Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Why Young People Are Taking to The Streets Following the Grand Jury Decision- And Not Only in Ferguson

The response to the Grand Jury decision in Ferguson is going to be a referendum- in the streets and on social media- on how young people, especially young people of color, view their lives and opportunities in an increasingly hierarchical and racially polarized society and on what role police play in maintaining that hierarchy. If they are taking to the streets in rage, it is because they don't see what happened in Ferguson as an isolated incident, but as something which resonates because of their own experience with police, school officials, and other symbols of authority in American society. It is also a telling commentary on what they think about about their own prospects for a secure future in a society where wages are stagnant and college is increasingly out of reach. Make no mistake about it- the police are a symbol of something far larger. The huge power invested in them, the latitude given police officers to use deadly force and the militarization of police in communities large and small, is a refection of what the public expects them to do, For a young person of color and perhaps for any young person who feels marginalized and trapped, the message is clear- they are a National Security Threat and their lives are expendable.