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3 Dec, 2014

European media see U.S. racial discrimination, wealth gap as root causes of Ferguson case

BEIJING, Dec. 2 (Xinhua) — The Ferguson incident has come as a result of a deep-rooted mindset of racial discrimination and the increasingly widening wealth gap in the United States, major newspapers of some European countries say.

Greek media have been following the incident, which has sparked widespread protests after a white police officer shot dead a black teenager, almost on a daily basis since August.

Commentators pointed to social inequality and racism that are still prevailing in the U.S. society.

“The news is bad for those who still believe in the American Dream, in particular those who were born black, Spanish, poor and the shrinking middle class nowadays … More and more realize that the distance between theory and reality is enormous,” Irene Psichari, a Greek columnist, wrote in an article carried by the daily newspaper Vima.

According to statistics released by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2012, about 46.5 million Americans lived in poverty, a record high in the bureau’s 54-year-old history. White Americans, who accounted for 64 percent percent of the country’s population, controlled 88 percent of the wealth.

The article quoted Erik Olin Wright, a professor of sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, as saying: “The U.S. society does not offer opportunities to the poor and President (Barack) Obama did nothing for the redistribution of wealth.”

“The mass protests are not a reaction to one incident — (Michael) Brown’s killing, but a reaction to the racism which is still a plague for U.S. today … The impression that under a black president the country has become more liberal and progress has been achieved in social justice is wrong,” Nema Jordan, an Afro-American student at Berkley University told Daphne Majiaraki, a Greek fellow student, who wrote a commentary for the Kathimerini newspaper.

“White bullets, black targets” was the characteristic title of another article carried by the daily newspaper Avgi.

“How is it possible that a country which so easily starts wars across the globe to ‘safeguard human rights’ violates them so clearly at home? Why does the first black president in U.S. history have so little to say for a justice system which remains so obviously racist, after so many decades of struggle for more rights?” Michalis Trikkas, another columnist, said in the article.

In a commentary, Russian newspaper Vzglyad said the incident showed that the United States applies totally different standards of approaches to itself than to the rest of the world

“This is not normal for the country which declares itself a beacon, a guiding star and a model that other nations should follow,” the commentary said.

“The so-called ethnic integration in the United States exists in the propaganda. In fact, real integration of different ethnics and civilizations in the country has yet to come,” it added.

Mrutyuanjai Mishra, an expert in human rights, said in an article carried by the Danish newspaper Politiken that racial discrimination is still a major problem in the United States.

A study showed that the difference in income between the white and the black in the country is bigger than that of South Africa during the apartheid regime, he said.

“If the black, brown and less privileged can have access to good education and jobs and experience greater justice through the legal system, it will automatically show up on crime statistics with the lucky twist — less crime in general,” he added.

In the view of Mads Fuglede, the Ferguson turmoil was rooted in the long-standing discontent among the black.

“This case is not so much about Michael Brown… What is going on is a product of U.S. history. The U.S. has been a society which has made promises of a better life — a life with opportunities for social mobility, where generations are experiencing growth,” he said.

“It is a fundamental consequence of the fact that African-Americans do not feel that they have the same access to the American dream,” he added.