What Goes Down Must Come Up

As humans, we all have an innate sense of fairness. Put any child in an unfair situation and you expect to hear then complain. We are, of course, best at detecting that unfairness when we are getting the shaft, but we are also able to see the unfairness when we are the beneficiary. That sense of fairness is at the core of society.

When a noticeable fraction of a community rises up in resistance against authority one should recognize that they have good reason to do so. One cannot argue that the people of that community have no cause without either being ignorant of the reality of their circumstances or by asserting that they are fundamentally different people. Civil disorder is messy, time consuming, and takes one away from useful activity – people aren’t going to do something like that without a good reason. We, who do not daily experience the life of people pushed to the margin by society, should take civil unrest as obvious evidence that those people are being treated unjustly.

The people of Ferguson, Missouri didn’t take to the streets because they had nothing else to do. They had all the things on their plates that anyone else has, and not enough hours in the day to make it all fit, just like you and me. They did, however, have something else on their plates that you, dear reader, and I do not: the police had the habit of pushing them around as a matter of course. Then, when an unarmed man is killed one should expect that one had struck a nerve. I would also suggest that in communities of color in this country the awareness of the consequences to themselves of civil unrest is acute; they are less likely than we white people to rise up for trivial reasons.


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