Monday, December 01, 2014

Bad Memories Down South

From Political Animal, courtesy of Eschaton:

I’ve just spent nearly a week back home in exurban Atlanta, and I regret to report that the events in and in reaction to Ferguson have brought back (at least in some of the older white folks I talked with) nasty and openly racist attitudes I haven’t heard expressed in so unguarded a manner since the 1970s.

More here.

As Atrios observed when he posted this at his blog Eschaton, you don't need to go back home to the South to see vile racism on display; just read the online comments for your local newspaper, and you'll see it in all its bullshit glory.

Of course, I don't generally read online newspaper comments so the reaction coming from a lot of white people on facebook to Darren Wilson's non-indictment took me totally by surprise.  I mean, in its scale; I expected to hear some bullshit, to be sure, just not so much of it from so many people.  It was emotional, visceral, and very, very angry.  There was hardly any calm, dispassionate discussion.  It was almost as though there was a need to squash any sympathy for Michael Brown, and to sweep under the rug the fact that black people are twenty one times more likely to be killed by police than white people.  At least, that's how I took it: for these white Americans, it's not about the massive epidemic of killing black people - indeed, to them, there is no epidemic of killing black people - but rather about supporting that massive epidemic of killing black people, which doesn't exist.

The problem with racism in this country is far, far, far worse than I had allowed myself to believe.  White people who are CERTAIN they're not racist concoct bullshit arguments in support of racism at the drop of a hat, and get really pissed off when challenged.

I fear we will not get beyond this in my lifetime.