If at all.

I’ve been trying to figure out over the past few months how white people can be so blindly outraged over the events that have unfolded in Ferguson. It’s honestly baffling that they can argue that it’s fine for a police officer to fire six shots at an unarmed man because he maybe stole some cigars and also wasn’t walking on the sidewalk. I’m in awe at the vast mental gymnastics required to believe that there’s nothing wrong with a cop shooting an unarmed man six times in “self-defence.” The same goes for white reactions to the cases of Trayvon Martin, John Crawford III, Tamir Rice, and countless other young Black men who have been murdered for no reason. I’ve lived a privileged enough life that the white responses to these crimes still shock me; I know that for Black folks, these responses are just par for the course. I can’t even wrap my head around what it would feel like for this spew of racist hate to just be part of another average day – and that’s my privilege showing right there.

White people have been taught for their entire lives to believe in the system. The system is civilization; the system is democracy, the courts of law, the way the state cares for and supports us. We’ve been told over and over that the system is what allows us to live safely, free from fear. But every time something like Ferguson happens, we white folks see glimpses of how completely fucked the system is. And those glimpses terrify the shit out of us, because they shake the foundation of every bit of patriotic jingoism that’s been crammed down our throats since day one.

A popular belief among progressive white people is that the system is broken, but it’s absolutely not. It was built this way; it was built to prioritize the safety and security of white people over everyone else. The way the system works is by oppressing Black people and other people of colour. As Ta-Nehisi Coates said at a recent talk that I attended, “the machine is running as intended.” The very foundations of the American economy are based on the enslavement of Black people. Throughout American (and Canadian) history, there are so many examples of state-sponsored marginalization and oppression of people of colour. These examples continue today – just look at the overrepresentation of Black men in prisons. This is the fucking system – this is how it is meant to run. We don’t need to “fix” the system, because it’s operating exactly the way it should be. What we need is to completely overthrow it and start again from scratch.

I have friends who have Black sons, and today, as they struggle through grief and pain and fear, they are trying to figure out how to make sure that their son isn’t the next Mike Brown or Trayon Martin. They want to know what they have to tell their kids in order to keep them safe. I wish I had some kind of answer for them, but of course I don’t – both because I’m white and this is so far outside of my realm of personal experience that I am absolutely not in a place to give advice, and also because there are no answers. The only way to ensure these boys’ safety would be for them to be white – and that’s both an impossible and terrible response. There is nothing about this situation that doesn’t feel impossible and terrible – and, again, that’s me as a white person saying that, and I can’t even imagine the depth of horror Black communities are experiencing right now.

We – and by “we”, I mean white people who want to be allies – need to take action. We need to de-centre ourselves, and start promoting Black voices. We need to, in the parlance of social justice circles, take a fucking seat. We need to take a whole goddamn chair factory’s worth of seats. We need to listen, and then we need to turn around and share what we’ve learned with other white people. We need to let Black people lead, and we need to learn to be good followers. We created this broken  system, and now we need to humbly help build a better, fairer system.

Because maybe even right now my friend is sitting her three year old son down and telling him that he can’t always trust the police. Meanwhile, some white kid with a cop for an uncle is being taught that a police station is a neat place to visit and a fun place to play. The only difference between those two kids is the colour of their skin. And that is both incredibly fucked up and also exactly how this machine was designed to run.

Below are some excellent pieces by Black writers. If you are white, please take some time to go through it and educate yourself. That is our job right now. If you have any other articles (or blog posts, or videos, or whatever) by Black writers or activists, please share the links in the comments and I will include them in this list.

The Case for Reparations by Ta-Nehisi Coates

About Ferguson, White Allies and Speaking Up When It Matters by Awesomely Luvvie 

America’s Not Here For Us by A’Driane Nieves

A Letter to My Unborn Black Son by George Johnson

Youth Are on the Frontlines in Ferguson, and They Refuse to Back Down by Muna Mire

If There Are Good Cops Out There, Prove It by Albert L. Butler

APTOPIX Police Shooting Missouri

277 Responses to “On Ferguson – The System Isn’t Broken, It Was Built This Way”

  1. Clyde Lied November 28, 2014 at 4:59 am #

    “It Was Built This Way” Interesting, it reminds me of thoughts I’ve had recently – that the black singers who use the N word so so often are doing-so bc that’s how they really feel deep inside; it’s becoming automatic (just like their ancestors in chains), only this time the chains are invisible, indivisible. And who is really in control of this other than the predominantly white/rich – we who can afford the luxeries of daydreaming, war-by-proxy, & assumptions of safety?
    I don’ think “start[ing] again” is plausible. We aren’t on “the inside” any more than Joe Wong in a Singapore gutter. When you personally have about 19 million follwers 1,000-of-which are in government/Fortune-500 leadership who aren’t in-it to spy on you, then I think that can be said. We just aren’t relevant to those in power; except to twist our “rights” or “votes” or children into another of their profit-churning gears.

    “We need to listen, and…” !

  2. jacktrismegistus November 28, 2014 at 6:17 am #

    Dope read… Only way to break any system is from the inside out…

  3. shamesembrace November 28, 2014 at 7:53 am #

    Reblogged this on Soul with Science.

  4. johnberk November 28, 2014 at 4:54 pm #

    This traumatic experience in American history is the only predecessor to a bigger change that has to come. Nowadays, power is in the hands of police and military. Only hundred of years ago, we used to be our own protectors, relying much more on our communities. As bloodandthunder points out in his/her comment, we gave away all of our power to the hands of people we can no longer trust. They have NSA, drones, machine guns, sniper rifles, training and secret agents all around. And it is not fair, because instead of protecting us, they harm innocent people. No, it is not about color. It is not about whites killing blacks. We are on the same boat for a long time. Yet we feel bad about it. Why? I do not know…

  5. thefashionistgrail November 28, 2014 at 6:02 pm #

    Change starts with oneself

  6. talesofthechair November 28, 2014 at 9:36 pm #

    Did the officer shoot the boy brvzuae he was on his knees praying or reading his Bible. I don’t condone police abuse. Do know much about this story except that the guy tried to take the gun away from the cop. If you run up on a cop what do you think is going happen? I would be more mad if the guy was doing volunteer work, good deeds or saving a cat from a burning fire then he got shot. We need to stop playing the victim role and take responsibility for out actions. Each action we take cause a negative or positive feed back. The sky is the limit the choice us yours.

  7. talesofthechair November 28, 2014 at 9:37 pm #

    Sorry for my typos..I type from my cell.

  8. Changemate November 28, 2014 at 11:16 pm #

    Chicken?? :)😄
    http://www.progress4u.wordpress.com

  9. MYDOCVU November 29, 2014 at 12:12 am #

    Hi,
    You have made an excellent point. Sometimes, these issues are not about an individual Officer, but a system that was built on certain ideology, and when the society moved on or attempting to, it is hard to catchup for many who are not willing to change. Nice to see healthy discussions, and all will not agree because of our own experiences, trainings, and other things that makes each of us unique. Here is one of my take on the subject on a previous post. http://mydocvu.com/2014/08/30/to-serve-and-protect/

  10. brutuslll November 29, 2014 at 3:12 am #

    At what point in your life did you begin to feel guilty for being white? Stop providing false rhetoric to support the broken mindset of those you are attempting to support. You chose to omit the fact that Brown attacked Wilson in his vehicle. Why is that?

    • MYDOCVU November 29, 2014 at 6:22 pm #

      BrutusIII
      Just checking in again here on this interested blog, and you do not need to feel guilty for being a Whiteman: nor should I feel any less for being black. I do not walk down the street and every Caucasian I ran into, I say “daaaam, “there go my parents slave master?” In fact, many of us are more incline to say, “how’s life and things going?” However, if you get that look now and again even from your own, as if what the hell you are doing here, more than likely often one will have reflections of the past. I am not blaming you because you cannot be held accountable for decades of others issues. See where I am heading with this. Don’t skip out on me here!

      Now! The point why we are here. Again, you have a solid point, ..stay with me BrutusIII, …..that the young-man might have attacked the officer and dependents on who you believe, and then that become an upgraded use and level of force. Furthermore, an officer has to make decisions based on the situation he or she faces. [Perception vs. reality}….. The conversation is not simple about the Youngman’s death from my perspective, but an attempt to minimize what is perceived as culture, or an atmosphere not created by Officer Wilson, or many of his current team, but the history that made him more prone to see blacks and other cultures more of a threat than a troubled Youngman.

      I’ve read and seen where even in the U.K. the Irish, and Hippies were viewed as peasants, but laws forced, with heavy fines changed that attitude. Sure, criminals must be held accountable, we agree so here!
      Now: Both are over 6 feet, over 250lbs, but to Officer Wilson, he looked to him like Hulk Hogan and looked evil. Do we have a manual for evil look? Therefore, he has to be Randy Savage as they are pretty much the same size. Moreover, the question that has created this debate, and you perhaps see it as them vs.us, but it is not the case in many of these situations. It is much bigger…. Republican vs. Democrats fits that model… Many are simple trying to forge a union where some can have at least a few carrots even when a stick could be used.

      I could go and call your comment “whatever,” but I get it, and that limits my thought in getting to understand your point. Also many of us will not see things the same way; subconsciously because we all have certain biases from different upbringings and exposure.

      The good thing, you and I can agree to disagree, and where we find common ground, let explore, and not get in to isolation based on our race, or class, because that only takes us to what we are trying to change or make better for a more perfect union.

      Let us face it. this is home, and we have to and a way merge on the highway because you and many others cannot back-up. Feel free to challenge my views. I always like to learn more about how my own biases can be formed, and willing to fix it.

      Oh! Here is a better one. I am not gay, http://mydocvu.com/2014/11/19/611/ but have written a long essay in supporting them, and I believe the rule of law is not debatable; its application is where many are still gray.

  11. brutuslll November 29, 2014 at 3:17 am #

    amen

  12. teamaleena November 29, 2014 at 4:00 am #

    Im sorry, but i must disagree with your post.
    I am npt sure where or how you grew up, but I grew up in the lower class neighborhoods with other lower class people, both black and white. I am of mixed race, both black and white. As a young teenager, I ran into a lot of problems with the police, NOT because of race, but because I continued to do stuff that I knew was against the law. I thankfully grew out of that, but growing up in those neighborhoods, I had plenty of white friends and plenty of black friends. I had black friends who ran into trouble repeatedly with the police, not because they were singles out, but because they were doing stuff that they KNEW they shouldn’t have been doing. I also had black friends who stayed away from stupid stuff and in return have NEVER had any kind of run in or “racial profiling” from the police. I had white friends who were continuously in and out of jail/prison because they did not know how to act right and get it together. My fiance was one of those white friends, he thankfully grew out of it and is now a successful electrician, but he also has a HUGE scar on the back of his head from an incident with police. Him, myself, two of our black male friends and a white female friend were pulled over one night by police for speeding. The police proceeded to search all of us and our vehicle, the men were making snide comments towards the police. One officer was white, One Asian and the other was black. Nothing was found on us or in our vehicle. My fiance made a comment about them not finding anything and that it probably made them mad, the rest of us laughed at the comment. We were all told to stop laughing and he was asked to repeat his comment. One of the black males with us told them that they could not stop us from laughing and my fiance repeated his comment. ALL THREE police offers proceeded to BEAT my WHITE fiance until he could no longer stand, the Black officer busted his head open with a baton and then they turned to us laughing and told us that was something to laugh about. There was no punishment for the officers. There was also no outrage from the community. If it would have been one of the black males, people would have said it was racism. Things like this happen to white people ALL the time!!!! I know plenty of them from both races.

    Do NOT get me wrong. The officer should have been punished in some way no matte what the true circumstances were, but it is NOT all about whites against blacks. Those are just the only stories we ever get to hear.

    As a mixed race person, I can see it from both ways. But lets be honest, if it would have been a black officer that shot and killed a white boy (which happens all the time), we would not be having riots and all of this other stuff.

    It is not one sided. There are racists out there, but it isn’t just whites on blacks. Being mixed, I have seen PLENTY of whites be racist towards myself and other, but I have had just as many blacks be racist towards myself and others. It is most DEFINITELY a two way street!

    • emmx2013 December 7, 2014 at 12:08 am #

      Thanks for adding your first hand perspective.
      We sometimes have problems with the system,
      and sometimes with our citizens.
      Sometimes with both as we are now.
      Evelyn
      Here’s to Your Health!
      evelynmmaxwell.com

  13. Sagnik Sarkar November 29, 2014 at 7:35 am #

    Very well-said. I agree with you.

  14. Sahara November 29, 2014 at 5:08 pm #

    Hey – I want to let you know I nominated you for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award. Here’s some more info about it and what to do, should you choose to accept it:

    http://creosomnium.org/2014/11/28/3978/

    Even if you don’t accept, it’s a pleasure to be a blogger with you. 🙂

  15. gadgetroid November 29, 2014 at 8:27 pm #

    Yeah, that’s always the case in most governments. The discrimination is always there. Despite all the bs we sprout about equality and shit, it never happens…

    Linked this on my site’s Weekend Reads : http://peppersncloves.com/latest/weekend-read-5/

  16. hemphaus November 29, 2014 at 9:15 pm #

    Awesome post!

    HempHausMag.com

  17. creachmichel2014 November 30, 2014 at 1:28 am #

    Theriault, you’re a chicken,I’m the EGG

  18. astheclay November 30, 2014 at 3:39 am #

    It is very sad. The system which serves to protect, is the very thing we need protection from.

  19. brijeshyadav19 November 30, 2014 at 2:12 pm #

    OMG!!! Everyone is one soul,the packet is different but the product is same.
    Om Om Om Om……….!

  20. brijeshyadav19 November 30, 2014 at 2:14 pm #

    Lots of bloggers have written a new length blog inside a blog…….lolzzz!

  21. mbazinaw24 November 30, 2014 at 2:36 pm #

    Its not an issue of race, its an issue of up bringing people.. come on

  22. mbazinaw24 November 30, 2014 at 2:55 pm #

    We are equal in sense of humanity, but we are not equal in our up-bringings.

    From the statistics point of view, if you look from the beginning of our nation, blacks being treated poorly and ruthlessly. They were raised in a rough enviroment, broken homes and family’s same as today. I believe more so than whites. To the human mind most of the time people are influenced by the things they cannot escape, which in that enviroment becomes reality for them. If you were brought up in a broken city and broken home, the chances are much higher to develop such hatred and follow the other people making poor mistakes.

    What im trying to point out is the reason statitistics may point at blacks as the race with higher percentage of crime rate it is not due to the color of their skin but the up-bringings they have endured.

  23. shivaamina November 30, 2014 at 5:33 pm #

    Reblogged this on shivaamina and commented:
    Everyone should read this

  24. creachmichel2014 November 30, 2014 at 6:15 pm #

    My dad was a french cop,in 1962 ,and he hadn’t again ,the police’s revolver,but now ,they have ,but I’understand what you think about the system ;you know,I’m sur ,that is not ,the american’s people faute ,because ,it was a long time,when the pilgrim came, he white people was taking like a superior person,a jewish person ,but ,he was wrong,I think! ,Tell me, or,take 2 minutes to think about this ;if you take ,a brain, whaever the skin ,he has blak,or white, ,the brain will respond in a same way both of them, because ,when you learn a little bit ,the Europe ‘s history ,you have to know ,that ,the people ,who are really ,but really racist ,and they came from, a lot of them ,low Holland, ,are Jewishs ,but ,I’m not ,anti-semite ,not for this moment (,but I’ begin to become ,when ,I’saw ,what ,they do to my country ,because the last president called SARKOZY,was a Fucking’big liar and he is jewish ,and I ,and we believed in him like in GOD ,almost !!! ,so ,,that is the reason ,why ,I’ begin to become a anti-semite personne,) history,now ;some jews goes to great Britain(,around,the 17éme Century) ,they were remove in ,and after some of them ,they were stay in US A,later they form the famous kkk(cotton club), but the other are going to Africa, A handful of non-practising Jews – Dutch, German and English – settled in South Africa. They were employees of the company of the Cape of good hope founded in 1652.,a lot of people believe ,because,are white,they are supérior,the system jewish is like thatthey are superior, the system is like that jewish On August 22, 1654, Jacob Barsimson, which had received, July 8, 1654 agenda of his employer, the Dutch East India Company to go to the Amsterdam’s the first Jew to be landed on the territory of what would become the United States1. It is Dutch. And,then ,why,the jewish people ,who came the holland ,germany,who are from USA,and Africa,are really ,and really racist,and the systém is unfortunatly yours.

  25. fitwomanforlife November 30, 2014 at 6:47 pm #

    the fact still remains that there was enough aggressive behavior to cause the cop to defend himself. should he have used a gun? Maybe not. But…I wasn’t there. I can’t say for sure. None of us can. I believe that police cams are the way to go. They’re the future. There would be no question if this was being used. We’d all know the absolute truth. And, if you watch the Wilson interview with George Stephanopolous – I am sorry if I misspelled his name I didn’t take the time to search it out – you’ll hear Wilson agree that the police cam would’ve answered any questions here.

  26. bloggerfortheworld November 30, 2014 at 7:27 pm #

    PREACH

  27. faeryfaun November 30, 2014 at 8:37 pm #

    Reblogged this on thyme4you.

  28. fernandamaranon November 30, 2014 at 8:46 pm #

    Reblogged this on fernandamaranon.

  29. Summer December 1, 2014 at 1:31 am #

    I’m sorry, but what the hell?

    It is not okay for any person, white or black, to start riots just because they’re upset. They’re destorying businesses just because the trial outcome wasn’t what they wanted. If they’re really that upset they can go into a crime job or something. They can change things. Everyone knows in America if you’re black you’re just about garunteed free college. No one is holding them back except for themselves. I’m white but I have honestly been put down more by black people rather than the other way around. Especially, when I’m doing nothing wrong. I protected my pregnant friend from getting jumped in a school bathroom. Guess who got suspended? Definitely not the 300lb black girl who beat me. Similar thing happened in middle school (different state too). I defended someone and got absolutely beat. Nothing happened to her because she was “unprivilged and poor.” Both girls were black and attacking people who were white. I apologise though, I shouldn’t be upset. I’m white. That automatically means I’m the problem.

    • imagine525 December 1, 2014 at 6:08 pm #

      I think you have had very bad experiences in life. Black and white people all have there advantages and disadvantages. But over all it is a privilege to be white. It sounds shitty to say that and yea its unfair because you have no choice over your race of ethnicity. But if your white you have more privileges then any other race.

      • Summer December 2, 2014 at 12:30 am #

        Which is why white people get free college right? White people also get preference before anyone else too right? Oh wait, no we don’t.

      • imagine525 December 2, 2014 at 2:43 am #

        I’m sorry I don’t know where your from but I don’t know any black person that gets college for free because they are black. They work just as hard as us. And yes, white people do get preference before anyone else. It is a privilege to be white. Whites have a greater opportunity in the labor market because of history in which whites have the privilege to gain more money then people of color. And when has a white had to worry about racial profiling? The fact that white privilege exists and that all whites have access to various aspects of it, does not, however, mean that all whites are wealthy, or that in competitions for jobs and other opportunities, whites will always win. The fact of general advantage doesn’t require unanimity of outcomes favoring whites. In certain situations, other factors will effect the distribution of opportunities: among these, socioeconomic status, sex, gender, sexual orientation, religious identity, age, or physical disability. There are, after all, also such things as class privilege, male privilege, straight privilege. Whites are the dominant group and minorities are compared to them. February is black history month, and yes there is no white history month because basically every other month is white history month. White privilege is so ingrained, and normalized, that this is something that is ignored. Please tell me again, how being white isn’t a privilege. This isn’t something to be proud of but it’s the truth.

      • Summer December 2, 2014 at 9:22 pm #

        I live in Kentucky. In my state you can go to any of the big universities or community colleges for free, if you’re black. In workplaces black people are hired and promoted much more than anyone else, no matter how hard they work. And my race has been pointed out and made fun of so much more than any other race. I have been made fun of so much for having white skin. That’s probably just where I live though. I lived in Miami before and it really wasn’t like that at all. White people were the minority and no one pointed out race. Everyone was equal.
        I honestly don’t think white people get preferences. I’m sure it depends on where you live though.

      • imagine525 December 3, 2014 at 2:08 am #

        ok so in Kentucky whites make up 88.5% of the population. Blacks make up 8.2%, there are .3% of native Americans, 1.3% of Asians, and 3.3% Hispanics. So, with 4,395,295 people in Kentucky with 88.5% of the people being white, your going to say your getting unfair treatment?

      • Summer December 3, 2014 at 3:45 am #

        I live in a county with a high percentage of blacks, last time I checked whites made up 50% of the town. It all depends on where you live. And I only think whites are being treated unfairly because minorities get priority over a lot of things. If people want to be equal they should be on the same level, not raised up.

      • imagine525 December 3, 2014 at 3:06 pm #

        ok well I didn’t give you the percentage for your town because I Don’t know where you live. I gave you the percentages for the WHOLE state. I’m sorry I don’t believe what you are trying to push. Poll: 59% of Democrats Say Criminal Justice System Treats White Americans More Fairly Than Minorities, 62% of Republicans Say System Treats All Equally…..So your political view does effect how you see the world believe it or not. So, I’m going to go with the idea that your part of the 62%. You have this perception out there that whites are no longer in control or the majority. Whites are the new minority group.” Call it racial jujitsu: A growing number of white Americans are acting like a racially oppressed majority. They are adopting the language and protest tactics of an embattled minority group. A recent Public Religion Research Institute poll found 44% of Americans surveyed identify discrimination against whites as being just as big as bigotry aimed at blacks and other minorities. The notion that many white Americans feel anxious about their race is not new. Today, however, economic anxieties are feeding those racial fears,

      • Summer December 3, 2014 at 3:56 pm #

        I didn’t see the point in reading your entire reply. Especially since you’re making judgements on my political views or whatever. I wouldn’t say I’m a Republican or Democrat. I make decisions based on rationality. And that logic says people need to get over the idea of racism. If you’re a respectable person people wont dislike you. If you’re an idiot well, no one will like you. The black sub culture has this idea that white people owe them something. So it’s not racism, it’s people not liking their ideas. When most black people in the US have those ideas towards white people, us white people aren’t going to be completely willing to trust them until we get to know them.
        I’ve known plenty of black people who are much better off than any white person. They’re doing better because they’re not lazy and wanting handouts.

      • imagine525 December 3, 2014 at 5:41 pm #

        Don’t even reply if you aren’t going to read my whole response.

      • Summer December 3, 2014 at 6:04 pm #

        America is a free country.

      • imagine525 December 3, 2014 at 6:18 pm #

        Yes it is. its free country were NONE should have to discrimination or racism. The color of someones skin should not be the determinant of whether they are a good person or not. The equality of all humans should be one of the most fundamental principles embedded in the moral frameworks and legal systems of civilised societies. Equality is denied when discrimination occurs. Widespread discrimination can lead to intolerance and conflict, because, unsurprisingly, those who are discriminated against object to being treated as second-class citizens. Your immaturity and ignorance shows.

      • Summer December 3, 2014 at 6:21 pm #

        I see no real discrimination in America. Minorities are given more chances to excel than white people. Sure you have the few people who dislike them but that happens for everyone. No one is ever going to be completely set in life.

        Now please shut up with the insults. It’s getting really old.

      • imagine525 December 3, 2014 at 10:07 pm #

        The only insulsts I see are coming from you.
        Have a nice day.

      • Summer December 3, 2014 at 10:39 pm #

        Thank you. 🙂

      • imagine525 December 4, 2014 at 3:44 am #

        And to go along more with the unfairness. You see the top news story today? A unarmed black man killed by a white cop by a chock hold (which is band by the police department) the death was ruled a homicide. And you know what that cop gets to go free..

      • Summer December 4, 2014 at 5:02 am #

        Cool story. Sounds interesting.

      • Tiffany N. York December 2, 2014 at 4:47 am #

        Surely you’re kidding, right? If a white person and a black person both apply for a job and are equally qualified, who do you think will get the job–esp. if it’s a government or county job? It’s the same with applying for college. In fact, if a black person has lesser scores, they will probably still get in over the white person because there’s a “quota” to fill. Yeah, that sounds real fair to me.

      • imagine525 December 2, 2014 at 5:23 pm #

        oh my gosh really!? you seriously think that they will get the job? no their is studies on that to. “Job applicants with white names needed to send about 10 resumes to get one callback; those with African-American names needed to send around 15 resumes to get one callback.”

        A job applicant with a name that sounds like it might belong to an African-American – say, Lakisha Washington or Jamal Jones – can find it harder to get a job. Despite laws against discrimination, affirmative action, a degree of employer enlightenment, and the desire by some businesses to enhance profits by hiring those most qualified regardless of race, African-Americans are twice as likely as whites to be unemployed and they earn nearly 25 percent less when they are employed. so really? They aren’t doing better then us, they doing worse and we aren’t any better off.

    • katherinejlegry December 2, 2014 at 2:08 pm #

      Hi Summer…
      You mentioned you get put down especially when you are doing nothing wrong… (That’s what this article is about in a way. That’s what happens to black people. It’s what they live and breathe. Being put down especially when they are doing nothing wrong.) Before commenting to you, I checked out your blog to see where you were writing from… and I understand that you do not believe in racism and feel that people need to “suck it up.”

      So I want to break your language down a little and take a look at your ideas… and where your thinking is not serving you well…

      If you do not believe in racism you are in fact, doing something wrong, ESPECIALLY. And you will be unaware of what social cues you are giving off, ESPECIALLY. People who do not believe that racism exists or feel that it’s over, naturally invite hostility. And you can act confused or indignant about that but that’s more self-protective than honest.

      “No one is holding them back except for themselves” you wrote. By not even validating or recognizing the existence of racism, you are holding everybody back. Because that means we can’t have an honest conversation. We can not move forward if we don’t first recognize the problems. And just because you don’t see the problems experienced of others, does not mean the problems are not real. It means you are in denial.

      You can choose to see your individual experiences from a higher plane. For example, your parents and teachers did not validate your voice as a child if you were beaten on a school campus and subsequently ignored. The black students involved were kids too and although there should be zero tolerance for violence in schools, the black students needed guidance just as you did. Obviously you were all being neglected if you were defending a pregnant teenager and beaten with no recourse. There should have been sex education and condoms passed out, multicultural lesson plans, and diversity workshops in your school. There should have been guidance counsellors and peer help lines and parent-teacher meetings. There should have mentors. There should have been activities requiring team work so you could meet in the right way. I’m sorry you didn’t get the school experiences you all deserved. It’s too bad the adults around you failed and instead helped foster racism rather than deconstruct it.

      College and university aren’t affordable for anyone anymore. There really are very few free rides ever. The only guarantee today is student loans and debt. However, if you want to investigate how it really is for black people and in particular black women you can check out another currently freshly pressed author TressieMC, (I’ve reblogged her if you don’t find her easily in the menu. Her current article is about the riots.) But you should read about what’s happening to colleges and online courses and credential before you say what is what. Her work is really hard to understand sometimes, but if you read her works long enough, she really can teach you about what is happening in technology and education. It’s most unfair to black women (in education) and in terms of jobs, black women are also still paid the least. I’ve been staying as current as possible on this information, so what you have witnessed or experienced is a narrow view, and something personal you are feeling very strong about. But making generalizations the way you have is uninformed and racist. Making generalizations without research is not a good way to discuss anything. It just throws up a passionate opinion and you still feel constant hurt.

      I know you are frightened by the riots you have observed. But be aware that, most of the rioters had nothing to do with the actual protestors and came from outside of Ferguson. Generalizations shouldn’t be cast on the entire black community because of the few people who get the most media attention due to violence.

      • Summer December 2, 2014 at 9:34 pm #

        Honestly, half of what you said made no sense. And I don’t think racism is that big of a deal or problem because I have seen many black people and other minorities do much better than any white person. If you take the time to work hard, your race doesn’t matter. If you’re lazy and think white people should give you handouts, no one is going to respect you. I’m sure it’s different where ever you live but really, racism is not a big deal.

        And the comment about my friend (who I no longer talk to because she’s an idiot) was uncalled for. Yeah I think there should be better sex education classes in schools but who the heck are you to say she was mislead and needed guidance? Yeah I actually do take offense to that, considering I’m young and pregnant. Things happen sometimes but you are not aloud to judge if you do not know the situation. I mean hell! She was 17 and pressured into sex. It’s not like she was 14 and purposely got pregnant.

      • katherinejlegry December 2, 2014 at 11:41 pm #

        Summer…
        It’s important for young moms to know that racism is real so they can help raise sensitive, healthy kids.

        But as you have professed no comprehension skills as of yet, I shall leave your gradual growth and development entirely up to you, encouraged by the fact that there is still time for you to live and learn and eventually wake up.

        Your casual comments about people being lazy and expecting handouts will be taken in the same vein. Your thinking and responses are lazy and not worth consideration.

        Purposefully not getting pregnant is actually easy. And girls should know about that. It’s a skill to understand one’s physical boundaries and wait for emotional preparedness.

      • Summer December 3, 2014 at 3:41 am #

        My answers are half assed because it’s not worth the time and effort to waste hours replying. Now I don’t really think I’m the one with the problem. I’m not making sneaky, rude comments to you… And sure racism exists in places. But it’s really not that big of a deal. If it really is than the people with the problem should deal with it and stop being lazy or throwing tantrums (aka riots).

      • katherinejlegry December 3, 2014 at 9:55 am #

        You are here on this site inputting as a young racist to take your awful little jabs at black people in this discussion.

        You aren’t lending anything helpful by wrongly calling black people lazy.

        If you’d read the links provided by the author, you’d see you are being given an opportunity to learn. To open your mind and heart to others rather than staying in a narrow ugly world where you fear and condemn others.

        I don’t care about your answers, Summer. I’m an adult. And you are not an adult just because you are now a mother. Having a baby doesn’t automatically grant you wisdom to spout ignorant hate speech. Your racist statements have been all thought out for you like talking points you’ve been fed and you are not thinking for yourself yet.

        I’m not a sneaky person, but maybe I am coming across as rude to you. I can see where you’d take it that way. However I find racism beyond RUDE. I find your ignorance hateful on this site. And because you are still incredibly young, I’m trying not to blame you as much as I blame your parents.

        I think pointing this out to you is a loving thing for me to do. Racism hurts. I mean, 18 years is just not enough time to experience what you’ll need to expand on your understanding of humans and humaneness. I realize your isolated experiences have colored your world and you only know how to deal with a limited set of tools, most of which outcast whole groups of people because of where you feel alienated and hurt.

        Being that you are a mother now, the blame will be on you…ready or not. You will carry and be responsible for what you impress upon your child. You will be teaching others how to not like your kid if you continue in your current mindset. As a teacher of children who have experienced isolation due to such parental bullies and racist misguidance, I have witnessed what happens… You are doing an injustice to your child. Racist kids do not end up being the smart kids. They are the brainwashed ones.

        An 18 year old girl speaking about riots as “Throwing Tantrums” needs to be focused on her own parenting classes and childcare classes and stop pretending she has a thing to say about what happened in Ferguson.

      • Summer December 3, 2014 at 4:06 pm #

        I stopped reading after the second sentence.
        I am not racist or hate black people. My sister’s boyfriend is 100% black and I would have to say he’s one of the best people I’ve ever met. But he’s not lazy and doesn’t follow the black sub culture. He doesn’t come from a very good family but he has the motivation to change his situation. He doesn’t expect handouts from anyone. I’ve had plenty of black friends who were the same way. They didn’t expect me to do things for them. They didn’t think it was my job to help them out. So, it’s not me having a problem with skin color but with the culture.
        And the fact that you have to start insulting me shows you are absolutely self-centered and pathetic. Being a mother does’nt make anyone an adult. But don’t you dare say I’m some kind of immature little girl just because you don’t agree with what I say. I’m not calling you any names or saying bad things about you just because we disagree. Although after being insulted I do feel the need to say you’re an idiot. But I only say that because you’re acting like one now.
        So please. Shut your intolerant face. It’s pathetic that you’re so judgmental.

      • katherinejlegry December 3, 2014 at 4:47 pm #

        Good morning Summer,
        I’ve been a little impatient with your immaturity and ignorance, it’s true. And pointing those things out to you isn’t “nice” So it’s definitely making it difficult to talk with you where you’d be willing to listen. You’re right about that… I think by pushing your buttons as a young parent, you can see how it hurts to be boxed in due to prejudice and how your own story is being cancelled out. And that’s what you are doing to black people, but you can’t seem to turn it around so you see your own prejudices.

        And when you call me pathetic, it doesn’t hurt my feelings because I know that what I’m trying to help you with is important. I’m willing to be seen as the bad guy or the bitch on behalf of what is right.

        You are not understanding where people are coming from when you call them “lazy” and waiting for “handouts”. You are not understanding the complexities of a life. There is a history in this country of doing business. You are ignoring or are unaware of what empire is.

        Everyone wants their dignity. Everyone wants to feel respect. No one really wants to rely on handouts. That’s a falsehood.

        The riots are indicative of problems that need to be addressed. Not simply through punishment and back to status quo, but through changes in the structures and institutions that neglect certain communities and that connect to us all.

        Riots happen when we silence people. When we fail to listen. They are an inevitability when there is an imbalance of power. They are not the end all. They are a symptom.

        I am a tolerant person, Summer… I just don’t tolerate racism and bigots very well and I don’t think I’m supposed to be at ease with them.

        Your example of knowing a hardworking black person as proof that you are not a racist makes you emotionally dangerous to that man… I hope he doesn’t buy into your distinctions.

        You sound like you are against poor people or the “ones who need hand outs”. That’s called being a classist. It’s weird how so many poor white people still feel superior to poor black people… but it’s very common due to the competition that has been created to divide the people.

        Anyhow, I am working out my judgments as they surface, so as for “shutting my face”, maybe you can tone your anger down and ask politely if I’d leave you alone as you do not feel like we can relate or connect, instead. I’m really not being rude to you, you’re just feeling attacked… by what is LOVE.

      • Summer December 3, 2014 at 6:02 pm #

        Dear God you are annoying. I’m sorry but for the sake of my sanity I can’t even read another word you write.

        Not only are you insulting me but you’re insulting yourself. You’re not doing any good here. You’re just showing that you’re judgmental and rude. I never showed I was racist or a classist. I just think people, ALL people need to stop expecting things from other people. They need to do the hard work to better themselves.

        I understand the complexities of life just fine. But life doesn’t need to be complex. If you want respect, earn it. No one should get respect for rioting or hurting others.

      • katherinejlegry December 3, 2014 at 6:23 pm #

        Summer… just Hold up YOUR own mirror.

        No one said to respect violence or riots.

        Fully formed humans look at where the anger is in order to understand it. We look at where the pain is in order to address the causes and heal it. We look at our own faults before branding others so casually so that we can become empathetic. We don’t humiliate and shame and guilt and pity in order to control others, we approach them as equals because there is a chance at evolution and bridging gaps in understanding.

        You can live your life simple and stay outside of what is complex for others, but then your discussion of things does’t make sense. You are simple annoyed that other people have problems and you don’t want to hear about it. That means you are privileged and entitled… because you have the luxury of tuning out what you deem unworthy of your attention. You simply do not listen to what doesn’t fit your ideas.

        I find you annoying too. And I’m treating you far more respectfully than you are me.

        So, I’m writing not just to you at this point, and certainly not to annoy you, but that so people can see our exchange… They can see how divided white people are and what about… and if there are ways to find common ground, or where discussion strategies failed, and then everyone can make up their own minds as to who is rude if that’s where they get hung up… or they can determine who is actually trying to bring people together in an atmosphere of respect.

        I’m not in need of your respect. I do not need to earn your respect or convince you of mine. I want you to do your own work, and you’re not even doing it yet because you are unwilling to listen.

        It is not possible for me to insult myself, as you have mentioned, here. A misunderstanding perhaps, and a sloppiness with words maybe… but there can be no “insult”. If I intended harm, I’d be insulting myself. But I’ve never been like that. Anyone who says different is just misunderstanding me or slandering me for their own agenda.

      • Summer December 3, 2014 at 6:31 pm #

        I’ve held up my mirror and I think I look pretty damn good.

        A fully formed human can’t have a discussion with you because you make no sense. I’ve read your other replies to people on here and you’re just as rude to them. I’m rude too. But I’m more up front and blunt about it. I’m not a sneaky little adult calling others immature. I’ve found in life those who call others immature are actually the ones who need to grow up. I wrote a post about that a few days ago. Go read it. Calling people immature the way you do is something people do to make themselves feel better. They can’t except things.

        Oh and what you said about full formed humans approaching others as equals, you sure as hell didn’t approach me as an equal when you insulted me and other moms.

      • katherinejlegry December 3, 2014 at 7:00 pm #

        I’m the most direct person you’re ever going to meet on the face of the planet, Summer.

        But we have failed to meet.

        I make no sense to you. But I make sense just fine.

        You’re a rotten student is all. I was and am an excellent one.

        Go read “Common Sense” by Thomas Payne. Then get back to me on what IT is.

        Here’s a quote by Paul Ceolho, you’ll like as it pertains to “expectation” I think and so do I:

        “That is why it is important to let certain things go. To release them. To cut loose. People need to understand that no one is playing marked cards; sometimes we win and sometimes we lose. Don’t expect anything back, don’t expect to be recognized for your efforts, don’t expect your genius to be discovered or your love to be understood. Complete the circle. Not out of pride, inability, or arrogance, but simply because whatever it is no longer fits in your life. Close the door, change the record, clean the house, get rid of the dust. Stop being who you were and become who you are.”

        So… with the above quote, I hope my example can demonstrate that I understand there’s a time for keeping it simple and for understanding no expectation… which is very different than trying. Having no expectation doesn’t mean we don’t try. And sometimes, yes… to no avail. And we try something else.

        Here’s a quote by Starhawk that I rather like… maybe you will too.

        “We are all longing to go home to some place we have never been- a place half remembered and half envisioned we can only catch glimpses of from time to time. Community. Somewhere, there are people to whom we can speak with passion without having the words catch in our throats. Somewhere a circle of hands will open to receive us, eyes will light up as we enter, voices will celebrate with us whenever we come into our power. Community means strength that joins our strength to do the work that needs to be done. Arms to hold us when we falter. A circle of healing. A circle of friends. Someplace we can be free.”

        Lastly, I’ll give you a quote by C.C. Chang from the practice of Zen… because Zen is really about keeping it simple but it can feel complex:

        “The greater the doubt, the greater the awakening; the smaller the doubt, the smaller the awakening. No doubt, no awakening.”

        I hope you wake. Peace little Mama.

      • Summer December 3, 2014 at 7:19 pm #

        How about you focus on your life and stop trying to run others. Sounds like a good idea to me.

      • katherinejlegry December 3, 2014 at 7:28 pm #

        Hey, ditto Summer. Stop telling black people to shut up, how about?

        That’s a good start. We have some common ground if you stop trying to run the world too.

        And when you stop replying to me… I will stop replying to you. Let’s pretend we are arm wrestling over justice, eh?

        Since I have you here… here’s a great quote by Pema Chodron:

        “We habitually erect a barrier called blame that keeps us from communicating genuinely with others, and we fortify it with our concepts of who’s right and who’s wrong. We do that with people who are closest to us and we do it with political systems, with all kinds of things that we don’t like about our associates or our society. It’s a very common, ancient, well-perfected device for trying to feel better. Blame others… Blaming is a way to protect your heart, trying to protect what is soft and open and tender in yourself. Rather than own that pain, we scramble to find some comfortable ground.”

      • imagine525 December 3, 2014 at 5:45 pm #

        katherinejlegry your comments are great! 🙂

      • katherinejlegry December 3, 2014 at 6:00 pm #

        Yours are too imagine525. You’ve provided really good information. I’m pleased to meet you. 🙂

  30. johnallenrichter December 1, 2014 at 1:17 pm #

    That black teenager was taught from birth that the police are not on his side, just as you were taught that they “were” on your side. Although your uncle never specifically said “You are white. Therefore Police will always lie for you to make sure you are never in trouble.” But you see? That’s the difference. Because that black boy was specifically told that the white man hates him and wants to harm him in every possible way. So when he walked up to that officer he felt that he was confronting an enemy. So yes, racism did cause that event in Ferguson that day. But it wasn’t the officers racism.

  31. monicacottrell December 1, 2014 at 3:59 pm #

    Follow 🙂

  32. patriciaange December 2, 2014 at 8:52 am #

    Reblogged this on Sex and Relationships.

  33. jessicaheintz December 2, 2014 at 11:29 am #

    Reblogged this on jessicaheintz and commented:
    Amen!

  34. gamegetterII December 3, 2014 at 3:00 am #

    No idea why the multiple posts-moderator -please remove the extras-thank you.

  35. demonioblancodelateteraverde December 3, 2014 at 3:50 pm #

    I translated your text into Spanish, I hope you will find it fine. Congratulations for it.

    http://eldemonioblancodelateteraverde.wordpress.com/2014/12/03/ferguson-el-sistema-no-esta-roto-solo-funciona-a-la-perfeccion/

    Best regards.

  36. Tilly December 3, 2014 at 4:10 pm #

    Very thought provoking links – thank you for sharing

  37. asavagered December 3, 2014 at 6:12 pm #

    Reblogged this on ASavageRed's Blog.

  38. J Roycroft December 4, 2014 at 12:12 am #

    Here’s an idea. Don’t rob a store. Don’t try to take a police officers gun. Michael Brown was shot and killed because he attempted to take a gun from a police officer. Michael Brown is now just another statistic that his culture of violence bred. He was a common thug that set into motion each and every event that led to his death. Want to know how not to get shot by a police officer? Obey the damn law and stop being a part of the culture of violence that is destroying the black community.

  39. bdlheart December 4, 2014 at 2:09 am #

    You are so spot on in everything you say here. I’m quite liberal and read books, articles, whatever I can get my hands to understand how we as a society are failing poor people and minorities. I have book suggestions I will add in a later post. I’m getting ready to go to sleep, but I was compelled to read this and comment. Keep up the great work and wonderful insights! I look forward to reading more…

  40. rennickd December 4, 2014 at 5:47 am #

    Strange, I live in the Bronx (NY), I’ve grown up knowing all types of people from different backgrounds, and most of my friends who are white rarely share my outrage and unhappiness with the world. I have to read the blog from someone who lives hundreds of miles away to feel sane and justified in my beliefs. Thank you.

    Ren
    RaceAgainstRace.wordpress.com

  41. rennickd December 4, 2014 at 6:06 am #

    @ J Roycroft, respectfully, this is not about what got him arrested, this is about shooting someone with their hands up in front of a dozen witnesses, and then leaving the body on the ground for 4 hours. This is about how 13% of a population is pulled over 50% of the time, and how a football team (Kansas City Chiefs), in THIS day and age, has only ONE brown-skinned starting player. Please check all of your statistics before casting such harsh judgement (Please google “black stats”). Culture is bred by people in power, not by criminals.

    Here’s another idea. Have you ever seen a map of your state showing where federal dollars are spent?

  42. katherinejlegry December 4, 2014 at 11:45 am #

    There is no such thing as a “common thug”. That’s a dehumanizing term for the purposes of creating an enemy.

    Originally I was thinking body cameras on cops would help in some of my earlier comments with fellow commenter-readers… but now that the NYPD was on camera illegally choke holding Garner until he died, I’m seeing that cameras will do little good for justice.

    There was no reasonable need to kill Garner and there is no reason those five cops should be found not guilty of killing Garner wrongly. An apology from the police is not enough.

  43. newsmind32453 December 4, 2014 at 12:08 pm #

    Reblogged this on Super Storm News.

  44. cyborgp25 December 5, 2014 at 12:02 am #

    Reblogged this on The Equalitwenties.

  45. Pheladi Sethusa December 5, 2014 at 9:19 pm #

    Reblogged this on Journey to a dream** and commented:
    All of this.

  46. cnguyens December 6, 2014 at 10:49 pm #

    Reblogged this on WITNESS.

  47. ilaangelina December 7, 2014 at 12:29 am #

    Reblogged this on ilaangelina.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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    […] descent by the hands of this nation, but I’m scared, uncomfortable then, knowing that some system is in place that is trying to kill me and everyone else like me. Some system is in place that is […]

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