During the past year, Chicago has experienced a disturbing spate of murders of police officers. Just a few days ago a 20-year veteran of the Chicago police force, a husband and father of four, was killed during a routine investigation, along with a former police officer for the Chicago Housing Authority whose car had been burglarized.
By conviction and temperament, President Obama seeks the middle ground. Though many of his opponents see him as a wild radical, intent on expanding the reach of government at all costs, his actions reveal something quite different: a pragmatist interested in striking a bargain.
In 1863 a cooper in Chillicothe, Ohio, named Schyler Courier angrily responded to a group of boys throwing snowballs at him by firing his shotgun, killing one of the boys. In 1866 in Petersburg, New York, Hiram Coon warned his employer's wife, Mary Laker, to quit taunting him for his criminal past; when she would not stop, he split her head open with an ax.
White privilege is knowing that when you are shopping alone you won’t be followed or harassed, says columnist Christine Emba. It means that when you buy a house in a nice neighborhood, you can expect your neighbors to be nice or neutral, not hostile toward you. “It’s the level of societal advantage that comes with being seen as the norm in America, automatically conferred irrespective of wealth, gender, or other factors,” says Emba. “It makes life smoother, but it’s something you would barely notice unless it were suddenly taken away—or unless it had never applied to you in the first place” (Washington Post, January 16).