“The Second”: Carol Anderson on the Racist Roots of the Constitutional Right to Bear Arms

Do African Americans have Second Amendment rights? That’s the question Emory University professor Carol Anderson set out to answer in her new book, “The Second,” which looks at the constitutional right to bear arms and its uneven application throughout U.S. history. She says she was prompted to write the book after the 2016 police killing of Philando Castile, who was fatally shot during a traffic stop after he told the officer he had a legal firearm. Anderson says the Second Amendment was always intended to be a means of arming white people to control the Black population. “There was this massive fear about these slave revolts, Black people demanding their freedom, being willing to have an uprising to gain their freedom,” says Anderson. “What I saw was that it wasn’t about guns. It was about the fear of Black people.”

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Do African Americans have Second Amendment rights? That’s the question Emory University professor Carol Anderson set out to answer in her new book, “The Second,” which looks at the constitutional right to bear arms and its uneven application throughout U.S. history. She says she was prompted to write the book after the 2016 police killing of Philando Castile, who was fatally shot during a traffic stop after he told the officer he had a legal firearm. Anderson says the Second Amendment was always intended to be a means of arming white people to control the Black population. “There was this massive fear about these slave revolts, Black people demanding their freedom, being willing to have an uprising to gain their freedom,” says Anderson. “What I saw was that it wasn’t about guns. It was about the fear of Black people.”


This content originally appeared on Democracy Now! and was authored by Democracy Now!.


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