Unmasking the Status Quo

In the opinions of  Lydia Brassard and Michael Partis in their article Standing Their Ground in #Fergusonthe events that have unfolded in Missouri cannot be discussed without looking at them through an anthropological lens. The recent events surrounding the shooting and death of Mike Brown in Ferguson can be used as “a way to analyze the relationship between contemporary power structures and the trajectories of sociopolitical mobilizations over time”. Throughout history there have been many power struggles between races, genders, economic levels, and the like. However, in the new age technology filled world that we live in, the struggles have become more public than ever. Information is spread at a faster rate, and can be used to examine the creation of “public spheres”.

The facts of situations such as that in Ferguson allow for frames of reference to be formed around patterns of violence and the America people. Pem Buck, the author of a different series of articles, sees this pattern extending back through history. The violence in Buck’s opinion “is not new. It is the status quo unmasked.” This type of violence has permeated the American culture for centuries, but it is only now that it has been picked up by social media. Now that the masks have come off, this direct political violence has become a major component of mainstream media. “Racialized criminalization” as in the ideas of Michelle Alexander, has worked in conjunction with militarized policing to create this culture of direct political violence, which has in a sense become a form of everyday violence.

In class, everyday violence was defined as “daily practices at microinteractional levels”, whereas direct political violence is “military violence against ones own population”. While these might seem like to very different ideas, they can both be seen in the same context of Ferguson. Police brutality, especially against blacks has become an underlying daily occurrence, especially in the last few weeks. So while it is direct violence on citizens by police, the fact that it has become so commonplace in American media has translated this violence into a form of everyday violence. As these events continue to unfold in the following weeks, these types of violence many continue to merge into one single form. However, now that the media has torn off the masks of this violence, could there be a chance for change? We’ll just have to wait and see.