ERIC Number: EJ1045668
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Ferguson Is about Us Too: A Call to Explore Our Communities
Cuenca, Alexander; Nichols, Joseph R., Jr.
Social Education, v78 n5 p248-253 Sep-Oct 2014
On August 9, Michael Brown, a college-bound black male, was fatally shot by a white police officer in the streets of Ferguson, Missouri. For several days, jarring images of tear gas, militarized police, and unrest in Ferguson flickered on screens across the world. Undoubtedly, what brought Ferguson to the national consciousness--the death of a young black male and the uprising that followed--provides an opportunity to explore important issues such as stereotyping in our society, the role of protests and demonstrations in civic life, and the ways in which traditional and social media help construct the narratives of critical events. However, at the root of these inquiries lies a tacit assumption that Ferguson was somehow extraordinary--that the flashpoint itself is what deserves to be interrogated. Yet, if we consider Ferguson in its totality through the eyes of its citizens, we can see that there was nothing extraordinary about what shaped the circumstances of these civic expressions. As with all uprisings, the discrete acts of citizenship in Ferguson were mediated by the intersection of social forces. These are the forces that influenced the character of Ferguson, and the study of these forces can potentially provide the most poignant lessons. The authors of this article argue that, as the curricular gatekeepers in social studies education, educators must keep in mind that the most important lessons from Ferguson are not about the uprising itself, but about the causes of this uprising. They express, hopefully, that by interrogating racism more intentionally in social studies classrooms and directing inquiries toward their own communities, society will be able to see that we are all, in some way, shape, or form, Ferguson.
Descriptors: Social Studies, Racial Relations, Racial Discrimination, Activism, Advocacy, Resistance (Psychology), Violence, Political Attitudes, Mass Media Role, Police Community Relationship, Community Problems, Lesson Plans, Controversial Issues (Course Content), Educational Practices, Educational Strategies, Learning Activities, Investigations
National Council for the Social Studies. 8555 Sixteenth Street #500, Silver Spring, MD 20910. Tel: 800-683-0812; Tel: 301-588-1800; Fax: 301-588-2049; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: http://www.socialstudies.org
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Missouri