I have written here already about some of my ideas for teaching about Ferguson and the death of Mike Brown, specifically about police militarization, the long history of troubled relations between police and communities of color, racial profiling and discrimination, and media depictions of victims and offenders.
If you are interested in further resources, you should check out the Twitter hashtag #FergusonSyllabus. Dr. Marcia Chatelain created the hashtag on August 17th and it has since become an excellent source of ideas, questions, and resources for educators who seek to connect their lessons to the happenings in Ferguson, Mo., both before and since the shooting of Mike Brown.
In addition to releasing a statement on Ferguson, Sociologists for Justice has published a list of sociological research articles used to inform the statement and recommended for those seeking to understand (or teach!) “the multiplicity of factors that contribute to the criminalization and marginalization of black and brown communities.”
If you’re not yet using Twitter as a teaching and outreach tool, what are you waiting for? #FergusonSyllabus and #IfTheyGunnedMeDown are just two examples of hashtags educators could explore to add depth to any discussions of race and class inequality and injustice. Even students’ disconnection from Twitter and other social media can be a teachable moment, as argued in this piece on disconnection as privilege. I’m sure we have all seen friends make attempts to shut down conversation of current events and social justice issues with comments like “I wish everyone would just stop talking about it” or “This again?” or, just as bad, “I don’t know anything about it, I don’t watch the news.” These statements can be investigated as expressions of the privilege to disengage, to not be informed, and to “unplug.”