What We Can Do About Ferguson

Aiding the People of Ferguson’s Defense of Themselves
Officer Darren Wilson may have claimed that he had to defend his armed self from an unarmed man with lethal force, and he may have had the very prosecutor for the grand jury defending the killing instead of actually prosecuting (i.e. doing his job), but the people of Ferguson and their supporters have ways of defending ourselves, too.

On the ground, protesters are defending Ferguson businesses from looters. Those of us too far away from them to bodily interfere can help with the legal defense. Even if you are too broke to contribute yourself, social media shares go a long way. So again: here is the link to donate to the legal support fund for those arrested in Ferguson protests standing for Justice for Mike Brown. For those concerned, this comes via and is vouched for by James Croft, who is demonstrating humanism in action by being on the ground at Ferguson.

Disinfecting with Sunlight
Unrealistically sunshine-y views of the world lead people to irrationally believe that only those who deserve it are victims of blatant injustice. While their views cannot be completely eradicated from the face of the earth, the unflinching optimism of those who firmly adhere to the just world fallacy should not be dictating public policy. I’m hardly the first person to say that a system cannot fail those it is not designed to protect in the first place, but I hope that I am not the last. Those who are not throttled by its hands often cannot fathom the systemic nature of injustice, but they can certainly try to learn.

Remember: It is a rare grand jury indeed that does not indict. Of course, the law is applied quite differently to the police than it is to civilians, with members of the former group able to abuse their power while the latter is at their mercy. Civilians disenfranchised by the system itself are particularly and painfully vulnerable.

Not Giving In, Not Giving Up
As unfashionable as it is to say so in certain circles, I am quite irrationally enamored of my country, to the point where I will never stop believing that it can be changed for the better. As much work as there is to be done, that so many of us are willing to talk about what needs to be done is heartening. No matter how many removed-from-reality naysayers oppose progress, as long as there are people willing to stand up to them, all is not lost.

What We Can Do About Ferguson

Ferguson Link Round-Up, or Intersectionality, You’re Doing It Right

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.

Continue reading “Ferguson Link Round-Up, or Intersectionality, You’re Doing It Right”

Ferguson Link Round-Up, or Intersectionality, You’re Doing It Right