Monday, July 11, 2016

Response to The Now What

Black people who target whites are fundamentally allied with white people who target blacks. They’re on the same team: the race war team. 
It’s a lot like the global struggle over jihadism, in which Muslims who hate Christians collaborate, in effect, with Christians who hate Muslims. In the case of jihadism, the real struggle isn’t between two religions. It’s between people who want religious war and people who don’t. 
The same is true of race: Either you’re on the race war team, or you’re against it.
I’ve always argued the same about the dispute between Israel and its neighbors. I keep thinking there are at least some Israelis who wouldn’t mind if Palestinian Arabs had their own sovereign state that lived in peace with Israel, and there must be some Arabs who, if given their own state, would live beside Israel, in peace. It’s just that the combined Peace crowd is outnumbered, or at least overpowered, by the combined War crowd in the region, and so progress toward settling the disagreements goes nowhere.

I think of this every time I hear of Rudy Giuliani say something along these lines:

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani stood by his recent comments Monday that the Black Lives Matter movement is "inherently racist." 
"It's inherently racist because, number one, it divides us. ... All lives matter: White lives, black lives, all lives," he told Fox News on Monday.
There may be something to that. I still wish “Black Lives Matter” would change its name to “Black Lives Matter, Too”, just so folks couldn’t get away with making that argument. But Giuliani continues, making a claim I myself can't verify:
"Number two: Black Lives Matter never protests when every 14 hours somebody is killed in Chicago, probably 70-80% of the time (by) a black person. Where are they then? Where are they when a young black child is killed?"
I remember that the first time I heard Giuliani bring up this business about “black-on-black crime” in the “Black Lives Matter” context, I think last year, I thought he was just trying to change the subject. But now I realize that, if I were in a conversation in which both sides were looking for common ground, stuff we could agree on, I would grant him that argument, yet would likely follow it with...
“...but while your point — that anyone professing to care about black people’s lives should not just be talking about black people killed by white cops, but should also about black people killed by other black people — is a good one, I would still like to hear what you think about the contention that black people do seem, for some reason, to be profiled by cops — and not just by white cops, but also by black cops. 
First, do you agree this is true — and statistics seem to suggest it is — and second, if so, what do you think we should do about it?”
If this discussion were really open, and both sides were of good will, both acknowledging that there is a problem and what the problem is, they might also admit that not every case of a cop killing a black person is necessarily racism but might sometimes, for example, be a case of sloppy police work, or good intentions gone bad.

I personally think that was the case in the alleged chokehold death of Eric Garner in Staten Island in 2014 — that Garner’s large size intimidated the cops into using maybe more force than was necessary.

But what may have called the cops’ attention to the scene in the first place was not that he was illegally selling cigarettes but that there had just been a fight nearby that Garner broke up, something he was known to often do as the neighborhood peacemaker.

Although maybe there can be more thought put into how to subdue a large man who resists arrest ("Every time you see me, you want to mess with me. I'm tired of it. It stops today,” he reportedly told the arresting officers), there definitely needs to be some nationwide attention given to finding ways to not confront citizens over the small stuff, such as the suspicion of selling loose cigarettes, or for having a broken brake light. This was apparently the case of the shooting of Philando Castile, near St. Paul. If so, the police could have traced the license plate and mailed the ticket, saving not only a lot of trouble but a man’s life.

And both victims last week had licenses to carry guns? Still, in the Castile incident, Thomas Kelly, the accused cop’s lawyer, told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:
“This has nothing to do with race, and everything to do with the presence of a gun,” Kelly added. “Deadly force would not have been used if not for the presence of a gun.”
Maybe the originalist approach to the constitution is that when the founders wrote the Second Amendment, they surely didn’t envision non-white people being allowed to carry guns! And yet, the NRA was slow to respond to the shooting in Minnesota, posting this on its Facebook page only after its response to the shootings of the police in Dallas:
As the nation’s largest and oldest civil rights organization, the NRA proudly supports the right of law-abiding Americans to carry firearms for defense of themselves and others regardless of race, religion or sexual orientation. 
The reports from Minnesota are troubling and must be thoroughly investigated. In the meantime, it is important for the NRA not to comment while the investigation is ongoing. 
Rest assured, the NRA will have more to say once all the facts are known.
Another idea that could be tried out, to prevent all these misunderstandings surrounding drivers reaching for their wallets, might be for the cops, still in their cars, to instruct drivers over a loudspeaker to retrieve their identification, to hold it up to show it, and to bring it out of the car. Or if that doesn’t work, try something like it, but make sure the new rules apply to all drivers, not just the African-American ones.

And yeah, maybe someday we could try what they do in the U.K., where the cops don’t generally carry firearms. But you and I both know that won’t happen until we grow up a little more, and become a mature and responsible country, like other countries in the world.

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