The Ferguson Schadenfreude

Friday, 22 August, 2014

After watching the situation in Ferguson making headlines in Spain’s El Pais, Portugal’s Publico, Denmark’s Politiken, France’s Liberation and Germany’s Der Tagespiegel, Die Tageszeitung and Die Welt, the writer of the Democracy in America blog at The Economist ponders the protests and declares that “the level of attention they are drawing in Europe is frankly bizarre.”

What’s behind the Ferguson fascination. The answer is as simple as it is revealing:

“Part of the attraction of the Ferguson story for Europeans may be a bit of Schadenfreude enjoyment of America’s racial woes. Europeans got tremendous political mileage out of America’s racial conflicts in the 1960s, using American racism as a negative pole to rally support for counter-American projects both on the Gaullist right and on the socialist left. In recent years it has been Europe that has struggled with anti-immigrant racism and an integration model that seems to work much worse than America’s. Europeans weary of criticism over rising xenophobia may be relieved to see that America still has its own troubles.”


Filed in: Europe, Media, USA

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