If Only This were Doggerel
#1
If Only This were Doggerel


When it’s OK for anyone
to be red, white or blue,
then, only, can it be OK
for some to be black, too.





Still looking for the A rhyme.

Now, if you're sure you want the spoiler:


We have this amazing situation in the States where replying to "black lives matter" with "blue lives matter" or "all lives matter" is considered racist simply because it dilutes the initial bumper sticker... and (more to the point) flyers stating "it's OK to be white" are being investigated by the FBI as some sort of hate crime... "white nationalism," perhaps, which - like hate - is not illegal.  If only this poem, being obvious, didn't have to be written... and wouldn't be dismissed for (like the others) diluting that special bumper sticker message.
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#2
Looking only at the words of the phrase "black lives matter" doesn't even imply other lives do not so much as it implies they do. It's just a phrase to remind those in power who have incurred injustices disproportionately, from police brutality to unjust sentencing, on black people and POC that their lives matter. Simple as that.

So when someone whines about being white and oppressed by the historically oppressed, they sound stupid to put it bluntly. And why are they so quick to be secure with their white complexion as opposed to understanding why it is that these injustices only happen to black people and POC, but mainly black people?
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#3
(11-14-2019, 03:56 AM)alexorande Wrote:  Looking only at the words of the phrase "black lives matter" doesn't even imply other lives do not so much as it implies they do. It's just a phrase to remind those in power who have incurred injustices disproportionately, from police brutality to unjust sentencing, on black people and POC that their lives matter. Simple as that.

So when someone whines about being white and oppressed by the historically oppressed, they sound stupid to put it bluntly. And why are they so quick to be secure with their white complexion as opposed to understanding why it is that these injustices only happen to black people and POC, but mainly black people?

As you know, while the bare phrase “black lives matter” is a near tautology (as is “white lives matter”) - if anything matters, it’s human lives - its meaning, in context, is an assertion that lives of black people matter less to those it accuses than those of (for example) white people similarly situated.  This assertion is false and insulting.  As any fair analysis shows, black criminals suffer more fatalities (as well as arrests and punishments) because of their own behavior rather than bias against them for group membership.

Any response (such as “white lives matter” or “blue lives matter,” i.e. police are entitled to defend their own lives) enrages BLM accusers because it cancels their unearned privilege derived from being “historically” (not personally or actually) oppressed.

As for “it’s OK to be white,” this is another near-tautology... but its meaning, in context, is that being anti-white (in the guise of being pro-anything else at all) is racism as surely as being anti-black or anti-POC is since it turns solely on race... with a tincture of Marxism.  Like the less stringent but still biting “white lives matter” and “all lives matter,” it cancels the unearned privilege of anti-white racists (essentially all of academe and the Left) and is therefore falsely called a hate crime–  by the world’s premiere hate-criminals.

Thanks for the opportunity to make that clear.  Have a very nice and fulfilling day.
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#4
(11-14-2019, 11:14 AM)dukealien Wrote:  
(11-14-2019, 03:56 AM)alexorande Wrote:  Looking only at the words of the phrase "black lives matter" doesn't even imply other lives do not so much as it implies they do. It's just a phrase to remind those in power who have incurred injustices disproportionately, from police brutality to unjust sentencing, on black people and POC that their lives matter. Simple as that.

So when someone whines about being white and oppressed by the historically oppressed, they sound stupid to put it bluntly. And why are they so quick to be secure with their white complexion as opposed to understanding why it is that these injustices only happen to black people and POC, but mainly black people?

As you know, while the bare phrase “black lives matter” is a near tautology (as is “white lives matter”) - if anything matters, it’s human lives - its meaning, in context, is an assertion that lives of black people matter less to those it accuses than those of (for example) white people similarly situated.  This assertion is false and insulting.  As any fair analysis shows, black criminals suffer more fatalities (as well as arrests and punishments) because of their own behavior rather than bias against them for group membership.

Any response (such as “white lives matter” or “blue lives matter,” i.e. police are entitled to defend their own lives) enrages BLM accusers because it cancels their unearned privilege derived from being “historically” (not personally or actually) oppressed.

As for “it’s OK to be white,” this is another near-tautology... but its meaning, in context, is that being anti-white (in the guise of being pro-anything else at all) is racism as surely as being anti-black or anti-POC is since it turns solely on race... with a tincture of Marxism.  Like the less stringent but still biting “white lives matter” and “all lives matter,” it cancels the unearned privilege of anti-white racists (essentially all of academe and the Left) and is therefore falsely called a hate crime–  by the world’s premiere hate-criminals.

Thanks for the opportunity to make that clear.  Have a very nice and fulfilling day.

I feel like you misinterpret how context is supposed to work.
Black lives matter's meaning, in context, is certainly that the lives of black people matter less than of the white people who are supposedly similarly situated. But it's not false, it's true, and that's what the term is supposed to shine a light towards. "We are lives", the statement goes, "so why do we matter less?!"

"As any fair analysis shows, black criminals suffer more fatalities (as well as arrests and punishments) because of their own behavior rather than bias against them for group membership."

It is true that criminals are punished for their own behavior, but it's more important to analyze why a person turns to crime in the first place, and I think that is more often the place from where literature is supposed to work. Few people are born evil, but some people are disproportionately born in environments that encourage them to do evil, often because of poverty or some institutional bias against them -- see, for instance, how Othello was in part driven by madness because everyone's opinion was already somewhat biased against him, or how Jean Valjean was forced into a life of crime by both his poverty and the poverty to which the system at the time had, by its unjust biases, tethered him, or how Kendrick Lamar sings "good kid, MAAAD city". And literature is often a fairer representation of life than bland statistics -- not that the statistics don't themselves support any interpretations of institutional bias, my chief problem right now being I cannot access the more context-driven studies I have encountered in the near past.

I must admit, the following series of links will have been hurriedly compiled, largely from a repository at the Washington Post.

https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?...id=3146057
https://5harad.com/papers/100M-stops.pdf...4-58394763
https://journals.plos.org/plosone/articl...ne.0141854
https://www.pnas.org/content/pnas/early/...5.full.pdf
https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10....3119829332
http://cfyj.org/images/pdf/Social_Justic...8-2018.pdf
https://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-an...isparities
https://www.sentencingproject.org/public...ment-2016/
and so on and so forth. And there are really two conclusions to be made of the studies that tell of mass incarceration among african americans: either African Americans are unjustly targeted by both the criminal justice system and by the restrictions on social mobility inherent to America; or, that crime does not happen at an equal rate between races and social classes, and african americans really are black devils.
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#5
I love when people have and express opinions. Unfortunately, I don't always love the sound of everyone's voices -- but at least they're talking.
My gripe is like Rivernotch's, and centers around this sentence, especially the coloured text (which removes your asides and narrow example).

(11-14-2019, 11:14 AM)dukealien Wrote:  As you know, while the bare phrase “black lives matter” is a near tautology (as is “white lives matter”) - if anything matters, it’s human lives - its meaning, in context, is an assertion that lives of black people matter less to those it accuses than those of (for example) white people similarly situated

Simply,
the bare phrase “black lives matter” is an assertion that lives of black people matter less to those it accuses than those similarly situated.
And yes, that is exactly what it asserts. However, I suspect you aren't able to read into the minds of all those who it accuse, so I can't accept your claim that it false (in any all-encompassing way). I can accept that it is insulting, because it is meant to be. The phrase, in its sociopolitical context, is not meant to assert that all non-blacks feel black lives matter less, but it does assert (or at least, what I've interpreted it to mean, in context) that they are targeted by law enforcement and given less benefit of the doubt by the justice system.

I won't comment on if this is generally true or false, however, because I cannot claim knowledge in a field I have no experience in. I've not worked in law enforcement or the justice system. I can say that the police officers I've known have not shown any tendency toward racism, but I've watched plenty of body camera footage showing police officers who do, so I suspect it is neither an entirely true or false assertion.
Statistics, surveys, news articles, and other evidence to support any one of many sides are abundant, and none of them are ever really fair at all. But none of those actually matter to me, because I don't feel like any of these phrases or bumper stickers are attacking me personally, and I don't believe in drawing political lines in the sand on whenever a wave washes up.
If you're the smartest person in the room, you're in the wrong room.

"Or, if a poet writes a poem, then immediately commits suicide (as any decent poet should)..." -- Erthona
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#6
Thanks for the additional opportunity to clarify and discuss.

First, and particularly to @RiverNotch, on the issue of group (in particular black) criminality, statistics are clear in the first instance (yes, more recorded criminality per capita) but subject to question on what the statistics may fail to capture (do more crimes go unreported in non-group areas?)  In view of that wider issue, the dog (not) barking here is loud, violent protests when a group member (black) person is shot by police but none when a non-group (white, for example) person is.  Can this biased sensitivity be justified?

Second, if greater group (black) propensity to crime is stipulated, do "root causes" excuse it?  Well, sure, but if a murderer had a rotten life he is still, objectively, a murderer and must be punished accordingly.  This is particularly applicable in spur-of-the-moment situations - that is, his rotten life may excuse his actions, but his actions excuse the police for shooting him (which is not punishment but self-defense).

And to both, but particularly for @UselessBlueprint, (under the Spoiler veil since it explains the work),

Shorn of rhyme and rhythm, what the poem is saying in plain moral/ethical terms is,


Only those who refrain from guilt by association can require the same courtesy in return.
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#7
The best part is equality groups not allowing 'whites'
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#8
I think many of the articles I linked and also go unlinked are fairly clear about this not merely being an issue of black people protesting violently and getting shot in turn, or black people being themselves mostly murderers. Yes, a crime, regardless of background, is a crime, but what matters more is whether those who are more often stopped or investigated for a crime are stopped purely or at least mostly because of their skin color and their social class, as well as the proportionality of response. And here I enter into a conjecture: the issue that's racist is not that black people get shot, but that black people get stopped more often in the first place, and in a gun-crazy America the more stops you get into, the more likely you are to get shot. The stuff that rallyists rail against the most, after all, are cases where juveniles, the unarmed, the mentally ill, or even the *merely* armed (as opposed to those actively committing a crime) are shot.

Probably why the poem, circling back, is so problematic, and I don't just mean in a sense specific to these social issues. Yes, proper examination of these social issues is lacking, but then there is the matter of confusing the language of the original protest for something it isn't -- it is very certainly meant to "demean" the lives of those it tries to represent, all to shock outsiders to action -- as well as confusing justice for courtesy.

And then there is the linguistically specific issue of chronology. The poem goes, "When....then, only," very clearly implying a hierarchy, or at least a chronology, one should hope is not intended. In other words, there is the acknowledgement that all colors of life are not okay, which is fine, but then it goes on to say that black lives will only be liberated when all other colors are themselves liberated, which, interpreted least kindly, effectively disvalues black lives.

Or most other colors -- what about yellow, brown, or especially red lives? -- or, perhaps, those of a certain racial or political persuasion; or, more charitably, the country first is freed. Which is, again, problematic, though now we dive into issues more political and somewhat tangential than desired, and at any rate I hope you get the point.

But, to circle back, not to the poem, but to my entry point in this discussion, this is also the issue of why saying "Blue lives matter", at the very least, is awful. There are, by the categories bred into the American mindset by their frankly racist history, black lives, white lives, yellow lives, brown lives, and red lives. By this same measure, there are no such thing as blue lives. It is an abuse of humor to deflect from an important issue.
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#9
Black people in English countries are living a prefabricated existence. You can't get away from white England or white America. White people programmed the environment. A black man told me a few weeks ago that if we would have been alive 200 years ago, he would have been a slave, I would be a boss. I said I probably would have been burnt at the stake as a witch. We have to take group power, cultural identity into effect. It's sensible to be a criminal in a society you didn't have any part in planning or carrying out. . . . But my main point with all these cultural issues is the individual. Whites this, blacks this. Nobody has to carry their race or their culture on their shoulders. I don't think any lives matter, not really. Nobody deserves anything, and shouldn't take for granted that they do. And a whole group of people less of all. We should be shaking each other's hand being glad we haven't died of cancer or had a murderous psychotic break yet.

White power came of a fluke. But you can't expect a gambler to give up their winnings just because they won it arbitrarily. African American culture is so influenced by the bullshit of the white man that it wouldn't be the same culture without it. I don't say American Indian or African tribal cultures are better or worse than anything else. Only that there is no isolated culture left. It's Multiculture, not multicultural. It's one thing. If there were no infidels there would be no Islam. If there were no sinners there would be no Christian Endgame. If there was no American white oppression there would be no black American culture. If I were sane, there would be no me.
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#10
@RiverNotch, with thanks for further opportunity to clarify... but there's clarity and "clarity..."

The “clarity” statistics at first appear to bring to black people being shot disproportionately  (more often) vanishes when the underlying assumptions under which they’re interpreted fail.  For example, black people interact with (are stopped by) police more often.  Instead of bias, this may (often does) circle back from other circumstances that are not chance.  For example, police may stop a black driver because he’s behaving in a suspicious manner - to include driving in a vehicle with expired tags, or one to which multiple previous violations attach.  The driver may, in fact, be behaving suspiciously by any standard, but in ways that black drivers have more opportunities to behave: black people tend to be younger and, disproportionately, drive at night... which, with one or all lights out, is cause for a stop.

At that point, circumstances circle forward.  The driver may bale out and run, terminating in his either being tackled (looks violent on screen) or turning to fight with a weapon (which is assault, and would justify anyone in shooting him, not just police).  Why did he run?  Contraband in the car, stolen car, not wanting to pay all those tickets, knowledge that he did something illegal last week even if that’s not why he’s being stopped.  The guilty flee...

In other words, the assumption that more frequent stops result solely from bias is just that: an assumption.  It has no statistical validity; black propensity to crime remains unexplained since it may cause rather than result from valid interactions.

This is why disparaging “blue lives matter” or treating it as an insult is so offensive.  It states the proposition that police are entitled to defend their lives against lethal threats regardless of the race of the assailant.  When someone disparages that, he’s condemning them to death. It also exposes (as it’s meant to) a bias in favor of criminals so long as they’re a preferred race.  That’s why it hurts those who object to it.

Finally, being held to account for what one’s ancestors did is not part of present-day Western morality... except among special-pleaders of various stripes and excuses.  Many (perhaps most) other cultures are fine with it.  That doesn’t make those cultures wrong, just not-us.  But someone who insists on individual responsibility and group innocence for his favored group while attributing group guilt to members of other groups is wrong because he’s inconsistent - a genuinely objective basis.




@rowens - I think we're reading from the same book, though not from the same page.  We can dispute whether generic lives matter, at another time.  Wink
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#11
.....it has statistical validity, though. Acting shady does not justify a stop, nor does it justify getting shot. And one of the studies I caught wind of -- I'm not even sure anymore if it's linked above -- show that black people are less likely to be stopped during the night, when they can't be profiled for the color of their skin. I link again:
https://5harad.com/papers/100M-stops.pdf...4-58394763

It's never about the police. Police are entitled to defend their own lives when a crime is being committed; police are also, by a much greater degree, responsible for safeguarding a community, and to not break trust with said community. Police, and in fact everyone, are supposed to react in proportion to the circumstances they encounter. When a teenager holding a toy is shot down on the street, or an autistic man is suffocated to death by a cop, or an off-duty cop shoots a man in his own apartment just because she mistook his apartment for her own, then what? This is why I would not necessarily say that black lives being lost is in and of itself the racist issue -- more that black lives (and latino lives, although that particular category confounds color) are profiled as criminals more often than others, which in turn puts more of them in the crosshairs of a generally all-too-violent police force. 

Western culture has *always* plead for punishing individuals for the sins of their forefathers, or it hasn't -- there is a certain multiplicity to it. But, aside from God's curses in the Pentateuch reaching down to one's sons and the sons of one's sons, there is also the matter that ancient "sins" have always been used by the West when justifying their own vices, such as greed -- only recently has the norm of black people being, say, the sons of Ham been dispelled.

I do not, and I trust a lot of the people who protest injustice, call for group responsibility only for a certain group. When a systematic injustice begins to befall white people in a community for the color of their skin, then the white people there are free to fight for their own rights. In fact, I have no stake in this, other than sympathy and a pursuit of truth. One can only fight for so much.

But there is no real implication of group guilt here that does not indict *everyone*. Black people are as much responsible for their own fates as white people, and so on. What is being indicted here is a system, propagated consciously or subconsciously by both races, that, in effect, renders black lives more worthless than white, simply as a holdover of the past -- not that an entire race is itself *currently* responsible for the horrors of today, but *everyone* reckons for the sins of the past. Not that any one race must be punished, but that all must work to combat an injustice held over from the past -- otherwise one encounters the real absurdity of encouraging white people be themselves enslaved, or, conversely, the harmful satire of "Blue Lives Matter", when, in this context, there is no such thing as blue lives, and it is spoken as a response to the very real lives of *black* people.

An I do agree with rowens, to a point. No lives matter, as every life matters, and we are all responsible for our own fates. *We* are all responsible for *our* own fates: it is not a matter of just ourselves being responsible for our own personal fates, or groups being responsible over groups, it is both, and an interdependence that is dauntingly infinite in scope. That is the measure of justice. That is what Les Miserables teaches us, and what makes Shylock's comeuppance in The Merchant of Venice feel so wrong, even if it was the hypocrisy of a potential murderer confounded.
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#12
Clarification continues, though (like draining a swamp) it can be a long and complex process.

All the special pleading in the world cannot overcome the principle that group members must not be held responsible for the actions of other group members (living and dead) unless they participate in them.  Pleas of “systemic” crimes fail because, contrary to this principle, they indict all members of the accused group.  We must separate behavior (which is still, in many of the wrong ways, biased or Biblical) from principle - an aspect of the classical is-vs-ought.  “Black lives matter” (in its underlying accusation) is comprehensible, but still unacceptable.  To obtain relief from prejudice, don’t display prejudice.

I continue perplexed at the inability to see in “blue lives matter” a reasoned and effective statement rather than malignant “satire.”  That police are entitled to defend their lives against assault with lethal force is granted, so where’s the satire?  There’s wiggling and niggling about cases where police have done wrong (and were punished for it) and false claims that honest mistakes were driven by prejudice... but the bottom line is that police lives do matter, which is the straightforward meaning with no implied criticism.  Unlike “black lives matter,” in which that truth conceals - and means to conceal - a false accusation that they don’t matter to people it means to accuse.  “Blue lives matters” burns “black lives matters” accusers, so they complain about it.  It shows they’re dishonest as well as untruthful.  It burns.

Perhaps worst of all is that some deaths and woundings are caused by non-compliant or aggressive actions motivated by belief in police villainy.  “Black lives matter” encourages this belief, and its purveyors are to that extent responsible for these tragedies. 

[As a final aside, Shylock’s ultimate punishment - forced conversion - probably felt just great to Elizabethan audiences.  To Shakespeare himself?  Did he intend a teaching moment and fail?]
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#13
Since many black people are taught that police are agents of forced oppression, and many white people are taught that black men are likely to be criminals, black men and cops go around with targets on them. I think it's comfort and not priviledge that allow more white people to feel safe around cops, the comfort of not feeling like they look suspicious. Feeling suspicious makes you look suspicious. Then you have all the movies showing past incidents where cops harrassed innocent people. Culture plays into its own trap. And things are framed in a very sloppy way, so white men end up feeling like they're being lumped in with white racists, and they're getting angry, and that anger is construed as racist.
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#14
Wait, wait, wait -- gotta own up to an honest mistake on my part, that *blue* lives matter refers to cops. I kept looking at it through a strictly racialized lens, because that is the original intent with "black lives matter", so "blue lives matter" now just reads as plain deflection. More on this later.

Rowens again demonstrates a certain, uncanny sense of clarity. The thing is it's comfort that makes white people feel like black lives matter targets *them*, rather than the institution, and makes black people perhaps seem to feel like they attack the institution without any criticality with regards to themselves. The fact is they indict the institution, which encompasses *both* sides of this debate, or perhaps neither. Again, that black people are often impoverished, or have too many relatives already punished, justly or unjustly, by the system, hence providing the necessary motivation or example for entrance into a life of crime, *does* not excuse black individuals from the crimes they commit, when they commit them; and the fact that the system was built on the actions of those that are already dead means that white people now must not be held responsible for all this.

On this matter, most white people are in a position of remoteness and relative comfort, and black people are, as individuals, not all without blame. The indictment is of the institution, the bad part of which white people as a demographic have no real part, other than in voting for the wrong people, or, even worse, condescending towards those engaged in debate. Because that is what ultimately makes "blue lives matter", "it's ok to be white", and this sort of denial of an institutional problem that is already demonstrated by a myriad works of proper empirical research so wrong: not (necessarily) that it is racist, but that it is condescending.

It is scary, isn't it? When the chaos more often seen in distant corners of the world suddenly erupts at one's doorstep. Some react to it with silence. Some react by supporting the chaos, either for sheer love of it, or because they see the truth behind the chaos. And some *condescend*, mistaking the surface of the message for what it is supposed to convey and, more importantly, to whom it is supposed to be conveyed.

Rowens is right on another point: the framing is a little skewed. "Black lives matter" is catchy, but it's not very eloquent -- in fact, it's too ambiguous. Though I think there would be less of an issue regarding it if the country were not still recovering from the recession of 2008, as well as plunging into further division and ruin due to a certain person in power. The thing is, people see with a little more clarity, or at least are more willing to be silent, when they are otherwise comfortable -- but now that other circumstances throw them out of comfort, they are liable to make scapegoats of all things strange that walk their streets.

The facts are ambiguous, at best, as to the value of this protest, and as such must be somewhat ambiguous to the value of the counterprotests, but they are not ambiguous about the institutional biases Americans face, especially black and Latino individuals. That criminals must be held responsible for their actions is a fact; that ill circumstances leading to a crime does not excuse the crime is another fact; that ill circumstances, once mitigated, make it much less likely for crimes to be committed in the first place? or, again, that prejudice *does* exist, especially through that unspoken evil the American police force still engages in, either subconsciously or consciously, *profiling*?

(2)
A riot is the language of the unheard, but the unfortunate reality of it is that riots often do more harm, not just to the unheard, but also to any bystanders around them. Now tone it down. Protests are the language of the softspoken, although the irony is their voices often seem too soft for the people they ultimately are trying to reach -- rarely the common man, unless their primary goal was to enlarge their movement, but instead people in positions of power, both politicians *and* police -- while they are too loud, too coarse, for the people immediately around them.

The goal of this protest is clearly to highlight the injustices black people face to those who inflict upon them the injustice the most, or those with the greatest capacity for changing their situation such that they face (or at least seem to face) less of this injustice. And this protest *is*, I believe, working, if only by inches: more policemen and politicians have admitted their faults, and I think some communities' police forces have changed their practices to, at the very least, *seem* like they seek to put their members to greater account.

Certainly, a conversation is being sparked, although it would be far less divisive if the preexisting political climate wasn't already divided -- and let us be clear here, the impetus for such division is far from the side now currently engaged in protest. Again, I refer to the economic downturn of 2008 -- again, I refer to your country's current president, or rather the politicians, think tanks, lobbyists, media outlets, and so on that were responsible for his rise to power, which is but one of the latest atrocities they have been committing since, say, Reagan.

At any rate, let us gloss over half of the audience this protest is supposed to reach: let's discuss cops. The fact is cop lives do matter but, again, this is far from a fight in the police's favor. The police are the ones invested by the state and the community with the power to enforce the law using *force*, as such they are the ones that need to be checked constantly. Sure, criminals must also needs be checked, but criminals already work outside the law; in the eyes of the community, they have (or at least ought to have) no legitimacy, and as such their power can and should be readily taken away from them.

It is penal justice, for a criminal to be harmed by his or her actions. It is risk, that a policeman may be harmed by his or her pursuit of penal justice. Neither of which should not, under any circumstances, be what the general public experiences. And what is the job of the police? to protect the general public *from harm*, regardless of where it comes from: the police are not called upon only to ward off or catch criminals, but also to keep protests in check, or to guide the public as to what roads they may pass.

There is a natural hazard to a policeman's job, then, and this must be accepted. But it is better that policemen experience a slightly greater risk to their lives, than even one member of the innocent members of the public being harmed by the law's actions. The former is a tragedy, but also a performance of duty, and even an inspiration; the latter, a tragedy of perhaps greater magnitude, and one that would erode the public's confidence in the police, which would clearly serve as a detriment to the performance of their duty.

Really, the problem in America is violence. Here, the interactions of the police with drug addicts and pushers is much more clearcut: all addicts and most pushers are already victims of society, performing, more often than not, mere petty crimes in pursuit of a fix. Most of these victims are poor, living in casbahs far worse than anything in America, and it has already been demonstrated that more restricted license, rather than pure pacification, is the only means by which to fix this symptom of the larger problem. The disproportionate use of force here by the police, supposedly to defend themselves, is much more clearly undue, partly because of said defencelessness by most of their victims, and partly because this is very clearly in pursuit of our own president's rather fascist means to power.

The analogy is only vaguely present, but it should be at least a touch enlightening. The problem in America, at a deeper level, is that the police are far from the only ones capable of performing such violence. And, sure, this might mean that the police must better arm themselves but, with a system on the distribution of armaments as loose as that in America, the choice becomes either the police take on a greater risk of harm to themselves -- they make the scope of their duty more comprehensive or, as Shakespeare put it, they would receive the greater share of honour -- or that the general public, but especially those already targeted by the biases inherent in the police force and the criminal justice system, accept a risk that they plainly should not be living with, at least if much of the rest of the developed, and even developing, world is to be followed.
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#15
We may be approaching a meeting of the minds - not agreement, but at least understanding of opposing views.

First off, yes, “blue” as color-code for (U.S.) police can be obscure.  It refers to the traditional color of police uniforms (indigo blue) which is now mostly restricted to formal occasions; municipal police today generally wear black with minimal reflective buttons, embroidered rather than metal badges, etc..  The last time I saw police wearing blue uniforms on patrol was in San Antonio some time during the 1990s.  Other references to this legacy color are “back the blue” and “thin blue line.”

And on the issue of police policy, excessive concern for “officer safety” is indeed a problem.  It manifests in handcuffing non-violent suspects, disarming citizens who are legally armed, and (execrably) forming a fearful gaggle outside an active shooter situation instead of going in.  But (and contrary to the famous zoo sign) the police are not “vicious:  when attacked, they defend themselves.”

Condescension is a good theme and tool for analysis;  when applied to various situations and attitudes, it yields useful results.  For example, “black lives matter” accusers condescend to the police from uninvolved superiority (“if I were the police, I’d behave fairly to everyone and they’d all love me, but you’re a racist throwback”) or involved aggrievement (“if you’d seen the trouble I have, you wouldn’t be causing me more trouble - I’m the victim here!”) The “I know better than you” attitude of condescension proceeds from encouraged attitudes of victimhood as well as academic presumptions of neutrality and superior intelligence.  No doubt some police condescend to those with whom they come in contact (“I know the rules, why can’t you just follow them?”) - including, infamously, condescension to street cops by their office-bound/political managers.

As is apparent from the above, condescension is also a sharp tool that turns in the hand: offering an opinion means being either inside or outside the situation.

Two modes that have no or limited value are blaming “systems” and blaming politics.  People who will not comply with the legal (and, within broad limits, social) system are responsible for themselves, and the hurts they suffer for it; to say otherwise condescends absolutely by depriving them of agency.

As for politics, since we’re naming names, recall that the “black lives matter” canard originated in the Obama administration - a very condescending and badly divisive one for all its (occasional) talk of bringing people together.  The present administration tries to mend those exacerbated divisions; so far it has healed economic and foreign policy wounds, but the opposition refuses to rationally rejoin the nation or moderate its vengeful attitudes.
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#16
I am in effect checking out of the conversation, but I do have two notes to add, one in response and one a slight tangent.

The slight tangent is my grandfather was a cop -- he was, as I am, in a different country, although he worked during a considerably darker time in our history, that of Marcos's dictatorship. I have never had the gall to ask him about what dark deeds he had to do or at least witness, but with his age ravaging his body he grows more fearful of death, both consciously and subconsciously, the latter mode having a very clear effect on his constitution. He is often supportive of the police, and I suppose such support I have inherited, albeit in a different, perhaps less us-vs-them mode.

The second point is your statement, "Two modes that have no or limited value are blaming "systems" and blaming politics". I *would* like to qualify my retort by saying that the modern age has effectively dispelled the enlightenment illusion of its perhaps ultimately harmful definition of individuals liberty, with the dark vision of the likes of Kafka, and the very real history that is the Atlantic Slave Trade, Nazi Germany, or the current state of North Korea -- regions that are not as limited as one would like them to seem, what with the American president's current and undue cooling of ties with North Korea, as well as his and many other European states' courting of the far right.

But I don't need to. Individuals were at fault in blaming and burning the witches of Salem. Also, common superstition, and everyone's somewhat misplaced anxiety over the Native Americans beyond their walls, was at fault -- clearly systematic problems. And politics is very much the intersection between these two: the individual choices made by the political influencers of the day, and the anxieties and superstitions already discussed. If the history of Western thought is evidence enough, the Old Testament's definition of nation juxtaposed with the value of the individual in the new -- Plato's idea of justice against Aristotle's idea of ethics -- the ever potent ideas of both Marx and Nietzsche -- the tension between Sartre's idea of radical freedom and his own leftist sympathies -- blaming "systems" has as much value as discussing individual agency. In fact, there might not be such a thing as individual agency, if there were no larger framework against which one should be defined. However abstract the idea of "systems" might seem, it is ultimately a discussion of the choices and beliefs of entire masses of individuals, just as any discussion of an individual is the juxtaposition of a person with a system, whether the system is universal (the Greeks' ideas of virtue, Christian ideas of sin, Marx's ideas of class struggle) or topical (contemporary Western ideas of race or gender).
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#17
Most are individual troubles. Personal. People want to be agreed with about why they are the way they are, and they get with other people, and they agree to each other's resentments, so they don't have to be eaten up with uncertainty and self-doubt and boil with hatred all alone. You get enough people, two is enough, but groups are easier to mass than ever, and the great bogies have formed as cheap pops for all in the group: the rich, the police, the political group, the religion, the historical atrocity. The easiest way to connect with someone is through sharing the passion of their hatreds. People don't get as jealous over their hatreds as they do their loves. To be angry alone is to be a bitter, pathetic loser. To be angry in a group, even about the same things as the lone person, is to be virtuous, because each is a lone person being doled virtue currency from the mob.

What infuriates most people is the virtuous frame people throw over their self-righteousness. Shooting a cop because you don't like the way he looks is one thing, shooting him as a heroic act of social justice is the stance people find annoying.

When two people are together, it's hard not to fall into degrading others in order to look better yourself. A whole network of people together doing it, organized and monetized and publicized both villainized and heroicized, and you have one group of bullies versus another functioning as a social forum. Anyone of us can get drawn into it at any moment. That's how dangerous is the zombie bite.
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#18
(11-19-2019, 09:04 AM)dukealien Wrote:  Finally, being held to account for what one’s ancestors did is not part of present-day Western morality... except among special-pleaders of various stripes and excuses.  Many (perhaps most) other cultures are fine with it.  That doesn’t make those cultures wrong, just not-us.  But someone who insists on individual responsibility and group innocence for his favored group while attributing group guilt to members of other groups is wrong because he’s inconsistent - a genuinely objective basis.

Classic strawman argument. No one brought up the collective responsibility of whites.
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#19
There's an oceanic experience where you're drunk or high, or just in general, and you feel that we're all on the same wavelength. Yeah, we're different and have different points of view, but we're fundamentally the same, so let's argue over three bottles of vodka and make merry. The one perspective is, let's enjoy. Let's be not imperfect but perfect as we are and laugh about how we're different. If we weren't, different, after all, we'd be a great bore, which is as deadly as violence. That never works though. The oceanic feeling of being on the same wavelength. It doesn't work with people, it definitely doesn't work with wild animals which is what we are . . .

You have that oceanic feeling, of being on the same wavelength or not, we're still one. But you have to maintain your ego to protect yourself from those who aren't into it. Jesus may have had no ego, though he obviously did, if he existed as a man, but let's say he let go of his ego, and so he just let people kill him. . . . You can't let go of your ego, and your beliefs based on personal experiences and expect to be safe. Nor can you defend your egoistic beliefs and expect to be safe. The only way to be safe is to be perfect and beyond reproach. . . . People will say, get rid of your ego, what they're saying is, let your guard down, what they're really saying is, listen to me because I've gone beyond my ego and am right while you are stuck with your nasty ego and so you're the problem. The problem is: only a person with an ego would say that. The problem is: no two egos can be right and still be separate egos, no matter how . . . group-inclined you are, and nothing can ever be resolved because an ego by nature .

. . needs separation to exist. . . . And this is all a plug for my new stand-up special entitled The Comedy of Cruelty, which will air in my imagination any time anyone pays me any attention by agreeing or arguing with me. Along with the companion analytical study: Jesus & The Joker: The Moral Villainy of r owens. Both are the length of my range, and the end of my commentary on this subject, until someone, like the victim of a vampire or attention whore, invites me into their storehouse of reasons why this is and that is. . . . Really the booze is running out and the battery is dying, and I'm obsessive and need to come to some sense of closure with myself in the moment before I press th
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