What fucks me up about the Darren Wilson fundraiser is that he hasn’t been charged with a crime. He doesn’t have to hire a lawyer. He’s on paid leave, so he’s not losing wages. This is not covering his expenses, because he doesn’t have any additional expenses. This is a reward. He’s getting a $250,000 reward for murdering an unarmed black kid, two days away from starting college, in broad daylight.
“My name is not Annie. It’s Quvenzhané.”—Quvenzhané Wallis (then age 9) correcting an AP Reporter who said she was “just going to call her Annie” instead of learning how to pronounce her name. Never forget.
The recent events in Ferguson, Missouri, emerge from deeply ingrained racial, political, social and economic inequities, amongst which include a broad-based problem with the administration of policing in the U.S., particularly within black communities. As citizens and a collective of more than 400 sociologists, we are troubled by the killing of Michael Brown. We are troubled by the excessive show of force and militarized response to protesters who rightfully seek justice and demand a change in the treatment of people of color by law enforcement. We urge law enforcement, policymakers, media and the nation to consider decades of sociological analysis and research that can inform the necessary conversations and solutions required to address the systemic issues that the events in Ferguson have raised.
The relationship between African Americans and law enforcement is fraught with a long history of injustice, state violence and abuse of power. This history is compounded by a string of recent police actions that resulted in the deaths of Michael Brown (Ferguson, Mo.), Ezell Ford (Los Angeles, Calif.), Eric Garner (Staten Island, N.Y.), John Crawford (Beavercreek, Ohio), Oscar Grant (Oakland, Calif.), and the beating of Marlene Pinnock (Los Angeles, Calif.) by a California Highway Patrol officer. These events reflect a pattern of racialized policing, and will continue to occur in the absence of a national, long-term strategy that considers the role of historic social processes that have institutionalized racism within police departments and the criminal justice system more broadly.
“Capitalism not only denies the majority any real control over their lives, it also insists that this unfair arrangement be accepted as normal. To contain rebellion, all who are impoverished and oppressed are treated as personally inadequate, biologically defective, mentally ill – anything other than the victims of a heartless and exploitive system.”—Susan Rosenthal | Mental Illness or Social Sickness?
“I came to a point where I needed solitude and just stop the machine of ‘thinking’ and ‘enjoying’ what they call ‘living’, I just wanted to lie in the grass and look at the clouds.”—Jack Kerouac, Lonesome Traveler
“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.”—Terry Pratchett