The Forms of Violence in Ferguson, Missouri

On November 24th, President Barack Obama announced to the nation that Officer Darren Wilson would not be indicted for the shooting of Micheal Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Before the trial, there was obvious outrage across the United States regarding this act that took place in Ferguson. The media exploded with scenes of riots, speeches from political and social activist, and other cases where the law has wrongfully exploited African American males. It seemed like the whole world was informed about the shooting before the trial, so there was no way this man could get away with this despicable deed without a public uprising. The result of the Ferguson trial has left Americans confused, angry, and with a feeling that their justice system has failed to protect them.

For Anthropologist, Ferguson is just another example of direct political violence within our nation. The distinct displays of racial inequality in the police force manufactures symbolic violence in people of color across the nation. Black males walk around with invisible targets on their backs, and internalize the fact that they are seen as “suspicious” to others around them. A. Lynn Bolles, an anthropologist from the University of Maryland reflects on the everyday violence that African Americans faces post Ferguson,”  Everyday, mothers, as part of their socialization process, tell their sons and daughters the rules of behavior towards the police. The gist of the “talk” is not only about cultural deportment of driving while black, but also breathing, walking and basically being black in America.” If American stops and looks at the shooting in Ferguson as multiple acts of political, structural, symbolic, and everyday violence. We can step back and notice that Wilson might not be “guilty” for the murder of Brown, but he is in fact guilty of many other forms of injustice.