Dear white people, I’m another white person here to help you on this disheartening day. Many of us have kept a close eye on the situation in Ferguson, MO. Many of us are outraged, saddened or horrified by what we’ve seen or heard in the news over the past few months, and in the past few days.
Unsurprisingly, you may feel a strong urge to voice your take on this highly polarizing topic via social media updates. I’m here to give you a few pointers before you click that “post” button, because we wouldn’t want the actions of a few of us to reflect poorly on the entire group.
1. If you have included anything that could be construed as a slur or insult toward a particular group of people, please delete your profile and cancel your internet service.
No bigotry allowed, ever. As a good person, you already understand why this rule is in place and will follow accordingly.
2. If your pending social media update might negatively characterize an entire group based on the actions of a few protesters you watched on TV, just shut your word hole.
If you weren’t outraged enough to speak out on the post-World Series riots in San Francisco a few weeks ago, now is not the right time to pipe up on this particular subject.
3. If you have formed your opinion by scanning the headlines that have appeared in your Twitter feed in the last 24 hours, just cram a sock into your mouth.
Racial injustice goes far deeper than you can understand even after a lifetime of studying the subject. You’ve only read 500 words on the subject this morning, so please check the nuances contained in your update.
4. If you can’t admit to yourself that there are obvious racial imbalances within our criminal justice system that put minorities at a disadvantage, zip your lips.
If you find yourself disagreeing on this point, let’s consider a few facts on the system, shall we?
Together, African American and Hispanics comprised 58% of all prisoners in 2008, even though African Americans and Hispanics make up approximately one quarter of the US population. African Americans represent 12% of the total population of drug users, but 38% of those arrested for drug offenses, and 59% of those in state prison for a drug offense.
The disparities in our justice system are indisputable and undeniable facts. This is a huge problem, and it deserves more attention than the 25 word Facebook update you just drafted.
5. If you wish to express empathy, plea for understanding, or exhibit good-nature toward all human beings involved, feel free to click that “post” button.
During this crisis, we are witnessing a lot of brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers and loved ones in pain. Be understanding of the people in your life, and the strangers around you, who have to walk a path more difficult and far different from yours.
So, can you get on board with all of this? Good. Feel free to spread some love today.
Look, we’re all trying to process the pain of this situation, and that’s okay. Still, try to act in a way that doesn’t spread more negativity into the world.