Tag Archives: black

Divide and Rule

Jeremiah has been calling out police violence for a while now. See here, for example. He should be happy to see people protesting in the streets, but he is not happy. The popular movement, Black Lives Matter, is going in exactly the wrong direction.

If you were working for the FBI and you wanted to weaken the movement, this would be your first move.

Black Lives Matter has been successful in that has galvanized popular opinion around the issue of police violence against blacks. That’s fine. Statistically, police violence against blacks is the biggest piece of the problem. Think about it from a policy standpoint, though. No laws, precedents, or regulations will be made stipulating, “… against blacks.” Also, consider:

  • Not all the victims are black
  • Not all the bad cops are white
  • Not all the cops are bad

This is important, because now the movement has left behind all these other groups that should be joining it in demanding real reforms. Real reforms, briefly, would involve exposing violent cops to criminal and civil procedures, while mitigating the protection they receive from their unions, and insulating the taxpayers from civil liability.

Casting the issue as a racial one needlessly divides the movement. If you were working for the FBI and you wanted to weaken the movement, this would be your first move.

Marching – and disrupting a Bernie Sanders rally – is good fun and calls attention to the issue. Now, think about possible end games. The desired end game is legal reform, as above, and a return to community policing. That’s why we say the movement is going in exactly the wrong direction. What cop wants to walk a beat in Baltimore now?

leadferguson

Here is a more likely end game. Local police forces are pitted against activists in their communities. We have the power to intimidate, and even defund, the local police – but not the state police. The state police are dominated by the FBI.

Now, the phony racial schism kicks in. Blacks are pitted against whites, and fear escalates. Police violence escalates, and so does retaliation. The DOJ steps in and creates – either directly, or by proxy – a federal police force. A militarized federal police force.

Checkmate.

Jeremiah is not prone to conspiracy theories, but sometimes it really feels like we are being played.

See also:  Acoustic Cannon Sales to Police Surge After Black Lives Matter Protests

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Enterprising Kibera

Here is an inspiring story about daily life in a Kenyan township.  Unlike The Economist’s usual facts and figures, this is the Christmas edition and a human interest story.  It received many positive comments and one poignant observation:

An inspirational article that should be an example to underemployed people in the West!

The author is plainly impressed by the vigor and entrepreneurialism of the people he meets.  He strongly rebuts Western ideas about Africans unable to shift for themselves, and dependent on foreign aid.

Slums are … not where economic losers end up, but rather reservoirs of tomorrow’s winners.

Some may complain that such prejudices should not need rebutting, but they do.  Indeed, they are not confined to Africa.  Here in America, politicians peddle the victim mentality to black voters.  You know the pitch – blacks make lower grades, need easier tests, quotas, etc.

That pitch might fly with voters in America, but you can’t sell it in Kibera.

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Our First Black President

America’s first black president was Bill Clinton.  Of course, he was born poor and white in Arkansas but, in terms of fellowship with the civil rights movement, Mr. Clinton was all black.  Growing up intelligent and liberal in the segregated South, the young Bill Clinton developed a cultural sensitivity that persisted into his adult political career.  Today, his offices are in Harlem.  He grew up playing bebop on the saxophone and, supposedly, he knows Dr. King’s famous speech by heart.

Where civil-rights leaders like Jesse Jackson doubted that Barack Obama was “black enough” to merit an endorsement, they never wondered about Bill Clinton.  At the end of the day, what makes a black president is not his skin colour but his policies.

Many people endorsed Barack Obama for president simply because he is black.  “He is one of us, and he knows what it’s like,” went the argument.  Now that the president has had a bad year, these racists are making all kinds of excuses.  The fact is that being “one of us,” is no guarantee that a politician is going to enact the policies “we” want.  He may not actually know “what it’s like,” or if he does, he may lack the capacity to do anything about it.

The 2008 presidential campaign was a shameful display of identity politics.  One camp supported Mr. Obama largely because of his race, and another supported Hillary Clinton because of her gender.  In a last-ditch apology for nominating a middle-aged white man, the Republican Party produced Sarah Palin.  Feminist voters who had supported Mrs. Clinton might now switch parties, they hoped, only because of a woman on the ticket.  Never mind that Palin is a social conservative, and anti-choice.

When pundits and celebrities say they endorse a candidate because of race, gender, age, religion or hairstyle, what they really mean is “politics is too complicated for me.”

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Derrion Albert Remembered

Last month, America mourned the murder of a promising young black man in Chicago.  This reminded Jeremiah of a similar incident in Newark, and community policing efforts there.  This week, the Economist features a brilliant survey of community policing – required reading for leaders in these troubled cities.

Lest we think only honor students are in danger, the Chicago police are asking for help with crimes against the following young people:  Martell Barrett, DeQuarrius Cannon, Gamaliel Toscano, Percy Lavelle Day, Derrion Albert, Corey McClaurin, Luis Hernandez, Derrick Harris, Ebraham Tabani, Shawn Wilson, Ramone Morris, Damier Love, Juan Cazares, Gregory Robinson, Raheem Washington, John Edwards, Kendrick Pitts, Racheal Beauchamp, Johnel Ford, Mya Lyons, Brian Murdock, Quentin Buckner, Esteban Martinez, Jose Guiza, and Dushawn Johnson.

We need your help! Get involved! Go to your Beat Meeting and form a Block Club!

It doesn’t get any clearer than that.  If you live in Chicago, click here to join CAPS.

See also: Mark Kleiman’s book

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R.I.P. Derrion Albert

The brutal murder of a young honor student in Chicago recalls the death of another honor student, Yusef Johnson, killed last April in Newark.  It is easy to see that inner-city toughs resent the good kids and single them out for violence.  Derrion was lynched because he dared to excel, and his killers should swing for “hate crime” just like Nazis or skinheads.

Families will never lift themselves out of poverty until these neighborhoods are made safe for kids like Derrion.  The violence perpetuates itself, forcing each new generation into the gangs – and then into prison, where they become a burden for all of us.  As Yusef Johnson’s football coach put it, “these kids want things, and they want them now because they don’t think they’re going to have longevity.”

Violence is a problem only the community can fix.  In Newark, there was coordinated action by the schools, the churches, community leaders, and the police.  This is the most urgent problem facing black society today, and this is where race-based organizations like the NAACP need to be spending their efforts.

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