There Are No “Outside Agitators!” Young People Are Leading Themselves!

Anyone who thinks the current protests against the deaths of Michael Brown and Evan Garner are being orchestrated from above by figures like Al Sharpton has not spent time speaking with my students. The feelings of alienation and despair and rage they are conveying are coming from a place deep inside them. They are the ones who feel trapped. They are the ones who feel profiled. They are the ones who feel in danger. They are the ones who feel the American Dream is escaping their grasp. Police issues are one portion of a grim scenario that is unfolding in front of them when they consider their future in a sociey where they will be leaving school burdened with debt, where fewer and fewer jobs provide decent incomes, where more and more wealth and power is consolidating in a few hands. They have little use for Al Sharpton. They have little use for Barack Obama. They are becoming their own leaders. Underestimate them at your perilO