The Grand Jury verdict will be announced today. Almost all of the reporting in the media keeps reiterating the message that a failure to indict will likely result in “violence.” Keeps claiming that “violence” is what everyone is bracing for and hoping against.
Let us remember that this is not a neutral description. And let’s repeatedly ask: whose violence?
First, we aren’t waiting for violence, we are already in violence. Violence is the environment we are swimming in. And protestors in Ferguson certainly did not create it.
Second, whatever happens after the verdict is announced (if we assume it’s a non-indictment as most seem to expect) the violence we are “waiting for” or “hoping to avoid” or “bracing against” is the violence of police in riot gear, with an arsenal of weapons and tear gas.
Righteous, constitutionally protected protests in the “first round” (that never really ended) were largely organized, disciplined, and unified. The plumes of tear gas that signify “violence” to the public as it consumes images of Ferguson, were plumes spewed forth by police officers not protestors.
Protestors were provoked, harassed, assaulted by police. (This was well-documented but rarely reported.)
They are likely to be so again.
So let us continue to echo the question as a way to re-frame this false notion of “violence” that seems to own the public, “mainstream” conversation about what might happen in Ferguson in the next few hours.
It is the most overt manifestation of white supremacist, state violence we are likely about to witness.
Let’s tell the truth.