Yes, Latinos Do Care About Ferguson

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AP Photo/Jeff Roberson

Twitter: @riobamba_dj

As tensions continue to escalate in Ferguson, Missouri following the the murder of unarmed 18-year old black youth Mike Brown at the hands of police officer Darren Wilson, we’ve been closely following the spectrum of reports coming out of the city. On Day 9 of the Ferguson protests, Rodstarz and G1 of Chilean activist hip-hop duo Rebel Diaz checked in with website Hip Hop and Politics to report on their experience participating in the protests.

As the article explains, the duo provided a “sobering frontline report about the police militarization and brutality unfolding in Ferguson, Missouri. The pair spoke about the onslaught of vehicles and the over the top response by police to those protesting the murder of unarmed teenger Michael Brown.”

The interview offers a source of alternative information outside of the mass media’s reporting, which has been criticized for its criminalization of Brown and for participating as “willing mouthpieces for the police even as they are being threatened, roughed up, arrested and confined to so-called Free Speech Zones.”

Here are several dispatches from Rodstarz and G1:

The podcast also features an interview with Ivy Quicho of the transnational feminist organiation AF3IRM, who speaks out about her experience as a protestor in response to the LAPD’s unarmed shooting of another unarmed black man, Ezell Ford, last week. Quicho highlights the police department’s systemic lack of training in interacting with citizens with mental health challenges, which, coupled with institutional racism, has yet again has come to bear in fatal results. Ivy “also talked about the larger picture at hand and how reform will not be enough to turn things around…[also sharing] her experience of what has worked in LA with dealing with police militarization.”

Lastly, the podcast features a conversation with Kat of the Oscar Grant Movement, who “details upcoming short and long term actions planned in the Bay Area…comparing and contrasting what is going on in Ferguson with what we in the Bay Area experienced in the past when dealing with Oscar Grant protests.”

Coincidentally, earlier today Colorlines published a piece titled “Do Latinos Care About Ferguson,” a title that received a lot of criticism on social media and was subsequently changed to its current header, “Pew Survey Explores Racial Attitudes Toward Ferguson Crisis*,” The article comments on the the results from a small survey published this week by the Pew Research Center, “Stark Racial Divisions in Reaction to Ferguson Police Shootings,” as quoted here:

Blacks and whites have sharply different reactions to the police shooting of an unarmed teen in Ferguson, Mo., and the protests and violence that followed. Blacks are about twice as likely as whites to say that the shooting of Michael Brown “raises important issues about race that need to be discussed.” Wide racial differences also are evident in opinions about of whether local police went too far in the aftermath of Brown’s death, and in confidence in the investigations into the shooting.

It also notes,

When it came to non-Latino respondents, 54 percent of blacks said they followed the story closely; 25 percent of whites answered that they did as well. But here’s what might surprise you: only 18 percent of Latinos said they closely followed what’s happening in Ferguson. That’s less than one in five.

The author of the Colorlines piece, Aura Bogado, wrote, “Latinos have a long way to go in confronting anti-black biasas,” and even encouraged conversations about anti-blackness within our communities. Regardless of the Pew Survey’s problematic elements (such as sample size, or the lack of acknowledgment of the massive spectrum in which Latinos may self-identify, whether black, white, or the massive grey area in between), let’s first acknowledge that this is a tangible problem, and then remember why this discussion has surfaced to begin with–that, as Bogado puts it, “anti-blackness is literally a matter of death and death.” Several young black men were murdered at the hands of police brutality this week, and there are people on the ground being treated as delinquents and criminals for refusing to accept that without protest.

Yes, without a doubt, the Latino community has a long way to go in confronting anti-black biases. Without diminishing that fact, or anyone’s experience of racism, as a step in that direction I’d like to propose, and highlight, the kind of civilian reporting from Latino artists and organizers you’ll see below as a move forward–though, of course, let’s not lose sight for a second that there’s still a long way to go.

Follow @rebeldiaz for updates, and help amplify the voices of civilians reporting from Ferguson.