Author Topic: Police brutality, looting and racism  (Read 78604 times)

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Offline Cool Chris

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Re: Police brutality, looting and racism
« Reply #1820 on: April 16, 2018, 12:52:23 PM »
*Waiting for someone to throw a trash can in to a Starbucks window.

I've only seen Do The Right Thing in bits and pieces many years ago, so won't comment on it, other than I remember I never liked the cinematography or many of the annoying camera angles. Why did Mookie bust up the pizzeria? Because it's a lot easier than throwing a trash can through a police station window? Why does everyone else see that as an invitation to the destroy the place? And who gives a shit what pictures a business owner puts on their wall?

I digress... boycott Starbucks I guess. (We did that when the lying weasel Schultz sold the Sonics to Bennett). Punish the whole corporate entity and all the low-wage workers who rely on it for their paychecks.

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Offline orcus116

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Re: Police brutality, looting and racism
« Reply #1821 on: April 16, 2018, 05:45:44 PM »
Why punish the entire corporation and individual employees that had nothing to do with it based on the actions of one independent store? I'm not one for protesting to begin with but that would be petty and misguided in my opinion.

Offline KevShmev

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Re: Police brutality, looting and racism
« Reply #1822 on: April 16, 2018, 05:52:43 PM »
Because protesting in 2018 has become nothing but misguided boycotts and (not so) clever Twitter hashtags.

Offline orcus116

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Re: Police brutality, looting and racism
« Reply #1823 on: April 16, 2018, 05:54:36 PM »
My friend does make a killing off selling buttons at protests and rallies on the side though. He loves the turmoil in that sense.

Offline Cool Chris

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Re: Police brutality, looting and racism
« Reply #1824 on: April 16, 2018, 06:02:04 PM »
It is still appropriate for us to order coffee "Black?"



(just wanted to sprinkle in a little humor...)
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Offline contest_sanity

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Re: Police brutality, looting and racism
« Reply #1825 on: April 17, 2018, 07:27:59 AM »
Well, I don't think I'm going to change anyone's mind about the ending of Do The Right Thing, but I'll just point out that, according to Spike Lee, for the past 30 years it's only been white people who questioned whether what Mookie did was the "right" thing.

After as a people enduring the long history of racial horrors, up to and including continuing racial bias that affects one individually, I don't know how easy it is to say what the "right" response is. Is it understandable, though? There's also usually very little discussion of the police, who obviously did the wrong thing in the film.

Also, as far as I've seen, the only protesting was at that specific Starbucks in Philly, although other troubling stories are also starting to emerge that might lead to wider protests:

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/starbucks-los-angeles-philadelphia-accused-of-racism/

And lastly, I know that some people often dispute just how pervasive implicit and explicit racial bias is, but just imagine that it was YOU having shit like the above ^ happen on a regular basis and it appeared to usually be based on your race somehow. There's probably a lot of anger there, and so I can understand how, for example, the killing of an unarmed man by the police -- a man that could have just as easily been you -- can cause things to boil over. I personally don't feel comfortable, no matter what my internal feelings are, labeling such responses as "wrong." As even MLK said: "riots are the language of the unheard."

Offline bosk1

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Re: Police brutality, looting and racism
« Reply #1826 on: April 17, 2018, 07:43:41 AM »
As even MLK said: "riots are the language of the unheard."

Okay, but two points in response to that:
(1)  In context, I don't think he was saying that he was condoning rioting.  He was simply making an observation about cause and effect.
(2)  If he was condoning it, he is not above criticism just because he is MLK.  He was wrong on a lot of things, and if he condoned rioting, he was wrong on that.  Wrong is wrong no matter who espouses it.
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Offline Cool Chris

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Re: Police brutality, looting and racism
« Reply #1827 on: April 17, 2018, 08:51:09 AM »
There's also usually very little discussion of the police, who obviously did the wrong thing in the film.

In the video you posted, the gal said that of all the decisions that were made by everyone in the film, it was generally considered that the cops did the "wrong" thing. Maybe there is less discussion because that is generally agreed upon.

I am still mulling over the current SBUX issue, my pithy joke aside. I do find it interesting to see a very "left" corporation HQ'ed in a very "left" city deal with this issue.
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Offline contest_sanity

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Re: Police brutality, looting and racism
« Reply #1828 on: April 17, 2018, 10:03:02 AM »
"But it is not enough for me to stand before you tonight and condemn riots. It would be morally irresponsible for me to do that without, at the same time, condemning the contingent, intolerable conditions that exist in our society. These conditions are the things that cause individuals to feel that they have no other alternative than to engage in violent rebellions to get attention. And I must say tonight that a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it America has failed to hear?...It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice and humanity."

*https://www.alternet.org/civil-liberties/riot-language-unheard-9-mlk-quotes-mainstream-media-wont-cite

I agree that actual, flat-out rioting is problematic, but no less worthy of condemnation than the conditions which lead to it. This seems to be what King is saying. As you mentioned: cause and effect. If I could put it really simply: I think we need to look much more deeply at the causes before simply labeling the end result (the uprisings) as wrong or misguided.

Offline Stadler

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Re: Police brutality, looting and racism
« Reply #1829 on: April 17, 2018, 11:27:18 AM »
Well, I don't think I'm going to change anyone's mind about the ending of Do The Right Thing, but I'll just point out that, according to Spike Lee, for the past 30 years it's only been white people who questioned whether what Mookie did was the "right" thing.

After as a people enduring the long history of racial horrors, up to and including continuing racial bias that affects one individually, I don't know how easy it is to say what the "right" response is. Is it understandable, though? There's also usually very little discussion of the police, who obviously did the wrong thing in the film.

Also, as far as I've seen, the only protesting was at that specific Starbucks in Philly, although other troubling stories are also starting to emerge that might lead to wider protests:

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/starbucks-los-angeles-philadelphia-accused-of-racism/

And lastly, I know that some people often dispute just how pervasive implicit and explicit racial bias is, but just imagine that it was YOU having shit like the above ^ happen on a regular basis and it appeared to usually be based on your race somehow. There's probably a lot of anger there, and so I can understand how, for example, the killing of an unarmed man by the police -- a man that could have just as easily been you -- can cause things to boil over. I personally don't feel comfortable, no matter what my internal feelings are, labeling such responses as "wrong." As even MLK said: "riots are the language of the unheard."

Wait a second.  First, there are at least five pages that make at least credible debate of your assertions - that you continue to make as if they are gospel and proven beyond reasonable doubt - about this "implicit and explicit systemic racism that explains and excuses behavior of all types". So to that I say "OBJECTION, Your honor.  Calls for speculation."    Second, life is about shit.   Are you kidding  me?   Who do you think, white or otherwise, gets to waltz through life with nothing bad happening to them?   

If I gave you the list of bad shit that happened to me in just the past two weeks, having someone mistake me for a trespasser would be the least of my worries.   ONE PERSON here over-reacted.  Bad?  Of course.  "Sign of systemic racism because of an arc of 400 years"?   Come on, man.   We don't even know for a fact that this was because of race at this point.  I think it probably played in, but what do we KNOW, since we aren't in that guy/girls head?

At some point, personal responsibility has to take over.  Look at the same conversation we're having in the booby thread.  No one is credibly arguing that 100,000 years of biological necessity allows that boy to ogle that other girl's bra-less breasts, so why does the entire world have to pause because of 265 years plus or minus of atrocity plus some 100 years of equilibrating?   I don't get to throw bricks through the window of my local McDonalds because I get cancer.  I don't get to riot and protest because YET AGAIN a woman decided that my 5'7" inches of flaming Polish muscle doesn't pass muster for her requirement that her men be "6'0" at least; I love heels!"   

I used to live in Philly, corner of Pine and Broad (Google it).  There's a Starbucks right there.   EVERY morning I would go in with my daughter, and say hello to the two guys - sometimes one would have a keyboard with him - sitting just inside the door.   Both guys:  black.  Both guys:  rarely if ever drinking even a sip of over-priced, under-flavored Starbucks products.  Both as nice as pie.  They would say hello to my daughter; if the keyboard was there, one of them would play something.   They worked at the Huff and Gamble store a half a block or so up the street (Google that as well, you won't be disappointed).  Point:  Not five blocks from your example of alleged "systemic racism", we have an equal and opposite data point.  Why is yours "right"?

This is also in response to Cool Chris:  Starbucks is saying all the right things, but Kevin Johnson would be equally right in saying "The events in Philly are unfortunate, but they do not represent the Starbucks Company or our ethos.  We don't know how this under-qualified, under-performing employee rose to the ranks of Store Manager, but  our HR team is looking into the matter post-haste.  We're sorry for any inconvenience this isolated and individual episode of bad and hasty judgment caused."   
« Last Edit: April 17, 2018, 11:34:24 AM by Stadler »

Offline contest_sanity

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Re: Police brutality, looting and racism
« Reply #1830 on: April 17, 2018, 12:55:36 PM »
I'm not trying to set out the historical record as I've portrayed it as absolute fact. I'm far from a historian. But I think what I've set out is pretty well sourced and argued. We could look more specifically at different points of the timeline if anyone has major issues with something. I'm starting to wonder if we're just disagreeing over even more fundamental issues. As a thought project, let's pretend to agree on these next few assertions and ask what follows as the correct course of action? If we assume that housing segregation or mass incarceration was/is JUST AS BAD as I'm arguing for: so what? Does that matter for today? Assuming racial inequities do exist, should anyone (and if so, who?) try to do anything to eradicate them? Assuming that, as a minority, one is not infrequently treated negatively due to racial bias, does this "matter?" Or is that just life?

Sorry, sometimes I go round and round in these threads so much that I'm not sure even what I'm arguing for anymore. One the one hand, I think I'm just saying that, according to my thinking on the topic and listening to the testimony of others, it seems likely to me that minority groups encounter incidents of bias not infrequently... I think people in society should try and do better somehow.

However, I also think that our shared national history has served to, in general, advantage white folks and disadvantage African Americans: in the economy, in housing, in education, in the criminal justice system, etc. I think we also should try and do something about that.  Doesn't mean an abdication of anyone's personal responsibility to try and do their best with what they have. But I'm not going to let the fact that personal responsibility exists excuse me from looking at larger issues in the system that MAY need to be corrected. Again, congressman John Conyers has been trying for 29 years to get a bill passed that would simply form a commission to STUDY remedies for problems caused by historic and systemic racism. And the fact that we can't even agree to study the issue, well, to me that feels almost just straight up disrespectful, in light of the history.

* https://www.nbcnews.com/news/nbcblk/rep-john-conyers-still-pushing-reparations-divided-america-n723151   

Offline Stadler

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Re: Police brutality, looting and racism
« Reply #1831 on: April 17, 2018, 01:38:47 PM »
I'm not trying to set out the historical record as I've portrayed it as absolute fact. I'm far from a historian. But I think what I've set out is pretty well sourced and argued. We could look more specifically at different points of the timeline if anyone has major issues with something. I'm starting to wonder if we're just disagreeing over even more fundamental issues. As a thought project, let's pretend to agree on these next few assertions and ask what follows as the correct course of action? If we assume that housing segregation or mass incarceration was/is JUST AS BAD as I'm arguing for: so what? Does that matter for today? Assuming racial inequities do exist, should anyone (and if so, who?) try to do anything to eradicate them? Assuming that, as a minority, one is not infrequently treated negatively due to racial bias, does this "matter?" Or is that just life?

Sorry, sometimes I go round and round in these threads so much that I'm not sure even what I'm arguing for anymore. One the one hand, I think I'm just saying that, according to my thinking on the topic and listening to the testimony of others, it seems likely to me that minority groups encounter incidents of bias not infrequently... I think people in society should try and do better somehow.

We are in full agreement that we should do better, at least individually.   But whether an argument is well-argued or well-sourced doesn't make it right.   For me, I believe that it's a conclusion looking for support, not a logical conclusion from a trail of evidence. 

As for your "thought experiment", what's "not infrequently"?  Can we assume that to reverse discriminate up to but not as much as "the historical arc" is okay and won't lead to the same societal ills?     

Quote
However, I also think that our shared national history has served to, in general, advantage white folks and disadvantage African Americans: in the economy, in housing, in education, in the criminal justice system, etc. I think we also should try and do something about that.  Doesn't mean an abdication of anyone's personal responsibility to try and do their best with what they have. But I'm not going to let the fact that personal responsibility exists excuse me from looking at larger issues in the system that MAY need to be corrected. Again, congressman John Conyers has been trying for 29 years to get a bill passed that would simply form a commission to STUDY remedies for problems caused by historic and systemic racism. And the fact that we can't even agree to study the issue, well, to me that feels almost just straight up disrespectful, in light of the history.

* https://www.nbcnews.com/news/nbcblk/rep-john-conyers-still-pushing-reparations-divided-america-n723151   


But look at your language.   The study isn't to study THE ISSUE.  It ASSUMES the issue and wishes to study the REMEDIES. That equivalent to saying "well, we don't need a trial; let's just assume OJ is guilty and jump right to the punishment phase."

Offline contest_sanity

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Re: Police brutality, looting and racism
« Reply #1832 on: April 17, 2018, 04:37:38 PM »
Regarding the bill, I assumed that, even though we can see which way the proposers lean, and what they might expect to find, there would be a lot of discussion of the historical evidence, and whether or not remedies would be merited. Certainly, with a membership such as listed below, there would be a lot of DEBATE, not just forgone conclusions:



* https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/40/text

And hell, even if we never made any financial remedy proposals, I think our country could do a lot of good just having some truth commission type hearings or something where oppressed groups got to tell their stories.

Concerning evidence and hypothesis, historically speaking, I subscribe to the model that the best hypothesis is the one that remains the simplest while being able to reasonably include the largest amount of evidence. Now, I need to think a little harder about what exactly is

my hypothesis: ?
my evidence: ?

And I'd be curious to see how anyone else would frame the "race issue" using this model. I think it could be helpful, and it will at least be something I am thinking about.

Lastly, I think I would characterize possible racial-inequity-remedies differently than just reverse-discriminating in inverse proportion to how much we discriminated the first time. Rather, I'm thinking more like a race, in which, let's say, African Americans were held back at the starting line by a gate, while whites were allowed to start on time, and thereby gained a significant lead. Simply removing the gate after a long while would not be making the race fair... and likewise transporting the "black" runner to be beside the "white" runner (and thus equal) wouldn't be discriminating against the white runner; it would be evening things out.

Right? Am I taking crazy pills here? Well, I'm sure the analogy has flaws. I wait for it to rebutted soon enough, lol...

Offline Stadler

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Re: Police brutality, looting and racism
« Reply #1833 on: April 17, 2018, 04:58:37 PM »
Regarding the bill, I assumed that, even though we can see which way the proposers lean, and what they might expect to find, there would be a lot of discussion of the historical evidence, and whether or not remedies would be merited. Certainly, with a membership such as listed below, there would be a lot of DEBATE, not just forgone conclusions:



* https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/40/text

And hell, even if we never made any financial remedy proposals, I think our country could do a lot of good just having some truth commission type hearings or something where oppressed groups got to tell their stories.

Concerning evidence and hypothesis, historically speaking, I subscribe to the model that the best hypothesis is the one that remains the simplest while being able to reasonably include the largest amount of evidence. Now, I need to think a little harder about what exactly is

my hypothesis: ?
my evidence: ?

And I'd be curious to see how anyone else would frame the "race issue" using this model. I think it could be helpful, and it will at least be something I am thinking about.

Lastly, I think I would characterize possible racial-inequity-remedies differently than just reverse-discriminating in inverse proportion to how much we discriminated the first time. Rather, I'm thinking more like a race, in which, let's say, African Americans were held back at the starting line by a gate, while whites were allowed to start on time, and thereby gained a significant lead. Simply removing the gate after a long while would not be making the race fair... and likewise transporting the "black" runner to be beside the "white" runner (and thus equal) wouldn't be discriminating against the white runner; it would be evening things out.

Right? Am I taking crazy pills here? Well, I'm sure the analogy has flaws. I wait for it to rebutted soon enough, lol...

Well, your solution is the precise reason I object; it presumes the outcome.   First, we're not in a race, per se, so time isn't an issue.   Second, you're assuming that EVERY white person had the same opportunity and outcome, and EVERY black person had a different opportunity and the outcome was correspondingly different AND it was purely race.   Why not look at whites who didn't have access to or didn't participate in the programs?    Wouldn't that tell you a lot?  And what about them?   Would they get the same benefit?   Because you're assuming that EVERY black person would have partaken in it; what do you do? Award some random percentage the "outcome"?   

Trying to recreate history is SO flawed it's not funny.  It requires too many assumptions and each and every one of those assumptions builds in more bias and presumed conclusion.    I think the best we can do is say it stops NOW and male things as neutral as we can from this point forward.   

As for commissions, we can't even agree who shot Kennedy; what makes you think we can use a commission to recreate over 400 years of racial history?  :)

Offline contest_sanity

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Re: Police brutality, looting and racism
« Reply #1834 on: April 17, 2018, 05:23:09 PM »
Man, you know I was speaking, as they say, "in general" or "on average, as a group." I'm not trying to argue every black person has had the same severity of disadvantage, or that all whites have the same level of advantage, or that some whites have not been disadvantaged as well. And just because it would be difficult to ensure possible remedies were completely equitable to all involved doesn't mean we shouldn't try, necessarily. This is perhaps why Congress should study the issue.

We obviously disagree on A LOT, and I can't fully get on board with a "well, let's just start doing better now" view. That being said, if we wanted to seriously consider abolishing (or at the very least severely reforming) prisons, that would help a lot of minority groups (and whites too) and it wouldn't be what many people normally frown upon as reparations. Now, in my opinion, that's not enough, but it would at least be one important step we could take towards a more equitable society.

Offline Cool Chris

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Re: Police brutality, looting and racism
« Reply #1835 on: April 17, 2018, 05:49:17 PM »
Sorry to jump in... You want to abolish prisons because there is a disproportionate number of minorities in prison? I would think that would be frowned upon a lot more than doling out reparations.
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Re: Police brutality, looting and racism
« Reply #1836 on: April 17, 2018, 07:14:05 PM »
Not just because of racial issues but also because prisons are almost entirely punitive and dehumanizing. I think, philosophically, one can question whether or not any person "deserves" to be locked up in a cage, especially for long sentences. That being said, I understand the apprehension of letting violent offenders just walk... yet there are multitudes more of non-violent offenders who wouldn't pose great dangers to society if we were to better help them reintegrate into it. Anyway, this is a large topic, and I don't have all the numbers in front of me to throw out. Safe to say, though, that there is a prison abolition movement that has smart people in it; it's not just complete crazy talk, imo... here's one quick article if you have the time:

https://www.thenation.com/article/the-case-against-prisons/


Offline Cool Chris

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Re: Police brutality, looting and racism
« Reply #1837 on: April 17, 2018, 08:41:14 PM »
Appreciate you providing links/references, as always.

First off...
Quote
The Danish welfare system is constructed in such a way that people pay more in taxes and the government plays a significant role in the country. We have free healthcare, education and financial aid to the less fortunate.

Their definition of "free" is different than mine.  :)

Full disclosure on topic... I have been in jail twice. 30 days, and 2 days. A hardened criminal I am not. But I wanted to mention that. I know what it is like to commit a crime, be charged, convicted, and locked up. I get that it messes up your life down the line.

From that article I got more of "We need to re-evaluate our criminal justice system" than "We need to get rid of jails." So maybe that is a misconception I had going in. Definitely. But we need jails. We need to lock people up sometimes. Whether that be as punishment, to keep them from offending again, or to send a message that this behavior is not acceptable in our society.

I'll close this post with this, I know it's one example and anecdotal, but it's local to me, and I had seen the man on more than one occasion: Any time the idea of restorative justice comes up around here, and it is often, Tuba Man always comes up too.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_McMichael
Quote
Ja’mari Alexander-Alan Jones, who at age 15 served six months for killing McMichael, pleaded guilty on 10 December 2014 to the murder of DeShawn Milliken and was sentenced to 18 years in prison.
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Re: Police brutality, looting and racism
« Reply #1838 on: April 18, 2018, 07:31:44 AM »
While we are talking about prisons, I've got a side question... I've been binge watching Orange is the New Black (just finished season 3, no spoilers please). The women in the show are assigned work duty which they get paid cents to do. How does the minimum wage not apply to prisoners? Also, can a prisoner working go to the EEOC if the situation calls for it?

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Re: Police brutality, looting and racism
« Reply #1839 on: April 18, 2018, 07:33:16 AM »
Contest,

As others have stated you obviously feel passionate about the issue and have done your homework.  But is it possible your approach is actually doing more harm than good?  Is it possible you are perpetuating a mindset in the black community that the deck is just too stacked against them and unless someone or some government policy comes to their rescue, they will never rise above their circumstances?

The toothless redneck with his confederate flag flying off his mobile home in Heflin AL is no threat.  But by continually reviewing the history of racism and by pushing the idea that the injustices are nearly as bad now as they have ever been, you are painting a picture of insurmountable odds to the black community.  The field is not now nor will it ever be level.  Shouldn't the message to ALL disadvantaged groups be "nothings fair and you may have to work harder than others but dont let anything deter you from believing in yourself and your dreams".

But by dangling "programs" and "reparations" you are in effect telling folks, just sit tight help is on the way and then your life will be easier.  Government attempts at social engineering have never worked.  Why focus on the problems and give false hope? 

Wouldn't it be better to focus on a message of self-reliance, belief in oneself and wise decision making?
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Re: Police brutality, looting and racism
« Reply #1840 on: April 18, 2018, 07:34:38 AM »
While we are talking about prisons, I've got a side question... I've been binge watching Orange is the New Black (just finished season 3, no spoilers please). The women in the show are assigned work duty which they get paid cents to do. How does the minimum wage not apply to prisoners? Also, can a prisoner working go to the EEOC if the situation calls for it?

The 13th amendment covers that I think.

“Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist with the United States".

Because imprisonment is punishment, the rules of the free people do not apply.

Offline chknptpie

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Re: Police brutality, looting and racism
« Reply #1841 on: April 18, 2018, 07:38:09 AM »
While we are talking about prisons, I've got a side question... I've been binge watching Orange is the New Black (just finished season 3, no spoilers please). The women in the show are assigned work duty which they get paid cents to do. How does the minimum wage not apply to prisoners? Also, can a prisoner working go to the EEOC if the situation calls for it?

The 13th amendment covers that I think.

“Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist with the United States".

Because imprisonment is punishment, the rules of the free people do not apply.

I'll have to do some research and educate myself, but it seems like we pick and choose which rules of the free people apply. Prisoners aren't allowed to do drugs, hurt people or be hurt by their guards, etc.

Offline Stadler

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Re: Police brutality, looting and racism
« Reply #1842 on: April 18, 2018, 08:03:11 AM »
Man, you know I was speaking, as they say, "in general" or "on average, as a group." I'm not trying to argue every black person has had the same severity of disadvantage, or that all whites have the same level of advantage, or that some whites have not been disadvantaged as well. And just because it would be difficult to ensure possible remedies were completely equitable to all involved doesn't mean we shouldn't try, necessarily. This is perhaps why Congress should study the issue.

But that's the big problem, isn't it?  "Generalizing"?   I'll get back to that later, but we're not talking about handing out free movie passes and so what if a couple people already have them, they'll buy popcorn!  You're talking rewriting history!   The Jewish population of Europe went from something like 9.5 million to something like 3.5 million in the space of less than five years (not even to count the non-Jews that died as part of the cleansing effort).   Would you go back and recount all the elections that they couldn't participate in from 1945 to... well, now, because the population still hasn't totally rebounded.    Maybe we should go back and have all states re-ratify their constitutions, but with current voting rolls, since blacks weren't allowed to vote back in the 1780's.   It's a slippery slope, and having guilt about what happened - which I totally understand; no one, least of all me, is saying that black people in America didn't get a raw deal at some points in our history - doesn't justify any and all possible counter-actions.

And study WHAT?   Again, you can't assume the outcome in order to do your studies.   Look, I'm all for studies; information is power and the more information we have, the better decisions we can make.   But - my turn for a thought experiment! - what if the studies show that this is a bunch of hokum?  Are we ready for that outcome? 

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We obviously disagree on A LOT, and I can't fully get on board with a "well, let's just start doing better now" view. That being said, if we wanted to seriously consider abolishing (or at the very least severely reforming) prisons, that would help a lot of minority groups (and whites too) and it wouldn't be what many people normally frown upon as reparations. Now, in my opinion, that's not enough, but it would at least be one important step we could take towards a more equitable society.

Um... so you're saying that EVERY black person in jail is innocent?   Every white person?  Come on.  Look, whether the sentence is 1 year or 10 years, in theory any way you have to ACTUALLY commit the crime to get to that point.   I have ZERO doubt that some percentage greater than zero of African Americans in jail are technically "innocent".   Some percentage greater than zero of WHITES are likely technically "innocent".   And same analysis for blacks (OJ!) and whites that are outside and guilty.   "Abolishing prisons" isn't the solution.   It's popular to say "we emprison more people than any country on the planet!", well, the corollary is that there isn't a country on the planet that doesn't emprison at least SOMEONE.  Hell, Lichtenstein has 10 people in prison!   :)

You want solutions?  Instead of "reparations"  why don't we focus on the things that we KNOW have impact.  Improving the African American high school graduation rate.  Providing summer programs for ALL kids, since we know - from Charles Sykes - that the SINGLE best predictor of performance in K-12 isn't "funding" or "family income", but rather the level at which kids actually are in "learning programs" throughout the summer versus those that get out in June, fuck off for three months, and start over in September.   The problem with these solutions?  They take WORK, they put the onus back on the disadvantaged to take advantage of the new opportunity, and they do not GUARANTEE outcomes.   But guess what?  Most Americans - black, white, Hispanic, Klingon - share this commonality:  we all have to work, we all have to take advantage of the opportunities given us, and none of us have GUARANTEES.   Go figure. 

Offline Stadler

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Re: Police brutality, looting and racism
« Reply #1843 on: April 18, 2018, 08:05:58 AM »
Not just because of racial issues but also because prisons are almost entirely punitive and dehumanizing. I think, philosophically, one can question whether or not any person "deserves" to be locked up in a cage, especially for long sentences. That being said, I understand the apprehension of letting violent offenders just walk... yet there are multitudes more of non-violent offenders who wouldn't pose great dangers to society if we were to better help them reintegrate into it. Anyway, this is a large topic, and I don't have all the numbers in front of me to throw out. Safe to say, though, that there is a prison abolition movement that has smart people in it; it's not just complete crazy talk, imo... here's one quick article if you have the time:

https://www.thenation.com/article/the-case-against-prisons/

PREMISE:  We do not lock up people in prison because they wear funny shirts.  Or they fart in church.   Prison is, for the vast majority of people that are there (and certainly, 100% for the three people that I know personally that did felony time) a choice.   If you want to work to reduce the number of people falsely imprisoned - independent of race, because that benefit ought to apply to ALL citizens - then I'm on board, but this notion that if I commit a crime I shouldn't be punished because of my race... yeah, I don't agree with that either. 

EDIT:  I read your article.  LOTS of problems  with it, but two strike me as problematic.  In the first sentence of the second paragraph, she writes "As you might expect in a classroom where half the students are young people of color,..."; why doesn't that raise flags for her?  Why doesn't that immediately say that the conclusions MAY not be indicative of the population as a whole?   "People of color" are over-represented by a factor of over four.  But her point relies on that, so that's not a problem.  But later, she writes that "these prisoners are disproportionately brown and black."  Why is it a problem sometimes and not others?   Why do some disproportions celebrated, or at the very least, ignored - even when it leads to data that we base conclusions on - when it doesn't fit the argument but highlighted when it is the very basis of the argument?

Second, she writes:  "Certainly, many of my students are aware that the U.S. criminal justice system falls far short of impartiality and fairness. Strangely, however, they seldom mention that this country has 2.2 million people in prison or jail; or that it imprisons the largest proportion of people in the world; or that, with 4% of the global population, it holds 22% of the world’s prisoners; or that these prisoners are disproportionately brown and black. Their concern is less about those who are in prison and perhaps shouldn’t be, than about those who are not in prison and ought to be."

What, exactly is inherently lacking in "impartiality" when it comes to raw numbers?  Perhaps we have a more robust system of laws?  Perhaps we have unique problems in our country - based on the fairly unique combination of population - third highest in the world - economy - largest in the world - and geography - third largest in the world?   Perhaps we have a more industrious criminal element?  Perhaps our laws are TOO stringent?   NONE of these questions are even HINTED at let alone answered, but she is more than ready to take a set of numbers with no context, no explanation and no analysis, and draw conclusions that would result in billions and billions of dollars spent without any certainty that the underlying problem will be solved (or that other problems wouldn't surface and perhaps be worse than the intended target).   
« Last Edit: April 18, 2018, 08:26:55 AM by Stadler »

Offline Stadler

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Re: Police brutality, looting and racism
« Reply #1844 on: April 18, 2018, 08:26:23 AM »
While we are talking about prisons, I've got a side question... I've been binge watching Orange is the New Black (just finished season 3, no spoilers please). The women in the show are assigned work duty which they get paid cents to do. How does the minimum wage not apply to prisoners? Also, can a prisoner working go to the EEOC if the situation calls for it?

The 13th amendment covers that I think.

“Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist with the United States".

Because imprisonment is punishment, the rules of the free people do not apply.

I'll have to do some research and educate myself, but it seems like we pick and choose which rules of the free people apply. Prisoners aren't allowed to do drugs, hurt people or be hurt by their guards, etc.

But not all "rules" are equal in that sense of the word.   Meaning, that a prison has a rule, but that rule doesn't exist at, say, Chino's house doesn't mean that they are just "pick and choose".  I can't work as a policeman or fireman and do drugs either.  I can't do my current job, technically, and do drugs, though there aren't really any controls on that.

Prisoners are, for the most part, imprisoned by state or Federal government.  The government can't infringe the rights they are granted under the Constitution without following the process of that Constitution.   That a prisoner can't stage a gay rights parade down the center concourse of the prison does not mean that his/her constitutional rights are being infringed, since there are well-established and well-accepted exclusions to that right, particularly with respect to "time, place and manner" of that speech. 

Online El Barto

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Re: Police brutality, looting and racism
« Reply #1845 on: April 18, 2018, 08:55:38 AM »
Prison reform requires two different foci. First, we need to remove money from the equation. Imprisoning somebody should be costly. We've made it profitable. This is incongruous with justice.

Second, we need an intermediary step between a stern lecture and a penitentiary. Something that's focused on rehabilitation rather than punishment and sequestration. I recognize the need for the latter, some people just won't conform to rules of society. (Punishment is already incorporated by the sequestration. The loss of freedom is the punishment.) The problem is that we've gotten to the point that we'll put somebody into gladiator school for 3 years for selling some rock, and then expect them to be better when they get out. It defies common sense. What's needed is an option that will actually turn somebody into a productive member of society, which is what's necessary for 90% of the people who run through the CJ system.

Honestly, this requires a vast rethinking of the way we deal with "justice," which like so many other American ills is just not something we're willing to consider.
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Offline Stadler

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Re: Police brutality, looting and racism
« Reply #1846 on: April 18, 2018, 09:45:23 AM »
I don't really disagree with a lot of that.  We might quibble on the percentages of "rehabilitatable" versus the number that just won't conform, but there's a lot of solid analysis in there. 

For what it's worth, I'm evolving my thinking on this.   I've come to recognize that "privatization" doesn't work here - not because "privatization" doesn't work generally, or that capitalism is bad, per se, but because there are always more problems inherent the further you separate the "Payer" from the ""Responsible Party", and it gets worse when you factor in that the "Recipient Party" is neither of those other two.   

Offline contest_sanity

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Re: Police brutality, looting and racism
« Reply #1847 on: April 18, 2018, 09:54:00 AM »
The VICE documentary Raised In The System doesn't address the entire prison system but it does cut at the root: the juvenile system. Hosted by Michael K. Williams (Omar from The Wire), it's a fascinating, disturbing, yet also hopeful look at a difficult issue. You can watch for free if you enter your email:

https://www.hbo.com/vice/season-6/raised-in-the-system

Online El Barto

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Re: Police brutality, looting and racism
« Reply #1848 on: April 18, 2018, 10:01:57 AM »
I don't really disagree with a lot of that.  We might quibble on the percentages of "rehabilitatable" versus the number that just won't conform, but there's a lot of solid analysis in there. 

For what it's worth, I'm evolving my thinking on this.   I've come to recognize that "privatization" doesn't work here - not because "privatization" doesn't work generally, or that capitalism is bad, per se, but because there are always more problems inherent the further you separate the "Payer" from the ""Responsible Party", and it gets worse when you factor in that the "Recipient Party" is neither of those other two.   

If you don't mind, how are you defining the payer and the responsible party in this context?

The numbers are certainly open to debate. I'm increasingly of the opinion that the only people who go to prison should be the ones that never leave, so I'm hopeful that it's a small percentage. A great deal of consideration is going to be necessary with that. What bothers me is that we've gotten to the point that punishment is so desirable to the public that the public overlooks the damage caused unto itself by that punishment. We see that in a lot of the higher profile (tabloidial) cases.
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Offline contest_sanity

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Re: Police brutality, looting and racism
« Reply #1849 on: April 18, 2018, 11:47:25 AM »
PREMISE:  We do not lock up people in prison because they wear funny shirts.  Or they fart in church.   Prison is, for the vast majority of people that are there (and certainly, 100% for the three people that I know personally that did felony time) a choice.   If you want to work to reduce the number of people falsely imprisoned - independent of race, because that benefit ought to apply to ALL citizens - then I'm on board, but this notion that if I commit a crime I shouldn't be punished because of my race... yeah, I don't agree with that either.

I want to reduce the number of people -- of ALL races -- who are OVERimprisoned for their "crimes." Rather than a war on drugs, I'd much rather see a healthcare approach to drug addiction. I never said people shouldn't be punished based on their race, nor that all imprisoned people are innocent. Both of these would be ridiculous claims (maybe I'm wording things poorly if that's what coming across). Obviously, all of our outcomes are related to choices we make, but was Jay-Z dealing drugs as a teenager simply because he really desired to be a criminal or for other "bad" reasons? What factors went in to him making that choice? Was he doing what he had to do (as a good capitalist btw) to make ends meet?
Quote
EDIT:  I read your article.  LOTS of problems  with it, but two strike me as problematic.  In the first sentence of the second paragraph, she writes "As you might expect in a classroom where half the students are young people of color,..."; why doesn't that raise flags for her?  Why doesn't that immediately say that the conclusions MAY not be indicative of the population as a whole?   "People of color" are over-represented by a factor of over four.  But her point relies on that, so that's not a problem.  But later, she writes that "these prisoners are disproportionately brown and black."  Why is it a problem sometimes and not others?   Why do some disproportions celebrated, or at the very least, ignored - even when it leads to data that we base conclusions on - when it doesn't fit the argument but highlighted when it is the very basis of the argument?

I didn't read this the way you did. The author's full quote was: "As you might expect in a classroom where half the students are young people of color, up to a third are first-generation college goers, and maybe a sixth come from outside the United States, the answers vary." I just interpreted this as an explanation for why there is a diversity of views in her class -- as opposed to what the views might have been from a majority-one-race, majority-one-nationality, majority-one-economic group -- type class. I'm missing the problem you're seeing here.
Quote
What, exactly is inherently lacking in "impartiality" when it comes to raw numbers?  Perhaps we have a more robust system of laws?  Perhaps we have unique problems in our country - based on the fairly unique combination of population - third highest in the world - economy - largest in the world - and geography - third largest in the world?   Perhaps we have a more industrious criminal element?  Perhaps our laws are TOO stringent?   NONE of these questions are even HINTED at let alone answered, but she is more than ready to take a set of numbers with no context, no explanation and no analysis, and draw conclusions that would result in billions and billions of dollars spent without any certainty that the underlying problem will be solved (or that other problems wouldn't surface and perhaps be worse than the intended target).

I feel you on the fact that these questions need serious study and answers (and tbh I picked the article fairly quickly and as an overview, so I'm not ready to defend every argument the author made). However, you speak of the need for certainty when entertaining solutions. I would propose that we're pretty CERTAIN the system as it stands isn't working. For example, California spent 11 billion in 2016 on its prisons, yet still had a 60% recidivism rate. So it seems like something needs to change.

*https://californiainnocenceproject.org/issues-we-face/recidivism-rates/
*http://www.politifact.com/california/statements/2018/jan/25/jerry-brown/has-rate-californias-prison-spending-nearly-triple/

Offline contest_sanity

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Re: Police brutality, looting and racism
« Reply #1850 on: April 18, 2018, 12:30:14 PM »
Contest,

As others have stated you obviously feel passionate about the issue and have done your homework.  But is it possible your approach is actually doing more harm than good?  Is it possible you are perpetuating a mindset in the black community that the deck is just too stacked against them and unless someone or some government policy comes to their rescue, they will never rise above their circumstances?

The toothless redneck with his confederate flag flying off his mobile home in Heflin AL is no threat.  But by continually reviewing the history of racism and by pushing the idea that the injustices are nearly as bad now as they have ever been, you are painting a picture of insurmountable odds to the black community.  The field is not now nor will it ever be level.  Shouldn't the message to ALL disadvantaged groups be "nothings fair and you may have to work harder than others but dont let anything deter you from believing in yourself and your dreams".

But by dangling "programs" and "reparations" you are in effect telling folks, just sit tight help is on the way and then your life will be easier.  Government attempts at social engineering have never worked.  Why focus on the problems and give false hope? 

Wouldn't it be better to focus on a message of self-reliance, belief in oneself and wise decision making?

Am I doing harm to the black community by posting arguments on the internet? I don't think so, especially not these arguments. Most of my sources are by African American authors. Granted, I don't know ALL black people but most, if not all, of the ones I do know would agree with much, if not all, of everything I'm setting out here. This is not new information to African Americans. I'm not speaking to them anyway. I'm making my arguments primarily to non-black Americans. I'm trying to challenge some predominate narratives that I believe many white people subscribe to (consciously or sub-consciously). I don't think me discussing reparations with a mainly white audience is telling black people to try less hard. My sense (and I could certainly be wrong) is that many (most?) black Americans already know very strongly that reparations are unlikely to ever happen. Hell, the black author (Coates) who wrote most persuasively on the topic -- and you really should read him if you haven't: https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2014/06/the-case-for-reparations/361631/ -- also has stated that, unlike MLK, he believes the arc of the universe bends toward chaos: specifically meaning that his people are unlikely to receive any substantial reparations in anything close to his lifetime. So yeah, from the view of personal responsibility, no one should EXPECT anything, and, in fact, everyone should work as though nothing will be given to them. I don't think my attempted advocacy tells anyone otherwise. Lastly, I don't think it's quite true that social engineering doesn't work. I KNOW that not everyone accepts the racial injustice timeline I've set forth, but, IF one did accept it, it wouldn't be crazy to say that some forms of social engineering have worked out pretty well for many (not all) white people. One specific example would, again, be Rothstein on wealth and housing, and I think it's a good example because it's not so far back in history that it can be dismissed as having little impact today.

*https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Pb6y9rNKmo
*https://www.amazon.com/Color-Law-Forgotten-Government-Segregated/dp/1631492853

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Re: Police brutality, looting and racism
« Reply #1851 on: April 18, 2018, 12:33:38 PM »
While we are talking about prisons, I've got a side question... I've been binge watching Orange is the New Black (just finished season 3, no spoilers please). The women in the show are assigned work duty which they get paid cents to do. How does the minimum wage not apply to prisoners? Also, can a prisoner working go to the EEOC if the situation calls for it?

The 13th amendment covers that I think.

“Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist with the United States".

Because imprisonment is punishment, the rules of the free people do not apply.

I'll have to do some research and educate myself, but it seems like we pick and choose which rules of the free people apply. Prisoners aren't allowed to do drugs, hurt people or be hurt by their guards, etc.

But not all "rules" are equal in that sense of the word.   Meaning, that a prison has a rule, but that rule doesn't exist at, say, Chino's house doesn't mean that they are just "pick and choose".  I can't work as a policeman or fireman and do drugs either.  I can't do my current job, technically, and do drugs, though there aren't really any controls on that.

Prisoners are, for the most part, imprisoned by state or Federal government.  The government can't infringe the rights they are granted under the Constitution without following the process of that Constitution.   That a prisoner can't stage a gay rights parade down the center concourse of the prison does not mean that his/her constitutional rights are being infringed, since there are well-established and well-accepted exclusions to that right, particularly with respect to "time, place and manner" of that speech.

It sounds like you're trying to disagree with me but then stating the exact same thing I did... I'm confused by your response.

I can not "legally" shoot heroin and neither can a prisoner.
My employer is legally required to pay me a minimum wage, but the prison is not legally required to pay a working prisoner the minimum wage.

I don't understand why the former is equal between me (free person) and a prisoner, while the latter isn't.

Offline bosk1

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Re: Police brutality, looting and racism
« Reply #1852 on: April 18, 2018, 12:50:44 PM »
Well, you are blurring a whole bunch of things together.   The big issue is that the legal process permits rights to be taken away or curtailed when someone is convicted of a crime, as long as the proper process is followed.  So, do convicts have the same rights?  Well, yes, they "have" them.  But, no, they don't get to exercise them.

The heroine issue doesn't make sense to me, and I'm not sure why it was brought up.  Nobody has the right to shoot heroine.  Nonissue.

But as to the wage issue you mentioned, it could be answered by what I said in the first paragraph.  But also, the prison is not the convict's "employer" and the convict is not an "employee" who is subject to the minimum wage laws.  Same issue with going to the EEOC, which you mentioned earlier in your post.  Aside from the fact that the EEOC does not handle wage issues, the second "E" stands for "Employment," which isn't applicable here.
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Offline Cool Chris

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Re: Police brutality, looting and racism
« Reply #1853 on: April 18, 2018, 01:16:37 PM »
... but was Jay-Z dealing drugs as a teenager simply because he really desired to be a criminal or for other "bad" reasons? What factors went in to him making that choice? Was he doing what he had to do (as a good capitalist btw) to make ends meet?

I don't know the first thing about Jay-Z, but I really don't like this line of thinking. If you want to "make ends meet" go to school, do the work, get a job, and acquire skills and you will be able to make ends meet. I'll even throw in don't commit crimes and don't produce offspring without being in a committed relationship. People push drugs and embrace the criminal lifestyle not because they "have" to. They just don't want to do the work that the rest of us are doing.

Regarding how to address drug addiction, I am all for a healthcare/treatment approach too. For the current heroin issue, there are options available for them to get off the streets and off the junk. They don't want to take that path though, because it would mean living by rules, doing what other people ask of them. They'd much rather set up camp wherever they want and live like they want to live, because no one is going to do anything about it.

https://www.kiro7.com/news/local/seattle-homeless-tent-mansion-low-priority-for-city-cleanup/727621918

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The city navigation team says only 37 percent of homeless people they contact accept offers of shelter. Burns says few shelters accept couples to live together, and she and her boyfriend don't want to comply with a typical shelter's rigid rules.

"We don't want to change our lifestyle to fit their requirements," she said.

When asked if she would accept permanent housing offers, Burns said she would not likely accept them.

"We intend to stay here," she said. "This is the solution to the homeless problem. We want autonomy, right here."

In know I am veering off topic here, but I hate that city officials are enabling these fucking worthless leeches to exist on our city streets, sidewalks, parks, schools, and wherever the hell else they want.
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Re: Police brutality, looting and racism
« Reply #1854 on: April 18, 2018, 01:32:32 PM »
I know I am veering off topic here, but I hate that city officials are enabling these fucking worthless leeches to exist on our city streets, sidewalks, parks, schools, and wherever the hell else they want.

Oh, don't worry. Your party is doing all it can to make sure that these people die.
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