The Ferguson grand jury no-billed an indictment on Officer Darren Wilson. And immediately, the protests began. As with anything race-related in this country, whenever something happens, someone always comes up with a false equivalency.
First, let's look at the definition.
False equivalence is a logical fallacy which describes a situation where there is a logical and apparent equivalence, but when in fact there is none.
The first false equivalency that I want to explore is "Why don't Black people protest when other Black people are killed?" You also hear things like "Where's Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton?", and we'll get to those later.
Whenever there are nationwide protests over some sort of malfeasance (usually in the form of a civil rights violation), someone ALWAYS asks about protests in the Black neighborhoods. And most on the Right usually, and smugly assume that there ARE no protests in the Black neighborhoods, because no one cares about Black neighborhoods unless there's a white person involved.
Let's dispel this myth right now.
First, let's look at the tragic death of Hadiya Pendleton. When she was murdered, she wasn't killed by a rogue cop, or a racist. She wasn't a victim of Chicago's Finest, or the Boys in blue. She was a victim of gang violence. There was community outrage, and this story received the attention of President Obama (Pendleton had just performed with her drum majorette corps as part of President Obama's second inauguration). And yes, there was plenty of community outrage about it.
Then, there's the story of Blair Holt. This young man was killed on a CTA bus, by a gang-banger. Again, no cops took this young man's life, and the community was still outraged. The killer is serving a 100-year sentence for cutting this man's life short.
These are just the prominent stories that make national headlines. Whenever there is a shooting, the people in the community ARE angry. They ARE outraged. It's obscene to act as if the people in these neighborhoods are just twiddling their thumbs when young lives are snuffed out. Just because it doesn't make the news, or just because the Right-wing bobbleheads aren't blabbing about it, doesn't mean that people aren't angry.
Because they are.
When it comes to local outrage that rarely makes national headlines, there is really one name that shuts the entire argument down. That name is Father Michael Pfleger, of the Faith Community of St. Sabina. This man is always on the front lines, making calls to action when violence rears his ugly head. If I were Catholic, he'd be my priest. If you peruse his Facebook page, you will see commentary after commentary about how violence is tearing this community apart. You will see invitations to fellowship. You will see him call the media out about flooding the cities with stories of ISIS and what have you, with little to no mention about shootings that take place on a given weekend.
Yes, local people are angry about violence in the community. And yes, we don't need "permission" to march or protest, and we don't necessarily need the spotlight. I know this because I participated in one such march, assembled by the Roseland Christian Reformed Church. We marched around a few blocks in Roseland, and the march ended at a shooting victim's house. Other churches were there, as well. One of the things that I distinctly remember was how some of the Roseland residents (my community, by the way) giving us thumbs-up and cheering us on as we marched for community pride in an effort to take the streets back.
These responses are not isolated incidents, and I'm quite sure that they are not limited to just the Chicago area. People are angry, and people are looking for answers. And yes, people are angry and looking for answers when the violence comes from within the community.
So, from this point forward, you can kindly shut'cher gobbige mowf if you think that police brutality or civil rights violations are the only times that people in our communities make their voices heard.