For Some Ferguson Whites, Racial Fault Lines Exposed by Shooting Come as a Surprise

Robert Samuels, Washington Post, October 7, 2014

Alice Singen had always seen her home town as an integrated, harmonious place. Like many other white residents, she prided herself on staying here even when others began to leave.

But since the death of an unarmed black teenager at the hands of a white police officer, some African Americans are calling it segregated and racist. Now Singen has found herself talking in terms of “us” and “them,” “we” and “they.”

“I didn’t have any problems with anybody or any color, and all of a sudden it feels like we are being held responsible for something that’s not our fault,” Singen, 70, said as she left Faraci Pizza, a 46-year-old Ferguson business that has become a focal point of racial tension. “I don’t get it.”

That sense of shock is common here among Ferguson whites in the wake of 18-year-old Michael Brown’s death and the explosive protests in the days that followed.


The situation has forced many white Ferguson residents in this majority-black city–from small-business owners to the mayor and police chief–to question their beliefs about the community’s racial dynamics.

They have discovered that blacks and whites here profoundly disagree about the existence of racism and the fairness of the justice system. And now, whites who once believed their town was an exception in a country struggling with racial divisions have to confront the possibility it is not.


“I keep a lot of African American friends–some of my dearest friends–but when we hang out at the brew house, we don’t talk about these issues, ” said Mayor James Knowles III. “A lot of residents are going, ‘Damn, I never realized my friends felt that way or had these experiences.’ ”


Along South Florissant Road, there are detached houses with pumpkins on the porches. There are custard shops and coffee­houses. The lawn signs and T-shirts say “I ♥ Ferguson.”

And there’s Faraci’s, where Singen buys her pizza. A few weeks ago the owner, Jim Marshall, confronted a group of mostly black protesters about hurting small businesses. Curse words flew, both sides acknowledged. But then, protesters said, he flashed a gun at them. They called for a boycott, saying the owners were racist and supporters of Wilson.

Marshall’s wife, Dawne, tries not to talk about the incident; it makes her too angry. One day last week, she stopped kneading dough and addressed her patrons.

“We are not the type of people who they say we are!” she said. She pointed to two black residents sitting in her restaurant. “When I see you, I see you,” she said as she began to cry. “I don’t see color!”

After her husband confronted the protesters, Dawne Marshall said, he came inside and saw a crowd threatening him from the windows. “And yes, then he did show them his gun because he needed to protect his family,” she said. “Everything has gone out of control. We are from this community, and we’re not leaving, dammit.” The patrons applauded.

Carl Hart, who is white and went to high school with the Marshalls, tried to calm things. One evening, wearing a yellow “Ferguson Proud” T-shirt, Hart bought $120 worth of pizza to distribute to anyone passing the shop.

His plan seemed to be working until a group of 20 protesters–almost all black–encouraged two young boys to put down the slices.

In the group, Hart saw a black friend from the neighborhood. He smiled; she did, too. Then they hugged.

“Do you want some pizza?” he offered. She politely declined.


Hart has lived here most of his 47 years. He was class president at McCluer High School. More than a third of the students were minorities then, and he said he could not recall a racist incident. He believes in building communities and the good of people–which made it possible to think that his town’s troubles could be helped, if not solved, by a slice of pizza.

“My biggest gripe is that no one is giving the justice system a chance to work out,” Hart said. “We don’t know all the facts, but there is an investigation and a process. This is America.”


Between 2000 and 2010, the white population plummeted from 44 percent to 30 percent, while the black population grew from 50 percent to 67 percent. He wonders, if he saw no racism back in the old days, how could Ferguson be racist now?


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  • TruthBeTold

    A great example of why multicultural neighborhoods don’t work. This article goes to the heart of the problem.

    When blacks started moving in, many Whites were willing to stay and make things work.

    When a racial incident happened that didn’t involve the vast majority of Whites, all the Whites in the community became guilty by virtue of being White.

    Now the good White people who stayed can’t understand why blacks are attacking them and why they’re being blamed for something they had nothing to do with.

    What these good White people don’t understand is that the color of their skin is all blacks need as proof that they’re racists.

    • MekongDelta69

      A minor correction, if I might:
      “A great example of why multicultural neighborhoods ANYTHING don’t doesn’t work.”

      • TruthBeTold


      • propagandaoftruth

        Hey, black people aren’t so cute…

      • Lionel Hutz

        Meh, it’s really that anything involving American blacks that doesn’t work. And even then, it’s a significant minority within that community that fouls everything up.

        My neighborhood outside Philly is famously diverse (with that one exception), and everyone gets along quite nicely. Also, Silicon Valley.

        • JSS

          “And even then, it’s a significant minority within that community that fouls everything up”

          But of course all Whites are to be held collectively responsible for every perceived and plain made up grievance by every non white since the dawn of time and will pay reparations accordingly.

          “My neighborhood outside Philly is famously diverse (with that one exception), and everyone gets along quite nicely”

          My neighborhood is famous for leprechauns and unicorns to.

        • How many blacks are there in Silicon Valley? Two cities there – just as examples are Sunnyvale (2% black) and Santa Clara (2.7% black), according to the 2010 US census. Ferguson, Missouri was 67.4% black that same year.

          I think we’ve discovered the difference!

        • ElComadreja

          Not just American blacks. They are a total failure wherever they’re found. It’s not our fault they drew the evolutionary short straw.

        • Earl P. Holt III

          If it’s a “significant minority” who cause the problem, then why do they ALWAYS stick together, enable each other and make excuses for each other…?

      • archer

        It was never intended to work.

        • Periapsis

          Oh it was intended to work alright. as in work against US.

    • OhWow

      When I was little, my aunt was one of the few whites (we are of Italian descent) who stuck around in Brooklyn even while the blacks moved in. She was walking down the street on her way to get some groceries when a black man punched her, grabbed her purse, and ran off. She said enough was enough and came out with the rest of the family another 50 miles further out onto Long Island where it’s still mostly white and safe.

      White flight is not “racist”. White flight is white people realizing that when blacks move in, the area instantly becomes violent with lots of crime, and lots of random thugs wandering the streets. Recently, my mother was driving in a parking garage looking for a spot and a heavy set black woman and her two kids were in the middle of the road walking at a snail’s pace. I told her to flash the brights…they still didn’t move. We beeped. Nothing. Beeped again. Nothing. I reached over and laid on the horn and told her to get the f*ck out of the way. She started cursing and what not while we swerved around her and her kids. White people are scared to even ask black people to move out of their way. Who would want to live like that? It’s so much easier just living amongst ourselves where we have manners and care about people. The more you are around blacks the more you realize they don’t have the same sense of compassion or the same level of social skills that whites do.

      • Alexandra1973

        Sounds like she was hoping for a shot at the ghetto lottery.

      • ViktorNN

        I’ve so many blacks walk across the middle of a street during rush hour, blocking as much traffic as they can in the process.

        The only explanation for the behavior that I can come up with is that they are flat out dimwitted retards. They are either oblivious to their surroundings or they derive a sort of feebleminded grunting satisfaction from bothering others. They’re not like us, that’s for sure.

        • I’m going with “Feebleminded, grunting satisfaction from bothering others” for $200, Viktor!

          • Usually Much Calmer

            I was once walking through a park in a black neighborhood. I stopped at a water fountain. I bent down to it to take a drink and saw that the drain catch was filled with broken glass. A pile of broken glass. The pile suggested that someone had formed it on purpose. I have no way of knowing of course. But I do beleive that they go out of their way to ruin things for no real reason than it is in their nature.

            This is really kind of incomprehensible to responsible people. So even without Jews or Liberals or Christ, naive decent people are going to try to come up with some explanation for this. I now believe there is none, but that’s just me. I’ve made my peace with a very untidy world.

          • And some people wonder why we used to have our own drinking fountains.

      • ElComadreja

        The trouble with white flight is that eventually the blacks follow you.

      • gemjunior

        My husband and I are from a very Italian area in Queens, and we always noticed that the Italians seemed to stand their ground and not give away their neighborhoods so easily to the blacks. We are both from Irish backgrounds and there were many Irish neighborhoods around NYC and in the boroughs but one black face moves in and whooshhhh it’s like a tornado of Irish running for the hills without a backward glance. Believe it or not, my father’s first apartment – and it was all white – was in the Vanderbilt Houses at the intersection of Nostrand and Newkirk Avenue which is like a ghetto now. He said it was beautiful back then. The Italians stuck around and didn’t concede so easily, but once an elderly person is hurt by these animals there is no choice. My husband’s aunt was in her ’70s and insisted on staying in her little place in East New York until one day when she was robbed an beaten senseless. He said his heart was in his throat when he looked at her in the hospital bed, with bruises all over her helpless old face. At least she wasn’t raped. Imagine it’s come to that when elderly white women should be grateful they aren’t raped? Time for the boons to GO.
        And about your last point: I understand that well. I am sick to my stomach walking on eggshells around black monsters who have as much understanding of manners as they do of calculus. They deliberately make you wait to prove a point – that they aren’t going to go any faster because that would make it easier for you, and you are white, so that would be wrong. They must show you who is in charge. Sick as that sounds, that’s how I perceive they think.

  • Evette Coutier

    By modern liberal definition, whites are racist by default.


      You can’t win with liberals and anti-whites. If we don’t talk about race and try to treat everyone fair, we are called cowards, fake, etc. Yet once we express our true views on race, all of a sudden they are disgusted, angry, call us racists, ‘can’t believe people still think this way!’, etc. Anymore if a liberal talks about racial issues I always preface it by asking, “Do you really wanna know what I think? Trust me, you will hate me when I give you my opinion. You won’t like what I have to say. If you can’t handle that and be respectful, I’m done having the conversation. Deal?”

      • Evette Coutier

        I ask them why do they hate whites. It always leads to a festive conversation. I refuse to allow them to place on the defensive. It’s a no-win scenario. Let them sweat. Use their techniques back on them. You will find most of them really have little defense. All they really have is the accusation of racism.

        • racism is the ideal tool . . it works to keep races apart,
          which is the natural order of things .

    • GeneticsareDestiny

      Yep. White liberals are using the new racism definition, not the old one that all other white people use. To libs, racism = power+prejudice.

      Because whites have power and are, in their eyes, all prejudiced due to “institutional racism” in American culture, whites are inherently racist. All whites. This is something regular white people don’t understand about extremely liberal whites, so they can’t defend themselves effectively against racism accusations.

      To blacks, the reasoning is much more simple. Whitey = evil racist nazi. No intricate explanations or theories required.

      • Evette Coutier

        In the final analysis these people are genetic losers. They place the genetic survival of others before their own. If they win short term, they automatically lose long term. It’s a failed genetic strategy.

  • MekongDelta69

    It’s beyond amazing how many White people are still walking around in a racial fog, 50 years LATER.


    • Usually Much Calmer

      I read into stories like this that people are waking up.

  • Mary

    Considering how we have lost our collective innocence in our increasingly coarsened modern world, I find it unfathomable how foolishly naïve many Whites remain regarding racial issues. It often seems like race is the only area in which many Whites resist cynicism.
    They cannot conceive that just because you lack negative feelings for a particular group, does not mean that the group regards you similarly. Whites’ lack of racial awareness is literally killing us.

    • Kenner

      The problem, perfectly and concisely stated.

    • George Costanza

      It’s just we are better at moving on and are too passive, “meh so what if whites are disproportionally victims of black violence mehhhh”

    • MBlanc46

      I think a lot of whites are just hoping that if they ignore the realities of race they’ll just go away.

      • ElComadreja

        That’s been my experience. They’re also afraid of retaliation if they dare speak the truth.

  • AmericanCitizen

    I’ve written before that this whole thing might backfire on the Lefties in a way that matches their nightmares: racial awakening for a lot of white people who finally realize that forced diversity and multiculturalism have not worked and have only produced negative results wherever found.

    Ask a white person who has a negative opinion about Officer Wilson this simple question “Please tell me where in America a racially mixed city has become a thriving community with excellent schools for all, low crime, clean and orderly properties in all neighborhoods, and no black underclass of dependents who blame everyone but themselves for their miserable lives”. You can even provide them a hint that Detroit, Chicago, St Louis, Philadelphia, Newark, Camden, D.C., New Orleans, Los Angeles, and Atlanta would not be places that meet the criteria set forth.

    • Tarczan

      I am outraged! You left out Cleveland.

    • Christorchaos

      “We just havent tried hard enough” lol. #Utopians

    • Nonhumans

      A less complicated and more open-ended way to make that point would be to simply ask the limptard to name any place in the entire world where there is multiculturalism without a nonhuman underclass that blames everyone else (ie raaaayycissssssts) for their failures. It doesn’t exist.
      Nonhumans… The ultimate wastes of flesh.

      • drunkbobby

        Switzerland comes to mind as a pretty good place to live that contains multiple cultures. Oddly enough I can’t think of any happy, smiley multiethnic places off the top of my head. Perhaps Hong Kong underthe British administration, buas still massive majority chinese rather than true multiethnic.

  • Truthseeker

    These White people who worked hard to believe in racial equality are seeing their good intentions blow up in their face. Is it too much to hope that they’re having an awakening, and that if there ever comes a day of reckoning, they’ll side with their race?

    • TruthBeTold

      I don’t believe they work hard to be racially fair. It’s just who they are.

      They’re confused because they’re trying to be fair but fairness doesn’t work when dealing with blacks.

    • Lots of them won’t have any sort of epiphany. They’ll double down by blaming other whites for being “racist” while vehemently parading their own moral smugness.

  • Robert Samuels writes for the Post’s social issues team. In Maryland, he focuses on issues affecting low-income children and families. He also covers life in the District.

    So obviously he should write the next of what have been many media stories about a St. Louis suburb that nobody outside of St. Louis ever heard of before August 10.

    The reason that the rest of Ferguson might not be so bad is that all of the problems in Ferguson center on its southeast part, the Fergaza Strip, West Florissant Avenue between Ferguson Avenue and Northwinds Estates Drive. Those are where all the apartment farms are. Most of Ferguson is single family standalone residences and owner occupied, split evenly between black and white. What drives Ferguson’s racial demographics way over to the black side are the apartment farms. Also remember that south of Ferguson Avenue, the east side of West Florissant Avenue is actually in Jennings, not Ferguson. This is why the Fergaza Strip has far more of a Jennings feel than a Ferguson feel.

    If the Fergusonites featured in this WaPo article are truly shocked, it’s because either they have always mentally blocked out the Fergaza Strip and have ignored it like, in the immortal words of Ross Perot, the crazy aunt in the basement, or maybe they just didn’t know that those areas were and are in the Ferguson city limits.

    • Usually Much Calmer

      Did you catch that Andrew Interrupted (I think) has started referring to places like your apartments farms as ‘puppy mills’? I thought it was brilliant.

  • Singen, 70, said as she left Faraci Pizza, a 46-year-old Ferguson business that has become a focal point of racial tension. “I don’t get it.”

    then you’re NEVER get it ! stupid as stupid is.

  • LHathaway

    “I don’t get it”.

    No, she doesn’t get it. The media seems intent that she never will.

    • Christorchaos

      Thats right. And at what point do the people charged with informing the public (journos, politicians, college professors etc) get blamed for her not getting it? Or are they off the hook??

      • LHathaway

        That blame will be assessed when we have our own white nation in the Pacific Northwest. I won’t live to see it I pray to God that day will come.

  • Christorchaos

    “A lot of residents are going, ‘Damn, I never realized my friends felt that way or had these experiences.’ ” Yep! Good job protesters!

  • Frank_DeScushin

    The white pizza shop owner hugging his black “good friend” only to have her reject his offering of free pizza is a perfect metaphor for race relations.

    The white man was bending over backwards to be nice to the black woman only to have her reject his good will. Did she reject his peace offering because she herself detested the white man who viewed her as a friend, or did she reject him because she knew that accepting his free pizza would be viewed by the other blacks as her siding with the white man over the black community? Or does it even matter? In either instance she crapped on white good will because she other secretly loathes whites or, like nearly all blacks, she views the world as a black vs. white conflict and, like nearly all blacks, she’ll side with her people.

    And, of course, the article makes it sound like whites need to do more to engratiate the good will of blacks when it’s obvious that no matter what whites do blacks will never see them as true friends. Never. So why keep trying to please people who hate you?

    • Usually Much Calmer

      Best analysis on this piece posted here!

    • ElComadreja

      Remember Reginald Denny hugging the mother of one of the savages that attacked him? I always wondered how much he was paid for that.

  • Obvious Pseudonym

    “I keep a lot of African American friends..”

    Strange Freudian slip from the young mayor, there. You *have* friends, you *keep* an animal. Or a mistress, I suppose :-0

    • Lagerstrom

      Must have them penned somewhere to bring out and display when occasion demands.

    • Usually Much Calmer

      He’s following Derbyshire’s advice, and keeping black friends for protection of his public moral profile.

      The Talk, non-black version, lucky number 13:

      In that pool of forty million, there are nonetheless many intelligent and well-socialized blacks. (I’ll use IWSB as an ad hoc
      abbreviation.) You should consciously seek opportunities to make
      friends with IWSBs. In addition to the ordinary pleasures of friendship,
      you will gain an amulet against potentially career-destroying
      accusations of prejudice.

      So the Talk, non-black version, is already out of date. Things are moving very fast. This is a good thing.

    • I *would* keep a lot of American-African friends, except for two reasons:
      1. I have never had any of these.
      2. I do not own any strong, steel cages.

  • drattastic

    Because there isn’t any racism just people who’ve been told they’re victims and that’s exactly what they wanted to hear.

  • Bon, From the Land of Babble

    “I don’t get it.”

    You will be in for a rude awakening soon, reality will force you to “get it.”

    After the justified Thug Brown shooting, I predict there will be a huge exodus of Whites out of Ferguson with house prices in the “White” areas plummeting, if they haven’t already.

    Whites may be forced to walk way from their homes due to lack of a buyer.

    No Whites will move in and eventually Ferguson will be 95% black. Businesses will flee replaced by payday loans, check cashing joints, liquor stores and nothing else.

    I never knew how much blacks hated Whites until I worked in a black school. That was my introduction to how blacks are. Even despite friendly appearances, I assume they hate me.

    So far, my assumption has not been proved wrong.

  • MBlanc46

    Clearly, the whites living in Ferguson who thought they had good relations with local blacks were living in a fool’s paradise. They know better now. Time to get out of Ferguson.

  • FozzieT

    It has been over 20 years since my great racial awakening, the OJ Simpson trial. I can never forget the spectacle of blacks, many of whom I had considered friends, cheering for joy at the acquittal of one of their own who had gotten away with brutally murdering a white couple. I don’t understand how the whites of Ferguson can be so ignorant of the nature of their black neighbors.

  • Greg Thomas

    “I don’t get it.”

    Let me explain it to you. You live in a neighborhood full White hating blacks, who blame all of their life failures on you because you happen to be White. Get it now?

    • Alexandra1973

      No kidding.

      If she’s 70 years old she’s old enough to remember what it was like before the “civil rights” stuff. Might have been at that point that she surrendered intellectually.

  • dd121

    I just wonder what it takes for the whites to start shooting back?

  • JackKrak

    The town is finished, done, over and we may speak of it in the past tense. Any unfortunate/foolish white people left with houses to sell better take whatever they can get for them and get o-u-t.

  • Lagerstrom

    That has got to be some of the most stupid crapola I have ever read in my life.

  • adplatt126

    “This is America”? Not with blacks in charge it isn’t, honey.

  • fgbrunner3

    Race relations have deteriorated since Obama became president. Impeach Obama now.

  • As long as blacks continue to feel entitled to behave with impunity like criminals, yes there will be a racial divide. I wonder if Robert Samuels has any other deep mysteries he would like to share in print with Washington Post readers.

  • R L Buds

    They are shocked because if the blacks can do what they want (kill a white cop, stong-arm robbery) then there is little racial tension. When they are called out on their criminal behavour they go nuts.

  • Jack Burton

    A lot of whites are clueless simpletons, doesn’t surprise me.

  • Earl P. Holt III

    Many young and dizzy liberal whites in Ferguson assumed all those darkies were evidence of a certain “vibrancy” that portended higher real estate price prices in Ferguson…

  • Saggin Gin

    Yeah yeah…we understand the kissing of the balack @ss so they don’t come and burn down your pizza business. That’s being a coward in my opinion.

  • PesachPatriot

    I know….I was talking about gaza….thats why ferguson should be referred to as ferghana or maybe fercongo….gaza obviously has its issues but they wear belts, hold their firearms correctly and don’t end every sentence with gnomesayin dawg…

  • baldridge999

    Pathetic anti-whites will learn that no amount of groveling and pandering will stop blacks from hating you.