Request from the Elves—Good links re: Ferguson, MO and Michael Brown shooting?

Posted by The_Elves

In Kendall's absence, none of us elves have felt comfortable posting on the shooting of Michael Brown and the Ferguson MO situation, not having found any single article or commentary that really seemed worth recommending and up to T19 standards. But it seems a glaring absence on the blog this week NOT to have posted about Ferguson. So, we'd like to ask T19 readers: what links might you recommend? Especially welcome would be articles / commentaries that get beyond the headlines and give some context or offer a Christian perspective on the events. Thanks in advance. - the elves.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchRace/Race RelationsReligion & CultureUrban/City Life and IssuesViolence* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

6 Comments
Posted August 23, 2014 at 7:17 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Blue Cat Man wrote:

I would not worry about not covering this story. There are plenty of other stories that will appeal more to your target audience. It is too early really know what actually happened anyway. Keep to your standards- always!

August 25, 5:03 am | [comment link]
2. Katherine wrote:

I agree.  The facts are not clear.  Right now, that’s the story:  rumors are running wild, and facts are lacking.

August 25, 7:02 pm | [comment link]
3. William P. Sulik wrote:

I found the following comments from Charles E. Cobb Jr., Visiting Professor of Africana Studies at Brown University to be very insightful.  By way of background, Prof. Cobb was the field secretary for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in Mississippi from 1962-1967; he is also the author of “On the Road to Freedom, a Guided Tour of the Civil Rights Trail” (2008).

I understand racist cops; have encountered a few myself over the years — and I have 71 years. The mostly white Ferguson police force may be racist; in the final analysis, I do not know because in this era of ever-intensifying “national security” in the name of fighting terrorism, local police forces have been armed and empowered in unprecedented ways. One result has been what I simply call swagger; a growing inclination to bully and even brutalize whenever they detect defiance. It is nonracial. We also see this with many TSA personnel in airports.

That discussion is a large one and I do not intend to pursue it here although it provides some context for what I do want to pursue. Reports have suggested a history of anti-black behavior from at least some of Ferguson’s police, and a history of tolerance of it from higher-ups in the police department and city government.

The question is why. And I raise that question in a narrow political sense as distinct from the usual accusation of racism. Let’s be blunt and basic. Ferguson is two-thirds black. Given that percentage, how is it that the 6-member city council has only one black member and the 53-member police force only has three blacks in its ranks? Who and what is at fault here?

The numbers exist to clean house; to get rid of the mayor or police commissioner or whoever the community concludes is working against its best interests. Why hasn’t that happened? If Mississippi towns and counties can now have black mayors and sheriffs, what in the world is wrong with Ferguson?

[UPDATE: Here’s an answer: Only six percent of eligible black voters voted in the last municipal election.] Rev. Al Sharpton says “America is on trial” in Ferguson. Isn’t black leadership also? What kind of black leadership exists in Ferguson that it has not managed to organize the ouster of those in local government? This is not to excuse what I consider the unjustified August 9 shooting of Michael Brown. The investigative process will perhaps provide some answers to whatever questions remain although even with the Justice Department stepping in we cannot be certain.

In any case, the leadership question will not be answered by whatever this investigation turns up. Black leadership seems to have failed. We see this kind of failure right across black communities in the United States, although the black organizing effort to defeat the challenge of tea party-backed Chris McDaniel to Thad Cochran in the Mississippi Republican Party senate primary runoff seems a notable exception.

Admittedly, this is more complicated than usually realized. In North Carolina, for example, the statewide totals show that more blacks turned out for this year’s mid-term primary than the last one. But looking at this primary county by county, according to the nonpartisan watchdog group Democracy North Carolina, black turnout decreased in 8 of the 15 counties where African Americans are over 39% of the registered voters. There is an organizing mission suggested by these numbers that black leaders need to take on that ranges from fighting voter suppression to maximizing the turnout of registered black voters.

Local leadership as we saw in the Mississippi primary is taking on this task. It is often young leadership as with Florida’s Dream Defenders or North Carolina’s Moral Mondays.

National black leadership, however, seems lax. Oh, they will show up to protest incidents of murderous horror. With militant speeches they sometimes generate momentary mobilizations. But when it comes to being insistent and consistent with their time, energy and resources on the day-to-day organizing tasks that could empower black communities, I for one, do not see them. And nowhere is this truer than in black inner city communities besieged by violence — not white police violence, not Ku Klux Klan violence, but by people of color killing people of color.

While it is true that the huge issues of economic disparity, the collapse of public education, and the congressional gridlock that has brought to a halt any meaningful effort to tackle national needs can account for some of the inattention by leaders used to asking the federal government for everything they need, Ferguson teaches a more fundamental lesson that should be paid attention to: There is power to make change if we organize to seize it.

Comments found here:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2014/08/19/from-charles-e-cobb-jr-on-the-challenge-of-ferguson/

August 26, 2:13 pm | [comment link]
4. Katherine wrote:

I find that comment rather sad, William P. Sulik.  Prof. Cobb has decided the shooting was unjustified, without much further discussion, and then goes on to imply that “reports” indicate racial trouble with the Ferguson police force, thus indicting the officer as a racist without any direct evidence about him as an officer.  He cites as constructive leadership the “Moral Monday” events in North Carolina, events which look to this North Carolinian like political grandstanding with very little practical intent or effect, and brushes off evidence showing that more African-Americans voted in our May primary than similar primaries in past years despite the tightening of the early voting period which the “Moral Monday” group insist will suppress black voting.

In general this sounds like sentence first, trial later.  In Ferguson, we need to know more about what happened before passing judgment on either the young man who died or on the police officer.

Apparently Al Sharpton, with whom I seldom agree, took a risk at Michael Brown’s funeral to point out to the gathering some of the pathologies in urban black culture which often lead to tragic results.  Bill Cosby took a lot of criticism when he made similar remarks some years ago.  Perhaps some of Sharpton’s comments may make people think.

August 26, 8:59 pm | [comment link]
5. dwstroudmd+ wrote:

Apples to apples, oranges to oranges?

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/aug/25/critics-see-racial-double-standard-in-coverage-of-/

Agitators from 5 states showed up in Ferguson.  There was so much coverage that those involved in this incident say “This is no Ferguson”!
Clearly there is a problem, but I’m not sure it follows the putative paradigm proposed as fact in the media or by the above.

August 27, 9:33 am | [comment link]
6. NewTrollObserver wrote:

Reflections on Ferguson’ on Georgetown Live!

August 30, 9:16 am | [comment link]
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