Black and white worlds collide in tragedy

Sometimes it feels as though blacks and whites live on different planets.

Too many African-Americans are relegated to neighborhoods characterized by under-resourced schools; minimal jobs, goods and services; and governmental abandonment. The social privilege and economic prosperity enjoyed in other communities is dangled out of reach of large numbers of urban poor persons populating our American urban landscape.

These disparities translate into worlds of difference in how those on opposite sides of racial and income divides experience and perceive society. And these disparate perceptions and experiences can collide — as we saw in the tragic circumstances surrounding the recent police killings of Michael Brown, Eric Garner and others, and also in the responses by the American public to these killings.

Part of the dispute police had with Mr. Brown and Mr. Garner (which fueled subsequent public responses) was related to the issue of domain.

Where there are black neighborhoods suffering endemic political and economic neglect, leaving residents mainly to fend for themselves, should it be surprising that they sometimes chafe at police who show up asserting a drive-by public authority?
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