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  • Norman Young

America's New Racism is Metropolitan


When did Karens become more racist than Rednecks? Conventional wisdom used to insist that Americans who live in densely-populated cities were more sophisticated than those who live in rural areas. After all, cities tend to be more diverse, and city-dwellers typically vote Democratic. Surely this means they are less likely to hold "backward," racist views, right?

A recent spate of racial news-stories this week casts doubt on the commonplace assumptions mentioned above. Racist incidents happen, increasingly, in America's major metropolitan cities outside the Deep South. As former Obama administration staffer Van Jones recently explained during a CNN segment, "it's the white liberal Hillary Clinton supporter walking her dog in Central Park" that he worries about more than the Klu Klux Klan. Jones is referring, of course, to Amy Cooper, who went batty and called the cops at the instigation of moral busybody Christian Cooper (no relation).

But why should this be? Why would a black person feel white liberals to be more of a threat than Klan members? Why would racial tensions increase in America's metropolitan areas at the same time that race relations improve in the Deep South and old racist groups dwindle into irrelevance?

One might blame ineradicable human nature for the problem. Perhaps the mere proximity of different racial groups in urban environments inevitably brings out hard-wired racist tendencies. The modern American Left, like their Puritan forebears, tend to agree that human beings are totally depraved in this way. As Van Jones put it in the aforementioned interview, "even the most well-intentioned white person has a virus in his or her brain that can be activated at an instant." The trouble with this explanation is that it does not explain the different trajectories of North and South.

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