White and Black Opinion Differs on the Importance of Ferguson for Race
By Joseph Orosco and Phoenix Calida
The Pew Center for People and Press conducted a survey last week to ask Americans their views on the top news stories and to gauge their reactions to the developments in Ferguson, Missouri, following the shooting of Michael Brown. The results are telling about the lack of common ground when dealing with race in the United States.
Black and white Americans disagree about the importance of the case, with almost half of white Americans saying they think the case is getting more attention than it deserves; almost 80% of African Americans think it raises important issues about race in this country.
What was even more interesting was a comparison of the Ferguson developments with the other big news item of the week: the death of Robin Williams. Both stories received about equal attention from Americans, with more young people between the ages of 18-29 ( a key demographic for television advertisers) following Robin William’s death than Michael Brown’s.
These results by the Pew Center provide a context for a new thought piece by Phoenix Calida:
To be honest, I don’t know what upsets me more- what’s going on in #ferguson or the fact so many people are trying to ignore it.
The same people who listened to every moment of the Oklahoma City bombing.
The same people who never turned off their TVs on 9/11.
The same people who continually updated their Facebook status when the movie theater shooting in Colorado happened.
The same people who live tweeted Sandy Hook.
WHERE ARE YOU NOW?
Black people are being murdered, streets look like a war zone. Police are declaring martial law. Shooting protesters. Using gas on them. Using dogs and sniper rifles. Arresting people for reporting events.
Why is this less of a tragedy than a school shooting? Where is your outrage? Your empathy? Your humanity?
How dare you leave us alone to shoulder the burden of 500 years of colonialism and institutional racism!
How fucking dare you choose not to get your hands dirty when you benefit from centuries of our blood on your streets!
How dare you save your benevolence and kindness to those precious white children you deem more worthy than ours!
You may be silent, but we won’t stop screaming.
You may ignore us, but we aren’t going away.
You may hate us, but we don’t care.
We just want you to know we see you sitting on the sidelines not wanting to be involved.
So think about who your neutrality hurts, and who it helps.
Because at the end of the day, you will have to pick a side. And us? We are gonna do this with or without you.