Monday, August 25, 2014

Translating the News: Police Officers Spout Off About Threats to "Caucasian Christians" — Ferguson Is About the Fear of Many White Americans That "We" Are Losing Control"

At Talk to Action and the Political Research Associates website, Rachel Tabachnick reports that new video documentation has surfaced about St. Louis police officer Dan Page, who shoved CNN's Don Lemon in Ferguson, Missouri, on August 18 and was placed on leave for this action. Page has been making the rounds of right-wing talk radio circuits to promote what he calls his "Caucasian Christian" ideology. As various video clips presented by Tabachnick indicate,

He repeatedly talks about the persecution and targeting of "Caucasian Christians" and claims that President Obama is preparing to disarm whites using black and immigrant forces.

Tabachnick notes that Page came to police work from the military, and that he constantly cites his military background as he makes the preceding claims on right-wing talk-radio shows. 

As AJ Vicens reports at Mother Jones, Page has stated,

If you follow DHS's, that's Department of Homeland Security, definition of a terrorist, and now this is their definition, this not mine. It is a Caucasian male 18-65, one who supports the second amendment, one who believes in the second coming of Jesus Christ, one that is against illegal immigration and is against homosexuality and has a definition of traditional marriage. That is their definition of a terrorist.

And then there's this: as Jean Ann Esselink notes at The New Civil Rights Movement site, last week Sergeant Mike Weston of the Velda, Missouri, police department, who has been assigned to the police contingent dealing with protesters in Ferguson, took to Twitter to state that he'd like to punch Attorney General Eric Holder in the nose, and decrying the influence of "libs" and the media in spinning the story of what's going on in Ferguson. 

Once Weston's tweets came to light, he deleted his Twitter account, Marine@officeranon2, but as Esselink notes, the Riverfront Times site captured these and other tweets before the account went offline. You can find them here.

Translation: in assessing what has been going on in Ferguson, Missouri, for a long time now — in Ferguson, a city 67% black with a white mayor, a city council that is all white except for one black member, a school board that is all white with one Latino member, a police force that is 94% white — it would be insane to ignore the extent to which reaction to the nation's first African-American president is driving white racial fears and white racial animosity. Ferguson is about the fear of many white Americans that "we" are losing control. 

Ferguson is about the determination of many white Americans to reassert "our" control over a nation that is rapidly changing, whose demographics point to a brown and black majority not far down the road. Ferguson is about the willingness of a white minority to use violence, if necessary, to keep the growing brown and black majority in "their" place. 

Ferguson is about the infatuation of white American men with guns and military symbols. It is about the illusion of many Americans that God stands on the side of America and blesses the military might of the United States. It is about the astonishing conflation of white male heterosexuality with God.

And it is about the tremendously high price we have all been paying for this toxic idolatry, and will continue to pay until we find ways to dispense with it.

The graphic: the cover of Time, 9 April 1990.

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