EARPLUGS: DON’T TUNE OUT YOUR FELLOW CITIZENS
FN Staff Editorial
We’re tired of hearing that you’re tired of hearing about Ferguson.
Last week, the grand jury’s decision not to indict former officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown unleashed a fury across America. Protesters took to the streets, to the airwaves and to social media to voice their opinions on the case and on the state of race in America.
Much of the media, and many of our community members, have focused their attention on the riots that followed the decision, ignoring the peaceful, sober dialogue of cooler heads. When critics have addressed these arguments, they have often countered them with the insistence that the protesters are the ones making race an issue in the conversation. They suggest that, if only we could ignore the racial component of the story, it would go away, and thus we could achieve a more equal society.
Regardless of the soundness of that argument, the fact that many in this nation don’t want to talk about Ferguson is telling. It exposes the deeper problem that despite an outburst of emotion on behalf of protesters and sympathisers, who believe that there is a grevious injustice against the black community occuring in Ferguson and in cities like it across the country, there is a large portion of the population that just doesn’t give a damn.
While violence and rioting certainly will not move the discussion forward, the peaceful protesters deserve to be heard. With such extreme emotion surrounding this issue, we should all pay them some respect and listen to what they have to say. America was founded as a nation of people who were fed up with being mistreated by their governments. It was founded by people who wanted to freely express their beliefs without being harmed for them.
The protestors in Ferguson are Americans, too. Shouting at them to quiet down shows a lack of compassion for members of our national community who are clearly hurting. At a time of such deep division, compassion is the last thing we should lose.
Stop wishing Ferguson would go away. Quite frankly, it’s not going to. Take out your earplugs and listen to what your neighbors have to say.