White rage recurs in American history. It exploded after the Civil War, erupted again to undermine the Supreme Court’sBrown v. Board of Education decision and took on its latest incarnation with Barack Obama’s ascent to the White House. For every action of African American advancement, there’s a reaction, a backlash.That is a key quote from Ferguson isn’t about black rage against cops. It’s white rage against progress., an op ed in today's Washington Post by Carol Anderson, an associate professor of African American studies and history at Emory University and a public voices fellow with the Op-Ed Project.
My sole purpose in posting this diary is to draw attention to that op ed.
I have little to add to her analysis, which is superb, which reminds us how often this has happened after what appears to be advances for African-Americans:
- post-Reconstruction with Southern states restricting and diminishing rights of Blacks
- Post -Brown with the Southern Manifesto
- post-2012 election of Obama with new efforts at voter suppression
There is more, much more in the history.
There is the economic impact of the Great Recession, which has fallen far more heavily on minority communities.
To which I would add the attacks on public schools, largely those that serve minorities, especially African-Americans (think Detroit or DC or Philadelphia or Camden or Newark).
Had I any doubt about the importance of this op-ed, it ended when I read the final two paragraphs, one long, one very brief, so below the fold I will end with those:
So when you think of Ferguson, don’t just think of black resentment at a criminal justice system that allows a white police officer to put six bullets into an unarmed black teen. Consider the economic dislocation of black America. Remember a Florida judge instructing a jury to focus only on the moment when George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin interacted, thus transforming a 17-year-old, unarmed kid into a big, scary black guy, while the grown man who stalked him through the neighborhood with a loaded gun becomes a victim. Remember the assault on the Voting Rights Act. Look at Connick v. Thompson, a partisan 5-4 Supreme Court decision in 2011 that ruled it was legal for a city prosecutor’s staff to hide evidence that exonerated a black man who was rotting on death row for 14 years. And think of a recent study by Stanford University psychology researchers concluding that, when white people were told that black Americans are incarcerated in numbers far beyond their proportion of the population, “they reported being more afraid of crime and more likely to support the kinds of punitive policies that exacerbate the racial disparities,” such as three-strikes or stop-and-frisk laws.Read the op-ed.
Only then does Ferguson make sense. It’s about white rage.
Pass it on.