James McPherson's Media & Politics Blog

Observations of a patriotic progressive historian, media critic & former journalist


  • By the author of The Conservative Resurgence and the Press: The Media’s Role in the Rise of the Right and of Journalism at the End of the American Century, 1965-Present. A former journalist with a Ph.D. in journalism, history and political science, McPherson is a past president of the American Journalism Historians Association and a board member for the Northwest Alliance for Responsible Media.

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A simple question regarding race and fear

Posted by James McPherson on December 12, 2014

Cop & klan

My question, of course, is based on events in Cleveland (well, there and elsewhere in Ohio), South Carolina, Florida, Phoenix, Michigan, Las Vegas, Portland, New Orleans (again), Oakland, Southern California (again and again and again), New York City (again and again and again and again and again), and too many other places to mention. Not to mention the more common indignities suffered regularly by people of color.

I wrote all but this sentence about a week ago, and couldn’t decide whether to post it. But reading this and this and this and this and especially this and this made me decide to go ahead.

And here’s a historical reminder from someone who isn’t a cop, but who plays one on TV about what discontent with the legal system can lead to — the sort of thing that disturbed even those right-wing gunslingers  (and their allies) who often act as if almost everyone should be armed:

Addendum: An interesting article about the science that turns most of us into racists.

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14 Responses to “A simple question regarding race and fear”

  1. wmgates68 said

    I always joke with my girlfriend about the day that we get pulled over and the cop asks her, “Ma’am, are you ok?”

  2. LaNeisa Jackson said

    This was an easy one for me. As a woman of color, I thought about this question as it relates to the newly revealed emails from Sony executives and my answer is the same. More fear of the covert racist than the overt racism of the KKK. Covert racist thoughts from a smiling face are far more dangerous. Those with these thoughts held in secret are the ones who truly keep racism alive. They affect employment, home ownership, parts in movies, and other major factors of our lives. I know better how to handle someone who declares he hates me far more effectively than someone who calls himself a liberal but secretly hates me, too.

    If this were not so horribly true, we could just wait for the overt racist to die off. That is the main reason racism does not ever die.

  3. Yeah, those who claim that we’re in a “post-racial society” must either live extremely sheltered lives or are simply lying to perpetuate a status quo that benefits whites, especially white males. Thanks for the comments, William and LaNeisa.

  4. […] A simple question regarding race and fear […]

  5. I’ll take the cop. Do I win a beer from Obama?

  6. The link above goes to an article in which the writer apparently thinks he’ll hurt my feelings by insulting me and lying about me, before then actually agreeing with my characterization of him as “a right-wing gunslinger.” Weird.

    This is the same guy who has previously suggested that people shouldn’t be prohibited from owning virtually any weapons for “defensive purposes” — presumably including land mines, hand grenades and chemical weapons. His site devoted several other blog posts to me previously, but until now the fixation seemed to have run its course some time back. http://therionorteline.com/?s=James+McPherson

  7. Kells, I can’t speak for Obama. All I can give you is the satisfaction of knowing you had the right answer. Perhaps it was too obvious? Merry Christmas.

  8. Oh, and Kells, William, etc., in case you’re interested — here’s my response to Joe, who said in the piece that he would “moderate” and then delete any response I offered, since the RNL boys can’t stand to be contradicted:

    “Joe, you know full well that I’ve never deleted anything you’ve written on my site. Your first-time comment was ‘held for moderation’ as is common with blogs (including your other one, you pitiful hypocrite), but I cleared it as soon as I saw it. As you also know, the RNL has deleted comments of mine, which one would expect from a cowardly site where once-banned Dusty serves as one of the leading intellects.

    “So go ahead and delete this one, too. I suspect your traffic drops precipitously, though, when I’m not here to give you and your lackeys something to whine about.”

  9. wmgates68 said

    Well I pissed off Don with my response to Utah’s article. I knew it was a mistake to even go back there and post but did so anyways. It’s not like Don is very smart so I don’t have a problem letting him know how I really feel.

    On the other hand Joe wrote a very good article.

  10. I’d consider irritating Don to be a plus. I overlooked Joe’s “good article,” though I admit that I was more interested in the ones he wrote about me. 🙂 He has occasionally offered good nuggets, though, and in checking back I see that he cleared my comments on his “test” article, so good for him. No one seems to have written or commented for a couple of days, which seems odd, but I should go back to ignoring them, anyway. It’s not like they have any meaningful influence on either my life or the world at large, and I realize that Joe and I have some common faults, generally stemming from too much ego.

  11. wmgates68 said

    Is that a pic of Dusty on the right?

  12. Maybe — though he might need help lining up the eye holes.

  13. wmgates68 said

    Augger can do that for him in the ER.

  14. […] prevent me from commenting on issues of race or gender.  (Examples on race can be found here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here. Examples relevant to gender here, […]

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