There aren’t really words to adequately express my sentiments for the events of the past few weeks. There are so many ways that Ferguson is relevant to me personally—as a minority, as a young adult, but most importantly as an American citizen. And given everything that’s happening right now, it’s easy to get caught up in media campaigns for social reform, condemnation of the protests or police brutality, and outcries about racial injustice. But regardless of your opinion of the verdict or of the situation, the most important thing before you say anything is to be well-informed.
A lot of people are writing big, conclusive pieces intended to solidify their stance on the issue, and others are taking their words as gospel and making divisive statements. But the significance of Ferguson lies in its place in a much larger conversation. Instead of assigning blame, paraphrasing something you read on BuzzFeed, or making judgments steeped in personal bias, try acknowledging the fact that it’s our responsibility to reflect on this tragedy in the context of a multifaceted problem. Start a smart, civilized discussion rather than being quick to judge and ignorant of the facts.
Here are some articles I’ve found that, rather than preaching some moral absolutism or encouraging a racial dichotomy, consider Ferguson as a non-isolated incident in a landscape of both racial and political issues, while advocating for more peaceful methods of reform. But whether you read them or do your own research, it’s important not to settle for being spoon-fed information you read on other peoples’ Facebook feeds. Be aware of your own privilege, and don’t post a status or use a hashtag like #Don’tShoot without fully understanding what it implies. Stay informed, keep an open mind, and remember: if you’re not uncomfortable, you’re not paying attention.
THINGS TO CONSIDER
writer/creator. problem-solver. curious cat.