Ep #9 : Facing Racism In Ferguson, Missouri With Tom Prost

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Listen To This Episode

https://soundcloud.com/benoit-foucher/ep-9-facing-racism-in-ferguson-missouri-with-tom-prost

9 Aug 2014

Michael Brown, a black american, is shot by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri.

While protests in the street remain, some people have decided to step up in order to help.

Picture Ferguson Protests

I have the honour to interview today Tom Prost, who decided to become a Legal Observer soon after that tragedy occurred.

You might wonder: “Who is Tom Prost? Is he famous?”

No, he isn’t.

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Tom Prost, Legal Observer In Ferguson

Which is part of the point: we don’t have to be a celebrity nor to wait till we arrive to a certain point (in general, a certain amount of money) for being an agent of positive transformation. Tom is a very nice man, I find him quite humble, with a big heart and a desire to do things that make sense. And this, makes the whole difference.

In This Interview

– What does it mean to be a Legal Observer?

– The situation in Ferguson when Tom started to help, and what he did first to understand the situation.

– What he discovered about himself, the realisation of our bios and what is called White Privileges.

– What has changed in Saint Louis area since he started to be involved.

– How Awareness is essential to make the change

Key Notes Resources

– Do the Harvard Assessment to know your prejudices here: https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/takeatest.html, then click on Race IAT, then do the test. I’ve just done it and it appears I have a “moderate preference for White people”. As said before, we all have our unconscious prejudices, great way to confirm!

– A Tim Wise’s speech on his website

Waking Up White, by Debby Irving

Links

– iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/interview-series-success-crisis/id905775314?mt=2

– Show notes: www.BenoitFoucher.com/ep-9-facing-racism-in-ferguson-missouri-with-tom-prost

Other Resources About Recent Acts Of Racism In USA

Warning: the following 2 videos are tough to watch. I’m sharing them because I believe, as Tom explains, that the first step to make any change is Awareness.

This first video illustrates what Tom is explaining: in a world that is more and more connected, police officers have to face their actions.

And this one is about verbal abuse by another officer.

Final Words

Racism is a tough issue, and I believe Tom is giving us some keys to improve the situation on our planet:

– Raising our own awareness: our prejudices, fears and thoughts (do the test linked above, or read the book mentioned)

– Act. If we feel like contributing to a cause, let’s embrace it. This is what Tom did and I find him quite inspiring

– Last but not the least: Active Listening. We all have our backgrounds, our issues, our reasons to believe this or that. The question is not about who’s right and who’s wrong. It’s about staying engaged so that we can live together. Separation from one another, pointing at others, being afraid of others, these are the allies of racism. So let’s dare to talk together, engage together, and maybe one day laugh together.

I’m happy to hear about your points of views in the comment section below.