Friday, August 15, 2014

Racism Is Real. Is It Permanent? Maybe.

This approach toward police work wasn't working in Ferguson. I wonder why.

Captain Ron Johnson, selected on Thursday to head ground operations
in Ferguson, adopted a different strategy. Apparently it worked.

Atrios nails the problem:
Not going to say anything that isn't totally obvious here, but the degree to which police feel free to abuse the local population depends on the race and socioeconomic status of the individuals and the neighborhood generally. Take your baton to a rich white person and you might actually face some consequences. Bullets in the back of a young black guy who is presumably guilty of something - we just need to figure out what - and you probably won't.
The only point of racist stop and frisk policies is to find excuses to arrest young black males. If you frisk people you might find weapons or drugs. That's it. Everybody but black people in this country are supposed to be carrying guns on them at all times and disproportionately locking up black people for their drug use is completely racist, even if my local African-American mayor likes to pretend he's unaware of this point.
 If you follow the link, you'll see the word "blahs" in the headline, a reference to a Rick Santorum slur of blacks that was so horrible even Santorum wishes he'd never said it, so he said he was misquoted. He didn't say black people, he said blah people. Yeah, right. And the reference to "my local African-American mayor" is to current Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter. Atrios lives in Philadelphia, where Mayor Nutter has urged local police to remain tough on marijuana, despite relaxed laws spreading around the country.

There are more than one scourge upon this nation. One is deep-seated, institutional racism that is a fixture of our law-enforcement culture. a second, newer one is the militarization of our police forces. This came to a head in Ferguson this past two weeks. Knowing how two weeks is a decent length for a news cycle, we'll probably forget this by tomorrow morning. But that doesn't mean that it's over. But it is a deep, deep shame that hangs over all this country represents.

Only an ignorant snob like George W. Bush would say "They hate us for our freedom." I don't know who the hell he was talking about in that famous retort, but it sure wasn't about the "freedom" young blacks enjoy when they're walking down the street.

Update. Breaking news indicates that deceased Michael Brown may have been involved in a robbery of cigars just before he was killed. That's okay, then. In America, we always shoot cigar robbers in the back, then in the front when they raise their hands in surrender. "Thought I saw a weapon" is no longer a needed part of the justification.

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