The United States isn’t like most nations. From our first days, it wasn’t a common ancestry, history or ethnicity that kept us glued together: it was an ideology. America is an ongoing experiment in rule by the people, for the people. But what happens when that common ideology fails, and those ruling the people are not of the people? History provides a consistent answer: brutal oppression.
Of course, this isn’t exactly news to the darker-complected people of Missouri. According to locals, the Michael Brown shooting only brought to the surface longstanding racial tensions resulting from a society that apparently didn’t get the memo on desegregation. As Professor Clarissa Hayward told the L.A. times:
“The St. Louis Metropolitan area has been an extreme example of racial segregation for 100 years.”
That segregation, as it so often does, has inevitably led to a society policed by one culture, policing another. This graphic published by the St. Louis Dispatch on August 24th puts the divide into chilling black and white:
Missouri police force does not reflect the communities they ‘serve.’
The first one you’ll notice is Ferguson itself, with a 67 percent black population, and police force that is only 7 percent black. That’s a nearly 10-to-1 ratio of black officers to black residents.
And Ferguson isn’t alone in that:
- Rock Hill — 2-to-1
- Florissant — 3-to-1
- St. Ann — 4-to-1
- St John — 5-to-1
- Hazelwood — 10-to-1
- Maryland Heights — 12-to-1
- Bell. Neighbors — 24 to 1
- Overland — No black officers, 16 percent black population
- Calverton Park — No black officers, 41 percent black population
- Riverview — No black officers, 70 percent black population
And still, some might say…so what? White cops can be good, too. And that is certainly true. But remember what happens when the ruling group is not representative of the ruled. Ask Britain what happened after the Normans invaded.
Ask Gaul (France) or Jerusalem about the Romans, or the Germans about the Huns. Ask Italy how the royal line of Caligula and Nero turned out. Think well over the colonies of India or South Africa under British rule, and the apartheid that resulted. Ask your local Native American how rule by another culture worked out for them.
Where rule by other cultures go, brutal oppression (and often genocide) follows.
Good thing we don’t have to worry about that here.
United as we are.