Reactions to Ferguson

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Like a lot of people around the country, I’ve been intently following the crisis in Ferguson, MO since the killing of teenager Michael Brown. There’s been no shortage of commentary surrounding the events; both around the deadly confrontation between Brown and Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, as well as the ensuing protests and police reaction. It’s been fascinating to read and watch the reactions pour in. Some expected, some not. Here is a round-up of the best commentary so far.

Rembert Browne with a first hand account of the protests:

I kept running. I didn’t know where I was running, but I was running. Now there were explosions and sirens and smoke and gunshots and a helicopter shining its light through the neighborhood. We scattered like roaches, and I couldn’t help but wonder if the cops thought of us that way. — “The Front Lines of Ferguson”

Ta-Nehisi Coates on “changing the subject” and black on black crime:

Let’s all get together and talk about how Mike Brown would still be alive if Beyoncé would make more wholesome music, followed by a national forum on how the charge of “acting white” contributes to mass incarceration. We can conclude with a keynote lecture on “Kids Today” and a shrug. — “Black People are Not Ignoring Black on Black Crime”

Joel Anderson on the Ferguson community and its conflicting views on race relations:

“This whole thing is getting blown out of proportion,” said a white resident. — “Is Race an Issue in Ferguson? Depends On Whom You Ask?”

The Guardian profiles the supporters of officer Wilson:

While the crowds protesting in Ferguson have been predominantly African American, all but one of the demonstrators showing their support for Wilson were white. A stack of dark blue T-shirts, on sale for $7 and bearing a police-style badge stating: “Officer Darren Wilson – I stand by you,” quickly sold out. — “Ferguson Police Officer was ‘Doing His Job’ Say Supporters”

A story in Politico about a white father whose son was killed by a police officer and how the father fought for justice:

Yes, there is good reason to think that many of these unjustifiable homicides by police across the country are racially motivated. But there is a lot more than that going on here. Our country is simply not paying enough attention to the terrible lack of accountability of police departments and the way it affects all of us—regardless of race or ethnicity. — “What I Did After Police Killed My Son”

Republican Senator Rand Paul on the “militarization” of the police and the need for criminal justice reform:

Given these developments, it is almost impossible for many Americans not to feel like their government is targeting them. Given the racial disparities in our criminal justice system, it is impossible for African-Americans not to feel like their government is particularly targeting them. — “We Must Demilitarize the Police

Matt Lewis on the growing disillusion with the police among conservatives:

In recent years, conservative opinion leaders have been more willing to question authority. They’re more skeptical of the police and the military, and don’t just accept everything these institutions do as being in service of their “protect and serve” purposes. And the way conservative opinion leaders have reacted to Ferguson illustrate this reordering. — “How Ferguson Made Conservatives Lose Faith in the Police”

Jamilah King on the usefulness of a “perfect victim”:

These tidbits are an obvious distraction from the most urgent matter: a police officer’s killing of an unarmed young man. — “Michael Brown and the Danger of the Perfect Victim Frame”

A look at the Pew study detailing the wide gulf between blacks and whites and their views on Ferguson:

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… these kinds of numbers were all too predictable, as they have been repeated over and over in high-profile situations like those involving O.J. Simpson, Rodney King and Trayvon Martin — in large part because black and white Americans have vastly different views of the biases of  the American criminal justice system. — “African Americans are Concerned About Ferguson. Whites are Not”

Gene Demby writes about how the Ferguson community is dealing with the intensity of the national spotlight:

One dude walks up to Jackson and daps him up. “Reverend Al!” he says. “What up!” Everyone snickers. Jackson does not correct him. — “In Ferguson, MO., a City Meets the Spotlight”

Ezra Klein on the frustration with Barack Obama among the first black president’s supporters:

If Obama’s speeches aren’t as dramatic as they used to be, this is why: the White House believes a presidential speech on a politically charged topic is as likely to make things worse as to make things better. It is as likely to infuriate conservatives as it is to inspire liberals. And in a country riven by political polarization, widening that divide can take hard problems and make them impossible problems. — “Why Obama Won’t Give the Ferguson Speech His Supporters Want”

CNN anchor Jake Tapper is incredulous regarding the Ferguson PD’s show of force:

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