One Newspaper Front Page Perfectly Captures a Major Source of Racial Tension in America

The front page of Sunday's St. Louis Post-Dispatch should stop you in your tracks. It illustrates, in striking red, white and black text, the lopsided racial breakdowns of police forces across the state of Missouri. 

Source: STLToday

The paper's graphic looks at municipalities with a more than 10% African American population and examines their police forces' demographics. In Ferguson, for example, the population is 67% African American; the police department, however, is just 7% African American. 

And that's not the worst. In Riverview, the population is 70% African American, while the police force is 0% African American. It's similar in Calverton Park where the population is 41% African-American, while the police force is also 0% African-American. 

Things aren't that uneven everywhere. In University City, for instance, the breakdown is almost exactly the same (41% for the population, 42% for the police.) Yet that's not the norm — more often than not, the breakdowns are disturbingly unbalanced. 

Source: AP

We've seen this before. While it's notable that a major newspaper is putting these figures on its front page, it's not exactly new information. Mic's Zak Cheney-Rice previously highlighted these disparities, noting that, at least in Ferguson, it's also entirely possible the remaining white officers don't even live within the city itself.   

The unevenness doesn't stop there, either. African-Americans in Ferguson are also targeted far more than whites for traffic stops, arrests and searches. 

Source: Getty Images

But these stats prove it's not just Ferguson. They indicate a problem that is systemic rather than isolated. As Post-Dispatch columnist Aisha Sultan told the Concourse, "[Ferguson] is a microcosm of the rest of the country. If this can happen in St. Louis, it can happen in any city."

Image Credit: St. Louis Post-Dispatch via Newsweek

The Post-Dispatch has run some excellent — if sobering — covers during the crisis in Ferguson, and today's front page is yet another example. 

h/t ThinkProgress

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Sophie Kleeman

Sophie is a staff writer at Mic covering the intersection of tech and culture. She's based in New York and can be reached at sophie@mic.com.

MORE FROM

Watchdog groups sue Trump for deleting tweets, allegedly violating Presidential Records Act

Trump's deleted tweets may come back to haunt him.

Grizzly bear protections in Yellowstone National park are ending

A final ruling by US government officials will strike the Yellowstone grizzly bear from the list of threatened species after its population increased to 700.

Another day, another off-camera White House press briefing

The move to scale back on-camera press briefings comes amid Trump's increasing unwillingness to interact with the press.

Minneapolis might get a $15 minimum wage, but restaurant workers aren't celebrating

Discord has been brewing in Minneapolis over whether tipped work will be counted toward a $15 minimum wage.

These abysmal new poll numbers for House health care bill don't bode well for Senate version

Only 34% of Republicans approve of the new proposed law.

'Pizzagate' shooter gets 4-year prison sentence, lawyers urged judge to deter vigilantism

Welch stormed a Washington, D.C., pizza place and shot off a firearm because of the internet.

Watchdog groups sue Trump for deleting tweets, allegedly violating Presidential Records Act

Trump's deleted tweets may come back to haunt him.

Grizzly bear protections in Yellowstone National park are ending

A final ruling by US government officials will strike the Yellowstone grizzly bear from the list of threatened species after its population increased to 700.

Another day, another off-camera White House press briefing

The move to scale back on-camera press briefings comes amid Trump's increasing unwillingness to interact with the press.

Minneapolis might get a $15 minimum wage, but restaurant workers aren't celebrating

Discord has been brewing in Minneapolis over whether tipped work will be counted toward a $15 minimum wage.

These abysmal new poll numbers for House health care bill don't bode well for Senate version

Only 34% of Republicans approve of the new proposed law.

'Pizzagate' shooter gets 4-year prison sentence, lawyers urged judge to deter vigilantism

Welch stormed a Washington, D.C., pizza place and shot off a firearm because of the internet.