Edward E. Baptist, professor of history, wrote in this op-ed in The Washington Post with Vanessa Holden, assistant professor at the University of Kentucky, that the phenomenon of white Americans taking it upon themselves to police their black neighbors, as we've witnessed in recent years, is not historically unusual.
"What’s new is the outcome, at least in some of the cases," they write. "For virtually the first time, white Americans have faced social disapproval for being caught on camera in the act of treating utterly normal behavior by black people as criminal. But people like “BBQ Becky” are not new. They continue a long tradition that began in slavery ... The pattern established by white policing of African Americans’ movement during slavery is something that many remain all too eager to continue."
Read the full article in The Washington Post.