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The Low Bar of Racism, the Thin Blue Line and thank HOVA for Cell Phone Snuff Films

#BlackLivesMatterI haven’t really posted about much about racism and cops shooting black people lately. Mostly because I got tired of it after Tamir Rice and Eric Garner and Michael Brown and Ferguson and… well, you get the point. If you don’t, I basically said why I was basically done with it back in December 2014. It’s not that I didn’t care anymore. I did. And every time another one happens I think to myself “I should write about that” and then I just have nothing to say.

That changed this time. Unless you’ve been under a rock for the past 48 hours or so, you’ve probably heard about Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old black man who was shot and killed by Baton Rouge, Louisiana police on Tuesday. Both of the cops were wearing body cameras, but apparently they claim that “the cameras fell off during the altercation and no footage was captured.” Gee, that kind of sucks… officers, I guess we’ll just send you on your way… oh no wait, It turns out that we live in 2016 and so SEVERAL people filmed this with their cell phones. If you are masochistic like me, you’ve maybe even watched the video footage online a dozen times or so. If you have been under that rock, I’m linking footage of the shooting here. Obviously it’s graphic, so you know… don’t watch it if you’re sensitive to stuff like that.

 

 

I say masochistic, but that’s the wrong word. I really shouldn’t call it that. Because there’s something that I realized about myself tonight. I’ve watched a LOT of cops killing random black dudes over the last few years. Really a lot. I watch all of them, even when I don’t write about them. Somehow, in my mind, I just feel like it is something I need to see. I need these things burned into my mind. I need to be aware. I need them seared into my brain forever.

And like I said, it happens enough that I never really have anything to say about them. It only occurred to me tonight as I was paging through Facebook and seeing what people have said about the incident that I have basically been watching snuff films. When I was a kid, people said that snuff films were an urban legend. But now, youtube is full of them. I watch snuff films and the thing I realized tonight is that … and this sounds horrible to say… I’m not emotionally affected by them. At least not anymore. They happen so much and have such distribution that I guess I’m sort of numb to them. I watch them and I get angry about the state of racism in this country, but somehow, over the last two years or so, I’ve become numb to the fact that I am literally watching a man murdered in front of my eyes. I get mad at the situation but somehow I’ve stopped thinking of the victims as people. I see them as victims, and that’s different. Maybe that’s what happens when you let yourself watch to many of these. Maybe each time your heart dies a little bit more. Maybe it’s just easier that way.

But I noticed something tonight. It was something that sort of gave me hope for America. I make no secret of my political leanings. I’ve made it clear in the past that I am in the camp that sees a systemic pattern of racism between police and black men in this country. Not exactly a controversial stance. I probably go a little farther. I’m of the personal opinion that police should never fire first. Even if they know the suspect has a gun, I don’t give a damn if someone “perceives a threat to himself and his fellow officers.” I am actually ok with the policy that until the first shot is fired by the suspect, you just hold your guns and point. Yes, I realize that means more cops will be shot. I even realize that some innocents will be shot. I’m ok with that. Like I said, maybe my heart is dead.

But like I said, I noticed something tonight that made me feel a little better about humanity. I follow a wide variety of people on Facebook. People with varying political, religious, racial, and social viewpoints. I do that on purpose. I often see people say stuff like “if you believe in _____ just unfriend me now.” I don’t want that. If you disagree with me, I totally want to understand what you believe. I want to understand why you believe it. But as I was reading the stories tonight I noticed that for the first time since I remember I didn’t see a single person on the cops’ side. I did a search for Facebook posts by people I don’t know. I still couldn’t find any. I went to Google and I had to work HARD before I found anyone defending cops. REALLY hard. For the most part even the most neutral news I can find is just talking about how Louisiana seems concerned about their new #BlueLivesMatter law in the middle of all of this. And even with that, most news sites seem to be kind of critical of the police and sympathetic towards Sterling. If there was one thing good about his shooting it’s that it seems that for the most part, for once, everyone can agree that the victim should NOT have had to die like that.

I was kind of amazed. There’s a lot of reasons to not be on Sterlings side, like Eric Garner, technically he was breaking the law. He had a criminal record. He was resisting arrest (well, kinda…). It would not be hard to spin this into a “the police were just doing their jobs” narrative. I mean, I would have called bullshit on it… as would a lot of people. But it’s the kind of argument you COULD make. No one is. It turns out that if you have video footage of a two cops holding guns against a man’s chest and firing at point blank range into it, people have a hard time feeling sorry for them. I saw liberals, conservatives, blacks, whites, men and women all posting about how horrible this was. I saw posts from people who I know for a fact were on the other side of the fence with previous incidents talking about how tragic and horrible this was. People seemed incredibly affected. People wrote about how their hearts were broken over it.

And I said GOOD! Maybe we’re becoming a better people. Maybe people are starting to realize this is a problem. Maybe it will get better. Some people, including Larry Wilmore and Shaun King complained about how the #AllLivesMatter people should really be protesting along with the #BlackLivesMatter people because Alton Sterling, no matter what his crimes, was clearly a life and was clearly executed on film. For once though, I was optimistic. I didn’t need to see that (even though I did see a little of it). I was happy just to not see anyone defending it. The bar is the fucking low now. I started typing this and wanted to end it with “I’m going to call this a win.”

That teaches me to try to optimistic.

While I was typing this, the news story broke about Philando Castile, a 32-year-old black man being shot and killed by Falcon Heights, MN police. Though the actual shooting was not captured on film (at least not that anyone has posted so far), Castile’s girlfriend, Lavish Reynolds, began live streaming the incident to Facebook right after he was shot. According to both Reynolds (in the video) and a press conference held by the police chief after the fact, Castile and Reynolds were pulled over for a traffic violation (busted taillight). The police chief has given no further details, but Reynolds, on the live stream, claims that Castile informed the officer that he was licensed to carry a firearm and indeed carrying at the time. She then claims that the officer asked him for ID, and as he reached for his wallet, the officer shot him four times. On the recording the officer claims that he told Castile not to reach for anything, though Reynolds claims that he told him to get his license and registration. Reynolds is clearly more composed (at least initially) than the officer, despite the fact that her boyfriend is bleeding out right next to her.

The police ordered Reynolds out of the car at which point they handcuffed her facedown on the ground as she begged them to take care of her four year old daughter who was in the car with them. I am also linking to this video, which again… is pretty graphic:

As you can see by watching it, she continues to narrate her situation throughout the entire ordeal, including once she and her daughter are thrown into the back of a police squad car (with her still handcuffed). And that’s where I lost faith in humanity again. People fucking suck.

That said, I am amazed at Reynolds composure. I am amazed that in this situation she was (for the most part) able to remain calm for ten solid minutes while her boyfriend is dying in front of her and the man who shot him is (from her perspective) having her arrested. I am seriously amazed at the kind of internal strength that takes. But I am more amazed by something else. While she is being handcuffed Reynolds drops her phone. She keeps talking and narrating (interspersed with praying for Castile) but since she can’t hold the phone you can’t see anything. That is up until her four year old daughter goes and picks up the phone (against the cop’s commands) and returns it to her. She rehashes the event. She admits that the tail light was broken, she admits that Castile has a gun but the cops never saw it, and only knew because he volunteered the information. She even admits that they had weed in the car. She’s clearly doing her best to get every relevant detail on the record. But the thing that really amazes me is the very end of the video. After more than ten minutes, Reynolds finally breaks down and cries, and her four-year-old daughter says “It’s ok, I’m right here with you.” I’ve watched this video about a dozen times now. The end makes me cry every single time. Lavish Reynolds, you are a hero… and your daughter is MY hero. Because for once after all of this happening over and over in this fucked up world we live in, she reminded me that just maybe I’m human after all. I get to go to sleep tonight knowing that if nothing else, there is one four-year-old girl in this world who is maybe the best person who ever lived. Maybe my heart isn’t completely dead.

At least til I wake up tomorrow and I see the first person defending the cop in this incident or worse find out the there’s been ANOTHER shooting on film since then. Then I’ll remember the the world fucking sucks. And then I’ll just wait for the next riot when I’ll have to explain to people once again why it happens.

 

310 comments for “The Low Bar of Racism, the Thin Blue Line and thank HOVA for Cell Phone Snuff Films

  1. avatar
    July 7, 2016 at 3:27 am

    I continue to pray (for the families loss), but hope that cooler heads prevail and we can end this…

    Then some sick part of me thinks this is intentional, like some group is trying to divide the country by doing these intentional shootings.

    It’s too bad that when hiring the officers, background checks for racism like this is impossible to check credibly…

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 4:32 am

      I work in EMS and while it’s been incredibly spiritually rewarding it’s also been very soul crushing for one very big reason, I do not see emergency responders as heroes.

      Don’t get me wrong, setting aside the all too common racist incidents and the like, cops do often do an important and dangerous job and that is heroic. Firefighters run into places the rest of us run out of. EMS personnel save lives. But that’s the job as a whole, individuals as individuals are human, and all too often terrible ones.

      I’ve heard stories of firefighters letting fires get worse not as a tactic but so that fighting them would be more fun. I see medics and EMTs yell at patients and treat them like dirt. And I know several overtly racist cops, not to mention that almost every cop I know has a major power trip where being able to enforce their authority (and thinking of these guys I can’t help but to say that word in my head with Cartman’s voice) is like a drug to them. Scariest of all, I know a few officers with horrible trigger discipline, and can even see incidents like these being the result of the cops getting worked up, full of adrenaline, scared (rightly or wrongly it doesn’t really matter), and firing unintentionally. And they’re human and all too often poorly trained, so that’s understandable to a point, but that doesn’t make it excusable. If anything it goes to show hoer important it is that we better train our officers and better vet those that want to enter law enforcement.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 4:48 am

      Jason your should know better the first two paragraphs I agree with the last is pure silliness. The men and women of law enforcement put on a uniform, strap on a gun and vest and kiss their wives and families every night, like it will be their last. Then go do a job where you see the worst in people and violence towards you is a common occurrence. We go into the areas that people who life in safe little communities pretend don’t exist except when they see them on the news and TV. We don’t want glory or pity, we just want to stop the evil people of this world from praying on the weak and good. I have fought the good fight for people who would would walk by their own neighbors as they were being robbed or murdered and never help or even report it to the police. I have been stabbed, stabbed with hypo needles, hit with baseball bats, shot at, spit on, run over, and punched. I have arthritis in my knee, four concussions, and a host of other injuries. I don’t tell you this for pity I just want you to think about this before you judge.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 4:56 am

      Keith McSlam I think you missed what I meant. I always feel when families lose children. After seeing what it did to my folks, especially more so. To have to bury a child, a brother, friend, it is an extremely difficult thing no matter the circumstances.

      As for the ‘group’, it was less referring to an officer and more referring to something far more insidious (more in the administration), and I even said it was only a sick part of me aka, my creative side running wild to try and have an explanation.

      And finally, I do not think that all police are like this, I know better than to blanket any group for individual behavior, but at the same time you have to admit it seems to be showing up a lot, so something is not right. Not sure where or what this occurs from, but something is off. And it does unfortunately hurt those that are doing their job proper… It’s the same feeling I experience when people lump me in with Westboro because I mention my belief in Christ and God.

      Again, I know you do you job and are a good guy, but something’s rotten in Denmark, and it just hurts us all, whether families, good cops or those that have to see it play out.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 4:58 am

      That’s why I said I agree with the first two points but the last is just inflammatory and not what I would expect from someone who is as intelligent and logical as you.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 5:00 am

      Keith McSlam I still think there is a disconnect happening bro. I love ya man, and think Fbook is not the place for a good discussion sometimes because we can not see intent or emotion or logic in text that can be misinterpreted. Hit me up next time we meet up and we can better discuss this, cause I am not sure It’s coming across to you what I am getting at, and sometimes like I said, intent can be lost on line.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 5:07 am

      I know Jason I love ya to man and I know what a good man you truly are!

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 7:35 am

      Jason: I don’t think it’s “intentional” per se. I mean, I don’t know, but I don’t suspect so. Even I am not THAT cynical. I do think that being a cop is a high stress job. Hell, lots of things are high stress jobs. And honestly, it doesn’t pay very well given the risks of what being a cop entails. I mean, it’s a good job, and as has been pointed out by other people, the vast majority of cops spend their entire career never actually having to touch their gun. And that’s great. But it is a horribly dangerous job. In this sense I agree with Keith McSlam here (who I assume is a cop based on his comments).

      In my view (and this isn’t sociology or cultural studies this time… it’s just me) Keith’s job (I’m assuming he’s a cop based on what he’s said here) is a dangerous job. It’s a job that I don’t want. As far as I’m concerned his job is to walk around with a target on his chest so that people shoot at him and not me. I honestly believe that cops are underpaid. Criminally underpaid. As far as I’m concerned, starting salary should be WELL into the six figure range. That said, as I pointed out in the original post, I’m also OK with cops being shot at. That’s why I don’t want the job.

      I don’t say that callously. I am thankful for cops. I know other cops. Even my cousin Jason, who I grew up with, love dearly and shared birthday parties with for my entire childhood, is a prison guard; I feel the same way about that job. It’s a tough job and a dangerous job and I don’t want it. I’d rather sit here and hide behind my computer and criticize you from afar. I think you should all make a lot of money (I am aware that you don’t) and should all be covered in body armor at all times (i’m aware that you aren’t) but in return for that you should NEVER shoot first. As far as I’m concerned, your job is to “protect and serve” and in protecting, I’m ok with the idea that that means that maybe you take a bullet for me. And when you do, I’m with you (or another cop) icing the motherfucker who shot you. But up until that moment, I’m in favor of restraint being used even to the point of it being illogical.

      Sociological cultural studies hat back on….

      The most telling thing here is that Keith’s icon is the Punisher logo. I don’t know Keith and I’m assuming Steve Shaffer doesn’t either, but Steve pointed to the cops he knows (and given his line of work, I’m going to assume that he knows more than I do) having power and race issues. I have no idea what kind of person Keith is and I don’t really care. What I do know is that the semiotic message (see, I told you I was putting my critical academic hat back on) encoded in the icon that you have chosen is indicative of the social problem of which I am referring. Symbols have meaning. And the connotation sent by the Punisher logo is that “as a criminal you deserve to be punished with death.” Do I think that Keith goes around just shooting random drug dealers? No… or at least god I hope not. But I do understand how cultural messages are encoded through visual language. And in fact, specifically in the area of how are cultural messages encoded in visual language pertaining to superheroes, I am LITERALLY AN EXPERT. And whatever the intent Keith has in choosing that icon (and I expect that intent is probably “I’m a geek and I like Punisher comics… and I’m also a cop so, what the hell… why don’t I draw a blue line over my favorite superhero logo”) the message encoded within the imagery, especially when commenting on a thread like this, has to be read in that social context.

      And that is… disconcerting. It adds to the narrative that Steve was discussing. Assuming Keith is a cop, the message connoted implicitly becomes one of “punishment” rather than “protection.” And when coincided with what amounts to (even in Keith’s words, since he agreed with Jason’s second paragraph) a gang land execution of a suspect, plays towards the message of systemic racism and the impossibility of testing for it that Jason mentions in his third paragraph that Keith disagreed with.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 7:42 am

      I will add, in response to Jason R Bender, I think this is entirely the place to have this discussion. If not Facebook in general, certainly my Facebook page/blog is. That’s why I post things like that and leave the comments open. Discourse is important.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 7:46 am

      Chris Maverick I don’t think it can be bad, I just think sometimes words intent can be lost sometimes because a voice can add more to it and sometimes better clarify… Course I could also be wrong. 😉

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 7:50 am

      Hmm… I actually feel the opposite way. Words come out as they are formed and then evaporate into the ether without editing.

      I find that people who are writing tend to at the very least edit as they go, so even if I happen to disagree with their points (as I do with Keith McSlam) they’re generally well formulated and allow me to follow them better… but also I can reread what he said and make sure that I understand the point as he meant it.

      Also, the benefit of being me is that, while I’m certainly not a Kardashian or anything like that, I have a good enough social media reach that I get to see comments from people of varying opinions. I don’t know Keith. I’ve never heard of him before now. So if I hadn’t made this post and if you hadn’t commented on it and if he hadn’t seen fit to respond then he and I would have never been aware of each other and seen each other’s viewpoints. And even if we disagree, the exposure to each other is a net good.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 7:52 am

      Chris Maverick guess I just found through a few bad experiences that tone can be a big thing… But again not saying I am right, just that it went down that way…

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 7:54 am

      Oh, I agree with that. The experiences can certainly be negative. I guess to me, I’m just more interested in having the conversation than I necessarily am with everyone (myself included) feeling warm and fuzzy about it.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 7:58 am

      Chris Maverick oh don’t get me wrong, lol, it was more of the convo’s in question were missing the point I was trying to make, and kept reading into a tone I wasn’t using… But then again I don’t ever really comment or post a lot of socio-political or political information or blogs either… I mostly post comic, movie and video game stuff… And confirming my new lady friend. 😉

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 8:49 am

      Chris Maverick I think punishment vs protection is an important distinction. I am trying to remember what con had a problem with their security volunteers going on power-trips and getting violent with attendees, and so they eliminated “security” and had, instead, “safety” volunteers. They got a people with a very different mindset. The job the volunteers were doing was the same — but the name change was critically important.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 9:44 am

      I think that’s possibly one of the best ways to begin addressing the issue as a culture, the reminder that their badge is literally a “shield” rather than a “sword”. And I will say that while I know cops that fit the negative stereotypes, I also know cops that portray a positive image. The issue isn’t with individual officers, it’s with a system that itself is racist and built upon exerting authority. Unfortunately that’s the real reason why you could never honestly vet for racism or even someone that’s likely to become a bully with a badge, if the system takes good people and bends them in that direction then these incidents will continue to happen, even with otherwise good officers that have been brainwashed into a certain mentality by their workplace environment.

      And the best way to handle that is by changing the mindset of law enforcement entirely, perhaps starting with changing the idea from enforcement to civil protection.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 9:56 am

      I think Laura and Steve make excellent points here. It is certainly a matter of outlook. Are the police here to serve as the Punisher or as Spiderman? I prefer Spiderman. And Spiderman taught me that with great power comes even greater responsibility. Maybe that’s why my morality comes from comic books rather than religion.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 11:37 am

      Chris Maverick Keith just likes the character, he’s not going to follow his attributes, he does not act like that at all. He is actually a sweet family man and father.

      Just wanted to clear that up. 😉

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 11:37 am

      Chris Maverick Keith just likes the character, he’s not going to follow his attributes, he does not act like that at all. He is actually a sweet family man and father.

      Just wanted to clear that up. 😉

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 4:17 pm

      Oh, I’m not implying that he’s waging a one man murder war on crime… or at least god I hope not. I hope that living in the same city I would have heard about if if he were.

      No,I’m actually just talking about the semiotic meaning tied into the logos. Most of what I do in real life isn’t just looking at the existence of racism, it’s more relating the occurrence to media symbology, so investigating the connotative meaning that occurs when view the artifact (which in this case would be his avatar) to the occurrence (the shootings in this case). Also, it brought me to my really clever spiderman joke that I wanted to make.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 4:18 pm

      Chris Maverick lol… Fair enough… Lol. And I would likely be fighting the one man war first… As a werewolf! Or perhaps Warwolf!! 😉

  2. avatar
    July 7, 2016 at 4:34 am

    I’ll get you back on the side of people suck… I posted that video to my wall at about 3am (up after my 3 year old fell out of bed). At that time, it had been viewed 1.5 MILLION TIMES, and no media outlets other than a few MN affiliates were covering it. No CNN, no MSNBC, no Fox, no networks, no nothing of any political persuasion. This is solely a social media event.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 7:44 am

      Yeah, when I saw it this morning (3:30/4amish) I did a search to see if anyone was talking about it and you were one of the first links I saw.

      But it did make the news. CNN broke into their coverage on Alton Sterling with talking about Castile, and that’s how I found out. So it’s probably more that you were just on the cusp of the wave! Go you for being an innovator!

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 7:45 am

      Seriously? I use Twitter almost exclusively for finance/trading, and that’s where I saw it. Every so often, hanging out with political malcontents pays 🙂

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 7:53 am

      So one nice thing about social media is that it truly never sleeps. Even in 2016 with a 24 hour news cycle having been around for a couple decades, the coverage at some hours is better than at others on TV. At 3AM ET, the big reporters are in bed asleep so it’s the overnight skeleton crew that has to deal with things like this and they break a lot slower than the always present worldwide twitterscape.

      But I think they’re both valuable and I think that one of the nice things is being able to look at them in concert with each other.

  3. avatar
    July 7, 2016 at 4:34 am

    This was very well written. I just wish you didn’t have to write it. I haven’t watched the second video yet. I just woke up, and after reading your description, I’ll have to prepare for it. Having a child has made children in peril situations resonate deeply with me.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 7:56 am

      Thanks. And yes it is kind of a troubling video, which is why I wanted about it.

      If it helps at all… and you still haven’t watched it yet, I can tell you that the four year old is completely unharmed throughout the whole thing. That said, as I pointed out, you will be watching a man die on camera.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 8:24 am

      I watched it. It’s awful. It’s one of the hardest things to watch I have seen in a long time. Donté and I have been discussing it. I’m pretty much speechless at this point, but if you’re a parent or a responsible gun owner and you aren’t utterly horrified by this, I don’t really know what to say.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 8:39 am

      This thing literally makese afraid to go outside. Ever since my incident I’ve had severe anxiety and depression issues.. I have to go take my oldest daughter to get her hair cut tonight and I’m terrified by the idea of driving with her and that I might get pulled over. I hate that I feel like this but I can’t stop it. I have to take my girls an hour out tomorrow to drop one off to her mom and I’m worried about that. I don’t have a ccw, I am thankful for the cop that saved my life and others that day. But, I’m scared to death of the idea that I get pulled over and something going wrong and my 2 and or 3 year in car seats and I’m dying on the side or inside the vehicle. DWB is a real thing.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 9:59 am

      Donté: And that is horrifically sad. And since I know you’re being 100% honest that is the scariest part. I know from past conversation that you don’t necessarily consider what happened to you “heroic” per se. But you are at least aware that other people do… and if someone who is perceived as a “hero” for behaving … well… heroically… in a horrible dangerous situation the way you did can see a video like that and become petrified by its implications that alone should be cause for serious concern.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 10:16 am

      I’ve been trying to get myself back into therapy at a place closer to my home because I am not a fan of driving into downtown Cincinnati –for obvious reasons mostly–and it’s a fight. It makes it hard to get anything done because profit has become the biggest issue these companies deal with. But, that’s a whole other conversation that needs to be had. I hate that this situation continues to happen. I hate that people don’t want to be decent human beings and justify a life being taken because he had a criminal record. Before the expungment laws changed in Ohio, I had a record over some nonsense that I should not have been caught up in. Not a lot of people know that. But, I guess all criminals don’t deserve to die. They can do well even if they have made bad decisions in their past. I’m basically a soccer mom now and I have a degree. Do I deserve to die too because of the melanin in my skin and the bad situation I allowed myself to be in like 16 years ago?

  4. avatar
    July 7, 2016 at 5:03 am

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 7:58 am

      So your point is “dude has bad fashion sense so he deserved to die?” Or is it “dude let his kids use guns that may or may not have been real nine years ago so he deserves to die?”

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 8:00 am

      No not at all…. but tired of the friends family… race batters saying he was a good father…a good person. Goes to his intent and continuation of being a thug. What father in his right mind gives his kids guns and takes pictures???

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 8:02 am

      My God he’s been arrested dozens of times!!!! Illegal gun possesion… so it’s not a far stretch. No one deserves to dies
      .but u live by the sword u die by the sword. He made choices ..this one got him killed

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 8:07 am

      Umm… all the NRA father’s that petition for gun rights and teach their children to hunt at age 4. Responsible fathers.

      here’s an example for you. I live in a neighborhood with lots of children. They run around and play together. Two summers ago, a bunch of kids were playing and found two loaded pistols that someone had tossed in the bushes. Some kids were excited. ONE of them, an eight year old boy (at the time) white boy took both guns away from the other kids, popped the clips out, checked the safeties and then went directly back to his house to tell his dad and have the cops called. He knew how to do this because his father had been teaching him about gun safety and how to shoot since he was four. That kid probably saved other kids lives.

      Was Alton Sterling that guy? No. Hell, Alton Sterling might have been the worst father in the world. None of this anything to do with why he was shot in the chest at point blank range three days ago. There’s no way the cops who shot him were aware of a picture from nine years ago and even if they were, it doesn’t matter.

      The idea that it “wasn’t a stretch” and that “he made choices… this one got him killed” in the face of the video I linked to is literally the definition of systemic racism.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 8:33 am

      Mike Land So many gun rights advocates do this that it’s scary. So there’s that.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 8:51 am

      So he deserved death by cop or? I’m missing the point here.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 9:33 am

      Your missing the point completely!

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 9:42 am

      By all means, Mike explain what your point was.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 9:42 am

      My god, what kind of monster gives their kids guns?!?!?

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 9:43 am

      If you can’t see my point then ur obviously just trolling.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 9:46 am

      Chris Maverick. Have you ever had to make that split second decision? If he was reaching for the gun in his pocket….what use of force would u use. They deployed a teaser with no effect. Should they have drawn Thier batons and hit him. Then all the race batters would be saying the racist cops beat him. It’s a no win situation for the cops doing Thier job.

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      July 7, 2016 at 10:03 am

      Mike Land: If you consider Juliette Dalrymple’s image trolling in response to the image that you posted we have serious issues here.

      As to your other comments. Yes, I have had to make split second decisions. Obviously you’re new here and haven’t read my blog before. But I talked about it a couple weeks ago.

      But that said, it doesn’t matter. As I pointed out in an above comment thread. I am not a count and I don’t want to be. But the answer is, yes… they could have taken out their batons and hit him. Or, and I know you’re going to disagree here, they could have waited til one of them was shot. And yeah, I get that you’ll disagree… but I’m totally fucking ok with that. That’s going to be a disconnect here, and fine… if you want my reasoning, read the other threads.

      But think of it this way… lets say it was a “no win” situation (which I don’t actually agree with). Your insinuation by that comment is that the cops should always be expected to win.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 10:05 am

      Did you even watch either video Mike? He had two grown men pinning him to the ground with pistols aimed at him at point blank range. You don’t get more subdued than that while still conscious. They did not react in a logical and reasonable way to protect their own safety, they acted in an illogical way out of pure fear and executed the man. We as a society should expect better from those whose duty it is to protect us. Maybe that’s being more selective about who becomes a cop, undoubtedly it involves better training and a change in police culture. But our society, and black men in our society especially, deserve better.

      And no, your original picture isn’t being misunderstood, and if you believe that you really are missing the point. Actually points. 1) The narrative about what kind of father he was, or if he was a criminal or a “thug” is irrelevant, this type of execution of a subdued suspect is morally wrong, even more so when it happens so overwhelmingly disproportionately to black men. And 2) these kind of pictures are common place along gun enthusiasts of all races and social standing. They’re certainly in poor taste and reflect bad judgement, but that doesn’t necessarily equal the sum total of a father. While he may have made a poor decision in that moment he might still have otherwise been an amazing father. Or not. The point is that that one photo, and even the existence of a criminal record, doesn’t inform us on that subject. Though again I’ll point out, that subject is also irrelevant and a distraction from the real issue at hand.

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      July 7, 2016 at 10:09 am

      Steve Shaffer… again yes I’ve watched the videos. He was nor subdued. Apparently at least one of the cops felt threatened enough to shoot. If in Thier minds he was reaching for the gun in his pocket. They were completely justified.
      Chris Maverick… I don’t know where or what “training” u had but …never ever does a cop have to wait to be shot. That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve EVER heard! What is ur backround that uve made that decision? Apparently not as a cop.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 10:12 am

      Steve Shaffer Thier use of force was exactly as its taught. Thier presence….verbal commands. Taser… again if u don’t know what ur talking about. Then…..shhhhhhhhh

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 10:13 am

      We clearly have different opinions on what qualifies as subdued. As to “feeling threatened” that was exactly my point. He acted on fear, irrational fear. I for one expect better than that from someone meant to protect me.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 10:14 am

      And yes, it is what they’re taught, that’s our whole point. See the frequent use of the word “systemic”. The system itself is what’s broken (not the individual officers, necessarily). We should be training them better and need to change the law enforcement culture itself to not accept this as okay.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 10:16 am

      Steve Shaffer… irrational??? Ur a maniac. They received a call of a man with a gun. Who threatened someone with the gun. So…lemme guess. Ud walk up to him and say…please mister please don’t hurt us with ur illegal concealed gun. And really. I expect someone who has no clue what he’s talking about to just keep his opinions to himself. Thank God ur not a cop. Ud be useless

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 10:17 am

      It’s not ok for people to die…. but neither is it for cops to be attacked…for them not to defend themselves. And again. U have no clue as to the training these officers recieve

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 10:18 am

      Oh, and before you fucking try to shush a complete stranger as uninformed, I’m about as well informed as a non-officer could possibly be. I work hand in hand with cops on a daily basis going into dangerous situations right behind them and have many cops as peers and even friends. These conversations are a part of my day to day life. So while I might have a degree of privilege by not being an officer myself I’m far from uninformed.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 10:20 am

      Well u sorry to burst ur bubble but ur are. U haven’t done the job. Knowing someone and doing are 2 different things

  5. avatar
    July 7, 2016 at 5:03 am

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      July 7, 2016 at 7:03 am

      What does this matter to the scene? That would be like saying every time a cop sees you driving then, you should be pulled over for speeding. It would be justified, because at some point in your past you have exceeded the limit. Criminal or not, angel or devil, the cops in this incident acted out of hand.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 7:04 am

      No goes to the idiots on social media saying what a great guy he was…family man. If the cops thought He reached for his gun. Cops were justified. He was a career criminal and child molester

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      July 7, 2016 at 8:29 am

      Mike again, your point is kind of orthogonal and goes to the very definition of systemic racism. Or if you want to ignore the racism part, poor oversight on police. Prior acts have nothing to do the current situation. What you’re arguing is “probably” or “not a stretch” as you said in the previous comment. The legal system of the United States is (for good reason) not based on “probablies”. It is based on “beyond a reasonable doubt” and what you’re talking about does not go to that.

      Let’s look at the rap sheet you posted. His last gun violation was seven years ago. His last violent crime arrest was ten years ago. Even assuming the cops knew his priors, what does that have to do with him being shot multiple times in the chest at point blank range on multiple video tapes.

      I’ll grant you that the cops may be “legally” justified here. I’m going to even grant you that the cops thought he might be going for a gun. I’m going to go so far as to grant you that they honestly feared for their lives despite having two officers mount him with pistols pointed to his chest. I’m going to grant you that BOTH officers “lost their cameras” which are specifically designed to provide evidence int these occasions in the scuffle.

      There are somewhere between 900-1300 shootings by police every year in this country. They’re actually really poorly reported, so I’m going to lowball it and go with 1000, because that makes the math really easy. That means roughly 11,000 people have been shot by the police in the last 11 years. I’m going to grant you that MOST of these were shootings of bad people by good people trying to protect us. But in that time exactly 54 police were charged. 0.4%. Of those exactly 13 were convicted. That means that of ALL the police shootings in this country, 0.1% were ruled to be unjustified.

      That is the problem. Even the margin of error should be higher than that.

      In the face of this video, your response isn’t outrage… or even “wow, this is a shame that there are some trigger happy cops out there, thank god, they aren’t all like that.” Your immediate response is “wait, lets dig up dirt on this guy and see why he deserved to die… because clearly the cops are infallible and must have had a good reason”

      Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

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      July 7, 2016 at 9:38 am

      Ok Chris let me ask you this. Say…. your wife has cheated on you in the past. Would her past act lead u to be more cautious….more defensive in nature when something suspicious occurs. I wish everyone would get off the race issue. Has nothing to do with it! If it was a white man…same EXACT circumstances..backround… the same thing woulda happened. The nut jobs who think. Wow these cops…in a store parking lot with people all over just decided to off a black man. If you think that you need severe psychological help

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      July 7, 2016 at 9:41 am

      And…how do u know these cops were “trigger happy”? Jesus it’s like Jesse Jackson saying these cops were racist. On what grounds did he or anyone base this???? Finally Chris Maverick…
      Unless you’ve worn the badge and strapped on the gun…u cannot possible fathom what that job entails! And yes I have …
      .for 20 yrs.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 10:13 am

      There are several things going on here. So let’s address them:

      If my wife cheated on me and I feel like I have to be more cautious around her and can’t trust her, then the answer is I shouldn’t fucking be married to her. Either she made a mistake and I can forgive it… or I can’t and so I need to not be with her anymore. Either is completely acceptable. But pre-judging future events based on her past behavior would be a recipe for marital disaster. The reason that I followed this example all the way through is because frankly the same applies to cops. If you can’t not prejudge then maybe you’re not the guy I want walking around with a gun to “protect me”

      This gets further complicated by the fact that the Sterling was NOT previously involved with these particular cops. At least not as far as any of us know. So you’re more saying that if my wife cheated on me I should be more cautious of ALL women in the future. And again… NO… if that’s how I felt then that would mean that I have serious issues that need to be dealt with. And again, maybe that’s not the kind of person I want strapped with a gun to “protect me”

      As for the final point. No, I’m not a cop. I do know some cops. But no, I won’t even pretend to understand everything the job entails or the pressures inherent within. And as I said before, if you are a cop then my hat is off for you. And thank you for wearing a target so that you get shot in my place. Wonderful. BUT, as I said in comments BELOW, I am literally an expert in cultural expressions of racism (And classism and sexism). This is what I do. So yes, I do understand when something is racist, or in this case that a system is racist.

      Again, your response here is that “unless I put on a badge for 20 years I have no right to judge you.” WRONG. I have every right to judge you. And you have every right to judge me. And in fact the cops had every right to judge Sterling. We are humans and judging is in our nature. We have a free country, fundamentally based around discourse between individuals and as a cop that is specifically what you are charged with protecting. And again, thank you.

      But I do judge. And I’m damn good at it. No one is above reproach. That’s like saying that I can’t be critical of the president because I haven’t had to deal with being president for 8 years. NO.

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      July 7, 2016 at 10:29 am

      If you think it would happen exactly the same if he were white I’d love to see you show some evidence to prove that fact. Any cell camera footage of similar incidents involving white suspects? How about statistics? Do you know the statistics involving race and criminal activity compared to racial demographics of the region in question (presumably US but I’d accept a smaller subset). Now once you’re done realizing how far off-kilter those numbers are look up the statistics on police shootings, then try telling me, when a disproportionate number of suspected criminals are black men, and a disproportionate number of suspects that are shot are black men, that race is not at all a factor.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 1:47 pm

      Chris Sazo

  6. avatar
    July 7, 2016 at 5:05 am

    When u understand the truth…ull realize what it’s like to deal with armed felons. So unless ur prepared to strap on a badge and gunbelt….stfu

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      July 7, 2016 at 8:23 am

      I’m a civilian. I am the boss of the police. If they don’t like it, they need to quit or move to a country where being “Police State” is considered acceptable. Some place like Russia.

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      July 7, 2016 at 8:32 am

      this is ridiculous logic. “unless you re willing to…”

      No one is beyond reproach. Not even me. And certainly not civil servants. Are you honestly arguing “they’re the cops who are you to question them?” in the name of defending civil rights?

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      July 7, 2016 at 10:37 am

      As a note, not all officers agree with you Mike, just so you know. You can be self righteous about your experiences all you want but that doesn’t make you correct.

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      July 7, 2016 at 10:53 am

      And just because u have friends that are cops doesn’t make u an expert or anyone who should give an opinion as such

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      July 7, 2016 at 11:01 am

      Oh…excuse me Chris Maverick… not even you are above reproach! Sorry ur highness.

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      July 7, 2016 at 11:07 am

      Apology is accepted I am glad that you have bowed to my superiority,

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      July 7, 2016 at 11:10 am

      I never claimed to be an expert, but just because I don’t carry a gun doesn’t mean I’m completely without any relevant knowledge.

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      July 7, 2016 at 11:28 am

      And ur what? 25yrs old

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 11:28 am

      And ur what? 25yrs old

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 11:28 am

      And ur what? 25yrs old

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 11:28 am

      And ur what? 25yrs old

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      July 7, 2016 at 12:36 pm

      36 since age seems to matter so much to you. That said, I suspect at 15 I had already surpassed your intellect and debating skills. Not that age, intelligence, or the ability to form coherent, reasoned arguments sustained by easily researched facts really matters here. You used to be a cop, clearly all these strangers whose backgrounds you know nothing of can’t compete with your expert opinion for that reason alone

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 12:43 pm

      Lol

  7. avatar
    July 7, 2016 at 5:08 am

    I’ve watched the video. U cannot see one his hands. So if sterling was reaching for the gun in his pocket…it’s very justified

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 6:28 am

      I actually reached out to a cop friend of mine with the first video, who said it looked sketchy – the second video proves it. I’m going to guess you also missed the part where the owner of the store a) told the cops they had the wrong guy; b) had his surveillance video confiscated; and c) took video from another angle exonerating Sterling.

      You know, I actually think it’s ironic that BLM kicked off from Mike Brown – that guy, I think the record showed, created a situation that it was hard for the cop to find another way out of. But what you’re talking about here? It doesn’t matter. This guy could’ve been a serial killer, and all that would’ve been relevant were the facts on scene: he wasn’t reaching for a gun, and an eyewitness told the officers they had the wrong guy.

      Think it’s OK if I tell you to STFU yet? Does that contribute to the conversation at all?

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 7:03 am

      Ok so if he was the wrong guy…he first the description…HAD A GUN… and as far as I know there were 2 videos…both I saw…Neither showed what he was doing with his hands.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 7:47 am

      Please try saying those words into a mirror and listening to yourself talk. Because you’ve justified the summary execution of everyone who ever reaches for ID.

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      July 7, 2016 at 7:55 am

      It’s an open carry state as well, jackass. If cops are cowards, maybe they should consider another job before they open fire on citizens, hundreds of times a year, predominantly people of color.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 7:58 am

      Lawerence Hawkins… listen very closely. Open carry means UNCONCEALED… that ur gun can be seen outside of any clothing. His gun was in his pocket. Concealed…illegal. second…. HE WAS A CONVICTED FELON. HE CANNOT OWN OR BE IN POSSESION OF A FIREARM! Jesus get it straight before u open ur uninformed mouth

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 10:15 am

      And none of that justifies his execution in this circumstance. Not legally, not morally and not ethically. I don’t care if he were 100% in the wrong. I don’t care if he shot an old lady in the head yesterday. AT THE MOMENT IN THE VIDEO he was not actively harming anyone. Anything you’ve said beyond that is conjecture.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 10:16 am

      Mike Land The cops didn’t know that. You are Monday-morning quarterbacking with utterly irrelevant information. Pro tip: don’t go to law school.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 10:17 am

      None of which they bothered to confirm before murdering him. These fools seem to think they have the only relevant facts and no regard for context.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 10:40 am

      Liz Winslow Schartman

      ..and u know they didn’t know how

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 10:46 am

      Chris Maverick I somehow think ur a hilary supporter.. and as gain ur wrong. In Pa… if u have a fleeing felon that shot an old lady in the head…use of deadly force is justified. Please… u seriously don’t have a clue what ur talking about and it’s really showing in the dumb scenarios ur putting out . How the fuck do u know he wasn’t reaching for the gun in his pocket?

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 10:48 am

      Liz Winslow Schartman if anyone is Monday morning quarterbacking it’s u! Pro tip. Know the subject ur spouting off on before u open ur trap

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      July 7, 2016 at 11:07 am

      Mike: So I’m combining threads here, because it’s relevant and for some reason you decided to start a bunch of them to say the same thing:

      I am not a Hilary supporter. In fact, I’ve made it quite clear for years that I don’t like her at all. And I know for a FACT that Liz isn’t. But you pointing her out specifically calls attention to the hypocrisy in what you are saying. Your stance is that because we are not police officers we have right to question or criticize you as you are one. HOWEVER, you feel as though you DO have the right to question or criticize a presidential candidate even though you have never been one.

      Like Liz said, can you honestly look in a mirror and not see the problems with that logic? Because if you can’t and you believe that cops are above criticism from non-cops but politicians are not, then you are a prime example of why people are outraged by the hypocritical lack of police oversight.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 11:11 am

      I can see and that she’s a liar. Don’t have to be an expert on that one. No…never ever said cops can’t be criticized by non cops. It come to the point of questioning things you don’t know or understand especially police tactics or the law. But damn u write long replies…lol.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 11:12 am

      Yeah, I write long replies because this is what I do for a living. Specifically I analyze culture in regard to race class and gender. So you know… I have a little bit of expertise here.

      That said, I don’t need it. You see that Hilary is a liar and that’s fine. I see that you’re being hypocritical.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 11:16 am

      Tell me Chris Maverick… how do non police oversee police? How do u know as a civilian what it takes to deal with societies problems day after day. To have people second guess u for the micro second decision u had to make when they weren’t there to see it or more importantly to experience it. There’s a standard in the law called the reasonable officers standard. What would a reasonable officer…not civilian…do in a certain case. I’m with u as far as policing is not perfect and society has gotten worse. There are bad cops. I’ve worked with a few. But these guys and ladies put their lives on the line every single day. For all of us.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 11:18 am

      Mike Land, all you know about me is that I disagree with you. I think you’d be pretty surprised if you knew my background.

      And despite that, somehow, I can manage to see that a guy pinned on the ground without use of his hands AFTER the cops have been told it’s the wrong guy… that shooting him is murder. Mostly, I like cops. I have a pretty long history around cops, as it happens. And if you are a cop, and the best you can do when somebody points out that going “bang bang” for the hell of it is to grumble that they must be a Hilary supporter, you have no business with a gun or a badge.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 11:19 am

      To be honest I think that yes u are entitled to ur opinion but I think u see urself as a professional opinion editor who rightly or wrongly has an opinion on just bout everything. That said ur not an expert in all u opine about.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 11:23 am

      Liz it’s funny how u pick and chose what I say to attack me. Problem is Liz…u weren’t there! Neither was I. But… u so well versed on these situations that u know exactly what happened and that this guy was murdered cause he was black. I’m retired… and I will always give a cop the benefit of the doubt especially knowing that this guy had a gun. Or are u going to suggest the cops planted it?

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 11:25 am

      So liz….u actually think these cops shot this man…..just for kicks… eh. Hey let’s kill a black guy tonight in a busy parking lot so we can be video taped. Seriously. That sounds alittle delusional

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 11:25 am

      So liz….u actually think these cops shot this man…..just for kicks… eh. Hey let’s kill a black guy tonight in a busy parking lot so we can be video taped. Seriously. That sounds alittle delusional

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 11:25 am

      So liz….u actually think these cops shot this man…..just for kicks… eh. Hey let’s kill a black guy tonight in a busy parking lot so we can be video taped. Seriously. That sounds alittle delusional

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 11:25 am

      So liz….u actually think these cops shot this man…..just for kicks… eh. Hey let’s kill a black guy tonight in a busy parking lot so we can be video taped. Seriously. That sounds alittle delusional

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 11:26 am

      Chris…liz….if I may ask. How old u are?

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 11:26 am

      Chris…liz….if I may ask. How old u are?

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 11:26 am

      Chris…liz….if I may ask. How old u are?

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 11:26 am

      Chris…liz….if I may ask. How old u are?

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 11:29 am

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 11:29 am
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      July 7, 2016 at 11:29 am
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      July 7, 2016 at 11:29 am
    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 11:42 am

      Gee Mike, why don’t you just have a check run on me to find out how old I am? And where I live? And what my record is? Because I disagree with you, so clearly I’m stupid, and possibly a criminal, so, what the hell, mop up one more, right?

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 11:44 am

      Omg. Stop. ..lol. that wasn’t the point of the question. Quit being paranoid…lol

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 11:45 am

      Hey if I’m proven wrong I’ll freely admit it. I’m not passing judgement on the yet. If they effed up they should be held accountable

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 11:47 am

      But I will never back down from police tactics and from what I’ve seen. But I do believe that those guys did not go looking to kill a black man or anyone else

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 11:49 am

      Sure… I’ll play this game. I won’t answer for Liz or Steve (who you asked in the other thread) because it’s their personal business.

      I’m 41 years old. I’m a month and a half away from being 42. I have a bachelors and a masters degree in cultural studies. I am currently pursing a PhD in English with a focus on popular media and depictions of race, culture and class in the 20th century and the ramification that occur when narratives concerning them are depicted in said media at Duquesne University where I also teach. Specifically that job is called being a cultural critic. I formerly spent a a couple decades as a software designer and expert in human factors for fortune 100 companies where my specialty was developing software that behaved in accordance to the predefined expectations and experiences of common users. I am admittedly extremely pompous and arrogant and thrive on feedback and discourse from people who both agree with me and don’t which is why I write a blog where you are seeing these comments. I have a genius IQ. I have God complex and I am never ever sick at sea.

      So yeah… my expertise is pretty much up in your face on this particular issue.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 11:52 am

      Haha…good for you Chris Maverick nice resume. Seriously takes a lot to have that education. But seems to me uve spent most of ur yrs on a college campus and not the real world. Believe me I know…my brother is a software engineer for Lockheed Martin. Lol.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 11:52 am

      So wait, you haven’t passed judgment yet, but meanwhile everything you’ve posted upthread defends them?

      Here’s all you need to know about me, Mike: I’m a taxpayer, and you’re a (retired) civil servant living off of those taxes. So show some respect for those you protect, serve, and get paid by.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 11:53 am

      And I have a long resume at the school of hard knocks in the real world dealing with people’s real problems so I guess my expertise is pretty much up in your face on that one…

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 11:56 am

      That said, it doesn’t need to be. People have opinions. They’re all valid. Even yours. And I will give you credit for “testifying” in what is clearly a hostile forum for your particular view. That’s commendable.

      It’s my forum and so anything you say that is counter to me is going to be an uphill battle. Most of these people read me because they are predisposed to find me interesting and thoughtful and entertaining. The chips are stacked against you, and again… good for you for sticking to your guns (no pun intended)

      BUT, that said, you are walking into my house… and doing so with a holier than thou attitude. You’re making faulty assumption about the background of the people you are arguing with and you’re making your points poorly against not only me…. someone who is literally paid to be better at this than you, but random other people. The logic you have used is faulty and the rhetoric you’ve used is hypocritical and combative. The placement of your argument as “I am a cop and have the right to criticize everyone, but you don’t know being a cop so you can’t criticize me” immediately undercuts the argument that you are making about cops not being criticizable.

      I get that you don’t get that. You even did it again when you pointed out that I was living in some ivory tower AFTER I told you that I’d spent a long time not doing that. I get that you are proud of your career. And I’ve even told you a few things I agree with. BUT you’re really not doing your argument much service by falling into the trap of insulting people and being hypocritical in doing so.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 11:56 am

      Liz…I live off the money I paid into a pension. Not tax dollars. I just love people who’ll get so defensive when they are challenged with facts. Liz..I don’t dislike or hate you…I’m not mad. U have your opinion I have mine. That’s the way this works. I give respect when I get respect. I never asked anyone to kiss my ass when I was a cop. U got what u gave. That’s all

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 11:57 am

      I suppose it’s not much of a surprise that if you don’t understand murder, you might not understand how pensions are funded, either.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 11:59 am

      Ok by that same token your saying…it’s my forum so I’m lord and master and the resident know it all. Uhmmmm now THAT seems a little hypocritical. Lol

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 12:00 pm

      Lol ..liz..yeah I do…know how pensions work. Jesus….issues this the …is this the smarter than you forum? Lol.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 12:01 pm

      Why didn’t this dawn on me before…your both Bernie sanders supporters… explains a lot. Lol.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 12:02 pm

      Ok. You guys have a wonderful life. Be safe and by all means just cooperate and don’t resist..

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 12:03 pm

      “Be safe and by all means just cooperate and don’t resist”

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 12:06 pm

      Freedom means licking the boots of the police, dontcha know?

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 12:07 pm

      Jack boot thugs

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 12:07 pm

      Mike, you’re the jack booted thug

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 12:11 pm

      Lol…. I bet u want everything for free from the government

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 12:14 pm

      That’s a dumb reply, Mike. I bet I don’t.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 12:14 pm

      For the most part I’m done with this, I’ve had enough of these arguments to recognize when someone (clearly a Trump supporter based on his opinions about a non-political issue :-/ ) is unwilling to even attempt to try to look at the opposing viewpoints being presented. And honestly I’m sick of attempting to decipher writing that looks like an angry 15 year old’s trolling.

      But I will give one final example for you to reflect upon Mike. You keep stating repeatedly that these officers were in the right because they were doing what they were trained to do. We keep trying to point out that that is part of the problem, that the training itself, that the culture of law enforcement itself is dated and needs to be revised. But you keep stating I don’t know what I’m talking about because I’m not a cop.

      So I’ll finally clue you in to my background and use a relevant example from that. I’m an EMT of nearly a decade and a half serving communities in and around the city of Pittsburgh. Every two years I need to take a new CPR course. Every three years I have to take a certain number of hours of educational courses. New protocols are released at random intervals but in my experience never more than three years since the previous set of protocols. Why this constant change? Because we constantly are evaluating the effectiveness of what we do and adjusting how we do it in order to improve. The CPR I do today is much different than what I was first taught, not just in terms of numbers of compressions or breaths but our very mechanics have altered. We now handle patients requiring restraints in a vastly different fashion. How we respond to or from calls in regards to the use of warning devices has changed. The immobilization of possible spinal injuries has changed. Burn treatments change so frequently I just let a doc tell me how to respond so I know I’m using the most up to date method. And the result of all this constant change is an improvement in the success rate of our treatment, reduction of secondary injuries and infections, reduction of work related accidents, etc. We understand and accept that our industry is not doing everything in the best way possible, we constantly study what’s wrong, why, and how to improve it, and we readily accept the changes necessary to better serve or community the next time.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 12:15 pm

      Mike thinking this strategy will be effective is the saddest thing. I mean, I can’t even be mad at him. It’s just too pathetic.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 12:17 pm

      Just throwing this out there – our new pal Mike Land Jr. has indicated he’s from PA, is linked to a bunch of bike shops/affinity groups on Facebook – and wait! There’s this! Are we being lectured by a (young looking) bike salesman who went out of business and took the goods with him? Mike, DO weigh in on whether this is you or not. http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Hy-Pro-Scooters-HPS-Motorsports-Tom-Hodge-Mike-Land-Jr/Pittsburgh-Pennsylvania-15234/Hy-Pro-Scooters-HPS-Motorsports-Tom-Hodge-Mike-Land-Jr-Took-possesion-of-a-scooter-for-1171320

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 12:22 pm

      Time to go make some popcorn.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 1:42 pm

      Oh dear, nothing but crickets. Wonder if he was ever an actual cop at all.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 2:06 pm

      Oh liz…. here u accuse me of having u checked out and here u do it to me…lol. if u must know ..nothing to hide. I did close my business but person saying this has Thier facts wrong. Thier scooter was repaired for over a year and refused to pay. So it was sold. There ya have it…lol. now I think I will have that check made…

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 3:00 pm

      Wow. What a creepy little piece of work this dude is. He is exactly why so many people hate cops and he has no idea at all why.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 3:01 pm

      Sorry, forgot to add “……….lol u lol” to fit in better.

    • avatar
      July 8, 2016 at 4:21 am

      I used Google, not a police database (just checking, since you still claim to have been a cop, that you’re aware that you can’t just run checks whenever/wherever… you do know that, right? so if anyone lands at my door, guess who i’m pointing them to)

  8. avatar
    July 7, 2016 at 5:17 am

    The problem is not “systemic racism”. That is a myth. There is no system in this country other than the one fabricated by those who benefit from racial discord.

    And by pushing the “blacks are being hunted” narrative, you are doing nothing more than contributing to the problem.

    Black culture has been breeding criminals for 60 years. Teaching men to be “hard” and to “represent”. Black culture has been sewing the seeds of mistrust between the black COMMUNITY and those around them. And it is black culture that is directly responsible for the state of racism in this country in 2016.

    Everyone mentioned above was either a criminal or an arrogant self entitled idiot who did shit that none of the people who will blow smoke up your ass because of this post would do.

    I don’t care what this guy was doing. I don’t care what his criminal record was. In THIS case, none of that matters.

    They had him on the ground. A gun was 6 inches from his face. So unless a video comes out with him definitively, as in there is not one shred of fucking doubt about his intent, pulling a pistol from his pocket, there is no justification for his murder. And that is that.

    Doesn’t matter that he was a black man. That everyone says how kind and gentle a long time multiple felon was, who also happened to be carrying a gun “just selling CD’s”. Doesn’t matter.

    Doesn’t matter that he had 5 kids and was supporting them by hustling on the street. Doesn’t matter one bit.

    Man, on ground, gun, in face. Gets shot more than once. He could not possibly have been an imminent threat. Pulls a gun from his pocket(which I seriously doubt), step on his fucking head. Or hand, or any number of body parts. No fucking way this guy needed to be shot on his back, most likely in the face. But that don’t make him a hero, and it sure as fuck doesn’t make America a racist country.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 8:28 am

      Oh, man. I can’t. This is deluded.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 8:29 am

      Make a point. If you disagree, by all means present your opinion. I am more than willing to listen.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 8:43 am

      Somehow I doubt that a man who denies the existence of racism, systemic or otherwise, in America is willing to listen to anything which challenges his worldview.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 8:52 am

      I didn’t deny the existence of racism. That would be silly as most of what Chris posted is an example of the true racist attitudes in this country.

      What I said was that there was no system in this country that perpetuates racism against a particular group.

      What a lot of people deem as being “racist” is not equivalent to the actual systematic oppression of a particular group based on the color of their skin.

      Making the murder of this man a race issue, is in and of itself racist as it implies his murder should be viewed differently because he is black.

      The motivations of the police involved in this instance, are specific to the police officers involved in this instance.

      So again, while racism does exist, that does not imply that the overall system is inherently racist.

      A lot of factors are involved in cases such as this, not the least of which being the criminality of the victims.

      No, that does not justify murder, but it does factor into the circumstances by which they came to be murdered.

      None of which changes the facts in regards to the primary cause of death for black men in this country. Other black men.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 8:57 am

      Vic: The problem is that you don’t understand what “systemic” means. I don’t mean that as an insult. This has come up before. You literally don’t. You say that it’s a myth but then go on to describe, in detail, an instance of systemic racism.

      I’m not saying that there is some grand conspiracy by the Illuminati Organization of Police. I’m saying that there is a system, culturally constructed (you used the word fabricated, which is wrong, but that doesn’t really matter) by social history that has caused an environment where incidents like this occur at a greater rate than probability chance would dictate.

      Your essential argument here is “this is not systemic racism. It’s some other horrible thing that doesn’t have a name, because I don’t like the words ‘systemic racism’.” Your argument is wrong because you don’t understand what the sociological definition of the word is.

      Literally everything you are saying is evidence of the construction of systemic racism. It doesn’t matter that he has five kids. You don’t care what his criminal record is. It doesn’t matter if he was carrying a gun. No one deserves to be executed at point blank range when he was already subdued with two guns to his chest… etc. I agree with all of that.

      But your mental block against using the words that are used to refer to that situation is … well… just weird. And your most recent comment mostly points to it. You’re not even denying racism. You deny the word “system” which implies that… well, you don’t know how social systems work.

      As an aside. I’ve been meaning to do a post for quite a while that I haven’t gotten to about the current popular dialogue of “minorities can’t be racist and women can’t be sexist because of a lack of power.” This is false. It’s not so much that one side of the argument or the other constructed (or what you call fabricated) systemic racism. It doesn’t work like that. The issue is that systemic racism is a SYSTEM wherein both sides behave in relation to the system that was constructed through historic happenings. “Teaching men to be hard and represent” is as much a part of that system as shooting people at point blank range or paying lower wages. That’s what systemic means. Literally your response and the words you use to deny it is proof of the systems existence.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 9:11 am

      What is the system of racism then? My argument is that these instances are localized and not tolerated or perpetuated by the whole. Systemic implies a mechanism specifically designed to oppress one group because of their skin color. By all means, present an example of that system.

      There are about 37 million black people in this country. The police kill about 1000 people in a year on average. About 400 of those killed by police are black. How exactly is that indicative of systemic racism?

      This man was murdered. Does his race matter? If so, why? He was a human being, his life was ended. The perpetrators are known. The evidence points to murder. Would you care less if it were the same video and he was white? Now that would be racist, but it would still be centered on your perception and not indicative of systemic racism against whites.

      You say that both sides are creating this “system”. Yet somehow the vast majority of people seem to not be affected by that system. A poor white person has the same lack of opportunity as a poor black person. Just as a rich black person has the same chance of success as a affluent white. Examples of both abound.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 9:16 am

      Do some math: if 400 out of 1000 killed by police, what is the proportional amount of death when compared to the overall population?

      If blacks were as populous as whites, I’d shut up. Thats not the case, not nearly.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 9:23 am

      What is the proportional amount of people who are armed? Who shot first? Where were these people killed? How many other deaths occurred in the areas…

      There are MANY factors that contribute to these numbers. You are looking for equivalency based on amount of A as opposed to B.

      The stability of the black home has declined over the last 50 years, which has a great deal of impact on their ability for growth. It is not simply a game of numbers. But when a claim is made in regards to “epidemics” of gun violence, or police hunting black people.

      Knowing just how common these things are is at least somewhat relevant as it enables perspective.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 9:25 am

      I see that you’re disinterested in researching. As you pointed out, I’m no expert but I am capable of researching, and I’m a giver so:

      Although black men make up only 6 percent of the U.S. population, they account for 40 percent of the unarmed men shot to death by police this year.

      In the majority of cases in which police shot and killed a person who had attacked someone with a weapon or brandished a gun, the person who was shot was white.

      But a hugely disproportionate number — 3 in 5 — of those killed after exhibiting less threatening behavior were black or Hispanic. The stakes are higher for POC. Period.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 9:34 am

      Also I think Justice Sotomayor counts as an expert. Do you think she’s uneducated or ignorant?

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 9:34 am

      Again. 40% of what? 40% sounds like a lot, doesn’t it. 3 in 5 sounds like a lot, oh my goodness.

      Right up until you realize that 6% is equivalent to about 17 MILLION and that 40% equals about 400.

      So as one of the 17 MILLION. My chances of being one of the 400, are EXTREMELY slim, regardless of their portion of the 1000 or so deaths at the hands of police. That does not imply a systemic problem. Especially when you factor in the circumstances of the encounters and the areas in which they occur.

      How many of these cases like Alton Sterling have made national news in the past 8 years? 10? Let’s assume there are 10 times that where the cops are completely wrong and 100 people get murdered by the police and it is because the police in those cases are racist.

      There are about 1 million cops in the US. Give or take. And lets go even further and say all 40% of the black people killed were killed by racists assholes.

      So lets say 800 cops were involved. 2 per incident.

      800 out of 1 million. Systemic? Part of a system that keeps blacks down through media, social engineering and intimidation?

      Really?

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 9:35 am

      And the Justice would do well to look at the bigger picture.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 9:35 am

      Because again, you don’t understand what “systemic” means. This is not an implication that the “legal system” or the government is on a witch hunt for black people. It’s a reference to a social system. Specifically, we live in a social system wherein because of historic (Whoevers fault they may be is actually irrelevant) there is an inherent mistrust and social inequality that occurs and through it’s very existence perpetuates the social system.

      Even ignoring the fact that blacks are both killed more often tan police and incarcerated disproportionately with their representation in the general populace… even ignoring the fact that courts general punish them more harshly than white convicts… even assuming that black people actually are more likely to commit violent crimes (something which it turns out is statistically false, which is why the above things that we are ignoring are particularly troubling), the continued existence of the impression by the populace that there is a problem is evidence of the social problem existing.

      We aren’t talking laws here (well not just laws) we are talking culture. To use your specific examples, and take them as gospel… if a world exists where one race is more likely to be impoverished than another or where one race is innately mistrustful of the authoritative establishment than the other or where one race has a cultural response to behave in a certain “inappropriate manner” through upbringing (what you called being raised to be hard). ANY of those things would be a sociological system… and a racist sociological system at that. We call that a system that meets those criteria “systemic racism” (because that’s a descriptive name).

      In this case, ALL of those things are true. As well as several others. THAT is systemic. That’s what it means. Fault is irrelevant in determining it. Directionality is irrelevant in determining it. YOU are describing a system and then for reasons that none of us understand are saying “but that’s not a system”

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 9:35 am

      Everyone go home, Vic is the Expert of All Things.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 9:48 am

      It is convenient that you can create a system that exists purely to prove your point. It is my biggest issue with your field of expertise and study.

      Our social system is not static. It does not exist solely as a product of history or even of current events. It ebbs and flows based on the will and ideas of the people.

      I have stated many times that the manipulation of the system, through media, propaganda, etc. Limits the ability to predict and or explain societal reactions. The vast majority of people are influenced by what they are told is true, not by actual truth.

      You are suggesting that racism pops into being based on how people react. How they are raised. What they see on TV, in the movies etc. Which is possible. But it is not static. The same institutions that can create discrepancies can and do even things out. The fact that people, ill informed or not, can get behind BLM, or feminism, etc. is proof that the system is fluid.

      So what I believe is that while these things(racism, sexism, bigotry, etc.) do in fact exist WITHIN the system. They do not define it.

      It is this fluidity that discredits the idea of “systemic” anything as there is nothing inherent to our social system that stops the flow from one side to another. Left to right, man to woman, black to white.

      If you have proof to the contrary, by all means, I am listening.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 11:27 am

      I don’t need proof. You just gave it. The problem is you don’t like the terms. “Systemic Racism” isn’t prescriptive. It’s descriptive. I am not a conspiracy theorist. I don’t believe that some 180 year old illuminati named Whitey McLyncherson is sitting in a tower somewhere manipulating the legal system to kill black people or make sure women are paid less money. That’s ridiculous.

      We are describing the system in which this has occurred. A system that is implicitly racist. Direction, intention, dynamics… those are all irrelevant.

      As I pointed out, you eve said it: ” It ebbs and flows based on the will and ideas of the people.” and “I have stated many times that the manipulation of the system, through media, propaganda, etc” “The fact that people, ill informed or not, can get behind BLM, or feminism, etc. is proof that the system is fluid.”

      YES… that is all true. You are describing what is called a cultural system. #BlackLivesMatter can ONLY exist in a system wherein it is a response to something. The very existence of a cultural movement that has more than like 5 people prospering is evidence of a sociological system.

      You’re literally writing the proof for me.

      The problem is you suffer from what rhetoric calls egocentric thinking. You take the evidence of which you are speaking and try to retrofit it your predefined beliefs. Specifically you are saying “hey here’s all this stuff that you call systemic racism, but I don’t like that term and therefore systemic racism doesn’t exist.”

      THAT’S NOT HOW IT WORKS.

      No one is saying (well, let me hamper that… some people are… but I’m not. And AJ Ortega, Tim Bruhn, Laura Valentine or Rod Roscoe certainly aren’t) that the system does not allow for anything but black people to be persecuted. That would be ridiculous. What we are saying is that a system EXISTS wherein a black people are disproportionately treated in racist ways. Intention and causality are irrelevant! This always comes up. It isn’t part of our argument, but since you believe it isn’t true, you offer it as proof. It doesn’t matter. YOU are describing the system. You just don’t like the name.

      I will say that I do agree with you on a key point here. Simplification DOES limit the ability to predict or explain cultural reactions. That’s why I go out of my way to have these discussions. But you’re doing that right now. You’re rejecting the evidence that you are presenting (unknowingly) and disparaging the entire field (actually several field: sociology, rhetoric and cultural studies) because you disagree with the term being used because of a misunderstanding of the specifics of the definition.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 11:27 am

      I don’t need proof. You just gave it. The problem is you don’t like the terms. “Systemic Racism” isn’t prescriptive. It’s descriptive. I am not a conspiracy theorist. I don’t believe that some 180 year old illuminati named Whitey McLyncherson is sitting in a tower somewhere manipulating the legal system to kill black people or make sure women are paid less money. That’s ridiculous.

      We are describing the system in which this has occurred. A system that is implicitly racist. Direction, intention, dynamics… those are all irrelevant.

      As I pointed out, you eve said it: ” It ebbs and flows based on the will and ideas of the people.” and “I have stated many times that the manipulation of the system, through media, propaganda, etc” “The fact that people, ill informed or not, can get behind BLM, or feminism, etc. is proof that the system is fluid.”

      YES… that is all true. You are describing what is called a cultural system. #BlackLivesMatter can ONLY exist in a system wherein it is a response to something. The very existence of a cultural movement that has more than like 5 people prospering is evidence of a sociological system.

      You’re literally writing the proof for me.

      The problem is you suffer from what rhetoric calls egocentric thinking. You take the evidence of which you are speaking and try to retrofit it your predefined beliefs. Specifically you are saying “hey here’s all this stuff that you call systemic racism, but I don’t like that term and therefore systemic racism doesn’t exist.”

      THAT’S NOT HOW IT WORKS.

      No one is saying (well, let me hamper that… some people are… but I’m not. And AJ Ortega, Tim Bruhn, Laura Valentine or Rod Roscoe certainly aren’t) that the system does not allow for anything but black people to be persecuted. That would be ridiculous. What we are saying is that a system EXISTS wherein a black people are disproportionately treated in racist ways. Intention and causality are irrelevant! This always comes up. It isn’t part of our argument, but since you believe it isn’t true, you offer it as proof. It doesn’t matter. YOU are describing the system. You just don’t like the name.

      I will say that I do agree with you on a key point here. Simplification DOES limit the ability to predict or explain cultural reactions. That’s why I go out of my way to have these discussions. But you’re doing that right now. You’re rejecting the evidence that you are presenting (unknowingly) and disparaging the entire field (actually several field: sociology, rhetoric and cultural studies) because you disagree with the term being used because of a misunderstanding of the specifics of the definition.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 11:27 am

      I don’t need proof. You just gave it. The problem is you don’t like the terms. “Systemic Racism” isn’t prescriptive. It’s descriptive. I am not a conspiracy theorist. I don’t believe that some 180 year old illuminati named Whitey McLyncherson is sitting in a tower somewhere manipulating the legal system to kill black people or make sure women are paid less money. That’s ridiculous.

      We are describing the system in which this has occurred. A system that is implicitly racist. Direction, intention, dynamics… those are all irrelevant.

      As I pointed out, you eve said it: ” It ebbs and flows based on the will and ideas of the people.” and “I have stated many times that the manipulation of the system, through media, propaganda, etc” “The fact that people, ill informed or not, can get behind BLM, or feminism, etc. is proof that the system is fluid.”

      YES… that is all true. You are describing what is called a cultural system. #BlackLivesMatter can ONLY exist in a system wherein it is a response to something. The very existence of a cultural movement that has more than like 5 people prospering is evidence of a sociological system.

      You’re literally writing the proof for me.

      The problem is you suffer from what rhetoric calls egocentric thinking. You take the evidence of which you are speaking and try to retrofit it your predefined beliefs. Specifically you are saying “hey here’s all this stuff that you call systemic racism, but I don’t like that term and therefore systemic racism doesn’t exist.”

      THAT’S NOT HOW IT WORKS.

      No one is saying (well, let me hamper that… some people are… but I’m not. And AJ Ortega, Tim Bruhn, Laura Valentine or Rod Roscoe certainly aren’t) that the system does not allow for anything but black people to be persecuted. That would be ridiculous. What we are saying is that a system EXISTS wherein a black people are disproportionately treated in racist ways. Intention and causality are irrelevant! This always comes up. It isn’t part of our argument, but since you believe it isn’t true, you offer it as proof. It doesn’t matter. YOU are describing the system. You just don’t like the name.

      I will say that I do agree with you on a key point here. Simplification DOES limit the ability to predict or explain cultural reactions. That’s why I go out of my way to have these discussions. But you’re doing that right now. You’re rejecting the evidence that you are presenting (unknowingly) and disparaging the entire field (actually several field: sociology, rhetoric and cultural studies) because you disagree with the term being used because of a misunderstanding of the specifics of the definition.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 11:27 am

      I don’t need proof. You just gave it. The problem is you don’t like the terms. “Systemic Racism” isn’t prescriptive. It’s descriptive. I am not a conspiracy theorist. I don’t believe that some 180 year old illuminati named Whitey McLyncherson is sitting in a tower somewhere manipulating the legal system to kill black people or make sure women are paid less money. That’s ridiculous.

      We are describing the system in which this has occurred. A system that is implicitly racist. Direction, intention, dynamics… those are all irrelevant.

      As I pointed out, you eve said it: ” It ebbs and flows based on the will and ideas of the people.” and “I have stated many times that the manipulation of the system, through media, propaganda, etc” “The fact that people, ill informed or not, can get behind BLM, or feminism, etc. is proof that the system is fluid.”

      YES… that is all true. You are describing what is called a cultural system. #BlackLivesMatter can ONLY exist in a system wherein it is a response to something. The very existence of a cultural movement that has more than like 5 people prospering is evidence of a sociological system.

      You’re literally writing the proof for me.

      The problem is you suffer from what rhetoric calls egocentric thinking. You take the evidence of which you are speaking and try to retrofit it your predefined beliefs. Specifically you are saying “hey here’s all this stuff that you call systemic racism, but I don’t like that term and therefore systemic racism doesn’t exist.”

      THAT’S NOT HOW IT WORKS.

      No one is saying (well, let me hamper that… some people are… but I’m not. And AJ Ortega, Tim Bruhn, Laura Valentine or Rod Roscoe certainly aren’t) that the system does not allow for anything but black people to be persecuted. That would be ridiculous. What we are saying is that a system EXISTS wherein a black people are disproportionately treated in racist ways. Intention and causality are irrelevant! This always comes up. It isn’t part of our argument, but since you believe it isn’t true, you offer it as proof. It doesn’t matter. YOU are describing the system. You just don’t like the name.

      I will say that I do agree with you on a key point here. Simplification DOES limit the ability to predict or explain cultural reactions. That’s why I go out of my way to have these discussions. But you’re doing that right now. You’re rejecting the evidence that you are presenting (unknowingly) and disparaging the entire field (actually several field: sociology, rhetoric and cultural studies) because you disagree with the term being used because of a misunderstanding of the specifics of the definition.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 11:42 am

      ” What we are saying is that a system EXISTS wherein a black people are disproportionately treated in racist ways.”

      The people who are “disproportionately treated in racist ways”, is being black their only commonality? Is that the primary factor for what you determine to be mistreatment?

      From my perspective you are pointing at your conclusion as proof of your hypothesis. We see this as racist, therefore racism must be the cause of what we see.

      THAT is why I am skeptical of sociology, rhetoric and cultural studies.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 12:25 pm

      Vic, please read Mav’s comment before you respond.

      He didn’t say racism is the cause. He is saying that racism is the result. He is asserting that intentions don’t matter. The results do.

      We have a society where the criminal justice system disproportionat affects people based on their race. It affects how likely people are to be pulled over, cited, arrested, prosecuted and how likely they are to be shot and killed by the people that are supposed to serve and protect.

      Personally I don’t care if we agree or disagree on whether the term “systematic racism” is the right term. What matters is the results, and that we live in a society that perpetuates those results.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 12:34 pm

      “It affects how likely” is not the same as it is the reason. I did read his post, and I do agree that the results do matter.

      But racism is not a passive act. It doesn’t just happen. Something does not become racist because someone claims it to be. Either it(whatever it may be) oppresses someone SPECIFICALLY because of their race, or it does not.

      That is my point. You are pointing to the results and saying, see, see here, this happened to a black guy, it happened to a bunch of black guys, must be racism.

      You can’t accidentally be racist. You can accidentally cause offense, but that is not necessarily racism. Or do you feel that it is?

      I am fine that we don’t agree. I would just prefer my arguments not be framed as naive. I am well aware of what racism is, I don’t need a lesson from anyone posting here LOL.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 12:50 pm

      Your actions can be racist even if your intention is not racist. Just like something could be legally sexual harassment even if the person being charged with sexual harassment did not intend to harass or intend for their actions to be directed at the accuser.

      The reason why I said that you didn’t read what Mac wrote is because you said that he said things that he didn’t say. I’m fine if you disagree with him (well, really I’m not) but please stop putting words in his mouth

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 12:55 pm

      Vic: The problem is… and I know you’re going to hate this because it sounds hella insulting, but I have no better way to put it. Your argument IS naive.

      Stay with me for a second before getting upset.

      Your essential argument is “This is what I saw, and it’s this horrible thing about the system but it has no name because I don’t like the term systemic racism because racism has to be intentional and since sociology, rhetoric and cultural studies disagree with me, they must be wrong because I am right and this isn’t systemic racism. It is a thing without a name.”

      None of us are saying intention matters. None of us are saying it’s causal (at least not in the way you mean). in this thread and others, Laura and I specifically (and others but I know the two of us) have given you numbers to the effect that *statistically* there is an overrepresentation of black people in prison. *Statistically* there are a greater number of black people killed by police than white people. *Statistically* there is an income disparity. *Statistically* there is a prison sentence disparity. You keep asking for proof. There you go.

      We live in a system where that is the case. You’ve even said yourself that the system is the system. I am saying that the cause of the disparity is not in question. Even if black people are naturally less intelligent and more violent genetically and therefore the disparities are warranted, they are still individuals within that system and therefore a disparity of race in that system exists. We call that “systemic racism.”

      You don’t like it. But that’s the word. It’s not about intention. You use that as your proof that it doesn’t exist but that’s not what cultural critics, sociologists or rhetoricians mean by the word. So you are arguing against a straw man.

      So that returns to Kevin’s point. We are describing a system. The system has a name. Your argument that we named the system wrong and therefore sociology, rhetoric and cultural studies are invalid because you don’t like the name just … doesn’t work. The frustration that people feel here isn’t that you disagree with us (again, I shouldn’t speak for everyone… but I know that it’s my frustration and from talking to her, I know it’s Laura’s). The frustration is that your argument is circular, and invalidates itself purely by your making it.

      I don’t think you’re trying to be obtuse. Laura specifically said the same thing a few comments ago. But your argument is basically… dizzying… It’s frustrating in a different way than then Mike Land argument above is. In HIS case, we are complaining because we find him specifically hypocritical and kind of directly racist through action and word (though, at least not obviously through intention. We have no way of knowing). In your case, the frustration is that you are arguing in a circle and seem far more intent on proving that your definitions are right despite their being contrary to well established discourse than actually making a coherent point.

      Again…. you have several times defined systemic racism even to the point of arguing what a lot of LIBERAL miss, which is that INTENTION, and EVEN RACE OF THE INDIVIDUAL ACTOR is not relevant in that definition. And then you conclude with something that is literally logically incompatible with everything that you’ve just said and follow that with you are therefore more evolved than the established discourse which you are intuitively describing and MOSTLY AGREEING WITH just because you don’t like how words work.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 8:31 pm

      All I know is what I’ve seen as the wife of a Federal law enforcement officer: The darker the skin, the more afraid we are. The more afraid we are, the more likely we are to shoot. This goes for whites who are scared of Mexican-Americans, Mexican-Americans who are afraid of Mexicans, and Mexicans who are afraid of Hondos and Guats and ElSals. Go ahead– be shocked. I was. But when you live in a place that breeds ignorance and racism, people will rise to those levels and fulfill every expectation. I’m a bleeding-heart lib with a few scars, so I keep crossing my fingers and hoping for the best, all while loading my Ruger and blithely assuming I won’t have to use it on a human being. I do my yoga and my meditation and strive for mercy for all living creatures and then I remember what it’s like to be afraid for my son. For other peoples’ children. My relationship with humanity–it’s complicated.

    • avatar
      July 8, 2016 at 8:07 am

      Chris Maverick Attributing the disparity you see to race might be convenient in regards to your world view. It does not, however, negate all of the other factors that go into determining an outcome of a particular situation.

    • avatar
      July 8, 2016 at 8:13 am

      Megan Cleveland

      “The darker the skin, the more afraid we are. The more afraid we are, the more likely we are to shoot. This goes for whites who are scared of Mexican-Americans, Mexican-Americans who are afraid of Mexicans, and Mexicans who are afraid of Hondos and Guats and ElSals.”

      That predisposition is not simply based on how dark someones skin may be. There is a reason why some groups are viewed with caution in SOME areas. There is also a reason why this does not happen in places where crime and violence are not the daily norm.

      Mistrust is not in and of itself racism. Skepticism is not in and of itself racism.

    • avatar
      July 8, 2016 at 8:17 am

      No one said it does. Again. You’re the only one making that argument.

      Well I get that you’re arguing against it. But literally no one is saying its a microcosm. In fact the actual argument is that it is a combination of factors. Race, class, gender, socioeconomic status, shifts in the political climate, general shittiness of human beings… Hell the phase of the moon.

      Systems are complex. Race is one of many factors. Literally no one here is disputing that except that you keep insisting that we are.

      Like I said. The term “systemic racism” is descriptive not prescriptive. If it helps to make things clearer I’d also say there is systemic classism, systemic sexism, systemic ageism… Etc.

    • avatar
      July 8, 2016 at 8:19 am

      Skepticism in many case this one included IS racism. Again, your argument is based on “I don’t like this definition.”

      If we called it systemic fnordism would that be better?

    • avatar
      July 8, 2016 at 8:32 am

      You say that, yet focus on race as if it were the determinant factor. That has been the argument made by pretty much every person in this thread. These things happen because black.

      And what definition do you think I don’t like? Racism is what it is, I am not the one trying to redefine it as something it is else.

      You want to change the perception without addressing the reasons for that perception.

      I want to address the reasons at their source.

    • avatar
      July 8, 2016 at 8:32 am

      You say that, yet focus on race as if it were the determinant factor. That has been the argument made by pretty much every person in this thread. These things happen because black.

      And what definition do you think I don’t like? Racism is what it is, I am not the one trying to redefine it as something it is else.

      You want to change the perception without addressing the reasons for that perception.

      I want to address the reasons at their source.

    • avatar
      July 8, 2016 at 8:41 am

      NO! Again, that is your misconception. I think you said it very well in response to Steve Shaffer on the computer model thread below. We’re not saying “A happens because people are black” we’re saying “A happens to black people more often because of B.” We have continuously told you that you are misunderstanding the point. The key here is since “black people” are a race and because in the system A happens more, the system is inherently racist…ergo systemic racism. I’ve saying numerous times that causality and intention don’t matter in the definition.

      You ARE trying to redefine racism. You want it mean intention. You want it to mean causality. It doesn’t mean those things. It simply means inherent inequality across race. Most of us here agree with that term. Most of us want to talk about why B affects A in the above statement.

      You’re the only one who keeps saying we can’t get there because racism is defined wrong.

    • avatar
      July 8, 2016 at 9:11 am

      “The key here is since “black people” are a race and because in the system A happens more, the system is inherently racist…ergo systemic racism.”

      That is completely dependent on B. And B could be anything, it could be something centered in the black community, the fact that A happens more to black people is not indicative of racism. It is indicative of B affecting black people more.

      Something affecting someone disproportionately is not a definitive indicator that their race is the cause. That’s ridiculous. B could come from within just as easily as it could from without.

      “You ARE trying to redefine racism. You want it mean intention. You want it to mean causality. It doesn’t mean those things. It simply means inherent inequality across race. Most of us here agree with that term. ”

      No it doesn’t. First of all because there is no “inherent inequality”. I am not inherently less equal because I am brown. Being in the minority, regardless of race is far more relevant in regards to equality than what color we may be.

      Second. The fact that “most of you agree” is the whole problem LOL. YOU are the primary cause of what you claim to be against, racism.

      Look, please stop redefining my argument.

      Racism is an act. I am not the only person who believes this. I am not crazy, or misinformed, that is my assessment of the available information. I do not lack the ability to comprehend your position. We simply do not agree.

      You can validate your ideas in any way you like. That’s fine. I am not concerned with rehashing the idea that we don’t agree in regards to what it means to be racist or to be affected by racism.

      My question to you is this. What is your solution to what YOU see as systemic racism. How exactly do you propose we solve that problem? I don’t need to agree with you to have an interest in that point of view.

      And I know, I know, it isn’t a “point of view”, this is what you study, it is what it is, gotcha. I am not being a wise ass, we have already established your certainty in regards to what you know on the subject. I still don’t agree, so that is neither here nor there.

    • avatar
      July 8, 2016 at 10:21 am

      Sigh….

      “Look, please stop redefining my argument.

      Racism is an act. I am not the only person who believes this. I am not crazy, or misinformed, that is my assessment of the available information. I do not lack the ability to comprehend your position. We simply do not agree.”

      You get that you just said not to redefine your argument and then told us that we are all wrong because of the definition that we agree on, right?

      “That is completely dependent on B. And B could be anything, it could be something centered in the black community, the fact that A happens more to black people is not indicative of racism. It is indicative of B affecting black people more.

      Something affecting someone disproportionately is not a definitive indicator that their race is the cause. That’s ridiculous. B could come from within just as easily as it could from without.”

      Again… YES… and that’s exactly what systemic racism is all about. Once again, this isn’t a redefinition of your argument. The only discrepancy here is that you keep saying we’re wrong because we refuse to acknowledge that you know the terms better than we do.

      You keep saying “B could be anything. All that we know is that B affects black people more” and I keep telling you that is literally what the term “systemic racism” means. I honestly don’t know how to make it any clearer than that. You literally keep saying “it’s this other thing that isn’t racism” but you won’t give it a name. I even said “would it help to call it systemic fnordism.” The problem is that you literally discount everything because you disagree with the definition and therefore disrespect the entire field of people who do this for a living.

      “My question to you is this. What is your solution to what YOU see as systemic racism. How exactly do you propose we solve that problem? I don’t need to agree with you to have an interest in that point of view. ”

      That’s a much more complicated question. For starters it goes to getting an agreed upon discourse so that the discussions can proceed. That’s literally what everyone here is frustrated with you about. But sure lets set it aside. Next what you do is examine what the causes of systemic fnordism are. There are literally volumes written here. But you’d probably hate them because they’re written by cultural theorists and sociologists. But here goes… (in the following comment).

    • avatar
      July 8, 2016 at 10:21 am

      Systemic Fnordism is caused by a combination of socioeconomic factors linked to historic discrepancies in power dynamics. Marx shows us that financially in a capitalist system the bourgeois in order to maximize capital must purchase commodity goods at the lowest possible rates in order to yield sellable product. The proletariat on the other hand sells his labor power to the bourgeois as the only good of value he has to contribute to the system. At one point in history the American bourgeois determined that they could achieve essentially zero cost renewable work force by utilizing black people as slaves. Therefore the labor power belonged to the bourgeois and was unnecessary to renew beyond the initial investment of capital. When slavery was abolished, the slaves were then converted to the lowest class of the proletariat. Coincidentally the industrial revolution following right on the heels of the American Civil war allowed for greater class mobility than was previously possible. However, because the white proletariat had a head start, and the abolishment of slavery came with a series of “Jim Crow” laws specifically designed to hold the former slaves at a lower level than the existing white proletariat, white people advanced through class mobility faster than black people. Since class mobility is actually harder than just saying it exists (systemic classism, a term you may also not like, but that’s a separate discussion) this meant that not only was it hard for the white proletariat to advance, but it was harder for the blacks. This is important because capitalism relies on a greater proletariat population than bourgeois.

      American capitalism, in specific, relies on the invention of an in-between middle class to aspire to rather than advancing directly into the bourgeois. However, given that capitalism doesn’t work without a proletariat the system requires that someone stay on the bottom in order to maintain stability. Since the country had a history of racial inequality, once the Jim Crow laws were abolished (more or less) because of the civil rights acts of the 1960s, class and race remained inherently linked. A greater number of blacks on the bottom becomes necessary for the equilibrium of the system. Not by design of course, but in point of fact through happenstance (and since this is fnordism and not racism that’s ok).

      So what this means is that in our current social system some 50 years later, fnordic forces have created a landscape of inequality where blacks are proportionately less likely to exist within the bourgeois and proportionately more likely to exist within the lowest rung of the proletariat.

      At the same time, psychology, psychoanalysis and sociology show us that humans innately mistrust those that deviate from them. The greater the deviation the greater the mistrust and/or fear. This is called “fear of the Other” and there are a lot of reasons for it. But the key here is that the initial mistrust happens, no matter how meager or innocent. And then human selection bias causes that mistrust to grow. The more negative things that happen in the “fnordic” system, the more the mistrust is justified in the minds of those most predisposed to it. And then because humans are pack animals mob mentality begins to affect those less predisposed. Thus mistrust grows between bourgeois and proletariat (on both sides) and because that is linked through casual observance, black and white. For that matter also men and women, republican and democrat, christian and muslim… whatever. “Others” this phenomenon is linked not to race but “difference.” The best and most readily apparent example of this is to look at the flood of memes that Mike Land is currently posting trying to establish his superiority over the “liberals” in Michael Higgins thread below. If you can’t see how this might be somewhat racially motivated… I guess this is going to be really hard. But at the very least I hope you can see the fear of the Other that he is presenting.

      This enters as a separate factor into the fnordic system. As you have mentioned yourself there are any number of factors that contribute to systemic fnordism. We could also talk about … say, religious teachings, cultural media, etc… I just don’t want to have to mention every factor ever because they don’t super matter. The point is in the system there is inherent inequality in status and/or treatment between two segments (subject and other… in this case black and white).

      Correcting this inequality is difficult. People want there to be magic wands. “Why don’t we elect a black president and fnordism will go away?” Except, obviously that doesn’t work. Because many factors have gone into the system. The advancement of one single individual doesn’t really change the percentages of blacks in the bourgeois or proletariat for instance. Systems are complex.

      So instead, we work to move the needle little by little with each additional step. Since all the factors while unique are linked through their existence in the system — that is to say, just as much as they can affect the system, the rest of the system affects them — any changes to the inequality status quo disrupts and normalizes the other factors. So, improvement of healthcare for minorities, ultimately improves the standing of the proletariat in general. Similarly access to reproductive healthcare for women (because gender is another issue that enters into the fnordic system) ultimately helps the minorities. Disruption of binary politics (i.e. improved attention of grass roots campaigns like libertarians tea parties, #BlackLivesMatter, communists or greens, be they on the conservative side or the liberal side) lessens the hold of the frozen political establishment thus allowing for greater proletariat mobility and transitively minority mobility. Greater population of minorities (and interbreeding) decreases the socioeconomic power of the over-race through sheer force of numbers.

      Ultimately (and here’s where we get to my Point of View, which in this case you’ve actually used correctly regardless of whether I am an expert or not) I don’t believe we can eliminate systemic fnordism. As I said, capitalism relies on inherent inequalities. And while I’m not necessarily a fan of capitalism, i do acknowledge that it is actually a more stable system than Marxism (and here is where I disagree with Marx) because the inherent mistrust of the Other will not allow true communism to flourish and human greed will ultimately always cause a tragedy of the commons. So that is to say that even if we were to hit the reset button and equalize all money tomorrow in a total socialist communist state, it would evolve towards someone being the bourgeois. Maybe it’s not white people this time. Maybe it’s women instead of women. But it doesn’t matter, the unequal status would still occur and therefore the system would trend towards fnordism.

      But, each little move of the needle causes a shift TOWARDS equilibrium. An equilibrium that while asymptotic, is still an admirable goal. And that starts with education and discourse. Which is what I do here. But in order to have that discourse one must accept common language. And in your case, that means understanding that when you try to argue the difference between systemic fnordism and systemic racism then that just can’t happen.

      And if you truly believe that the entire histories of sociology, psychoanalysis, cultural studies, and rhetoric are wrong and that systemic fnordism doesn’t exist at all… despite you having intuitively described it from scratch… then there’s just no hope at all.

    • avatar
      July 8, 2016 at 10:48 am

      You could have just said, the greatest problem we face is the “fear of other” and saved yourself some typing. And no I am not disregarding your very eloquent response.

      And that is and always will be my point. Equality does not mean fair. It does not mean that everyone is entitled to the same outcome, and no, I am not suggesting that is the point you were trying to make. I am merely making the statement.

      The minority will always be just that, a minority. We can’t will them into a position of power. Because no matter what gains they make, at the end of the day, there will always be less of “them”.

      So the only way for “them” to not be in the minority. For them to not be subject to disparity based on their existence as “those people”. Is to make “them” as part of us.

      But you can’t do that by blaming all of “their” ills on “the other”. Surely every mishap that befalls “them” cannot be attributed to someone else, can it?

      Disproportionate does not automatically mean unjustified. And it certainly does not remove the responsibilities of a given group to address “their” own strife.

      Do you honestly believe that a community rooted in family and ambition would be shunned or disregarded simply because of their skin color? Do you believe that urban centers filled with artists and musicians, pastors and entrepreneurs would be seen in the same light as thugs, murderers, and common criminals.

      I don’t. And the reason I don’t is directly related to the choices I made to steer clear of all of that. Having a mother who worked hard as opposed to leeched off of a system designed to keep her in one place.

      Was it as hard as it would be for some? Of course not. But it was not as easy as one might think either.

      So regardless of the existence of systemic fnordism, regardless of the hurdles that may or may not face a particular group of people in this country. There is absolutely nothing, and I mean nothing, stopping them from building their communities up and making themselves less “other” and more “us”.

    • avatar
      July 8, 2016 at 1:10 pm

      “You could have just said, the greatest problem we face is the “fear of other” and saved yourself some typing.”

      But it’s not just fear of the Other. As you even said yourself, it’s several factors that interact into one large system. I went into more detail than I maybe needed to because 1) you asked and 2) at this point I really won’t even try to guess what you do and don’t already understand. So I figured overexplaining was better than under.

      “And that is and always will be my point. Equality does not mean fair. It does not mean that everyone is entitled to the same outcome, and no, I am not suggesting that is the point you were trying to make. I am merely making the statement.”

      But the statement is sort of inherently the point. Equality isn’t what’s being striven for. Fairness is. However the inequality, for the reasons detailed in the long Marxist response has resulted in (or at least majorly contributed in resulting in) the inherent unfairness in the system.

      “The minority will always be just that, a minority. We can’t will them into a position of power. Because no matter what gains they make, at the end of the day, there will always be less of “them”.”

      Sure… because math. I agree.

      “So the only way for “them” to not be in the minority. For them to not be subject to disparity based on their existence as “those people”. Is to make “them” as part of us.”

      Here I actually disagree. It’s not the *only* way. And it’s like impossible! This gets really complicated and sort of dives off on to another super long side point that I don’t think either of us really care about for this conversation (if you do I can do so). Short version: since fear of the Other is sort of naturally inherent in the human condition, you CAN’T make all of “them” a part of “us” (in either direction). Everyone can’t be middle class. The existence of a middle relies on the existence of a top and a bottom. If everyone becomes a single non-race, then history tells us that people will Other along some other distinguishable characteristic. Tribalism just sort of happens.

      “But you can’t do that by blaming all of “their” ills on “the other”. Surely every mishap that befalls “them” cannot be attributed to someone else, can it?”

      I sort of agree…. but not really. And there is a disconnect there which is why the actual definition of systemic racism matters (using the real word this time because it matters). It’s not just YOU or even just “conservatives” or “whites” or anything that conflate systemic racism and active racism (what you are saying requires intention). Black people, including activists do that all the time too. Because it’s complex. The entire point of something being “systemic” is that no one is actually *doing* anything. The system is just in place. Fault doesn’t matter. Causality doesn’t matter. All that matters is the perpetuation of the inherent unfairness. SO, for instance, I would say that yesterday’s Dallas shooting is a result of the same systemic racism that the Sterling shooting was even though Micah Johnson is black. Playing the blame game isn’t really useful. But the actual point of the term — and why cultural studies matters — is investigating the phenomenon. This is why it is so incredibly important to me (and say Laura or AJ or Kevin or whoever) to get you to separate out the idea of intention. And for the record, this has also come up in a conversation with Tim who would be on the exact opposite side where I had a lengthy argument with him about separating the idea of power being required in racism.

      As you said in response to Steve’s computer example. Systems don’t have intention. They don’t have agency. So that CAN’T be part of the definition. But the inherent inequality is the part of the system that is being investigated.

      “Do you honestly believe that a community rooted in family and ambition would be shunned or disregarded simply because of their skin color? Do you believe that urban centers filled with artists and musicians, pastors and entrepreneurs would be seen in the same light as thugs, murderers, and common criminals.”

      No, I don’t. Like I said, Tribalism will happen. In an isolated community, say pre-colonialization africa, despite being of the same technical genetic “race” the inequality still occurred. It happens in all white communities today along social class lines (the proletariat vs. bourgeois). It happens between men and women. The reason we say systemic racism is that we are specifically talking about the system fnordism that affects race (at least right now). Systemic sexism and classism are also terms. The idea is of course to strive for as much equality as possible, but if I used the word fnord every time, we wouldn’t be able to have a real conversation and therefore we can’t work on that.

      “There is absolutely nothing, and I mean nothing, stopping them from building their communities up and making themselves less “other” and more “us”.”

      But yes there is. That’s the point. The system is designed in a way that makes that harder. Yes, it is possible for individuals to overcome. You pointed out that you did. I’m a welfare baby from a single mother working on a PhD. HELL, the current president of the country is black. But we’re not talking about individuals. We’re talking about the makeup of the system, which as Steve pointed out is out of whack with what statistically it should be. Again, this is why intention can’t matter. The point of discussing systemic fnordism is trying to figure out a way in which to lessen fnordic inequality in the system.

  9. avatar
    July 7, 2016 at 5:46 am

    “Black culture has been breeding criminals for 60 years.”

    But systemic racism is a myth, talking about it is the real problem, and Black culture causes it.

    Okay.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 8:06 am

      That child knows that the black isn’t a monolith, right?

      *facepalm* okay

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 8:54 am

      IT’S NOT? WHAT?

      LOL

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 8:57 am

      Rod: Yeah, I just pointed that out in my most recent comment to his thread above. I don’t think he understands how systems work.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 8:57 am

      Rod: Yeah, I just pointed that out in my most recent comment to his thread above. I don’t think he understands how systems work.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 9:01 am

      I used the block button already. I appreciate discourse with people of different perspectives, but I’m not going to walk into a Subway and order a Turdwich. Best of luck to you! 🙂

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 9:01 am

      I used the block button already. I appreciate discourse with people of different perspectives, but I’m not going to walk into a Subway and order a Turdwich. Best of luck to you! 🙂

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 9:01 am

      Rod Roscoe I know! I was surprised too! Of course I found this out the same time that i was told that my “black card” was lost in the mail!

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 9:01 am

      Rod Roscoe I know! I was surprised too! Of course I found this out the same time that i was told that my “black card” was lost in the mail!

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 9:04 am

      LOL. What does that even mean? Like, you’re white now?

      I didn’t even know I needed paperwork!

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 11:45 am

      Hey, I think it’s kind of amazing that even *that guy,* once you’re done reading his diatribe, comes out saying that Sterling shouldn’t have been shot. Progress? A little bit?

  10. avatar
    July 7, 2016 at 7:51 am

    Whelp, you found the racists Mav. Or rather, they found you.

  11. avatar
    July 7, 2016 at 7:58 am

    Yes, because you of course would be the expert on that…

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 9:03 am

      No, Tim Bruhn is not an expert. I don’t think he’d even claim to be. He is a concerned citizen who is often interested in this sort of thing (be it from curiosity, social conscience, or a desire for self preservation).

      Sometimes I agree with him and he’ll be the first person to tell you that sometimes I do not. That said, he is welcome to his opinion and to post it here, just as you are. And I respect both of your rights to express them. I’ll even give you credit, you do a much better job of expressing them than some others, for instance, Mike Land who I replied to earlier.

      That said, I *am* an expert. As is AJ Ortega. This is literally what we do for a living. I appreciate that you don’t like the words. I appreciate that you disagree. But understand that it’s not like we make this shit up. And maybe, just maybe spending a bajillion dollars and years learning about this stuff (on top of the lived experience we AND YOU may have) maybe amounts to an understanding at the very least of “what the words mean.”

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 9:05 am

      I’m a journeyman on this sort of thing, always learning.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 9:09 am

      It’s just fascinating to me that people will do all sorts of rhetorical judo to justify some atrocious stuff. You’re a smart cat, Chris and I think it’s very gracious and brave of you to tackle this stuff. I don’t even know how to react anymore. But this post is good shit.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 9:10 am

      Hey AJ, since you’re an expert on justice, I’ve sent you a friend request. I’m fond of experts.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 9:12 am

      More an expert on the rhetoric surrounding race and culture, specifically Latino issues, and even more specifically Mexican American stuff. Request accepted.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 9:12 am

      Thanks!

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 9:14 am

      My post was in regards to the use of the term “racists”. Nothing that was said by anyone in this thread implied they were racist. Skeptical yes, racist, um, no.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 9:41 am

      Vic: And that’s because you don’t like the word racist as it is applied in common discourse, even when you agree with the details (as you did in the thread above). But again, just because you don’t like calling it racist. That doesn’t mean it is.

      For clarity and full disclosure, Tim will agree that I’ve had exactly this argument with him in regards to a claim that he made (well a meme he reposted made) that racism requires: Privilege, Prejudice and Power and I claimed that it doesn’t. Those out of power can certainly be just as racist as those in power, particularly in a culture defined by systemic racism. It’s just that without the power to exercise your racism for effect, no one much cares. But the actions of the privileged and the underprivileged in causal response to a racially constructed system are STILL racism. Intent is completely irrelevant. As is negligence.

      It’s like saying global warming doesn’t exist because you want to call it climate change. Call it what you will, it the globe is getting warmer… THAT’S GLOBAL WARMING.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 9:59 am

      Racism is by definition a belief that ones racial makeup makes them inferior. Regardless of expression. Or intent. If you feel that a particular race is superior or inferior to another, that is, by definition. Racist.

      I don’t mind the word racist. I don’t like when it is misused to describe anything that involves a conflict between two races. THAT is actually racist. By reducing the conflict to one of racial difference, the person doing so has dehumanized one side or another.

      Is hiring only white guys racist? What if all of the black guys suck at whatever job you are offering? What if they are all great and the white guys suck but you can’t afford their salaries because they are so good? Is that racist?

      In both examples there are factors other than race that influence the decision. The problem that I have is a tendency to ignore those factors and reduce the situation down to one of race. Again, THAT is in fact being racist, as one would be using race to determine worth.

      Global warming is specific. Climate change accounts for a wide variety of factors. So while the earth may well be warming, that is not the ONLY affect of our influence on this planet. Just like race may not be the ONLY factor involved in a particular situation. Reducing things down to global warming/racist cause black, is oversimplification that does not get to the heart of either issue.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 10:54 am

      Vic Carter , as long as Mav can get cops called on him for having a cookie but I can stop my car and start filming cops without being scared the cops are going to come after me, racism is systemic. He didn’t get cops called on him & the cookie for being just some guy with a cookie; he got that because he was a BLACK guy with a cookie. I can stop and film cops not because I’m a woman but because I’m a WHITE woman.

    • avatar
      July 7, 2016 at 11:13 am

      What if I can stop my car and not be scared of them coming after me? Or call them to help me when I need it? Or get pulled over and not get shot? Or eat my cookie and explain to the cops the people who called them are assholes?

      You are talking about specific instances. All of which can and do happen to anyone. Depends on the cops. Depends on the place. Depends on the circumstance.

      Can Mav not call the cops? Is there something that prevents him from doing so? Is he excluded from the cop calling fun? Just because, he is brown?

      Again, you and he are implying that the bad “racist” things that happen, are the primary responses in these situations.

      For some people, sure, I would buy that. Certain areas are worse than others. Not everyone gets to live in the suburbs or in an integrated neighborhood(I can assure you the cops that come to where I live don’t discriminate against hoodlums).

      But you aren’t talking about something that affects some people. You are suggesting that discrimination and racism are a constant, I simply disagree.

      Where you live. What you are doing and have done. Who you are around. All of these things influence how things work out in these types of circumstances.

      Is is POSSIBLE that I could get pulled over for a traffic violation, end up with a racist cop, reach for my ID and get shot? Of course it is POSSIBLE.

      Is it likely? Um, no. Not where I live, not with the people I encounter. Not in the circumstances that I find myself engaged in.

      Which is my point. If racism, were as you suggest, systemic, me being black would generally override all of those other factors and I would find myself living a lot different of a life.

      And one step further.

      Say I move to an urban center. Crime is pretty bad there. Violence is common. And altercations with the police happen daily.

      Should I expect the same level of security I felt in the burbs? Feel just as safe and likely to not get shot randomly as I did prior to the move? Again, of course not. I have altered my situation.

      So the solution, to what you define as systemic racism, is not a bunch of BLM nonsense. It is not the vilification of police. Or the defense of the black man just because he is black.

      The solution is an alteration of the environment. Stronger sense of community. Less tolerance for brutishness. Then the system will adapt, as that is how it really works.

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      July 7, 2016 at 11:22 am

      And I am not trying to be contentious. This is merely my opinion on the matter. Based on my own experiences with racism as well as what is being presented in the media on a daily basis.

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      July 7, 2016 at 11:37 am

      Vic Carter Some men you just can’t reach. You keep describing systemic racism and then denying it’s systemic racism. It’s all “specific instances” but “the solution is an alteration of the environment”. If the solution is an alteration of the environment, you are talking about SYSTEMS. I appreciate that you’re not trying to be contentious but you seem to have no idea what words even mean.

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      July 7, 2016 at 11:37 am

      Vic Carter Some men you just can’t reach. You keep describing systemic racism and then denying it’s systemic racism. It’s all “specific instances” but “the solution is an alteration of the environment”. If the solution is an alteration of the environment, you are talking about SYSTEMS. I appreciate that you’re not trying to be contentious but you seem to have no idea what words even mean.

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      July 7, 2016 at 11:53 am

      You and Chris keep telling me that I am describing systemic racism, and I will keep telling you that the system is just the system.

      Alteration of environment is not dependent on race. If anything the fact that an alteration of environment can mitigate what you deem to be racist, proves that the system is not inherently racist, Ah, but wait. You are saying that because it is present in the system(our society), that means there must be some system wide outcomes that are determined PURELY based on race.

      How exactly can you prove that? It appears that you do so by ignoring any other factors that do not support your claim. Or you attribute those things back to your original claim of racism(poor because black, shot because black, underrepresented because black).

      Where is the proof that “black” is the source of the disparity?

      That is my main point of contention. Your claims that “black” is the root cause of all of these ills.

      If that is your belief, if that is what Chris believes then we can leave it at that. We have determined our impasse.

      I do not believe that to be the case. You don’t agree. OK, I am fine with that.

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      July 7, 2016 at 12:02 pm

      I don’t know what to say here. If I say “hey, look at these stats that show that black men are 2.6x as likely to die in police custody as white men” you will say “prove that’s because they are black and not because they are violent beastly criminals while white men are tax frauds”, and if I say “why are white people disproportionately wealthy such that they are more likely to be tax frauds? why do white people on average have greater wealth” you will say it’s bootstraps and trying hard and not redlining and employment discrimination. It’s turtles all the way down with you.

      And if every time my sister walked through our neighborhood with a black male friend a cop stopped and asked if she was OK but that never once happened when she was walking with a white male friend, well, that’s just an isolated incident and maybe that black friend was sagging his pants, amirite?

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      July 7, 2016 at 12:22 pm

      No. What I would ask is:

      1. Where do the majority of that 2.6 come from?
      2. What crimes were they charged with,
      3. What is the circumstance by which they died?

      Any one of a number of questions that do not involve race, but are still relevant to those statistics. And again, as above I would point out that 2.6x more likely sounds a lot different when you look at the overall likelihood of ANYONE to die in police custody.

      I would also point out that black people make up about 12% of the population. That there are just as many poor white people as there are poor black people. I would ask whether or not that 12% is reflected in the amount of rich people, athletes, politicians, entertainers, etc.

      But no, any disparity can always be boiled down to “because black”.

      Every time you walked down the street with a black man? Every single time? Really? Sorry that is why anecdotes are not relevant. How many times was that? Were you the only white girls walking with a black dude? What neighborhood? What time of day? How common was it to have strangers?

      Not saying it wasn’t because your friend was black. Not saying your neighbors weren’t racist. But as I stated above, you are using YOUR conclusion to prove your hypothesis while ignoring the possibility of anything else.

      You like stories? Here is a story.

      When I went to college, after having been accepted to CMU, Princeton, Northeastern, and Penn State. I was informed that I would not be attending normal pre-college. That I had to go to a special minority only pre-college to make sure I was acclimated to the school.

      Not by some evil racists who hated on black folk. No sir, this was by the kindhearted “good” white people, just looking out for my po’ little brown behind.

      THAT was racist. That was a program set up by someone who thinks like you and Chris. Who actually does see blacks as different than whites. Who need that little extra bit of help from the benevolent massa.

      I didn’t graduate from high school with top grades, or ace most of the AP tests, or nail my SAT’s to be second guessed because I was brown, because people like YOU, think the system is out to get me.

      Of course racism exists, just not in the way you want to believe it does. If you can draw on your experience to come to a conclusion, I surely can use mine, and my actual, not inferred experiences with racists to come one as well.

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      July 7, 2016 at 12:31 pm

      Vic Carter I’m not saying you don’t have your experiences. I’m saying there are patterns to experiences that people have. And that you refuse to accept EITHER evidence of patterns, OR anecdote, because YOUR experience trumps all.

      Do you also think systemic sexism isn’t a thing?

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      July 7, 2016 at 12:37 pm

      Because it is not evidence. You telling me something is true because that is what you believe is not the same thing as “this definitely happened because of that”.

      You are inferring racism. You MAY be correct. But there are many other factors that must also be considered. I choose to consider them. That’s it.

      And did you really ask the guy arguing against the idea of systemic racism whether or not systemic sexism is a thing?

      C’mon now.

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      July 7, 2016 at 12:40 pm

      Vic Carter Why do you assume I am not considering other factors? That’s a curious assumption and I wonder where you get it.

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      July 7, 2016 at 12:47 pm

      I am not saying you are not considering them. But it certainly appears that you are giving race more weight in regards to your assessments.

      That and you seem to keep ignoring that my counterpoints are based on the existence of these factors.

      You and Chris come to a conclusion of racism. You say it is because of how our society works, thus there is systemic racism cause by varying aspects of society. You point to specific examples and again, conclude that race was the primary cause. Often this seems to ignore the other relevant factors purely for the sake of confirming your beliefs.

      We believe different things. I get and accept that. We don’t need to agree to look at the issues.

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      July 7, 2016 at 12:47 pm

      The problem, as I see it is the tendency to focus on race, when IMO it is the least relevant aspect.

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      July 7, 2016 at 12:49 pm

      I have to run, but I will say I do appreciate the civility in this discussion.

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      July 7, 2016 at 1:32 pm

      I have to agree that at the end of the day this looks like a lack of comprehension of what is being meant. And that’s no offense to you Vic, this isn’t the first of these conversations I’ve seen you in and if memory serves you always attempt to be civil and try to understand but the ideas presented just don’t seem to connect. That’s cool, you at least seem to try and maybe one day the connection will form.

      So to that end let me see if I can present it in a potentially different way that may or may not help. Everything around us can be broken into systems from a scientific viewpoint right? My sauté pan is a system in which chemical reactions produce my dinner. Likewise the Earth is a system in which innumerable variables, some natural some man made, contribute to climate change. My neighborhood is a system that is effected by and had reactions to events based on its socioeconomic make up, it’s racial and ethnic diversity, political outlook, etc. And much like the food on my stove certain predictions can be made by studying how the variables involved interact under certain circumstances. Which is after all exactly what Mav and AJ are experts in.

      Workplaces are systems to, both in the small sense, my ambulance itself is a system, the base I run out of its one as well, as is the company I work for as a whole. They’re also systems in the larger sense, EMS throughout the state of PA, EMS throughout the country, or even healthcare as a whole industry.

      So now that that’s established let’s take that idea to a computer. A computer has no prejudice so it will react based solely on the numbers, it cares nothing about one pixel shade compared to another, has no sense of historical transgressions, and in no way is predisposed to a certain reaction.

      So let’s create a model of society in the computer, a system that is clean on which to predict what a non-prejudicial system would look like. We can program in population, population density, racial, ethnic, and religious demographics and distribution, socioeconomic distribution, educational levels, etc. Then we program in criminal activity, likelihood of interaction with law enforcement, and likelihood of violent outcomes.

      The thing is is that computer models like this are programmed all the time, and they tell us exactly what we should be able to predict in terms of white vs black vs Hispanic vs Asian, etc. criminal activity. We see what should be expected in terms of how frequently cops are involved, and how frequently things go badly. We can even separate things based on education and socioeconomic status (since those are actually the best predictors for probable criminal activity). If there were no prejudice in the system itself then the real world should reflect the computer model, but it doesn’t. In the real world young black men are far more likely to be arrested, charged, indicted, to have a run in in general with law enforcement, and to be the victim of police violence. And while the first gut reaction might be to blame that on individual cops or the actions of individual criminals, we can actually account for that as well. Assuming police have the same distribution of prejudice as the country as a whole, and that black men are subject to the same percentage likelihood of acting the fool during a police encounter, we still end up with real world ratios that are skewed towards a greater degree of violence towards black men than predicted by statistically relevant margins.

      That means that unlike the computer models, the real world of law enforcement has, in its system, prejudices based on race.

      One basic example of this is the predisposition to suspect black men of potential criminal activity before white men, because black men are statistically more likely to be criminals. This leads to racial profiling and even Minority Report style computer programs that are actually programed to be prejudicial, and disproportionately predict black men to be the perpetrators of crime. This of course creates a mindset police often follow where, unlike white men, black men are guilty until proven innocent. This is what leads not only to higher incidents of police encounters by black men, it also leads to more arrests, charges, and indictments. It leads to a greater percentage of black criminals being caught than white criminals, and yes, leads to cops being more on edge around black men and more likely to react with lethal force for their own protection, regardless of whether or not they were in any actual danger.

      Well that’s my incredibly verbose attempt to help. If it did help, awesome, if not that’s cool, maybe some day someone can explain it in a better way for you. If you do get it but disagree that’s your right to and while it would mean we disagree I still respect that. And if this was just way too long I apologize, I’m not good at being concise 🙂

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      July 7, 2016 at 1:34 pm

      Steve Shaffer unfortunately I cannot hit the Like button 5 times

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      July 7, 2016 at 1:50 pm

      Steve: that’s actually REALLY good. You should enroll in grad school immediately.

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      July 7, 2016 at 3:03 pm

      Yeah, that was a really great explanation of the problem. Well done, man.

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      July 8, 2016 at 8:04 am

      Steve Shaffer There is no lack of comprehension. The disconnect is in how you define racism.

      To me it is an active as opposed to passive event. Black people aren’t more likely to encounter X BECAUSE they are black. X happens to black people more often because of Y.

      And IMO ignoring the Y, clouds the true issues and limits our ability to solve the actual problems faced by our society as a whole.

      As a side note. Computer models, programs, etc. can only return results based on the data entered. People, to a lesser extent react in much the same way.

    • avatar
      July 8, 2016 at 8:31 am

      “To me it is an active as opposed to passive event. Black people aren’t more likely to encounter X BECAUSE they are black. X happens to black people more often because of Y.”

      YES!!! and that is exactly what systemic racism means. Like literally, it’s a text book definition. I’m not even exaggerating. If I grab a text book it will say almost exactly that.

      Like we keep saying you’re arguing against the definition, and using your disagreement with the word to disregard the rest of the theory. The frustrating part is that you then keep going on to restate the theory that you’re arguing against.

      “As a side note. Computer models, programs, etc. can only return results based on the data entered. People, to a lesser extent react in much the same way.”

      Again… YES. That’s exactly what Steve is saying. That’s exactly the point. The computer model disregarding race would lead to result A. But in reality, it leads to result B where B > A. And it turns out when you program race back into the computer you get result B. As Steve said, people (that is to say social systems) work in the same way. People behave in accordance with the data that is programmed into them. Sociologically that data includes assumptions about race…. and also gender, class, age, religion, political leaning, etc. IN this case we are referring to the race data however.

      So since people are a system. And we are referring to the race data that affects how that system behaves. We call that systemic racism.

      Again, that’s literally what it means.

    • avatar
      July 8, 2016 at 8:31 am

      “To me it is an active as opposed to passive event. Black people aren’t more likely to encounter X BECAUSE they are black. X happens to black people more often because of Y.”

      YES!!! and that is exactly what systemic racism means. Like literally, it’s a text book definition. I’m not even exaggerating. If I grab a text book it will say almost exactly that.

      Like we keep saying you’re arguing against the definition, and using your disagreement with the word to disregard the rest of the theory. The frustrating part is that you then keep going on to restate the theory that you’re arguing against.

      “As a side note. Computer models, programs, etc. can only return results based on the data entered. People, to a lesser extent react in much the same way.”

      Again… YES. That’s exactly what Steve is saying. That’s exactly the point. The computer model disregarding race would lead to result A. But in reality, it leads to result B where B > A. And it turns out when you program race back into the computer you get result B. As Steve said, people (that is to say social systems) work in the same way. People behave in accordance with the data that is programmed into them. Sociologically that data includes assumptions about race…. and also gender, class, age, religion, political leaning, etc. IN this case we are referring to the race data however.

      So since people are a system. And we are referring to the race data that affects how that system behaves. We call that systemic racism.

      Again, that’s literally what it means.

    • avatar
      July 8, 2016 at 9:28 am

      So yes, people more or less react the same way as computer models, but that’s what makes those models so useful, they can act as a control in a way the real world can’t. And to that end we actually hope to see deviations, because that means we didn’t program every variable in to the program. And by discovering what the missing variable is we can often discover the root of societal problems.

      When we discover that this deviation affects one particular group to a much greater degree than expected we begin to consider the possibility of a bias in the system itself, or systemic bias. Systemic bias can take all kinds of forms, for instance if one were to look at LGBT demographics across the country we see higher densities in certain cities like Miami and San Francisco than expected. Most of us would consider that a positive bias, but it is a bias, specifically a sexual orientation bias. Or you can look at income levels across a Fortune 500 companies at which point you’ll find a bias resulting in women making less money for performing the same job, a gender bias. The general term for this is system or systemic bias. When the bias focuses on a particular racial group then it’s racial bias, or systemic racism.

      But systemic racism or racial bias isn’t the end all be all. It’s the variable that causes the system to behave in a way we’re isolating for. The next step is to determine what is causing that bias. When we look into it deeper we see noticeable trends of poor education, low income, decreased opportunites for socioeconomic advancement or even survival (or the perception of decreased opportunities), etc. Many of these are also the result of historical racial biases. But much like an alcoholic first needs to admit that they have a problem, society first needs to recognize the existence of systemic racism before we can dig deeper to discover the roots of that bias and find solutions to those underlying issues.

  12. avatar
    July 7, 2016 at 8:26 am

    This is well-written, Chris. I got a lump in my throat, despite also feeling numb. Good job. Xo

  13. avatar
    July 7, 2016 at 9:28 am

    excellent post, man.

  14. avatar
    July 8, 2016 at 8:45 am

    Since apparently only police are allowed to talk about or criticize police, here’s a cop that makes many of your points as well. http://www.vox.com/2015/5/28/8661977/race-police-officer

    • avatar
      July 8, 2016 at 8:55 am

      I don’t think Mike Land is paying attention anymore. Liz Winslow Schartman seems to have scared him off.

      But I’m guessing there’s some reason this guy isn’t a “real cop” that totally has nothing to do with the fact that he’s black… clearly he’s one of them there liberal bernie supporters or something.

    • avatar
      July 8, 2016 at 9:02 am

      Well, my advice to Mr. Land is that there are plenty of nations in this wide wonderful world where criticizing the police is illegal and the police can definitionally do no wrong. Go live in one of those and stop dishonoring the fundamental noble goal of our nation, in which the police and military answer to the people, not the other way around. The rest of us can keep working on making that goal a reality and keeping it that way.

    • avatar
      July 8, 2016 at 9:04 am

      you’re not a cop. you don’t get to tell him that.

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      July 8, 2016 at 9:40 am

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      July 8, 2016 at 9:45 am

      Ooh! Meme response! BURN!!!!

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      July 8, 2016 at 9:47 am

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      July 8, 2016 at 9:48 am

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      July 8, 2016 at 9:49 am

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      July 8, 2016 at 9:50 am

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      July 8, 2016 at 9:52 am

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      July 8, 2016 at 9:54 am

      …do you have any responses that AREN’T memes?

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      July 8, 2016 at 9:56 am

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      July 8, 2016 at 9:57 am

      so, no, then.

    • avatar
      July 8, 2016 at 9:58 am

      so many people have tried to talk to you about this. do you have any actual responses, based on the information people have provided you? did you go away and think about any of the things people said? do you have any reasoned responses to any of them, based on your own research?

    • avatar
      July 8, 2016 at 10:03 am

      Gotta tell you, this is why I only post pictures of flowers and bugs on Facebook.

    • avatar
      July 8, 2016 at 10:05 am

      look this piece of processed cheese believes that citizen-on-citizen crime is somehow the same thing as extrajudicial execution so i gotta get on his level somehow. picture books seem the way.

    • avatar
      July 8, 2016 at 10:11 am

      Right there with you, Michael. Though it’s kids and beer stuff, for me.

    • avatar
      July 8, 2016 at 11:58 am

      Oh, I’m sure… he’s not trolling. He’s totally just stupid. But I kinda like that.

      The best part about the Mike Lands of the world is that he’s provided an excellent example for me to point to when I want to talk about some of the ignorance that is evidence of systemic racism like I was in the other threads with Vic.
      (and thank you to the rest of you for dealing with him while I was in the substantive conversation)

      Anyway, having idiots is important. The Mike Lands of the world are great because since he’s not only aggressively racist, he’s stupid enough to think that he’s actually winning so he will continue doing what he’s doing. This means that when some one intelligent comes around who might disagree with you (Vic for instance) and you point to point out an example of worse case scenario, you can totally point over at Mike Land and say “you know, like this idiot!”

      See… even racist idiots have a usefulness to society. Thanks Mike!

    • avatar
      July 8, 2016 at 12:00 pm

      But what we don’t need more of is know it all big mouths like you Chris Maverick. We have enough of those fucking up the country now. Oh sorry did I offend you?

    • avatar
      July 8, 2016 at 12:00 pm

      No, I’m not offended at all. Try again?

    • avatar
      July 8, 2016 at 12:04 pm

      Nah… I don’t get my jollies off putting people down thinking I’m all knowing like you. I can certainly see tho…that’s why the youth of today are fucked up because of people like you brainwashing them into…for example thinking socialism is a good thing. Gimme the free stuff mentality. But you go on with your bad self. Your probably looking in a mirror right now telling yourself how awesome you are

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      July 8, 2016 at 12:07 pm

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      July 8, 2016 at 12:08 pm

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      July 8, 2016 at 12:14 pm

      The youth of today? Dude… how old are you?

      And yes… you do get your “jollies off” this way… you feel good about yourself for showing up and telling off all the ignorant liberal know-it-alls what’s what. You know that everything that I say is bullshit and it burns you up inside that people take me more seriously than they take you. You’ve done your best. You say “Look, there was the SpongeBob meme! That’ll show them! Oh wait, I see… he’s black… I’ll use the Martin Luther King meme. Ok, that didn’t work… I’ll just pretend I’m above all of it and do a mic drop telling people that I am a better person so I don’t have to insult people.”

      But you’re not a better person… And me calling you what you are, an ignorant racist idiot hurts. It hurts so bad, because the liberal educated phd smartass BLACK DUDE from a poor neighborhood is somehow smarter than you. This asshole kid came from the streets. What the fuck? You’re the cop. You’re the one who is supposed to be respected. You’re the one who knows what’s what. How the fuck is a BLACK DUDE with some hoity toity degree outdoing you? It’s not right. The same race as that guy who shot all of my cop brothers last night. That’s why there needs to be a wall dammit. Get them out of this country, or at least stop the spics from coming in and joining them?

      And you know it’s true. You want to be bigger than me, you want to be smarter than me… you want it bad. But you know you’re not, because even after you said that you were better than me and didn’t get off on belittling other people you couldn’t go two whole minutes without posting TWO more memes belittling me. You couldn’t last two minutes. And you couldn’t come up with words to say on your own. So you used memes.

      And you know I’m right. You know the educated black man is right… and it burns doesn’t it? It burns so bad….

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      July 8, 2016 at 1:36 pm

      Clearly you guys just don’t get it. Mike’s right, it’s all us educated, intelligent types trying to use facts, numbers, reason, logic, and science that are making this a terrible world. We need to shush up more and let the people that only speak in meme’s and use “u” instead of you constantly in attempts at reasonable conversation run things unchecked while we sit by silently and obey. Otherwise we’ll never get to have Terry Crews as our President.

      Actually I can’t say that, that’s too big an insult to Terry Crews who is actually intelligent, unlike President Camacho.

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      July 8, 2016 at 1:48 pm

      Haha. Intelligent types! That is funny. And just like you “intelligent” types….NO COMMON SENSE

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      July 8, 2016 at 1:49 pm

      Liberal Bernie lovers…. that’s great. The demise of this country.

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      July 8, 2016 at 1:51 pm

      Your black Chris Maverick? Holy shit do you ramble. You MUST put students to sleep. But I think you really like to hear yourself talk.

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      July 8, 2016 at 2:02 pm

      Oh my God! Bernie lovers! Run!!!! The country is in demise… you know… it’s being overrun… you know… by the mexicans… and the blacks….

      Rambling… you know… as opposed to posting three comments in a row that basically say nothing. Demonstrating your “common sense” by disparaging education and complaining that the problem with America is that people are too intelligent.

      Rambling by ignoring the question of “how old are you?” Which I only asked because you asked me first because you wanted to prove how much wiser you were. Except that didn’t work out right? So now you’re sort of left with no where to go?

      And yes… I ma black and yet I write a lot. And very eloquently. I mean, I’m so well spoken. That doesn’t make sense, right? Because the blacks aren’t supposed to be smart. Certainly not smarter than a streetwise former cop scooter conman like yourself, right? This is why we should have never let the darkies into the country.

      I’m so glad you’re above insults.

  15. avatar
    July 8, 2016 at 10:01 am

    Thank you for writing this. I have a LOT of white conservative family, and most of the time they, if not outright racist, always look into blaming the victim the first chance they get. However, I’ve confronted my cousin about some views, especially the ‘If you just follow the officers orders you won’t get shot’ kind of view. He seemed distraught after me and one of his other friends who was black kept trying to make him see the error in his perspective. And then today I saw that he posted about Castile, feeling sorry for it happening, and saying ‘Rest in Peace’.

    So I think you are right. With the proliferation of cameras, the sympathizers of the police in these racial abuse cases are starting to realize that their traditional views HAVE to be challenged in the face of the over whelming evidence. And with Larry Whitmore and Trevor Noah and other media personalities not letting this go, I think we might be on a path for real change.

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      July 8, 2016 at 10:24 am

      I do this all the time, Jerry. Feel free to point anyone my way. Obviously (as can be seen through these comment threads) I don’t mind being the punching bag or nut jobs.

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      July 8, 2016 at 10:26 am

      I doubt I can stir up anything since my family tends to view me as some liberal mountain hick offshoot, but I’ll share this.

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    July 8, 2016 at 10:04 am

    The following page is on point: https://thsppl.com/i-racist-538512462265#.xpg1cgqup

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      July 8, 2016 at 10:08 am

      His way of thinking is precisely the problem. The more people go down this path, the worse things will be for everyone.

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      July 8, 2016 at 10:35 am

      Of course. Because someone else is the problem, not us. It would be rather unpleasant if we had to change. It would be uncomfortable to admit that we have benefited from racism. It’s better to be polite and say that all lives matter and pretend that racism isn’t a problem.

      In case it wasn’t perfectly clear, I am being sarcastic.

      I don’t think that “systematic racism” us the phrase I would use. We have a Climate of Racism. And just like you can have unseasonably cold weather at a particular location and time and still have global warming, we can have a president that is black while still having a climate of racism. Just like it’s missing the point to argue how much of the I increase in global temperature is due to human contributions–we should still take action–it is missing the point to argue whether a particular person intended to be racist.

      Remember Brown vs. Board of Education. Separate but equal seemed fair and not racist. People were just making sure that black people had access to similar facilities. Not racist at all, right? But of course separate but equal was inherently unequal.

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      July 8, 2016 at 10:51 am

      So Vic sort of makes an interesting point here. I actually agree with the substance of a lot of what that Metta says. I disagree with his conclusion. Vic is right in that the solution is not to not talk about race. To do so would be to bury your head in the sand. After all… Kevin is white. Vic (IIRC) is half-white.

      Where the problem with Vic’s argument comes in is his insistence on intention. In Vic’s rhetoric the thing which we are discussing is something else. Something not racism. And our insistence on calling it that somehow hampers the discussion.

      I’m even half inclined to agree with him. Obviously this discussion has been hampered because more of it had been devoted to “what is racism” than anything else. In fact I similarly agree with the naming conventions of say “feminism” or “radical Islam”. It’s not even about the positives of the negatives of the language. It’s that the arguing over the definitions distracts from the terms. Linguistics (not my area of expertise) and semiotics get into this a lot. Obviously (at least obvious to most of us) Vic means something different than what most of us mean by racism.

      But the problem becomes that arguments like that distract. It causes the Vic’s of the world to argue their semantic points. It causes the John Mettas of the world to throw up their hands in disgust. It causes the rest of us to get sucked into the definitional argument rather than the evaluative one. All the while the Mike Lands of the world go about posting their nonsensical racist trolling memes.

      I am not so interested in changing the mind of a Mike Land. Dude is clearly beyond saving and I’m perfectly content to just make fun of him.

      Vic is smarter than that. But the problem I have is that his disagreement on the semantics causes him (by his own admission) to dismiss the rest of the work that goes on.

    • avatar
      July 8, 2016 at 10:57 am

      You and I are not part of a “we” Kevin. I am one of “them”. I have never pretended to be something that I am not. But I have also never allowed myself to be defined by the color of my skin.

      No, that does not mean that I have not been judged simply because I was brown(I’m more mocha than anything, so I don’t use the term black). It does not mean that everyone has been forced to treat me fairly or with respect simply because I refuse to be my skin color.

      What it means is that I choose to exist as I would exist. I choose to react to people who would degrade me on MY terms, not theirs. Fully aware of the consequences when their might outweighs my right.

      That is reality. I do not try to bend it to what I want it to be. I accept it for what it is and bolster my position by associating with those who judge me on more than what color I happen to be.

    • avatar
      July 8, 2016 at 11:15 am

      Chris Maverick In regards to racism, I really do feel that people need to have the same starting point. If one person thinks it is racist to joke about racial stereotypes, but another feels that true racism has a tangible impact on something other than how people feel. It’s kind of hard to get anywhere.

      Right now in this country, we have a lot of people using race as a shield against criticism. The same tactic is used by feminists. In fact it is a common way for progressives(people who believe they can create equality through authoritarianism), to disregard the arguments of anyone who opposes them.

      Racism is oppression. One is seen as higher up the food chain than the other. Those are the problems we should be dealing with, those are the things we need to address.

      But that all gets lost every time the media blows up about some random incident involving evil cops and an innocent black guy who was just minding his business and gets shot, or beat up, or arrested.

      ~1000 people. That encompasses ALL of the people killed by police on average in a year. ALL of them. Even if all 1000 of those people was black, it would represent a ridiculously small portion of the black community. Of black men.

      Yet our country is racist? Cops are hunting black men? Tell that to the ~18 MILLION who somehow manage to get through each day without ending up dead at the hands of the cops.

      But the system wants them dead, right? It’s an epidemic? Black Lives Matter?

      Visit the site below. See the 7 black me dead in the last 5 days and tell me again how it is the cops that black people should be worried about. That narrative clouds the truth. That creates an unnecessary divide. By all means we should call for justice when the police do something wrong, but let us not pretend that systemic anything killed these people, or the hundreds more that die every month.

      http://homicides.suntimes.com/

    • avatar
      July 8, 2016 at 11:28 am

      Sorry for jumping to the wrong conclusions, Vic. What specifically about “his way of thinking” is part of the problem?

    • avatar
      July 8, 2016 at 11:38 am

      Kevin, I am not offended, and you have no need to be sorry. I was merely clarifying my perspective.

      Do you think that I believe you to be superior/inferior to me simply because of your skin color? Do you think that I feel as if our general, day to day life experiences are all that different?

      Because I don’t. Just like I don’t think the typical Iraqi is sitting on his porch thinking of ways to blow shit up. Or like I don’t think that the average black person is represented by the assholes who live across the street from me with no regard for the neighborhood and seemingly themselves.

      You and I are not US and THEM. WE live in this country. WE face a LOT of the same struggles. Not all, but surely more than someone like the author would imply. Surely more than the media would like us to believe we have in common.

      Treating black people like victims, TO ME, is racist. It denigrates them and disregards their own agency when it comes to solving the problems centered within their community. Am I part of THAT community? No. I live next to white people, asian people, black people. My community is about as diverse as it gets.

      So no, obviously I am not dodging bullets everyday. My struggles are not the struggles of people who do see those things. I am not blind to that fact.

      But while it is a hurdle, it IMO is not a good enough excuse to externalize all of the ills that minorities face in this country. I don’t agree that there is a system in place that either actively or passively keeps one group down as opposed to another.

      No, I believe it is those like the author of that article, who would perpetuate the US versus THEM mentality. The people steadily carving chips to place on every underprivileged black persons shoulder.

    • avatar
      July 8, 2016 at 12:18 pm

      I know that my day to day experiences are different than my black coworkers (just like I know my experiences are different than my female coworkers). That doesn’t mean that everyone is racist or sexist. On fact, many of the negative experiences of my non-male non-white coworkers are not due to explicit and/or intentional racism or sexism. Some are due to unconscious biases. Some of the problems are very small, but build up over time because in my industry (software engineering in silicon valley) both women and black people are exceedingly small minorities. Sure, we have some common experiences, but I do not face the same discrimination or instances of micro aggressions as my minority coworkers.

      Incidentally, one of the reasons is because they are a minority. group
      Someone in a minority group in an organization or society has more interactions with someone in the majority than someone in the minority. So, for example, even if the sexism occurred in the same proportion in men and women in the software industry, women would have more adverse interactions than men.

      At the risk of belaboring the point, no one go this thread claiming that the country is racist. Some of us are saying that there are negative outcomes (including being shot by police) that are more likely if you are black.

      I am curious how we can have a conversation about how black people are disproportionately pulled over, arrested, convicted and shot by police without talking about us vs them because the group being affected (which includes me) has a very different experience than the one being affected.

      I don’t think the point of the article I posted is that blacks are victims. One of the points was that white people have very different experiences of race relations than most black people do. Because of this (and a gew other reasons) conversations about these subjects are inherently unequal.

    • avatar
      July 8, 2016 at 12:39 pm

      The problem is that the numbers don’t add up. They don’t represent the disparity that many claim they do.

      Take the data provided below for example: I am not going to double check the guardian, but lets, for the sake or argument assume their numbers are close. In both 2015 and 2016 so far about 75% of the time someone is killed by a cop, they are armed. About 75% of the black people killed by police were armed. Guess how many white people who were armed got killed? About 75%.

      Now does race appear to be a major factor in regards to what is likely to get yourself shot when encountering the police?

      Also if you look at the totals, there are about half the number of blacks, armed and unarmed that are killed by cops.

      And that is just in regards to getting killed by cops. Do you think the numbers of stops, arrests, convictions, etc. is going to tell a different tale? Do you think when you factor in what they were doing, how they came to run afoul of the law, do you think we are talking about the average, minding my own business black citizen?

      No. Yeah it happens. But no it is not the scourge of the black community that some would have us believe. It is not ingrained into society as the rule as opposed to the exception. The people who end up on the wrong side of the law are by a wide margin people who are committing crimes. What color they might be is irrelevant. The average black person, who is not a criminal is not, by the numbers, any more likely than the average any other race person to end up dead.

      That’s a problem. You believe, I mean I can tell by the use of terms like “micoragressions”, that you actually believe minorities live under constant threat of inequality.

      I want to see less talk of unconscious bias, unintentional sexism and more talk about what is really holding people back. Because from my point of view, it is not society. It is not the police, it is the people themselves and those who believe they can’t fend for themselves. That is my opinion anyway.

      http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/ng-interactive/2015/jun/01/the-counted-police-killings-us-database

    • avatar
      July 8, 2016 at 1:46 pm

      Vic Carter So, there are a number of statistical issues that arise in your analysis. I mean, we need to know the overall proportion of armed persons arrested in order to even begin to address your 75% figure. Are black and white arrested people armed at the same rate? Or is being armed disproportionately associated with death for either of those groups? (For example, if 75% of both groups are armed in general, that that stat doesn’t tell us much of anything except “if you kill a random sample of people in which 75% have a gun, about 75% of the dead will have a gun”.)

      Now let’s look at other issues. First, there’s a persistent underreporting issue with deaths in police custody. Secondly, we do know that around 60% of *reported* deaths in police custody are a result of homicide by an officer or officers (these are DoJ stats). We also know that persons who die in custody are disporpotionately minorities: “Of reported persons who died during the process of arrest, 95% were male. About 42% were white, 32% were black/African American and 20% were Hispanic or Latino.”

      We also know that white people are arrested at fairly close to their rate in the general population, but that black people are arrested at more than 2x their rate in the general population. (you can see these stats here: https://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2012/crime-in-the-u.s.-2012/tables/43tabledatadecoverviewpdf . They are not the greatest stats because I believe they are lumping Latino persons with white persons, which has a whole host of issues going on in there. Still, you can see my point about the rate of arrest of black persons.)

      At any rate, let’s lump our white and Hispanic deaths together: 62% of white/Latino deaths in police custody vs. 69% arrest rate, while black persons have a 32% of deaths in custody vs. 28% arrest rate. Well, those differences might or might not be significant (I have not done the math to determine if they are but you can do so — it’s fairly basic stats.) But they do make me cock my head to the side, and they also make me wonder why black people are arrested so frequently. I mean, that’s curious, isn’t it? Is it just that black people are twice as criminal? I mean, no structural reasons, just naturally more criminal through no fault at all of the society they live in? All their own personal fault and natural criminality?

      Because it seems like that’s what you’re saying and that’s so blatantly and horribly racist against a group you belong to that I don’t believe it can possibly be what you’re actually saying.

  17. avatar
    July 8, 2016 at 10:05 pm

    I can’t believe this slice of stepped-on bologna managed to miss that you were black until now, Chris Maverick

  18. avatar
    July 8, 2016 at 10:07 pm

    At first I thought he was joking. But then I realized that he’s not actually intelligent enough to look at pictures.

    Cuz you know… he’s hardcore… from the streets… just the kind of keen observant mind that it takes to be a cop.

  19. avatar
    July 8, 2016 at 10:12 pm

    Holy shit
    …blah blah blah. Lol

  20. avatar
    July 8, 2016 at 10:14 pm

    I’m sorry, you’re right. That’s the problem with the liberals. They let darkies take over. They don’t know their place anymore. Never shut up and acknowledge when the white man has told them they talk too much.

  21. avatar
    July 8, 2016 at 10:16 pm

    Definitely Chris Maverick

  22. avatar
    July 8, 2016 at 10:19 pm

    Pro tip Mike, if you’re involving yourself in a serious conversation you may want to consider the use of phrases longer than three or four words if you want people to take you seriously. Possibly even involving multiple words with more than one syllable. And not relying on pointing to random pictures you added words to but instead actually using your words, like what we’d tell a toddler to do.

  23. avatar
    July 8, 2016 at 10:19 pm

    Yes Mike, you are correct. I do read books and I am smarter than you! Hey guys! He’s learning. I got it!!! I got it!!! He posts in memes because he only understand pictures and very short words! You know, like a three year old.

    Let’s see if I can communicate with him on his level!

    http://www.onyxtruth.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Make-America-White-Again-Donald-Trump-Onyx-Truth.jpg

  24. avatar
    July 8, 2016 at 10:23 pm

    He does have a point though Mav. I mean, you’re working on your PhD. I attended one of the most prestigious, competitive, and difficult to get into high schools in the nation. How can we possibly compete with his street knowledge which clearly our ivory tower educations prevent us from also having.

  25. avatar
    July 8, 2016 at 10:25 pm

    Chris Maverick you GOTTA get tired of patting yourself on the back…jesus…too funny. Your an ego maniac

  26. avatar
    July 8, 2016 at 10:26 pm

    I’m also black. Well, I mean, I’m black so it’s totally understandable that I can’t understand or comprehend the incredible responsibilities and intelligence it takes to be a cop or a scooter con man. I mean, clearly I should be in my place and admit that he is better than me.

    It is kinda odd that a black man knows so many big words and stuff, though isn’t it, Mike?

  27. avatar
    July 8, 2016 at 10:26 pm

    And Steve Shaffer…. EMT? Couldn’t pass the medical test?

  28. avatar
    July 8, 2016 at 10:26 pm

    Dude!!! you’re making fun of EMTs for being unintelligent? You can’t spell “you”

  29. avatar
    July 8, 2016 at 10:33 pm

    I’m sorry Sheldon cooper. I don’t drone on or have time to write the history of the world in one post

  30. avatar
    July 8, 2016 at 10:35 pm

    Look it’s been a barrel of laughs. But I gotta get back to real life and not on the big bang theory. Have fun talking bout YOURSELF Chris. Douche…

  31. avatar
    July 8, 2016 at 10:35 pm

    That show stinks. Have some respect.

  32. avatar
    July 8, 2016 at 10:37 pm

    Respect for super Chris and EMT Steve.

  33. avatar
    July 8, 2016 at 10:38 pm

    Wow…I can spell …yourself.

  34. avatar
    July 8, 2016 at 10:39 pm

    Ooh! He knows a cultural reference. Look at the brain on Mike! He picked the only need name he knew from the biggest show on television. Too bad there’s no smart black people that he could have used as an insult.

    It’s funny. Because the only thing insulting about calling me Sheldon is that he’s smart. Hahaha! Look at him! He’s smart! Nerds!

    Except since this isn’t the 7th grade in 1984 anymore it turns out that nerds get laid.

    So he’s to telling me how much better he is than me and has no time for me. And then had to go because he’s too busy with real life and doesn’t care about my insults.

    And that lasted LESS THAN TWO MINUTES again before he responded again TWICE even without me saying anything.

    It really must suck having smart black people get under your skin like that.

  35. avatar
    July 8, 2016 at 10:39 pm

    Oh, I fully admit to not living up my potential. I got to college, had the self awareness that I didn’t have the self discipline needed for med school (in retrospect I probably should have signed up for the Navy and gotten my MD that way, but that’s a wholly unrelated conversation). I floundered for a couple years before discovering EMS and now wouldn’t trade the experiences I’ve had as an emergency responder for the world. I’m there in a person’s most desperate moments to offer comfort and medical care. As my first comment on the post said, it’s incredibly spiritually fulfilling. Sure, I’m not exactly exercising the fullest potential of my intellect in my career, but I can assure you that I haven’t allowed that to atrophy at all either. Even long after my last college course I still continually take steps to increase my knowledge and understanding of the universe rather than believing knowledge is useless.

  36. avatar
    July 8, 2016 at 10:40 pm

    White people be crazy. *waits patiently for the Mexicans to take over*

  37. avatar
    July 8, 2016 at 10:48 pm

    Good thing Mike Land and Trump are gonna build that wall to keep you spics out!

  38. avatar
    July 8, 2016 at 10:50 pm

    And somehow force a foreign sovereignty to pay for it as well. Oh, my bad, I think I just used a word to complex for any Trump supporter to understand.

  39. avatar
    July 8, 2016 at 10:51 pm

    Your damn straight ..illegal ones anyway… GO TRUMP!

  40. avatar
    July 8, 2016 at 10:54 pm

    “Make America White Again! I’m Mike Land and I approve this message!”

    http://www.onyxtruth.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Make-America-White-Again-Donald-Trump-Onyx-Truth.jpg

  41. avatar
    July 8, 2016 at 10:56 pm

    Is there a way to shut off Facebook notifications on a per thread basis? Asking for a friend.

  42. avatar
    July 8, 2016 at 11:01 pm

    Not for a thread. Just for a post.

  43. avatar
    July 8, 2016 at 11:11 pm

    This package of minute rice with his Big Bang Theory insults, I stg

  44. avatar
    July 9, 2016 at 12:54 am

    Jesus christ, just how many times has bargain-bin Barney Fife here flounced out of this comment thread only to come back three friggin’ minutes later with an even lamer retort?

  45. avatar
    July 9, 2016 at 1:16 pm

    Mike Land *Multiple* witnesses told the officers that Sterling was not the man with a gun that they had been called about. They were disregarded.

  46. avatar
    July 9, 2016 at 1:36 pm

    Jenie: as you read the rest of the thread you’ll find that he’s not very smart. In fact he’s apparent against intelligence. He thinks it’s ruining the country.

  47. avatar
    July 9, 2016 at 1:37 pm

    Chris Maverick I admit that I eventually had to stop reading or risk putting myself in a coma from facepalming.

  48. avatar
    July 9, 2016 at 4:16 pm

    A recent study suggests the differences Laura pointed out persist even when you account for crime rates: http://nyti.ms/29EdjnY

  49. avatar
    July 9, 2016 at 5:23 pm

    I sort of let this thread get away from me yesterday when I was dealing with all the other ones so catching up now:

    Vic Carter says: “In regards to racism, I really do feel that people need to have the same starting point. If one person thinks it is racist to joke about racial stereotypes, but another feels that true racism has a tangible impact on something other than how people feel. It’s kind of hard to get anywhere.”

    I actually have complicated feelings on that one… here there’s sort of a tension between activism and literary theory and cultural studies. In a sense, I guess I’d say both of your theoretical people are right. I am very much against policing language. It gets complicated and I have a lot to address so short form, expression of ideas (be they racist or not) goes a long way towards discourse and allowing thought to mutate. That includes negative expressions. “All In The Family” is a show about a bigot. There are constant racist jokes. It was done in jest, but they are still there. “Tarzan” is a book about the natural genetic intellectual superiority of the white man over other animals and races. It is entirely about colonialism and the superiority of whites. It is HELLA racist. But I also think it’s one of the most important books ever written and it’s been my mission over this last year to get people to start pushing it as a part of the literary canon. Yes these things have negative impacts, and they can also have positive impacts, but the dissection of texts (in the literary studies sense this means what you would probably call “media” i.e. books, TV, movies, internet, artwork, whatever) is important towards forwarding the continuing discourse of society. So it is just as important for Michael Richards to be able to say “nigger” as Chris Rock. That doesn’t mean either of them are above criticism for doing so.

    Language is mutable and interpretive. You need no further proof of that than the disconnect between Vic’s definition of racism and other people’s, but it goes further. Derrida explains that it is so mutable that we as a people can’t even truly agree on what “green” means and when something stops being green and starts being blue or yellow. This happens between cultures and between individuals. So in an sense, true total understanding through conversation is impossible. We just try to make goal posts and get as close as we can.

    Vic also says: “Treating black people like victims, TO ME, is racist. It denigrates them and disregards their own agency when it comes to solving the problems centered within their community.”

    I agree there 100%. But that is also part of the systemic racism. That’s what I was trying to complain about in the other thread. The term doesn’t (or isn’t meant to… Derrida again) refer to the negative actions intentionally placed by society, it refers to the systemic inequality. So yes, the idea that blacks are necessarily victims is racist. As is the idea that Asians are necessarily intelligent, even though that would be a positive connotation.

    Kevin Cooney says: “I don’t think that “systematic racism” us the phrase I would use. We have a Climate of Racism. And just like you can have unseasonably cold weather at a particular location and time and still have global warming, we can have a president that is black while still having a climate of racism.”

    That’s probably also true. But limited. We use the word systemic because we are talking about the makeup of the system. Climate (even social climate) would be more specific. More along the lines of what Vic means, I think. Like… I dunno, I’d say there was a climate of racism at a Klan rally. But I’d even say there was a climate of racism that leads to the Sterling and Castile shootings. But systemic racism would include things less quantifiable than that. Far more passive… things like the inherent linkage between class and race that I did in my long comment about Marxism above.

    Vic and Laura Valentine then had a conversation about numbers of which I don’t have much to add. She’s pretty much just 100% right. The reason “systemic” is agnostic to intent is because those subtleties need to be evaluated. Like Vic said, if there are 1000 police shootings in a year, even if all of them were black people that would be an insignificant portion of the populace. BUT as Laura said that’s not the point. The point is that the percentage that are black is statistically out of whack with the general populace makeup. BY A LOT. As is the percentage in prison. As is the percentage in poverty, and a bunch of other issues. So the question that is being evaluated is WHY are those percentages out of whack and what can we do about it. It isn’t really about “blame” so much as it is about correction.

  50. avatar
    July 9, 2016 at 7:03 pm

    Thanks, Chris Maverick for the thoughtful and detailed analysis. I have some questions, but I’ll let this thread and recent events sink in before I compose them. And if you are ever in the San Francisco bay area, please look me up.

  51. avatar
    July 9, 2016 at 7:12 pm

    Hah. I’m literally about to step on a plane to San Diego. So “closer” but not quite.

  52. avatar
    mav
    July 12, 2016 at 3:00 pm

    Making a comment here because for some reason the Facebook sync stopped working on this post, so I want links to all the FB comments.

    https://www.facebook.com/chrismaverick/posts/10154405560486654

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