Thread: Current Events
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Old 07-04-2020, 11:49 AM   #39
John Pickard
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Default Re: Current Events

Originally Posted by Flygirl View Post
I disagree with you on a systemic racism thing, John, but you know that. I would need to see pretty strong evidence of something so "systemic" that we need a new civil rights movement to combat it. Thousands die in Chicago, LA and Detroit and no one bats an eye because they can't neatly and directly blame it on the establishment - but a few cops a year harass or use excessive force on black people and we're suddenly dealing with a pervasive problem that only exists in law enforcement? I'm calling shenanigans on the whole thing, sorry.
My view on it: Don't confuse a label for a definition. "Systemic Racism" should always be used with quotation marks around it, because it's a shorthand term for a much broader, far more complex set of issues. Economics, education, opportunity, racist politics (divide and conquer - both parties do it, but one does it better), it's all part of a tangled mess of interrelated social and political problems that started when the first Europeans landed on these shores. But more on that part later.

"Systemic racism" isn't a bad label for it, though. Because although "the system" - the framework of laws, rules, etc. - applies equally, the factors I note above make "the system," in practice, discriminatory against POC. Resolve those influencing factors, and "the system" will be colorblind.

Does that help, or have I confused matters even more?

Originally Posted by Flygirl View Post
I used to live near Baltimore and my husband and I had two friends in the BPD. They deserved combat pay, and medals, just for doing that job. (Oh, and one of them is black - I'm sure he's just loving this after everything he has seen...) Policing isn't perfect in America, and unions seem to cause some trouble; so sure, let's make some improvements. Do you really think that's going to stop the angry mobs? NYC just took $1B from police officers - away from law enforcement in NYC - let that sink in... and that still wasn't enough for these clowns.
The appeased are never satisfied. I very much support efforts to correct injustice and inequality - but you won't do that just by appeasing this group or that. You see it in this and internationally. The appeased always want more.

And cops have never had it easy. We ask so much of them, we ask them to be superhuman and never make a mistake. The great majority of them are good people trying to do a thankless job, and they're being tarred by a few bad ones who've made the news.

I think defunding police departments is moronic - beyond stupid. But I would support reallocating some of the funds currently devoted to police to other services, once those services are in place, freeing the police from being (for example) mental health experts on top of everything else. Let them get back to being cops, and let others be "first responders" for non-police issues.

Originally Posted by Flygirl View Post
BTW, you can't say you're not racist, John. That makes you racist. Always treating people all the same regardless of their skin color is racist; that's how I know I'm a racist! And all my conservative black friends are racists too. (Or Uncle Toms, or whatever. Ridiculous.) See, unless you are a modern American social justice warrior, we all have this implicit bias against people of color and there's nothing you can do but work hard to "unpack" your bias and recognize it, then apologize for it. Over and over... preferably on your knees.

Just sharing the rules.
Oh, but I can say I'm not racist, and mean it. Unless it's thrown in my face - like now - I don't even think of people in terms of color, except as being part of the individual's characteristics. I see a picture of a pretty girl and I think, "Oh, she's a pretty girl." I note that she may be black, white, Native, Latina, or Asian, but that's just part of what makes that pretty girl unique. We are all one race, and we'll continue to have problems until that becomes generally accepted; right now, most people don't seem to believe that.

It's behavior. Act like a thug, you're a thug regardless of your superficials.

Originally Posted by Flygirl View Post
I've been saying for years there is a powerful group of puppetmasters in this country who have been building people up to this, by weaponizing the media and Hollywood to exploit people's emotions and insecurities and militarize them against what they now recognize as "hate". The stratagem has already been played out so far and people are so far gone, they don't even see that it's their own hate destroying everything around them. We are experiencing a level of mass indoctrination not experienced since perhaps 1930s Germany.
I can't argue with this. I've been saying much the same thing. You cannot trust the media message - any media. You can't trust you're getting the whole story from anyone. Particularly anything you see posted on social media. Or 99% of the "hard news" sites...

So don't you fall for it, either.

Originally Posted by Flygirl View Post
I don't know if you've noticed, but a larger number of viral race-related news stories have coincided with election years... Trayvon Martin just before Obama's re-election, Michael Brown at the midterm, and now George Floyd*.
*Floyd was a guy murdered by a bad cop. You've got to share some of that fire hose information you speak of because I am not aware of a shred of information suggesting there was some secret and sinister race-related reason for his death. So if I missed something I really would like to know.
Interestingly I thought one of the most clear cut examples of extreme officer neglect and callousness wrt a black person in custody was the example of Freddie Gray in Baltimore. I was surprised that wasn't the biggest catalyst for widespread calls for police reform. But then... it wasn't an election year so the media machine wasn't as quickly spun up as it could have been.

Obviously the incidents themselves aren't orchestrated, but there's a very deliberate effort to latch on to the right story and make it spiral out of control with a very specific objective. (You've seen the media machine grab the wrong story and screw it up too, a la Jussie Smollett and most recently, Bubba Wallace).
Don't get me started on Smollett... He set the "civil rights" movement back a decade with that stunt.

You never know what's going to trigger an uprising, and I agree about Freddie Gray - but there wasn't video of a cop with a knee on his neck until he died, either.

And everything is played up in an election year. Remember, the media wants controversy, lurid details, to keep the viewer tuned in. That's why only the negative COVID-19 numbers get reported, why only the most violent protests get reported, etc.

Some fire hose data: George Floyd was no angel, had been in trouble, but family and friends say he was working on improving himself; he may not have known the bill he was passing was fake. He may have, but we'll never know... The cop had a side job at the same gym(?) Floyd had worked, and apparently had a run-in with him at some point in the past year. The cop also had previous use-of-force complaints, some of them apparently racially-motivated; there are some anecdotal evidence circulating (OK, anecdotal evidence really isn't evidence, but...) that he was on record as refusing to associate with darker-skinned people. Or words to that effect.

Video taken at an early Minneapolis protest - I think it was Minneapolis - showed a gas-masked white guy busting out the windows of an Auto Zone store. Not a surgical mask, but a legit gas mask. Protestors were seen asking him to stop. I saw a report where an ex-girlfriend or something later identified the man as a Minneapolis cop... I'd like to know if that was ever substantiated...

Like I said, drinking from a fire hose...

Originally Posted by Flygirl View Post
Originally Posted by John Pickard View Post
but it's also something deeper, more insidious, that needs to be recognized and addressed, that really did start with the first European settlers on this continent.
I gotta run for now - but can you expand upon this statement?
OK. Ready?

Then as now, since the Natives who lived here, and the slaves that followed, looked and lived differently than the Europeans did, they were looked at as something lesser. You tend to fear what you don't understand, and there was little common frame of reference; food, sure, but the Natives had a completely different outlook, political structure, no religion the newcomers could recognize, and OMG did they dress funny! That's not to say that most of the settlers didn't respect their neighbors, but most of them did not consider them equals. So they settled on land traditionally used by the Natives, dismissed complaints since they were savages and couldn't understand, dismissed what the Natives considered holy because they didn't consider the same things holy...

And slaves... I do not understand the mentality that allows for owning another human being. Imprison, sure. Forced labor, I get. But actual ownership? No. You own a dog - and even that gets fuzzy... But by and large, blacks in particular were not seen as human beings in this country. They were some subset of humankind, at about the same level as livestock. Fortunately, not everyone felt that way, but when the Federal Government moved to end the practice, the states that allowed slavery rebelled. They couched it in terms of "state's rights," but the right they were fighting for was the right to own slaves...

But after the Civil War, blacks weren't adopted into mainstream society. They were kept on the edges, not trusted, still viewed as less-than-human. And this was perpetuated by the powerful, who resented the change forced on them, who fought to stay powerful, and they passed that resentment on. "Jim Crow" laws that kept "the races" separated existed into the 1950s and 60s. Segregation... The list goes on.

Today we have laws prohibiting the kind of discrimination that began when Europeans took over this continent. But we still need to address the aftermath of the three centuries of damage done, because if we want people to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, they first need to have boots, and you get boots by having opportunities to improve yourself. Most POC are obliged to live in economically depressed areas simply because they can't afford to live anywhere else. The schools are terrible in those areas because the neighborhoods can't afford to fund them. Uneducated people don't have the opportunity to go to good colleges and don't have the opportunities to do better - so they have to live in economically depressed areas simply because they can't afford to live anywhere else...

That's "Systemic Racism." And as a result, POC are still looked at as lesser humans (which is an over-simplistic way of putting it, but you understand).

It's going to take work to improve that. Awareness that there's more to it than just an attitude about skin color.
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