New All Things Geek Contributor CG reflects on the intersection of Ferguson, Nerd Culture, and Social Justice.
This week has been a roller coaster ride of emotions for not only myself, but for many people throughout the country. I debated about making a post about this, as it doesn’t “directly” relate to nerd culture, but I felt that it would be a terrible disservice not to write something on this matter. It’s too important NOT to take note of.
Here’s my take on Ferguson, nerd culture, and where to go from here.
In case you are unaware, here are some of the basic facts. On August 9th, Michael “Mike” Brown, an unarmed Black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri, was shot and killed. He was only 18 years old.
His body uncovered and in public view for over four hours before it was attended to by officials. Even after his murder, Brown’s case was treated trivially – multiple reports shows that not only was there a delay in the case’s investigation, but that the distress in the community only escalated.
On November 24th, a grand jury decided not to indict police office and alleged killer Darren Wilson. Since the announcement of the decision, there have been countless displays of heartache, despair, and pain by indivduals across the country. And rightfully so. It’s the fact that Mike Brown is not alone in the endless list of Black victims. In no way is this struggle unique just to the Black community, but it is our history that is so closely tied to dehumanization, institutionalized racism, and prejudice that sometimes hinders us from basic human rights.
I can’t seperate my heartbreak from the Ferguson case any more than I can seperate my identity as a Black woman. My identity shapes how I see the world, interact with those around me, and create change for others to see. As a nerd culture critic and feminist, this becomes even more necessary work. What is going on in Ferguson is a Black issue; a feminist issue; a human rights issue.
Some will say that talking about Ferguson has no place in a nerd culture blog, and I can see where they are coming from. Ferguson is not the Xavier Institute or medieval times. It is a real, live, living place. But that’s precisely what makes it unignorable. The fact is that reality shapes how we see things, and even in science fiction and fantasy – where the sky is only the beginning for possibilities – Black people have continued to reach only as far as we can see.
I think the most important connection to make to link Ferguson’s importance to nerd culture is The Hunger Games. I came across this Tumblr post that highlights exactly how I feel about intersecting reality and fantasy. The argument is made that while Katniss Everdeen is the protagonist in The Hunger Games, she is not the true revolution. Rue – the Black female tribute of District 11 that Katniss fails to save – is. Rue, a 12 year old girl, befriends Katniss and shows a gentle kindness that is emulated in Katniss’ sister, Prim. When Rue dies, her death marks a significant change for Katniss. No longer is winning the Games about her own survival, but she now carries the guilt and shame behind being the victor. As strong as Katniss is, she cannot save everyone. This is a theme that continues to be known for the rest of the series.
Had it not been for Rue – or in this case, Mike Brown – there would be no revolution. They are the true Mockingjays.
While I will continue my work analyzing nerd culture, it’s important that I am not the only one. We must all raise our voices against injustice – whether they happen on the pages of a book or down the street does not diminish their importance.
This post was originally published at blackgirlinmedia.wordpress.com
Art Credit: Comic Book Movie