Balkinization  

Friday, April 25, 2008

A Snapshot of Race in America

Brian Tamanaha

A white man in a serious run for the presidency--Same old story.

A black man in a serious run for the presidency--Once in a lifetime event.


An innocent black man shot and killed by police; police acquitted--Same old story.

An innocent white man shot and killed by police; police acquitted--Once in a lifetime event.



Comments:

Yeah, I feel that grumble about this case. It is a terrible tragedy for his then soon-to-be wife and family - truly the day of what was to be the happiest moment of his life.

I hope that persons are able to allow themselves to access the sense of pain that family is feeling and why they might thing there has been a miscarriage of justice. Sometimes it seems persons can not see that common humanity in my experience in America. When I lived in Paris, I use to be asked what was the difference between being a black American in America and in France. I use to say that the difference was that in France, I always knew I wasn't French but that I was a human. There had been times in the States when I had wondered whether people thought that - as a black man - I was also human. No doubt a further trace of slavery where the inventory for slaves were kept in the same place as that for horses, pigs and all that.

One thing here is that there were two black officers. People might say that leaves the issue as "case closed" on race. However, there is the memory of cases of alleged police brutality where black officers beat up black suspects as part of showing they were "one of the group." Also, just cause an officer is not black does not add up to him/her being a racist (these things are obvious but sometimes I feel you have to write them in case someone thinks that I would not understand this point on the blog).

I was not there so I can not know what happened. 50 bullets seems like an enormous number of bullets to me. But, I do not walk those streets. I just feel awful about the loss to his soon-to-be wife and family.

I understand the cop having to make a split-second decision with these kinds of permanent consequences. I am thankful for those who are alive and feel for all those who have family that is now dead. It is a waste of those lives for what ends up being for nothing.

Seems to happen too much.

Best,
Ben
 

"One thing here is that there were two black officers. People might say that leaves the issue as "case closed" on race. However, there is the memory of cases of alleged police brutality where black officers beat up black suspects as part of showing they were "one of the group." Also, just cause an officer is not black does not add up to him/her being a racist (these things are obvious but sometimes I feel you have to write them in case someone thinks that I would not understand this point on the blog)."

Interesting reflection on those facts --

In a conversation with a black police officer, I asked why the majority of white officers supported Bush, even the second time around, even though he cut funding to police, unlike Clinton, who they seemed to hate.

Because, he said, they are opposed to affirmative action (they are, in a word, racist), and they want a conservative SC which will overturn affirmative action.

Why are they opposed to affirmative action? Aside from the racism, and primarily, because affirmative action ends the generational nepotism long enjoyed by white officers whose father was a copy, whose grandfather was a cop . . . sorta ends the "guaranteed for life" job without all the hassle of having to actually apply for the job on equal footing with everyone else.

So, yes: it's racist. But it's core-entitled/selfish first.

'Course, as Paulsen would likely insist, affirmative action discriminates against whites because it creates an equal playing field for everyone.
 

So you're saying being against affirmative action inherently makes someone racist? Try googling Clarence Thomas's views on affirmative action and see what comes up...

"sorta ends the 'guaranteed for life' job without all the hassle of having to actually apply for the job on equal footing with everyone else."

Hate to point out the obvious, but doesn't affirmative action put minorities on unequal footing when it comes to getting a job? I'm not trying to start an argument on the merits of affirmative action, but I don't think it's fair for you to insinuate that just because someone doesn't support it, that they are selfish or racist.
 

that's a little naive carl.

what J said is a plain fact.

talk about white guilt. in order to justify to themselves the nepotism of the force they convince themselves that blacks aren't as good... and of course, since they are arresting them daily, it's easier to believe.

i believe this happened in the Philly area, which happens to have some of the most notoriously racist cops and a high percentage of irish patronage.
 

Does anyone ever think about always calling Obama black when he had a white mother?

Is it the one drop of blood theory?

Or one week should be call him black and the next white.

hal lewis
 

Carl --

"So you're saying being against affirmative action inherently makes someone racist?"

I do say I agree with the police officer.

And -- yes -- in 99.99 per cent of instances, oppoents of affirmative action are racist.

"Try googling Clarence Thomas's views on affirmative action and see what comes up..."

Clarence Thomas was for it before he was against it. For it when he needed it, against it after no longer needing it.

Clarence Thomas is also the first SC Justice to interpret the Constitution through the views of the anti-Federalists. Apparently he didn't get the news that the anti-Federalists (1) opposed ratification of the Constitution, and (2) they lost the argument.

"sorta ends the 'guaranteed for life' job without all the hassle of having to actually apply for the job on equal footing with everyone else."

"Hate to point out the obvious, but doesn't affirmative action put minorities on unequal footing when it comes to getting a job?"

No more so than an anti-lynching law would put them -- or the lynchers -- on unequal footing. Were there anti-lynching law, though, we'd get arguments about that it's "reverse discrimination [because it protects the potential lynchees from being lynched by the lynchers]" and "discriminates against whites" -- even though the history is not of whites being lynched, but instead of minorities, primarily blacks, being lynched by whites.

Oh, sure, there's the "reality is perfect" cover for the racism: there shouldn't be adjustments in order to protect minorities who are historically disadvantaged by the majority. They should be required to stand on their feet like the rest of us.

Reality not being perfect, sometimes it is necessary to implement such protections in order to protect the opportunity to be on a level playing field.

"I'm not trying to start an argument on the merits of affirmative action, but I don't think it's fair for you to insinuate that just because someone doesn't support it, that they are selfish or racist."

At the beginning you left out that I merely "insinuated," but at the same time clearly asserted more than that.

Let's put it this way, against the "argument" that affirmative action (which is how old? at most 40 years?) has already accomplished that which was intended, therefore it can be scrapped --

How about leaving affirmative action in place for as long as slavery existed? Or as long as necessary so no one any more objects to the fact -- the reality -- that history is not the only issue; the related issue is that reality is not perfect, and law is not perfect, and there are nasty bigots in the world, so protections are necessary against those for some.

Those who oppose affirmative action now didn't oppose what was going on before it was implemented. Not actually, else they would accept the fact that what was going on demanded remedies. If the remedy is an effective remedy -- and it is -- then it's irrelevant whether those who are thereby forced to share space at the table to those who are to be more than theoretically equal before the law like the remedy.

Affirmative action worked for Clarence Thomas. Now, of course, he is a member of the Federalist Society, which opposes all civil rights legislation, and pushes anti-Federalist views -- all covertly, of course, because the members of it know that if the majority knew their actual intent the majority would reject it.
 

Garth Sullivan --

"that's a little naive carl.

"what J said is a plain fact."

I could have said the same about the fire department.

And remind that no small number of lawsuits based upon being discriminated against when attempting to become a cop or fireperson were filed by white women.

No racism there -- but illegal discrimination nonetheless.

Remember all the rationalizations that women haven't sufficient strength to carry all that heavy firefighting equipment -- but no mention of the fact that there were white men getting fat sitting on their asses in the dispatcher's chair?

"talk about white guilt. in order to justify to themselves the nepotism of the force they convince themselves that blacks aren't as good... and of course, since they are arresting them daily, it's easier to believe."

It isn't even about guilt. It's about "Me first -- and only!"

"I deserve preferential treatment ["reverse" affirmative action?] not because I'm white [wink, wink, nudge, nudge] but because my daddy and his daddy were cops/firemen."

There are a few interesting cases that have come out of the Boston PD. In one, a black undercover cop was chased and shot (in the back) by a white cop.

In another instance, two cops -- partners -- were drinking in a bar (I believe they were off duty, but the fact pattern buries that irrelevancy). One of them insisted to the other that he drive, because the other was too drunk.

The one said to be too drunk pulled his gone and shot the other. (Luckily, he was so drunk he only hit his partner in the thigh.)

"i believe this happened in the Philly area, which happens to have some of the most notoriously racist cops and a high percentage of irish patronage."

In the instance I reference, Boston. But it's the same in all cities. And, I'll bet, rurally as well (Bart is our resident expert on all things rural).
 

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