[This is my response in the Comments section to a post about the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, where I used to work as a JTPA/WIA youth summer jobs program recruiter and certification specialist with the Urban League over 15 years ago. The post is called “The Looming Storm in Ferguson” by Kyle Gillespie, and I’ll post a link to it at the bottom of my response in the reply section, when I can find a good link. Prayers are up for all involved.]
While I have a problem with several points made here concerning the death of yet another man’s not-yet-even-grown son at the hands of a police officer (one possibly with a chip on his shoulder and a mote in his eye), I agree mainly with most of what @Victor Matoush has said in response to the post. While the awareness-raising is mostly a phenomenon outside of the Black communities (within, it is already a known potential factor in any interaction with police), it is important that now people in broader communities and throughout the world see what American mothers and fathers of minority communities have been seeing for years despite a blind eye from larger authorities, but are now beyond tired of witnessing. Michael Brown’s daddy is doing the best he can to ask for some almost otherworldly calm in the midst of his own grief and mourning. The looters and rioters are detractors from the real fear, rage and anguish being expressed on the streets of Ferguson, a lower-income community for sure, but one with proud older people who have held high dreams for their youth in the face of economic and social barriers that have tried to decimate the community for decades. Add to this what seems like a constant reminder that their children are valued less by the ones who should be protecting them and you have more than a tinderbox accidentally lit – you have a firestorm whose flames keep being fed by more and more instances of “accidental shootings” that people are urged “not to link”. How can we not? Autopsies are clinical, scientific, purportedly objective things. Pain and loss and anger are not.