So maybe it's not that obvious. Maybe the store clerk doesn't all that obviously refuse to sell you the paint. Maybe he figures you for poor and directs you to the aisle with the most expensive paint and conveniently "forgets" to tell you about the cheaper paint in the storeroom. That's pretty much how it works nowadays - black people not being told about options that white people are being told about by real estate agents or bank employees who deal with people wanting a mortgage or looking for a house.
That isn't quite a fair analogy - anyone can walk down the aisle of a hardware store looking for paint and read the prices on the labels so you can figure out that the clerk is trying to take you for a ride. The person who can't do that isn't black or white, just an idiot.
In contrast, financial and banking options for house ownership are a field unto themselves, one that people normally specialize in for careers, not have to learn themselves to navigate the vagaries of these institutions. Your average white family is at just as much of a loss to understand them as a black family is - the solution is to promote transparency and simplify the language used so that the layperson from the street can understand them without having an MBA or a degree in Economics.
Community policing - it's a great idea, but it needs trust, and trust can't be built in a day. And a whole lot of trust has been lost by frankly unconstitutional policing "tactics" over the years. Look at Daniels vs. City of New York and the "follow up" case of Floyd vs. NYC for a very stark example. The study done by Jeffrey Fagan as expert testimony in the Floyd case paints a very clear picture of discrimination against blacks. You can not seriously expect people who have obviously been discriminated against to be all happy and cooperative just because the police starts a few programs of "community policing". Trust - once lost - is a difficult thing to rebuild.
There is also the fact that the relationship between community and police doesn't exist in a vacuum. The police depend on funding and support from officials further up in the hierarchy, be it the head of a county, city, or state. These people usually want meassurable results. But community policing will not produce results over night. It's a long term effort. Arrest rates or the number of stop-and-frisk searches, on the other hand, will produce meassurable statistics on a monthly or quarterly basis. That's something politicians can waves around as "proof" of policing "success". To give community policing a chance, politicians need to adopt a long-term view and that is something that rests with them - not the communities policed.
Yes, politicians need to stop being self-centered dicks and seeking endless re-election in place of helping the communities that elected them. What does a politician do, though, when he is elected on the 'law and order' platform by a high crime community? Voters want to see results, they want to see action, they don't want empty promises. What is your average voter going to get behind?
"We started this new program to stop and search anyone who the police judges suspicious. Since we've instituted it, violent crime is down 40% from last quarter, and we expect it to drop another 30% by year's end."
"We started this community policing program, getting the cops to work together with locals to reduce crime. We don't have any meaningful results yet, but our best projections tell us that in five years, all crime in the area will be down 80%."
There's a reason politicians love to use statistics and numbers - they sound real, even if they aren't real
. It sounds like they're actually doing something, that strides are being made in addressing the issues facing the community. So yes, politicians need to be willing to take a longer view of things, but voters need to be able to take one, as well. It will do them no good
to simply change their elected officials every couple of years when those officials fail to deliver the results that the voters
want, not necessarily what is doable.
Moreover, the cops and the politicians might be the ones writing and enforcing the laws, but that doesn't mean that the neighborhood has no role to play. The kids I was friends with came from several different neighborhoods - inner city, suburbs, out in the country - but something they all had in common was that the neighbors took an active role in the policing of the young there. When you were out hanging out with your friends, you didn't want to act up because you knew that if someone heard or saw what you were doing, the next thing that would happen was that a call would be placed home, and when you walked in the door your father would say: "Mr. Brown had something very interesting to tell me today..." Forget the black community for a second - does any
have that sort of cohesion, where that could happen? It's not where I live. If I called my next door neighbor to tell them about something their kid did, I would get a "who are you and why are you spying on my kid?" And maybe a phone call to the cops.
What's it gonna be? You want to blame the people or the environment they live in? You say the people should break out of the cycle but don't do it because they chose not to break out of it? Or are you saying that their inability to break out of the cycle is caused by their environment? The government could change that environment, but you say that the government can't do anything about it so I can only assume you are saying that, at the end of the day, the people who are who they are because of their environment don't change the environment that caused them not to break out of their environment. That is a pretty flawed logic - if logic it can be called.
The idea that we are shaped by our environments and experiences growing up is not a difficult one to wrap your head around. If you touch a hot plate, then you learn that that is not a good idea because you burn your hand. That experience has shaped your understandings and expectations.
But that does not
mean that you will never touch a hot plate again. It might be an accident, you might do it deliberately on a dare (someone promised you a grand if you were willing to put palm to plate for 10 seconds), who knows? An accident is one thing, but in the other, you are choosing
to touch that plate.
Pushing on - the idea that we are purely
'products of our environment' is dehumanizing. It reduces humans - intelligent and creative and capable of free will
- to the level of animals or machines; acting on instinct, only doing what we're programmed to do. A child who grew up with an alcoholic father might, when under great stress, turn to the same source of false help that their dad did - because who you are is often influenced by your parents, right?OR
you can choose to say "no. I am not going to be like my father, I am going to be a better person than my father, I will never be like that." Breaking old habits and such things can be hard, but they can be broken
. Other people might bring you to AA - but only you
can make it stick.
Does the environment suck? Yes
, the environment sucks! The environment sucks ten donkey balls and twice that on Sunday! But progress is made because people want things to not
suck! That's the whole idea of America, right? The idea that the days of the generations who come after us should be better than our own.
My aunt has poliomyelitis - she was one of the children born before the Salk vaccine was available, or even in the testing phase. It's only a minor case, but she's told me how much even a minor
case impedes her daily life. And from what I've learned on the disease, it was not fun to have, in any form. But the Salk vaccine was not created out of thin air overnight - it took work, years of work, before it was first administered. And now polio is practically an eradicated disease in modern industrial countries.
Who is ultimately responsible for the environment of the community we live in? Us, or someone 500 miles away?
Are you really implying that black people, as a group, think that sports is more important than education? Are you really implying that black people, as a group, don't make their children do homework?
Watch Coach Carter
, or Glory Road
And of course not! But it's awfully hard to make your children do their homework when you work until 9 at night and don't get home until close to 9:30 and you have to be up the next day at 6 to go to your second job. One of the problems that faces communities in general - not just the black community - is the rising rate of single parenthood within them. The black community simply has the largest percentage of it, and so the effects we can see writ larger than anywhere else.
Values are taught to you, just like math or English or any other academic discipline. And what's harder? Having to figure out everything yourself? Or having someone older and more experienced and who knows
about these things come and teach you them? Oh, you can learn these things yourself, but you're going to screw up, you're going to make mistakes, that's a given. A parent can have all the right attitudes, all the right values, the right stuff
needed to produce a great kid who becomes a great adult. But it means nothing
if the parent isn't there to teach the kid these things.
First of all, one of the main reasons that black children and parents turn to sports and music to escape the ghetto is because the quality of education is so poor compared to white neighborhoods that their children either can't or won't get into college. There are a HUGE number of reasons why black students do not get the education that they need, and it's not simply 'laziness', as you seem to imply, on their parents' part. Often it's a lack of funding, representation, and understanding from their teachers. Don't believe me? Here's a report that might help, titled 'U.S. Education: Still Separate and Unequal".
I read a book when I was studying to be a teacher by Jonathan Kozol called Savage Inequalities
. Now, it was released 25 years ago, but I personally believe it's lessons are just as valid today as when the book was released.
Kozol analyzed and observed at schools with low per student spending, as well as ones with high per student spending. The reason he found for the inequality was economic, not racial; schools were funded on the local level by property taxes - so poor districts had crappy budgets whereas high wealth ones had plenty. That could have been easily fixed with programs like No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top, but those bungled badly - the promised assistance money needed to go to the schools that flunked the tests, that were being reviewed for state takeover and control (and shutdown in some cases!), not the ones where you had sterling records and the highest scores. In short, the scheme that we got needed to be reversed.
Hell, that could be even fixed on the state level, except you can bet that the parents of the well-to-do school districts are going to raise hell over the fact that their school budget is getting cut - they'd probably say something like 'being punished for doing well' while their money goes to...well, I'm not gonna say the things I would think they say, there's people present. That doesn't prevent the action from happening, but if the people doing this are elected to their job, you can bet they'll think twice before doing it.
I mean, this is just cursory internet searching. I'm sure I could find more. The point is, racism is still very much active in the United States, and Black Lives Matters is trying to point out that this idea white people have of a perfect, pretty much post-racial society just doesn't exist yet.
Something I would like to ask, in the midst of all this. Where did
we get this idea that we now existed in a post-racial society? Seriously, I'm asking.
So we are talking about homicides now when cops shoot black people for no good reason, but we are to accept that because there are oh so few of those incidents in the grand sceme of things?
Yep. Hey, what's a few black lives after all, right? No big deal!
You have made the point for BLM far more succinctly than I could ever have.
Saying things like this is not going to help anyone, it just antagonizes people and makes them less likely to listen to what you have to say.
First off, no one is saying it's fine
when a cop shoots an unarmed person. That's the things that people like Piers Morgan did after the Sandy Hook shooting - he stood on the graves of the deceased and declared that anyone who didn't agree with him was an uncaring bastard promoting dead children. Not only was that not true, it was a deliberate tactic to vilify his opponent and force them to shut up on the basis of being a bad person - trying to shame them
into compliance. It was an ad hominem
fallacy - attacking the person and their character rather than their ideas.
The #1 cause of death for black men ages 15-34, according to the CDC, is homicide, as well as the #2 cause of death for black women ages 15-24. Who is responsible
for those homicides? The DoJ statistics suggest that a majority of the black homicides that take place every year are committed by other blacks
, at a rate that far outweighs that of cops shooting unarmed persons.
Do we want to fix the problem with these cop shootings? Yes, absolutely. But we have to consider the source of most trouble
, and try and address that to get the best result.
Look at it through the lens of gun control (since I brought it up). The idea of an assault weapons ban has been running around again as of late, but if you look at the statistics, far more people are killed each year with handguns that assault weapons. If the goal of the ban is to reduce firearms homicides, wouldn't it be more effective to ban handguns than it would be to ban assault weapons?