Ferguson: Ten Bloggers Speak Out

In the days since Michael Brown’s shooting, bloggers have taken to their sites to share their thoughts on race, violence, media, and more.

Image by Shawn Semmler (CC BY 2.0)

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.

 

Gukira

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

myrivercityblues

Many commentators on the violence in Ferguson have focused on the dangers of using a militarized police force to contain civilian protests. But how militarized is law enforcement in Ferguson? In a comprehensive, illustrated piece in The NationLyle Jeremy Rubin, a political blogger and former Marine, guides the uninitiated through what he calls “the arsenal of racial oppression.”

Afroculinaria

Michael W. Twitty usually blogs about food cultures — especially those of African American communities. The events in Ferguson have prompted him to write a moving personal piece, “#Ferguson: My Thoughts on an American Flashpoint,” where he recounts his own experiences of discrimination and racial profiling.

 

Dissonant Winston Smith

A blog by an anonymous police officer currently on duty in Ferguson, Dissonant Winston Smith reports on the challenges of wearing the very uniform that has come to represent violence and discrimination to many in that community. He writes, for example, on being the object of media scrutiny:

If police try to clear the media out before using gas they’re accused of trying to suppress the media’s freedom of the press. If police let them stay, they’re gassing the media which is apparently also evidence of media suppression.

In reference to media suppression

Dan Gillmor

Writing from the other side of the police/press divide is journalist and media expert Dan Gillmor. He has recently published a piece in The Guardian about the power of citizen-journalists, in Ferguson and beyond, to expose inaccuracies (and, at times, outright lies) in official narratives by law enforcement agencies.

Two Point Ommen

One of the biggest stories coming out of Missouri is the central role of social media — especially Twitter — in keeping the world informed of the violent clashes between protesters and police. In “The Digital Mosaic Public: Twitter and Ferguson,” blogger Brett Ommen takes a more skeptical position, pointing to the limitations of social media in bringing about change on the ground.

 

tressiemc

Atlanta-based sociologist Tressie McMillan Cottom offers a more affirmative angle on grassroots media and their potential to empower members of marginalized communities:

Digital media appealed to blackfolks for the same reasons that any innovation appeals to us. It is a chance to up-end legacy structures and institutions that have shut us out.  We are early adopters not to be cool but to survive.

“What Is Left to Say?”

beccyjoy

Language and the way it can camouflage bigotry — both conscious and not — is a topic that blogger beccyjoy addresses head on:

By saying, “you do not have all of the facts” we are essentially saying “I don’t believe that you are smart enough to know what is happening right in front of your face.”

By saying, “this isn’t a race issue” we are saying “I know more than black people about what it feels like to be black.”

You might want to rethink that comment you are about to post about Ferguson, MO

Being Shadoan

How do notions of complicity and privilege play into tragedies like the one unfolding in Ferguson? In her provocatively-titled post, “I am racist, and so are you,” writer Rachel Shadoan offers a panoramic view of the history of institutional racism in the US, and tries to find ways for individuals to help dismantle its heritage.

 

ThinkBannedThoughts

The violence in Missouri caps a summer full of bad news, from the Middle East to Ukraine and beyond. Feeling deflated and powerless, writer Bree Ervin has consciously decided to disconnect from events over which she has little influence.

In a thoughtful piece, “Retreating toward Happiness,” Bree explains that her decision doesn’t mean she no longer cares, but rather that her energy is better spent within her local sphere:

I know it seems like the world is burning, and some of us are in places where we can help put those fires out, but for the rest of us, maybe the best thing we can do is stop adding fuel to the fires, maybe the best thing we can do is practice peace.

We wish you all a safe, sane weekend — and if you have another story related to Ferguson you’d like to share, please feel free to leave a comment.


Missing out on the latest WordPress.com developments? Enter your email below to receive future announcements direct to your inbox. An email confirmation will be sent before you will start receiving notifications - please check your spam folder if you don't receive this.

Join 18,372,311 other followers

Ben Huberman

50 Comments

Comments are closed.

  1. thinkbannedthoughts

    Thanks for including me in this list. Honored. And thank you for compiling such a broad round-up of thoughts and perspectives.
    Here’s hoping both justice and peace are delivered in Ferguson, MO.

    Liked by 11 people

  2. Notes From a Hermitage

    There’s also an extraordinary post written by thepracticalhistorian (wordpress) on this subject. It’s compassionate and she lives there in St. Louis.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. tdub68
  4. 03alwi

    People care more about being politically correct than solving a problem that has destroyed communities for decades. Everyone wants to sound smart and have a little say on the issue.

    Liked by 13 people

  5. Dawn

    Our militaristic police society has targeted many individuals undeserving of death. Google the events of Waco, Texas, when Clinton was President, when a mass killing of a religious sect was carried out, ordered by Janet Reno. Numerous men, women, and children were killed in that compound. Check out Randy Weaver from North Idaho during that same time period. His wife and son were killed by officers during a standoff that was politically motivated. What surprises me most is how the media picked up the story in Ferguson, and went with emotion rather than facts in this case. True reporting needs to be honest, and done tactfully with the facts prevailing. No one is safe from prejudice. In this case the facts are that the officer felt threatened. He was badly beaten. The officer did what he thought he needed to at the time, which wasn’t the case with Waco or Weaver. Those events had plenty of premeditation, and still, many innocent lives were killed by authorities.

    Liked by 6 people

  6. Jay Currie

    As well, social media has been essential in bringing forward the video tape of the robbery, alternative eye witness reports and news of Brown’s attack on the police officer and the injuries resulting from that attack. Only with the help of bloggers and tweeters has balance been restored and the racialist narrative held up to scrutiny.

    Sitting in Canada I have been astonished at the awful mainstream media coverage of Ferguson and have had to rely on blogs for actual information.

    Liked by 10 people

  7. Lana: Living with Post Concussion Syndrome
  8. Marklewood at Serenity Lodge

    I think one of my deepest concerns about what is going on down in Ferguson, MO is that a great deal, if not almost all, of the violence is being either perpetrated or egged on by outsiders, people who have no business being there except to loot, plunder and wreak havoc on a town that is more than capable of handling this crisis on it’s own. What we have here is a crowd of outside misfits, folk whose primary goal it is to cause riots — rioting for profit. And although the initial incident certainly needs investigation, it does not merit the interference of outside interests which have nothing to do with either the police of Ferguson, nor the alleged racial injustice some would place on the incident. Instead, outsiders, bent on their own personal agendas, are flocking to this community to take advantage of a difficult situation, thus clouding the reasonable and lawful investigation, almost insuring that no truth will be able to surface any longer. What rioting, looting, violence, burning and tearing apart local business has to do with finding truth, I do not know. But, it appears everyone has flocked to this party, hell bent on causing destruction, to the detriment of justice.

    Liked by 17 people

  9. franklinswritingcorner

    Awesome! I wrote about this on my blog crimestation.wordpress.com about twice. As a fellow law enforcement officer I don’t support my own if they are out here gunning down people, of any color, without just cause. Especially when you shoot someone six times, unless they are on PCP, which from personal experience can be a life and death struggle. A black man was shot in College Park, Maryland several months ago, when I was a cop there, about 19 times after he stole a county police cruiser and brandished a gun at uniform and plainclothes detectives. That wasn’t reported that much, but being in that part of the state and country, shootings like that is not uncommon. Place like Ferguson, Missouri is probably where gun violence is not that common and crime is very less than what I am used too, probably. A place where a black man, or anyone, is shot armed or unarmed, in a less crime ridden community, will cause more media attention. Either way this issue needs to be solved and investigated very thoroughly. From what it looks like the police officer might get indicted. We shall see!

    Liked by 7 people

  10. jspears16

    As an African American I’m saddened disappointed an upset, but in the same breath I understand that there are a lot of underlying issues not being spoken about in the black community. Black on black violence has become customary. It is featured on the news but does not get the support or reaction as events like Michael Brown’s murder. No one is without flaws, but no one an I mean no one deserves to be shot down in the street. It’s inhumane. I believe that as a result of the studies, statistics, and stereotypes, the police, those of Caucasian descent have a skewed view of African American men in America. Outside of race, police brutality from an officer of any race needs to be brought to a screeching halt. It is clearly an abuse of power. Maybe the psych evaluations upon graduating from police academies should be placed on more scrutiny.

    Liked by 7 people

  11. SmallHouseBigGarden

    I think less is more regarding this story: publishing anthologies/lists of opinions about only increases the divisiveness and tension.
    I’d like to see the media (on all sides) take about 20 steps back.

    Liked by 8 people

  12. coastcontact

    In a society that holds a “stand your ground” right to shoot philosophy the Michael Brown incident will soon be forgotten. The “wild west” beliefs of a majority of Americans guarantees everyone will soon be carrying a sidearm. Peace loving citizens will be migrating to other nations.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. nonsmokingladybug

    Many more bloggers spoke out….if I may say so!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. tominalbion

    It was a terrible situation but increasing the debate about it before all the facts are known and while people are still rioting might not be the best idea in the world!

    Liked by 4 people

  15. sharperimaz

    In deference to all opinions, biased or non we as an nation are at a crossroad. We can no longer ignore the precepts of human decency .
    Abbie Hoffman pen’s “Revolution is not something fixed in ideology, nor is it something fashioned to a particular decade. It is a perpetual process embedded in the human spirit.”

    Like

  16. tom

    Sombody needs to send the Media home. Everybody has had their 15 minutes of fame. Now it is time for serious people to get together.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. jaytoe2014

    Great compilation! Sure wish my post was included:

    To Go or Not to Go: A Weekend trip to Ferguson…

    http://jaytoe2014.wordpress.com/2014/08/21/to-go-or-not-to-go-a-weekend-trip-to-ferguson/

    Liked by 1 person

  18. coymccoy

    I was very happy to stumble upon this. I live in Clayton, MO (the county capital, 10 miles from Ferguson) and was honored to be part of the protest with my son. They needed more white faces there. http://jennifermccoy.net/ferguson-protests/

    Liked by 3 people

  19. Amanda Ann Klein

    Glad so many in this blog community are talking about this.
    I’m a wordpress blogger and also wrote about Ferguson and media color bias last week if folks are interested:

    http://judgmentalobserver.com/2014/08/13/notes-on-a-riot/

    And this after the awful awful George Zimmerman verdict:

    http://judgmentalobserver.com/2013/08/03/a-true-story-about-being-white/

    Liked by 2 people

  20. stealingnectar

    I also touched on this, but from a white perspective and of preparing to adopt from Haiti. http://www.stealingnectar.com.

    Like

  21. Emil Cavadov

    Awesome! I wrote about this on my blog crimestation.wordpress.com about twice. As a fellow law enforcement officer I don’t support my own if they are out here gunning down people, of any color, without just cause. Thank you.

    Liked by 3 people

  22. shespeaksencouragement

    Ben, would love to have had a mother’s perspective (see Shespeaksencouragement.wordpress.com) included in your Ferguson: Ten Bloggers Speak Out. 

     

    Like

  23. TURNING STONEchoice

    Thanks for sharing. TURNING STONEchoice also touch on this topic – When Will It Stop? http://turningstonechoice.wordpress.com/

    Like

  24. fame1444

    Thank you for posting these! We must remain vigilant. Another post you might be interested in http://songwritingatlanta.com/2014/08/22/i-dont-wanna-feela-song-for-trayvon-mike-brown-and-countless-others/

    Like

  25. DugganPubs

    Too bad you chose to include only one blogger who actually lives or works in Ferguson or even St. Louis. We’ve had enough opinions from outsiders who don’t know anything about us.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ben Huberman

      I welcome suggestions of more local bloggers, of course — feel free to share.

      Like

  26. FEY Kegs

    it is absolutely shocking what happened to that boy. His life taken away from him, the police brutality is inhuman and evil. I believe that if people continue to press on this issue (looting) things will get worse than it is but i am glad it’s getting media coverage.

    Liked by 2 people

  27. nhk49

    More people are becoming aware of what is happening about Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.. However what is really happening in Ferguson is that the killing of Black people is being undermined by bringing up past events as if to say this isn’t so bad. It’s time to look at thing (past and present) as it is. Don’t let what you don’t know but have heard persuade you. Tragic events that occur are all so sade when they come from a sources that dictate events as untruth, half truth and outright lies. I can’t leave without saying that we all have choices and the choice you take in dealing with things is your choice. Don’t condemn others for the choices they are forced to make for themselves.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Charlotte Ortega

    Here we are in 2014 and it seems to me that one black life does not equal the value of one white life. Perhaps we are deluding ourselves that human rights are further along than they really are.This is a concern for anyone at a demographic disadvantage.

    Liked by 4 people

  29. vernon

    I lived in St. Louis county off-and-on over about 10 years, and have a different take on it here:

    http://mr-spock-rocks.com/2014/08/18/spiritual-growth-ferguson-mo/

    Liked by 2 people

  30. gpcox

    I don’t believe the situation needs any more agitation from us bloggers than it is already getting. Bloggers have the unsavory reputation of being ranters as it is and it ruins it for the rest of us who are factual and trying to do something constructive with the internet.

    Liked by 2 people

  31. John T

    Lots of comments about the incident itself, etc. I do not plan on adding to it with my opinion of the incident. Rather, I would like to see all bloggers who made a comment, and anyone else who happens to read this change their focus taking a long, hard look at how the media, public officials and others used this incident for personal or political gain. Whatever happened to “due process” along the way? Personally I think that the reporting by the media was totally out of hand without any thought process on their part before any real facts known. My first blogging post, What the Hell, reflected exactly what I think: http://johntscorner.com/

    Liked by 4 people

  32. mindfulgirl7

    As a white female American, I am completely disgusted by this situation. How many lives do we have to lose at the hands of these self righteous police officers? So many innocent children, people have been murdered at the hands of the law or someone who thinks they are the law. My heart goes out to these families. Never give up!!

    Liked by 3 people

  33. dyule2014

    This is so sad what has happened to Michael Brown we are all waiting for the outcome of the situation. We all do not like violence. We would like a peaceful World although this does not happen. We all can help to work on making this peaceful. Thank you

    Liked by 2 people

  34. Ellen Hawley

    Thanks for putting this together and circulating it.

    Liked by 2 people

  35. Steven McCabe

    Two quick thoughts:

    A. The media coverage of the unfortunate shooting in Ferguson blurred into other world events and put seemingly unrelated situations in both stark contrast and close quarters. We are seeing a lot of suffering.

    B. One thing worth mentioning is the proximity of Ferguson to the historical part of Missouri known as ‘Little Dixie.’ P.S. Yes I am an ‘outsider’ but because I spent the first ten years of my life in Missouri I’ve always had an interest in the history of the state and region.

    I’ve dealt with point A. (above) in my http://www.poemimage.wordpress.com blog post today (August 23) via digital art and poetry.

    Liked by 4 people

  36. awax1217

    In my generation it was the massacre at Kent State. The students had flowers and they were shot. In this case the rumors have become the facts and the media the accuser. We need to move back and figure out the facts. The problem is someone is dead and only one person had a gun. The odds are mixed with the prejudice that has been in America for its duration.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. SouthernGal

    I think this event goes further beyond this specific incident. It demonstrates that the police must change their mind-set when interacting with the public. The media just reported that a previous incident with the Ferguson police involved charging a suspect for property damage because he bled on their uniforms. There is no doubt that this person committed a crime, every race has criminals, but charging someone with property damage for bleeding on police uniforms after getting his ass kicked by police gives us insight into the legal system in this city.

    I really enjoyed reading this selection and will return for more.

    Liked by 2 people

  38. SimplySage

    As the mother of a law enforcement officer, it’s important to mention that what happened in Ferguson is rare. Most police officers operate with integrity and spend most of their time protecting everyday citizens. When my son is on duty and there are no calls, he is out on patrol, keeping an eye on everything. And he prevents a lot of crime before it ever takes place. There are also very strict policies as to when an officer can use a gun.
    2012 stats: 12 million arrests, 400 police shootings in that year, most justifiable. Thus, in 99.9% of all arrests the perpetrator was not killed by police.
    As to this particular officer, the media did him severe injustice by declaring him guilty before any facts or evidence was presented. Every citizen is entitled to presumption of innocence. Justice may take some time, but justice will come.
    What kind of nation do we become when we let emotions and media hype trump the laws of our land? Let the law and justice be carried out the way we’ve always done it.
    Do we want to start a protest that demonizes the police? If so, who do we then expect to arrive when we call 911?

    Liked by 2 people

  39. Tania Tome M de Castro

    I’m in Brazil, far from there. But I read in the newspapers here on the case of Ferguson. If the boy actually died of a racial discrimination then the situation is too sad and disgusting and something has to be done to stop this kind of action!

    Liked by 2 people

  40. delewis107

    This is madness and it has got to stop. You can’t go around taking away someone’s life because you suspect they MAY have done something wrong. These officers need to be taught to shoot to disable, not shoot to kill and then leave it to the courts to determine further. People are not throw-a ways, we are thinking, living, creative spirits living inside our bodies. Life is too precious of a gift to be wasted. STOP THE MADNESS.

    Liked by 4 people

  41. Jeff Bowen

    Reblogged this on Get 2 See.

    Like

  42. iamygenie

    It’s ironic when i was growing up watching Robin Hood and the Sheriff of Nottingham that it was fictitious and funny. But in reality we are in Sherwood forrest with the Sheriff Nottingham taxing and pillaging as he pleases with consent from the King. Now to complete the story we need Robin Hood.

    Like

  43. kissingburnscalories

    It’s good reading about this, I was scared that this issue would just die down as everything else in the media, so I’m happy that you help reminding everyone of this important matter. Thank you, people!

    And I can really only hope that things will change sometime, for good. But sadly, that hope is not likely to become reality. What a pathetic world we live in.

    Liked by 1 person

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 18,372,311 other followers

%d bloggers like this: