Geographic Voter Turnout Disparaties and Public Health
A black teenager named Michael Brown is shot by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. The inferno of media surrounding the city begins to explain the shooting. At first, they are concerned with specifics of the case, but eventually a consensus is reached that the shooting was a spark that set ablaze a tinderbox of longsimmering racial tension fed by institutional discrimination. One year prior, white Americans were three times more likely to vote than people of color in the 2013 Ferguson municipal election (Schaffner, Erve, & LaRaja, 2014). The result of this voting disparity is that even though Ferguson is 67% black, the mayor and five out of six city council members were white, creating significant underrepresentation of disadvantaged groups (Schaffner, Erve, & LaRaja, 2014). These officials were in charge of creating the leadership of the police force and contributed to a culture that was entirely divorced from their citizenry. The shooting ignited such a controversy because it highlighted racial power inequalities. The people in charge of local power structures did not represent the broader population, an unfortunately normal occurrence.
Lucerna, Vol. 11, January 2017, p. 53-78
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