Reflections After Ferguson

Hansman, Bob
Date Written:  2015-07-01
Publisher:  Against the Current
Year Published:  2015
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX21230

I am a white man with a Black son. I did not have or get him young and fill his head with illusions of diversity and colorblindness, the way some white parents do. I met him when he was a young teen, living in the housing projects, well on his way to having a reality-based world view built around the urban litany of poverty, gangs, drugs, murder, jail, dysfunctional schools and police abuse - and very much not about diversity and colorblindness.



But I am hopeful about the Ferguson Commission. I have attended a number of the meetings, and the nay-sayers who charge that they are just window dressing are simply - and destructively - wrong. I know a number of commissioners personally, know them to be good people - even better people now than they were before. They are serious, driven, complex, working on many fronts simultaneously, connecting the dots, listening, and pushing tangible and specific policies to all the significant entities - educational, political, cultural. They are unrelenting, and they have the will and the ability to accomplish things. And luckily, they have voice.

Of course, having voice is only part of the equation. Other people need to listen. And they need to not hear things that are not there. They need to get over the urge, after hearing "Black lives matter," to say, "ALL lives matter." It's not that that isn't true; it's that it's not the point. Nothing in "Black lives matter" excludes anyone else's lives from mattering - just as nothing about Black Power excluded other demographic powers. They are simply affirmative statements in a place where we often get denigration instead.

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