“Ferguson isn’t about black rage against cops. It’s white rage against progress.”

“White rage recurs in American history. It exploded after the Civil War, erupted again to undermine the Supreme Court’s Brown 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.
The North’s victory in the Civil War did not bring peace. Instead, emancipation brought white resentment that the good ol’ days of black subjugation were over. Legislatures throughout the South scrambled to reinscribe white supremacy and restore the aura of legitimacy that the anti-slavery campaign had tarnished. Lawmakers in several states created the Black Codes, which effectively criminalized blackness, sanctioned forced labor and undermined every tenet of democracy. Even the federal authorities’ promise of 40 acres — land seized from traitors who had tried to destroy the United States of America — crumbled like dust.”

(for some reason the page scrolls forever, but it’s a normal oped length, not a massive essay)

I’ve been thinking about world events this way since listening to a phenomenal interview with a religious scholar who described groups like ISIS as a reaction to the wider reformations occurring in Islam (and he also made this interesting point about calling it Islams, because there needs to be recognition that the enormous population of Muslims isn’t monolithic).

I anticipate that I am going to have lots of very different emotions about this every single day, but in this moment (just after being part of a massive march through DC) I am feeling positive because I am seeing a lot of shitty racism as a reaction to a swelling of energy around anti-racism and recognition of white privilege and the oppression and criminalization of blackness in America.

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