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May 24, 2020

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Structural racism is not something that a few people or institutions choose to practice. Instead it has been a feature of the social, economic and political systems in which we all exist.
I'd say widespread banking and employment practices fall under the above definition.

I am open to modifying my view IF I am shown valid evidence of this. For example, if I were arguing against this proposition, I'd be reluctant to refer to Reason or National Review or City Journal. So, a piece by someone with built-in confirmation bias isn't going to be persuasive.

I'm particularly suspicious of banking claims. I'd have to know relative credit histories.

On the employment piece of it, I'd have to know which prospective employers had a prior, negative minority hiring experience.

Bad news for us as a country: it is a lot more difficult to terminate a minority than it is to terminate a WP. This is particularly true for terminating an African American. Smaller business, those less able to absorb the high cost of employment litigation, will hire defensively. Our current, racially-charged environment isn't helping. I believe the term for this is 'unintended consequences'.

Bad news for us as a country: it is a lot more difficult to terminate a minority than it is to terminate a WP.

There are effects with other classes also. There may be a bias against hiring women of child-bearing age because, as a class, they're more expensive to employ than older women and men.

"Bad news for us as a country: it is a lot more difficult to terminate a minority than it is to terminate a WP. This is particularly true for terminating an African American.

Well, until recent history it was a lot more difficult for a minority, including African Americans, to get hired in the first place, particularly among the professions, so it isn't unalloyed bad news for America.

There's bad news and then there is worse news.

View it as a type of reparation. I didn't say "like it"; I said "view it".

But your point may not hold water in the first place if this analysis from the last re(de)cession holds its own water:

https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/economy/reports/2011/07/25/9992/the-black-and-white-labor-gap-in-america/

Takeaway:

"The gap between black and white unemployment rates also widened during the Great Recession and the ensuing weak labor market recovery. The unemployment rate for African Americans rose by 7.7 percentage points from the fourth quarter of 2007 to the second quarter of 2011, compared to an increase of only 3.9 percentage points for whites during the same period."

This seems to be the pattern from my admittedly desultory reading about the subject every time we have a downturn.

If it's harder to fire African Americans, then why does this pattern seem consistent thru time.

It will be interesting to see the breakdown of unemployment among groups during the COVID-19 debacle.

Most meatpacking plants employ minorities.

They are so "lucky", the duckies, because in many cases, Nevada being the most recent, they are being forced by Federal decree to go to work, and a diagnosis of Covid is now not accepted for absence, and they can be fired without recourse for staying home, so they show up sick and contagious.

There doesn't seem to be any advantage matter in being a minority, though I am fairly certain that if they were mostly white work forces, the meatpacking companies would have to relent somewhat because generally speaking, groups of whites, even poor whites, don't put up with crap like that, and the country would be outraged to see groups of white workers treated so badly.

Large percentages of the meatpacking work force are Covid carriers and are spreading the disease by force to their co-workers.

I'm sure I'm wrong about all of this, facts being what they are.

Considering Covid incidence death rate among African Americans, the virus seems to operating with a perverse affirmative action on them too.

Denying structural racism exists is pure bullshitism

A string of evidence free assertions is not an argument. It is bullshit.

Structural racism, as in the white nationalist joists and support beams of the White House, in the persons of:

https://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2020/06/stephen-miller-crafting-trumps-big-speech-on-the-colored-question

The mind simply boggles at the thought that anybody, even in the Trump White House, could think Miller writing a racial reconciliation speech would be a good idea.

The Miller story seems limited to one report. I'm waiting for confirmation.

In the meantime, this:

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/06/take-confederate-names-off-our-army-bases/612832/

It's time to take the names of Confederate generals off of our military bases.

Not erasing history, just refusing to afford this "lost cause" nonsense any further pride of place. Let them become another quaint historical designation that no longer serves the public interest.

To the extent that McTX’s comments can be read as “structural racism doesn’t exist”, I disagree. To the extent he’s saying all links in a causal chain between structural racism and disparate results for black Americans must be proven before acknowledging it, he sets an unreasonably high standard.

Unwinding these issues is complex to put it mildly and where there is so much evidence of large disparate results for black Americans we shouldn’t start with a rebuttable presumption that we are colorblind or that small affirmative action type laws are enough (google Minnesota Paradox for more on this). The presumption should be that there is structural racism. Does that presumption of racism endure until we achieve perfect parity between whites and blacks in America? No, that’s too far; we don’t guarantee results. But at some point, a difference in degree becomes a difference in kind and I think we have always been in the “difference in kind” range for black Americans by any metric that I can think of.

Where McTX complains that for some on the left the “systematic racism” hammer has become their only (or at least most convenient) tool so everything they see looks like a nail, I agree. Where he complains that “systemic racism” is weaponized in a way that shuts down reasonable discussion and debate, I agree. This is especially troubling where there is an added layer that white people can’t see past their racism and are incapable, or at least crippled, in even discussing the issue.

I have no problem acknowledging that I was raised in a racist society and I will go as far as to say that racism (or at least tribalism) is probably hardwired in humans (see red shirt/blue shirt study that has been discussed here before). But just like I can overcome those other lizard brain impulses (gluttony, sex drive, etc.) and function in polite society, I can do the same for these tribal impulses. More importantly, there is no chance to fix structural racism without allowing white Americans a full seat at the table. I don’t know what the ultimate solutions are, but I do know that you don’t get buy-in by shaming or bullying people. You can brute force a result, but you’ll engender so much resentment that the cycle will continue if not get worse.

Substantive comment, Pollo de muerte.

Meanwhile, who exactly wants to defund public services, including the policing services?

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/06/how-mitch-mcconnell-defunding-police/612856/

I don't think the police will be placing a knee on McConnell's neck in response to this, but I can envision individual cops who have their retirements and possibly health insurance benefits placed in receivership because of McConnell's (read Republican Party's) incessant use of the fiscal hammer, taking it out on demonstrators' heads with even more gusto.

While I'm at it, a couple of observations:

Why do Democratic Mayors in major cities (read LA, NYC, Chicago) seem to have so little control over the violent, abusive behavior of their police forces, unless they, like many conservative mayors, place a higher premium on maintaining order thru abusive practices than they do rooting out the abuse?

Also, why have police forces in general (my impression from reading the news) seemed to target relatively peaceful demonstrations, and the media covering them, for disruption (the Washington DC Trump fiasco included) rather than concentrating their full lawful force against, first, violent parties like nihilist Antifa, and second, lawbreaking looters and property crimes?

Am I right here? The cops seem to be ceding the ground to the worst offenders, while using an awful lot of tear gas, rubber bullets, and truncheons on the rightful gatherings.

I'll leave aside, and sneeringly so, examples of cops tolerating fully armed right wing gatherings, or even warning them off for oddly sketchy, but friendly reasons, while not engaging Antifa types, who it must be said, at least are not brandishing military grade weaponry in public, that I have observed.

It seems to be an overall strategy to confront the peaceful while letting the wild ones run rampant.

To what end? I have a guess, but nevermind.

This is germane:

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/gundlach-warns-of-white-collar-layoffs-as-covid-19-reveals-whos-swimming-naked-2020-06-10?siteid=bigcharts&dist=bigcharts

In regard to who gets fired and who doesn't, it would seem, given the parlous state of things, including employment, that corporate America, including Gundlach, should resist firing and laying off ANYONE, regardless of race, OR, be made to resist the impulse to downsize for efficiency's sake.

I invest in corporate America via the stock market. I know most publicly traded companies can handle keeping as many of their employees employed as possible, regardless of their relative usefulness to the corporations, rather than having them unemployed and further stretching local and state unemployment infrastructures and the safety net.

Don't fire people right now. Of any color. OK?

I know this position is considered unAmerican, but do you wanna keep America or do you want America to be tiptop efficient and rationalize the highest employment rates since the Great Depression.

Rationality ain't our friend right now.

Most of those white collar workers deemed expendable at this parlous time I expect are white men and women. They may not gather in Lafayette Square to protest their treatment, but they will be pissed off and there will be blowback.

I'm more afraid of pissed off unemployed whites than pissed off unemployed blacks and Hispanics.

And so should the rest of us.

The former are better organized politically, not to mention more likely to generate empathy among the mostly white American public.

We won't like it.

This is especially troubling where there is an added layer that white people can’t see past their racism and are incapable, or at least crippled, in even discussing the issue.

It's possible that the ordering works the other way, that there seems to be no way to get white people to see past their past their racism without using the notions of systemic racism or weaponizing those notions. If there is systemic racism, what 'weapon' should the left use to discuss it? Or should it simply pretend not to talk about it, hoping it will go away some day?

You can brute force a result, but you’ll engender so much resentment that the cycle will continue if not get worse.

this just popped up on my FB feed:

White supremacy won't die until white people see it as a White issue that they need to solve rather than a Black issue they need to emphasize with.

by amazing coincidence, it was preceded by a picture of a protest sign that read:

Racism is so American that when you protest it people think you are protesting America

Stepping back and looking at the larger picture, from my 7:33 am comment, this long read.

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2020/07/coronavirus-banks-collapse/612247/

You can brute force a result, but you’ll engender so much resentment that the cycle will continue if not get worse.

Yet oddly, in a maddening and stubbornly slow way, one could reasonably assert that the arc of justice is bending toward freedom. We live in the historical backwash of blatantly racist public policy (cf. The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein). Roadblocks remain. Progress, such as it is has been propelled, to a great degree, by those who stridently and unashamedly call out racism, both at the individual and institutional level.

How would it have changed otherwise? By magic?

This is how social struggle works. Our country was founded by folks who took up arms and engaged in, well, treason. We fought a bloody civil war over slavery. The use of national guard troops was a common tactic used to bust unions for decades. The civil rights era of the 50's to early 70's was marked by a good deal of violence....and shaming. Women fighting for the vote in the early 20th century could get quite strident (read the history), and I'm pretty sure they shamed and bullied a lot of men in the process. Or more recently, the struggle for gay rights embodies this same attribute (Stonewall anybody?). Perhaps you could explain to us your theory as to why attitudes on that issue underwent such a fundamental change over the last 20 years.

I disagree heartily with your thesis that "engendering resentment" will "make it worse". The resentment is built in. Conditions are "worse" for those who suffer needlessly due to white racism.

Setting the terms of any discussion is part of the struggle. You too, are trying to set the terms of debate to favor your viewpoint. You are not the only one who gets to define "reasonability". Acting surprised that those not sharing your take are trying to do likewise should, well, come as no surprise.

Perhaps it is this: Those who so decry "bullying" are the ones who are resolutely refusing to engage.

Let's shoot more of them:

https://www.publicradiotulsa.org/post/tpd-major-police-shoot-black-americans-less-we-probably-ought

Interesting to see how this shooting off of a mouth might affect Tulsa police outreach to their black population and confrontations between police and black citizenry.

Maybe shoot more of them in the back too. I don't think the Census keeps track of that feature.

This too:

https://www.bing.com/search?q=New+Jersey+Floyd+mocking&filters=tnTID%3a%22A5439A16-839C-4421-9B4C-5FA51183AAFF%22+tnVersion%3a%223562977%22+segment%3a%22popularnow.carousel%22+tnCol%3a%220%22+tnOrder%3a%224ef4afe8-c43d-4a51-9473-bc122385af81%22&form=HPNN01

It's almost as if every time someone denies the continued existence of structural racism, certain elements hop to and do their best to reinforce the structure.

True, you can't generalize from these particulars about white bohunks (certainly not about me; why, I'd never), but every incidence of black on black and black on white violence seems to reflect on all blacks, leading to bad ends, so maybe I am culpable for the bohunks.

You know who really demands safe spaces? Conservatives, that's who.

Also as a minor aside, I would ask those above who so blithely discount sociology as a legitimate field of intellectual inquiry to kindly get your head out of your ass. Your anti-intellectual priors are showing.

Thank You!

Not illegitimate. Just excessively narrow. With conclusions applied to cultures where they are actually inapplicable. If you think otherwise, may I respectfully suggest removing your cultural blinders.

It's not anti-intellectualism. Just a preference for intellectual accuracy.

LOL, wj. Excessively narrow? Interesting. You dismiss an entire field of study because it is "too narrow"? Perhaps you could be more specific as to the nature of your complaint....or provide an example or two?


As we said in the olden times, keep on truckin'.

Progress, such as it is has been propelled, to a great degree, by those who stridently and unashamedly call out racism, both at the individual and institutional level.

I’ll again invite you to google the Minnesota Paradox (which predates this George Floyd tragedy) where you may see that incremental progressive policies have achieved little if any real gains and have mostly served to give a false sense of accomplishment followed by an attendant period of neglect. The type of major structural change that we seem to need in our justice system will require broad consensus. A wise professor once told me that when you call someone a racist, you accomplish two things: You make yourself feel smug and you make the other person worse of a racist. In my opinion, calling someone a racist is not a brave act. Sometimes it’s necessary, but it is not a cause for self-congratulation or celebration.

Perhaps you could explain to us your theory as to why attitudes on that issue underwent such a fundamental change over the last 20 years.

If you don’t see a difference between the stilted dialog when race is involved and the dialog involving women’s rights or gay rights, then we’ve lived very different lives. Most white men have mothers, sisters, wives. Most white men have a family member who is gay. Race relations often do not have these built-in connections. To be clear, I’m not saying that issues involving gender or sexual orientation are or have been easy to manage, but they are relatively easier than racial issues in my opinion.

Setting the terms of any discussion is part of the struggle. You too, are trying to set the terms of debate to favor your viewpoint. You are not the only one who gets to define "reasonability". Acting surprised that those not sharing your take are trying to do likewise should, well, come as no surprise.

I’m only offering my opinion as to what is reasonable/constructive and I’m surprised when someone here agrees with me, not when they don’t.

Perhaps it is this: Those who so decry "bullying" are the ones who are resolutely refusing to engage.

Are you suggesting that I’m refusing to engage? I’m pretty much on board for a complete restructuring of police functions (“defunding” is a horrible phrase) including busting police unions and a national bad cop registry. I’ve always been in favor of sentencing reform and prison reform. I’m good with most of “8 Can’t Wait”. What have I done to give the impression that I’m a closeted Dixiecrat? Let’s see, I’ve been registered as a Democrat my entire adult life. I give money and legal time to Emily’s List and the Southern Poverty Law Center. I represent two sitting Democrats holding county-wide seats in the largest swing district in the largest swing state in the county. What did I do to garner assumptions of bad faith from progressives around here?

If I count as one of those progressives (dubious, I guess) you get no such assumption from me.

You dismiss an entire field of study because it is "too narrow"? Perhaps you could be more specific as to the nature of your complaint....or provide an example or two?

I'm not dismissing it. Except in so far as it claims a far broader reach than it actually has. A sociologist who talks about American or European society probably has something useful to say. At least, as good a chance as a researcher in any other field of study would have.

That same sociologist, applying his insights to India or Japan or China or West Africa? Not so much. But, in my experience, they routinely do exactly that. And don't even realize that there might be a problem. If it was someone outside sociology doing it, DiAngelo would denounce them for white blindness -- and in that case be correct.

I'll see if I can dredge up some specific references. But I'm a lot of years past the time when I had that sort of stuff at my fingertips. So no promises.

I just released some comments from the spam folder (go free little ones, go free)

Pollo, I think the thing that might be sticking in craws is this
Where McTX complains that for some on the left the “systematic racism” hammer has become their only (or at least most convenient) tool so everything they see looks like a nail, I agree. Where he complains that “systemic racism” is weaponized in a way that shuts down reasonable discussion and debate, I agree. This is especially troubling where there is an added layer that white people can’t see past their racism and are incapable, or at least crippled, in even discussing the issue.

McTX complains that for _all_ on the left, this is pervasive. Perhaps there was a line where he said that the left had a point, but I can't remember it.

That 'systemic racism' is 'weaponized' (like voting rights, views about abortion or a million things aren't?) is not some flaw with systemic racism, any idea can be weaponized. I don't think that we can judge the worth or meaning of an idea just because it is or is not 'weaponized'.

Louisiana Republicans react as if there may be a structure of racism that requires protection from threats of a mere study of police methods:

https://twitter.com/samkarlin/status/1270744619303809026

hat tip to Atrios

Having watered down the language in order to get something passed and get a study of police methods done, I hope the author will resubmit a resolution with the original language. Just to force the other legislators to go on record on the subject.

This is especially troubling where there is an added layer that white people can’t see past their racism and are incapable, or at least crippled, in even discussing the issue.

It's possible that the ordering works the other way, that there seems to be no way to get white people to see past their past their racism without using the notions of systemic racism or weaponizing those notions. If there is systemic racism, what 'weapon' should the left use to discuss it? Or should it simply pretend not to talk about it, hoping it will go away some day?

Obviously there are obtuse white people or bad faith claims of colorblindness but do you really think that weaponizing charges of racism (structural or otherwise) is going to fix that? The point isn’t that racism should not be discussed; the point is that instead of discussing it, some progressives come out of the blocks using it as a cudgel and then if the other side disagrees, the progressive levels the claim that the other side can’t see past their own racism and pulls a #dropmic. I’m not saying that all or even most progressive do this, but it certainly happens too often.

That 'systemic racism' is 'weaponized' (like voting rights, views about abortion or a million things aren't?) is not some flaw with systemic racism, any idea can be weaponized. I don't think that we can judge the worth or meaning of an idea just because it is or is not 'weaponized'.

Not to suggest that you were saying otherwise, but “systemic racism” can both be real and have worth *and* also be weaponized. The concepts are not mutually exclusive. I clearly disagreed with McTX re: his overly high bar for assigning systemic racism as the cause of disparate results for black Americans, I’m just sympathetic to charges of rhetorical abuse.

To be fair, perhaps being a white male raised in the south has made me overly sensitive to the challenges of discussing racism, but I don’t think so. I’ve spent time all over this country and my experience is that politics, abortion, religion, gay rights, you name it, can all be discussed more readily than racism. It’s our most intractable social problem and the most difficult to navigate. So while any politically charged issue can be weaponized, I think greater care needs to be taken doing so with racism.

If I count as one of those progressives (dubious, I guess) you get no such assumption from me.

Classy as always. Thank you for that.

To the extent that it is unclear, I don’t take internet stuff too seriously and my grousing is mostly just for effect, but your sentiments are appreciated.

some progressives come out of the blocks using it as a cudgel and then if the other side disagrees, the progressive levels the claim that the other side can’t see past their own racism and pulls a #dropmic.

some probably do that.

most don't.

some conservatives think every disagreement is a good reason to grab their gun and do some Armyman cosplay.

I think it may be one of those high-visibility/highly vocal things. It's the people who live up to the stereotype of the overzealous SJW who get noticed the most, like the knuckleheads on the right cleek mentions playing militia. I guess I'd rather have someone weaponize a concept at me than point an actual weapon, but there's no accounting for taste.

cleek and hsh ... can I infer that neither of you think anyone within the ObWi Ivory Tower has recently weaponized a charge of racism?

Sure, why not? But I'm not sure what you're getting at.

if i'm responsible for anyone spitefully holding onto their racism because they just can't stand being accused of being racist, i apologize.

White supremacy won't die until white people see it as a White issue that they need to solve rather than a Black issue they need to emphasize with.

Seems accurate, to me.

Everybody gets worked up about who the racist is. Or, who the *real* racist is.

That isn't the point. There are people who are, straight up, racists. They think people with one color skin are better than people with other skin colors. They also tend to be haters of one variety or other.

Those people are a problem, but they are probably not the biggest problem. And they're not really the problem we're discussing here.

If "structural racism" is a bridge too far, maybe think about "pervasive racism". Or "ambient racism". Or "reflexive racism", or "unthinking racism".

Racism that is so normal that you don't even notice it. But the effects of it are still there.

Racism that is rooted in things you think, but which you might not actually think about all that much. So they're just there, causing you to make assumptions about people, and respond to people in certain ways, without being all that aware of it.

Black people - people whose ancestors came here from sub-Saharan Africa - lag behind white people in virtually every measure - social, economic, educational, health, likelihood of being incarcerated. You name it.

Why?

Are they just a bunch of fuck-ups? Or is something in their way?

I don't think they are a bunch of fuck-ups. I think there are things in their way. And I think we all own a piece of the things that are in their way.

If "all" is just too much to hear, I'm happy to settle for 90%-plus.

If you think you're totally color blind, you must just be one of that 10%. If that makes all of this discussion easier to absorb, go with that.

This problem is about how people who are not black, think about people who are black. It is not primarily a problem that black people caused. It is a problem that springs primarily from what white people think and do.

It is primarily a problem for white people to solve. And when I say "primarily", I mean that if you don't think it's a problem for white people to solve, you may be part of the problem.

Maybe you're one of those special 10%. In that case, I applaud you. Well done, you get a cookie.

The rest of us have work to do.

Obviously there are obtuse white people or bad faith claims of colorblindness but do you really think that weaponizing charges of racism (structural or otherwise) is going to fix that?

(The way I read) your comment was that weaponizing racism was happening, therefore there was a reaction. My point was that weaponising racism was a reaction to that racism. So complaining about how it won't work is not what you are asking.

One of the things that systemic racism does (unfortunately personifying it) is that it creates a situation where raising the issue becomes a 'weaponization'. How should it be brought up in a way that doesn't 'weaponize' it? Like Kaepernick did? Like BLM has? It seems that the system protects itself by creating any attempt to dismantle it as an accusation against itself that it has defended by the people within it without really understanding why they are defending it.

There is a longer post that may get out about how the recent turn to dramas about rogue AIs (think Voyager, Person of Interest) may reflect a concern with systemic racism, though I worry that the observation could be accused of claiming that the question is a flippant one.

Also, I'm a white man raised in the South (sort of and another post may describe who I 'am' in so far as I can if I can pull away time to write it) and I am speaking to you not as a liberal from Japan (though I am that too) but as one white person to another. So if you could grant me the measure of trust that I am who I say I am (another post about how less certitude in identity and where voices are going from is also bubbling around), you might want to consider what I'm saying.

As far as linking the violence we are seeing now to other kinds of violence, please take a look at this Gary Younge interview. It's long, but I think it is worth it.

https://www.doubledown.news/watch/2020/5/june/black-lives-matter-george-floyd-the-question-of-violence-gary-young

Also, this tweet about a story by Dave Chappelle, shared by Kenny DeForest and then Jimmy Kimmel, via the Daily Mail, is worthwhile
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-8387005/Jimmy-Kimmel-retweets-moving-story-Dave-Chappelle-educating-white-woman.html

PdM - To be fair, perhaps being a white male raised in the south has made me overly sensitive to the challenges of discussing racism, but I don’t think so. I’ve spent time all over this country and my experience is that politics, abortion, religion, gay rights, you name it, can all be discussed more readily than racism. It’s our most intractable social problem and the most difficult to navigate. So while any politically charged issue can be weaponized, I think greater care needs to be taken doing so with racism.

Looking at this from a anthropologically inflected rhetorical standpoint (which is my training and field), I think that the real sticking point in the discussion is not race per se, but rather that discussions of race undermine the public discourse in the US around merit and the idea that US society is meritocratic. People (white men in particular) have no difficulty saying that racism is a problem so long as there is no implication that their own personal worth and accomplishments are not thrown into question. The moment anyone raises the question of "privilege" it raises the possibility that the person involved has had an unfair advantage weighing in on their side and that they might not deserve all of the good outcomes they have received over the years.

This is a big cultural cleavage point between Americans and Europeans. Europeans as a whole are much more willing to see themselves as being acted upon by social forces and circumstances, where Americans are more likely to spin out a narrative of personal exceptionalism to justify their own successes.

Which is also why the most common critique about the idea of structural racism in the US seems to be that it gives black people too ready an excuse and prevents them from trying as hard to succeed [unsaid - as white people do].

Race. Meh. But don't you dare imply that I haven't earned everything I have ever achieved through my own personal merit. Them's fighting words. Especially if the accomplishments are modest and the personal sacrifices keenly felt. That's the inside pocket in which (working class) pride is kept.

The moment anyone raises the question of "privilege" it raises the possibility that the person involved has had an unfair advantage weighing in on their side and that they might not deserve all of the good outcomes they have received over the years.

I think the problem actually comes from the perception (correct or not) that they are being told that they have accomplished what they have only because of the unfair advantage that they had. Unfortunately, there are enough SJWs who explicitly use exactly that formulation to make it easy to take any suggestion of advantage that way. Even when it wasn't intended.

Sorry for not replying to everyone, but a client dropped an emergency in my lap.

Quick comment: I 100% co-sign the following:

This is a big cultural cleavage point between Americans and Europeans. Europeans as a whole are much more willing to see themselves as being acted upon by social forces and circumstances, where Americans are more likely to spin out a narrative of personal exceptionalism to justify their own successes.

Semi-related Side Note: I used to represent someone heavily involved in the Marlboro Man ad campaign. If you think lawyers are cynical, talk to someone in advertising.

lj, great Dave Chappelle story, thank you for linking it. Of such moments is change made.

I also think your 06.03 gets a lot right.

they are being told that they have accomplished what they have only because of the unfair advantage that they had. Unfortunately, there are enough SJWs who explicitly use exactly that formulation

I'm happy to cop to being as embedded in the white liberal SJW universe as anybody ever needs to be.

And I have to say that this, as stated, is not really so.

You will find my SJW friends, in their thousands, saying that being white is a great big leg up in the game of life.

I don't really think you'll find all that many people saying that folks who are successful are only successful because they're white.

I could be wrong, but I'd ask for some kind of documentary evidence in this case.

Italics + bold is strong medicine. I'm not seeing that the medicine is actually that strong.

Being a member of the "lucky sperm club" is far more of a boost than just being white.

In some cases, retroactive contraception is called for, but that's a different topic.

I don't really think you'll find all that many people saying that folks who are successful are only successful because they're white.

As noted, that often ISN'T what is being said. But it is, quite frequently, what is being heard. Getting past that hurdle will require reiterating, at great and tedious length, that an advantage isn't the same as a guarantee of accomplishment. In a perfect world, that wouldn't be true, but in this one it apparently is.

I would also note that, listening to Dr DiAngelo, that's what *I* heard her saying (if not explicitly in so many words then as an obvious, and repeated, implication). And I think I'm rather less twitchy than most.

hi wj,
This is more a placeholder, but it seems very clear to me that the sociological analysis that DiAngelo is doing is a sociology of the US, so the saying that she is applying that analysis globally is off the mark. The crowd she is speaking to, Seattle library supporters, would be a typical liberal group.

It's a question one can argue whether the problems among liberals with white fragility are solely the problem of that demographic or indicative of a wider problem. But I note that people are moving the conversation over here, so apparently some think that it spills over from the carefully constructed walls I made in the other blog post.

I'll post my comment related to wj's interpretation over there...

Hi lj.
Actually, I think she is doing her analysis on a subset of the US. Specifically, on the social and cultural circles she lives in. It may be applicable more widely, but I'm not noticing any indication that she looked seriously at people outside that milieu. (Of course, that may be an artifact of the audience she was in front of.)

She concentrates on American white progressives, but the socialization she discusses applies more widely.

wj, I don't want to put this too sharply, but if she is doing her sociology on a subset, isn't the questions about sociology being overly broad whataboutism?

I do think that the Japanese case can provide some interesting insights, but I'm going to warn you, I think it underlines what she is saying...

What’s a little ironic is that DiAngelo aims her fire primarily at progressives, including herself, but the defensive response we’ve seen here is from the less-progressive commentators. You’d think she’d at least get a little credit for taking on her own political fellows and not laying it on conservatives.

Not sure why I used commentators instead of commenters. Maybe I miss televised sports.

lj, I'm not intending whataboutism. But i agree that my (pre)conception of sociology involves overgeneralizing a narrow base of data. It's not that they are wrong about what they see in the population that they are looking at. Just that it's not necessarily applicable beyond that population.

I'm looking forward to what you can tell us about the situation in Japan (and Korea, especially if that's different). Regardless of whether it supports or contradicts my view. That's how we learn.

hsh, looking back on it, I think you may be correct that she is aiming her remarks at her fellow progressives. But I, at least, missed that on initial hearing.

I suppose it's the risk that comes to speaking before one audience, and then having your speech rebroadcast to a far wider (and different) one. Some of the in-jokes and nuances get lost.

Why I love having an Open Thread: I'm too lazy to start a new post over something like this.

In case anyone wasn't clear that Trump is a true believer in the Lost Cause, we have this
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-rejects-calls-to-rename-military-bases-honoring-confederate-generals/2020/06/10/78a06122-ab53-11ea-94d2-d7bc43b26bf9_story.html

Guess that makes the renaming one more (admittedly minor, if symbolic) item on Biden's plate in January.

hsh, but we all, here, consider ourselves progressive on this issue.

I bet if the proposed military base renaming was to change it from some old dead confederates to TRUMP, he'd be on it like white on rice.

Camp Trump No. 8...

Yup. It wouldn't be fair if only one state had the utterly awesome honor of hosting a base named after Trump.

Camp Trump No. 8...

No thanks. The licensing fees for the name are too high.

Somebody's gotta pay for that golden toilet, but I'm not interested in having public money go for it.

Ego is more important than anything. Even money. Witness his campaign wasting money on running ads in the DC area . . . just so Trump will see them and feel good.

So he'll waive license fees in order to get bases. At least, the fees will get waived, even if his staff cooks the books so he doesn't find out it happened.

Looks like the class has matriculated to a course for which I have not met the prerequisites (which is fine), but I hate not to respond to substantive posts directed to me …

My point was that weaponising racism was a reaction to that racism. So complaining about how it won't work is not what you are asking.

I’m less complaining that it won’t work and more complaining that it makes the problem worse.

One of the things that systemic racism does (unfortunately personifying it) is that it creates a situation where raising the issue becomes a 'weaponization'. How should it be brought up in a way that doesn't 'weaponize' it? Like Kaepernick did? Like BLM has? It seems that the system protects itself by creating any attempt to dismantle it as an accusation against itself that it has defended by the people within it without really understanding why they are defending it.

I don’t think that the issue can’t be raised without weaponizing it. In broad strokes, BLM and Kaepernick have not resorted to weaponizing. I’m certainly not suggesting that there is or should be a Catch-22 here. The problem is that systemic racism foists itself on people of good faith who are just doing their job. Do we really think that automatically calling a cop who serves a no-knock warrant “RACIST” is going to help bring that cop over to seeing our side of things? That cop is just following orders and almost certainly didn’t seek the warrant (a detective and/or ADA did). And before someone grasps at the easy Nuremberg analogy, I’m going to pre-Godwin this.

So if you could grant me the measure of trust that I am who I say I am (another post about how less certitude in identity and where voices are going from is also bubbling around), you might want to consider what I'm saying.

LJ, I have no doubt as to your good faith in discussing this or that the Venn diagram of our formative years has significant overlap Your “otherness” may have been a little more obvious than mine, but just because I looked like a circa 1939 Luftwaffe recruiting poster, being named Jewy McJewerson in small-town South Carolina carried a bit of baggage.

Also, this tweet about a story by Dave Chappelle, shared by Kenny DeForest and then Jimmy Kimmel, via the Daily Mail, is worthwhile https://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-8387005/Jimmy-Kimmel-retweets-moving-story-Dave-Chappelle-educating-white-woman.html

Thanks for the Chappelle story, but doesn’t it kind of make my point? He specifically did not weaponize any charge of racism. He took the time educate without grabbing the low handing fruit. If you think that I have a problem with actions like Chappelle’s, then I have not expressed myself very well or this thread is another example of the low signal to noise ratio when issues of race are discussed.

Race. Meh. But don't you dare imply that I haven't earned everything I have ever achieved through my own personal merit. Them's fighting words. Especially if the accomplishments are modest and the personal sacrifices keenly felt. That's the inside pocket in which (working class) pride is kept.

Nous – I completely agree with your points here, but to the extent that this is baked into the cake, don’t we need to account for it if our goal is to win hearts and minds? My sense is that those on the left who weaponize charges of racism (a) revel in calling those who disagree racist because it assuages their own white guilt and/or makes them feel smug/superior; or (b) have made a good faith calculation the only way to untie this Gordian knot is with a rhetorical sword. I’m pissed off at (a) and respectfully disagree with (b).

I’m pissed off at (a) and respectfully disagree with (b).

Likewise. I am inclined to think a) substantially more common than b). But that may be just my own, possibly atypical, experiences talking.

also c) they're simply really sick of racism.

hsh, but we all, here, consider ourselves progressive on this issue.

I'd guess most people, at least in some sense, consider themselves progressive on the issue of race - in the sense that they don't consider themselves to be racist. But her talk was aimed at people who strongly identify as progressives generally and who are likely to consider themselves especially non-racist (or perhaps, more strongly, anti-racist). And she's pointing out to them, the people who think they're so much better on race than most other people, that they're not as good on race as they think.

Do we really think that automatically calling a cop who serves a no-knock warrant “RACIST” is going to help bring that cop over to seeing our side of things? That cop is just following orders and almost certainly didn’t seek the warrant (a detective and/or ADA did).

Maybe this was not in response to our earlier discussion on no-knock warrants, but I don't think anyone suggested that a cop serving a no-knock warrant was automatically racist. The discussion was about policing reforms that would enhance overall public safety - real public safety - as opposed to zealous enforcement. No-knock warrants are grossly overused and dangerous.

It's funny that you brought up the fact that the warrant isn't sought by the officer serving it. I was going to bring that up in my discussion with McKinney, because it underlies my point about the assumption that the suspect must be highly dangerous if you were resorting to such a high-risk tactic, with a likelihood of setting off a gunfight when there otherwise was no immediate danger to anyone. The person who sought the warrant isn't the one going into the house, and maybe the suspect isn't really all that dangerous, meaning the risks of a no-knock warrant aren't, um ... warranted. The guys going into the house are super jacked-up none the less, though, because they have to assume they're going after someone who's extremely dangerous, meaning they're that much more likely to shoot first and ask questions later.

It's kind of a nutty thing to do, and should be reserved for only the most extreme circumstances.

nous, I realize that the conversation has moved on. But I came across this about Philadelphia police officer Joseph Bologna, who was filmed beating protesters:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/06/10/philadelphia-joseph-bologna-suspended/

Now, the Philadelphia Police Department has suspended Bologna and announced it intends to fire him, as he faces a charge of aggravated assault . . .

Bologna has also garnered unreserved support from the police union, which has bashed his arrest as political and even started selling “Bologna Strong” T-shirts to back the officer.

I'm having trouble seeing those t-shirt sales as just the union insisting on due process.

Agreed, wj. Unions are people in the same way that corporations are people. In this case, those people are mostly assholes, so it reinforces the power of that assholery.

Police culture, to me, looks like the culture of abusers and uses a lot of the same language to justify the same sort of violence in the name of preserving the same sort of social order.

My problem is that I cannot see a way to legally prevent assholes from unionizing or gaining protection during collective bargaining that doesn't also take those rights away from all the public unions that are not made up of a majority of abusive assholes.

Agreed, it's not a trivial problem. But I think it may be important to figure out a way to insulate yourselves from a blowback that seems increasingly likely.

pardon my weapon.

A Republican Ohio state senator is under fire this week after asking whether “African Americans or the colored population” have been disproportionately affected by the novel coronavirus pandemic because they “do not wash their hands as well as other groups.”

...

“I understand African Americans have a higher incidence of chronic conditions and that makes them more susceptible to death from covid. But why does it not make them more susceptible to just get covid?” he asked. “Could it just be that African Americans or the colored population do not wash their hands as well as other groups? Or wear a mask? Or do not socially distance themselves? Could that be the explanation for why the higher incidence?"

he's also a medical doctor.

Connections...

"Goines had been the one and only witness when he arrested Floyd back on Feb. 5, 2004, for supposedly providing him with less than a gram of cocaine. The prosecutor originally offered Floyd two years in prison if he pleaded guilty. Floyd balked but finally agreed when the offer was reduced to 10 months.

Had he gone to trial, he would have faced serious time. And, as in any case based solely on the word of the arresting officer, it would have come down to whom the jury was going to believe: He said, Cop said."
The Monster Cop Who Encountered George Floyd in Houston: Years before a monster cop in Minneapolis cut George Floyd’s life tragically short, Gerald Goines carried out an insidiously routine bit of police misconduct in Houston on Floyd.

The guys going into the house are super jacked-up none the less, though, because they have to assume they're going after someone who's extremely dangerous, meaning they're that much more likely to shoot first and ask questions later.

via BJ: Confessions of a Former Bastard Cop:

One of the other reasons I’ve struggled to write this essay is that I don’t want to center the conversation on myself and my big salty boo-hoo feelings about my bad choices. It’s a toxic white impulse to see atrocities and think “How can I make this about me?” So, I hope you’ll take me at my word that this account isn’t meant to highlight me, but rather the hundred thousand of me in every city in the country. It’s about the structure that made me (that I chose to pollute myself with) and it’s my meager contribution to the cause of radical justice.

...

In fact, let me tell you about an extremely formative experience: in my police academy class, we had a clique of around six trainees who routinely bullied and harassed other students: intentionally scuffing another trainee’s shoes to get them in trouble during inspection, sexually harassing female trainees, cracking racist jokes, and so on. Every quarter, we were to write anonymous evaluations of our squadmates. I wrote scathing accounts of their behavior, thinking I was helping keep bad apples out of law enforcement and believing I would be protected. Instead, the academy staff read my complaints to them out loud and outed me to them and never punished them, causing me to get harassed for the rest of my academy class. That’s how I learned that even police leadership hates rats. That’s why no one is “changing things from the inside.” They can’t, the structure won’t allow it.

...

To understand why all cops are bastards, you need to understand one of the things almost every training officer told me when it came to using force:

“I’d rather be judged by 12 than carried by 6.”

Meaning, “I’ll take my chances in court rather than risk getting hurt”. We’re able to think that way because police unions are extremely overpowered and because of the generous concept of Qualified Immunity, a legal theory which says a cop generally can’t be held personally liable for mistakes they make doing their job in an official capacity.

...

Once police training has - through repetition, indoctrination, and violent spectacle - promised officers that everyone in the world is out to kill them, the next lesson is that your partners are the only people protecting you. Occasionally, this is even true: I’ve had encounters turn on me rapidly to the point I legitimately thought I was going to die, only to have other officers come and turn the tables.

...

Understand: Police officers are part of the state monopoly on violence and all police training reinforces this monopoly as a cornerstone of police work, a source of honor and pride. Many cops fantasize about getting to kill someone in the line of duty, egged on by others that have. One of my training officers told me about the time he shot and killed a mentally ill homeless man wielding a big stick. He bragged that he “slept like a baby” that night. Official training teaches you how to be violent effectively and when you’re legally allowed to deploy that violence, but “unofficial training” teaches you to desire violence, to expand the breadth of your violence without getting caught, and to erode your own compassion for desperate people so you can justify punitive violence against them.

the whole thing is worth reading (even if it looks like i must have copied it all here already!)

Yes, it was worth reading, and I can attest to the fact that cleek didn't come close to copying the whole thing. There's a lot there.

After reading the piece at cleek's link, I see this:

https://abcnews.go.com/US/man-drowns-officers-coming-aid-family-fired/story?id=71172077

The family of a 24-year-old who drowned while police looked on, instead of coming to his aid, are outraged after seeing the events unfold on body camera video.

(...)

The body camera video shows Baldwin swimming and an officer calling him "dumb" for jumping in.

"Don't go in there with him, he's going to pull you in," one officer said, according to ABC Nashville affiliate WKRN.

"He's doing it on purpose," an officer said.

So, Trump is kicking off a round of 2020 campaign rallies a week from tomorrow.

June 19. In Tulsa, OK.

June 19 is Juneteenth. If you don't know what that is, go look it up.

Tulsa OK is the site of the worst anti-black riot in post-Civil-War American history.

What to make of this? Just a.. coincidence? Or the POTUS playing on some of the worst of our national history to bait his opponents, fire up his base, and own the libs.

What does it mean that a lot of people will celebrate that, embrace it, find validation in it?

We got a long way to go. Still. And since this is our country, our history, our culture, our society, we all own a piece of it.

It's not just, or even primarily, about any of our individual, personal intentions. Racism is not just the personal foible of some number of people, it's a dynamic that is pervasive enough that a candidate for national office can leverage it, play off of it, make use of it for electoral advantage.

If you don't want to call that "structural", that's fine with me. I'm content to put aside post-modernist lingo, fall back to the demotic, and just say it's baked in the cake.

Turns out Breonna Taylor was not murdered after all. Nary a bullet hole at the deconstructed crime scene.

https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/a32837161/breonna-taylor-louisville-police-report/

So, never mind, we're off the hook.

She was re-assigned to Alaska where they will count to one hundred as she runs away and then Donald Trump Jr. will hunt her down from the air and finish things up, according to Precinct Captain Foucault.

https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/a32842154/trump-reverse-obama-alaska-hunting-regulations-bear-cubs/

Meanwhile, pass the popcorn. Antifa is wilding in the streets and we're under orders to let them make Black Lives Matter look bad.

Should we order pizza, or has the pizza joint down the street been burned to the ground already? We hope Hillary and her Child Molester Ring were able to find their way out of the basement thru the smoke and debris.

https://www.chicagotribune.com/politics/ct-chicago-police-looting-popcorn-20200611-je3afw3lxbhknicv37ijnncgkq-story.html

It's amazing how structurally coincident the calendar is on June 19th.

Neshoba County seems to have high political traffic too in Republican Party Presidential campaigns.

Tulsa OK is the site of the worst anti-black riot in post-Civil-War American history.

What to make of this? Just a.. coincidence? Or the POTUS playing on some of the worst of our national history to bait his opponents, fire up his base, and own the libs.

Like it's a coincidence that Trump is scheduled to accept the nomination on August 27 in Jacksonville, FL. (Google "Ax Handle Saturday" for more info.) Once is a coincidence. In this case, twice is enough to rate "enemy action".

I'm sure this is intentional. Since it's not official the campaign can drop it out there and wait for the press to blow up. If it runs badly, then they can always claim that it was fake news and nothing has been decided. Then later they can either announce a different venue or they can come in and announce that they had not intended to do it at first, but they will not allow the paranoid fantasies of the antifa bully them out of helping the great state of Florida or be so cruel to the good people who live there now.

All they really have to do is make sure that they time the ultimate decision correctly and they get to own the libs either way.

Tried to post two long comments last night, but then something went haywire with the blog. Anyway, this is to Pollo

Pollo, but in a sense, you are calling on every african american to be, well, a genius. And even as a genius, Dave Chappelle nearly got run over by the steamroller of fame.

Chappelle is also famous for his story about Iceberg Slim. Here is the youtube
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UGkywE_uCEI

and here is an analysis
https://www.reddit.com/r/television/comments/7otby5/what_chappelle_was_saying_by_telling_us_the_story/

Also, a question. Do you think DiAngelo is in category a or b?

Do you think DiAngelo is in category a or b?

Insufficient information. Any guess I made would necessarily be based entirely on prejudice and stereotyping.** Which I really do try to avoid, however unsuccessfully in many cases. ;-)

** Unless I took the time to research all her published work. Which I really can't.

I don't have the intellectual chops to judge DiAngelo's thesis. But there are more than a few metanarratives floating around. And many of them can be characterized as fairy castles in the air. The smarter you are, the larger, more intricate, and lavish your castle can be.

If you're not down with Foucalt, you don't get to go on about metanarratives.

It's a pretty free-wheeling blog, but even we have standards.

:)

Pollo, but in a sense, you are calling on every african american to be, well, a genius. And even as a genius, Dave Chappelle nearly got run over by the steamroller of fame.

I don’t think that I am and that was certainly not my intent. First, in my personal experience, the Type A weaponizer is almost always white. Maybe there’s an issue to unpack where systemic racism is holding back my black friends, but the fact remains that I’m mostly seeing white folks engage in this behavior which pisses me off because to the extent that my old prof was right, and calling someone a racist makes them worse of a racist, these white folks are throwing fuel on a fire that won’t (directly) burn them.

Second, I’m not suggesting that everyone rise to Chappelle’s genius, just his intent. I mean FFS, if Chappelle can show grace under these circumstances, then a white person can.

Also, a question. Do you think DiAngelo is in category a or b?
I can’t say because I have not watched the video all the way through … busy week at work and my wife and I have instituted a “no news/no politics” rule in the evenings. Based on my limited understanding, DiAngelo would be sympathetic to the notion that due to their “fragility”, white liberals tend to engage in actions that make them feel better (or at least less guilty) without really making change. That aligns with my sense of the white liberal weaponizing charges of racism to assuage their own feelings of guilt but then not doing anything to really improve things.

I hate to sound like a broken record, but I’ll mention the Minnesota Paradox again. You have these progressive Twin Cities that check all the boxes in terms of creating the appearance of being woke, but the measurable results for black folks there are much worse than average. One explanation is that throwing $15,000 at a study of police violence and creating a toothless citizen review board allows white folks to feel like they are “doing the right thing” without actually getting anything done and resulting in complacency for real change. That’s the Type A weaponizer: Making themselves feel better without accomplishing anything other than potentially making things worse (creating complacency on the part of the white liberal and shaming the target into being more racist).

That’s the Type A weaponizer: Making themselves feel better without accomplishing anything other than potentially making things worse (creating complacency on the part of the white liberal and shaming the target into being more racist).

What I took from DiAngelo on this is that this sort of weaponization stems from the good-person/bad-person dichotomy that people tend to frame racism in. The white liberal says, "I'm a good person. Racists are bad people. Therefore, I can't be racist." But the logic when applied outwardly to others is "That person is racist. Racists are bad people. Therefore, that person is bad." So it's then okay to attack the bad racist person, especially if you're (supposedly) free of the flaw that's present in the other person.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2020/06/12/john-bolton-donald-trumps-ukraine-pressure-campaign-not-only-misstep/3174347001/

"John Bolton's book expected to allege that Ukraine wasn't Trump's only foreign misconduct"

Revenge is a dish best served cold!

Even more, apparently Bolton says that every Trump administration foreign policy decision was solely and exclusively motivated by reelection considerations.

Open thread

GftNC,

Lots of cool stuff in this Dylan interview if you havent seen it.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/12/arts/music/bob-dylan-rough-and-rowdy-ways.html

Had not seen it - settling down to read it now - thanks, Marty!

Bluegrass music is mysterious and deep rooted and you almost have to be born playing it. Just because you are a great singer, or a great this or that doesn’t mean you can be in a bluegrass band. It’s almost like classical music. It’s harmonic and meditative, but it’s out for blood.

My bold. There is nobody like him.

It was awesome.

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