I’ve posted a lot of thoughts and links over the past couple of weeks, mostly on Facebook. It was brought to my attention that I should consider compiling some of that data. It is impossible to overestimate how much education plays a part in solving these problems, so here is a fistful of tools that may help you in your respective corner of the world. Stay woke, and watch your bridges for trolls.
1) When people say “More whites get shot by cops than blacks.”
If you still have anybody in your life that says “More white people get shot by police than black people,” say, “Ratio.”
If they don’t know what you mean, give them this article. If they read the article and say, “But the data is incomplete” understanding that that’s because police refuse to submit how often they shoot to the government, ask them if they think it would actually change the POINT of the data that we do have.
If they say yes or refuse to read the article or don’t take anything away from it that might change their mind, stop talking to them about the issue altogether.
Also, this. You should be using this site all of the time anyway:
Also this (where the graphic above comes from):
2) When someone says “The grand jury decided. That’s the justice system at work.”
Small wonder that England – where this tool of prosecutors comes from originally – abolished the practice: it doesn’t work. In fact, America is one of only four former colonies left that still has them.
England abolished grand juries decades ago because they didn’t work
3) “But [insert famous black person here] agrees with me.”
You probably need a better class of black friend. Black people have been starved for images of ourselves in high places for generations, but not even the hungriest of us starving for freedom listens to these cats.
Black People Who Should Never Speak Publicly On Race Again
Your humanity should be assumed at all times. If it isn’t, the person who doesn’t see you that way has to justify that view, not you.
5) What does everyone mean when they say “cultural differences”?
They mean racism.
When you’re watching the news and they’re talking with cops and non-black pundits and the president and Holder about how to improve relations between cops and communities, just know that when they say “cultural differences” they mean “racism.” They can’t bring themselves to say it because they’re politicking, not because they don’t know. Remember: you can’t fix what you can’t name.
No link here. I wrote this. It’s still true.
Okay, fine. You want a link? Here’s a link. This is a graphic map of Twitter activity at the time of the Ferguson decision. This is what it looks like when hope dies.
6) What can I do to help? – #1: Stop denying racism.
This one would be true even if there weren’t police brutality.
The new threat: ‘Racism without racists’
7) What can I do to help? – #2: Stop deleting your racist friends
The Ferguson riots were like a roach bomb: the minute stuff started smoking, racists – accidental or otherwise – started popping out of the corners. And while I won’t go so far as to tell people to put their mental health and peace of mind at risk, I will say this is one of those things you can do if you’re one of those people who asks me, “What can I do?” You can start by stepping up and having the conversations black people shouldn’t have to have in the middle of their anger, mourning and desperation. You see WAY more racist speak than I do.
8) When someone says “They’re thugs.”
Coded language is surprisingly easy to spot. If you hear any of these words, you’re dealing with someone with a problem. Cease and desist.
9) The Ferguson Masterpost
The best resource I’ve found yet about ALL of this, with a Ferguson core. If Ferguson were a college course, this would be the textbook. Constantly updated, if you only check out one thing off this list, this should be it.
10) The Obligatory Tim Wise essay
Because sometimes you’re dealing with someone who just has to hear it from a white guy. And if you have to pick a white guy to listen to, it may as well be The Hammer.
We Don’t Need Nice, We Need Justice: Racism and the Moral Blindness of White America
11) 76 Unarmed People of Color Killed by Police from 1999-2014
Seeing a list this long is overwhelming. Reading through their stories is jaw-dropping. The range of gender, age and circumstance is downright frightening. It, literally, could be any of us.