The Privilege of Silence

“If you are neutral during times of injustice, you are taking the side of the oppressor.” -Desmond Tutu

Racial inequality is a problem that has been plaguing America since it’s beginning. The most media heavy event being the racism in Ferguson. Exhibiting all forms of structural inequality, almost all aspects of the Ferguson case demonstrate the systematic oppression of African-Americans. The militarization and use of tanks within the town demonstrates structural violence, while the media portrayal of an “unusual case” in Ferguson demonstrates the deadly everyday violence of blinding yourself to the plights of your fellow Americans. It is in fact this privilege to ignore that furthers enforces the oppression.  In the article, The Violence of the Status Quo, the author touches upon the harm that is caused by pretending Ferguson is unusual. Black voices have been fighting against these exact actions for a very long time and to pretend that Mike Brown’s death was unusual is to spit in the face of every pointless death to racism. It is this privilege, this white privilege, that allows the majority of the public to ignore the horrid events of Ferguson and “tune out” when it gets too much to bear. After all, most media stations don’t even cover the aspects of police brutality. It is this ability to ignore the harm that enables everyday violence to continually occur. It is only when we acknowledge this privilege and actively combat it by lifting up the voices of the oppressed, that we can work to end systematic oppression.

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