White Fear – America’s Ebola
Ebola virus spreads by contact – fear spreads by threat, real or perceived. Ebola threatens one’s life. Fear threatens not only our life but also our way of life.”
The current events happening in Ferguson, Missouri, are but a microcosm of what’s taking place all over America. Pressure can build up for only so long before the container explodes. America’s container is our nation’s effort to fairly treat “All Men Equal” under the law. This is a work in progress
History is relevant to our dilemma.
Slaves brought to America from Africa 400 years ago were treated as property. Southern states demanded slaves be counted as two-thirds of a person to increase the number of white legislators in the first US congress.
Freeing of slaves brought Reconstruction, Jim Crow, Klu Klux Klan, separate but equal; and finally the 1965 Civil Rights Act. Southern politicians turned Democrat to Republican to protect “States Rights. Redlining was in effect all over America.
As black political and economic power grew, white politicians sought to keep power a little longer. Blacks were never more than 15 percent of America. Spanish immigrants were another threat – more threatening than ever. When their majority was threatened, white politicians countered with:
Voter ID – the solution in search of a problem. Affecting minority, elderly and youth. Restricting voting hours and weekend voting. Blacks voting after church. Gerrymandering – to increase white power and lessen minority power. Challenges to federal supervision of voting laws in states.
Election of a black president was the last straw. If Obama was for, white Republicans were against. Compromise became impossible.
Ferguson highlights another all-to-common problem. As areas become more racially mixed, entrenched authorities and police remain substantially white – unable or unwilling to serve their minority citizens. The show of armed police in riot gear, guns pointed at a peaceful crowd, selective information release, only made a tense situation worse.
The handwriting is on the wall. Compromise before chaos. Witness the adults in Ferguson protecting local businesses and young people ready to riot.
John W.E. Merrick