Kareem on Ferguson (update below)

The NBA’s all-time leading scorer has a provocative piece in Time Magazine on Ferguson in broader context. It ranges from the killing of two students at Jackson State University in 1970 (an event that took place within days of the Kent State massacre but which received little media attention); to the payday loan industry; to the realities of middle class decline in America and to the ways in which race contributes to, but can distract from our understanding of power and and injustice:

With each of these shootings/chokehold deaths/stand-your-ground atrocities, police and the judicial system are seen as enforcers of an unjust status quo. Our anger rises, and riots demanding justice ensue. The news channels interview everyone and pundits assign blame.

Then what?

I’m not saying the protests in Ferguson aren’t justified—they are. In fact, we need more protests across the country. Where’s our Kent State? What will it take to mobilize 4 million students in peaceful protest? Because that’s what it will take to evoke actual change. The middle class has to join the poor and whites have to join African-Americans in mass demonstrations, in ousting corrupt politicians, in boycotting exploitative businesses, in passing legislation that promotes economic equality and opportunity, and in punishing those who gamble with our financial future.

It’s an admirable essay.

To their credit, Grantland has a moving reflection by contributing writer Rembert Browne about his experience there last week.

I wrote something about Ferguson in broader context late last week, fyi.

I am curious as to whether we might hear from some active professional athletes, as was the case in the aftermath of the Trayvon Martin killing.

Update: I missed this, but the Washington defensive backfield participated in the “hands up, don’t shoot” protest at the beginning of the Monday night game.


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