Ferguson has shown America more than we want to see about ourselves, and that includes how many of us view race — or rather, don’t. New numbers show that some Americans think race is getting more attention than it deserves in the discussion surrounding Mike Brown’s death.
In a new survey conducted this month, the Pew Research Center found that of 1,000 adults 44 percent felt "this case raises important issues around race" while 40 percent felt "race is getting more attention that it deserves." Only 15 percent didn’t know. Of the blacks polled 80 percent felt Brown’s shooting raises issues around race while 18 percent did not and two didn’t know. Of the whites polled, 37 percent felt the teen’s death raised issues about race while 47 percent did not and 16 percent didn’t know.
This is America. Are you surprised?
65 percent of blacks polled felt the police response in Ferguson was too heavy-handed while only 33 percent of whites felt the same. 32 percent of whites felt that the police response, including tanks, tear gas and assault rifles aimed at weaponless protestors, is the right response and 35 percent just didn’t know.
Did they catch when Chris Hayes threatened with mace on live television while reporting? Did they know that Scott Olson, the amazing Getty photographer, was arrested for capturing amazing photos like this:
Despite the way Brown died, how police have antagonized and abused protestors and media while distributing clear misinformation, whites polled were almost three times more likely to assume the investigation in the Ferguson shooting will bring justice.
About half of whites (52%) say they have a great deal or fair amount of confidence in the investigations, compared with just 18% of blacks. Roughly three-quarters of blacks (76%) have little or no confidence in the investigations, with 45% saying they have no confidence at all.
Those without confidence include State Senator Jamilah Nasheed who publicly demanded that St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch recuse himself from Brown’s case. Nasheed says that McCulloch’s bias, drawn on his big family of cops and a father that was fatally shot in the line of duty, will not allow him to be impartial. McCulloch then challenged Governor Jay Nixon to take him off the case if he's so terrible, and Nixon did not.
As for last night's demonstrations in Ferguson, they were quieter thanks to a visit from Attorney General Eric Holder, who spoke to local law enforcement, including Capt. Ron Johnson. Officer Darren Wilson who shot and killed Brown is still in hiding. I would say we're on the road to healing but the way we as a country have taken two steps forward and then 1,000 steps back in Ferguson, I'll think I'll just end this post right here.
Images via Getty, Time and Bloomberg Businessweek.