Tuesday, November 25, 2014

On #Ferguson

I haven't a clue.  In fact, I just erased a whole blog about it.

I'd just like to say:

Hey friends, I'm listening.  Let's talk.  I swear I won't try to out-meme you on social media.

#Ferguson  #OpenEars

- Josh  


Montay Henson said...

Hey Josh! I love that you have this open forum. It's hard to really know where to start, but I have some question for you as a young white male. You know many people who agree with the decision right? if so, do they honestly not care if black children are murdered by the police? I mean these people have been unarmed and still shot to death. Do these people think that this ok?

Josh Urban said...

Montay! Good to see you on here, sir! Cool questions. Here's a few thoughts, and I must preface them with this: I haven't delved into the details enough to present you an informed opinion on the Ferguson issue, only from what I see in reaction to it. From what I can tell, the opinions aren't divided along a color line, but more a political party line. The best way I can explain how I see the reaction is to compare it to a couple arguing: the woman (the liberal view) is upset, and the man can't seem to see why she's upset about one particular thing he said. "What, I just said the dress didn't look good on you! Big deal!" and she's rightfully upset about that, and the whole lousy day leading up to it, and the knowledge that there will be more lousy days unless something changes. One side is event-based (we have evidence), and the other is bigger-picture/context based (are black lives worth less?)

I'm walking up to the arguing couple, wondering what's going on, and I realize that it must be important, although I haven't a clue. This is partly due to race, partly due to distance from the situation, but mostly due to ignorance on my part.

So, I haven't heard anyone say that anyone deserves to die. I wouldn't have any interest in speaking with them. I hear some people debating self-defense and specific, situation-based topics, thinking Michael Brown is an isolated incident, and others rightfully distraught about a perceived devaluing of black lives.

I hope this makes sense here, and I'm probably the only person without a solid opinion in the matter. I'm simply outlining what I see and hear from my friends on both sides of the debate.

So, in short, it seems as if it's apples to oranges: specifics of one situation vs. a broader picture and one of principles.

Interestingly, we have the tools to change that in social media. And, for the record, I'm not sure it's so sharply split along color as we'd think. I was talking to a black friend who grew up in Jim Crow south who's on the cop's side, and suburban white friends who are in the streets.

And I'm not sure if anyone's talking about the same thing. That's the really interesting thing to me.


Montay Henson said...

Ok I see what you mean, and I know people who resemble the types you mention. But to be honest they are rare, 91% of blacks think what happened should spark a conversation on race relations in America(while only 41% of whites agree). One the startling facts is that an African Americans are killed by police every 28 hours in this country. And that means right now and we both "live" I am 21 times more likely to be killed by a police officer than you.

This is truly frightening and all my family happen to be African American as well. So there is no "perceived devaluing" there is literal warfare on the poor black. Lets not discuss the difference in prison population and arrest in general (or the simple stop frequency of people of color) vs white. Even though data says all races commit the equal amount of crime, people refuse to believe the system is skewered so bad that they feel they can tell people to calm down after so many "incidents".

But i see what you you mean by isolation, but if it were that minuscule it wouldn't have so many people able to see so much wrong in our society. I mean people oppose gun laws while school shootings continue to happen. We need to blame the perpetrators and the system that allowed it to happen. I hope I'm not talking in circles, but my point...Our point for the anger should be obvious. We feel the system put in place to "protect" is now hunting, and people who stand on their side or on the sidelines are making things much worse in general.

Josh Urban said...

Makes sense! These certainly are shocking numbers, and while it's definitely a time of upheaval, it seems good that the nation is starting to at least have a conversation about the topic.

I was walking along my street today, and a cop drove by, returning my wave. I wondered if it would be different if I weren't white, walking all alone in the middle of the day. (However, that being said, I've been stopped by several neighbors wondering what I was doing. To their credit, I did look like a hooligan with my grubby clothes and funny walk! Haha!)

So, to sum things up, thanks for sharing your thoughts, and I think we're on the same page here. It's a shame that 41% of whites think there needs to be a conversation on the topic, but I'm pleased to say that I'm of that percentage. I'm always all ears.