Humpday Harangue, 12/3: Ferguson, Eric Garner

A few things first:

  • SERIAL! New episodes TOMORROW. I’m ecstatic, considering I’ve been waiting WEEKS. Also, I love infographics, I love witty things, I’m obsessed with Serial, so naturally I found this fantastic.
  • I did my Spotify Year in Review thing. My most listened to genre? PBR&B. I had no idea it was a thing, until I googled it. It couldn’t be more right.
  • Girl Scout Cookies are now going to be available online. Did someone say 10lbs at the click of a mouse? I think so.

More importantly, I want to talk seriously about the past events that have occurred in Ferguson and here in New York City. I’d be lying if I said that I’m unaffected by all of this. I find this all deeply saddening. And it brings up so many valid questions that I’m wondering about … Is there something absolutely flawed with our justice system? Does our country have an ingrained race problem? What are the solutions to all of this? What is the RIGHT way to protest?

When I sit down and think about it, and truly wrap your head around the bigger picture and larger issues at hand, it just gets more complicated and troubling. I’ll go ahead and say – the history of this topic: race and police brutality – is definitely relevant and absolutely disconcerting. But then again – whats the larger issue here – race or police brutality? Are these inherently tied together? Or can these two be seen as separate issues on a case by case basis?

Here’s what I’ve been able to come to terms with.

All of this – what is happening now, what has happened in the past – is, when simplified to its roots, a human rights issue. 

Some say that’s a bit dramatic, but its how I feel.

Just as I believe feminism is a simple human rights issue, so is everything we are hearing on the media surrounding Ferguson and the lack of an indictment on Eric Garner’s case. Human rights are inherent rights given to us – on the sole fact that we are human beings. Regardless of what laws / religions / race / culture / what have you – we all fall under the same category of being HUMAN BEINGS, and thus, we are all not only entitled to these unalienable rights, but also obligated to ensure others are entitled to such as well.

In the case of feminism, women are entitled to the right to be paid as much as men. Why? Well women are human beings – just like men [Note: I said she is entitled to the right to be paid … not entitled to be paid just as much. This, for both men and women, should be on a performance level]. It comes down to the fact that women should be viewed as equals to men. In not allowing women this right to be viewed as equals, we subjugate women – this is exposed through mistreatment or violence (domestic violence, abuse, and even rape). Would you not agree that in this case, human rights are being neglected?

Now that I’ve put it in terms that are easy for me to understand, I’ve applied this logic to what we have seen today and in the past few weeks.

All races and all socioeconomic classes are entitled to be seen as equals, because they are human beings. Blacks in our country deserve to be viewed as equals to Caucasians, Asians, Latinos. In all of these cases we have seen in the media – it seems that there has been a presumed assumption of the individuals, based on their race and/or clothing. These assumptions and subsequent actions show that the right to be viewed as an equal, has been grossly ignored.

It’s truly upsetting and disenchanting, this lack of human rights and respect.

What is promising, however, is that it’s obvious through protests that our country is not apathetic to it all. In a country where voter turnout for the midterm elections was incredibly underwhelming, I’ve grown a bit wary of the level of interest citizens have with their lawmakers, law enforcement … (for lack of a better term) their keepers. But to see the masses gathering to air their grievances in a peaceful, constructive way to show others this is not right, is a bit of comfort.

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