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  • Andréa Agosto

My Thoughts on Ferguson


So I’ve been noticeably silent about the turmoil in Ferguson. I want to take this time to address some things that I’ve seen on my newsfeed, how I feel about the situation and the state or lack of perceived racism in the United States.

Is this about race? Personally, I believe it's about race and an abuse of power.

While in light of newly and even auspiciously timed release of details, that the cop was just “doing his job,” one cannot ignore the statistics of Black males and their interactions with the police. Over a seven year period, a White police officer in the United States, on average, killed a black person twice a week (Data may be skewed as only 4% of law enforcement agencies contributed the information; only 750 out of the nearly 17,00 agencies in the U.S.).

You can try to justify the violence by saying that they were criminals, but African Americans under 21 were killed nearly over double the amount of Whites under the age of 21 by the police.

This statistic does nothing for true bigots though, those who claim that Blacks perform more crimes simply because of the amount of melanin in their skin. I could go all day about the historical implications of Blacks, criminal activity and socioeconomic status, but the fact remains that that Black deaths by the hands of law enforcement is higher than any other group. The devastating truth that officers are rarely convicted or even sentenced for excessive force resulting in death is something we all should be concerned about.

I think it’s imperative that people all over the globe have a basic understanding of Critical Race Theory (CRT) in hopes it will help how it views social structures and inequalities.

For those unfamiliar with CRT, here’s a crash course:

CRT is a tool in which to comprehend, deconstruct and challenge racial inequality in society. It is a growing body of scholarship that is based on the assumption that race and racism are both products of social thoughts and power relations and aims to expose how racial inequality is institutionalized that seem normal. CRT relies on the following principles:

(1) centrality of racism – racism is normal and because it is ingrained it appears ordinary and natural,(2) White supremacy – maintains and normalizes White privilege and reinforces racial subordination, (3) voices of people of color – minorities’ insights into racism are valued as well as their understanding of being racially minoritized, (4) interest convergence – the belief that minorities’ interest in achievement will only happen if it is in the best interests of Whites, and (5) intersectionality – even though CRT is concerned with race relations and racial inequality in societal structures, it does not disregard other forms of social injustice but fosters an understanding that there are complex ways in which various systems of subordination can collide (Rollock and Gillborn, 2011).

A lot of the deaths of unarmed citizens could be avoided if the use of excessive force was actually penalized. When officers aren’t being punished for their actions, the public takes it into their own hands and the officers become demonized.

I don’t agree with excessive force used on citizens that isn’t even allowed in international warfare. We are living in a time where people are no longer willing to accpet the status quo and are protesting, but that protest is being confronted with violence and assault on the media.

Something needs to happen to police officers who cross the line. If not, the people will only be able to take so much until it cannot withstand law enforcement’s atrocities. The people have a desire for justice and fairness and to know that so many Black men have been killed, unarmed by the police is disheartening and infuriating.

I don’t know that details of the case, but Mike Brown didn’t have to die the way he did. No one, unarmed, should be gunned down like an animal. When will we all get angry enough to demand reform to law enforcement practices? When will we all get angry enough to want to stop the loss of life, period?

The fear of policemen is alive and well, especially in minority schools and neighborhoods. When working as an English as a Second Language Aide, the teacher for a sixth grade class I was working in asked the students to name off examples of heroes.

“Superman!”

“Batman!”

“What about real people?” She asked.

“Firemen!”

Silence.

“What about policemen?" She asked.

I cringed. The class responded, loudly and in unison, “NOOOOOOOOOO!” When can we get back to the place where minorities are no longer afraid of the policemen? When can we get back to this?

#ferguson #protest #missouri #mo #dontshoot #thisisnotariot #race #arrest #autopsy #murder #mikebrown #justice #peace #abuse #power #abuseofpower #policebrutality #force #excessiveforce #goodcop #badcop #unite #anger #statistics #graph #criticalracetheory #crt

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