Saturday, November 22, 2014

Ferguson Is The Civil Rights Movement

My son was up at 2:45 this morning and decided that going back to sleep was an unnecessary extravagance, so here we are.

I'm sick in my heart over Ferguson and all that it represents. There are a great many things I wish I could tell my fellow White Americans if I had them as a captive audience. For now, I'll just mention one:

Never use disorder as an excuse to avoid dealing with injustice. 

The fixation of so many people on the tiny amount of looting that occurred months ago is extremely revealing. What would it take for them to be on the side of the protestors? I bet they think the civil rights movement consisted of a bunch of middle class Black people in suits refusing to make a ruckus. I bet they don't know that there was lots of violence in and around civil rights movement demonstrations. Or they do know, but somehow they assume that back then it was all so clear and those mean southern sheriffs were obviously at fault. Don't they know that the civil rights movement seemed murky and confusing to White Americans and most of them eventually opposed it?

Ferguson is not so different. We must expose people and make them uncomfortable. If Ferguson comes up in conversation, go ahead and tell your White friends that the civil rights movement isn't over. Tell them to stop paying lip service to the gains of the past while refusing to get on the side of justice in the present. Consider the gross perversion of this world where truth and justice are constantly on the defensive. Find a perfect example of racial injustice, they tell us! One where it is so obvious that the victim is an angel and completely innocent and the perpetrator is a monster! Then we will join with you! Then we might be willing to support Black humanity!

People can't find any evidence that Black people are treated equally in this country, but we who point this out are deemed to be radical or unreasonable. Sure, there's racial discrimination and inequality in education, employment, housing, health care, and life in general, but it doesn't matter because looting. Because baggy pants. Because ebonics. Because scary Black male.

The sins of the powerful produce oppression. The sins of the powerless produce disorder. Which sins we're quickest to judge says a lot about the state of our hearts.

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