Hello. My name is Ty. I am a 31-year-old white male from the Midwest, Kansas City to be exact. I am here to talk about what is going on in Ferguson, Mo. Despite my stats, I am qualified to do so. Here’s why:
I am a U.S. citizen.
Whenever white people talk about Ferguson, they are either told by someone they have no business relating to or understanding the issue or they have a certain amount of white guilt for trying to relate. The fact of the matter is this transcends race. It even goes beyond socioeconomic status, which is where the greatest inequalities between U.S. citizens lie.
We can battle back and forth about what happened between Michael Brown and Officer Darren Wilson that led to the shooting. We can speculate whether or not Brown put up a fight and whether or not six shots on an unarmed man is the best practice to subdue someone resisting arrest or if any of that even happened. Furthermore, we can argue about police brutality against minorities.
Argue away, because none of that matters.*
What matters is everything that transpired after the shooting. In fact, there are two elements of the Ferguson situation: the shooting of Michael Brown and the government action against protesters. The former is very real and affects millions of people. It should be addressed. The latter is something we never really got to see in action but have always feared: the violent, unconstitutional iron fist of law enforcement and a local, state and federal government that backs them up. We all now know that is very real, and it affects each and every one of us. It needs to be addressed…NOW.
There are so many layers of the Ferguson story that keeping up is difficult. What I know is the following:
- When a police officer questionably kills another man, he or she is put on paid leave; citizens are immediately detained.
- Peaceful protests are met with a police force absolutely indistinguishable from the front lines military in Gaza.
- Police can unconstitutionally suppress the media; at times, literally destroy their equipment.
- Congressman and the president himself cannot be bothered with these matters while on vacation.
- There is no accountability for police actions.
The images and videos that have been circulating across the world are baffling. People cannot tell if they are looking at Ferguson or a war-torn country in the Middle East. Police brutality towards peaceful citizens and the press was synonymous with military actions against citizens in countries we have sanctions against for exactly that. We have turned into the country we have been fighting against in every war we have ever fought.
The governor was M.I.A.
One of the Senators still has not been vocal about Ferguson.
The president never once chastised the police for their actions.
This is why the people of Ferguson are still out there protesting as of this writing. This is why some them got so fed up with being ignored that they took matters into their own hands. This is why some feel the need to get violent. If the people you trust to protect your humanity basically told you to fuck off while literally beating you, chances are you would fight back also.
That’s what Ferguson is doing right now.
The citizens of Ferguson are our brothers and sisters. The government and law enforcement are our parents. Our parents have been neglectful, but never reached the point of hitting us. Well, they just beat some of our siblings. Like a real family, our siblings in Ferguson are fighting to make sure they never lay a hand on their brothers and sisters.
Will we join the fight or remain battered?
* It absolutely does, but not for the sake of the focus of this piece.