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Monday, December 29. 2014
The post I was writing was specific to the riots in Ferguson. Then Eric Garner's Grand Jury results came in and it morphed. Then my ultra-liberal sister posted an article about how white people simply can't understand the black narrative and we need to be sensitive to why they feel the way they do about cops. This was followed by a discussion over a post by my friend which supported the #crimingwhilewhite tweeters. Then I picked up my son from college and heard about how 'white privilege' is now a hot topic among his classmates. Finally, two cops were shot and buried in the last week. I spent time trying to decide whether this was a post about race, cops, or something else altogether. In the end, I realized it's probably a number of things, because there wasn't just one narrative here. Brown and Garner were not about race, no matter how much people wanted them to be. Nor were they only about how bad cops are, or can be. Nor was any of this about how poorly the media handles these topics, or how those who consider themselves the intellectual elite manage the discussion. It's really about all of these items, but none of them, either. Ultimately, in the end, it's about each of us and how we individually think about unconnected events which we try to connect through some kind of hive mentality. It's about whether we really care about these events, and how we care about them.
At first, I planned to discuss how far we'd come in race relations. We have come very far. It's impossible to look at how we deal with race today and say we are in the same place we were in any year from 1880-2000. My friend said that improvement is relative, that we have further to go. Perhaps we do. But I'm not benchmarking myself against an unclear ideal which no group of people fully agree on. What will represent the final 'best' format of race in our nation? Nobody knows. All we can do is be aware of ourselves, individually, and try to be better about how we treat people when it comes to race, gender, nationality and religion. I include all of these together because as a society we have issues in every single one of these categories. We need to stop letting one word, used out of place or out of context, produce rage. We need to ignore things like "trigger words", which are nothing more than words which certain people have designated for censorship because they lack the courage to accept that language is malleable and can sometimes offend even slightly. As a nation, we need a real dialogue. Not about race, in particular. We need a dialogue about values and what is truly important. Race may be part of that value structure, but it's only a small part. Individual responsibility is really the larger value structure we need to focus on. Responsibility for our own health, our own minds, our own speech and our own education. We can't let small parts of the 'society' value chain derail us from the goal of crafting a nation which is unified entirely by how different each person is.
Race is a small part because there isn't any nation which has gotten it 'right'. If anything, up to this point I'd say the U.S. has come further, done more and is the most open and honest about its own experience. Other nations tend to just not talk about it, or avoid it all together, if they are not busy repressing some group within their society and turning their own blind eye to their issues. In truth, the U.S. has always had a dialogue about race, certainly more than any other nation on earth has.
We can improve, and we should. Every time a black person is discriminated against, or treated harshly, simply because of their race, the person engaged in that activity is blight on society. But we can say this about anyone who behaves this way against whites, Asians, Hispanics, Catholics, Teens, Women, the disabled, etc.
Blacks tend to be more visible, and often louder than other groups, which means we hear their grievances frequently. That's not a bad thing. Spinmasters like Al Sharpton, who are closer to criminal activity than the people they often speak for, will make it a bad thing. They are using race as a leverage to power. The people with real grievances are not a problem, but their spokespeople can be, and often are.
Ulitmately, neither Michael Brown or Eric Garner were racial incidents. Neither was killed because of their skin color. These were not cases of anti-black lynchings.
Both were tragedies, horrible and possibly avoidable. Brown's possibly less so, if most of the information regarding that event is true. Brown was not shot in the back, as claimed. He was not surrendering. Autopsy results indicate he most likely was going for Wilson's gun. He had robbed a store, and may have overreacted to Wilson stopping him. This is all speculation on my part - but the situation stinks of human error on the parts of both Wilson and Brown. Human error is not racism, we've all committed errors before. Except possibly Al Sharpton, who wanted to make it clear he knew who was right and who was wrong - and in doing so, committed possibly the most grievous error by inflaming a situation which could have been handled better.
Garner may have been a greater tragedy. Having carved a niche for himself selling 'loosies', he was being cited for the illegal sale of cigarettes - basically being arrested because he didn't give the state it's fair share of tax revenue. Cut a ticket and move on, I'd think. No, the police had to get rough, claiming he 'resisted arrest'. Based on the video I've seen, I don't see any resistance, though the beginning is cut out. If he did start out resisting, why would he suddenly stop? Why did the police use a chokehold? Why did they continue with their overly physical arrest as he complained of being unable to breathe? Why did they take so long to get help? This was a greater tragedy because it was avoidable, and it was unnecessary. Even if he did resist, the response was disproportionate in nature.
Again, however, race wasn't the issue. Plenty of people are killed by the police each year, and it's not just black people. The police do use excessive force far too frequently. My friends have asked if I'm a police supporter. I say I am - I support the good cops and I want the bad cops drummed out. I've seen bad cops, even in my neighborhood, harassing teens for no reason other than they were driving with their friends. I've seen good cops, too, knocking on my door to tell me the dome light of my car was on and my iphone on the front seat. Police are, more often than not, good at doing their job. Sure, they sometimes enforce stupid and unwanted laws. Generally speaking, they do their job well. I just would prefer they stopped getting more physical than they need to be. But some politicians egg them on, by providing them with more weapons than they logically need.
So when Ferguson and the issue of 'awareness' of the 'black plight' are raised, people ask if I care. I do care. Probably more than liberals or progressives do. But, as I explained to my friend, #crimingwhilewhite is idiotic. For one, it says nothing about white privilege. If I was ever caught doing something illegal, my mother made sure I made amends somehow. As a result, many of the stories on #crimingwhilewhite are just examples of bad parenting. Secondly, if any 'white privilege' existed, what will the #crimingwhilewhite solve? The Twitter hashtag doesn't fix anything, and only draws attention to stupidity. It doesn't advance the cause of eliminating racism, instead it drives the wedge deeper by pointing out presumed examples of preference due to race. Presumed being the key word.
In order to make more progress, in my estimation, we have to stop delineating one group from another on the basis of race, gender, nationality, etc. It's nice to say "the first Indian in space" or "the first openly gay sports star," but in saying these things we simply set them apart. We keep the idea of 'separate but equal' alive. This then begs the question of how one can become 'more equal', which is impossible.
All we can ask for is to stop caring one way or the other about what is a presumed differentiating factor and focus on people.
Yet when I say this, my liberal friends say I don't care. I don't care about the "fact" women make 70% of what men make (ignoring all the inherent problems with that 70% figure), I don't care about the "fact" black people are killed by police more often (ignoring all the crime that takes place in those neighborhoods as opposed to others), I don't care about whatever it is they care about.
I do care. I just don't care the way they want me to. That is the essential problem. I don't believe we have to make special laws or provide special treatment or believe that we need to atone for our parents' mistakes in behavior by treating this generation better or giving them more. That's how they want me to care. They want to force people to think like them.
I don't agree with them, and they can't respect that. I respect their point of view. They can #crimingwhilewhite all they want, and protest at Grand Central, and they can even burn down their neighborhoods in protest. But they can't ask me to pay for any of it, take part in any of it, or support laws to give things to people who haven't earned those things. They also shouldn't ask me to use the words they feel are right and proper to avoid offending people. They shouldn't feel they have some special knowledge I lack, like what it's like to grow up black. Having that knowledge is meaningless. It doesn't provide context. It can make things worse, actually, and evidence of that is currently in Gracie Mansion. A man who claims some special knowledge has managed to alienate his office.
Change comes from within and can only be benchmarked from where we've been, not where we are going. It cannot be forced by fiat or dictate. Do we want a more colorblind/genderblind/religionblind society? Yes, hopefully that's what we'd all like. But I'm not going to tell someone who doesn't want that they MUST be that way. As much as I think #crimingwhilewhite is a waste of time, I have no claim on how these people should spend their time. Hashtag away, but don't pass a law telling me how to speak, act, or spend my money because that's what YOU think I should do.
Am I concerned about the deaths of black people at the hands of police? YES! But let's also discuss the issue of black on black violence, the preponderance of crime in neighborhoods where these deaths take place, and the fact - the very real fact - that the police are overly militarized and treat many groups, other than just blacks, poorly. Part of the reason police get out of control is one of expectations. The lack of riots in my hometown is more an issue of what we expect from the police (not much, really) than it is due to the large percentage of white people in my neighborhood. We don't expect the police to behave a certain way because we're white. We just expect them to behave a certain way because that's what good neighborhoods do - they develop a general sense of trust with their police force. Bad neighborhoods, whether they are populated by white, black or Asian, develop a sense of distrust, and that leads to accidents and problems.
I do care. I just don't care the way you want me to. I care in a way that expects to see real change, not the kind of change that has taken us from Rodney King to Ferguson. There has been plenty of change in that period, most of it good, positive steps. So why are we still getting back to the same complaints, and having the same riots?
Because we focus on the wrong things. Rather than focusing on what's good and where we've improved, we focus on a what a few self-appointed people's opinions are of where 'we should be'. The problem is, when we get to where 'we should be', there will be a new list of grievances. We let politicians determine who 'could be their son' and make a statement which is unnecessary, even as those same politicians ignore larger and potentially more devastating crimes in society.
Let's focus on what we've done well. Let's build on the positives. While there isn't much I can say about Obama that I consider 'good', I do think the fact he was able to be elected speaks volumes about how far we've come. That, in and of itself, isn't the end goal. But certainly it shows we are capable of ignoring things like race when it comes to making important decisions as a society.
Yes, I think we all care very much about our society. We just all care somewhat differently. I have no problem with that, until you start telling me I don't care. Then you're wrong. I just don't care the way you do, and it's up to you to learn to deal with that, not the other way around.
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I care, but I care in a very un-PC fashion, for my guide comes from here: "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father."
If sparrows matter, all lives matter. But the thing is that quote...it doesn't say the sparrow which wastes its life is equal to the sparrow that does not. Just that the waste of potential and the fulfillment of potential is noticed (and therefore, for the Christians amongst us, matters). For me? decent cops doing their jobs: potential fulfilled; criminals of the stripe of Brown: wasted potential. By their OWN choice.
Apparently the author of this piece still thinks there is some common ground to be had between whites and blacks. I will set the issue straight for you: blacks do not want whites trying to stop them from their criminality, they do not want whitey telling them "no". Blacks are genetically mentally children throwing tantrums whenever their wishes are denied. And forget integration, blacks do not want integration, they want segregation so they can perform their mayhem when it pleases them. Living together will work if the percentage of blacks in a neighborhood remains low, maybe 10%. After that control is gradually lost. Happy new year!
Of course there is common ground. As long as we apply common sense.
But my philosophy is this - if you don't think there is any and that works for you, fine.
I'll continue to let you think what you want and live the way you want as long as you agree to do the same with me.
If you ever decide that is not enough, and choose to pass laws to limit how I speak or act, we will have as severe a disagreement as I have with my liberal friends on the issue.
Generally speaking, my relationships with people different from me (which technically is everybody) are very good on items of this sort. Some people simply can't fathom the concept of disagreeing and still respecting that right to disagree (Zachriel comes to mind).
BD, I appreciate your moderation and willingness to live and let live as long as you are not impinged upon. Having witnessed spontaneous blackness in Chicago this weekend, hundreds of black "teens" rioting on Navy Peer, riots in McDonalds, etc. I am humbled by your generosity as I am terrified of a severe disagreement with you. Please listen to Black talk radio in Chicago and you will hear how they envision America. Common sense? Such as? When whites are a minority you can bet you won't be invited.
I consider those people, like Sharpton, to be fringe idiots who the media have over sensationalized.
The Right has its own special set of morons, too, which get played up by the media as "representing" the Right.
I don't consider either group to be representative of anything but stupidity.
I work with, and know, enough black people to realize what you're referring to is a sideshow (for now). Certainly, idiots like diBlasio, Sharpton and to a very large degree Obama have helped to shift the sideshow into overdrive.
But so has the media. Coverage of moronic blatherings and gatherings has only made things worse, not helped to improve relations or knowledge.
Bulldog: Some people simply can't fathom the concept of disagreeing and still respecting that right to disagree
It's not hard to fathom that some people think "Blacks are genetically mentally children throwing tantrums whenever their wishes are denied." However, it is a view that is contrary to the facts, and one which is highly disrespectful of others.
The past is never dead. It's not even past. — William Faulkner
Nice post Bull Dog. However, I offer you this piece of news from this weekend:
When you click on the above link and read this article you will be stunned. But, I have been saying for years now that the fem/nazi movement has destroyed our sense of ethics. Forget it--we no longer have an agreed upon set of rules. The Episcopal Church should have said to this person four years ago (after her first driving offense) "sister you have some personal repair work to do-if you wanna work in the church we have a post for you in slumville". They didn't do that--NOPE they made her a Bishop because she was a female and God knows "it's my turn" trumps personal self discipline and a sense of meritocracy based upon the ability to live a fairly ethical life. Then again--we no longer have an agreed upon code of ethics, or morals. ho hum--
I don't even see this as race (though race makes it more difficult for some than others). The problem, the big problem is cops getting away with things that would get any other citizen decades in the slammer.
There are plenty of times when lethal force is necessary, in true self defense or defense of citizens. When a 12 year old is shot dead within seconds of police arrival because of a toy gun, when a guy in Walmart is shot dead without even being questioned about what is happening because he was holding an air rifle, and those cops walk (we're told 'these things happen') there is a real deep problem.
Consider the Garner incident. If it had been any other citizen who had gotten into an altercation with Garner, he'd be looking at a MINIMUM of manslaughter. Because it's a cop who killed this guy who was no immediate threat to anyone, he walks. (Incidently there were a group of other cops right there, there is absolutely no way that it can be argued that this one cop had to take such extraordinary steps to effect an arrest. And don't forget the Diallo killing. 41 shots, unarmed man who offered no resistance.. but the cops walked. What would have happened to you or I had we fired those shots?
THAT's where the problem is. Race is only a sideshow. I don't buy the good cops /bad cops thing--where are the 'good cops' speaking out against this obscene situation? Silence. So their all in the same gang, not one will condemn the others.
Cops need to be held to the same standard as the rest of us.
Many industries tend to form a wall to 'protect its own' in times of trouble. The NFL is dealing with its own special set of issues. If Ray Rice can get support from his own union to play again, or politicians get rehabilitated after engaging in some moronic behavior, or Episcopal ministers being promoted, you can see why the police are generally silent.
They have a tough job, and it's a job I don't want. They are asked to do difficult things, often things I'd never want to do (and sometimes don't agree with). So when one of them does make a mistake, they immediately think "what if that was me?" And the silence becomes deafening.
That doesn't mean there are no good cops. It means they all realize they could very easily be misrepresented and sold out. It's happened before. No police commissioner is going down for a cop who made a mistake.
The Garner case, as you point out, should have at least gone to trial. I'm amazed the grand jury did not find enough evidence for this.
There are plenty of cops who will condemn that behavior. But sometimes these things have to be worked out internally.
My father told me a story once. The surgical board at his hospital used to have a rotating chairmanship. One year, while he was chairman, a surgeon performed an outpatient procedure, and the patient went home. 2 days later, the patient returned, gravely ill. He eventually died. My father, and the board, reviewed the case and found the doctor did nothing wrong.
HOWEVER, a newsmagazine got hold of the story and descended upon the hospital, making a case that this particular procedure should never have been performed as an outpatient and at least 24 hours in hospital should have been required. The media spent so much time on this particular issue, the rule in New Jersey was changed to require 24 hours.
As my father pointed out to me, 24 hours would have solved nothing, the patient still would have died. The situation was a rare one, and unless you knew exactly what to look for, any doctor would have been chasing their tail.
During the media circus, he suggested that nobody from the hospital speak to the press. Naturally, the press played this up as some kind of "code of silence". It was necessary, however, to protect the doctor.
Now, in this particular case you'd say "But the doctor did nothing wrong, so the silence makes sense." I disagree. My father pointed out to me that if the doctor HAD done something wrong, he'd still have made the same suggestion. Why? Because it would have been up to the board to decide how to handle his case. Having the media get a hold of someone who didn't know all the facts would only lead to increased confusion and misinformation.
I don't agree that cops should be speaking out - I do agree, and hope, they are doing something internally.
But, as the article you posted suggests, that may not be the case. Which would be unfortunate.
My position isn't in disagreement with yours - I hope and believe the right thing can, will, and should be done.
Ultimately, karma is a bitch. Unfortunately for two cops in Brooklyn, the karma hit them rather than someone who deserved it. That karma comes from people believing there are no good cops - which I wholeheartedly disagree with.
That's what's so maddening about the cop murders. The evil that's being protested (whether accurately or not) is the police treating an individual black man more harshly than circumstances warranted just because he belongs to a group against which the police have a grievance. The police had a grudge against particular black men, which they extended unfairly to cover all black man, as the thinking goes.
So the solution is to shoot a couple of policemen who've done nothing wrong to you, because you extend to them your grievance against completely different policemen? Is the idea really supposed to be that it's a teaching moment, when the friends and loved ones of the murdered police say, "Oh, I see: it's wrong to transfer grudges from a particular enemy to a complete stranger just because they look superficially alike"?
read these FACTS about black mob violence all over America that has been going on for Years and ignored by the media
I'm not sure what any of that has to do with what I wrote.
I didn't say anything about black violence not occurring. In fact, I did write that I do care about police violence against blacks, but not at the expense of ignoring all the crime which takes place in those neighborhoods.
The problem of expectations is a discreet line. I live in a neighborhood which expects police to do exactly what they do - protect us.
Blacks tend to live in neighborhoods where they distrust the police because so much crime takes place there, which leads to more of them being arrested, creating a culture of distrust which then perpetuates itself. Of course, they complain when cops take their time showing up when they need a cop....but don't want them around otherwise.
As a Libertarian, I agree with something my son said recently. Rather than criminalizing them, why not change or eliminate some of the stupider laws which have led to more of them being incarcerated? Like drug laws, which have caused so much trouble in those neighborhoods. Drug dealers are actually very savvy business people. But they are criminals.
Meanwhile, we never question the many people who work in the tobacco or alcohol industries. Those drugs are 'acceptable'.
Yes, there are instances of violence - but as I pointed out, ignoring the violence is probably the best way to reduce it. The less it gets coverage, the less likely bored teens will show up to commit acts of violence.
I am afraid that Obama, Holder, and Al Sharpton might be more interested in creating more race tensions than trying to tone things down. Some of the groups (CPUSA, A.N.S.W.E.R., BSD or BDS, New Black Panthers, some remnants of Occupy Wall Street, etc.) were in Ferguson had activists training protestors in Ferguson months before the grand jury's decision. Today reminds me of the 1960's when the Weather Underground strove to start a Black/White war with the goal of creating chaos and anarchy which would allow the Weather Underground to seize power and install a Communist government. The FBI agent who infiltrated this domestic terrorist group revealed its leaders said they were willing to kill 30 million Americans who could not be retrained. Mass killings seem to go hand and hand with Communism every where this Brand of Socialism has been tried.
I also care, or so I think, and I've been working off and on a few hours to write a response.
It's a hugely complex issue, but it seems to boil down to a lack of trust. The police don't trust many citizens to be rational, and all too many citizens see the police as oppressors. There is evil in society and police face it every day. When every decision is liable to be second guessed by a litigious society, the stress is huge. Meanwhile an underclass of criminals is becoming more and more aggressive, so we have an increasingly explosive mix.
Sadly, I think it'll get much worse before it improves, because as a society we're increasingly worse at talking with each other (I see it in my family). Now we talk against or at each other.
We've lost our sense of community and tolerance. Now we're reaping what we sowed: no community and no tolerance in many areas.
All this said, I heard far more Merry Christmases this year than in recent years. So, there is hope. After all, God, not man, reigns.
Actually, I think it may get worse too. But briefly.
Hobbes points out in "Leviathan" that life for early man was nasty, brutish and short, and felt that government was implemented to help remedy this situation.
How, though? If things were so bad, how did people come together long enough to agree to create some form of government?
They didn't. Governments were first formed via a variety of means, though I believe kleptocracy was the motivating factor.
At some point, people realized that fighting didn't solve problems, and while most realized they could work together to improve things, a few realized they could dupe the others for their own benefit. Without understanding or knowing any other way, groups of people determined monarchies were the best solution. The natural human response to most disagreements is to find a supposedly unbiased arbitrator. A monarchy could be that, potentially. Who best to be a monarch, than an oily-tongued manipulator seeking to line his own pockets by telling people what they want to hear?
Sadly, we've seen they still exist. Our founding fathers had noble motives and sought to keep people like this from having too much power. Yet we've continued to cede power to singular authority in each successive generation.
The downtrodden in society, not seeing anything better, do see a well-appointed series of men 'standing up for them'. They look good, sound good, make promises they can never deliver on, and tell this disadvantaged group "I'll fix things."
At some point, though, as bad as things will get because of nasty leaders like this, people wise up. It's usually a long, painful process though.
I see plenty of good out there. I think that's what we should be seeking to play up and talk about. We should stop being negative about prospects. You know a good leader by how they position themselves. Sharpton is never one to say "We've made great progress and we are better today than we ever have been."
He is a bad leader. He will always seek to find a problem, however minor or meaningless, and promote it to drive himself. Tawana Brawley was what thrust him to the limelight and he has leveraged that nasty experience continually. The lies are thick with men like him.
But why is he their 'leader'? Is there nobody else? Of course there are. But they don't generate as much of a visceral reaction.
For the same reason that the media promote Rush Limbaugh as a 'leader' of the Right (hardly) because he makes so many outlandish claims, they love to have a guy like Sharpton on the other side.
Until we tune out the Sharptons of the world, and that time is coming, we'll see things get worse. But I think the violence we've seen recently is wearing thin on the people it effects most.
Given that all this has occurred with a black president and a black attorney general, the old charges of institutional racism are impossible to invoke. People will try, but it will hold no water.
No dialog will ever take place with blacks. They aren't interested in conforming to European values and want only perpetual handouts and legal privilege. The black vote is for "progressives" virtually to the last man.
God bless the decent blacks but the civil rights "movement" has been a failure. Academic failure, crime, urban wastelands, through-the-roof illegitamacy, a baseless sense of entitlement, resentment of whites, and support for political pathology characterize the black "community."
Reaching out to blacks will forever be a one-way street. Our grand experiment with working out a modus vivendi with blacks is a spectacular failure, a monumental waste of money, and a source of the most pathetic lies to cover up these realities. "Youths" and their knockout game.
So the answer is...what, exactly?
Treat them poorly, as we once did, because they won't fit in? Ignore them?
You says "God bless the decent blacks," and then assume they can't help move the dialogue?
I happen to agree that the path we've been on has failed, which is what I alluded to when I said that while positive changes have been made between Rodney King and Ferguson, we still have the same end result.
The problem is those positive changes have never been discussed or played up in any meaningful way. The media continues to allow the Al Sharptons of the world to dominate the airwaves while Mia Love is considered an "Uncle Tom".
I don't blame the black community for the atrocious manner in which their leaders have misled them. I blame their so-called leaders for seeking to gain power by fomenting hatred.
Martin Luther King would be appalled at the nonsense people like Sharpton and "Hymietown" Jesse Jackson have engaged. Both have become ridiculously wealthy by abusing their position. Sharpton has avoided paying taxes while Jackson has paid off mistresses.
None of this gets as much press as it should, in fear of backlash from the black community. I don't believe there would be backlash. I believe people would start to wake up.
But the media holds back because of one simple reason - they censor themselves because they fear to 'offend'.
Yet being offended is something which comes with freedom of speech. I could be offended every day if I wished to be that simple-minded.
There is no single answer. But to just write it all off and proclaim there can be no dialogue is to simply avoid trying.
"I don't blame the black community for the atrocious manner in which their leaders have misled them. I blame their so-called leaders for seeking to gain power by fomenting hatred."
Here I part company with you a bit. I don't people are misled to quite the degree you suggest; I think they gravitate to leaders who speak to the parts of themselves they choose to indulge. If we want better leaders, we have to quit following the worst men.
I don't expect everyone to agree with everything I wrote (or write). Your disagreement, though, is a particularly minor one in my opinion.
What I'll say in my defense of that position is that while I agree with you - people do need to stop following leaders like this - it's not so easy to convince groups of people to do certain things. It's easier to convince one individual, and hope they are an influencer for change. Hopefully, that person is a leader.
It's easier for groups of people to follow hatred - an us vs. them mentality. When an argument is fabricated (and most are not real at all) that it's "Us" versus "them", you always want to try and be part of the "Us". Leaders who promote this are usually remarkably effective (Eric Hoffer wrote a whole book on this). Hitler used it to great effect. So did Lenin. So did FDR and Obama. William Jennings Bryan.
Not all of those men sowed hatred, though they did in a way just by saying it's "Us" vs. "them".
And even now, as much as I relish being a part of "them" that Sharpton probably feels I am, I would prefer to be part of "Us" - the people who really do get what the issues are and are trying to fix them properly.
Maybe I'm completely off base and in 20 years we'll find out idiots like Obama and Sharpton are right and what we need to do is just give more free stuff away. I doubt it, but I'm at least always willing to admit the possibility exists, however slim.
Thanks for your thoughtful reply.
Given the deep pessimism that I have, I think the answer is a separation of the races. The current approach is for white communities to be forced to accept an influx of blacks into their functional, peaceful, and relatively crime-free communities whether by virtue of Sect. 8 vouchers or otherwise. It just doesn't matter how. The direct and immediate result is increased crime and the transformation of local schools into the venue for nightmare experiences for white kids. Then businesses and whites flee the pathology of the black "community" and we have yet another iteration of this list of failed, hellish, once-decent cities: Albany, Ga., Atlanta, Baltimore, Birmingham, Buffalo, Camden, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Clayton County, Ga., Columbia, Compton, Columbus, Ga., Dallas, Detroit , Flint, MI (rated America’s most dangerous metropolitan area), Gary, Ind., Indianapolis, Jackson, Jacksonville, Macon, Memphis, Miami, Milwaukee, Montgomery (Ala.), New Orleans, Newark, Oakland, Orlando, Paterson, Philadelphia, Rochester, Rockford, Savannah, St. Louis, Stockton, Trenton, Tulsa. Wilmington (incomplete list). Rinse. Repeat. Until?
This is accepted as normal and baked in the cake and 60 years of pandering to the blacks and ignoring their horrific culture have done nothing to change this dynamic.
If separation is too strong a medicine for delicate psyches, we can always go nuclear and do away with welfare and legal anti-white discrimination and extortion laws and demand that blacks stand on their own two feet. If they want to dress and act like a clown at work, let them make way for others (including others of their own kind) who are willing to meet employer standards and develop their marketable skills. We all know there are decent and competent blacks. That's not the issue. The issue is predictable group behavior.
Rodney King got what was coming to him. The disgraceful aspect of l'affaire Rodney was the media manipulation of the video of his arrest and, of course, the unreasonable hyper-sensitivity of the black underclass (and most of the rest, to be honest) that caused them to focus on the lie that was presented without asking reasonable questions like, "Why the bleep was that man driving around L.A. at speeds over 100 mph while high on drugs?"
Perhaps there is a more positive story to be told by the media but right now I think the adored media image is the blissful, upper-middle class black family worried about acid reflux and the wise management of their retirement accounts. Or the fiendishly clever computer genius who can control elevators in hotels in Tahiti and move zillions from banks in Qatar to Memphis. Or the interracial couple living in bliss in the split level. Or the homosexual couple with their adopted babies. (But that's another story.)
Yes, there are decent, competent, and patriotic blacks and Pastor David Manning and Larry Elder are two of my personal heroes in this vale of tears. But I beg to differ with you that black leaders have misled their constituents. Rather, it is that the constituents have -- without fail and at all times -- ardently supported the semi-literate mountebanks that pass for black "leadership" these days. Blacks aren't ill-used by their leaders; they adore them for what they do.
I'm not a great fan of MLK. He had some good insights and the "content of their character" idea will endure forever, to our benefit. However, I am skeptical of what the man was about given his gathering to his bosom of communist scum and refusing to rid himself of them when warned by Hoover. I recall reading that King was drifting further left and in the direction of race relations thinking more to the liking of the Chicago black elite. I'm not selling that particular point as I can't vouch for its source, but it's worth keeping in mind if we ever want to get serious about having that serious discussion about race that Holder (correctly) observed we are too scared to have.
I don't think the media holds back for any reason having to do with fear of causing offense. No, they hold back because they are part of the top-bottom alliance (with a corrupt academy thrown in for good measure) and the coalition must be kept intact. Normally, black pathology will be concealed ("youths") nothing must be reported that upsets the delicate sensibilities of ghetto blacks who are expected to do their part by taking to the streets to loot and burn to move the "white privilege-we victims" narrative along. So, yes, there is an apparent element of fearing to cause offense but the "offense" that manifests itself is contrived. Blacks know the score about their dysfunctionality and only get "offended" on cue.
Blacks have collectively squandered the enormous opportunities offered them to advance themselves. Instead of a functioning, contributing community of black citizens we have Baltimore; vicious, lost Trayvons stretching to all horizons; knockout games "played" against whites; execution killings of cops; and black politicians yearning to transform the U.S. into a socialist pit.
I quite understand the sentiments of your commenter "do NOT care." Further dialog will change nothing. If blacks want to clean house in their own communities let them. No dialog between whites and blacks will change anything about the current rampant black sense of victimhood and entitlement.
I can't agree with much of this. But I hope it works for you.
You're wasting your time explaining yourself to Progressives. They don't care whether you care or not, as long as you are doctrinally impure and the "you don't care" accusations score political points.
But most of them aren't that dumb, they are just misguided.
When I explain myself to those I know, I doubt I change their minds (they are usually too old to do that effectively), but they at least understand there is nothing stupid in my point of view, as they usually claim.
Which is really the first step in getting people to think longer and harder about what they really want.
Had the New York City Council and their ridiculous Mayor not decided to further criminalize smoking, by taxing packs of cigarettes out of the reach of it's poorer citizens who are still addicted, there would have been no market for Mr. Garner to be selling loose cigarettes to anyone.
What's next? Waiting for a NYPD armed Emergency Tactical Team response to a guy cooking french fries in illegal trans-fat oil.
A few months ago I had hope that we would be able to have a calm national discussion on police force. It would go like this:
"Guys, we really appreciate what you do for us, but you seem to be getting a bit too fast on the trigger and the taser - the military gear is a it much too. How about we dial down the use of force a few notches, institute some manner of independent investigation and, when necessary independent prosecution on cases of police violence? "
Instead the despicable race baitors jumped in on one side and the disgusting cop unions on the other side - both making any reform impossible.
Glenn Reynolds explains it best here.
link didn't work.
My entire life I have fed them, clothed them, mentored the children they abandon, sheltered the, hired them over more-qualified applicants. Now I realize I've been played a 'sucker'.
The more we help the black 'community' the more they resent us, the more dysfunctional they become. That's not 'helping', but 'enabling'.
Let them feed, clothe, shelter, employ themselves. I'm done.
The problem, of course, is that you're not done.
Because we're forced, via taxes, to continue to do all this.
Let's be honest though, that issue isn't just the black community. Institutional poverty exists for one reason - the leftists who have forced people like you and me to pay for stuff they think the poor 'deserve'.
So now the poor want more, and because they've never been held accountable for a single thing in their lives, they're willing to fight for what they believe they 'deserve' and they don't understand how they are making their situation worse.
We have institutionalized poverty and we have perpetuated racism in the process. It's an unhealthy cycle which leftists ignore.
I'll give, and have given, and will continue to give time and money to charities. But that's voluntary and these charities do hold people to some level of accountability, unlike the government.
I wrote this because I am, like you, tired of being told how to act and how my money is going to be spent.
But I'm not a believer that it's a black/white thing. I see it as a media problem, and on a larger scale as a problem the leftists continue to create by saying they are trying to help people.
In 2004 the NAACP celebrated 50 years of Brown vs Board of Education. Bill Cosby was the keynote speaker. Well, Dr. Cosby read them the riot act. He commented on the high black crime rate, the school drop out rate, the high number of fatherless children, etc. When he finished the head of the NAACP went to the podium and said these problems were not the fault of the black community. He said, in effect, the blacks aren't responsible, they're victims. Until this victim mentality changes nothing is going to improve.
In my lifetime there have been two great transformations in race in this country. In 1964 I went from Boston to Mississippi. I was taken aback seeing two water fountains or three restrooms at gas stations. I remember the sign over the water fountain "this water fountain is for our black citizens". I remember meeting and working with many Southerners most young men. There attitude towards blacks often seemed indifferent, not blatantly racist but the "N" word was common. Yet they easily and freely associated with blacks were polite and gracious to the older folks and friendly to all. A seeming contradiction. I didn't stay in the South but have seen the changes in the South and elsewhere overtime and thanks to many activists, much discussion, good and bad examples and people over time most whites changed their view of blacks and most younger people growing up were not steeped in a culture of racism. In my opinion this turn about peaked in the 80's and to a great extent was a success. More/most white Southerners had gotten past their racism and many had reversed it and were indeed advocates of equality. Most/many blacks were taking advantage of more and better opportunities and were more willing and eager to associate freely with whites. It was in fact approaching Dr. King's dream. But in the years since then there has developed an industry that took advantage of well-intended laws and rules to get over on the system. Lawyers sued for real and phoney racial slights, activists were like a dog with a bone against any moneyed group that was caught up in a racial incident. In brief the left and the blacks reversed the progress; reversed the game and began preying on whites both in the streets and in the boardrooms. Today no white, man or woman, would walk the streets of Baltimore, South Chicago, St Louis, etc. after dark (and maybe not even during the day. Before Rudolph Giuliani New York City would have been on that list and very soon it will be again. What has happened is race baiters for fun and profit, lawyers and the left/Democrats have exploited race and the various legal rules set up to favor race to win in the courtroom and the voting booths. Ironically at a time when you would struggle to find a good old boy in the South with a upbringing of racism the South has been overwhelmed with black racism. Ditto for most big cities with a significant black population. Racism is back and it's black. How do we now fix this on the heels of our success in fixing white racism?
I, too, remember the "white" and "colored" fountains of my youth from visits to South Carolina. I'm really glad to see that pass away. But I find that it was relatively straightforward to learn to judge individual blacks on the basis of their real qualities, when you compare that task to the one of viewing white and black neighborhoods equally. I don't, and I'm not likely to soon. A black neighborhood is looking awfully dangerous to me lately. I don't want to go there; I'm certainly not interested in investing in a business there. It's not that I think I'm entitled to jump to conclusions about any particular black person. It's just that the prevalence of out-of-control behavior is so great in black neighborhoods that I'm not going to take a chance on them if I can avoid it.
Any group of people can make itself scary by engaging in or even tolerating too much mayhem. I don't advocate taking revenge on a group that scares me--I'm certainly not going to strike blows for justice by going around shooting members of that group pour encourager les autres--but I am going to put as much distance as I can between me and them. If they need more from me than I need from them, that equation won't work out in their favor until they find a way to seem less dangerous.
From Walt Williams:
"What about employment? Every census from 1890 to 1950 showed that black labor force participation rates were higher than those of whites. Today it's a mere fraction. Prior to the mid-'50s, the unemployment rate for black 16- and 17-year-olds was under 10 percent and less than that of whites. Who would argue that this more favorable employment picture was because there was less racial discrimination in the job market in earlier times? Labor laws such as the Davis-Bacon Act of 1931 — a federal minimum wage law for construction workers — and the 1938 federal minimum wage law for all workers reduced work opportunities for blacks.
Older black people, who were raised in an era when there was far greater discrimination and who faced far fewer opportunities, need to speak out against behavior and excuses that their parents would have never accepted."
Yes. Absolutely. But it is not an either/or situation. Both the self-limiting attitudes in black communities AND the continuing bias against black people are problems which must be addressed.
And white folks telling black folks how to live is often an example of that bias. Finding a black person to say what a white person believes is prejudice in blackface.
See, that's the problem I have with all this. If you're suggesting we need laws, and money taken from me and others to be redistributed, and that we need to learn to be "more sensitive" to their needs....well no, that's all wrong.
This is precisely why I wrote the post. I don't care the way you want me to - so why do you get to force me to care the way you want me to?
My whole point is that there must be effort, individually, on everybody's part.
If your solution is what I suspect it is, then you base it on an assumption other minority groups don't have to make an effort, that it's all on everybody else.
My whole point is that this is exactly the wrong way to view it. Everybody has to make an effort, but it can't be forced on them.
I put the question back to you. HOW do we address the observed institutional bias? We can’t even begin until we acknowledge that it exists.
Liberty people so afraid of what a solution might be that they deny a problem exists in the first place. I explicitly write of an AND/BOTH problem and you respond with a claim that I say “it’s all on everybody else”. SOME of the burden is justly shared by everyone. How much is what we get to decide.
If we’re going to have government at all, we are just playing a line-drawing game about what such gov’t shall be empowered to do. How you decide to express your care is no better or worse than how any other person decides to express their care. You don’t get to set yourself outside the political process of line-drawing by any invocation of belief.
You can't put it back on me without telling me how you plan to solve or fix anything.
I'll give you my plan - but admit you misquoted me. I never said "it's all on everyone else". I said it's on everyone, individually.
There is a shared responsibility, of course. But in sharing that responsibility, that does NOT mean we pass laws to force everyone to share it. Because it is not shared equally, and since we don't know how much, or by who, it should be shared, we must rely on individuals to sort things out for themselves.
Does that invite problems in the short run? Probably. But it's not like the current solutions have fixed any of those problems - they've only invited a host of new ones.
I agree that how I care is no better or worse than anyone else's care or how they choose to present it. But it DOES mean they have no right to tell me how to think, act, spend my money, or treat others.
Unfortunately, it also means you don't have the right to tell a guy who runs a business in a racist fashion that he can't do that, either. That's the downside. What you can do is boycott that business, and he'll likely learn that being a racist is not economically viable.
My solution, such as it is, would require eliminating many laws and requesting (not forcing) certain voluntary behaviors, and in requesting them, walk the talk.
1. Lift all laws against drugs - the incarceration rate in this nation due to drug use/sale is far too high. Most of those involved in the trade are good business people, let them run their businesses. The prohibition of drugs has led to the same outcome we saw with alcohol prohibition. Death, more crime, abuse, fraud, and all associated behaviors.
2. Demilitarize the police, and have them engage in more community outreach. An old friend of mine used to be a sheriff in a bad community. When he became sheriff, he demanded an outreach program to improve the image of the police. Rather than harassing teens who loitered, cops engaged them in conversation. They carried bike helmets in the trunks of their cars and handed them to young people on bikes and asked them to wear them. They provided assistance whenever possible, and rather than ticketing and bothering people for minor offenses, they tried to focus on real crime. The results were excellent, he saw the community become more proud of itself, crime drop, and the relationship between his department and the people became much better. When force needed to be used, it was - but now the people believed it was justified.
3. Request the media limit the coverage of riots and crimes, and ask they not publicize the names of murderers. Many times, the disaffected of society join in to mob behavior to 'be a part' of something - they seize an opportunity because it's there. It's not a racial thing, it's just human nature. I've seen it on college campuses. But having media coverage means an opportunity to have your 15 minutes of fame, however stupidly you achieve it. Limiting coverage means limiting that opportunity, and keeping names out of the press means those who seek infamy rather than fame are no longer motivated.
4. In general, we need to stop discussing "black" this or "white" that. I mention this in the post. It's not about race. Or gender. Or nationality. It's about people. When I've used the term "black", it's only because that's how a question or comment has been framed and the response requires it. At work I rarely invoke any kind of differentiation based on ethnicity or gender if I can possibly avoid it. It's not about being Politically Correct, either. It's just that I think it's stupid. When you have your boss say to you "Interview this candidate, he's diverse," you really begin to question the whole concept of diversity. I knew what she was talking about, but I deliberately responded "what's diverse mean?" because I wanted to force it out of her. She thought she was being 'sensitive' and not being racial, when in fact she was being insensitive and motivated primarily by race. After we finally sorted all this out, she asked "how would you have handled this, then?" I simply replied "I would have asked you to interview this person, I like their resume." Why race came into it at all was beyond me (the guy was a terrific candidate, too...which made her diverse comment all the more bizarre).
You stated elsewhere that libertarian responses like this can invite retrogression. Possibly. But I see more opportunity for improvement than retrogression. As it stands now, I'd say all the Progressive solutions have failed. Time for something new.
Oh, and I'd add that you shouldn't expect to see it all go away. As you and I both agree, it won't. But it makes sense that if what is being done now isn't working (and it clearly isn't), then it's time to change the game. Doing more of the same will only invite more problems, add to the list of grievances, add more opportunity for snake-oil salesmen as 'leaders' and create more disenfranchisement.
Someone else on the thread made a suggestion that either I, or people on this thread, assume that blacks are genetically mentally children who throw temper tantrums when they don't get their way. Not only did I not say that - and while some people here may believe that, I certainly do not - but every point I made was geared toward treating everyone equally.
If anyone wants to be a racist, I am in no position, and I have no right to force them to not be racist. I do have the right to not associate with them, or not patronize their business, or tell them I disagree with their view but they're welcome to whatever works for them.
Nobody has the right to make anyone else something they are not through force, or through force of law (save rare exceptions like murderers and thieves). You don't pass laws and assume that makes people 'good'. You don't enforce those laws and assume that will help make people 'good'. What we've seen is that this kind of approach has unintended consequences, which often lead to backlash or heightened problems.
After reading to the end of the thread I don't have anything new or unique to contribute...so.
Thanks for read and the effort.
Happy and Safe New Year.
#CrimingWhileWhite offers evidence of disparate impact of bad parenting. Which is part of a broader pattern. White people “get away” with much more than black people do.
Cops don’t get away with hassling white people (apart from any component of racism that skews number of initial contacts) because white people have the power to hold cops accountable.
Black success in the USA has been systematically punished. Interstates were routed through black main streets. COINTELPRO was a documented campaign by government to take down black leaders and fracture black communities which were moving toward an independent equality. We don't have to go back to slavery or Jim Crow to find sound evidence of particular targeting of black people in all aspects of society.
Whatever progress toward equality we have achieved since 1992 has still taken the shape of white people telling black people they are welcome to join the dominant culture. That’s a fundamental prejudice. Black people are seen as outsiders, clawing their way in.
The goal, I say, is not to eradicate all racism. That's silly. People are flawed and tribal. And the impulse for anti-racism tends toward denying racial and cultural identity. At least for anyone (not just black people) who are not already included in the mainstream white-dominant culture.
The better goal is to continue observing and correcting the bias that is our legacy. And to see that all people have sufficient capacity to overcome the remaining prejudice which cannot be eliminated.
Yes, some liberty-minded initiatives would be very helpful. Reduce and/or eliminate laws that make petty crimes into life-destroying criminal records. Change the conception of policing back to “keeping the peace” instead of “enforcing the law”. Restructure and hopefully eliminate policy that works against poor people getting out of poverty.
But that will not be enough. There is ongoing and significant bias against black people which must be recognized. Forget Sharpton. Go engage with black people outside the comfort of white (wealthy) society. Let them speak for themselves. And see where that takes you.
Thanks, I do speak with them regularly, so it's really not fair to assume I don't.
I also disagree that #crimingwhilewhite indicates white people 'get away' with anything.
Am I to assume other ethnic groups don't commit crimes just because they get away with stuff and don't talk about it?
I do agree black success has, in the past, been punished. The story of the interstates, particularly in Baltimore, is one which the government should be ashamed of.
I don't agree that any progress since 1992 is the result of anyone saying "hey, it's ok, you can join our club," either. Even if it did, it isn't prejudice. The whole point of overcoming racist tendencies is to not have an exclusive club to begin with, so opening the doors shouldn't be viewed as prejudicial, but rather a very good step toward eliminating that prejudice.
As for anything being enough - as I pointed out, nothing will ever be "enough". There will always be a list of grievances.
I suppose I could supply my list, if I felt it was worthwhile. It's not, though.
Getting past grievances and focusing on doing the right thing, as individuals, is the only way to make progress.
My urging to engage with people outside the usual circles is general, not personal. But if one only listens to Walter Williams, Tom Sowell and Kevin Jackson, that’s as limiting as only hearing Sharpton.
#CrimingWhileWhite is explicitly about white people getting away with stuff, it is not about why those people acted badly in the first place. I don't get why you had to make a claim about bad parenting.
The idea that this is “our club” is the problem I am pointing at. While it is good that Augusta National now permits Tiger Woods to golf there, the fact remains that it was a white club that let the colored fellow in. I don't know that there's a better way to move toward less racism, but the shape of the transaction should not be ignored or dismissed.
I was not clear about “not enough”. You appear to have reacted in the standard fashion, about making it some kind of grievance contest. I think we agree (we both wrote) that all racist tendencies cannot be eliminated.
What I meant by “not enough” is that the libertarianish responses are not enough to address the full scope of the issue. I am wary of libertarians focusing only on their slice of relevant issues, as if reducing the militarization of police will magically solve the cascade of race-related disparities in USA society.
Actually, a more purely libertarian society with freedom of association, invites retrogression. Real estate covenants and redlining are the product of freedom.
Your urging may have been general, but again you ASSUME most people here (and me) only listen to, or hear, the folks you mention. Perhaps you don't realize I work in a very integrated department with many young (23-30) black men and women, as well as many older ones, as well. What's interesting to to listen to their views shift over time. Anyone can make a 'statement' like Al Sharpton or the other leaders of that community, and claim to be speaking for all of them, or the ones in poor communities, in general. But the fact remains there is no one statement that can be made. As opportunities have been presented, as they have moved up, their views have shifted dramatically. I know several well-placed individuals who came from poor single-mother households. They are my age. A conversation with them, today, is dramatically different than one they may have had with me 30 years ago when we started working together. In the same fashion, a conversation with one 23 year old today is dramatically different from my friends when they were 23.
What's different? The grievances, and that is all. So yes, it is about grievances. 30 years ago it was about "no opportunity, no money." Today it's about "being victimized by cops" and "understanding our situation", among other things. Why? Because so many more have opportunity and money...so obviously while those are still issues, it's not one which is as resonant.
A purely libertarian response you ASSUME will invite retrogression. But let's put it this way. When I was in college, I joined a fraternity, and we had a black man in our fraternity. We'd had on 5 years before I arrived, and one 5 years prior to him. We didn't seek them out, we didn't make special arrangements, we didn't take them as tokens. They were friends, they wanted to join us, and we welcomed them. Others joined black fraternities, who specifically REJECTED white males. They chose to ONLY have black males.
By contrast, today, my son's fraternity has many black, white and asian members. At a school which is called "lily white" by its detractors. His big brother is black.
Meanwhile, the black fraternities at his school still reject white males.
You tell me where the retrogression would take place. The assumption you seem to make is that whites could potentially regress and 'separate but equal' would rule. There is no evidence of this, that I have ever seen.
If it did, I'll go out on a limb and say it's likely that IF it happened, it would happen not from white "exclusion", but the other way around.
If that's what happens - is that a bad thing? People should have the right to associate with whomever they choose, don't you think? As long as we do not codify "separate but equal" (as we once did), and it happens simply because humans are (as you, or someone else here on this thread, said) 'tribal', then what's the big deal?
Today I was in Costco, which happens to be in a fairly poor, black community near me. The clientele is a fair representation of America. Black, Asian, White, Hispanic, given its centralized location. Despite frayed nerves, long lines, aggravated holiday personalities, and the general 'tone' of our nation recently, I am always impressed at how well everyone really gets along. I bumped carts, accidentally, we both said sorry to each other. A woman got in my way, we did the shuffle, I asked her to dance and she laughed.
The libertarianish response is exactly what I see there every time I go. Let people be themselves and do what they want.