A couple of my friends shared an article on Facebook titled “12 things white people can do now because Ferguson”. I read many articles shared by people with whom I disagree. It’s important that we understand or at least attempt to understand each other. This one is just sad. We have a serious race issue in our country, and this article dilutes the issue by diverting our attention away from more important, more legitimate issues of race.
This article starts by characterizing the situation, saying an “unarmed black teenage boy, was gunned down by the police while walking to his grandmother’s house in the middle of the afternoon”. The second half of that sentence sounds like it came straight out of a children’s story book. There is no mention of the police officer’s official account of the incident, no mention that the autopsy confirms his account (he went for the cop’s gun, did not have his hands in the air, even recently used marijuana, etc).
There is also no mention of the real examples of racism here, the numerous witnesses who lied about the police officer’s actions, lied about the fact that the boy had his hands raised, lied that they actually saw the incident when in reality, they were just repeating what they heard from others. Why would anyone say they saw the incident when they didn’t? The reason seems clear, in order to see a white police officer take the fall for the racist actions by countless white people before him.
Look, we have a race problem. And I’m certainly not denying that there’s a serious race problem in Ferguson. And since I’m white, there is no way I can ever appreciate what it’s like to live the problem. It is not possible for me to truly understand what it’s like to be on the receiving end of racist acts like black people have. The author talks about an “active role for white people in the fight against racism.” I suggest there’s an active role for all of us, no matter your race. Let’s work on the problem, but let’s not resort to lying in order to target a scapegoat. Let’s not exploit a specific incident just because it’s an easy target. And, hey, white people, don’t just jump on the bandwagon because supporting the victim seems the popular choice.
As the author suggested, I suppose I’m the “unpopular person who stands for equality and dignity for all people”. I feel bad for the police officer.
ADDENDUM: As I was writing this post, I realized that the article I’m commenting about was posted on August 17, 2014, months before the evidence came to light and the grand jury decided not to file charges against the police officer. So, of course, there would be no mention of the things I described. But this shines even more light on my point. Why would the author characterize the situation before all the facts are known? Why characterize this specific incident as motivated by race? More importantly, why automatically assume that the white police officer was in the wrong? The evidence, as studied by the grand jury, has revealed otherwise.