Aaron Blake of The Washington Post thinks we're having a moment of cross-racial unity:
Ferguson, Mo., has captured the nation's attention for the better part of the past four months. But in just a few short days in the national news, Eric Garner has become the political rallying point that Ferguson never has.Er, no, there isn't. Look at the racial discrepancy (click to enlarge):
A new poll shows considerably more unhappiness with the lack of an indictment in Garner's case than in the one in Ferguson. And, perhaps most important as far as its impact goes, that unhappiness is significantly less connected to a person's race.
The Selzer and Company poll for Bloomberg News finds that 60 percent of Americans disagree with the lack of an indictment against officer Daniel Pantaleo, whose chokehold apparently led to Garner's death in July. For comparison's sake, just 36 percent say they disagree with the lack of an indictment against officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson....
The differences in the two cases are almost completely because of whites.
In both cases, nine in 10 African Americans say they disagree with the decision. Although just 25 percent of whites disagree with the decision in Ferguson, a majority (52 percent) disagree with the decision in Garner's case.
There isn't quite consensus....
If 48% of whites still can't see a reason to try Pantaleo on any charge, even after watching the video and hearing Garner say "I can't breathe" over and over again, then we're not at a "rallying point" at all.
It's clear that a large percentage of whites think this case is an outlier, an anomaly, a glaring exception to the rule that cops have an excellent reason for beating or killing the "thugs" they deal with in the vast majority of instances.
Am I wrong? We'll see. There are a lot of excessive force cases piling up, and for once they're coming to white America's attention. We'll see if whites' overwhelming confidence in the cops has been shaken at all. I'm not optimistic.