Posts Tagged ‘race’

Past and Inherent Racism

27 May 2016

So Louisiana has passed a law that designates crimes against police as hate crimes.  This follows a lot of blather, mostly on the right, about how “all lives matter” and “police lives matter”, and most of that is in direct reaction to the Black Lives Matter movement that developed in the wake of numerous incidents of black people being killed by police, including some egregious examples of unarmed blacks being killed by heavily armed white police.

These counter-movements are examples of the inherent racism still practiced by many Americans.  White-dominated law enforcement has far more weapons (to include physical weapons, and the weapons of law, which include the ability to arrest on little pretext) than the citizenry in general.  The rate of police officers shot or injured or killed is far, far less than the rate of citizens shot, injured, or killed.

Further, the use of the hate crime is limited to a specific set of crimes.  Per the FBI,

A hate crime is “a criminal offense committed against a person, property, or society that is motivated, in whole or in part, by the offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, or ethnicity/national origin”.

On the one hand conservatives want to exclude transgender people from protection, although they are clearly part of the sexual orientation clause, and on the other hand, they want to add police to this list.  Each category has a history of official oppression.  There is no history of oppression of police, and in fact, there are many examples where the police have been the oppressors, or protectors of oppressors.

So the Louisiana action is essentially shooting the finger at blacks.  It is inherently racist.

If black lives mattered to all, the Black Lives Matter movement would not be necessary.  As I have said before, the long history of oppression of our black citizens (and that also get’s ignored, they are our fellow citizens and should have equal rights) has not been corrected from a societal or economic basis.  Oppression is more subtle now, but it’s still there, and opportunity still is not available to all equally, starting with education, and leading to jobs.

That’s the real issue here, not some knee-jerk racist response to supposedly protect the civil rights of police.

Harry Reid and Trent Lott and Race-Related Remarks

11 January 2010

Should Harry Reid resign his leadership position, or even his Senate seat, due to the remarks he made a couple years ago about then-candidate Obama?

I do not think so, and here is why.

Here is what Trent Lott said, as quoted by Wikipedia:

“When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We’re proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn’t have had all these problems over the years, either.”

Here is what Harry Reid said, as paraphrased by the authors of “Game Change, as quoted on CNN.com:

“He [Reid] was wowed by Obama’s oratorical gifts and believed that the country was ready to embrace a black presidential candidate, especially one such as Obama — a ‘light-skinned’ African American ‘with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one'”.

What is the difference between the two statements? There is one critical thing: Lott endorsed the segregationist policies of Mr. Thurmond, and so proclaimed his thought that all people of color (blacks in particular) being integrated are the cause of many problems. He also trashes the civil rights movement by implication. That’s racist, denigrating an entire race of people to segregated, second-class status.

Reid, on the other hand, started by praising Obama, and then noting the fact that Obama’s physical appearance and speaking voice would be positive in helping him to get votes from some people. That’s not racist, that’s reality, making an observation (a positive one, at that) about an individual.

Let me be up front that I do not like Mr. Reid very much. I think he has not done enough to advance a progressive agenda for the Senate, and he has been wimpy in repulsing craven attacks from conservatives. Nonetheless, what he said was stupid, but does not rise to the level of resignation.