President Obama is steadily becoming the personification of “twice as good, half as much,” the 21st century equivalent to the “Jackie Robinson effect” that observes how much more exceptionally a black person must perform to get even half of the credit that others receive. Embedded in a forthcoming Justice Department report on the Ferguson Police Department is an absurdly comical example of that phenomenon.
According to the Associated Press, the Justice Department’s investigation of racial bias in the Ferguson Police Department will be released any day now, and shockingly found evidence of racial bias:
The report, which could be released as soon as Wednesday, will charge that police disproportionately use excessive force against blacks and that black drivers are stopped and searched far more often than white motorists, even though they’re less likely to be carrying contraband.
The Justice Department also found that blacks were 68 percent less likely than others to have their cases dismissed by a municipal court judge, and that from April to September of last year, 95 percent of people kept at the city jail for more than two days were black, according to the officials.
That investigation was apparently conducted by Deputy Attorney General F. King-Obvious, because anyone who has followed the events in Ferguson knows, the traffic stop data painted that picture like a racist Rembrandt. The revelations are no less sickening for their obviousness, but completely unsurprising.
Later in that report, though, is an interesting tidbit from which some satisfaction may be drawn:
Among the findings of the report was a racially tinged 2008 message in a municipal email account stating that President Barack Obama would not be president for very long because “what black man holds a steady job for four years.”
Note to the AP: you should update your stylebook. That’s not “racially tinged.” Reporters should refer to this sort of email as “racist,” or “racist as fuck,” depending on context.
At Tuesday’s White House daily briefing, Press Secretary Josh Earnest would not comment on the leaked report, and referred questions about the leak to the Justice Department. Other White House officials I spoke to would not comment on the report, but were uniformly astonished by the quote in that email. It’s interesting that the source of the leak, who requested anonymity, chose to share that particular detail, possibly indicating a source more sympathetic to the President.
As we all know now, President Obama beat that racist prediction by more than double, just as he and his policiesconsistently beat the predictions and warnings of his opponents. The sad irony is that now that he’s proven himself to that racist cop, he can’t even get the racist vote now, unless he runs for a third term.
The full report, which is expected as soon as Wednesday, promises to be even more damning, but even these leaks serve to confirm what have been facts of black life for decades. We’re only learning about Ferguson because the DOJ decided to turn over that rock.
It also shows that it will take much more than a presidential task force to change them.
Update: The full report was released Wednesday afternoon. Here are some of the other lovely emails the Ferguson Police Department exchanged:
A November 2008 email stated that President Barack Obama would not be President for very long because “what black man holds a steady job for four years.”
A March 2010 email mocked African Americans through speech and familial stereotypes, using a story involving child support. One line from the email read: “I be so glad that dis be my last child support payment! Month after month, year after year, all dose payments!”
An April 2011 email depicted President Barack Obama as a chimpanzee.
A May 2011 email stated: “An African-American woman in New Orleans was admitted into the hospital for a pregnancy termination. Two weeks later she received a check for $5,000. She phoned the hospital to ask who it was from. The hospital said, ‘Crimestoppers.’”
A June 2011 email described a man seeking to obtain “welfare” for his dogs because they are “mixed in color, unemployed, lazy, can’t speak English and have no frigging clue who their Daddies are.”
An October 2011 email included a photo of a bare-chested group of dancing women, apparently in Africa, with the caption, “Michelle Obama’s High School Reunion.”
A December 2011 email included jokes that are based on offensive stereotypes about Muslims
It also shows how good it can be to be white in Ferguson, better than any Eddie Murphy sketch:
Even as Ferguson City officials maintain the harmful stereotype that black individuals lack personal responsibility—and continue to cite this lack of personal responsibility as the cause of the disparate impact of Ferguson’s practices—white City officials condone a striking lack of personal responsibility among themselves and their friends. Court records and emails show City officials, including the Municipal Judge, the Court Clerk, and FPD supervisors assisting friends, colleagues, acquaintances, and themselves in eliminating citations, fines, and fees.