In Ferguson Missouri 54 percent of the Black population, and 55 percent of the White population, showed up at the poles to vote in 2012’s general election. Contrast that with only a 6 percent Black voter turnout (versus 17 percent White voter turnout) for the local school board, city council and mayoral elections…why the significant difference?Why are Ferguson’s police, school board members and elected officials overwhelmingly White when the city itself is two-thirds Black? QTNA (via odinsblog)
Ferguson, unlike many cities, does not hold it’s municipal elections on the same day in November as the general elections. While not unique, that, by design, yields decidedly lopsided results. Ferguson’s important local elections are held on odd numbered years in April. That scheduling tactic is a virtual guarantee for lower voter turnout, which favors Republicans.
Ferguson also holds nonpartisan elections, where party labels do not appear on the ballot, and that has been shown to reduce both what citizens know about candidates as well as their likelihood of voting. And the consequences are worse for residents with less education and less income.
These tweets (and one retweet) are from my friend Ryan, a journalist who has been on the ground in Ferguson for the past few days. (His Twitter account is here, and it’s a great source of updates on the situation there [x]).
I just wanted to remind everybody that while spreading word about Michael Brown’s unjust murder and the horrifying events of the night of August 14, 2014, please do not oversimplify or ignore the complexities of the situation.
Journalists in the town have been doing what journalists do: focusing on all the negative aspects about the community to try and make it look like a hell-hole in order to sell their own pictures and stories, and basically all many of them want to do is further their own careers. But focusing on all that negativity only paints the picture of one side of the story, ignoring a lot of other important things going on there.
Please do not fall prey to the media’s game. Anger at the actions of the police in Ferguson is totally justified, but in the midst of that we cannot allow the people who are living with the situation every day to be dehumanized. Despite all this tragedy and chaos going on around them, they’re still a community and in many ways they’re pulling through all of it together. They want peace. Anyone looting or burning things down is a very small portion of the community. The whole story is so much bigger.
A story doesn’t need tear gas to be interesting. We need to hear every side of this story, not just the horrific parts.
TL:DR: please don’t fall prey to media attempts to dehumanize and oversimplify the situation in ferguson!!