Remembering Ferguson

Eric wrote a personal reflection on Ferguson, Michael Brown, and an early memory of encountering Black anger at police a concert.

My own strongest memory relating to Ferguson was of a two-part story on This American Life, by Nikole Hannah-Jones, about a sort of accidental, recent integration of high schools in Ferguson and neighboring Normandy. Much of it is painful to listen to, but it's very well put together.

At the time my girlfriend was Black, and had grown up poor. One of her best friends is Oscar Grant's aunt. She listened to the beginning of it with me, but at a certain point she was done. I wanted her to listen to the rest with me, but it obviously would have been wrong for me to ask her to do that.

It was a powerful reminder of something I know, but apparently need to re-learn periodically: That my own desire to learn and understand, even when it was about understanding my own partner, didn't entitle me to her participation. She chose to engage with me on difficult topics many times, but when she didn't want to make that choice, I needed to bite my tongue and pay attention.