The ongoing Ferguson crisis in America is really two stories rather than one. The first story is the straightforward mystery of what happened when Darren Wilson (‘the white cop’) killed Michael Brown (‘the black youth’). The second story, much loved by the British and American media, is ‘America’s Racial Divide’.

The two stories are related, of course, but not in quite the way that links them in most reporting and commentary. The first story is treated as another episode in the second’s larger ‘narrative’, which is that white America is murderously hostile to its black minority. Few people express this view as openly as the film-maker Spike Lee, who declared simply that ‘there is a war on the black male’. But his argument has been the leitmotif of media discussions from the moment it became known that a white cop had killed a black man.

Looking beyond black and white in Ferguson » The Spectator.