Let’s get this out of the way. Racial bias in the prison-industrial complex we call the criminal justice system is real; the story is written in the statistics. Legislation is not and never has been enough to achieve true and lasting equality. Martin Luther King Jr. was not some hippie who sat quietly and never raised his voice; neither did he magically end racism nor ignore classism and structural issues.
What’s going on Ferguson is awful. I can’t view coverage of it without my throat tightening in sympathetic fear and grief while my fists ball in rage. It’s the same feeling I got when I attended a vigil for Trayvon Martin, the same feeling I got when I wept with every other member of the audience as I watched Fruitvale Station. I’m not sure what I can directly to help other than to continue to raise awareness and fight misconceptions.
In that light, it has really been heartening to see sites that aren’t primarily focused on racial issues — or, in once case, even news — covering what’s been going on. Feminism hardly has a history of inclusivity on matters affecting people who aren’t white middle class cis women. Intersectionality sounds like a buzzword, and people use it as an identity, but it’s really an approach to thinking and acting that helps to improve feminist thought. The following four feminist-ish sites, in the past few days, have been demonstrating what intersectionality in action means. I’m ordering them from most to least generally problematic.
Noodly Lord help me, I’m so torn on the Jez. It’s not a feminist site (self-description, not me being judgmental) yet it’s the closest thing to one that many of the denizens of the Internet will read. There is so much awesome (LINDY WEST) and so much terrible (Hugo Schwyzer, among other issues). I used to read it every day, once upon a time, and then boycotted it for a while, before settling on not reading it unless it’s a Lindy post or I see a very tempting link — and the Jezebel links on Ferguson have been tempting indeed.
As with Jezebel, there are a lot of great voices here along with problematic aspects. The fact that both of its pieces on Ferguson were written by women of color is really commendable: I Don’t Know How to Talk to White People About Ferguson and Ferguson Proves Every Black Person in America Is a Target.
Why am I lumping the two together? The latter is helmed by a queer lady and the former is a site dedicated to queer ladyness. Both are incredibly trans friendly and feature excellent writing and perspectives. I consider them both in the category of “I can recommend this without caveat.” Even if you don’t consider the fact that The Toast isn’t a news site (for the most part, The Toast is dorky feminists writing about things that aren’t feminism), its coverage is excellent. Autostraddle featured queer people of color’s voices on the murder of Mike Brown as well as a factual breakdown of what is going on and what people can do about it.
As for me? As I commented during the Trayvon Martin issue, my positioning in American society carries none of the dangers of that of a young black man. I can, however, raise my voice against such treatment.