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tv   Washington Journal Devin Fergus  CSPAN  August 12, 2018 3:24pm-3:37pm EDT

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white supremacists were emboldened by the failure of the university to stop them. host: the charlottesville bureau chief for virginia public radio. you can follow their reporting radio.n twitter, wvtf thanks so much for joining us this morning. guest: my pleasure. host: throughout the program, hearing from other voices. devin next by skype from fergus as the university of missouri, history and black studies professor, joining us to talk about race relations in the st. louis area, particularly in the four years since the shooting of michael brown in ferguson. professor, thanks for being with us this morning. what are your thoughts on that community, the broader st. louis community in terms of race relations, where these things stand four years hence? guest: sure.
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thanks for having me this morning, although i wish it would be under happier events. so, as you mentioned, the ferguson shooting, killing of michael brown happened four years ago. he's part of a larger sort of context, i think. as the doj reported in 2015, noted, law enforcement in ferguson, also in greater st. louis, in the st. louis suburbs, see designed, trying to citizens as targets of extraction. so what happened with the michael brown case, with his shooting, was part of that broader context in which law enforcement is sent out by city
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managers to extract fines, fees, wealth from communities of color, especially communities of color. so greenert is of color are under siege by law enforcement, trying -- communities of color are under siege by law enforcement, trying to extract wealth from them. in 1980, the state of missouri passed an amendment that authorized that only through direct voter approval could taxes be raised throughout the state. so now the cities have no other besides raise taxes extracting fines and fees. what has happened in missouri reflects what's going on nationwide. 1980, 90% out, since generatedenue throughout the country has been
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generated largely through fines and fees. it was in that context, in many ways, that you can understand what happens to michael brown, his shooting, murder, and to theent reaction acquittal of the officers. host: we have been focusing the morning conversation on the state of race relations across the country. we had a caller or two mention the broader issue, not just a racial issue, a class issue, and i will tie this into a book that you are just coming out with. fee:book, "the land of hidden costs an the decline of the american middle class." hone in on that a bit. what do you see specifically that applies to our discussion here? guest: sure, absolutely right.
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ways,, i would say two this ties into what happens with charlottesville. you mentioned the rally tonight, lafayette park in washington, rally,he unite the right white conservatives, white nationalists, viewing themselves is under siege. the demographic shifts of the nation make them feel alienated. they insist they are also being marginalized economically. you see throughout history, whenever there's a competition for employment, jobs, ther suppression of wages, it heightens tensions. the founding of the naacp, the origins of it in springfield,
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illinois in the early 1900's, created competition for employment and jobs. these white people view themselves as under siege economically and demographically by the greater population. hasart of the economic part to do with the flat-lining of wages, the last two generations. we have seen wage stagnation, real wages flat through the last two generations. even in recent quarterly reports, slight increases in non-nominal wages, but the increase in real wages is flat. working middle-class white americans view themselves under siege, in many ways economically, as the population
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demographics move i, theoretically, perceptually, away from them.many politicians and policymakers , as well as media individuals -- the president talks about "infestation" happening, which invokes for me personally as a scholar of the african-american rwandance, invokes the genocide, when they talk about the infestation of cockroaches, treating individuals as a subhuman category. this increases racial tensions throughout the country, . --t: go ahead guest: the second point i want theake, we also see that demographic population is
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actually changing. brookings came out with a report indicating the middle class is actually changing, becoming more race-plural than ever before, so there is perhaps evidence there should be demographic trends, why so many white americans feel themselves marginalized. politicians and policymakers, talking heads, are going to take advantage of what is perceived. host: some of the fallout from ferguson, the killing of michael brown four years ago, some political fallout. the st. louis post-dispatch, with a story about the change in the prosecutor, wesley bell ime st. louis county elected prosecutor robert mccullough. upset by a ferguson councilmen promising to reform the kernel justice system, earning 57 --
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criminal justice system, earning 57% of the vote. did that surprise you? guest: yes and no. given what's happening, local and national elections the last 24 months, i would say very little surprise on the electoral front. he ran against the incumbent, was also a city councilman, but also heavily organizing in the community. not really a political figure, but one who was a community activist. he did the organic sort of work, the grassroots work that elections require. so it does not surprise me that much. host: there has been a real of fergusonhe area in terms of tourism, etc. how about the community itself?
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how's it doing? guest: the community is still sort of struggling, and so if you look at the numbers in terms of rates of unemployment, median wages, of ferguson and the st. louis region. the high school graduation rates. they remained fairly consistent with the national racial disparities. been someas improvement in those categories, but there is still a wide gap and gulf between how whites fare and the broader society. it's also important to not isolate this to ferguson, issues of race, racial tension. a 2017, the naacp issued travel advisory for those traveling throughout the state of missouri. so this is not something just endemic to ferguson.
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the doj report in 2017 indicated ferguson is not actually the worst of the actors, simply the place in which the flashpoint occurred, but it was not the worst in terms of the extraction of wealth by law enforcement, abetted by the courts and city officials. ferguson is not actually the worst of it. infact, in some areas greater st. louis, people were fined for having mismatched curtains. any way in which to raise revenue, and using law enforcement as the arm of wealth extraction. r own university was impacted from the fallout from the protests, etc, paying $1.3 of the to fix some negative image after the protests. the enrollment fell after that.
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how have things fared since then at the university of missouri? guest: i am glad you brought that up. so, i would, the university's still paying fiscally and economically, financially. so the consequences have been layoffs at the university of staff and some faculty. so the university is still paying financially and economically. protests onso campus, and these protests were done by student -- graduate students, student athletes. we often hear so many bad things about student athletes. a symbolic role
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on campus, in the city at large, symbolic representation. ipe public policy leadersh points out, strong material, thattant values, you see with student athletes protesting, football players in particular. i wanted toreasons come to this institution was the very socially conscious student athletes we have. host: a professor of history and black studies at the university of missouri. his book is "the land of fee: hidden costs and the decline of the american middle class." thanks for being with us. guest: thanks for having me. host: we're joined by professor keith mays, at the university of minnesota, african-american

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