Scholar Carol Anderson on the “anti-Blackness” coded into the Second Amendment

Scholar Carol Anderson on the "anti-Blackness" coded into the Second Amendment

Carol Anderson is likely to trigger a lot of people on the right with her book about the anti-Black history of the Second Amendment, " The Second: Race and Guns in a Fatally Unequal America ." But if anyone understands what white backlash looks and feels like it’s Anderson, who also wrote the 2016 bestseller " White Rage ." In her new book, Anderson, the chair of African American studies at Emory University, shares a history of the Second Amendment that few of us ever heard, arguing that it was included in the U.S. Constitution after demands by slave states for a constitutional right to form militias to put down slave revolts. Anderson details how Virginia’s Patrick Henry and George Mason expressed fears that the federal government would not help them defeat slave uprisings, and demanded that the Second Amendment be included so they could deal with such revolts themselves — an acute concern in the slave-owning oligarchy of that time. From there, Anderson traces how for decades the Second Amendment only protected the right of white Americans to own guns. In fact, states like Virginia enacted laws in the early 1800’s making it a crime for free Black people to carry guns. In the infamous 1857 Dred Scott decision, where the Supreme Court ruled that Black people were not citizens, Chief Justice Roger Taney — who wrote the opinion — expressed the concern that if Blacks were to become citizens, they would have have the constitutional right to […]

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