How the North does Jim Crow

Segregation was an institution of the American south, but the north had its ways and means. At the New York Times, Andrew W. Kahrl explains that recent startling examples of black people being hounded, threatened or lawed out of white spaces are nothing new.

“Quality of life” laws serve as a potent instrument of racial segregation. They provide commercial establishments, law enforcement officers and everyday citizens with tools enabling them to police racial boundaries while at the same time claiming to simply be upholding the law.

In contrast to the Jim Crow laws of America’s dark past, these laws supposedly apply to everyone. But in practice, they clearly don’t. Like most middle-aged white people, I have spent countless hours in Starbucks without buying anything. Plenty of white people have barbecued, blasted music and drunk alcohol at that same Oakland park, without anyone calling the police.

The selective enforcement of minor ordinances, as many critics note, performs the same work today that segregation laws did in the past. But it would be inaccurate to call this a new form of Jim Crow. What it is, rather, is a form of Jim Crow that whites in the North have been developing since the early 1900s.

The photo is taken from the video of that white lady calling the police on black people having a BBQ in a park.

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