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I’m at the #Ferguson apartments behind the QuikTrip. I do see orange flames, smoke but it’s unclear what is burning. About dozen young men holding signs W. Florissant/Northwinds Estates that say “Stop Killing Us” They’re shouting “F*** the police”. Protesters taunting police. Criticizing everything from #Ferguson police annual budget to calling them bitches to mocking curfew, tactics. Kid sat down “Hands up, dont shoot” Cops: “If youre sitting down it’ll make it easier for us to arrest you.” Police drove into group of protesters, firing tear gas I think. About 40 protesters gone. Shouted “F*** you” as they ran off. Wind shifted. Yep, tear gas. Police just shot at least three tear gas canisters at me. One hit my leg, one my backpack. They’re saying “Go home” I literally have nowhere to go. I’m hiding. A @bellevillenewsd photog, other journo with me. We held up media credentials. They drove into parking lot of private apartment complex and shot tear gas in circle, 10ft from us. They circled us, shot tear gas. We’re in bushes. Street we needed to get to car was blocked off by officers in armed vehicles. Our photographer @zianizami was hit by canister on arm.
Recent tweets from Jacqueline LeeBelleville News-Democrat reporter, 8/18/14. (via twiststreet)

Hey, White Americans. We Need to Talk.

postcardsfromspace:

According to a Pew Research survey, only 37% of white Americans think the events in #Ferguson raise important issues about race.

Okay, fellow white people. We need to talk.

Let me tell you a story: I was an angry punk teenager. Not violent, but I did a shitton of trespassing, and I got into a lot of screaming matches with cops.

I have never been arrested.

I have never been violently attacked by police. Hell, I have never been seriously threatened by police.

I am fully aware that I’ve survived to adulthood largely on the benefits of my race.

When you are white in America, you get away with all sorts of shit. Have you read this account from a white dude who actively tried to get himself arrested? You should. It’s telling.

So, if that’s your main frame of reference for dealing with law enforcement, it is really easy to assume that when someone else gets targeted by the police, they must have done something really bad. After all, you know the police aren’t that petty, right? They’re there to help: That’s what TV tells you, what your teachers told you, what your parents told you. “If you’re in trouble, find a police officer. They’ll help.” And, y’know, if you’re white, most of the time, that’s probably true.

When you’re white in America, it is awfully easy to pretend that you don’t live in a country where the nonviolent physical presence of black people, especially black men, is considered sufficient threat to justify use of lethal force. It’s really easy to pretend that laws are enforced equally; that arrest rate has any demographic resemblance to actual crime rates; that the police are there to protect us from the bad guys.

And, I mean, I get that. It’s a lot more comfortable to pretend that safety correlates to virtue than to confront the ugly truth that a system that benefits you very directly does so at the cost of other people’s lives; that what you were taught was the just reward for being a good person is, in fact, the privilege of your skin. That’s a big part of why we work so hard to retcon narratives about how the black people our police murder must have been dangerous, highlight every casual infraction like it’s a killing spree. We are so desperate to believe that the system that feeds us is just.

It doesn’t feel good to acknowledge that stuff. It feels gross. A system we trusted—one we should be able to trust, that should work for the benefit and protection of everyone has made us accomplice to some deeply horrifying shit.

But here’s the thing:

This happenedThis is happening. Not recognizing it; stonewalling and insulating ourselves in our little bubbles does not make it go away.

And not acknowledging it, not having asked for it, does not make us any less complicit, or any less responsible for owning and fixing this. We are actively benefitting from a fucked, corrupt, murderous system. That is on us. As it should be.

So educate yourself, get the tools, and start dismantling this fucker. You have the time: after all,  no one’s shooting at your kids.

Privilege is the bandwidth to speak up and dismantle because you’re not in fear for your life. And there is no conscionable excuse for failing to use it.

postcardsfromspace:

Hey, Internet.

Here is a very cursory, very quick dump of some links you may find useful for quick-reference context when some ignorant jackass tries to insist that what is going on in Ferguson has nothing to do with race.

Note that this is not remotely comprehensive; it’s just what I happen to have open in tabs at the moment. Please add/amend/annotate as you see fit:

OTHER RELEVANT STUFF:

Best Twitter list of journalists reporting from the ground that I’ve found so far: https://twitter.com/thegarance/lists/ferguson

If you’ve got the money to spare, please throw some this way: http://twib.fm/ferguson/

(Edited to fix missing link.)

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