McKinney police office pulls gun on unarmed black youths. We are getting used to this sort of thing.
McKinney police officer pulls gun on unarmed black youths. We are getting used to this sort of thing. Screen capture from YouTube

There are lots of great posts about the pool party incident that happened in McKinney, Texas on Friday and was captured on video by Brandon Brooks, a white teenager. The video shows a white cop—identified as Officer Eric Casebolt—cursing at black teenagers, grabbing a teenage girl (15-year-old Dajerria Becton) and throwing her on the ground, and pulling a gun on two teenage boys. According to Grace Stone, a young woman who claims to be the only white person handcuffed during the incident, the trouble began when a group of black teenagers, who had arrived for a pool party promoted on social media, were told by a white neighbor to: "Go back to section 8 housing."

Apparently, a fight broke out between a mom and a teen. The cops arrived and, according to Brandon Brooks, “Everyone who was getting put on the ground was black, Mexican, Arabic." He also says: "[The cop] didn’t even look at me. It was kind of like I was invisible.” The trend I have noticed in this developing story is that the younger white witnesses are far more sympathetic to racial issues than the older ones.

To get an excellent cultural and racial perspective on McKinney, I recommend reading the personal narrative "The Dark Side of McKinney, the 'Best Place to Live in America'" in The Atlantic. (In 2014, McKinney was voted the best place to live in America by Money.) The author of that post, Olga Khazan, points out that, according to one black witness of Friday's pool incident, a lot of the black kids at the pool party were from that neighborhood, Craig Ranch, and not from a poorer one on the other side of a highway. If such is the case, they were probably known by or friends with the young white people who witnessed the incident. It's also possible that the young people of our times are less racist than their parents.

One more point, which concerns emerging spatial urban trends and dynamics: McKinney is a suburb of Dallas—it was voted 14th best suburb in Texas in 2014 by D Magazine (the suburb has a very low walkability score). In a sense, what happened in McKinney might be seen as related to what happened in Ferguson, in that both are suburbs. What this might indicate is that as more and more middle- and working-class people of color leave expensive cities (the median home price in Seattle is $468,000) and move to cheaper suburbs (the median home price in McKinney, a generally affluent place, is only $217,879), racial clashes between the new arrivals and established white residents and police departments staffed by white officers might become frequent. (The median income for households in the suburb of Ferguson is $36,121—it's $52,728 for the city of St. Louis.)

In the '60s and '70s, there was white flight from inner-city racial strife. In the 21st century, we may witness an escalation of racial strife in places outside of the urban core, out on the periphery.