Fact Links on Ferguson and Some Words on Equality (From a White Person trying to Talk to their family this Holiday)
Heavy Trigger Warnings in this letter and the links for Police Brutality, Violence, Murder, Hate Crimes, Racism, Lynching, Violence against women and children of color, violence and rejection of LGBT* people, the KKK
This is a facebook comment I wrote to a cousin, who expressed irritation at the uprising from the lack of a trial for Darren Wilson. She called for people to not be angry, to teach their children respect for police and to respect each other and claimed that our society is equal racially, genderwise, and in sexuality. This is my response with a number of links and arguments I have found over the last few days regarding those subjects. The only subject I spoke on from myself was sexuality and gender, which as a queer trans* person, I have experienced these slights and done my best to support my friends in their struggles.
As a white person, I often feel hesitant and at a loss on how to talk about racial violence in our country (the U.S.), I worry about mispeaking or screwing up. I also struggle with how to talk to family members about these issues, I was raised on the importance of family and to this day having a dissenting opinion and voicing it gives me the screaming mimis. But as a white person, when these are the worst things I face dealing with race, I can suck it up and keep trying, because people of color and right now black Americans particularly, do not have the luxury to opt out of dealing with race.
Here is my letter, family names removed. I hope that maybe others struggling with providing evidence this holiday conversation time, or unsure of what to say might find this helpful.
Sorry to dissent on a day of gratitude, but the thing people are so riled up about in Ferguson and all over the country is that the court didn’t even think Darren Wilson should be put on trial, they found that no crime happened.
Also a lot of the evidence Darren’s defense presented was unstable, the stories don’t all match up.
Frankly the evidence for the accusation against the unarmed Mike Brown that he even stole anything doesn’t even match up. http://jamfisher.tumblr.com/post/103654189693/anarcho-queer-ferguson-police-conveniently
This isn’t about all cops being good or bad, this is about how some officers take advantage of their power to abuse those at a disadvantage. This is about how officers who try to speak out against these injustices being silenced or ignored. http://dajo42.co.vu/post/103650105804/drankinwatahmelin-mogulcity-in-case-you
This is about how a black police officer on Darren Wilson’s same force who ended a confrontation without violence and with the civilian still living was treated way harsher than Wilson was for his confrontation with Brown and what the implications are of this. http://jamfisher.tumblr.com/post/103663871078/therudecouture-but-remember-they-said-it
This is about how the forensics team didn’t take photos of Mike Brown’s body because they ran out of batteries in their camera. This is about investigative apathy and negligence.
This is about a problem of brutality against young black men and women in our country. http://princelesscomic.tumblr.com/post/103652524040/k-i-l-l-a-p-a-m-msnbc-from-2006-to-2012-a
This is about how Ferguson a community that is 66% black is policed by a 88% white force, who may be actively connected with the KKK. http://robaemea.tumblr.com/post/103669698718/catastrophicblog-frank-ancona-leader-of-the
This is about how the court system didn’t fairly represent the community of Ferguson, and ignored evidence rather than indict Darren Wilson and hold a trial.
This is about police officers being given military combat grade munitions and equipment to be used against civilians, but not front facing cameras to keep them accountable.
This is about people infiltrating protests and starting aggressions in an attempt to invalidate protesters’ messages. http://zeekubeast.tumblr.com/post/103632277822/codyjohnston-thisiseverydayracism
This is about media portraying protesters as violent and aggressive, while ignoring the majority of peaceful protests and the many who are coming together to clean in the aftermath of violence. http://jamfisher.tumblr.com/post/103624187023/shmurdamagicalgirl-socialjusticekoolaid-the
This is about a global show of solidarity from places struggling for equality.
And we are all far from equal in this country, in terms of race, gender, or sexuality. There were nooses hanging from trees here in Texas the day Obama was elected. Facebook and twitter have seen a resurgence of people using racial slurs against protesters right now. Violence disproportionately affects black communities and other communities of color, who are often targeted by those who have entered the police force to abuse their authority. We cannot claim a post racial America, when these and many other such cruelties still exist.
I can be fired for being a member of the LGBT* community in my state. Until recently, if someone chose to kill me for my sexuality, they could have plead they were so shocked by me being bisexual that they lost their mind temporarily–and gotten off. There have been several trials here in Texas in the past three years where a trans* person has been assaulted and the courts refused to consider it a hate crime. It took over a year to finally prosecute the murderers of a young lesbian couple here. Over 40% of homeless youth are LGBT* when we make up 10% of the population. These kids are being turned out from what should be the very foundation of love in their lives because of who they are and who they love. I have had acquaintances, friends and significant others who all have faced this rejection. I myself have been told I am hell bound for loving someone. I have had members of the family cry when I came out, out of fear for my life. That is not safety, that is not equality. And Also, if I wanted to marry a woman I loved, I could not, nor would I be able to visit her as my wife if she were ill, or bestow on her all the rights of marriage. So we are far from equal in many ways, we are still working towards equality. I do not mean that progress hasn’t been made, but we cannot be comfortable with only progress.
I agree we do all need to come together. We need to learn empathy, compassion and to be good and just to each other. We need to respect the differences that our lives have and how those differences can bring out the best in our society. But we cannot walk forward in that good work if we all pretend we are equal when these struggles are an everyday occurrence for many of us. There are many things we cannot see if we are not of these communities. A straight person cannot know what things go said and unsaid to a queer person, a white person cannot know what is said to a person of color, a cisgender man cannot know what is means to be a woman in this society. These truths are not failures on the part of those of us who cannot know each other’s experiences, but they are a call for listening, for empathy.
Please, I know you may be frustrated, you may be angry and upset and think those who are protesting this verdict now are acting wrongly. I for years, didn’t want to listen, didn’t know how to listen or understand a difference and pain that I will never experience. Only after hearing people many times talk about discriminations and cruelties I could not see, did I finally really listen. And it hurt, it hurt to hear people I care about were being hurt by systems that protected me. But it also hurts to be on the other side even more so. To have to tell those I love that the systems that benefit them, hurt me as a queer person. Knowing both sides of this pain push me to listen as much as I can, to help however I am asked and able. Please step back and when you can, listen again. I am sorry if I sound preaching, if I have come off as shaming or condemning or arrogant I apologize. But please try to listen even when it hurts, cousin, because they may be saying things we cannot hear any other way. “A riot is the language of the unheard.”