The Second Amendment’s anti-Blackness

Members of the Black Panthers held guns during the group’s protest at the California State Capitol in May 1967.Sacramento Bee/Tribune News Service via Getty Images On the last night of his life, Philando Castile , a Black man, was driving with his girlfriend and her young daughter when a police officer pulled him over in a suburb of St. Paul, Minn., in 2016. Castile complied with the cop’s orders and informed him that he was carrying a firearm. Within seconds, the officer shot Castile five times. His killing seemed primed for a textbook National Rifle Association diatribe — a cop’s lethal violation of a licensed citizen’s Second Amendment rights. Instead, NRA officials mostly stayed quiet. That uncharacteristic silence did not go unnoticed by Carol Anderson, a professor and chair of African American studies at Emory University in Atlanta. “Think about how vociferous they’ve been when it comes to issues of gun rights — gun rights for whites, that is,” she told me when I spoke with her. “In the midst of a mass shooting , their response is, ‘We need more guns.’ Think about Ruby Ridge and Waco where [NRA leader] Wayne LaPierre called federal law enforcement ‘ jack-booted thugs ,’ and the discrepancy between the way the NRA dealt with other issues of guns when they’re held by whites, and then journalists asking, ‘Don’t African Americans have Second Amendment rights?’ As a historian, I wanted to answer that question.” In her absorbing new book, “The Second: Race and […]

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