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Why there's a divide in how we react to Ferguson




Protesters arrive at LAPD headquarters Wednesday night around 8 p.m. after marching from Crenshaw and Martin Luther King boulevards around 4 p.m. Dozens of LAPD cops stood in lines in front of the headquarters building wearing helmets. There were metal barricades around the headquarters.
Protesters arrive at LAPD headquarters Wednesday night around 8 p.m. after marching from Crenshaw and Martin Luther King boulevards around 4 p.m. Dozens of LAPD cops stood in lines in front of the headquarters building wearing helmets. There were metal barricades around the headquarters.
Erika Aguilar/KPCC

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Ferguson, Missouri, is now shorthand for racial unrest in America, joining Watts, Oakland, Crown Heights, and other places where citizens turned to the streets after violence.

Ferguson also joins the growing list of racially-tinged events that prompt severe divisions in how the general public perceives what happened, and what should happen. 

When the district attorney's office released massive amounts of information on Monday in the Michael Brown case, every person readings those came away with a different impression.

That is, in part, because we all have biases -- whether we want to acknowledge them or not -- that stem from the subtle experiences that we gather over a lifetime.

Tess Vigeland talks with Brenda Stevenson, professor of history at UCLA and author of, "The Contested Murder of Latasha Harlins: Justice, Gender and the Origins of the LA Riots," and Joshua DuBois teaches at Princeton University. He's also the weekly religion and values columnist for The Daily Beast.