Ferguson: Ten Bloggers Speak Out

This week I had one prerogative: write or explode. Obviously, a lot of other people felt the same way. Let’s hope that the pen really is mightier than the sword.

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Many details about the violent death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, remain unclear. What is beyond doubt is the intensity of reactions to this story — in the media and in neighborhoods all over the US (and beyond). Here are ten personal perspectives on this event and its aftermath, from writers representing a diverse cross-section of the WordPress.com community.

14938226361_6a7a43dfda_oImage by Shawn Semmler (CC BY 2.0)


Writer and scholar Keguro Macharia reacts with his usual incisiveness to one of the signature chants of post-Ferguson protests :

If “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” is an expression of “humanity,” as one tweet has it, we must ask for whom that humanity is available. In fact, the insistent repetition of “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” by black bodies across the U.S. might offer a less promising narrative: it might suggest the banality with which black life forms can never gain access to the vernaculars of the human.

hands up, don’t shoot

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Controversy Over Natural Hair in the Military Raises Its Ugly Head Again

The U.S. Military seems to be grappling with regulations surrounding the hairstyles of Black women who choose to wear their hair in its natural state. Natural hair is usually thicker and more voluminous than chemically relaxed or otherwise straightened hair.  Because of the coiled or curly pattern of natural hair, it can be neater and easier to maintain when braided or worn in dreadlocks.  But the U.S. Military hasn’t figured out where to draw the line between accommodating nature and standardizing appearances.  This week, a female sailor was actually honorably discharged for wearing her hair in dreadlocks.



7 Facts about the Ferguson Uprising – The Black Perspective

There are reasons why people are uprising against the police department in Ferguson, Missouri.  Some of the underlying reasons are known by the majority of Black people in America. Other facts are known to those of us who have studied the law. I thought I would lay out these facts in case someone was wondering why so many Black people are so mad, so loud, and for so long.

Fact 1: Ferguson seems to have a gang problem – Angry men marauding through the streets in matching outfits, brandishing guns at defenseless neighbors. Oh wait…those are the cops.

Fact 2: Some thugs wear badges.

Fact 3: Innocent, law-abiding and even exemplary Black people are sometimes harassed, intimidated, assaulted, and even killed by police in America. No level of fame, education, or innocence protects us from these violations of our constitutional rights.

Fact 4: We are angry because of what we have seen with our own eyes and experienced in our own flesh. Our boogeymen are not imaginary.

Fact 5: All eyewitness accounts in the Mike Brown case are consistent: he was killed while unarmed, at a distance, and posing no imminent threat to the officer.

Fact 6: Officer Darren Wilson’s friend’s friend, “Josie ” is NOT an eyewitness. Her statements are hearsay that would never be admitted in any court of law because she didn’t personally witness anything.

Fact 7: A judge would probably not allow the video of Mike Brown’s alleged robbery in the convenience store to be shown at trial because it would be too prejudicial and it’s irrelevant to his murder. So, in releasing the video to the public, the government successfully tainted the jury pool in a way that would be never be permitted in a fair trial. This was a sneaky way to violate the ethical rules of evidence.

Finally, let me say this: While the some of the most passionate anger has come from the Black community, I recognize that there are many well-informed non-Blacks who are equally disgusted with the recent injustices in Ferguson.  These non-Blacks are marching, protesting, getting tear-gassed and arrested like everyone else.  Others aren’t able to march, but they are voicing their discontent in other ways. I commend everyone who stands against injustice and everyone who upholds the constitution of the United States of America. As the Reverence Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”  And  “A house divided against itself can’t stand.”  (Mark 3:25) So, let’s keep up the fight until we get it right. Together.