Julia Ioffe has done something that reporters rarely do. She went to one of St. Louis’ predominantly white suburbs and asked residents what they think these days about neighboring Ferguson, scene of the fatal shooting last Saturday of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown by officer Darren Wilson. Their comments lack empathy. And notably, no one reveals their name for publication. Never mind. What’s important is that Ioffe asked white St. Louis residents what they thought in the first place.
Too often, white perspectives go missing when national media reports on a “race story.” They show up at a remove in surveys about white attitudes, studies about the criminal justice system, or as anonymous or ranting opinions in an online comments section–but less so as real people quoted in the reported story. This absence especially shouldn’t happen in Ferguson.
Early reporting situates this week of protest within racially skewed power dynamics, regional disinvestment, residential segregation and racial profiling by local police to say the least. White St. Louis residents probably have a lot to say about that–and not all share views with those anonymous folks in Ioffe’s reporting. But first, let’s hope other reporters even ask. They are a crucial part of the Ferguson story, too.
(h/t The New Republic)