Opinions: Duality: Our approach

Kindness, for a change.


Natalie Hinds

Mary Kay Gagnepain (11) holding the QT door open for Officer Mike and his son.

We want you to know we have been watching the events of Ferguson unfold on Twitter and CNN just like the rest of the community: that footage of the destroyed QT, the first victim of the Ferguson riots.

We aren’t ignorant of or ignoring this tense and frightening moment of history. We just don’t know how to approach it.

Race, poverty, looting, inequality. We felt like the clips we watched in our history and English classes of the clashes between peaceful protesters of the civil rights movement and the authorities vicious responses came to life in painful clarity. Tear gas replaced fire hoses, tanks replaced angry German Shepard’s, looting and Molotov cocktails replaced peaceful marchers.

As the famous Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Violence is the language of the unheard.”

All the rage, in our backyard. A war zone.

This is democracy at its messiest. Freedom of speech, the right to peaceably assemble. The First Amendment. No one can predict the moment when a crowd turns into a rioting mob.

We are not going to pretend we have full knowledge of events and the answers. But we also can’t continue our silence.

There are multiple examples in history of inequality. In the “land of the free” and the “home of the brave,” we tend to exclude a large portion of our population, based on skin color.

Ever since the signing of the Constitution and the 3/5 Compromise, which declared African Americans as only 3/5 a vote (3/5 a citizen) African Americans have never been fully respected in society, and it’s obvious to all.

In New York City, 80 percent of the citizens pulled over by police officers were black or Hispanic. Studies show that officers are more likely to pull over and frisk a black man than a white man, according to the Floyd vs. City of New York court case.

What’s happening in Ferguson has deep roots in the long history of racism and discrimination in this country.

Fifty-one percent of Americans expressed anti-black sentiments in a poll; a 3 percent  increase from 2008, according to an Associated Press poll. We don’t know how to end what generations have been guilty of since the beginning of time.

This violence doesn’t feel like the answer. Is it not a cry for help?

We cannot support burning down stores, looting businesses and destroying the community.

We are all members of this community. Ferguson is a part of us. It is time to acknowledge that. It is our duty to make it thrive. Not tear it down.

And of course, the media never fails to make things worse.

Story after story, new information every hour, new theory after another… it’s all too much.

How are we to know what’s true? What’s fake? We can’t. All the different angles distort the truth, so there is no way create a complete opinion on the events happening in our own backyard.

It’s a paradox. We are the media, asking our readers to consciously question the media.

Don’t just listen to what the news stations throw in our faces. He was guilty. He was innocent. His hands were up. He attacked the officer. All of this, a giant cluster of confusion and apprehension.

Join us in taking a deep breath and making the choice to be kind to each other as we rush into QT to grab a slushie and acknowledge the people standing around us with a smile. Or as we brave rush hour traffic in the rain and people drive like idiots, let us not honk at them in our cars but wave and smile and breath through the frustration.