Hi, I'm Marcus. I'm a twenty-one-year-old computer science student at the University of Florida. This is my personal blog where I'll post anything that I like or wish to share. This blog typically consists of anything funny, a little bit of music, personal texts, and the like. I hope you enjoy my blog, but, if you don't, leave a message and I'll either laugh at you or genuinely try to improve. Want to know more? Click here!
About a 15-minute drive from the Ferguson protest that, by now, feels more like a block party, in the more upscale St. Louis suburb of Olivette, there’s a new strip mall with a barbecue joint and a Starbucks and an e-cigarette store. On a mild Thursday evening in August, people sat around tables, sipping coffee, sipping beer, dabbing barbecue sauce off their fingers.
All of these people were white.
It was a stark contrast to Ferguson, which is two-thirds black. Olivette is almost the exact opposite, at over 60 percent white. St. Louis, and the little hamlets that ring it, is one of the most segregated cities in America, and it shows.
Here in Olivette, the people I spoke to showed little sympathy for Michael Brown, or the protesters.
"It’s bullshit," said one woman, who declined to give her name. When I asked her to clarify what, specifically, was bullshit, she said, "All of it. I don’t even know what they’re fighting for."
"It’s just a lot of misplaced anger," said one teenage boy, echoing his parents. He wasn’t sure where the anger should be, just that there should be no anger at all, and definitely no stealing.
"Our opinion," said the talkative one in a group of six women in their sixties sitting outside the Starbucks, "is the media should just stay out of it because they’re riling themselves up even more."
"The protesters like seeing themselves on TV," her friend added.
"It’s just a small group of people making trouble," said another.
"The kid wasn’t really innocent," chimed in a woman at the other end of the table (they all declined to give their names). "He was struggling with the cop, and he’s got a rap sheet already, so he’s not that innocent." (While the first point is in dispute, the second isn’t: The police have said that Michael Brown had no criminal record.)
If anything, the people here were disdainful and, mostly, scared—of the protesters, and, implicitly, of black people.
"I don’t think it’s about justice for Michael Brown’s family," said the teenage boy. "It’s just an excuse for people to do whatever they want to do."
One man I talked to, a stay-at-home dad who is a landlord to three black tenants and one white one in Ferguson (“my black tenants would never do that,” he clarified) was more sympathetic to Brown and also had the sense that the police had overdone it a bit. But he was scared of the protests. I told him that the protest that day was entirely peaceful, festive almost. “You know,” he said. “I have a wife and three children, and if something were to happen to me, that would be very bad.”
As for the protests, well, they weren’t about justice; they were just an excuse. “People are just taking the opportunity to satisfy their desire for junk,” said one woman, knowingly. As if black people, the lust for theft encoded in their DNA, are just barely kept in line by authority.
"When they kill each other, we never hear about it," one of the Starbucks women said. This, she meant, was a good thing. "When it’s black-on-black violence, we never hear about it."
I asked why she thought that was.
"Because, basically, they hate whites!" her friend chimed in. "Prejudice, reverse prejudice. Prejudice goes both ways."
The others signalled their agreement.
"It’s not Ferguson people. It’s a lot of outside people coming in."
This was a sore subject with several of the people I spoke to. A major problem with the protests—and they very clearly did not mean the militarized police response to the protests—was that they were tarnishing St. Louis’s image as a nice place.
"I’m embarrassed to say I’m from St. Louis," the "bullshit" woman grumbled.
"Me, too," said her friend. "I don’t tell people I’m from St. Louis anymore."
"This is not representative of St. Louis," said one of the older women, back at Starbucks. "St. Louis is a good place. And Ferguson is a very good place."
"We have never had anything like this in St. Louis!" her friend exclaimed, flustered, as if trying to clear the city’s good name. "Ever!"
As the women grew uncomfortable, one of them hit on a way to fight back.
"Where are you from?" she asked me.
"Washington," I said.
"Well," she said, satisfied. "You people have trouble too sometimes."
Columbia student will carry her mattress until her rapist exits school September 2, 2014
While most students at Columbia University will spend the first day of classes carrying backpacks and books, Emma Sulkowicz will start her semester on Tuesday with a far heavier burden. The senior plans on carrying an extra-long, twin-size mattress across the quad and through each New York City building – to every class, every day – until the man she says raped her moves off campus.
“I was raped in my own bed,” Sulkowicz told me the other day, as she was gearing up to head back to school in this, the year American colleges are finally, supposedly, ready to do something about sexual assault. “I could have taken my pillow, but I want people to see how it weighs down a person to be ignored by the school administration and harassed by police.”
So Sulkowicz joined a federal complaint in April over Columbia’s mishandling of sexual misconduct cases, and she will will hoist that mattress on her shoulders as part savvy activism, part performance art. “The administration can end the piece, by expelling him,” she says, “or he can, by leaving campus.”
As painful as I know the constant reminder of attending school with her rapist must be, I’m glad she won’t be the only one forced to remember. I hope the rapist drops out immediately…or better yet, I hope he faces the justice he deserves.
This species has been widely introduced, purposefully, into Europe and North America, as garden pest control. This has had a deleterious effect on several of our native lady bird beetle (“ladybugs”) species, as native species are often unable to compete with the voracious predator of scales and aphids.
In the United States, we do have several species of native Ladybird Beetle. Find out more here:
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