On Ferguson and Being an Ally

The truth is I have a great punch recipe, a story about recipe development and what weird things I'm doing with my Thanksgiving leftovers and I signed up for a reverb project to get back into a habit of writing daily, but everyone time I sat down to write I knew I should be writing something hard and true and those weren't the things so I closed my laptop and walked away. 

I have a lot of thoughts on what it means to be a white ally, the effects anti-racism/anti-oppression training in my late teens still has on my life and how lucky I am to have been raised in a progressive family and faith. For the most part I can post anything I want on Facebook and not worry about angering an older family member or getting in a fight with a friend. I mostly get to see a news feed of articles I want read, share and like. But I think a story about my privilege is not the story for right now. Instead I'm going to share some links about Ferguson that have helped me really think about the language that's been used surrounding the demonstrations and ways in which I can be a better ally.

On Being the Best Ally You Can Be:

"In the aftermath of the murder of Michael Brown, may he rest in power, here are some ways for white people to become white allies who are engaged thoughtfully and critically in examining the situation in Ferguson and standing on the side of justice and equity. This list is a good place to start your fight to dismantle racial inequity and shine a light on the oppressive structures that lead to yet another extrajudicial killing of a black person."

"This is the time to remember that your “solidarity” does not render you powerless; in fact, the entire point of your solidarity is to lend the power you DO have to folks who do not."

On "Rioting" and "Violence":

"Violence is something that living beings experience. People and animals experience and inflict violence against other people and animals. The violence that’s inflicted on us has an impact on our bodies, minds, spirits. Buildings don’t have bodies, minds, or spirits. Buildings can neither inflict nor experience violence. That’s why stealing a TV from a Walmart isn’t the same as taking a human life. Whatever it is, it isn’t violence. And if you really believed that Black people are fully human, you wouldn’t be equating our lives with your things."

This is exactly what it sounds like. A collection of pictures of white people rioting over mostly sportsball and nobody telling them to keep calm and carry on. 

On Our Justice System:

"A St. Louis County grand jury on Monday decided not to indict Ferguson, Missouri, police officer Darren Wilson in the August killing of teenager Michael Brown. The decision wasn’t a surprise — leaks from the grand jury had led most observers to conclude an indictment was unlikely — but it was unusual. Grand juries nearly always decide to indict."

"The United States imprisons a larger percentage of its black population than South Africa did at the height of apartheid."

(Uh, yeah, I'm just going to leave that statement right there for you to think about)

And Because it's Still "Giving Tuesday" in America:

I hope this list helps you start some hard conversations and if you have more links you think I should add to it, please feel free to leave a comment or contact me on the social media of your choosing.