The Ferguson Anguish, a Product of the Supremacy of the Dred Scott Decision—Blacks not as Worthy as Whites
The Ferguson outcome is just another reminder of the existing rift between whites and blacks in racialized America. As far as the psyche of white America is concerned, it appears that black people, no matter their geographical background, do not have the same rights that whites are bound to respect. This nation popularly called America, with its complex history of racial intolerance and other related issues, remains erected on the pillar of divided race relations. Trapped beneath the ocean of the corrosive racial decision of Dred Scott Decision of 1857 is the apparent subliminal adherence to this decision and its tenets by white America. Unlike the Scott decision whose disposition continues to guide white America, some whites appear not to have fully integrated the principles of the 1896 rule of Plessy v. Ferguson in terms of separate but equal, and the 1954 decision of Brown v. Board of Education that ruled in terms of white and black integration with deliberate speed.
On these grounds America's race relations remain anchored on a strange, funny, odd, and unusual path. At the center of the superficial and odd relationship is the skin color called black.
In the history of the United States of America, blacks were collectively viewed as “it.” As revealed in history, when a black person would be randomly “picked” and set up for hanging, during the moment of hanging, white men, along with their wives and children, got together in a picnic mode, eating from box lunches as they enjoyed the lynching of a black-skinned human followed by collecting the victim's bones and other body parts as souvenirs.
Given this sort of history, it is not surprising that Darren Wilson, a white police officer who killed Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, on August 9, 2014 in Ferguson City, Missouri, would see the young man as a nonhuman. As the world witnessed, his helpless body remained in the street for at least four hours.
Wilson in his recently revealed testimony to the grand jury of nine whites and three blacks, described the unarmed, black, 18-year-old boy as “it looks like a demon.” In other words, he viewed him as an “it,” with no human value.
Like so many places in America, the spirit of Dred Scott continues to be the guide. In the town of Ferguson, only 3 out of 53 police officers are black, even though 67 percent of the town's population is African-American. Why? Because a black life is not as worthy as a white life.
While America has a pointed history of racism with the impression of a black being as an “it” and as not worthy as a white, it is surprising to many how Barack Hussein Obama got elected in America, again and again.
Supposed reasons on how Obama got elected range from factors, such as, white guilt over their inherent racial history, being influenced unusually by the spiritual authority of God as they voted, and other supposed reasons which may include voters' judgments been driven by an unspecified form of fantasy or imagination that Obama, a consequence of mixed racial marriage, would help unite their alienated feelings and heal racial worries towards the spirit of collective race relations.
But as recent polls have shown following the post Obama ecstasy, it appears the heads of some whites have since cleared and stirred again towards historical anti-black attitudes.
As part of white America's racialized and anti-black character, Obama has been depicted as an African/Arabic, Muslim, Jewish, messiah, false prophet, Satan, devil incarnate, antichrist, beast, for the sole purpose of viewing anyone partly or fully black as utterly negative.
Wilson's testimony during which he viewed Michael Brown as a beast appears to be part of a vision that continues to shape the world of some whites, as these are images apparently heard within family circles, gatherings and inside the culture they grew up in.
Wilson's idea of seeing Brown as a demon reminds us of the Arthur Lee McDuffie's case in Miami, Florida in 1979; the Abner Louima's case in 1997 in New York; Rodney King's case of 1991, in Los Angeles, California, and Eric Gardner's case in New York in August of this year, and many others.
It is apparent that the collective subconsciousness of some whites remains heavily laden with the malady of racism which is ingrained within the criminal justice system, the police, and the courts who continue to treat blacks unfairly because of their race, resulting in black Americans having an overrepresentation in arrest , prosecution, and in correctional facilities.
The issue of white race and power and its dangerous effect on being black in America will always remain a reality, especially in terms of systematic racism.
As a case in point, on October 6, 2014, on a Monday, a confrontation was caught on video outside of Busch Stadium, where the Cardinals took on the Los Angeles Dodgers in a National League baseball playoff game.
The sad history of racism was shown to still run deep in America, when some white St. Louis Cardinals fans taunted mostly black peaceful protesters in a clearly racially hostile manner. As blacks shouted out, “Justice for Mike Brown!” a white man had a sign, “I am Darren Wilson” taped to his back. Other white fans are seen in the video mouthing off words like, “USA! USA!” chants, and a white woman in a racially clever way, shouted at the protestors: “Africa! Africa!”, in other words, go back to Africa.
It is not a question of whether black Americans will continue to be at a disadvantage, both personally and institutionally, for that answer seems apparent. Rather, it is for black people to try constantly to understand the mentality of white America, and work towards black on black progress, and aggressively compete with whites, on an equal basis. As well, blacks and other nonwhites should realistically and forcibly demand that whites play by the same rules, on equal terms, even though we know the issues of skin color and racial unfairness will always be a part of the spirit of America exceptionalism.
Dr. John Egbeazien Oshodi is a Forensic, Clinical and National Psychologist and a former Secretary-General of the Nigeria Psychological Association. [email protected]