[This article was originally published on ZNet. We are republishing it here to share the sharp analysis of what lies behind he Ferguson explosion and the chord it has stuck among the Black masses in this country.]
Each time there is a police or extra-judicial killing of an African American I have two immediate responses. One is intense anger at the absence of legitimate democratic rule in the USA exemplified by the ability of the State as well as hate groups, to snuff out the life of African Americans at will. The second response is the recognition that this is an experience of terror that envelopes every person who is identifiably Black and, for that matter, other peoples who are of the ‘darker races.’
Two recent killings, one of Eric Garner in New York and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, speak to a very different reality experienced by African Americans compared with whites in the USA. Without going through the details, there are certain questions that can be asked to anyone in the USA and, depending on the answer, one can ascertain what I would call the ‘racial terror index.’ Here are a few examples:
- Are you generally afraid of the police?
- To what extent do you expect there to be a possibility that you will be stopped by the police? Have you ever been trained on how to respond if you have been stopped?
- If you were in a car that broke down, how likely are you to knock on someone’s door seeking help?
- If you are man, how likely are you to drive long distances with a female of another ‘race’?
- If you had difficulty getting into your own home, how likely would you be to contact the police and ask for their help?
- How many neighborhoods do you need to be careful in transiting for fear that the police will stop you?