Following Ferguson: Weekend Reads

By Carla Murphy Aug 15, 2014

Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson fatally shot an unarmed teen, 18-year-old Michael Brown. That’s about the only point of agreement among many people watching the Ferguson story unfold. With today’s announcements about the officer and Brown in mind, here are a few must-reads for your weekend. 

Begin with USA Today, whose reporting reveals that the nation doesn’t count annual police killings all that well. Next MSNBC finds one explanation for why a majority black suburb has a majority white city government and police force: low voter turnout.

Reason looks at who in Congress is voting to militarize local police–and who isn’t. (It might surprise some of you.) Then wash it all back with this Storify, supposedly from Iraq and Afghanistan vets, along with this image of an on-duty balaclava’d officer.

As we first saw with Trayvon Martin, national and social media are again exposing private black family conversations to a general audience. Wash-U professor John Inazu wants white families to get in on the act. "[Let] me implore my white friends and colleagues not to let this be a "black thing," he writes in the Post-Dispatch. "Join the peaceful demonstrations, and get your friends and families to join with you." Some of these conversations aren’t pleasant. See The New Republic for what some white St. Louisans are saying about their neighbors in Ferguson. Bear in mind the TNR reporting is only one article, just one view of many. More reporters need to follow TNR’s lead and talk to more white people.

And finally, an observation. Social media and citizen journalists are becoming more effective at not only helping to organize physical protests but in challenging perceptions of unarmed young black men as criminals. As a woman, it’s difficult not to see similarities between this image war and the one waged 30 years ago by my mom’s generation. At one point, society took it as truth that women wearing short skirts, "deserved it" too. That belief is still around. But it’s no longer considered the truth.

As always, feel free to add your links. Have a good weekend, y’all.