The support by white St. Louis residents for the killing of Michael Brown is not just a simple matter of a difference in public opinion regarding how individuals locate matters of public concern within their own cognitive schema.
Instead, their attitudes are formed in relation to a given social and historical context. Consequently, the political attitudes of Darren Wilson's white supporters reflect a society that is organized around a racial hierarchy which privileges Whiteness.
Remington’s poll is part of a larger constellation of data on white racial attitudes in response to the Ferguson incident, specifically, and the realities of white on black racism in the post civil rights era, more generally.
In August, a poll by Pew Research found that:
...the public overall is divided over whether Brown’s shooting raises important issues about race or whether the issue of race is getting more attention than it deserves: 44% think the case does raise important issues about race that require discussion, while 40% say the issue of race is getting more attention than it deserves.
By about four-to-one (80% to 18%), African Americans say the shooting in Ferguson raises important issues about race that merit discussion. By contrast, whites, by 47% to 37%, say the issue of race is getting more attention than it deserves.
These results echo earlier polls that reveal how whites and people of color are starkly divided in their opinions about the permanence and power of racism in determining life chances.
As a point of comparison, at the height of the civil rights movement, a moment when Jim and Jane Crow segregation and racial terrorism were still a de facto state of affairs in much of the United States, white folks reported to Gallup and other pollsters that black people had equal opportunities in America.
White America's willful denial and delusions about the twin realities of white supremacy and white privilege are a recurring feature of American cultural and political life.