Tom Sugrue is a great historian and he makes excellent points in this op-ed about how racism is not just a southern problem but a national problem. But let’s face it, this is an overstated case. Even if everything he says about the North is true, and it pretty much is, Dylann Roof still shot up a church in Charleston, South Carolina (Denmark Vesey’s church no less), it is southern states that are seeking to disfranchise African-Americans in the wake of the Supreme Court overturning the most important parts of the Voting Rights Act and it’s also southern states denying the Supreme Court’s verdict on gay marriage, executing African-Americans in racist criminal injustice systems, and where the last die-hards going to the mat for the Confederate flag are hanging on.
Yes, racism is a national problem. No, the North and the West are hardly immune from the horrors of white supremacy. But yes, these problems are worse in the South and it’s important to recognize where the front line of the civil rights struggle remains.