Why should a privileged, well-to-do white woman blog about Ferguson? I thought I shouldn't; I thought it would be derailing. But I have to.
Because I had to tell someone recently that no one deserves to be shot in the street. That sentence should not ever have to be said. Don't you think so? We're a society of laws, and you know what? None of our laws have "summery execution in the street" as a punishment. NONE OF THEM.
No, I don't want to hear hypotheticals. I don't care if he had a nuclear backpack. We're not dealing with extreme circumstances. We're dealing with everyday life, with a kid walking on a street in a suburb. We're dealing with THIS KEEPS HAPPENING.
What if it was your son? Your brother? Hell, what if it was the kid you babysat? The guy you pass at the bus stop in the morning? What if it was you?
Why do people bring up possible robbery as an excuse? Is the punishment for robbery death in this country? Are goods more valuable than people? Why am I even having to make this argument?
It's jarring, when you realize that some people do not live in your reality. I've been told "There is no racism." People, do you even realize how ignorant it sounds when you say, "Well, I'm a white person, and I've never experienced racism against black people."? Would you ever say "Well, I don't have cancer, and I've never experienced any shortcomings in cancer treatment, so your complaint about it not being curable must be false."?
I'm being a little mean there, but one of the things that helps ME deal with my innate biases is to re-frame the story. There's a well-known phenomena of human minds called "Illusion of Asymmetric Insight". Basically: You can't help it. I do it to. We have met the enemy and they are us.
Here's an article on Asymmetric Insight: http://youarenotsosmart.com/2011/08/21/the-illusion-of-asymmetric-insight/
It's a good read. (I link Youarenotsosmart.com a lot. Love his articles. It's a pity he's switched to a podcast format. I prefer to read.)
Also we have Confirmation Bias working against us. (http://youarenotsosmart.com/2010/06/23/confirmation-bias/ ) Basically - it's easy to say "This is the way I perceive the world so it must be as I perceive it." The bad news is - that's what the word "Prejudice" means. The good news is, there is a way to combat your own prejudices - through skeptical examination of facts.
Okay okay. So I'm just going to throw down some facts.
FACT: Law enforcement disproportionately targets black people.
Maybe you don't like the ACLU - have a scholarly study: http://pqx.sagepub.com/content/4/1/4.short
FACT: Blacks are disproportionately the victims of violent crime.
FACT: While the targets of violent crime are overwhelmingly the same race as their attackers, there are no "Stop White on White Crime" rallies. Now why is that?
All right, all right, that last one isn't cited. It's a statistic I've heard often enough, though. Most often, the victim of a violent crime knows their attacker - but our fear of the unknown makes us more likely to frame crime in the narrative of random strangers preying on random victim.
(Take kidnapping as a fun example. The vast majority of kidnappings are done by the child's birth mother, with other relatives coming in second, family friends in third, and strangers a distant fourth. Citation: http://www.parents.com/kids/safety/stranger-safety/child-abduction-facts/ Obviously, that's just a hot button issue for me - I was a victim of kidnapping as a child.)
I'm done. I'm just rambling now. Just... walk in another man's shoes, okay? When did that become an unpopular concept? And if you think I'm just a liberal hippy dippy dumbass, just please read the article on Asymmetric Insight first.
Reasie's Ritin' - Ferguson