In the Age of the Internet, ignorance is more willful than ever. The idea that we should debate over the facts of the Darren Wilson case is borderline ridiculous. Anyone can get on Twitter and see what’s really going on in Ferguson. It’s not an issue of information. It’s an issue of intention, and motive.
Frankly, a lot of white people have an interest in derailing conversations about Ferguson (someone recently mentioned to me that “looting is bad”). Ferguson is about institutionalized violence towards black people, and it’s about white supremacy. Anyone who says otherwise is fooling themselves and trying to fool you, and here’s why.
What Ferguson is currently revealing to the people who didn’t already realize (white liberals, mostly) is that the murder of innocent black people by the police is the modern-day form of lynching. It’s bringing attention to the fact that, despite what we were taught in school, racism didn’t end in the sixties. That revelation puts a lot of things into question, and reminds us that this country was built on the brutal genocide of Native peoples (a belated happy Thanksgiving!) and then on the backs of black slaves stolen from their homes. And even now, people of color are still largely doing the grunt-work that our country runs on, and then being demeaned for it.
Basically, I totally understand why white people would want to stop the Ferguson riots, silence and distract people from the conversation, and paint an innocent child as a Hulk-like “demon.” The reality of our racist America is that some people are literally not taught to think of people of color as humans whose lives have value. In fact, they are socialized to think otherwise by racist media representations. That’s why #BlackLivesMatter is so important. It’s addressing the exact issue here – some people don’t think black lives matter.
There is something really disgusting and evil about that mindset, and whether it comes from upbringing or media brainwashing, it is the personal responsibility of every single individual to rise above that (to the level of the most baseline human decency). And if someone is not willing to ask themselves the hard questions and unlearn the hate and inhumanity they’ve been taught, then that makes them a bad, selfish person. We should not cater to or even tolerate these people. This means we should not keep them in our social circles, worry about hurting their feelings with “reverse racism,” try to appeal to a non-existent humanity by telling them facts they’ve already decided to ignore, or give them a platform to spew hate at an audience by remaining their friends on social media.
So, support #BlackLivesMatter and support the protesters in Ferguson, but don’t waste your time “debating” with smug, racist assholes on Facebook. Instead, we need to cut out the distractions and think about how we can help the protest, whether that means donating, protesting in our own cities, or just keeping the conversation going. We can’t forget this, or let it fade away as a passed phase in our social media feeds. Ferguson is about something huge, something that our country is built on and that needs to be completely eradicated and destroyed. Don’t let anyone fucking forget: Ferguson is about white supremacy.