Juan Williams: Examine Causes of America's Racial Fears

Image: Juan Williams: Examine Causes of America's Racial Fears Police in riot gear move in to make arrests as demonstrators protest the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. (Larry W. Smith/EPA/Landov)

Wednesday, 20 Aug 2014 08:01 AM

By Elliot Jager

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Michael Brown's death ought to encourage black and white people to think again about the causes of racial mistrust, Juan Williams wrote in a commentary in The Wall Street Journal.

"If we are to stop angry clashes between police and poor black men, it is time to admit that thuggish behavior creates legitimate fear in every community," Williams wrote.

"Close to half of black men drop out of high school. High unemployment and high rates of out-of-wedlock birth leave too many of them without guidance. Given this reality, the violent behavior of young black men and the police response have become a window on racial fears."

Black leaders make "troubling excuses" for criminal behavior, Williams wrote. He cited how Bill Cosby has repeatedly called on civil rights leaders to speak out against loutish conduct by young black men. Brown can be seen in a police-released video violently menacing a convenience store clerk in Ferguson, Missouri, before stealing a box of cigars, wrote Williams, a Fox News political analyst and columnist for The Hill.

"More than 90 percent of the young black men killed by gunfire today are not killed by police but by other black men," Williams wrote. The leading cause of death for black men ages 15 to 34 is murder.

At the same time, "too many poor black people fear white police as a threatening group that is not protecting them so much as intimidating, punishing, and jailing them," Williams wrote.

A recurrent racial theme is that a "thin blue line" of police protects law-abiding society from dangerous elements. The release of the convenience store video was intended to play to the fears of the white community by demonstrating that the dead teen "was no gentle giant but a threatening presence," according to Williams.

Williams supports peaceful protests in Ferguson. He said protesters should then move on to America's big cites.

"There they should hold protests against the forces feeding the racial fear of young black men among white people, black people, and everyone else – the drug dealers, the gang bangers, the corrupt unions defending bad schools, and the musicians and actors who glorify criminal behavior among black men," Williams wrote.

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