Obama’s real and lasting impact on race relations in America will be seen in less sensational policy decisions: who he brought to the federal benches, his efforts to protect the Voting Rights Act, measures to expand access to health care and quality schools.
Donald Trump is the avatar of the post-factual era. Asked by The New York Times to name the most dangerous place in the world he’s ever visited, Trump replied that “there are places in America that are among the most dangerous in the world. You go to places like Oakland. Or Ferguson. The crime numbers are worse. Seriously.” You wonder whether it’s worth correcting him.
Hundreds of people marched, prayed and observed a moment of silence in Ferguson, Missouri, on Sunday, a year after a white police officer shot an unarmed black teenager to death, igniting months of protests and a national debate on race and justice.
The timing couldn’t be more appropriate: Last week, barely five days after Dylann Storm Roof allegedly killed nine people at Charleston’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, the Justice Department’s The Ferguson Report, first made public in March, came out in book form.
This is the week that the Confederacy, and slavery, suffered permanent defeat. Yet these two stories are reminders of both the nation’s original sin and the prejudices, pathologies, and policy failures that continue to haunt us.