Figuring out Ferguson: What’s Next?

I’m trying to make sense of the Ferguson decision and realize sadly, there is no sense. I’ve put my faith in a system that failed to deliver.

The memory of Michael Brown is now tarnished by injustice, and the violent, destructive aftermath of that unfair decision not to indict the policeman who shot an unarmed teenager.

And the rampage continues. In Cleveland, Ohio, 12-year-old Tamir Rice was shot and killed Saturday after brandishing a fake gun on a playground.

In both cases, young boys were engaged in activities that cause alarm; but don’t merit shooting to death. Brown was caught on camera stealing from a convenience store; Rice shouldn’t have been playing with a gun that looks real.

I think about my African American friends, many whom are parents, who are having the “talk,” once again with their children about how to behave when confronted by police, especially white police. I’m thinking about how they’re trying to explain Ferguson in a way that instills hope that the system can still work.

From a blog post by my friend Ken:

I Hate When I’m Right 

…When it came to race, she (my daughter) believed that racism on a whole wasn’t as bad today as my wife and I portrayed it to her. I don’t think she was being Pollyanna with race in America; she was merely taking into account her personal experiences with it. Even though I knew she was wrong, I wanted her vision to be right…

 …My daughter was wrong (again), but I hope that what she and her generation sees, that I cannot, will some day come to pass. Until then we have Ferguson.

On a positive note, today is the 136th birthday of Marshall Taylor, known as Major. Another friend, Demetrice Miles, president the Major Taylor Cycling Club of NJ wrote:

On November 26, 1878, the world was blessed with the birth of Marshall Walter Taylor. Marshall Taylor was a phenomenal athlete and competitor who rose above the circumstances of the times in which he lived to become a world class cycling champion.

 More importantly, Marshall “Major” Taylor was of person of strong moral integrity and conviction…

As members of MTCCNJ, we carry the torch and banner of a man worthy of celebration… When you think it is too cold outside or you think you are too tired to do anything, THINK about what Marshall Taylor had to go through in his lifetime just to have the honor to compete…

Perhaps linking these events is too much of a stretch. Perhaps more role models are needed for young people to keep them from stealing cigars or waving fake guns. Perhaps more kids should ride a bike.

 

 

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About cyclingrandma

I was a journalist (Danbury News-Times, Ct), before becoming a teacher, and continue to write for professional journals. I have written several study guides for Penguin Books and write for Education Update, a newspaper based in New York City. (www.educationupdate.com). I’ve interviewed many authors, college presidents, and scientists. I wrote “The Kentucky Derby’s Forgotten Jockeys” for Smithsonian Magazine's website, www.smithsonian.com. (April, 2009). Two essays have been published in book anthologies; one for Wisdom of Our Mothers, (Familia Books) and the other in “College Search and Parent Rescue: Essay for Parents by Parents of College-Going Students.” (St. Martin’s Press). I was a middle school Language Arts teacher for more than 10 years and have just completed a five year grant position under No Child Left Behind in Newark, NJ public schools. I have three children, two daughters-in law, and six grandchildren. I'm an avid cyclist, knitter, cook, and reader. I love theater, museums, and yoga.
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9 Responses to Figuring out Ferguson: What’s Next?

  1. The Grand Jury decision has also angered Calgarians. Tonight a peaceful demonstration, “Black Lives Matter” is being held in our city. I read another post this evening called ’12 things white people can do now because Ferguson,’ and am providing the link here :
    http://qz.com/250701/12-things-white-people-can-do-now-because-ferguson/

    Diana xo

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  2. Thanks, Diana. I hope people get involved.

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  3. I just feel so hopeless and sad about all of this… the tip of the iceberg, in terms of how black Americans feel! I just believe that there is NO way that either of these boys would be dead if they’d done the same things… and been white. Period. #Ferguson

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  4. It does happen white on white but less and we don’t hear about it. A good friend of ours was brutally beaten by cops and of course the courts always side w/ the police. I do wonder where this will all lead.

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  5. Time for a revamp of our criminal justice system

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  6. I agree with your conclusion – that young kids need good role models more than ever these days.

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  7. A very tragic situation indeed. I do agree about the need for better role models for all our children. Parents too, need to be very vigilant where their teenagers are concerned.

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  8. hugmamma says:

    It’s sad to think that racism may never be eliminated until generations have been cleansed of it. Prejudices are passed down from parents to their children, whether we like to admit it or not, Once rooted, racism is difficult, if not impossible, to uproot. Not that we should stop trying. Maybe one day…

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  9. The nation is becoming less white– and intermarriage is more accepted- who knows. Here’s hoping.

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