…Tom Joad’s Mom

A view from Ferguson Missouri –

 I’ve debated for sometime if I should write about Ferguson. As a resident the events are very real and very raw. I have no great wisdom, solutions or opinions to offer. This is just a perspective from a resident who cares about his neighbors and community.


In John Steinbeck’s classic novel, “The Grapes of Wrath”, there is a scene where Tom Joad first finds his mother after being released from prison and the following dialogue takes place:

“Tommy, I got to ask you–you ain’t mad?”

“Mad, Ma?”

“You ain’t poisoned mad? You don’t hate nobody? They didn’t do nothin’ in that jail to rot you out with crazy mad?”

I think I can speak for most Ferguson residents, we are stressed right now, we are tired of sirens and helicopters, we are tired of half truths and innuendo, we are tired of advice offered from experts who have never visited our community or those who just dropped by for their 5 minutes in front of a camera.

We are a diverse community. We have proven for years that we can not only get along, but also grow and improve as a diverse community.

We aren’t perfect, not even close; we exhibit the same capacity as all humans, to float between the planes of angels and demons, regardless of skin color. To put that more crudely, there are black jerks and white jerks, black saints and white saints. Our ability to thrive as a diverse community will be based on accepting each other for who we are, saints and sinners.

To view people of any race, religion, political group or profession as a monolithic block is very efficient, it saves you the trouble of having to get to know them as individuals and they can then be simply referred to as “those people”. Please Ferguson, don’t allow ourselves to be divided on simple terms like that.

Let’s fight the good fight of faith, faith in our selves, faith in our neighbors, faith in our community, faith in the better angels of our nature.

I for one refuse to be “rotted out with crazy mad!”


One thought on “…Tom Joad’s Mom

  1. Really enjoyed this. I live in Kansas City and I’m currently in Columbia attending Mizzou, so this has a lot of relevance to me. I’m studying journalism, and events like Ferguson are those that make me hate the media sometimes, and myself for being a part of it.

    Watching the coverage of the event was so emotional and raw, but I think it was all focused on the wrong idea, and didn’t do anybody justice. The coverage became about looters and racial tension, rather than police brutality and discrimination.

    Glad that someone is willing to share their opinion on what the atmosphere is really like. Thanks for the post!


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