How to Talk About Ferguson

In the most recent wave of racially-focused campus activism, many have posed an excellent suggestion: “Let’s talk about Ferguson.” Although I’ve found many of the self-proclaimed ‘Movement’s’ postings to be inflammatory and reductive—though undoubtedly well-intentioned—this one strikes me as particularly valuable, since it really aims to engage our community in a conversation that is absolutely worth having. However, while this might be a good way to begin the conversation, the language of social activism doesn’t provide a useful way to continue the discussion. The kind of pithy, axiomatic language that fits on signs and on the bricks of Martin’s Way is too simple and too myopic to be really effective in launching a serious conversation about prejudice. Therefore, in the hopes of generating a more substantive dialogue, I have compiled a list of suggestions about how to have a productive discussion about the shooting of Michael Brown, or any of the other recent tragic shootings of young black men by white police officers. 

Read More