Unapologetic progressive. Fearless activist. Plucky liberal.

I debated whether to post anything about the recent events in Ferguson, Mo., and finally decided I had to. Not because I’m an expert or I can pretend to understand everything that is going on. Far from it. I’m a young middle class white woman. My privilege protects me from the physical and psychological violence that has been directed at black communities since the beginning of this country. So when a grand jury decided not to indict police officer Darren Wilson for killing Michael Brown, I listened. My heart was heavy, but this wasn’t a moment for white people to rush in and make sweeping judgments about black communities. Of course, that’s exactly what happened.

So the purpose of this post is to implore fellow white people to avoid making any kind of bold statement or judgment and instead to LISTEN.

Chances are, you don’t know many, if any, black people. Research shows that most white people’s networks are incredibly white. And that shows when you say things like “I don’t think racism is a problem anymore,” “we should be colorblind,” “it’s racist to talk about racism,” etc.

So listen to the people on the ground in Ferguson.

Listen to the people for whom this violence is commonplace.

Listen to the parents who are losing their children for no reason.

Listen to the young people who risk their lives every day simply by existing.

Racism hasn’t gone away just because we elected a black president. Far from it. Racism has been, and will continue to be, a fact of life for millions of people. So start reading the stories below to understand even a fraction of what is going on in Ferguson and black communities around the country.

Yeah, it’s a lot of reading—and that’s just the beginning. We have a lot of catching up to do.

Self-Segregation: Why It’s So Hard for Whites To Understand Ferguson, by Robert P. Jones

Telling My Son About Ferguson, by Michelle Alexander, author of “The New Jim Crow” (both mandatory reading)

What Black Parents Tell Their Sons About The Police, by Toula Drimonis

Barack Obama, Ferguson, And The Evidence Of Things Unsaid, by Ta-Nehisi Coates

On Being A Black Male, Six Feet Four Inches Tall, In America In 2014, by W. Kamau Bell

Study: Cops Tend To See Black Kids As Less Innocent Than White Kids, by Philip Bump

In America, Black Children Don’t Get To Be Children, by Stacey Patton

Most White People Are Completely Oblivious, by Tim Wise

12 Things White People Can Do Now Because Ferguson, by Janee Woods

In Defense of Looting, by Willie Osterweil

Actually, Riots Are Good: The Economic Case for Riots in Ferguson, by Matt Bruenig

Neither Michael Brown’s Family Nor Protesters Should Be Held Responsible For The Violence, by Kevin Gosztola

In Defense Of Black Rage: Michael Brown, Police And The American Dream, by Brittney Cooper

The System We Have In Place Has Biases, by Lecrae

In Darren Wilson’s Testimony, Familiar Themes About Black Men, by Frederica Boswell

Ferguson Protesters In Boston Stop Outside Jail, Chant “Black Lives Matter,” by Amanda Terkel

How To Deal With Friends’ Racist Reactions To Ferguson, by Jenée Desmond-Harris

Dear White Allies: Stop Unfriending Other White People Over Ferguson, by Spectra

 It Is Time To Understand The ‘Other’ Side, by Steve Sullivan

 Why It’s Almost Impossible To Indict A Cop, by Chase Madar

White People Rioting For No Reason, by @red3blog via Jessica Roy


Comments on: "Fellow white people, be quiet and listen" (2)

  1. Great post, Molly. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Please give my best to all of your family.

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