Friday, August 22, 2014

Ferguson -

I don't remember which state exactly I was driving across when I saw through someone's Facebook post that Michael Brown had been shot to death. And I wondered how and why and why it was a national thing. And couldn't help but think about the man who was choked to death in NYC just a week, a few weeks before? And I did wonder how was it that this man had been in a place that ended in him being shot, to death. Because in my nice middle class white world, you don't get shot by police officers without reason. Right?

And in between driving 7 or 8 hours a day and tucking small people into beds in hotel rooms and then getting back up and driving some more so I could go on even more vacation, I would catch glimpses of reactions on social media. And amongst my friends, those glimpses of reactions were limited to pretty much only the black women I know on Facebook.

And I stayed out of it.

Because I haven't watched the news in a month and I have only read the news as it pertains to work and I don't know what is actually being reported about this.

But my heart is sick.

Because I know of several little boys but there is this one in particular. I've only just started to get to know his mother. And I've only had one conversation with his father. His dad is a big black man. Quiet spoken and very well educated. His mother is has only once said in a forum I am might be in something like "another black man in the news, I'm turning on the tv to see if I can catch a glimpse of our president tonight, please no Obama haters. I just need some hope for my son."
It was that plea that really caught me.

I cannot imagine not having hope for my son because of his color.

And then a woman I know, a former classmate and now an educator posted on Facebook an article about talking about what is happening in Ferguson in school:

5 Ways to Teach About Michael Brown and Ferguson in the New School Year

by Christopher Emdin published in the Huffington Post

And I was horrified. My kids are blissfully unaware that a man was shot to death and that there are protests, and the protests have led to some looting (I think) and I saw somewhere the National Guard was called in...

I said as much. My classmate called me out. White Mom privilege. As in, if you were the black mother of 3 sons you'd be having conversations with them about this. Would I? I don't know. I am not a black mother with 3 black sons. But I hear the implied, if you were you wouldn't have a choice. 

This morning she posted an article again published by the Huffington Post "White Mom Privilege" which articulates much of what I am thinking and feeling. But there was a different one that caught my eye Dear White Moms by Keesha Beckford. And in this post she brings up that small innocuous thing I mentioned before, few if any of my white friends and connections are discussing this. It is like the elephant in the room, nobody knows what to say so they are just ignoring it. And that hurts. And it doesn't do anything.

Apparently there was a shooting in 2001 in Cincinnati and Timothy Thomas was shot dead. (I don't remember it. 2001 was a blur of small children and traveling husband.) ran an article:  Could Ferguson happen here... again? 

what I see when I read the article is what Cincinnati did: "Cincinnati's riots gave birth to the Cincinnati Collaborative Agreement, widely viewed as one of the most innovative plans ever designed to improve police-community relations."

While I expect discussion and change is ongoing - this gives me some hope, and possibly some direction. And asks the question, what lessons can the rest of us learn from the Collaborative that will help us circumvent these tragedies? How do communities outside of Cincinnati learn more about the collaborative and what has come of it? 

1 comment:

troutbirder said...

As you may know from a few of my posts and header I have two black grandchildren. One from Rwanda the other from Ethiopia. We worry about the "haters" out there but I remain optimistic about the younger generations attitudes toward race....