Trump World Grab-Bag--A Collection

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Reading About Ferguson is Eyewatering

Via Daily Mail coverage of the MTV VMA's
I think it's necessary to take a look at what the DOJ has to say about Ferguson. They let Darren Wilson go, but he was just a cog in a wheel that ground down people of color. There are people who want to slough off claims about racism as being about a "few bad apples" as if racism was just a one on one problem where some handful of people get a "mad-on" about this other group. This isn't how Ferguson seems to have been. POC's were targeted, singled out, and subjected to the worst biases. It damaged lives, finances, careers. The systematic racism of the people who rose to be in charge of that area made what happened to the people who called Ferguson "home" a daily grind of evasion and punishment for stupid things. Some of them made-up.

There is no good reason a police department like this needed to exist by continuously punishing people for practically just being to collect the kind of "revenues" you never can otherwise off of the poor. All I can say is, the math of the bias on display is pretty convincing to me that that city had a huge problem. And if you can't call that problem racism, I don't know what you would call it.


Formerly Amherst said...

Hi Vixen, as you know I rarely post on political matters since most of the content is just some justified or contrived excoriation of conservative opinion and people. Same old, same old.

However, I want to say something here. You know how they're always telling us that we need to have a conversation about race. Well I'm one of the people out here who have actually had such conversations.

As you know I was in the civil rights movement and I have black friends and therefore I do not feel any of the usual intimidation that whites often feel around blacks. My civil rights credentials usually are better than theirs. I've been there, done that, and own the t-shirt.

So I have had “conversations” about race with black friends. Usually when authority figures instruct us that we should have a conversation about race it's part of a narrative that is supposed to justify black people badgering white people over US history.

In my conversations I don't play that. I didn't fight in the civil rights movement inviting various personal risks to have it turn into the Crips and the Bloods. You see, even before I was on the civil rights movement I was in the military. It was already integrated and my earliest adult years were spent surrounded by all races. And I'll tell you something about black people. They're just like white people – there are good ones and bad ones.

So my conversations with black friends have no special restraints or sensitivities. We talk about the unjustifiable and brutal history of slavery. We talk about the second class citizenship that went on for years. We also talk about the violent black criminal class that now has developed into nationwide organized crime groups. You can get 'nined' by some Crip after a night of weed and beverage as likely as you can by a Hell's Angel.

And frankly, the government, with good intentions, have aided and abetted this problem, because generational welfare has allowed mom (in general) to kick dad out of the house permanently. So some urban centers have a culture of mothers and sons. Dad is not around to keep a lid on things, and so when Junior gets too old and too big to control, Mom loses authority. As a consequence many of these urban centers are fueled by a drug economy.

My black friends are not TV narrative readers. They are as upset with black gangsterism and the rap culture as they are with the US's sad history on race. However, they do recognize we fought a civil war and had a civil rights movement which is more than most countries do.

A real conversation on race has to accommodate the fact that injustice has occurred in the US, and it has to address the fact that a whole culture and industry of violent black gangsterism is de rigor.

A kid I taught to box becane a boy scout leader when he grew up. He was going to take his Boy Scout troop on a little hike, near their town of 15,000 and the kids all freaked out. The reason was the Boy Scout uniforms were blue, and they had planned to hiked in an area controlled by the Bloods. They were afraid they would be killed by the Bloods because of their blue uniforms. I also knew someone back in LA who was around in the days of the big war between the Eight Tray Crips and the Rollin 60s (an inter-Crip struggle).

A conversation on race has to be freed of the foolish narrative expectations and deal with the realities. I have had these conversations, and most whites and blacks do not want to have them. There're plenty of indictments to go around.

Vixen Strangely said...

The existence of gang activity doesn't give any police depart the authority to run a whole town, gang-related people and not, like an open-air prison, and extort people into paying fines for the privilege of remaining in the open-air prison rather than the steel-bar one--was basically my point--

But to your point--the gang situation is a tough one that particularly exploded from the late '60's-but the existence of gangs well pre-dates the civil rights movement. The Crips started out as a bringing together of numerous local gangs in LA into a larger enterprise, the Bloods materialized as a main competitor to the Crips--and then they franchised nationally. There is a higher tendency for ethnic minorities to participate in gangs.

For street gangs, recruitment starts young. There are neighborhoods where your life might mean you at least have to be on some kind of terms with local hood establishment. Then there's prison gangs--another reason gang activity exploded as the prison population has gone up dramatically. But one of the reasons for both kinds of recruitment is--the gangs provide protection, identification, and a revenue stream. It's a screwed-up argument, but to an at-risk adolescent or someone already in prison looking to catch a regular beating without picking a team, it starts to make sense.

I'm sure you didn't take any risks in the civil rights movement to have it turn into the Crips and Bloods-I'm sure no one did. But the civil rights movement didn't make that happen. It came up alongside or in the vicinity of it, and was reinforced in part by segregation (redlining and other strategies kept segregation alive), poverty, unemployment, and indifferent or openly hostile police departments.

This isn't to say there's anything right about gangs-no matter who's in them. But confronting certain realities like the existence of crime in certain communities doesn't mean everyone in those communities should be treated like criminals, which is what is going on in Ferguson and similar communities. You don't have to go all the way back to the Middle Passage to relate to the idea that if a black person has a regular experience of white cops as harassing them--they will not trust that authority, and will see a divide existing, because that isn't ancient history to them. It's yesterday.

And no question, white people and black people aren't so different. Ask any member of the Joplin Honkies or Peckerwood Midwest (actual, no-shit names of white gangs active in the MO area.) Or do some differences suggest themselves?

Formerly Amherst said...

Felicitations, Vixen. Had you included only one sentence that asked where Darren Wilson goes to get his reputation back, his life back, I would not have posted what I did. I wouldn't think that pointing out the injustice on Darren Wilson's side would be completely dismissed by a fair person.

A long time ago over on Rumproast I remember you pointing out to the crowd that all of their denunciations of certain states also was an insult to all the Democrats living in those states. Frankly, that was one of the reasons I came to admire your commentary. Someone who goes the extra mile to be fair on Rumproast is a person with some admirable qualities.

Now Eric Holder flowed into the Trayvon Martin case, dismissing the trial as if it never existed. He sent the AG's office into the Michael Brown case, and Darren Wilson was exonerated. He flowed into the Eric Garner case, dismissing the findings of the state's grand jury, and they're still gnawing on that one. So far he has struck out on everything he used a fine toothed comb to find.

Al Sharpton has rushed into all these situations and ginned up the nightly news coverage, turning every allegation into a circus. Frankly, I had expected that at least one of these cases would have proved guilt of wrongdoing. I was wrong. The grand juries were correct. The decision of the jury trial was correct. The investigations by police officials were correct. The AG's attempt to find civil rights violations failed.

Now Eric Holder says that there may be some civil rights offensives in the Ferguson PD. As he is on his way out the door. And read Malcolm X. Well at this juncture, he has to say something, doesn't he? So far his batting average isn't very good, and anyway it will take months or even years to come to a conclusion about the Ferguson police department and by then Holder will be long gone. It doesn't exactly inspire confidence.

So the fact that the Ferguson PD may need to be investigated for civil rights violations doesn't sum up the story and it doesn't point out the injustices that have occurred indicting people who have been found innocent. I would have been the first one to jump on a perpetrator who was genuinely violating civil rights, but so far we haven't found any. So maybe we'll find some in the Ferguson PD.

The seesaw is dangerously out of balance when the pursuit of justice creates victims out of innocent parties.

The only other thing I will say is that in the old days the black problem consisted of an oppressed minority who were being relegated to second-class citizenship and were suffering under the yoke of persecution and abuse.

The passage of time has changed things. Before the Obama administration, one-third of blacks had made it into the middle class. There were still problems that needed to be resolved, but we had come some distance toward dealing with the black problem.

But now the 'black problem' is different. There is still some second-class citizenship and inequality, but the black problem also includes the need to solve massive amounts of violent black crime. You not only have to try and lift a people up, you also have to try and minimize the threat they present to themselves and others. The black situation is no longer one dimensional, trying to free an oppressed people. Now it's a matter of freeing an oppressed people while preventing them from killing and from getting on and/or dealing drugs. We probably won't solve these problems.

Blacks' problems are rapidly being replaced by Hispanic problems connected with illegals crossing the border. Now there are competitors with the black problem.

And so the definitions of the problem of black Americans and the experiences of black Americans has changed. The new definition has to include historic diminished citizenship, but it also has to include the lens of black crime and violence fueled by enormous drug profits. My old 1960s way of looking at it is no longer adequate to fit the problem presented to society.

Vixen Strangely said...

sigh,I think you've hit on one of the most difficult aspects for I think anyone as a blogger--fairness. Sometimes a person tries, but it's always an aspirational thing. The problem with dealing with Darren Wilson is that there is nowhere to go to get his reputation back.

Nowhere. He has his life, but events have changed it. That happened when he shot that young man. Anything that happened after that point couldn't help but change his trajectory--but what about his reputation? You can't ask anyone where he goes to get it back, because there wasn't any one person who took it from him.

You want to ask the Ferguson protesters to give him his reputation back, when they exploded in part for reason tangential to that officer-involved slaying? You want to ask the Mayor and the Police chief of Ferguson who batched public relations in ways that made things worse by appearing less-than transparent? You want to blame the media--who covered the situation from many different angles and most of whom could find ways to justify their coverage--at least, to themselves?

He has to go his own way--history doesn't get a do over. He's been cleared by a grand jury and an additional DOJ investigation. That's as good as it gets. The justice system does the law--it doesn't do "fair".

But here's the thing--before we bring in Holder or Sharpton, there were people angry as hell in Ferguson. The cameras followed the protests, they didn't make them happen. The perception of the residents of Ferguson and some of the other protesters who came in from outside was that they didn't feel like justice was possible. And when the grand jury decision came out, they didn't trust it. In 99% of cases, grand jury trials get indictments, but not here. And not in NY. SO why did Holder step in?

Couple thousand mad as hell people who didn't trust the justice system is why. I don't know if Holder was reading Malcolm, Machiavelli or Mill, but he had to reassure those people that somebody was looking into it. Did he turn around and railroad Wilson just to get a scalp?

No. There's a political aspect to why some things get done. In the meantime, though, the investigation in Ferguson does show a pattern that goes beyond that one incident, and there are changes that can be made to get that community to something--fairer? More just, anyway. This isn't about collecting scalps--it's about responding to grievances.

All Sharpton--who the hell is he? Does he have magic powers where, if he shows up, he delegitimizes anything else people are saying? His show has some of the lowest ratings in all of cable. This isn't anything stirred up by him. He came to see what he could do.