The photograph is not from Ferguson. It’s from Oakland. As usual, we get a bunch of rabble-rousers whenever there is social unrest. Peaceful protests turn into riots and looting.

I suppose that was inevitable in Ferguson. I’m surprised and disappointed that it’s occurring in Oakland, because Oakland is one of the most diverse places there are, and people get along fine for the most part. That’s not to say there are no problems, but it’s a far cry from Ferguson.

One big difference is that the Oakland police force reflects the diversity of the community it serves. In Ferguson, most of the police are white and most of the population is black. That’s very problematic. It’s also problematic that the grand jury in Ferguson has a three-to-one white-to-black ratio. With that disparity, it’s impossible to know whether even one black juror voted to not indict the police officer who shot Mr. Brown.

This is a good time to remember why public institutions should reflect the demographics of the populations they serve. It’s not just about fairness, or even primarily about fairness. It’s about institutional credibility.

On this day before Thanksgiving I’m grateful that I live in California. Now I need to leave work early in case there’s another protest. They usually start around 5.


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