After Ferguson, MO residents took to the streets following Mike Brown’s fatal shooting at the hands of Officer Darren Wilson, police officers everywhere felt that they were being placed under a microscope. And with news of every instance of police gunning down (often unarmed) black civilians, that feeling only increased.
Eventually, a belief formed that officers had started becoming hesitant about doing their jobs out of fear of becoming the next face of police brutality. An assumed result of this was an increase in crime in communities where the public expressed discomfort and anger towards local police. This went on to be coined as “The Ferguson Effect.”
Bakari Kitwana, a writer and activist, recently gave a TEDx Talk about the truth – or lack thereof – of “The Ferguson Effect” and how today’s activist movement is an evolution of those from the past. He recommends we give the phrase a new definition.
“Here’s the definition that I think we should work with,” said Kitwana. “I would like for people to think about ‘The Ferguson Effect’ as a decision by young people, in their community, who felt that they were under attack by a system that wasn’t working for them, by an America that was no longer working for them, by a police force that came in, in a militarized fashion, and treated them like non-citizens in their own neighborhood.”
Watch the full video below.
Photo Courtesy: YouTube