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Mon Mar 9, 2015, 03:52 PM

How Racism Became Policy in Ferguson

from Dissent magazine:

How Racism Became Policy in Ferguson
Colin Gordon ▪ March 5, 2015

If nothing else, the Justice Department’s Report on the Investigation of the Ferguson Police Department, released yesterday, gives us a broader context for Michael Brown’s death last August. This is not, we are reminded, simply about the culpability of a rogue or panicked officer. It is about a systematic pattern of oppressive and petty policing, driven in equal parts by local racism and local fiscal incapacity. In the inner suburbs of St. Louis, law enforcement maintains the color line and—in the absence of a stable property tax base—it pays the bills. But this ugly glimpse of the institutional culture of the Ferguson Police Department still only gets us so far. In order to fully understand how and why race became the central premise of policing in the St. Louis suburbs, we need to take another step back and consider the long and troubled history of segregation in St. Louis County.

The first part of this history is one of quarantine. Long before it was subdivided into the western suburbs of St. Louis, St. Louis County was home to a few African-American enclaves—including Elmwood Park, Meacham Park, Malcolm Terrace, North Webster Groves, and Kinloch (just to the west of current-day Ferguson). As postwar growth carved the cornfields into cul-de-sacs, suburban development skirted these enclaves, and the infrastructure that came to the new white suburbs—roads, sewers, water—came to a screeching halt at their boundaries.

The motives and the consequences were unmistakable. In 1937, the city of Berkeley, Missouri was created, on a peculiar half-donut plot, for the express purpose of cleaving the residents of Kinloch (99.3 percent black) into a separate and segregated school district. In 1960, a polio outbreak in Elmwood Park was traced to the absence of potable water, in a neighborhood surrounded by conventional suburban development in Overland to the north and Olivette to the south. In 1965, five children died in a horrific fire in Meacham Park: the unincorporated neighborhood of 100-odd black families was not part of the local fire district and its rickety community fire truck would not start. In the 1970s, even the United Nations took notice of the fact that Meacham Park, at the heart of suburban central county, lacked basic sanitary sewer service. And, in each of these settings, bordering communities used industrial or commercial zoning to create buffers or barriers between white and black occupancy.

The second part of the story was expulsion. Having quarantined these pockets of African-American occupancy, local officials then looked upon them as unfortunate interruptions in the suburban landscape—and targeted them for redevelopment. St. Louis County was slow to get into the urban renewal game, largely because it had no interest in setting up the public housing authorities that federal law required. But when plans did progress, their intent was clear. .............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.dissentmagazine.org/blog/how-racism-became-policy-in-ferguson

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Reply How Racism Became Policy in Ferguson (Original post)
marmar Mar 2015 OP
NoJusticeNoPeace Mar 2015 #1
KT2000 Mar 2015 #2

Response to marmar (Original post)

Mon Mar 9, 2015, 04:05 PM

1. GRRRRRRR can you IMAGINE if the oppressor was the oppressed, if you REVERSED this

The patience of the AfAm communites.

They are the most patient and non violent people of all time.


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Response to marmar (Original post)

Mon Mar 9, 2015, 04:40 PM

2. this is an excellent description

for those who believe that there is no need for things like affirmative action etc. Institutionalized racism is alive and functioning in America and many people have never had a break from it.

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