Jacology: Racism vs. Fear

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(KPLR) – In Wednesday's Jacology, Charles Jaco looks at whether fear of a violent underclass, is the same as racism:

Despite the title of the song, there's hardly any such thing as an accidental racist. Being a racist first of all takes a tremendous amount of work, spending almost every waking hour fuming about how them, you know, those other people, you know, them, make life so lousy. For another thing, racism takes malice aforethought. Being willfully racist is a choice.

And yet, here's the rub. Is being afraid of a violent African-American underclass, the same thing as racism? I raise the question because of a thoughtful conversation I had the other day with a woman, a white woman, who's against the transfer and free busing of kids from the Normandy school district in north St. Louis County to the Francis Howell district in St. Charles County.

She says her opposition has nothing to do with race. It has to do with the violent nature of a lot of students from the Normandy district. Statistics show Normandy may be the most violent school district in Missouri. She's worried about the safety of her three kids if the same nitwits who stab and shoot and assault teachers take the bus to Francis Howell.

A lot of white people will say the same thing. They say they're not racist. They say they're appalled at the violent deadly nature of some members of the low-income African-American urban underclass, the ones whose mug shots are paraded across TV screens every week; the ones responsible for so much death and injury in America’s cities.

But most African-Americans feel the same way. The behavior of the violent minority of a minority group angers them, too. It should, since blacks are usually the victims of their crimes. Thus the question; is being afraid of a violent criminal underclass, the same thing as racism?

I’m Charles Jaco and that’s Jacology.

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Email: charles.jaco@tvstl.com