27 September 2020

Response to a response 3 (Part 4 of a series on race based on emails to my family)

  After a few back and forths, the previous posts (which were originally emails to family members regarding the recent race protests and their implications), I started getting longer, more in-depth, and more nuanced responses.  This (and the last two posts) are responses to those responses.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 I see now why you argued with my saying that your last letter (the one about your childhood & teens) made your position (or the reasons for your position) more clear.  You certainly do spell out your perspective more fully and clearly here.  

Thanks.  
I think a lot of what I wrote before assumed the reader had read (and remembered) everything I had written before that.  I didn't want to make already long posts even longer by going over old stuff, so I usually just have hyperlinks to older posts when I think they are relevant.  I was trying to focus on the most pertinent points and put them all together here.

 

I want to say here that one of your most clarifying points is your analogy between the percentage of convictions and incarcerations by race, and the percentage of convictions and incarcerations by gender.  You provide interesting information and make an excellent point.  Likewise, you provide interesting information about the study showing that cops generally display less race bias than the general population.

Before I go on towards what I agree with and what I don't, I want to pause here to point out that police absolutely should be trained to react, as much as possible, without bias, because 1) it is their job; their profession.  Just like a therapist has to follow a code of ethics that regular people are not subject to, police absolutely should meet a higher standard of objectivity and restraint than your everyday citizen.  2) Being armed with the ability to physically injure or even kill, as well as the power to jail someone, they have a great responsibility to ensure that their power is not abused.  3) They are agents of the government, supposedly acting to ensure safety and justice, and as such have a duty to serve ethically and justly; a duty that far exceeds that of the average Joe.  I hope you agree with this.


I do agree with you and Rachel on that point.  I just don't think it is realistic to have the only acceptable rate of mistakes to be exactly 0, ever.  I think the rate of police killing unarmed and non violent black people, up to several a year, compared to almost 10,000 civilian murders of black people, demonstrates that cops are already performing at a much higher standard.  I think given the public perception, any number above zero, no matter how rare, will always be viewed as "rampant" and a priority issue, and that is a problem.
 

That being said, I agree that far too many (mostly young and poor) black men commit violent crime (usually upon other young black men or women) and that there is some correlation between who is getting arrested and who is committing crimes.  I won't go into how much is violent crime, and how much is "victimless" crime like drug abuse and prostitution,

Actually, that is a very significant factor in all this, as the statistics show significantly more bias in drug crimes than in violent crimes, for both arrest and incarceration.  Fortunately the majority of states and cities have begun to recognize this. 
(Incidentally, small town middle America is both where the most "tough on crime" mindsets remain, and where the opioid epidemic hit hardest, leading to white women being the group with the highest percentage increase in incarceration "Over the 16 years that were studied, the number of black men in state prison declined by more than 48,000, while the number of white men increased by more than 59,000. Similarly, the number of incarcerated black women fell by more than 12,000, and the number of white women in prison grew by nearly 25,000."

 

or how black crime is (as you've noted in the past) more visible due to being out on the street, while similar white crimes more often are hidden indoors, nor will I dwell on racial inequities in sentencing (or bail) when the crime is identical, since you are talking here just about police bias and not the other issues.  

But the kind of street crime that you refer to happens mostly in poor black ghettos, whereas much of what I have read of black men's frustration and anger about being stopped repeatedly and without good cause by police is written by educated middle-class black men, often living in middle-class (integrated or mostly white) neighborhoods.  I can't assume that they all responded inappropriately every time that they were stopped by police, and that that is because they were taught to fear or hate police from childhood.  But I would not be surprised that if it happened to someone too many times, and they noticed that it never happened to their white friends, after a while they may accummulate a lot of resentment and eventually anger about it.  I have no reason to believe that every one of the many educated middle-class black men over 30 who complain of excessive police harrassment in their own or other middle-class neighborhoods are either lying, or have been responding inappropriately every time they see a police officer.  

 

I don't think any of them are lying, and I'm sure many aren't always being disrespectful.  But pretty much all of us are primed to expect to be stopped for no reason, and to be harrassed when we are, and that leads to someone being completely sincere when they claim that being stopped for speeding, or an expired license plate, or not coming to a full stop, was really just because they are black.  That is something I have witnessed many times, an ordinary police stop being (sincerely) attributed to race without any specific basis. I even hear white people saying "if I had been black, I wouldn't have been let go with a warning".  No one person lives a lifetime being both white and black in order to actually experience a lifetime of police interactions, but I know from times being stopped on my motorcycle (with no skin exposed) or in a station wagon with tinted windows at night, or driving a vehicle that looks like it would be owned by some hippy (again, with tinted windows) that cops don't only stop black people.  I know also that discovering a driver is black, they don't necessarily always give them a ticket, never mind do an automatic search.  Certainly things may be worse some places than others, but I've also personally heard plenty of people in the Bay Area say with confidence how they were only stopped because they were black, or that they wouldn't have been let off with a warning if they hadn't been white, or other hypotheticals based on nothing other than their assumptions of what the cops thinking was based on the predetermined narrative of racist cops.
I'm not aware of objective data that finds these significant disparities in middle or high income neighborhoods.  I've searched, and I can only find studies that look at average perceptions of police interactions by race including middle class or above neighborhoods.  Not surprisingly, studies based on self reports find disparities in those perceptions.
There are certainly more total stops and more use of force in poorer neighborhoods and more high crime neighborhoods, (for both white and black people) and an unfortunate number of black people live in those neighborhoods - including individuals with higher income than the neighborhood average, which makes it impossible to parse meaningful conclusions from any statistics that isn't specifically divided that way.
According to this report by the sentencing project "In fact, 62% of African Americans reside in highly segregated, inner city neighborhoods that experience a high degree of violent crime, while the majority of whites live in “highly advantaged” neighborhoods that experience little violent crime."  and "juvenile delinquents who live within areas that have high minority populations (more heterogeneous) will more often be detained, regardless of their individual race or ethnicity."


The reason I commented on each of the examples in the editorial by Ishmael is because the majority of the basis for believing that police bias is driven specifically by skin color rather than factors related to culture, poverty, anti-authoriatiness,etc is anecdotes by individual middle class black people who believe they were stopped and/or treated unfairly based solely on the basis of their skin color. All the reports that come out finding significant bias don't look at high-income, low crime neighborhoods, or if they do, they don't distinguish the data.  If only a very small percentage of those neighborhoods is black, their lesser rate of police stops will get lost in the larger data set.  The problem with relying on notable and outrage inducing anecdotes can be seen when people believe that (for example) only black people are ever shot by police (whites are actually shot by police more often) or that black people make up the majority of the prison population.  You can't draw meaningful comparative conclusions from any number of anecdotes, because there is no basis for comparison.  Overall, poverty and urban density are correlated with arrest rates, especially for young black males.

I think this is similar to how the pre-existing belief that police murder of black people happens at a significant rate allows any one example to be taken as proof, the pre-existing expectation regarding stops allows individual anecdotes to serve as evidence of rampant bias in middle class police interactions without any particular objective evidence.

 

What I disagree with the most is your apparent belief that everyone who supports the "Black Lives Matter" movement believes all the things that you list as "the basic premise of every protest, every article, every proposal."  The reality is that (as with many movements), there are many different people within the movement who disagree with each other. 

 

I don't mean to imply that every individual involved believes those specific things.  I am saying the actual specific things articulated in writing, and the specific incidents which garner widespread attention (and the ones that don't) inherently implies those premises.

 

A prime (and quite relevant) example is the proposal to "defund the police."  ...

Just because extreme proposals get more media attention (as it is the media's intent to attract attention, so the more sensational, the better), does not mean that those who want to completely defund the police, speak for the whole movement.  They do not.  Unfortunately, the media attention makes it seem that way, and then a lot of other people fall into step with the concept for fear they will seem against BLM if they argue that we do need police.  (But some have argued such anyway.)

 

Granted, literally every message that can be accessed in any form other than direct word of mouth is filtered by some form of "media".  A picture or video of protestors holding signs can be focused on specific signs, newspapers magazines and websites can choose which editorials and letters they publish, even social media algorithms can favor some individual posts to show up in a feed than others.  I think it is reasonable to say that the trigger for each major protest has been an incident of police violence. That alone is the biggest part of what I think is an implied subtext.  The fact that those incidents are the spark for protests, and nothing else is, itself implies that white police are the biggest negative factor to be addressed in black people's lives.

And I do suspect that at least some of the messages that make it through various forms of media have some reasonable degree of representation of at least a plurality of the people involved.
Media absolutely sensationalizes, but it is a bit of a chicken and egg situation - they hype what sells, and what people care about is when white people kill black people.  Just the same way we object when conservative papers or news programs supposedly make a point of showing black criminals (which is theorized to be the primary or only source of subconscious racism), "our" papers and other media make a point of stating the race of officer and victim every time a white person kills a black person.  They are not in the least subtle about it, and they do not make a point of specifying race in any other combination.  They do this because it's what gets people riled up and buying papers, but it sells papers because it fits the conclusion people already have.

 

I am aware that many white people do feel so bad about racism and/or fearful of offending black people, that they defer to whatever one or more black people say about reality or goals, or, if they disagree, remain quiet about what they really think.  This may be a temporary reactive swing in the opposite direction from when whites did all the talking and blacks kept quiet.  Be patient with the process; there is so much to process.

Still, in my whole life, I have never heard anyone claim that "100% of bad things in the life of every black person is the direct result of the choices of white people.

 

No, of course, I'm not saying anyone says those words.  I'm saying that is the implication when people give example after example of what they feel constitutes systemic racism and institutional racism and implicit bias and white privilege and oppression and inequality, and when the rare acknowledgment of crime is invariably coupled to a reminder of the factors of trauma and poverty and historical oppression. Being arrested is because of police bias. Prison is due to judicial bias. Education and employment is limited by white administrators and employers.  Poverty and crime are indirect factors of oppression.  Disparate health outcomes are because of racism in medicine. Dietary choices are a result of marketers and city planners.  Tobacco and alcohol is a result of targeted advertising.  What bad thing that happens to black people doesn't get attributed to white people?  There is no room there for any self-determination or influence over one's life in this narrative.

 

Nor have I heard anyone express most of the other over-simplified, over-generalized statements ending with, "If white people would just stop Oppressing black people, all problems faced by every black person in America would instantly go away, they would all join the upper 1%, and we would live in a (separate, but equal) utopia.  These may be your assumptions about what you think is implied in what others say and do, but it is not my impression that that is what people are thinking.


If that is not the subconscious belief, then there should be some amount of wide-spread attention to any issue that is in no way connected to oppression.  There are plenty of public service type messages geared toward helping people to help themselves that are race neutral.  

If every individual message to or about black people is that every problem worth mentioning is caused by oppression, if oppression is the only thing worth addressing, if all inequalities are caused by oppression, then does it not stand to reason that the purpose of fighting oppression is because there is nothing else worth addressing?
 

That last one in particular leaves me wondering who you think has these thoughts, black people or white people? 

 

Both.  Not every individual, of course, but the most vocal, the ones who write and speak on the topic, and a significant number who read and listen to them, and many who participate in activism or talk regularly about oppression and privilege and racism.

 

Or are you referring quite specifically to young, uneducated, alienated, and angry young black men from the ghetto?  To be clear, that is neither who started the Black Lives Matter movement, nor are they who it is mostly made up of, though presumably many have joined the movement now, as have many white youth all around the world.  It started as, and has become again, a cry against racism of all kinds, not just police. 


Correct, not just police.  Also white "vigilantes".  
" Black Lives Matter ... started out as a ... organization whose mission was to build local power and to intervene when violence was inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes"
https://blacklivesmatter.com/what-we-believe/ 
"In 2013, three radical Black organizers — Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi — created ... #BlackLivesMatter. It was in response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer"
Our members organize and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes.  Black Lives Matter is an ideological and political intervention in a world where Black lives are systematically and intentionally targeted for demise."
https://blacklivesmatter.com/herstory/ 

They are very clear and consistent that they are focused specifically on "the rampant and deliberate violence inflicted on us by the state."  There is nothing in their own writing that supports the idea that they are equally concerned with black lives lost that aren't directly attributable to either cops or white people.

 

The unjustified killings by police caught on film and circulated have made the movement very visible, and of late, extremely widespread.  The fact that so many white people all over the country and all over the world have joined these protests against racism is a wonderful thing that can act against anyone's belief that, "White people believe that black lives don't matter, and are filled with Hate."

But knowing that almost half of the U.S. voting public voted for Donald Trump who panders to white supremacists, how can you not tell that racism is "alive and well" in the U.S., and not just a figment of imagination or delusion of black people?


I realize how obvious it seems to democrats and liberals and bay area people, but not every Trump voter sees him as "pandering to white supremacists."  He says plenty of stuff that can reasonably be interpreted as racist, and certainly that are compatible with white supremacist beliefs, but he also doesn't say anything that couldn't be interpreted another way.  He generally claims after each scandalous remark that he meant it in the not racist interpretation - that shit-hole countries is a matter of poverty vs high tech job skills, that he wasn't advocating shooting looters, merely saying that is what tends to happen (and, in fact, more people were killed by rioters or people defending themselves from rioters than were killed by police).
Evangelicals (the largest part of his support, by far) picked him over Clinton because of abortion.  Wealthy whites picked him for tax cuts.  Poor whites picked him for his anti-immigrant nationalism.
13% of people who voted for Trump also voted for Obama.  8% of black voters voted for Trump.
His strongest "base" - the people who didn't just vote for him over Clinton, but who support him fully, no matter what, are known to skew not only white and male, but uneducated, poor, rural, and feeling politically powerless.  Those are not the whites with the power to influence life outcomes of other people.
This article https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/28/opinion/trump-white-voters.html goes into great depth, and makes a strong case for his supporters not being racist specifically, but "otherist", for example showing exactly equal prejudice against Lithuanians as against blacks.  They are particularly afraid of Islamic terrorists.  https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/03/who-are-donald-trumps-supporters-really/471714/ They are, more than any other one thing, authoritarian: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/02/01/how-your-parenting-style-predicts-whether-you-support-donald-trump/
Not everyone saw the election in terms of "the racist candidate" and the "not racist candidate", so having half of voters choose him over the one other available choice doesn't imply that half of voters are racist.


 

To use your example about rates of violence by gender, it occurs to me that, despite the fact that the violence disparity is much greater by gender than it is by race, many more white women, fear and/or discriminate against black people, than fear and.or discriminate against men.  This despite the fact that most black violence is toward other blacks. 


This is exactly like how black people report greater fear of police than of crime, even though the murder rate by (non-police) crime is literally thousands of times higher than the rate of police shooting unarmed suspects.  Human psychology focuses on the threat of "other".

However I don't really believe it is true that a majority of white women would feel more afraid alone in an elevator or on a empty street at night around a black female stranger than a white male stranger.  Fear, discrimination, and wanting to spend time around, are 3 completely separate things.  


And while the basic drive to have a partner stems from the reality of how animals reproduce explains women's tendency to marry men, I do think that the level of interracial marriage is part of the problem. 
Notably, while 60% of white Americans explicitly support BLM specifically, only 9% of white Americans marry someone of any other race and less than 1% marry a black person.  That means nearly all of the white "supporters" who are willing to attend a rally, put a sign in their window, or post something anti-racist on social media, are not willing to actually make the "sacrifice" of actually their integrating their own family.  They are still breeding purebreds, and nearly all of them will pass down their wealth to their own children, keeping white people privileged.
 

I have not heard or read anyone claiming that life would be a perfect utopia without racism, just as I have not heard or read anyone claiming that life would be a perfect utopia without homophobia or war or domestic violence or environmental destruction.  But things would be a lot better without any one of those things.  Surely you agree with that, no?  You may disagree about how much racism there is in the U.S. or in the world, but no matter how much there is, wouldn't it be better without it?

 

Yes, I do agree.  What I disagree with is the tactics for achieving it, as well as the prioritization and focus on it relative to other issues.  I believe that focusing on integration, education, and income inequality would not only do more to improve conditions for black people, but also do more for actually decreasing racism, both explicit and implicit, in the long run.

 

I agree with you that violent crime in black ghettos (and in Oakland, the crime spreads out of the ghetto), is a very serious problem that is very harmful to black people, in very concrete terms, not just reputation or making the race "look bad."  (Again, why is it that male violence doesn't make men "look bad" in the same way, doesn't make the majority think that most men are criminal, in the way that white society thinks most blacks are criminal?)


First of all, on what are you basing that: "white society thinks most blacks are criminals"?  What exactly is "white society"?  You just pointed out "so many white people all over the country and all over the world have joined these protests against racism".  In fact, 60% of white Americans explicitly say they support the BLM movement specifically.
And are the only options that a white person either joins a specific protest movement, or believes most blacks are criminals?   Who is actually espousing that belief?  I don't know that even most actual white supremacists make such a claim. 

Second of all, male violence absolutely does reflect on all of us!  Consider the "alone with a male stranger" scenario, and the resistance to unisex restrooms.  The whole "not all men" response to "me too".  The nearly 100% focus of domestic violence as being male perpetrated when the actual numbers are close to even or even slightly more often initiated by women.
And as I pointed out initially, men are given on average 63% longer sentences for the same crime as women are, which is 3 to 6 times larger than the sentencing disparity for the same crime between black people and white people (10 to 20%) which is one of the facts that most shows racial bias is in fact in play.  In implicit bias simulators, police show significantly higher bias to males than to black people "The participants shot armed White males more quickly than armed Black males, and the participants took significantly longer to shoot an armed White female than an armed Black or White male" https://fisherpub.sjfc.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1419&context=education_etd  which is likely why though females commit 20% of violent crime and 12% of murder, they make up only 5% of police shootings.  Given a police stop "the race of the suspect did not affect the measured outcome of stops. Gender was related to the likelihood of being frisked... There was a five times greater likelihood of males being frisked" https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/213004.pdf 

 

In concrete terms, more black people are killed by other black people than by police.  And for this reason in particular, I agree with you that there needs to be more focus on this critical problem.

But I don't see it as either/or.  I think that Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi could not have come up with a better slogan than "Black Lives Matter."  It speaks to both issues, and more.  It speaks to white racism and black internalized racism.  It speaks to cops killing unarmed blacks as well as blacks killing blacks.  It speaks to both deliberate racism, and neglect of poor black neighborhoods and schools, whether intentional or just neglectful.  It is such a fabulous slogan (for blacks without being against whites; simply asserting the importance of black people's lives that have been so oppressed and neglected for so long), such a fabulous slogan, that millions of white people have joined the movement, even risking their lives and health marching too close together (often unmasked, sadly) all around the world to announce that they too want an end to racism in all its forms.

 

I appreciate your positive outlook, and I wish the founders, movement leaders, and tens of thousands of supporters all recognized what you're saying and agreed with it (or that those who did, actually said it out loud).  But based on the website maintained by the founders themselves, what you are saying is not really their intention, and based on what every large scale protest is actually about, and what activists actually talk about and have as their agenda, both large scale and small, both black and white, I don't see evidence that your view represents them.  I'm sure you are not the only individual supporter to see some extra nuance and complexity and to interpret the slogan to mean something more broad, but as long as that message is not being widely circulated, most people will continue to interpret it the way it is actually intended - a message to white people and a movement very specifically against police violence.

 

In my opinion, people's behavior is highly influenced by their outer as well as inner environment.  Likewise, change is facilitated by outer conditions, not just from within. 

 

Agreed.  I do not think changing the narrative is enough by itself.  I also think we need to make significant changes to the economic system, one which allows wealth to stay along genetic lines indefinitely, there by automatically perpetuating the inequities of slavery indefinitely.  Of course that too is not the only thing that needs to change, but I think it is the single largest thing, and one which receives essentially zero attention as being a major race issue.

But the narrative itself is a major issue, and one that is completely obscured by a focus on oppression.  For example, many articles have come out pointing out the rates of covid infection as yet another example of black suffering at the hands of white society.
Yet the differing rates might also be explained by differing perceptions and beliefs, and resulting behaviors, similar to how the infection rate in men is higher than in women, and this is largely attributable to male resistance to wearing masks or following social distancing guidelines.  Men are infected much more than women, and the surge in cases recently is largely increased rates of new infections among republicans, both trends connected with the groups relative resistance to wearing masks and social distancing compared to women and democrats
link 1 link 2link 3link 4 


https://www.popsci.com/story/health/covid-19-vaccine-poll/  
https://edition.cnn.com/2020/04/06/opinions/african-americans-covid-19-risk-jones/index.html  

This is a sub component of a general difference in feelings toward the healthcare system in general.

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/10701087_Race_and_Trust_in_the_Health_Care_System 
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1913079/   
A strong feeling of being separate from society, of not trusting not just government, but "the system", has real impacts on behavior.  When that extends even to the point of health care advice, it will be self-destructive.  When media and activists then report disparities of outcome as being a product of oppression, it reinforces the idea that you shouldn't trust the system, closing the circle and increasing the negative effect.

Note also, that while there are plenty of articles pointing out the link between behaviors and outcomes for men vs women and democrats vs republicans, every article that discusses covid in the context of race attributes it entirely to systemic racism

 

As I alluded to earlier, black people have been trying to rise up since slavery ended, and have been blocked and smashed down in so many ways, and yet and still, more than half were able to reach the middle class after the 1960s (interestingly, after much black protest and clamor), though there has been some regression with various economic events which, as always, hit harder at those who have less.  (See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African-American_middle_class,     https://blackdemographics.com/households/middle-class/,   and https://today.duke.edu/2020/05/middle-class-not-level-playing-field-blacks-new-duke-research-finds.

Just as you acknowledge (and I agree) that teaching black children that the police are their enemy will likely exacerbate the conflict and endanger their lives, likewise other conditions of black children influence how they think of themselves, how they think of others, and how prepared they are to achieve.  (By the way, most parents who "have the talk" with black children about encounters with the police, stress the importance of behaving very respectfully towards the police so that they don't get arrested or killed.  So I highly doubt such talks are what is causing the problems.) 

 

Of course the Talk isn't explicitly telling kids to be resentful or antagonistic!

But you have to consider the kid's world.  Teens are more influenced by peers than parents.  In many cultures honor and respect are the most important things especially for a male.  If you live in a world where someone disrespecting you verbally obligates you assault them physically, if you believe no external authority is legitimate, and of course if everyone you know agrees that cops are the worst of the worst, being told to kowtow to a cop by your parents is perhaps the best way to tip them over the edge and have them react negatively to any police interaction.

Sort of how areas with abstinence only education have the highest teen pregnancy rates, telling kids not to do something is not known to be the most effective way to get them not to do it.

 

But can't just tell some teen parents in the ghetto to "get it together, raise your kids well, and give them a better education than you had."  If the parents don't know what to do and have no support or guidance, they will make do with whatever they have or know.  There needs to be social workers and educators and good schools for the kids and parks to play in and decent housing that they can afford and transportation and jobs that they can do and job-training and childcare and etc etc etc.  ....  If the BLM movement inspires more government (and private) attention on improving conditions in poor neighborhoods, that would be great and would contribute to turning around black self-esteem and behavior in the ghetto.

 

Absolutely! Which is exactly why it bothers me to see all of the attention being on what police do or don't do, and no nationwide protests with thousands of people or NYT  editorials regarding real meaningful neighborhood or school integration in the North.  In fact, we get the opposite, people objecting to integration on the grounds of it being gentrification, even in cities with rent control where forced displacement is not an issue.  The movement isn't focused on improving conditions, it is focused on police brutality, which itself is a product, not the primary cause, of conditions.

 

Do we need to eventually shine more attention on blacks killing blacks,

No, not necessarily.  If we address the root causes - wealth inequality and segregation, it will subside on its own.

 

and do everything possible to address the many causes and try to turn that around?  Absolutely.  Is it important for improved 2 way communication to take place between blacks and police? For certain.  Do many black people today segregate themselves from whites thinking that whitey is the enemy, or that they have to prove their blackness through separation, or because they have been hurt by racist comments or slights too many times or because they are just more comfortable with people who look and think like they do?  Sure.  (Just like lesbian separatists segregate themselves from men, even though most lesbians don't.)  Do people in movements make mistakes (like everyone else), and do some say and do misguided things, and some even advocate absolute crazy stuff?  Sure, of course, every group of people makes mistakes, and has a few nutty members that get an unfair share of attention.

But I believe what is happening now with the BLM movement is a fabulous thing that has never happened before at this scale (at least not since the civil war.)  And the very fact that so many whites have shown such support, will really help towards many of the attitudes among blacks toward whites which you complain of, (especially if the support is lasting, and backed up with concrete changes.)

 

I am skeptical, because that support is limited to a statement of principle.  There is no movement for middle class white people to stop picking neighborhoods on the basis of getting their kids into the "best schools".  There is no call to send white kids to low performing public school and donate funds to send urban black kids to private school.  There is no movement to leave white houses and inheritances to random poor black families.  There is no discussion about how to deliberately, systematically encourage cultural and geographical integration.  There is not even any call to personally get to know and befriend a black person, never mind promoting interracial marriage.  There is nothing any white supporter is actually giving up or sacrificing, no real changes for them to make.  It is all about having someone else make changes, the police, the government, the racists.  But it is the actions of random ordinary not-racist middle class people that contribute the most volume to the status quo.

 

  And it gives me a lot of hope for change.  Will positive change occur in time before we all burn up from climate change? 

 

I don't know if positive change ever occurs, or if we just endlessly cycle social arrangements, however, "burning up" is not a scenario any climate scientist is predicting, at least not for another 4 billion years, when the sun expands so much it engulfs all the inner planets including the Earth.

 

I hope so.  Will you and I come closer in our understanding of each other's perspective? 

 

I think we might be getting closer?


No comments:

Post a Comment

If you ask a question, I will answer it.

NEW: Blogger finally put in a system to be notified of responses to your comments! Just check the box to the right, below, before you hit "publish"