On -isms: Ferguson Needs a 'Genius'

By | Thursday, August 14, 2014 Leave a Comment
If you've paid any attention to the media over the past couple days, you're probably aware that police in Ferguson, MO have essentially turned the city into a war zone in order to combat peaceful protests of a by-every-single-account totally unjustified killing of a young, unarmed Black man by police. Police have arrested reporters without charging them with any crime, they've tear-gassed Missouri State Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal, and the officers who murdered Michael Brown remain serving without being identified. Citizens of the Gaza Strip are offering advice to Ferguson residents about how to avoid the effects of tear gas.

There are all sorts of stats pointing to how rampant racism is in Ferguson. And with the city having fallen into a police state, I can't help but recall reviewing Genius by Marc Bernardin, Adam Freeman and Afua Richardson just a few weeks ago. It's about a very intelligent woman who grows sick of having her friends and family relegated to the ghettos of LA and so she essentially starts a war of secession. And she does a damn fine job of it, hence the book's title.

I noted at the time that it was portrayed very realistically, and that if someone like the main character showed up in real life, it would be quite frightening to watch exactly a scenario like that unfold. And here we are watching the police take the same actions we see in Genius, but without the benefit of an actual genius being available for the citizens to stand a chance of defending themselves. And sure enough, it's frightening as hell. All the moreso because I don't see how the citizens of Ferguson stand a chance. And EVEN MORESO because the police have been very effective at silencing the majority of media outlets from getting out accurate reporting that might make them look bad.

There's a post I've written and re-written a couple dozen times without posting (I can never seem to keep it very cohesive) about how little you and I matter to those who are in power. It's mostly focused on the super wealthy and large corporations, because they exert a large and more difficult to discern force on our lives. But Ferguson points to how physical force and bullying at a large -- and literally deadly -- scale can direct our lives as well. Shameful to see this in "the land of the free" even if that phrase has largely been symbolic and not actually accurate for decades.

I don't have a good point or conclusion here. Ferguson is clearly out-gunned, and citizen's rights have gone up in smoke. That Genius debuted only last week is insanely serendipidous, and it has some striking parallels. But one it doesn't have, as I said, is that Ferguson doesn't seem to have its own genius to be their hero. They could really use one.
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