Why humanity should care about Ferguson (and why racism is just like rape culture)

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Ferguson.

Most of us have at least heard the name by now, wondering what it’s about. Yeah, okay, it’s about a young black man who was shot by police officers. Everyone would agree it’s a tragedy for a young man to lose his life at the hands of an apparent misunderstanding.

However, this is not a one-time scenario. This is not something to be blamed on “that police force” or “crime in that town”. The reason why Ferguson and Mike Brown should matter to all of us is because it is merely one example of the attitude we carry towards black men and women across the country. The fact that a young black man named John Crawford was shot to death for holding a toy gun in a Walmart. The fact that when someone is told of the story, many of us jump to “he must have done something to make them shoot”. He must have provoked them. It’s his fault that he’s dead.

What does this sound like?

“What were you wearing?” “How much did you drink?” It’s her fault that she was raped.

Not. A. Coincidence.

Oppression is not even subtle enough to change its vocabulary.

We need to care because we’re all part of the human race. We need to care because the protests in Ferguson have been met with dogs, tear gas and jail. (Media crews included.) And if we do not have freedom of speech and freedom of protest, we are powerless.

We cannot willingly allow ourselves to remain powerless.

So what do we do? Talk about it. Get on Twitter and keep up with the news (Twitter is where it’s at right now, y’all. #Ferguson). And get down on our knees, often and earnestly, and pray for a world where our authorities are the people we trust, not the people we fear.

I know it doesn’t seem like much, but desire for change is what gets the ball rolling, and we have to stop waiting for other people to push it. These are our brothers and sisters, dying in the trenches for the color of their skin. We cannot rest until they do.

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