Are Ferguson and Black Friday Related?
You may be asking me, “How the hell can you go down a slippery slope of reasoning and tie these two things together? One is a volatile discussion of justice and lingering race issues while the other is a mega-shopping holiday where people trample each other for things that are almost on sale.” I know right? Lets read on and find out.
Maybe I will compare the rioting and irrationality of large crowds?
Perhaps media misrepresentation of what they (whoever they is) want you to believe and what reality is?
No, I don’t have time for that deep thinking philosophical stuff. I will just take a few moments out of your day and let you know some of my thoughts on the issues at hand. As mentioned in the title; Black Friday and Ferguson.
First is Black Friday. We all want to sit on the moral high horse by telling people to be mad at the retailers for not closing their doors and sending workers home to be with their family for the holidays. My goodness, what is this crazy world coming to? No respect for the families. Blah, bubbity blah.
Some simple logic here should clear things up.
1) Some people don’t want to be around family for longer than a brisk lunch. Uncle Ted and his godawful foot odor might be making everyone uncomfortable and work is the only valid excuse. Don’t ruin that excuse.
2) Some people want to work and get the holiday/overtime pay. During the actual holiday work should be easier with a higher holiday pay scale. While I understand that some people have a hard time changing jobs and need their jobs, there is always the option of leaving a job that demands too much. Plus I think the Department of Labor has some regulations to address how workers are treated.
3) If people would stay home and not shop, I guarantee retailers wouldn’t feel the need to be open or fully staffed. Judging by the parking lot of Wal-Mart, at 6:00pm on Thursday, there are thousands of people who are fully supportive of the whole Black Friday event.
4) If we all were really that concerned about being able to spend time with family and congregate then maybe we should look into finding more opportunity throughout the year. Counting on Thanksgiving to knock out the obligatory annual visit sounds like a crutch to me.
So Black Friday is a thing that is not going away unless we ignore it. Does everyone agree?
Of course not but lets move on to Ferguson.
Like everything ever, this has become a partisan political issue and the most convenient way to really get everyone tuned in is to make it about more than a result of poor decisions but to add in race and let the hate flow. As people we all need to remember one thing, the majority of all other people are caring, reasonable, and hopeful. Moderate people don’t speak out as often or as loud as the two ends of the spectrum.
The first end of the spectrum is that the riots in Ferguson are by a bunch of welfare recipients who just want to be violent and hate white people for no good reason. They believe the victims of police shootings are always monsters who asked for what they got. If they weren’t a bunch of Godless thugs out mugging old ladies in the Kroger parking lot then none of this would have happened. The general idea or tone can be seen here.
The opposite end of the opinion spectrum is the idea that some global conspiracy is in effect and that the only victims are minorities. Law enforcement is run by some secret white agenda and white authority figures sit in the bushes looking for innocent minorities to gun down in the street. This side would have you believe the world is still black and white with no in between. The general idea of tone can be seen here.
I did have a chance to read the transcript from the Grand Jury witnesses as well as the police officer involved. It sounds to me like there were a lot of questionable decisions on both sides. Neighborhood witness confirm the story of Michael Brown being confrontational and advancing on the police officer. However, the testimony from Darren Wilson makes me curious why he didn’t wait a few minutes. He states that he knew other officers were in the area and would respond after he radioed out to them (using a radio on the wrong channel). Maybe he did feel smaller and threatened by an aggressive and larger man. Maybe he had some small-man-syndrome and wanted to assert his authority. This wouldn’t be the first time that male ego has gotten people killed.
My takeaway here is two-fold; 1) Don’t attack an armed police officer and 2) If you are a police officer and you feel outmanned and help is nearby, ask for help before chasing an aggressive man that you have already shot at and who showed no regard for deadly force. He might not be in his right mind.
For the people who argue that there are hundreds of other cases deserving of outrage and rioting but are getting no media coverage… I agree one hundred percent! Go be outraged and riot! Right or wrong, the difference with Ferguson is that people are actually rioting and being outraged. Don’t scale your emotion based on who is paying attention, if you are mad then go be mad.
Maybe don’t burn down businesses in your own neighborhood though. If it were me I would probably riot near the people I was mad at and not in my own front yard.
Now see… I have gotten somewhat off track. This is all related to Black Friday too and a message of hope. I didn’t tell you that at first but following two subjects has taken some mental effort on your part so I wanted to reward you. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
Back to business. So Ferguson inevitably brings up some old dirty laundry around cases like Rodney King, the OJ Simpson Trial, and even the recent Trayvon Martin. The bitter race war of feelings and angst really get down to what hate is all about. If you look close enough there is a difference emerging.
I have noticed more people engaging each other on Facebook and social media. There are the normal hate filled troll comments from both ends but the good folks in the middle are being quicker to stand up and say this isn’t what I represent. There seems to be more understanding that discussion is different than argument. Maybe more people understand that disagreeing is not the same as disliking. Maybe the world is slightly more grey. We have made strides from our problems in the past and the setbacks from events like this will be less and less if we keep moving forward.
How does that relate to my Black Friday experience?
This year my wife and I had babysitters and some free time to join in the madness. We agreed beforehand that we had nowhere to be and no expectations. Just cruise around and grab deals as they come along. We had a good time and I think we found some good deals. We also tried to smile, be polite, and help people when we got the chance.
Everyone else seemed to be doing the same. Some people were stressed and mad for sure but the level of rude was down. I don’t have any answers but I think I have interesting questions.
Is it possible that a little controversy and discussion is helpful to remind us that the human race should be a team? Can accusations of racism make people more aware of how they interact with others? Can accusations of abuse of power make authority figures more cautious of how they interact with others? Is it the slightest bit possible that love as a response to hate can make hate self-destruct?
It feels good to think it might.
If world peace happened tomorrow we would still have common enemies of disease, hunger, and asteroids. I hope my girls can grow up in a world that puts more energy into important problems and stops looking to divide people into groups. We all have to read, think, and be open to discussions.
I’ll work on my end where I get the chance, if you need to work on yours then this article is for you. You’re welcome.
-Underdaddy to the rescue.
Author’s Note: Feel free to reblog or share if you think this view is right or wrong. I always want outside opinion. Please hold any hateful comments unless it is purely directed at me, I can take that just fine. Please reference this post for comments.