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Gibson writes: "As White people who aren't seething with racism, we have the duty to show solidarity with our Black brothers and sisters in the aftermath of the Ferguson decision."

Riots broke out in Ferguson this week after a grand jury decided not to indict Darren Wilson. (photo: unknown)
Riots broke out in Ferguson this week after a grand jury decided not to indict Darren Wilson. (photo: unknown)

Our Silence Means More Violence: An Open Letter to Fellow White People

By Carl Gibson, Reader Supported News

26 November 14


ear Fellow White People,

As White people who aren’t seething with racism, we have the duty to show solidarity with our Black brothers and sisters in the aftermath of the Ferguson decision. We have the duty to listen, and not lecture. And we have the duty to speak out just as loudly against police brutality, even if we aren’t the ones who are the most directly affected.

Today, a White police officer kills a Black person every 28 hours. In Utah, police are responsible for more homicides than gangs, drug dealers, and child abusers combined. And the number of Black people killed by police has now outpaced the number of Black people who were lynched during the Jim Crow era (which never really ended, when you consider this statistic). FBI data shows that Black teenagers are three times more likely to be killed by police than White teenagers. In 2012, FBI statistics show police departments claimed “justifiable homicide” 426 times. To compare with another Western nation, police in Germany only fired a total of 85 shots over the course of 2011. Forty of those were warning shots, and only six were fatal. In Japan and the UK, there were zero police killings of civilians that year. The U.S. is far and away the leader in police acting as judge, jury, and executioner. Now, can you start to understand why the Ferguson community is so distraught by the loss of a teenager and the lack of even a show trial for the White police officer who killed him?

But the anger Black America is currently expressing is more than just anger over Michael Brown’s killer walking away unscathed. Twelve-year-old Tamir Rice was just recently killed in Cleveland for playing with a toy gun. Seven-year-old Aiyana Jones was killed in Detroit by a police officer conducting a raid who accidentally discharged his weapon (the officer, Joseph Weekley, has escaped charges twice). And Black America isn’t just targeted by the police. In the last several years, Black youths were killed by racist vigilantes for playing loud music and wearing hoodies. Only one of those vigilantes was brought to justice, and that was after he was taken to trial for a second time. Darren Wilson’s non-indictment means he won’t even face a trial for firing 12 rounds at an unarmed teenager who was over 100 feet away from him at the time of his death.

As White people, the police treat us very differently. I stole candy from convenience stores as a kid and was never caught, let alone even suspected. But even if I had been caught any of those times, I have the privilege of knowing that because I have blond hair and blue eyes, at the very worst, I would have been required to pay a fine and do community service. I would even be given a second chance and the benefit of the doubt by future employers. And whenever I have encounters with the police and I’m not at a protest, I almost always get away with a warning, no matter how fast I was driving, what time of night it is, or what neighborhood I’m driving in. And if I refuse to consent to a search, the officer respects my assertion of my rights and backs down.

But even White people who commit heinous acts of mass murder were treated better than Michael Brown, who was, at worst, an alleged suspect of petty theft at a convenience store. James Holmes, who killed 12 people in the Aurora, Colorado, movie theater and wounded many others, surrendered after the act, was brought in peacefully, and got a trial. This is all despite the fact that Holmes had an AR-15 assault rifle and hundreds of rounds of ammunition, and had booby-trapped his apartment with deadly explosives. Jared Lee Loughner, the man who killed six people in Arizona and almost killed Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, was also taken alive by police despite his having shot a member of Congress in the head. Now, White people, can you start to understand why Black America is taking to the streets?

Sadly, a large portion of White America has been taken in by the corporate media’s over-hyping of the riots and looting following the grand jury announcement. A lot of you have said, “Why don’t they act more like Martin Luther King,” without taking into account that Martin Luther King was violently killed just the same, and that in 1999, a Memphis jury found local, state, and federal government agencies guilty of a conspiracy to kill Dr. King. Malcolm X was also killed for his beliefs, even as he grew more moderate over time. Medgar Evers was killed in the driveway of his own home, in front of his family, by a White man who wouldn't face justice for 30 years. The list of slain Black leaders goes on.

Other well-intentioned White people are chastising those who have looted stores, saying corporate property destruction hurts the protesters’ cause, without taking into account that the Boston Tea Party, which led to the bloody revolution that created our Constitution, was, at its core, an act of corporate property destruction. Just as the Boston Tea Party participants did in their day, the people of Ferguson are simply expressing their rage in the only way they have left – by rioting – in the absence of accountable elected officials, a rigged justice system, and a militarized occupying force that terrorizes their neighborhoods and slaughters their children with impunity. White people who don’t understand this have the option of not having to understand this, which defines our privilege.

This week, White families all over America will celebrate a holiday that began with White genocide of Native Americans, and will do so with family members they love and assume they will see again the following year. But the families of Mike Brown, Tamir Rice, Aiyana Jones, Trayvon Martin, Rekia Boyd, Ramarley Graham, Ezell Ford, and so many others won’t have that privilege. We as White people must acknowledge that the problem of police brutality isn’t just an issue for members of one particular ethnicity to deal with – it’s a human rights issue. The Americans who protested in solidarity with Palestinians who lost lives, families, and homes from the Israeli bombing of Gaza did so regardless of their nationality. And so, White people must protest this week in solidarity with the Black community regardless of our ethnicity. Martin Luther King was right when he said injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

Carl Gibson, 26, is co-founder of US Uncut, a nationwide creative direct-action movement that mobilized tens of thousands of activists against corporate tax avoidance and budget cuts in the months leading up to the Occupy Wall Street movement. Carl and other US Uncut activists are featured in the documentary "We're Not Broke," which premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. He currently lives in Madison, Wisconsin. You can contact him at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , and follow him on twitter at @uncutCG.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News. your social media marketing partner


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+52 # Barbara K 2014-11-26 13:23
Too many kids are being killed by the cops who are there to "Protect and Serve", not to beat and kill. These officers are adults who should know better than to shoot without positive reason, and these kids did not deserve to die at the hands of officers sworn to protect them. This is getting way out of hand, and if we want to retain any integrity in the police departments, it needs to end. Murder should never be the first option. If really threatened, they can just wound the kid in the leg or foot to stop them. It is not necessary to do all these killings, a good share are unarmed and were just killed for no reason other than a coward's fear.

+16 # Barbara K 2014-11-26 18:36
I hope I'm not the only one watching MSNBC tonight. They are covering the Michael Brown case. Guess what they just showed!

The papers that showed that the CHARGES were "Assault of LEO (law enforcement officer)" The VICTIM is listed as "Darren Wilson"! The PERPRETAROR is listed as "Michael Brown"! Read that again. So it was Michael Brown who will not be facing a trial (really). You've got to see that, it was on Al Sharpton show and maybe the show will be on YouTube soon. Someone was trying to play a fast one on that "jury", or made a huge mistake in the charges filed. I don't think the significance has hit anyone yet, well, I noticed.

+12 # ericlipps 2014-11-26 19:23
In other words, the kid who got gunned down was the perpetrator and the guy who shot him was the poor frightened victim?

And you wonder why black people were upset? Picture the scenario the other way around, with Wilson as a white kid and Brown as a black cop. Brown would be in jail right now and almost certainly facing demotion if not firing.
-17 # brux 2014-11-27 05:38
>> with Wilson as a white kid and Brown as a black cop. Brown would be in jail right now and almost certainly facing demotion if not firing.

Do you have any serious data that indicates that would be true? I don't think it would be. I think police of any color are given a lot of latitude in shootings, and in some cases there are grey areas where the cop gets to make a decision that boils down to ... do I shoot this person or not, and in the heat of a fight or a struggle for arrest and to do their job, I don't think racism really plays into it that much.

Sometimes, yes. The problem is the big things in the media are not ever good examples of a bad shooting.

The best thing that could happen would be to demand that all cops were cameras that video record every interaction with the public or every time they pull their weapons ... something along those lines.

I think people do not understand the police's use of deadly force.
-23 # brux 2014-11-27 05:39
>> Assault of LEO (law enforcement officer)

Yeah, that's what happens when you seriously resist arrest with force and try to kill an officer performing his lawful duties.
+1 # janla 2014-11-28 16:39
Quoting brux:
>> Assault of LEO (law enforcement officer)

Yeah, that's what happens when you seriously resist arrest with force and try to kill an officer performing his lawful duties.

"Lawful duties" key idea here
-29 # brux 2014-11-27 05:33
Sometimes beat and kill turns out to be protecting and serving.

We simple cannot on a national level send out a message that in any way anyone can for political, racial, class or whatever reason think they can try to resist arrest, attack a cop, and then play in the system without possible serious repercussions.

That is my opinion of what happened here.
+17 # tedrey 2014-11-27 11:56
Nor should we on a national level send out a message that a cop can always kill a citizen for sassing him without possible serious repercussions.

That is my opinion of what happened here.
-17 # brux 2014-11-27 14:45
Trying to take a cops gun, or even fighting with him to resist arrest is not just "sass".

The proof that this is BS is that the so-called black protestors are just rioting ... maybe it's their idea of a party or something, but they are not protesting and they are ruining businesses, black-owned as well. These are not protestors they are thugs.
+5 # janla 2014-11-28 16:41
Martin Luther King - "A riot is the last language of the unheard."
-2 # brux 2014-11-29 18:59
That might have been a poignant quote when MLK was alive and blacks faced the issues they did before the 60's and 70's.

Today we all know black people are just like white people, but there are more impoverished uncultured, uneducated black people, and people have as much contempt and dislike for them as they do for white trash criminals too.

This is a class and culture issue as much as anything else, and being a thug like Michael Brown should never be acceptable or some kind of a protected status. And, no, I am not saying shooting him was OK, I'm saying he needed to live his life like a real person, not like some hip-hop song.
+31 # dbrize 2014-11-26 13:25
Thanks for the open letter. However, there exists some assumptions about white people that may be questionable.

First and foremost, many white people have been involved directly in every advancement of civil rights. Many are today.

Second, to assume that riots are acceptable because they are "...the only way...left..." to express "...their rage..." presumes that a municipality with demographics indicating 60-70% African-America n citizens is unable to organize politically and elect representatives of their choosing or integrate a police force more to their liking.

Perhaps their exist in Fergusan specific reasons for this: are local districts gerrymandered? Are AA's denied the right to vote at polling places? Is it a city/county government operation? Etc.

I don't know the answers to these questions, perhaps you do. Therefore I will reserve judgement concerning justification for rioting until I have researched for the answers.

Your equation with the Boston Tea Party strikes me as disingenuous. The "Tea Party" was an organized, planned political operation with a definite purpose in mind. It was a much different thing from quasi-spontaneo us rioting featuring free form looting and wanton destruction of public and private property.

None of these comments should be construed as a defense of police force ongoing militarization, brutality, racism or other issues current with law enforcement. These issues are real and must be addressed by all citizens.
+43 # Art947 2014-11-26 13:30
It is also interesting to note that the St. Louis persecutor, Mr. McCulloch (sp) gave Darren Wilson weeks to concoct a story that rings so patently false that a honest person would be hard pressed to believe it, and then ABC, our MSM corporate entity gives him an additional opportunity to tell his lies.

It is not enough for those of us who are white to protest this heinous decision of a group of white citizens (the "grand jury"), it is time for those who claim to be members of our law enforcement agencies to condemn the vile creatures in their midst. Until the "thin blue line" stops reinforcing the evil that it does America will continue to smolder and perhaps lead to destruction of our society.
+31 # Blackjack 2014-11-26 13:45
I am white and I am seething! Maybe it would help if some of our white brothers and sisters in the media were also seething instead of turning a blind eye or downplaying it when there is white on black crime. Or when they amp up the coverage of looting that occurs after one of these events, with a tongue-in-cheek response of "look what these people are doing now."
+53 # banichi 2014-11-26 13:59
As a white man growing up in Berkeley, California in the 1960s, I became aware that I could not really understand what it is like to be black in our society. While I was bullied as a child and teenager, that is not the same as being targeted simply because your skin is dark. My black co-workers have expressed how they feel to drive around knowing that they could be stopped by police or CHP and automatically be subjected to suspicion that has no basis in reality. I get it on one level but have no way to feel it the way they do. I know that.

I lived through the days of MLK, JFK, RFK and others being killed along with hope for a better, more equitable society. Not perfect, just more equitable. Over the last 20 years, this has become worse, culminating in the overreaction to the 9/11 event with its attendant 'security' laws, spying on citizens of all color, and culminating in the NDAA and the handing out of military weaponry by the pentagon to local police forces who are not trained in or will ever face situations where they should react militarily against U.S. citizens. And yet they do, as if it is a matter of Us vs Them. Reacting in fear on both sides. Rage. This is what our democracy has come down to, when the truth is that it is destroying democracy, not encouraging it, and that you can't get security out of the barrel of a gun. Not really. You get it out of community and inclusion. And, that is what is being destroyed.
+27 # Blackjack 2014-11-26 14:41
Very well stated.
+26 # Vardoz 2014-11-26 14:03
We have called the Obama comment line, emailed him everyday and holder telling him that this murdering of innocent people and kids must stop. When Crawford was shot in the Walmart in Dayton I called the police and asked why they didn't just would this young man rather ten kill him. The officer said " we are not trained to do that." I said maybe you should be. I told them I ma white middle class and this must stop!!!!!
+22 # fredboy 2014-11-26 14:18
We were on such an amazing road when Dr. King was with us. Then it all went to hell.

Yes, it's time for the good people of all colors and faiths to step up and lead. The current batch of criminals are simply stirring hatred and division to weaken the nation.
+27 # Vardoz 2014-11-26 15:13
Keep on calling and emailing Obama NO MORE KILLING INNOCENT PEOPLE AND KIDS!!!! 202 456 1111 0R
-32 # tpaillet 2014-11-26 15:34
[quote name="tpaillet" ]Mr. Gibson:
It's definitely a mark of end of time to have you come forward to write an article that white people aren't seeing the big picture of what I see as mass destruction around the world. Here in America, it called 'police brutality' when oversea it started out as 'crusaders' who killed a black man name’ JESUS’ to gain control of Israel where ‘mass destruction’ started to unfold between these two topic. The first one’s the removable of the black people to make way today for Asian military staffs who are suppose to protect whoever, made up the word 'mass destruction' from the second removable of (black) Islam to have (white) CHRISTIANITY controlling the land of the world. For I’m see thing clearly that military actions is being connected to the black races who built this land for those ALBINO race to enjoy a better living against the sun(son). Our heavenly father Allah shall regain position against the KING of lords who haven't came forward to discuss this cruel system of their injustice laws.
+1 # teineitalia 2014-12-04 00:56
Tpaillet, please give your computer to someone with a brain. Don't ever touch another keyboard. You make no sense at all, and contribute less than nothing to the national conversation that is taking place across America.

If it's the "end time" it is because of cretins like you who believe it to be so.
# Guest 2014-11-26 16:08
This comment has been deleted by Administrator
+11 # reiverpacific 2014-11-26 16:30
We can all be outraged -or at least those of us left with a bit of humanity, who believe that guns and violence self-perpetrati ng- but the powers that be, including the White House and Judiciary, are bowing to the militarization of everything and the elimination of creativity, freedom of speech and action and gobsmackingly stupid interpretations of the Constitution to suit the ends of their push to absolute domination and control without redress.
It's not just Blacks -ask any of the descendants of the many indigenous peoples -if any of you'se know one or two- who have been enduring attempted genocide for centuries now (and are still the most impoverished, shortest-lived of all demographics making up this patchwork nation), or the Latinos who give up their countries and families -often fleeing Oligarchically ruled, death squad enforced counties armed and supported by the US, to try and get some kind of living here, work harder than anyone else and are targeted by the same racist cops, or the poor whites of Appalachia and other "National Sacrifice Zones", how THEY are treated and stuffed into jail with token-to-no representation.
The current police "Circle-the-wag ons culture is much like the S.A. Brownshirts, replaced by the S.S. Blackshirts and Gestapo (Read Willianm Shirer's "Nightmare Years" or "Berlin Diary, just to get a parallel analogy), with Roland Friesler as Hitler's Blood Judge to hustle any targets or opposition off to the guillotine.
It's not so far-fetched.
0 # teineitalia 2014-12-04 01:02
Dear Reiverpacific,
I love your impassioned responses... always with an eye to the big picture and history. but you are asking people to read who are barely literate. You are asking people to read who listen to sound bites from the likes of Rush Limpballs and Ann Coulter - these are people who do not know or care about history. this is a huge part of the problem. We are not teaching history, critical thinking or liberal arts in schools any more and this is the direct result of that sad fact.
+29 # tedrey 2014-11-26 16:30
I am encouraged to see so many posters here opposing police overreach while making clear that they themselves are white. In these times we should make a habit of doing so.

People on all sides should realize that the battle-lines are not between colors but between the desire for, on one side, equality and on the other, domination.

I am against domination; I am for equality; I may have failed to do all I can in this struggle, but I'm trying; and I'm white.
-48 # DoHickey 2014-11-26 17:03
All this commotion over a low-life only plays right into the Republicans' hand. No wonder we lost the mid-terms. Instead of representing the working man's family, Democrats are too busy standing up for minorities and have become known as the welfare party for gay marriage. No wonder we lost.
The Big Picture is Who Controls, and we're making all the wrong moves in that arena. Racism and Gay Rights are secondary to economics.
+12 # tedrey 2014-11-26 20:07
And economics and racism are terribly interrelated, yes?
+9 # reiverpacific 2014-11-26 20:40
Quoting DoHickey:
All this commotion over a low-life only plays right into the Republicans' hand. No wonder we lost the mid-terms. Instead of representing the working man's family, Democrats are too busy standing up for minorities and have become known as the welfare party for gay marriage. No wonder we lost.
The Big Picture is Who Controls, and we're making all the wrong moves in that arena. Racism and Gay Rights are secondary to economics.

Hi "Doodoo-Hickey"
That's exactly the kind of reactionary palaver that is taking this country away from the force for good it COULD be and sticking us with a bunch of soul-bereft MBA's, Lawyers, blindly obedient, none too-smart cops financed by the corporate-monop olist totalitarian blocs now far too prevalent and influential over the further education system and prepping the earlier grades to be the barely-sentient drones who accept it.
And "Low-lifes" exist only in the apologies for minds that consider those who never had boots to pull the straps of in the first place "less".
Try comprehending the Lakota "Amen" MetakuyeOyasin ("All my relations", -"We are all related" -everything).
Like the Tea-Thuglicans you criticize, "Control" is a sickness and unbridled arrogance that refuses to recognize our irrevocable and universal bond -and our individual uniqueness at the same time.
You must be a real Blue-Dog like so many of y'r short-sighted, atrophied alleged "Democrats".
+16 # dyannne 2014-11-26 18:52
As a Democrat, please do not include me in YOUR "we."
+2 # BKnowswhitt 2014-11-27 00:18
This guy's article proves one thing. Racists are Black and White thinkers .. no gray in between ... the kid killed with gun in Cleveland wasn't playing with it .. that is just one big mislead .. maybe we should find modern day solutions to the problems .. rather than polarize folks on a Black and White model .. which is all the corporately 'cooked' media does because inflammatoid emotionally driven disguised as news makes them more money ...
+5 # BKnowswhitt 2014-11-27 00:21
Even Sky News in London used this tag line .. "a Black unarmed kid was killed by a white police officer" .... again a money maker .. truth is the kid went for the cops gun .. tried to point it back at him .. "Now does that sound innocent? Or that he got killed because he was black and the cop white?" ... so yeah race disparity yes more in poor neighborhoods .. that is another discussion ... except for the outrage in the black community .. which is a race based discussion .. and should be but not what happened to this kid ..
-10 # brux 2014-11-27 05:31
If black people want white people to support them within our system, maybe they ought to pick some better case than when thugs are surprised by the cops when they get a bit more than what they have coming to them.

You cannot set up a precedent where black kids can try to kill a cop, and then when they are losing pull their hands up in the air and surrender as a matter of course because black culture admires the "macho". No way ... get civilized. If there is racism, pick a better poster "man" for it than this guy.
-6 # BKnowswhitt 2014-11-27 00:28
A prominant radio talk show host said this the other day: "If a black guy votes for a black candidate (wink wink Obama) and a white guy votes because a candidate is white then they are both racists. I differ on that. Given the long history of institutionaliz ed racism against Blacks then that does not quite square up. I know many black friends who told me how big a deal it was for all of them that we had a Black president. White people don't understand that. But in this emotionally charged reaction and media fed story (again based on news for profit) - that is not necessarily the case .. my point so you don't call me a racist .. for my views here .. because and let me assure you I Am Not!!!
-7 # brux 2014-11-27 05:25
>> White people don't understand that.

Oh come on, how can you say that. Of course we understand that, and we also understand that it was a meaningless thing to have Obama as President because he was a controlled burn on the American people ... so how can we also not understand that we well.

I really cannot stand Jesse Jackson, but when I saw him crying the day of the election I knew exactly how he was feeling, and I sympathized with it - symbolically ... but we also have to move beyond the symbolic level and know that it is the person's character and heart that will make a good President, not his color.
+3 # BKnowswhitt 2014-11-27 11:12
The radio talk show host a White guy saying that black voting for black and white voting for White not racism the same. Due to American history facts. That White guy who said that did not understand that .. and i believe nor do many White americans ... though you do ...
+1 # BKnowswhitt 2014-11-27 11:19
Don't agree on Obama 'controlled burn' .. history will tell ... I don't expect any president to be a grass roots revolutionist .. except for the 'Pee Partiers' .. who want to destroy it ..
-9 # brux 2014-11-27 05:22
>> As White people who aren’t seething with racism, we have the duty to show solidarity with our Black brothers and sisters ...

Hardly, pandering to pouting people who are throwing a tantrum because they cannot get their own way when it comes to police officers who shoot black suspects is not a good precedent to set.

If this guy was not a thug, and not fighting and resisting arrest ... I'd agree with you.

But, there are damn few is any cases of these black suspects being shot for not reason. Almost every one of them performed serious acts of resisting arrest and hindering the police.

When there is a person of any color who is shot by the police for any kind of personal reason, be it racism, sexism, or just violent aggression, I will be the first one up there with everyone else demanding that things be changed .... but that did not happen in Ferguson.

Black people should get the following message from White people:

We love all people. We love black people, I love black people. I would vote for just about anything that I believed would help black people or minorities in this country to be equal and to have the benefits of American for all - BUT not for people who openly defy our way of life. I don't think it is cool or acceptable to be a member of what is portrayed in rap music, hip hop, the images that we see of black people in the media. When you buy into that you are going to sometimes end up in a Michael Brown mess.
+4 # Depressionborn 2014-11-28 08:39
Yes, brux, but:

true that police here are thoughtful, polite and respectful of all. But not the "cops" on TV or in the news. They dress like SS storm Troupers, kick in doors, swat team old guys for being late on taxes, and set babies on fire too; use dogs for target practice and kill homeless nut cases just for fun. There are no blacks in my neighborhood which is interesting; and rsn green thumbs, often mean-spirited, are usually confused about reality which doesn't help much.

It all doesn't make sense.
-1 # Rain17 2014-11-27 07:29
I'm sorry but rioting in the aftermath of the grand jury deciding not to indict Officer Wilson only hurts the cause of trying to stop police brutality--and it only serves to confirm negative stereotypes about minorities. The other point is that those business owners shouldn't lose their livelihoods because of a situation that had nothing to do with them. Furthermore, given the demographics of Ferguson, I would guess that many of those small businesses are minority-owned.
+1 # arquebus 2014-11-27 10:01
Off topic...perhaps . I have seen cops approach a lot of and white. Some people when encountering a cop are respectful and answer yes sir or no sir even when they think they didn't deserve the ticket, etc. Others start bad mouthing the cops or, worse, start a physical altercation (yep..over a traffic stop).

I taught my kids that the place to stage a fight over a ticket, etc. is in court not on the streets. I can only wonder why everyone doesn't get that concept.
+4 # BKnowswhitt 2014-11-27 11:16
Yeah no parenting poor economics breeds a different life in culture and that does exist and in black and inner city america. The kid made a bad choice. I'm for intervention ... not pulling weapons out .. but these kids don't get it .. and as a result he got killed .. you can question both sides here .. the white cop in his interview with talking heads sounded just like the guy who killed trevon martin .. but at least the cop was doing his job the other one was a wannabe cop ... but this cop showed no real remorse or emotion . no comments like i'm sorry about having to kill him etc etc .. NONE .. that bothers me ..means he does not have good psychological skills ...
+1 # Rain17 2014-11-29 13:15
I suspect that, before going on TV, Wilson probably received a lot of briefing from his attorney. I suspect that, given that civil lawsuits are likely to be filed, where the threshold for victory is lower than a criminal case, Wilson had a script of narrowly tailored answers, lest he say something that the Brown family attorney could use against him in a civil trial.
+8 # peterjmck1 2014-11-27 12:18
Dear Carl Gibson,
Your thoughtful and factual ought to move hearts and minds to tears - and action!! And if white folks don't "get it" now, they will have to later on when - blond hair and blue eyes not withstanding - it's their turn to deal with an overzealous and poorly trained police force that thinks it is above the law. Emboldened with previous encounters with people of color, this impunity will know no color barrier. To paraphrase Bonhoeffer: "first they shot black folk, then they shot brown folk and asians, then they started in on white folk". Leaving aside the morality of it, self-interest alone should dictate that white folks smarten up and realize that a police force which is fearful, increasingly militarized, and detached from the community it serves will do whatever it likes when it feels threatened. It's out job to make sure that we stand with our black brothers and sisters to protect them - and us - the white folks - to see that it stars to approach "liberty and justice for all".
+3 # Depressionborn 2014-11-27 20:40
How about some "what ifs about Ferguson:
First, two cops in the patrol car and some blacks in the police force could have saved Brown. Second, half of the first media reports were untrue, the other half just plain dumb old lies. Honest reporting could have made a difference. Third, looting and arson were needlessly tolerated. Forth, a failure of leadership has allowed police misconduct to flourish in many metro areas and minorities have learned not to trust the system. Lastly even the Pastors ducked, while the Governor somehow got lost. In short, trusted institutions failed.

Perhaps we can learn from our failures?
+7 # kyzipster 2014-11-28 13:25
So much of the debate seems to be focused on the details of this one shooting when the protests sparked by this shooting are about a much larger issue. All I've heard from white people is a debate about looting and the details of the case. One side against the other as always and I don't want to participate. Regardless of opinions about the guilt of this officer, a person should be able to admit that we have a very big problem.

In middle class white or mixed neighborhoods, police act like they're there to protect from my experience. In impoverished, high crime neighborhoods that are disproportionat ely African American, police fear the entire community. That describes the neighborhood I live in now and a policeman pulled a gun on me on my own property. I'm white but it's the perception of the neighborhood that caused him to see me as a threat. I was reaching for my wallet to show my ID at his request, he thought I was reaching for a weapon. For all I know, my white skin saved me. I don't claim to know what it's like to be a racial minority but just this one experience gave me an understanding that many white people do not understand the underlying fear that is the root cause of so many of these deaths.

The demands of the protests are extremely reasonable and they deserve debate. In my town they're asking for camera recordings of all police actions and the demilitarizatio n of the police force which is not the same as disarming. Very reasonable place to start a debate.
+2 # janla 2014-11-28 16:59
[quote name="kyzipster "]Why do the police fear blacks so much that their first reaction to any physical movement is that they are being threatened and that, therefore, they have every right to shoot to kill. Why are they so fearful of a people that have so little actual power? But it's easy to decide that blacks are threatening when we, in this section of thoughtful commentators, can label them thugs and low-lifes for stealing a couple of cigars. Why stop a couple of black teens for jaywalking - why waste the time? - or is that too threatening behavior? But wait, Office Wilson didn't even know about the cigar thefts at the time, so it really was all about the jaywalking. Pathetic - protect and serve? Not!
-2 # Depressionborn 2014-11-29 07:23
Why do you think it is jania?

It wasn't always that way. What caused the change; why do police "Training Academies'", (often privately run), now train to use extreme force first?

I think it is because the once great black family culture has been lost. I don't know how to get it back except blacks will have to do it themselves.
It will not be easy I fear. Poverty pimp leadership will have to go, (most are white); schools will have to be run by black parents, (ignorance is not bliss). Blacks and whites will have stop blaming each other and start working together. Cops will have to be retrained, and blacks police the neighborhood too. Gangs will have to become "not needed' pariahs and looters hung again. We will have to go back to the [imperfect] way it was and start over.

Where we live it is still the old way which is interesting. I think the Bible says it is not good to live in big city high rises. Maybe we need more God and less government? So what do you think?
0 # teineitalia 2014-12-04 01:18
thank you, kyzipster for seeing the big picture here. We can drown in the details and never see what is really going on. What is going on is the last gasp of white supremacy in America. It's ugly and it's pathetic. The militarization of the police is part of that gasp. It needs to end.
-1 # Rain17 2014-11-29 13:13
"Other well-intentione d White people are chastising those who have looted stores, saying corporate property destruction hurts the protesters’ cause, without taking into account that the Boston Tea Party, which led to the bloody revolution that created our Constitution, was, at its core, an act of corporate property destruction."

Well unfortunately, Carl, that is thee case. Rioting only hurts their cause further--and only serves to confirm the negative stereotypes of most people who live there. It doesn't do anything to resolve the problem of police brutality.

And here is the other thing. Many of those business were not large corporate owned stores, but rather small businesses. Many of those businesses were owned by minorities themselves. One of those businesses was owned by a black woman, a bakery. See:

That woman who owns that bakery is black herself--and she had nothing to do with what happened. It's not fair for her livelihood to be lost over something which she had nothing to do. She is not some large corporation, but some woman who put her life savings on the line to open her own business.

And lastly rioting will only lead to further business divestment from that neighborhood. No business is going to open--and provide jobs--if the owner is convinced that rioters will plunder it.
+2 # tedrey 2014-11-30 08:32
And now it is reported that the militarized Ferguson police force only protected the business establishments in the white part of town while letting the rest of town burn. I don't know if that's true.

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