Ferguson: No silence, no acceptance

National Moment of Silence - from the Seattle PI

National Moment of Silence – from the Seattle PI

I usually resist the urge to write about every heartbreaking event that comes along. I’m a slow blogger, and by the time I finally write something the moment has often passed.

But here’s the thing: silence sometimes looks like acceptance.

So let’s talk right now about Ferguson, Missouri. This looks like complex situation in which a lot of people made a lot of mistakes. But I want to state my opinion on a few things that do seem clear.

It is absolutely not OK that an unarmed Michael Brown was shot to death by a police officer. And it is not OK that this event is linked to a broader racialized pattern. The US criminal justice system, from the police departments to the courts, appears to treat minorities in disproportionately negative ways. Especially African American men. For evidence, reading The New Jim Crow is a good place to start.

It is not OK that this system persists partly because white Americans remain silent. Silence looks like acceptance, and acceptance stands in the way of change.

So, white friends, please stand up and be counted, even it feels uncomfortable. If you believe that black lives matter, please say so. If you think the criminal justice system needs to change and improve, please say so. Just stand up and say it.

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