Today marks two years since Michael Brown was fatally shot by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. When the Justice Department investigated the city’s police department, it found evidence of racial bias.
On Think, Krys Boyd spoke with Carol Anderson, chair of the African American studies program at Emory University, about other areas of racial bias within America. She is author of “White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide."
The KERA Interview
Carol Anderson on …
… the shooting of Michael Brown:
“I was there in my home office and I’ve got the TV on and I’m seeing Ferguson burning. I’m listening to the pundits one by one, from station to station to station, all decrying, ‘Why are black people burning up where they live?’ The focus was on black rage and I found myself shaking my head, 'no, no, no.' What we’re really seeing is white rage. I had lived in Missouri for 13 years when I taught at the University of Missouri-Columbia and so I saw the way that policy systematically, corrosively undermined democracy, undermined advancement of African Americans in the state and I knew that was what we were seeing,”
… how the war on drugs affects African Americans:
“The incarceration rate for African Americans for drug offenses is exponentially higher than their proportion in the state. For Missouri, for instance, about 11 percent of that population is African American, but over 40 percent of the prison population is black, and most of that is tied to these drug laws. It doesn’t mean that drug use and violating these criminal laws are in fact done most by African Americans, not at all. The data is really clear on that.”
… why racist policies hurt everyone:
“The systematic denial of the rights for African Americans has actually undermined the viability of the United States, has weakened the strength of this nation, has made it much more difficult to have the resources that this nation needs so that more people are able to thrive. … When we say we want to make America great again and then we deny millions of children access to quality education, particularly when then American economy is making its shift from a manufacturing based one to a knowledge based one, then we are in fact setting up the nation to fail.”