For weeks, the controversial killing of Michael Brown and subsequent refusal of a grand jury to bring the white police officer who killed him to trial was at the forefront of American consciousness. Folks in Ferguson reacted passionately and loudly, the figurative and literal flames of civil unrest burning for days; similar but more restrained demonstrations fanned out across the country.
Those far removed from the urban centers where the protested injustices take place took to social media to passionately change their Facebook avatars and adamantly share text-based images about freedom or equality or something else tangentially related to the details of what took place in Ferguson that night.
It was at the forefront, anyway, until another white officer was responsible for the death of another black man, Eric Garner. That incident was on video, absent the vagaries of the Ferguson incident, a presumptive visceral indictment of an officer who wasn’t. Mr. Garner’s death supplanted Mr. Brown’s as the cause around which the world of progressive social media rallied. Protests spread to include “die-ins” in major cities around America, and amateur and professional athletes sported t-shirts supporting the protests. They didn’t sit out a game and miss a check, mind you, but they did wear the shirts.