Last week the Justice Department, under Attorney General Eric Holder’s supervision, released its report on the shooting of Michael Brown by Darren Wilson of the Ferguson Police Department. The report stated that there is “no evidence” that Wilson did anything illegal and that the “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” myth that has been perpetrated by Wilson’s critics was “inconsistent with the physical and forensic evidence.”
Predictably, those who spread that myth no longer want to discuss Darren Wilson or Michael Brown. Their new focus is on the rampant systemic racism that the Justice Department’s report alleges to be present within the Ferguson Police Department as a whole. Most of what the report alleges actually centers around classism and the greed of government. The primary accusation is that government officials in Ferguson raise their funds by squeezing poor residents through excessive “fines and forfeitures.” The vast majority of poor residents in the area are African-American so these fines and forfeitures are overwhelming levied against African-American residents.
The Justice Department alleges, however, that racism is the cause (or at least a major contributing cause) of these abuses and this is shown by “emails circulated by police supervisors and court staff that stereotype racial minorities.” In The Atlantic, correspondent Ta-Nehisi Coates reports that:
“The emails including “jokes” depicting President Obama as a chimp, mocking how black people talk (“I be so glad that dis be my last child support payment!”), depicting blacks as criminals, welfare recipients, unemployed, lazy, and having “no frigging clue who their Daddies are.” This humor—given the imprimatur of government email—resulted in neither reprimand, nor protest, nor even a polite request to refrain from reoffending. “Instead,” according to the report, “the emails were usually forwarded along to others.”
If the allegations are true this is clearly inappropriate conduct worthy of reprimand. But it seems appropriate to point out that this pales in comparison to the conduct of the Democratic Caucus of the United States Senate.
In 2010 the current Democrat Minority Leader told journalists that Obama was a successful candidate because he could speak “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.”
The Democrat who has presided over the Senate since 2008 told reporters that Obama is “the first sort of mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.”
Senator Robert Byrd, the senior Democrat on the Appropriations Committee until he retired in 2010, was formerly the head of a chapter of the Ku Klux Klan. Before running for office he once wrote “I shall never fight in the armed forced with a negro by my side … Rather I should die a thousand times, and see Old Glory trampled in the dirt never to rise again, than to see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels, a thowback to the blackest specimen from the wilds.”
If alleged “joke” emails are supposed to prove deep and systemic racism within the Ferguson Police Departments then what do these statements tell us about the Democratic Caucus of the United States Senate? Of course the Democrat senators above have apologized or offered explanations for their remarks.
I’m certain the police supervisors and court staff of Ferguson would do the same if given the opportunity. Does anyone think the same standard will be applied?