A while back, Turtle Boy asked me why I hadn’t blogged about Ferguson on Dubsism yet. My answer was that I make it a point to keep that site about sports. His answer was “well, that’s too bad, because I would bet your comments as a black man would carry a lot of weight.” Thanks to what a couple of dunderheads in St. Louis Rams’ uniforms pulled the other day, now you get to find out if Turtle Boy was right.
You also may get to decide if my original statement to Turtle Boy was right. When he asked me that question, I told to be careful what he was asking for; I believe my exact words were “I’m probably going to piss off both sides of this issue.”
Why did I say that? Because since day one of this fiasco, I have held the belief there are so many problems being illustrated buy this incident, and nobody has yet get them all right. Feel free to draw your own conclusions as to why as you go through my list of said problems. For me, it is mind-blowing how even exceptionally intelligent people are being turned into morons by ideology.
1) This isn’t about race; it’s about “White America’s” unwillingness to deal with “Black Crime.”
Set your clock back to 1994 and the O.J. Simpson murder trial. This was a watershed moment in the history of race relations in this country because this was the moment when a black man got away with murder because a defense lawyer successfully hung a “racist” tag on a white cop. Since then, the worst thing you can do to a white person is this country short of killing them is to call them a “racist.”
Time for a couple of cold hard facts. Number one is that racism still exists, and it will always exist. While it is not one of the more appealing parts of human nature, it is part of it nonetheless, and human nature hasn’t changed since since we moved out of caves and learned to cook with fire. Fact number two is that mainstream “White America” has become exceptionally intolerant of racism, so much so that the fear of being labeled a “racist” has led to many whites treating “Black America” and it’s problems like they were radioactive.
There’s a simple reason for this. Shouting “racism” works, because everybody can see how scared white people are of that label. Twenty years after O.J., it’s as true as ever.
Doubt that? Look at the three guys in that picture and tell me each one of them hasn’t made an entire career out of playing the “race” card. The fear white people have of the “racist” label is the purest essence of any power these guys have. The real problem with that as it relates to Ferguson is that there are large numbers of whites in this country who will go out of their way to avoid any dealings with blacks; the idea being that you can’t get burned if you don’t go near the fire in the first place.
That’s a pretty good strategy for self-preservation until you get to the point when the problem visits your front door. That’s exactly what Ferguson does with the issue of black crime. All you have to do to get the sociology professors of the world to turn on their omnidirectional jingoistic clap-trap sludge pumps is to mention the fact that blacks commit a disproportionately high number of crimes in this country relative to their percentage of the population as a whole. Once you do that, here comes the never-ending pile of excuses, most of which revolve around some ivory-tower bullshit about socioeconomic advantage/disadvantage; all of which completely ignore the fact that black crime creates black victims.
That fact is why the Darren Wilson’s of the world exist in the first place. Areas that don’t have as much crime don’t need as many cops, and no amount of academic postulating will change that; nor will it change the obvious consequences of having a lot of violent interactions between cops and criminals. Having the police abandon high-crime areas for the purpose of politically correctness is not only ludicrous, but will only create more victims. So, the solution is to stop worrying about what color criminals are and simply enforce the law.
2) The causative problems are not mutually exclusive.
The “protestors” in Ferguson will have you believe that cops have too much power. The supporters of law and order paint this as a picture of a “thug” culture ruin amok. They are both right. That is what makes situation so incendiary; both causes are happening as we speak, and everybody think to do anything about one is to to automatically cede “victory” to the other.
Are there cops in this country who abuse their power? You’re goddamn right there are; I’ll get more into that in a bit. Have we as a nation stopped holding people accountable for their actions? Abso-fucking-lutely.
There’s a two-headed monster which drives this. The first is that the cops and the criminals in this country have their own “Dog and Pony Show” going; they each do a masterful of using the other to promote their own cause.
This how towns which have no crime like West Lafayette, Indiana – two states and a full world away from Ferguson, Missouri – are stocking their police departments with surplus military gear in the name of “controlling crime.” This is a town where the local news just did a series on crime and it’s link to “People from Chicago.” You had to be Stevie Wonder locked in one of those old-school game show isolation booths to not know “People from Chicago” was code for “black people.”
Naturally, with the cops outfitted like a mechanized infantry division, it isn’t hard to portray their presence in neighborhoods with real crime issues as if they were some sort of “occupation force.” That’s the monster’s other head. Without the fear of crime, the public won’t give the cops all those toys, and will continue to turn a blind eye to abuses of power, and without fear of the cops, criminals lose a lot of their “justifications.”
Eventually, America is going to have to make a decision as to which horse it is going to back. Charles Barkley probably has the best assessment of this:
“We have to be really careful with the cops, because if it wasn’t for the cops we would be living in the Wild, Wild West in our neighborhoods. We can’t pick out certain incidentals that don’t go our way and act like the cops are all bad. Do you know how bad some of these neighborhoods would be if it wasn’t for the cops?”
What it all boils down to is we are portraying large groups of people based on the actions of the few. Not all cops are bad, and not all blacks are criminals. However, as um-politically correct as it may be to say this, there are more black criminals than bad cops, and until we are ready to act accordingly, the “two-headed monster” will continue to exist.
3) The crucifixtion of Darren Wilson is a case of “crying wolf” of the worst order.
There’s a clear political air in this country that has a distinct anti-cop feel to it. It’s fueled by part of the aforementioned “two-headed monster,” and the fact it is easier and less risky in the short term to blame the cops. Nobody in the main stream media will attack you for saying all cops are evil, but just look at what is happening to Charles Barkley for the comments he made. Barkley has a lot of guts to make those statement publicly, and even more to stand by them; you know what would happen to a white person who said the same things.
Couple that political current with America’s need for a rush to judgement, and you get a Darren Wilson situation. “White cop kills black man” was all somebody need to start the “burn the cops” fire, and it literally became an inferno. The problem is that as the facts came out, it became clear that those who have a political agenda against the cops bet on the wrong horse.
Let’s cut through he bullshit here. There are bad cops out there who need to be brought to justice. Darren Wilson isn’t one of them. But because so much energy and attention was focused on him, many other more suitable candidates to advance the anti-cop political movement were missed. The perfect example is just now taking hold in the headlines.
The grand jury decision in Staten Island, New York not to indict NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo is a far more likely cause to generate sympathy for the anti-cop movement that was that of Darren Wilson. After the initial rush to judgement, the more facts which came to light in the Wilson case pointed out this was not the case the anti-cop people wanted. That’s exactly why there was so much bluster and obfuscation by those people.
First, there is the obvious problem that once the facts were out, Michael Brown was never going to be able to be portrayed as the “innocent victim of police violence.” From a strictly political standpoint, the people in the anti-cop movement knew this, but they had already pushed all their chips to the middle of the table. That’s why there was such a show made of all the bullshit outside of those facts. This was all a show trying to win political converts the to the anti-cop point of view.
That’s where the rush to judgement was the crucial mistake for the anti-cop movement. Had they waited and made Pantaleo the focus of their campaign, they likely would have won far more converts to their cause, because that case has some clear-cut issues upon which a sympathetic case could be made. Unlike Michael Brown, there’s a reasonable question whether Eric Garner posed a threat to police. Unilke Darren Wilson, Daniel Pantaleo acted outside of police policy by using the choke hold. Then there’s that video. I’m not even going to link to it so as not to effect which version you see. Just web search for yourself. There’s no way a reasonable person can’t wonder about the actions of both the police and the paramedics who did nothing to help Garner.
Believe it or not, that’s not the biggest mistake the anti-cop people made. That came when the leaders of the anti-cop movement lost control and Ferguson became all about a vehicle for a mass exercise in disgruntled individualism. The following points explore that in greater detail.
4) As a nation, we’ve completely perverted the concept of “free speech.”
I can’t believe how many times I’ve heard the phrase “free speech” invoked in this case, and I can’t think of a more universally idiotic thing to say. Forget about trying to equate burning down a neighborhood with “speech,” and forget about the moral gymnastics one goes thorough to make that anything other than morally reprehensible. Rather, understand that “free speech” as defined by the 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution exists as a protection between the individual and the government. In other words, if you try to exercise your right to “free speech” by burning down my house, I will shoot you. By doing so, I didn’t violate your rights for a host of reasons, not the least of which are because I’m not the government and because there is no such thing as “rights” in a system where the only way to ensure the “rights” of one is to impinge the “rights” of others.
Not to mention, you really have to pay attention to who the flag-bearers of your cause are. Reasonable people were already dismissing the Ferguson protestors as a lawless mob, but Michael Brown’s step-father incited yet another riot with his infamous “Burn this bitch down” moment, that forever ended this situation to ever effect real social change. That’s why the whole incident involving the members of the St. Louis Rams had to be one of the dumbest things I’ve ever seen.
First of all, I’m not sure I can think of a way to make a moment more about yourself. Even if originally you didn’t catch the incredibly self-serving nature of this moment, the quote from Jared Cook sealed that.
“We kind of came collectively together and decided we wanted to do something,” Cook said. “We haven’t been able to go down to Ferguson to do anything because we have been busy. Secondly, it’s kind of dangerous down there and none of us want to get caught up in anything.”
In other words, the Rams players know damn good and well that nothing good can come from the situation in Ferguson, but that didn’t stop them from making it about themselves. The only thing dumber than that statement is Kenny Britt being a bell-cow for a protest against the police. All you have to do is web search “Kenny Britt criminal record,” and it will become abundantly clear why Britt doesn’t like cops…he’s heavily invested in being a criminal.
5) “Crab in the Bucket” syndrome and the subjective definition of “Black.”
Another thing Charles Barkley is dead-on about is what it means to be “black” in America. “Black” is not a not a term of ethnicity; rather it is a delineation based on politics and the willingness to march in lock step with the established “party line.” Barkley talks about this when he mentions the Russell Wilson situation with the Seattle Seahawks.
There is also an element of race that needs to be discussed. My feeling on this—and it’s backed up by several interviews with Seahawks players—is that some of the black players think Wilson isn’t “black” enough.
Make no mistake, this isn’t about being light-skinned or bi-racial, although that kind of racism clearly exists in the black community, Rather, and more specifically to this point, this is about who is both identified and accepted as “black.” In order to be “black,” you must be willing to go along with whatever the prevailing political wind is. The best example of this came back during the last overly-politicized death of a young black man, Trayvon Martin. The President of the United States had the audacity to say “That could have been me.”
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but the one above nails it only nineteen. Barack Obama was born of a white mother and grew up in the “white” world, and didn’t make the “white Barry/black Barack” transformation until it was politically expedient. Obama knew he had no future in politics until he became “black.”
This is where this story gets personal. Inasmuch as while I was born black, I’m one of those “educated blacks” who got his “black card” revoked for “acting too white.” Better yet, those who still have their “black cards” act as though I’m supposed to be upset that I’ve been kicked off “Black Island.” To be honest, I knew I wasn’t interested in membership 30 years ago. It all starts when I’m on my way to college in the 1980’s and I’m applying for whatever money I can get. Because I came from a middle-class family, groups like the African-American College Alliance and the United Negro College Fund essentially told me to go shit in my hat. However, the minute I graduated and had a legitimate income, these same groups came to me saying things like how I “owed it to ‘my people’ to contribute to the success of ‘our’ future generations.”
Those conversations died once I asked who “our people” were. Of course, they all said “black people.” Then I asked why I wasn’t able to get anything from them when I was a black kid looking to go to school. That’s when I realized these groups only exist to continue the “Crabs in the Bucket” mentality. This theory runs rampant in “Black America;” it states that if there are several crabs in a bucket, and one tries to climb out, the others will pull him back down. If the crabs worked together, they could escape. But instead their selfishness and distrust maintains the status quo. The easiest way to describe this in terms of “Black America” is “if I can’t have it, neither can you.”
That’s the mentality that gets guys like Charles Barkley and me called “Uncle Toms” and gets us kicked off “Black Island.” It’s also why there are a shitload of black people at the middle-and-up rungs on the socioeconomic ladder who share White America’s “Kermit Drinking the Tea” approach to black crime; it’s a “no-win” situation for us. Because we made a choice to strive for a better life, we are essentially shunned. If we decide to try to be active in the community, we are just “assuaging our own guilt.”
That schism amongst we blacks leads to the last point; the one which is going to get me the most hate mail, but it needs to be said.
6) Racial harmony in America is impossible until blacks take responsibility for their role in it.
This is all about “it takes two to tango.” Or you can go back to the “two-headed” monster I mentioned earlier. Honestly, race relations in this country are a function of both sides, but since I have yet to see any white people saying shit like “Burn this bitch down,” that’s why I have to look in terms of the side that may not fully appreciate it’s role in this problem. You could tell the leaders in Ferguson like Al Sharpton and the Brown family knew they had a huge problem once Mr. “Burn this bitch down” opened his mouth. You could tell by the way they back-pedaled from that statement they knew their chances of winning any number of reasonable converts to their side had been pissed right down the drain. Considering that was the original point of this exercise – furthering the political muscle of the anti-cop movement – this can be seen as nothing but an abject failure; one that destroyed several lives and millions of dollars with of property.
The fact is Ferguson will be seen as the moment that set race relations in this country back by decades. The fact the media is full of images trying to justify mob rioting as “protesting” exacerbates that. The economic impact will be seen in Ferguson for generations; there are still area in Los Angeles that were never rebuilt after the Watts riots in the 1960’s. The fact there are people in this this country who see this as “progress,” who think that anything positive can come from this means Ferguson is not a problem, its a symptom of much larger issues.