August 15, 2014

My Middle-Aged White Lady Perspective: Ferguson

From my middle-aged white lady perspective, here's what the aftermath of the Michael Brown shooting looks like:
  • I cringe when I see police firing on peaceful protests and even on less-than-peaceful protests.  I cringe when I see tanks on the streets, with police aiming their weapons at American citizens in broad daylight.
  • I am appalled when I see reporters arrested or fired upon with rubber bullets and tear gas.
  • I support non-violent protests, against things including bad behavior by the police, and for things, such as justice, accountability, and transparency. I'm all for marching in the streets, or standing with hands raised or arms linked chanting slogans, gathering at police stations or other areas of focus. I support what many consider to be the annoying 'protest drumming' to make a point.
  • I wish I had seen more white faces in the protest videos and photos.
  • I have a harder time supporting protesters who throw rocks, bottles, and the like at police, as those actions can only have an escalating effect, regardless of the reason for the protest. Doesn't mean I don't understand how it escalates on the protester's side, it just means I understand that police are human -- not superhuman even though we sometimes think they should be -- and that escalation follows escalation.
  • I do not support looting, setting businesses on fire, or otherwise ruining the property and livelihoods of innocent people; I believe these are opportunistic actions by people taken under the cover of legitimate protest; these are selfish actions that detract from the mission. Stealing a television from someone not involved in the shooting of an unarmed teen are not related. I'm disgusted by the excuse presented by some that 'the businesses have insurance, after all' - that's a load of crap. 
  • I wish reporters would stop asking President Obama his opinion on situations like the one that led up to what we're seeing in Ferguson. I wonder if I'm missing all the times he's being asked to comment on crime somewhere in the country where the victim is unarmed and white and abused or killed by the police. Or, conversely, why it seems he's not asked about all of the alleged crimes and injustices committed against -- and by -- black teens and young adults. Missing children. Beaten prostitutes. Blacks killed by blacks. Black truancy and drop-out rates. That kind of thing. 
  • I wish, this week, that Ferguson Missouri looked more like America and less like Iraq, Afghanistan, Ukraine, or Gaza. 
  • I wish, this week and most weeks, that people cared enough to act -- together -- before it got to this. And I wish, more than anything, we knew the way forward.