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The killing of Trayvon Martin is a Rorschach test for American society. This tragedy reveals a deep divide in our political imaginations and communities. It also is a mirror for the fissures of race, ideology, and party that still vex and befuddle us to the present.

Some folks imagine themselves, their children, and members of their communities as Trayvon Martin. To their eyes, Trayvon is a symbol of how American society all too often devalues the lives of people of color.

Other people imagine themselves as George Zimmerman. To them, he is a "victim," a "good" man who only wanted to protect his neighborhood from crime and "suspicious" people. Moreover, the assertion that George Zimmerman acted out of racial bias in his hunting and killing of Trayvon Martin is personally offensive to them.

Because Zimmerman is “them,” and “they” are Zimmerman, he is quite simply a "law abiding" citizen who is being made a victim of "reverse racism," "race hustlers," and "the liberal media."

Black men are scary, frightening, and suspicious to George Zimmerman and those people who think like him. These beliefs are part of a matrix of racism, prejudice, and stereotypes which are reproduced and disseminated throughout American culture. Ultimately, many on the Right see George Zimmerman as a hero figure; for voters primed on a toxic mix of conservative rhetoric that bundles together such issues as race, guns, and crime, George Zimmerman is a fetish and totem for their wish fulfillment.

In the post civil rights era, old fashioned racism is out of style. Consequently, supporting George Zimmerman necessarily requires the shaming and smearing of Trayvon Martin. Perhaps I am too generous, but I would like to believe that even for the most strident conservative authoritarians and colorblind racists there would be some level of cognitive dissonance to be overcome in order to justify the killing of an unarmed black teenager who was guilty of no more than holding a bag of Skittles, and walking home wearing a hooded sweatshirt in the rain.

The solution to this puzzle comes in a common sense appeal to black thuggery, hooliganism, and a logic which suggests that people like Trayvon Martin are existential threats to civil order and society: to that end, Zimmerman's defenders marshal "data" and "statistics" which "prove" that black men commit a "disproportionate" amount of crime in American society. This "fact" becomes a casus belli for shooting down innocent black and brown people in the streets either at the hands of police, or corrupt vigilantes such as George Zimmerman.

This logic hangs in the ether, hiding in plain sight, and has gone little discussed in the public conversation about the Trayvon Martin shooting. The claim that black people commit more crime, and thus black men in particular should always be treated as uniquely and singularly capable of violence, is accepted and legitimized even by some liberals and progressives.

When conservatives bring up this point, many defenders of Trayvon Martin stutter, hew, and stammer through the inevitable, "that may be true, but..." moment. Rarely do they attack the premise of what is a centuries-old "true lie" that black people, and black men in particular, are criminal bogeyman and hoodlums--civilized and under control until they decide to lash out and show their true selves like metaphorical savage beasts, a dagger, or a bomb waiting to go off at any moment in the heart of “normal” society. Instead, many accept the terms of this true lie, and give it credence by accepting the premise of the argument.

In reality, matters are much more complicated. A surrender to a basic and fallacy laden argument that black people, and black young people in particular are uniquely and especially prone to violence, oversimplifies the nature of crime in America. As the old saying goes, "numbers lie and liars figure." Or alternatively, the lazy recitation of statistics is a dumb person's idea of how a smart person sounds.

The black people commit more crime canard is a fallacy of both process and outcomes. African Americans are subject to discrimination in the legal system at every level. As documented by The Sentencing Project, and detailed in such works as Race, Crime and the Law, and The New Jim Crow, African Americans are more likely to be stopped by police without cause, to be more aggressively questioned, receive longer and more severe charges for the same crimes as white defendants, and to have fewer resources to defend themselves in court.

As compared to white neighborhoods, black and brown communities are also subject to more severe surveillance and aggressive police tactics. Moreover, the disproportionate number of minorities in the criminal justice system can be largely explained by the War on Drugs. In total, if white communities were subject to the same type of aggressive police tactics as black and brown communities, the number of white people in prison would skyrocket.

The data is very telling here. While people of color are the prime targets of such policies as “stop and frisk” and racial profiling, it is in fact white people who are far more likely to be both drug users and to be in possession of narcotics at a given moment. This reality signals to a larger social phenomenon: black individuals who commit crimes are representative of their whole communities, crime is racialized, and there is no qualifier of individual intent. All black people are deemed suspicious and guilty because of the deeds of the very few.

In contrast, white people who commit crimes are unique individuals: the criminals who destroyed the global economy, a group of white men, were not taken as representative of the entire white community. There is a long list of crimes such as domestic terrorism, serial murder, child rape, sedition, treason, and financial fraud that are almost exclusively the province of white people. But again, whites as a group are excluded from suspicion or indictment as a “criminal class.”

The supposition that black men (and black folks more generally) are by definition “suspicious” is a channeling of the once in vogue concept known as “rational” or “reasonable” racism. Applying this logic, George Zimmerman is justified in shooting first, profiling, or harassing black people because “statistically” the latter are more likely to commit crime. Again, this is a chain of reasoning that is rife with problems.

Generalized statistics about crime tell you very little about a given person’s likelihood of committing a criminal act. This is especially true in a society where race and class are variables which over-determine how the courts treat suspects and who the police choose to single out for surveillance, harassment, and arrest.

Broad statistics also tell us little about a given population’s capacity or propensity to commit crime. For example, while black men are disproportionately incarcerated, the majority are in jail for drug offenses. African Americans are also more likely to be poor than whites. When a researcher accounts for these variables, the story becomes one of class and not race. Further problematizing the true lie that “black equals criminal,” is that disparities in crime largely disappear when you consider the black middle and upper classes in comparison to their white peers.

As demonstrated by Jody Armour in her book Negrophobia, less than 2 percent of black men are incarcerated for violent crimes. By implication, to generalize from the demographics of a given prison population to a specific person’s likelihood of committing a violent crime is a fool’s errand of the first order.

This is a counter-intuitive dynamic: just because a given group may constitute a higher percentage of those in jail, it does not in fact mean that a given individual is more likely to commit said type of crime.

A person is more likely to suffer a violent crime at the hands of a family member, friend, or acquaintance than a stranger; and most crime is intraracial.

Ultimately, incarceration is a function of many structural factors in relation to the criminal justice system.

Anecdotes matter. Police often give a pass to those who they know or trust. The white kid with weed just made a mistake; the black or Latino is a hardcore thug to be jailed. The judge may give parole or a lenient sentence to a white defendant in order to “teach them a lesson” about bad behavior. By comparison, a person of color before the same judge is already a “lost cause,” someone to have the book thrown at. We see this same dynamic even in schools: researchers have determined that white and black youth who are accused of the same offenses see wildly different outcomes in terms of punishment. The latter are suspended or expelled, while the former are given warnings or other remediation.

Two points are readily apparent.

The demographics of those in jails, prisons, and hospitals are a means of judging a society, as well as determining which groups of people are valued (and those who are not). By that calculus, the poor, working classes, and people of color are second class citizens in the United States.

If American history's circumstances were reversed along the axis of the color line, then our country's jails and prisons would be filled with millions of white people. In the sum total of this alternate America's history there would likely have been many thousands of white people killed at the hands of black mobs and blood thirsty vigilantes obsessed with maintaining the racial order, and protecting themselves from white “criminals” and “thugs.” In this world, there would likely have been many "Black" George Zimmermans and "white" Trayvon Martins.

Here is the true failure of political imagination and empathy in the present: many white conservatives instinctively defend George Zimmerman because they cannot imagine themselves, their kin, or their children, as victims of unjust violence at the hands of the police.

Sadly, the consequence is an inability to find a sense of shared humanity with Trayvon Martin, because to do so would require a leap of faith in the pursuit of shared humanity and the common good across lines of race and class--a journey that many white conservatives and others are unwilling to entertain even in the twenty-first century.

Once more, our politics are sick.

Originally posted to chaunceydevega on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 11:30 AM PDT.

Also republished by Barriers and Bridges, White Privilege Working Group, Black Kos community, and Community Spotlight.

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  •  Tip Jar (192+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aji, Gooserock, Curt Matlock, highfive, majcmb1, Vita Brevis, semiot, mallyroyal, brae70, bluedust, boriquasi, 2thanks, raina, shypuffadder, gramofsam1, Dr Colossus, Onomastic, Notthemayor, shanikka, Matt Z, the1sage, Diogenes2008, prettygirlxoxoxo, second gen, Lizabet, NancyK, vixenflem, Free Jazz at High Noon, doroma, howabout, TFinSF, shopkeeper, ontheleftcoast, SneakySnu, amazinggrace, DRo, be the change you seek, dangreenberg, Crabby Abbey, bluebird of happiness, mikeVA, gulfgal98, sleipner, mofembot, occams hatchet, GussieFN, ZedMont, Mariken, ogre, RhodaA, Fiona West, Mindful Nature, GeneJockey, Egalitare, mconvente, luckydog, zenox, badscience, Tonedevil, slothlax, mod2lib, Jantman, NormAl1792, JayRaye, Chi, greatferm, uciguy30, pat bunny, millwood, McMeier, jfromga, leonard145b, leftist vegetarian patriot, JekyllnHyde, sawgrass727, splashy, gatorcog, SniperCT, Oaktown Girl, a gilas girl, 4Freedom, The grouch, Marjmar, historys mysteries, Flying Goat, Joieau, roses, Shockwave, chemborg, mahakali overdrive, SoCalSal, tbetz, lotusmaglite, Just Bob, Meteor Blades, Dr Squid, grumpelstillchen, FreeWoman19, Ms Citizen, Lost and Found, white blitz, Odysseus, Boris49, Huginn and Muninn, high uintas, eru, maf1029, Ginny in CO, opinionated, Jim R, FG, Lcohen, DvCM, Knucklehead, third Party please, whoknu, JoanMar, CA ridebalanced, Mislead, wasatch, peregrine kate, NoisyGong, ranger995, dconrad, brentbent, dotsright, Ian Reifowitz, International Progressive, Nag, boofdah, mali muso, Hedwig, FriendlyNeighbor, JackAshe, Lucy West, Chaddiwicker, middleagedhousewife, Bridge Master, bnasley, petulans, bumbi, Catesby, Plantsmantx, GenXangster, peggy, Larsstephens, linkage, bronte17, CA coastsider, Question Authority, deha, mjfgates, shesaid, valadon, rmx2630, BobboSphere, bostonjay, Oh Mary Oh, skyounkin, PsychoSavannah, s l o w loris, Cassandra Waites, Time Waits for no Woman, kathny, Steven D, sayitaintso, Kristina40, glitterlust, redlum jak, PBen, wackoliberal, owlbear1, RickD, Minnesota Deb, entrelac, JDWolverton, BlackBandFedora, Singing Lizard, starfu, Chitown Kev, kml, CyberDem, OIL GUY, SethRightmer, pacotrey, Tea and Strumpets, citizen dan, GeorgeXVIII, CT yanqui, radical simplicity, kaliope, TenthMuse
  •  In my father's time and place, . . . (32+ / 0-)

    it was "figures lie and liars figure," but the result was the same.

    Haven't heard that expression in . . . well, too many years, I guess.  Sadly apt in this context.

    Authentic Native American silverwork, jewelry, photography, and other art here.

    by Aji on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 11:38:10 AM PDT

      •  Late accolades (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bewild, CyberDem

        Brilliant diary.

        Statistics are a tool, but they are only as good as the data to which that tool is applied.

        If you don't control for the all the variables you skew the data.  And statistics compiled re: crime in America rarely control for all the variables, especially the ones that you mention.  You see statistics words best when you can quantify something - reduce it to a number in other words.  It works not very well for variables that cannot be quantified: the individual prejudice and bias of police officers, for example.

        "If you tell the truth, you'll eventually be found out." Mark Twain

        by Steven D on Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 06:35:58 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  The white owned media (6+ / 0-)

      severely underreports white violence.

      By any rational measure, whites are far more likely to commit crimes than African Americans.

      •  Crimes and violent crimes...a (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Zornorph

        Are seperate things.  Since you have such measures please provide them for violent crimes, like murder, since you stated violence as a criteria.  Every homicide in the city I live in is reported on the news, EVERY SINGLE ONE, and it's most often black victims and black suspects.  City demographics contribute but it would be worth looking at demographics of neighborhoods where most homicides occur IMO.  

      •  As a total or as a per capita rate? (0+ / 0-)

        If you look at the Sanford wanted list you can compile a local sample of who they are looking for:

        http://www.sanfordfl.gov/...

        I can't link directly to the most wanted list.

        It's almost exclusively African Americans they are interested in bringing in on their wanted list.

        The identity of the sexual offenders is also interesting. That's nearer to white/black parity.  SO whites are more likely to be on sexual predator watch lists than they are on violent felony wanted lists.  

        It's worth a look especially as the PD there are under fire from various quarters as racists.

        A Catholic, Jew, Muslim and Buddhist walk into Al Aqsa Mosque. Buddhist immediately exclaims: "excuse me I appear to be in the wrong joke."

        by Salo on Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 09:23:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Can you back up your claim? (0+ / 0-)
        The white owned media severely underreports white violence.

        By any rational measure, whites are far more likely to commit crimes than African Americans.

        Presumably you are referring to violent crime here.

        The facts do not match your claims.

        For example, the vast majority of homicides are cleared - we find out who committed them - and they do not have the reporting issues that rapes, for example do - we don't know what percentage of rapes are reported and if this varies by race of victim or perpetrator.

        So see here for 2009 (which seems to be the last year with this data): http://www2.fbi.gov/...

        As you can see, there were 3,100 homicides committed by blacks and 3,250 homicides committed by whites despite the fact that there are far more whites in the US than blacks.

        However, it is also true that whites are far more likely to be killed by whites and blacks are far more likely to be killed by blacks.  That's because most homicide victims are killed by people they associate with.

        Blacks also disproportionately commit rapes and robberies.  http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/... table 40.

        The statistics on interracial rape are frankly mind boggling.  See table 42.  Apparently the number or rapes of blacks by whites in the US in 2005 was not statistically measurable - it was too small.  In comparison there were over 36,000 rapes of whites by blacks.

        It is certainly reasonable to argue about why these disparities exist.

        Claiming that they do not really exist and are due to racist police and courts is just not reasonable.

        •  the media (2+ / 0-)

          does overreport and overemphasize crimes by blacks and latinos and underplays crimes by whites. people of color are also more likely to be shown in handcuffs or doing the perp walk. there is much research on this and how the dynamic impacts white public opinion.

          see the books the black image in the white mind or the color of the news. there are articles and work by think tanks on this as well. google is your friend.

          •  The stats I just presented have nothing to do with (0+ / 0-)

            the media.

            The media does not tell the FBI what the race is of the people who commit homicides or rapes.

          •  The local news simply does not show perps anymore. (0+ / 0-)

            Amanda Knox for example. Paraded everywhere.  That's how the national news operates. OJ was the last black suspect who really went through the media wringer.

            In some ways you have it backward utterly.  When they have a white guy to show they they do so. For various reasons you only get images of AA suspects after a conviction is secured and they are no longer suspects at that point.  

            A Catholic, Jew, Muslim and Buddhist walk into Al Aqsa Mosque. Buddhist immediately exclaims: "excuse me I appear to be in the wrong joke."

            by Salo on Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 12:49:13 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  really, though, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Niniane

      hauling out that bromide doesn't smack of perspective, either. Statistics never lie.

      and I wait for them to interrupt my drinking from this broken cup

      by le sequoit on Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 05:12:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Prisons WERE Full of White People Till the (41+ / 0-)

    rightwing revolution began changing laws and sentencing guidelines, and the black/white ratio just about exactly flipped since the 1970's, I've heard reported.

    Perhaps I am too generous, but I would like to believe that even for the most strident conservative authoritarians and colorblind racists there would be some level of cognitive dissonance to be overcome in order to justify the killing of an unarmed black teenager who was guilty of no more than holding a bag of Skittles, and walking home wearing a hooded sweatshirt in the rain.
    Radio callers are saying Southern Poverty Law Center has identified numerous racial hate groups around there including the Klan. So it may be very straightforward.

    This is as much about O.J. as it is about Martin. This is racist white America's big chance to spoil the jury pool and get "their" accused set free: If the victim hit, you must acquit. It's an obvious very aggressive attempt at jury nullification.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 11:45:40 AM PDT

    •  I agree! (19+ / 0-)

      The defense lawyer is going for jury nullification.

      However, the diary is just an outstanding analysis of the "politics" of this tragedy.

      In our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God ~RFK

      by vcmvo2 on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 11:47:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  it's actually one of the most sad (9+ / 0-)

      historical legacies of Sentencing Guideline statutes.

      Those came from, at least in part, a desire to end racism in prison sentences.  One of the leading proponents of such things, and in fact a person instrumental in getting the federal sentencing guidelines passed, was Ted Kennedy.

      Back when this was bandied about, it was simply the truth that racist southern confederate judges, who had unfettered discretion to dole out sentences however they saw fit, were sentencing black americans to sentances insanely disproportionately longer than white americans for the same crimes. The goal, therefore, was to remove some of that discretion, and have more uniform sentencing.

      Unfortunately, it simply didn't work for several reason.  One reason is not addressable by legislation of any kind: prosecutorial discretion. If a wingnut prosecutor either openly or otherwise decides to charge more black americans, the sentencing guidelines aren't going to help. Another reason is legislative: legislatures drafting more several punishments for crimes for which black americans are arrested. Yet another reason is policing decisions, i.e., which crimes are we going to devote a substantial portion of our police resources toward.

      Added together, and you end up with a system that is purportedly neutral, but just as bad or worse than the open racist sentencing judges of old.

      The goa

    •  The prisons are still full of white men (6+ / 0-)

      and black men and brown men, the population of prisons has exploded as well as the simple number of prisons.  I've stood next to too damned many white men, as well as those of color, who are going to prison.  

      "I said, 'Wait a minute, Chester, You know I'm a peaceful man.'" J. R. Robertson.

      by NearlyNormal on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 02:40:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The comment that you cite is a good example (7+ / 0-)

      of liberals shooting themselves in the foot for no good reason.   None of us will ever know what happened that night but what I, as a "conservative" Republican, "know" is that Trayvon should be alive today.  But to say that Trayvon was "guilty of no more than holding a bag of Skittles, and walking home wearing a hooded sweatshirt..." is just liberal spin, pure and simple.  On top of that it is self-defeating.

      What I mean by that is that it appears that the killer followed Trayvon despite being told by 911 not to follow him.  The killer also made the comment "fucking coons."  So if a racist dude follows a black kid and confronts him, I personally don't think it's unheard of or uncalled for for the black teenager to refuse to back down.  He may even get aggressive if cornered.

      But even if he did get aggressive, so fucking what?  Does that justify homicide?  HELL NO!  

      I hope you all can see the irony here.  Liberals think that conservatives are out to defend Zimmerman and assume certain things about the encounter.  Conservatives are dragging Trayvon through the mud and assume certain things about the encounter.  But here I am, a "conservative' saying that liberals are shooting themselves in the foot by making the same goddamn mistake that conservatives are making.  We shouldn't assume things based on our political bias.  

      Even if Trayvon got defensive or aggressive, that doesn't justify a fucking dude that says "fucking coons" to kill him.  Let's not assume Trayvon is an angel.  He was a young, imperfect human who didn't deserve to be killed regardless of the interaction between him and the killer.

      Be well.

      We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

      by theotherside on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 03:12:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree that whether or not Trayvon attempted to (5+ / 0-)

        defend himself, as was his right, is immaterial.

        However, I think you may be misunderstanding the statement

        guilty of no more than holding a bag of Skittles, and walking home wearing a hooded sweatshirt...
        The point is that prior to his encounter with Zimmerman, Trayvon was simply walking home from the 7-11 with his purchase of Tea and skittles.  In other words, minding his own business, doing what young people do, when he was put in an unexpected and unimaginable position by a person acting out his fantasy scenario of finally being able to stop one these "assholes who always get away".

        - "Justice is what love looks like in public." -Cornel West -

        by FreeWoman19 on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 03:59:54 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Perhaps I'm misunderstanding but (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Catesby, pacotrey

          I pretty much understood your expansion of your thought before you wrote them in this comment.  And perhaps we are, therefore, just picking nits.  The point I was trying to make is that liberals tend to assume the best of Trayvon and that he was just a Skittle holding innocent guy.  Conservatives, shall we say, tend to believe the worst in Trayvon and the best in Zimmerman.

          What I would say is that on the conceivable spectrum of what happened that night there is only an extremely small number of possibilities that would/should allow Zimmerman to remain free.  Among these hypotheticals would be Trayvon pulling a gun or other deadly weapon.  By all accounts, this did not happen.  We don't need to over emphasize Trayvon's innocence to understand Zimmerman's guilt.

          As a side note, I think the comments by Gingrich and other's regarding Obama's comments were reprehensible.  The tragedy is that an unarmed 17 year old was killed.  Period.  Regardless of how Trayvon acted when confronted by Zimmerman, there are only a few instances where Zimmerman's actions would be justified and NONE of those    have been reported or are in evidence.

          Was Zimmerman a cold blooded killer or did he merely over-react?  I don't know.  What I do know is that Trayvon should be alive and the reason he isn't lies with Zimmerman.  Justice demands a serious inquiry.

          We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

          by theotherside on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 04:48:04 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well I think I get your point (0+ / 0-)

            Irregardless if Trayvon were casing places for future burglaries, had just come from robbing the 7-11, or if he had just come from church, the assumptions that Zimmerman made about him were wrong.  They were wrong because he assumed that since the kid was wearing a hoodie and was black, while out walking or standing under an awning in the rain, that he was suspicious.  If he had merely watched Trayvon instead of assuming, he might have either seen him innocently walk home, or he might have seen him commit a crime.  But his call to 911 was premature.

            Unfortunately, the gun culture, the current state of our public discourse, the stereotypes that are still pushed by the media and the inability of this country to talk about racism, let alone do anything to address it, has created an even deeper rift.

            Loyalty to petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul in this world--and never will. Mark Twain

            by whoknu on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 05:10:20 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I whole heartedly agree with your first paragraph. (0+ / 0-)

              I agree with everything in your second paragraph as well except the "gun culture" reference.  I'm definitely not an NRA type and I probably will never own a gun AND there are things with the "gun culture" that you and I probably agree with.  But there are a lot of good decent people that believe in the 2nd amendment for non-racist and practical reasons.

              With that said, there are a lot of zealots in the gun culture world and I think I understand the general comment of "gun culture" negatively impacting the state of discourse.

              We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

              by theotherside on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 05:51:12 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  People tend to attribute a certain innocence (4+ / 0-)

            to Trayvon Martin because he was an innocent, all you have to do is look at his face. Now you, with your dulcet voice-of-reason, your "let's be fair here; let's be evenhanded" cajolery, want to make it okay, make it right, or even "only right," to sully that shining innocence--perhaps because you can't stand to be reminded your own pitiful lack. You may find however that this blog is pretty astute, and doesn't suffer game-players gladly.

            Speaking for myself, I would not diminish by one jot (!) Trayvon Martin's innocent heart just to make some faux-magnanimous, deeply foolish gesture about the relative sinfulness of both the shooter and the shot, or the imperfection of humanity in general. Why on earth should that be necessary, and why are you trying to pedal it here? Yep, it's a nasty bit of leveling you're up to with this "let us not over-emphasize" line of malarkey, but I don't suspect you'll find many takers.

            God bless our tinfoil hearts

            by aitchdee on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 06:37:30 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  False equivalency in this case is (11+ / 0-)

              offensive to me, the mother of a 19 year old black teen. He's a CHILD carrying candy and juice. He couldn't be more innocent and non threatening than that to me if he was 5 years old.

              The last thing I'm scared of is a 17 year old boy, no matter what race. He's MY kid, no matter who his actual parents are. If anything, I'd be trying to tell Trayvon to hurry up and get the fuck home because these racists are crazy out here. I'm afraid for HIM. HE'S the vulnerable one. I don't worry about what my son will do, I worry about what people THINK he's doing and how they'll react.

              My son is also a lighter shade of black skin so I think it makes him slightly safer but not that much. I still worry at night that the phone is gonna ring with terrible news...and this is long, long before Trayvon Martin was killed. I've seen a lot of young black kids die various ways. Lotta police bullets and escalated bullshit.

              I raised a nice kid. Doesn't matter. He could still get followed and lynched like this. I worried about him when he walked and now I worry about him driving.

              Matter of fact, this case should not only be sterilized of any false equivalency bullshit, it should be given extra fucking consideration for all the black mothers that suffer with death and fear of death for their children.

              "It's not enough to acknowledge privilege. You have to resist." -soothsayer

              by GenXangster on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 08:29:20 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Hate to break it to you but plenty of 17 year olds (0+ / 0-)

                commit murder, robbery, assault, rape, and other crimes.

                Five year olds are far less likely to do such things.

                He's a CHILD carrying candy and juice. He couldn't be more innocent and non threatening than that to me if he was 5 years old.

                The last thing I'm scared of is a 17 year old boy, no matter what race.

                There are plenty of pretty scary 17 year olds, both white an black.  For example, the kid who shot the two British tourists in Florida was just 17.  If you met him on the street and weren't scared you were stupid.

                http://www.todayonline.com/...

                Jurors deliberated for about two hours before declaring Shawn Tyson, 17, guilty of two first-degree murder charges in the deaths of James Kouzaris, 24, and James Cooper, 25.

                The two were out drinking in Sarasota when they got lost and strayed into a rundown neighbourhood where Tyson lived.

                They were found shirtless and with their pants down - to prevent them from running away - and shot to death.

                ...

                Relating the friend's testimony, Mr Brodsky told the court: "The boys were crying, 'Please let me go home.' Instead, Tyson said: 'Since you ain't got no money, I got something for your a**', and began shooting."

  •  You don't leave room for additional (36+ / 0-)

    commentary chauncey. You've said it all here. Tipped and rec'd.

    We view "The Handmaid's Tale" as cautionary. The GOP views it as an instruction book.

    by Vita Brevis on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 11:53:14 AM PDT

  •  Look (16+ / 0-)

    I've lived in inner big cities all my life. I grew up in a drug-ridden high-crime neighborhood. I've been the victim of violent street crime, as have many of my friends, relatives and neighbors. I lived in the same house for 28 years and was well plugged into the neighborhood grapevine, and I heard about every mugging, armed robbery, rape, home invasion, senseless beating and drive-by shooting in my neighborhood. The vast majority of the perpetrators were black men under 40. This is fact, not myth.

    When I'm walking around, I'm not worried about white collar crime, tragic as it. I'm worried about my physical safety. When I hear footsteps behind me at night, the very last person I want to see when I turn around is a young black male who looks like a thug. My fear is primal, it springs from real life experience, it is not altered by my political convictions, and I don't intend to feel guilty about it.

    This doesn't mean that I think all young black men are criminals, or that other people aren't. It doesn't mean I don't recognize the disparities in the justice system, or that I condone them. It doesn't mean I think street crime is more serious than white collar crime. It doesn't mean I don't recognize the dire lack of opportunities for black men that create this situation.

    But yes, I am afraid. I'm an unarmed defenseless arthritic 62-year-old woman who is no threat to anyone. Don't try to tell me that the things I'm afraid of are all in my mind. They aren't.

    We decided to move the center farther to the right by starting the whole debate from a far-right position to begin with. - Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay

    by denise b on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 12:04:09 PM PDT

    •  that is the challenge rationality vs. emotion (26+ / 0-)

      the story is complicated. trust me i have no use for ign't behavior as I like to call it, and am hard on crime and thuggery. As a black man I am deeply concerned about black on black crime--I may likely be a victim.

      The facts are the facts though, young people are more likely to be "criminals" than older folks, you are more likely to be robbed, raped, or murdered by someone that looks like you than someone who is different. You are much more likely to be killed and eaten alive by a white person as well.

      There is lots of crime of all sorts in "white" neighborhoods and it is wildly underreported. We have much research on how the news media paints a highly inaccurate image of crime. If they told you the truth you would likely be terrified of white men.

      This is life and death stuff--the narrative of black criminality has gotten many innocent people killed and put in jail. It needs to be confronted.

      By definition, the things you are afraid of are largely in your mind. Yes, a riddle. But a true one.

      •  I'm talking about what I know (7+ / 0-)

        not what I see on television. I've been mugged and sexually assaulted. My mother and aunt were mugged. My best friend was mugged and beaten up a block from her house, and her granddaughter was mugged coming home from school.  My neighbor directly across the street was set upon and attacked for no reason by two guys and ended up in the hospital with a broken arm and brain damage from which he never completely recovered. There were two armed home invasions a block from my house, and an 11-year-old kid was shot a block away in the other direction. Our corner grocer was robbed and beaten almost to death and was off work for many months. There have been strings of armed robberies and muggings in the neighborhood. There was a rape. Descriptions of the perpetrators came from the victims.

        Are you trying to tell me there was greater amount of crime by white people in my neighborhood only I never heard about any of it? Don't be ridiculous. I would have heard about it. There was a murder across the street by a white perpetrator who was the victim's lover, and a rape by Latino. There were one murder and home burglaries and store break-ins where no one saw who did it. That is all.

        No, it's not in my mind.

        We decided to move the center farther to the right by starting the whole debate from a far-right position to begin with. - Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay

        by denise b on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 01:14:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  alas I feel your pain (13+ / 0-)

          but you cannot generalize those experiences to all places and times. yes, there is a huge amount of white crime that is largely under reported.

          •  Someone on this site told me that 93% (3+ / 0-)

            of all AA people are law-abiding.  That seems plausible, but what percentage of total US crime is committed by the 7%?  Additionally, and to denise b's point, how much crime is committed in "drug-ridden high-crime neighborhoods" and can that figure be compared to total crime committed in the metropolitan area?

            Koch Industries, Inc: Quilted Northern, Angel Soft, Brawny, Sparkle, Soft 'n Gentle, Mardi Gras, Vanity Fair, Dixie

            by ChiTownDenny on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 02:39:01 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Two things (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            WereBear Walker, Hind2, Wham Bam

            First of all, if you're saying that large numbers of crime by white perpetrators but not by black ones go unreported - and not just to police, but to friends and neighbors as well -  that begs for some evidence as well as an explanation. Why would that be? because the victims don't mind being robbed at gunpoint by a white guy? Because they don't like to see a white guy go to jail? Why?

            Second. You're saying that despite poverty rates twice as high as whites, worse schools, worse literacy, high school dropout rates of 50%, unemployment rates among black youth higher than 40%, high rates of depression and PTSD from exposure to violence, more exposure to drugs and greater likelihood of living in communities where large numbers of adult role models are in prison - despite all these things, young black men do not commit street crime at higher rates than young white men?

            Well, congratulations. You've just thrown most established beliefs about the social roots of crime out the window. When you can prove this and explain it, I expect to see you on the front page of the NY Times. When I do, I'll take it very seriously. Because if people who grew up middle class, stayed in school, and are able to get jobs are committing street crime at the same rate as those who didn't, then I'm totally gobsmacked.

            We decided to move the center farther to the right by starting the whole debate from a far-right position to begin with. - Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay

            by denise b on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 06:00:47 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Denise B (0+ / 0-)

            and people like her are lost causes. Those hearts and minds can't be won, so why waste time trying?

          •  Serious crimes, other than rape, are almost all (0+ / 0-)

            reported.

            there is a huge amount of white crime that is largely under reported.
            Murders, armed robberies, burglaries, etc. get reported.

            Where is your evidence that such crimes by whites are under reported?

          •  There's no need to generalize (0+ / 0-)

            If Den is truthful he should have moved house long ago.

            I think you are wilfully blind. Sorry but Den's experience is born out in city after city.

            A Catholic, Jew, Muslim and Buddhist walk into Al Aqsa Mosque. Buddhist immediately exclaims: "excuse me I appear to be in the wrong joke."

            by Salo on Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 01:00:10 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  I don't mean to be callous (6+ / 0-)

          but I don't really understand why you believe anecdote = data.

        •  You're talking about anecdotes (15+ / 0-)

          while the diarist is talking about statistics.

          So you lived "in a drug-ridden high-crime neighborhood" in "inner big cities". And according to your personal experience there, "the vast majority of the perpetrators were black men under 40". Ok, and what was the demographic of your "drug-ridden high-crime neighborhood" in the inner city? Was it a mostly white neighborhood?

          You also say, "I heard about every mugging, armed robbery, rape, home invasion, senseless beating and drive-by shooting in my neighborhood." Depending on how small you are defining your neighborhood, I'd bet that you didn't.

          Regardless, this is called anecdotal inference, not statistics.

          The diarist is addressing the claim that statistically blacks commit more crimes than whites as a group and on the whole, not in a particular neighborhood or some such. Your personal experiences can not show what is true or not true about this question. Nobody's can.

          The diarist's point is that national statistics on arrests or incarceration are trotted out as indicators of the supposedly far higher rate of crimes committed by blacks, and to justify the assumptions that led to Martin's death. But the well established biases inherent in these statistics and the processes which produce them show that they are not measuring the rate of crimes committed by these groups. Your personal anecdotes can't change that.

          •  I think you guys are giving this person a (13+ / 0-)

            very hard time for relating her direct observations! That is not fair, and it's not going to proved anything, just insulting her.

            To make generalizations from one's direct observations is a smart and reasonable thing to do. It is what a thinking person will do, should do. While your facts and figures may be true overall there is still room for, and reasonable expectation, the local differences which may be her experience.

            Even if data proves an overall case, you must know that the averages are not going to be met in all cases. Give her a break, and stop.

            "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

            by Gorette on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 03:55:22 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I was making an important point, not insulting (3+ / 0-)

              Look Gorette, her comment was framed as a rebuttal to the diary. If she were just relating her direct observations that's one thing, but that wasn't what was going on here. It was framed as a rebuttal. I was pointing out correctly that it is not.

              Moreover, you say "To make generalizations from one's direct observations is a smart and reasonable thing to do." No, it isn't, unless you have some good reason to believe that your observations are representative of what you haven't observed, in order to "generalize" your particular observations. Without such a reason, it's just a logical fallacy. And making a logical fallacy is neither smart nor reasonable.

              •  My comment was a rebuttal to the diary (2+ / 0-)

                only in the sense that I was rebutting that my own fears result from misinformation. They result from my life.

                We decided to move the center farther to the right by starting the whole debate from a far-right position to begin with. - Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay

                by denise b on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 07:33:36 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  have you lived in a poor-drug ridden white area? (0+ / 0-)

                  Once you say "in the inner city",  I'm betting that white poverty lives somewhere else .

                  And when you live in a poor white neighbhorhood,  the drug dealers, the addicts, the people who leave their kids running wild, the wife-beaters, and the killers will be white.

                  There was a time when those people were called Irish, later Italians.  Now my experience is they don't live in inner cities, at least not in the Northeast.

                  It's not a fake orgasm; it's a real yawn.

                  by sayitaintso on Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 06:40:07 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  what is your point? (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Wham Bam

                    if you go back in time other races had higher rates of violent crime?  I don't think anyone would disagree with that.  But the FACT and STATISTICS and REALITY show that black males commit violent crimes at a higher rate in the US.  Now as to why most believe its chronic joblessness and barricades to upward mobility like previous incarcerations.  

                    So I would agree that there are reasons why the rate is higher but to deny the rate of violent crime by black males is higher is RIDICULOUS and its a flat out lie.

          •  I'm wasn't talking about Martin (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            WereBear Walker, RickD, starfu

            I was talking about my own fear and the reasons for it.

            And in fact, the diarist was not talking about statistics - on the contrary, he was claiming that the statistics are somehow misleading or wrong. He was also confounding the issue of street crime against victims with other things, like possession of illegal drugs and white collar crime. These are not the types of crimes that make people afraid to leave their houses at night, which is what I am talking about. Yes, Bernie Madoff is many magnitudes more evil than any street thug, and I do fear having my retirement funds stolen by his ilk, but Bernie Madoff is not why I wait until morning to mail a letter rather than go across the street to the mailbox after dark.

            I believe the statistics back up higher rates of street crime by young black men than any other demographic - in fact, I thought it was so well known that I'm surprised to see people question it.

            The diarist has refuted this with an unsupported claim that this is due to large amounts of unreported crime by white perpetrators. If you find this more credible than my anecdotes, please explain why.

            As I pointed out in a previous comment, to believe that crime rates for young black men aren't higher is to believe that poverty, lack of education, trauma, discrimination and massive unemployment rates do not lead to higher crime rates. If this is the latest liberal thinking on the subject, then we are throwing out 60 years of sociology, are we not?

            We decided to move the center farther to the right by starting the whole debate from a far-right position to begin with. - Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay

            by denise b on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 06:29:41 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  didn't (3+ / 0-)

              say that, please attribute my claims properly. and do reread what i wrote about the racialized nature of crime.

              statistics are the result of a process, moreover, that process has certain relationships to power, and authority. are you disputing that there is disparate enforcement of the law in communities of color vs. those that may be more affluent and white?

              my claims are a bit more nuanced than you are giving credit for. please beware the use of strawmen to make your case.

              •  I am well aware (3+ / 0-)

                of disparities in the justice system and I would certainly take them into account in looking at conviction rates and to a lesser degree at arrest rates.

                But I don't think they factor into the reports of the victims themselves. I can't see any credible reason why those would be skewed. I believe the reports of crime in my own neighborhood that I heard about - which is obviously where my own fears spring from - were a reflection of what went on there.

                We decided to move the center farther to the right by starting the whole debate from a far-right position to begin with. - Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay

                by denise b on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 07:08:39 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  they factor into crime stats when everyone smokes (0+ / 0-)

                  but not everyone gets stopped and frisked.  When the white folks come into the city to cop, then turn around and ride back home, and the police only bust the buyers and the sellers who are nearby.  Seen it happen many times.

                  It happens when driving while black is a motive to stop a car, search, and provoke driver and passenger into something... anything.

                  It happens when the police let the Asian and white kids sit on the lawn in front of the library and tell the black kids in the parking lot to move on or face arrest.  Seen it too, been to court on that one.

                  It's not a fake orgasm; it's a real yawn.

                  by sayitaintso on Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 06:48:04 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  She was referencing violent crimes... (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Wham Bam

                    so drug busts are of no real issue here.  I agree that is a problem but its not the issue she was referencing.  She wasn't scared someone was oing to try and sell her weed.  She was scared someone was going to kill, rape or assault her.

            •  statistics (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Larsstephens, shanikka, sayitaintso

              The diarist was talking about statistics. The fact that he was questioning the accuracy of crime statistics as a representation of underlying facts they are presented as measuring does not mean he's talking about anecdotes instead of statistics.

              "I believe the statistics back up higher rates of street crime by young black men than any other demographic - in fact, I thought it was so well known that I'm surprised to see people question it. The diarist has refuted this with an unsupported claim that this is due to large amounts of unreported crime by white perpetrators."

              This gets down to the problem the diary is addressing: the assumption that US crime statistics by racial group reflect the prevalence of crime committed by these groups. You are surprised to see this challenged? One of the most well debunked areas where this has been shown false is with drug-related crime. Study after study has shown that black and white people tend to possess or do drugs the same amount or blacks even less than whites, yet are arrested and imprisoned for drug possession at far higher rates. What the police crime stats would supposedly "back up" is simply false, and perhaps even the opposite of what is actually true about this.

              And the diary is not saying this is just about crime by whites being "unreported". It's about the biases of surveillance practices, arresting or not arresting, charging or not charging, more or less severe charges, biased conviction rates, etc. etc. All of this stuff leads "the statistics" to suggest a greatly inflated picture of black crime. In the case of drugs it seems to flip a reality of whites being more likely to do the crime into one where blacks do it much more often.

              This doesn't necessarily mean there is no difference at all in crime rates among blacks and whites, and depending on which type of crime you're talking about, but it does mean that those crime statistics that are regularly trotted out to justify prejudiced views of blacks as especially dangerous do not accurately establish what these differences are. Yet they are constantly presented as doing so.

              •  statistics show black men... (0+ / 0-)

                commit violent crime at a higher rate than any other race.  Period.  Its not even close.  Even the most ardent progressive prison reform people know that to be true.  Now there are reasons for this that are built in to a still racially motivated social structure.  here is a good summary imo.

                "Prof. ALEXANDER: Yes, that's absolutely right. You know, most people assume that, you know, the prison explosion has been driven by violent crime rates. And it is true that African-American men do have higher rates of violent crime than white men.

                William Julius Wilson explored this in his book "When Work Disappears." He shows that, you know, people who are jobless have higher rates of violent crime, and in fact he cited research which shows that, you know, if you compare white, jobless men with black, jobless men, you know, the racial disparity in violent crime virtually disappears.

                So, you know, what we're dealing with when we're talking about violent crime is chronic joblessness in urban areas where work has disappeared due to the closing of factories, deindustrialization and globalization."

                •  again (0+ / 0-)

                  see my comments above and elsewhere. "rates" do not scale down to individuals. thus, it is illogical to use claims about aggregates to gin up fear about individual people. you are fixated on the black bogeyman. thus my point of how this narrative does amazing work in this society. moreover, you are silent on "white" crimes--many of them violent. Again, my other point.

                  If you want to be afraid of someone look in their mirror, they are likely going to be a member of your own group or someone you know.

                  •  Wrong. (0+ / 0-)

                    In my city, until recently, of Birmingham,al most violent crimes against whites and blacks were committed by young black men.  You are glossing over a HUGE issue.  Black men commit violent crimes at an astounding rate.

          •  a good way to look at this... (0+ / 0-)

            would be murder rate by zip code.  Few murders go unreported.  I know in Birmingham, Atlanta and New Orleans (all cities I have lived in and all rank towards the top in murder rates) the crime is sectioned off in the poorest neighborhoods with high black populations.  

            Young black men commit a disproportionate amount of violent crimes.  That is not anecdotal evidence.  The sad thing is the vast majority of the victims are black as well... but so long as we are denying the problem even exists we can't fix it.  It astounding to me how many people are suggesting poor schools, poor neighborhoods, durgs and violence, high school graduation rates, etc. have no influence on violent crime rates.  

            here is a direct quote from an NPR interview.  This sums it up pretty well--

            "Prof. ALEXANDER: Yes, that's absolutely right. You know, most people assume that, you know, the prison explosion has been driven by violent crime rates. And it is true that African-American men do have higher rates of violent crime than white men.

            William Julius Wilson explored this in his book "When Work Disappears." He shows that, you know, people who are jobless have higher rates of violent crime, and in fact he cited research which shows that, you know, if you compare white, jobless men with black, jobless men, you know, the racial disparity in violent crime virtually disappears.

            So, you know, what we're dealing with when we're talking about violent crime is chronic joblessness in urban areas where work has disappeared due to the closing of factories, deindustrialization and globalization."

        •  I hear what you are saying (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          FreeWoman19, Larsstephens

          I find nothing wrong with basing your outlook on experience. The problem isn't people like you.

          Its the people who move out of a nice neighborhood because a black professional couple with nice kids move in down the block.

          There is truth on all sides. The question is how much.

          by slothlax on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 02:04:28 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  why is that a problem... (0+ / 0-)

            sucks for them to live in such a world but I don't see why that is a problem.  Its worse when people either try and make the family unwelcomed or stalk their kids but if you don't like black people this is america.  Move.  Not sure how people who isolate themselves are a problem.

            •  Are you familiar with White Flight? (0+ / 0-)

              I would argue that's one of our country's most devastating social problems. It starts as one or two families and before long the nice subdivision is now a "black" neighborhood. It tells black families who do the right thing that it doesn't matter how decent and "normal" they are, they're still black first.

              There is truth on all sides. The question is how much.

              by slothlax on Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 11:28:10 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I agree it is not advisable but... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                slothlax

                Even in Birmingham,Al black families live in the uppity burbs.  Maybe one or two families move but the vast majority stay put.  However, an all black neighborhood should be no different than an all white neighborhood if they are economically similar.  I believe studies bear this out.

                In short there are few neighborhoods in the south that are entirely white.  But if an individual does not want to live near black people that is 100% okay.

                •  Its different in the north (0+ / 0-)

                  In some ways it seems our segregation is more pervasive, because whites are much more of a majority outside of cities, not as strong of a black middle class. Those are just impressions of someone with limited experience of the south.

                  I guess the problem for me kind of gets to that last sentence. I do think its a concern if anyone feels the need to isolate themselves for racial reasons. More to the black/white thing, though, two things stick out to me in my own life. People who say they move to the suburbs for the "schools" and people who live in white working class neighborhoods who say I live in the "ghetto" because I live in a mixed race working class neighborhood. Its just not a healthy way to see society, imo

                  There is truth on all sides. The question is how much.

                  by slothlax on Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 01:28:10 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I wholeheartedly agree... (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    slothlax

                    And have always lived in mixed income and racialy diverse neighborhoods.  However, I am now in a pickle because there are two good school districts in my town now.  Both are in white upperclass neighborhoods.  The private schools are 18-20k/year or you have to send to a religious school which I refuse to do.  I can't afford 20k/year for two kids.  I would love to NOT move but I have few options...

                    •  Don't move then (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Hind2

                      Have you looked into the school in your neighborhood? It is my assertion that the school itself is pretty interchangeable, its the family that matters. In NY, private school teachers have fewer qualifications and lower pay, but the parents are paying all that money, so they make damn sure their kids get good grades. I say that a student with solid parental support can succeed at just about ay school.

                      There is truth on all sides. The question is how much.

                      by slothlax on Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 03:19:39 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  The schools are terrible... (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        slothlax

                        Academically I agree with you but the behavior issues at those schools are deal breakers.  Lots of lower income kids here are unfortunately raised on tv and fast food with one parent who is often times overwhelmed and underprepared.  I have a neighbor that sent his youngest to kindergarten for a grand total of three months. Class had several kids that were held back due to developmental issues, back to school night was a nightmare with only a few other parents there.  One parent threatened a teacher in front of other parents and kids and that was the straw.  I am idealistic but I am not going to put my 5 year old in that environment.  There is a great magnet school but it's a lotto system so if you miss that you are SOL.

                        •  I hear you (0+ / 0-)

                          There are certainly schools in my city that I wouldn't send my (hypothetical) kids to, pretty much for the reasons you point out.

                          All I know is that I went to city schools and lived in cities my while life, minorities and all. Never been in a fight, got jumped once on the way to school over the course of twelve years, and went to Tufts. People in my county who tell me they won't live in the city because of the schools I pretty much dismiss out of hand as succumbing to fear rather than rational decision making.

                          There is truth on all sides. The question is how much.

                          by slothlax on Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 03:57:17 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

        •  Hi, denise -- (13+ / 0-)

          First, I'm sorry for the experiences you and others around you have gone through.  Those are memories you shouldn't have to be carrying.

          This diary is giving some really important data on crime and violence, particularly debunking some common beliefs about black crime.  That's very important, in my eyes. However, crime is a very complicated topic.   I know from other research, too, that most violent crime is intraracial, as chaunceydevega says.  However, situations differ, and class complicates things enormously.  

          In the seventies, I and many of my friends were living in group houses in predominantly black, relatively poor neighborhoods in Washington DC.  During that period, everyone I knew personally (white or black) who was mugged, robbed, or sexually assaulted on the street was victimized by a black person.  But that speaks to class, not race.  We mostly didn't have much money, let me make clear, but we weren't desperate or having as hard a time as many black people in the neighborhood.  Affluent people still commit violent crimes, but it's mostly not street crime.

          THe scariest neighborhood I've ever been in was a Polish-Lithuanian slum in Chicago.  If I'd lived in a group house there, the threat of crime would have come from whites, and I would have found myself afraid of young men muttering Eastern European languages.  That cannot, however, be translated into a willingness to have young Lithuanian men shot without cause.

          And I know you're not saying that it should.

          This isn't an answer, really.  I want to acknowledge your experience, but I also want to say that it's NOT the experience of most white people.  Most white people are NOT threatened by the black people they see around them on a daily basis.  THeir fear is mostly based on false assumptions, and it's those false assumptions that chauncey is providing information to counter.

          --------------- --------------- --------------- "Every part of you belongs to you." -- from a story of Virginia under the Personhood law. Read it here.

          by Fiona West on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 02:32:00 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Several things you wrote resonate... (4+ / 0-)

            I live in Chicago.  Yup, some neighborhoods (and some bars) in the Polish/Ukrainian part of town could be downright dangerous for me (I'm white) and worse for you.  Street crime is based on class, poverty, drug and alcohol use. Race can play a part in either/any direction.

            Part of living in the city is knowing where you are and who is around you. Most of the time, walking home from the train at night, I walk past black kids without thinking about it and it's no issue, because nothing about affect or behavior is triggering me.  Sometimes I get a weird feeling and trust my intuition, even if I'm not entirely sure what set it off.  Is race irrelevant in that?  If I answer honestly, probably it plays some part. I'm sure I've crossed the street at least once for no reason.  That said, the one time I was assaulted, it happened out of the blue and i had no clue before it happened.  But I also feel the same discomfort around a skinhead or biker, or a white meth freak who sets off an alarm bell. Fear is adaptive as long as it doesn't rule one's life and it's not irrational, and its focused on individuals rather than on everyone within a category.

            Of course, fear is also conditioned by experience.  My one incident a decade ago hasn't left me with residual trauma around black youth, but I can imagine the woman who experienced those repeated attacks must have more sensitive triggers than I, and those triggers most likely involve black men, there's not much to be done about that but accept it... and as you have done, ask that one not extrapolate too much.  

            “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” Charles Darwin

            by ivorybill on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 06:04:44 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  you are 100% correct. (0+ / 0-)

              is that its based on factors other than race... but those factors are found disproportionately in black neighborhoods and thus violent crime is disproportionate to that area.  The diary does not refute the truth.  The truth is black males commit violent crimes at higher rates than any other demographic in the US.  If you look at white neighborhoods with similar levels of education, drugs, etc, then yes the crime rates do normalize.  But that does not change the fact that in reality more blacks live in poverty and so by extension they also carry higher violent crime rates.

              WHy people are arguing such basic shit is beyond me.  

      •  "Terrified of white men" (0+ / 0-)

        You can put me in that category. White female, 5'4", 110lbs soaking wet.

        I get what Denise is saying, personal experience matters, I agree. I've been sexually assaulted twice, abused, had my car robbed. The neighbors to either side of me had their car windows smashed. The convenience store up the street has been robbed more times than I can count. All done by white men.  

        The neighborhood I live in is mostly white, but I'm also within a stone's throw of the city so the general population is fairly mixed (at least in my personal day to day dealings).

        If I have to go out at night, it isn't black men I'm afraid of, it's white ones.

        Yeah, personal experience matters and on this issue, it goes both ways.

    •  I kind of think, and I haven't (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tonedevil

      done enough thinking about this, that that's what makes it a true lie. I read the diary and nodded and also thought that it's so complex it doesn't give anyone a better thing to do than 'stammer,' as the diarist said.

      I think analogies work better, sometimes.

      Black men commit more crimes than white men. Sure, and Jews are greedier than gentiles. (Look at the careers we go into, the money we make. The numbers are there.)

      I don't know. I want to say something wiser than 'this stuff is hard,' and 'the plural of anecdote isn't data,' but I don't have anything.

      "Gussie, a glutton for punishment, stared at himself in the mirror."

      by GussieFN on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 01:32:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  So (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        WereBear Walker, sayitaintso

        poverty, lack of education and lack of jobs doesn't lead to more crime? What does then - bad seeds?

        We decided to move the center farther to the right by starting the whole debate from a far-right position to begin with. - Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay

        by denise b on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 06:31:34 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  My point, to the extent I have one, isn't about (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Catesby, Larsstephens, sayitaintso

          the causes of crime.

          You said "the very last person I want to see when I turn around is a young black male who looks like a thug" not "the very last person I want to see when I turn around is a young man who appears to be unemployed, impoverished, and uneducated."

          Blackness embodies all of those things for many of us--that's (a good deal of) the 'lie' part, at least to me.

          "Gussie, a glutton for punishment, stared at himself in the mirror."

          by GussieFN on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 07:14:16 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  it embodies those things... (0+ / 0-)

            becuase it is those things.  Unemployment for young black men is staggering.  Drop out rates- staggering.  growing up in poverty- staggering.  

            She understands the issue on a macro level.  She is saying that when on a micro level, of her walking down a dark street, she is concerned.  

    •  What matters is what meaning you make of it (6+ / 0-)

      It isn't in your mind, but that fact I think doesn't change what Chauncey is saying (Please correct me if I misinterpret!).

      The fact that some individuals who are suspicious or criminals happen to have high melanin content in their skin does not mean that others who also have a similar chemical dermal makeup are necessarily going to behave similarly. (You knew that, I know).

      At core, my reading is that it is a fallacious bit of inductive reasoning (that is, if most members of a small group are also part of the larger group, then therefore the members of the larger group are all (or mostly) like the smaller group).  We do inductive reasoning all the time, but it tends to be overinclusive.  That is, itsweeps up too many innocent parties in the group.

      I think that a certain chunk of this comes from a tendency to cluster or sort individuals by race.  By seeing things in these broad categories, there's the temptation to assign characteristics to the whole group.  This is a natural conceptual outcome of grouping, but it fails to see/obxcures the variation within groups, which is much bigger than the differences between them.

      put another way (since this comment is probably unintelligible), white criminals and black criminals have more in common with each other than either do with black or white college students or law abiding uneducated people of any race.  By thinking of American society as racial groups, we invite group-based thinking.  That's what leads to trouble.

      If I find a way to express this better, I'll let you know.

    •  Look yourself (6+ / 0-)

      I'm a 55 year old white male. I was born in Detroit and lived there and near there until my late 20s. The people I knew and hung around with, all of them white, sold drugs, robbed and raped people, killed people, burgled homes, and many belonged to motorcycle gangs or street gangs.

      I'm the only one of four boys in my family that's never been in prison and the only one that graduated from high school. I did my fair share of crimes and acting stupid, but I was lucky enough to not get caught.

      Face it, lady. White people commit crimes. White people steal, rape and kill. There is no racial lock on criminality.

      Congress shall make no law abridging the right of the people peaceably to assemble.

      by edg on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 02:18:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I don't care about the color (0+ / 0-)

      For me it's that they are a young man under 30 or so.

      Please sign the White House petition to Flush Rush from AFN (Armed Forces Network).

      by splashy on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 02:28:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  My son is a young man under 30--white (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Chitown Kev

        And he has been the target of police harassment.  In parts of the country where the black population is minimal, young working-class white males become the Other.  He was pulled over in Wyoming and waited while the Highway Patrol searched every inch of his car for drugs.

        Native Americans are a target too.  Maybe they are convicted of crimes more than European Americans, but this is a part of self-fulfilling prophecy too.  And they are more likely to be poor and raised in bad circumstances, just like urban blacks.  

        So it is a huge tangled ball of yarn.  I guess knowing people like this who are singled out, you get a different perspective:  what it is like to be a constant target  of police attention.

        (Denise, I understand what you are saying.)

        "I don't want to blame anyone. I just want to know how lowering taxes on the rich creates jobs" --Informed citizen at Congressional town hall

        by Time Waits for no Woman on Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 06:22:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  When I'm walking around, mostly alone (7+ / 0-)

      since that's how I live, and especially at night, I am attuned to the people around me, but find, when I stop and think about it, I around men: white men equally as much (if not more since I see them more often) than men of color.  But I'm equally as wary and frightened by guns.  Men with guns.

      I grew up in the South.  I've seen how the violence of white men is manifested.  I've seen the how the violence of poverty is manifested, too.  Guns scare me.  Not so much because of guns, i.e. the things themselves, but because Guns in combination with poverty don't lead to good outcomes.  Guns in combination with racism don't lead to good outcomes.  Guns in combination with a sense of male privilege or superiority don't lead to good outcomes.  Guns in combination with pre-fabricated social panics don't lead to good outcomes.  Guns in combination with authoritarianism don't lead to good outcomes.

      Maybe I'd be less scared of guns if the societal contexts into which we inject them were a bit more favorable to sensible gun use and gun practices.  And guns as symbols for a myopic and far-too-well-funded group of political lobbyists don't offer much hope that those kinds of contexts or those kinds of collective practices are likely to come about.

      Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

      by a gilas girl on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 02:59:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  What city do you live in? or area? curious... (0+ / 0-)

      "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

      by Gorette on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 03:46:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Conservatives Post-Reagan Penchant For (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wasatch, a2nite, Larsstephens, Plantsmantx

    loudly dismissing facts - and blaming the 'anti-American' people who collect and analyze them - ignited in the fevered race swamps of angry denial and shame.  Their irrationality has only increased over the years.  We can probably convince them that, absent racialized law enforcement, blacks are as likely to commit crimes as others right after you convince them that Obama was born in Hawaii.

    Rather than reconcile themselves to the hard truths of the post-Civil Rights Era world, conservatives' and racists' irrational penchant towards denial and blaming is infecting more and more of our public policy, from the teaching of science to responding to global warming to even little things like increasing light bulb efficiency.

  •  There was a very visible policy in the '70s (9+ / 0-)

    to move drug dealing to black and Latino neighborhoods.  It was the birth of the Police Task Force and its main function was to move into a (white) neighborhood with "overwhelming force" and clear all drug dealing off the street.  I'm sure if someone had the resources they could easily track these very public and large-scale operations and match it to census maps.

    It was obvious to anyone living there.  Just as it is obvious today that most drug use is by whites while most prisoners serving time for drug use are black.

  •  Tell the Truth and Shame the Devil (16+ / 0-)

    Of course, this has all been said before, so all I can do is pray that maybe in this context the truth about criminality and race might actually be better heard.

    Thanks for the diary.  Tipped and Rec'd.

    If you don't stand for something, you will go for anything. Visit Maat's Feather

    by shanikka on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 12:29:50 PM PDT

  •  Awesome diary. (10+ / 0-)

    Very well written. Tipped and recc'd.

    "In the battle of existence, Talent is the punch; Tact is the clever footwork. Wilson Mizner -7.25/-5.64

    by mikejay611 on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 12:45:18 PM PDT

    •  thanks (14+ / 0-)

      I am surprised folks are letting this mess fly. It is taken for granted and never interrogated.

      •  I have no idea how to fight this one (5+ / 0-)

        Besides race and class, it is inextricably tangled up with issues of authority, the elephant that nobody but nobody wants to acknowledge being influenced by.  Everyone likes to think she's her own person, but both academic studies and good old anecdata tend to agree that the vast majority of Americans will accept any level of cognitive dissonance to avoid condemning institutions of authority (save in the very narrow tea-party-ish sense).

        Facebook sells your personal information to corporations without your knowledge?  Well, they're offering the service, so they have the right.

        Employer wants a pre-employment drug test for a secretarial position?  Well, nothing says they can't do that.

        Police kill an unarmed man who was minding his own business?  Well, they must have had a reason.  Maybe he looked like he had a gun.

        Courts incarcerate black men at a ridiculously higher rate than white men for the same crimes?  Well there must have been some difference to justify that.  They wouldn't just discriminate for no reason.

        Government locks up political prisoners for years without a trial?  Well, I guess they're dangerous, aren't they?

        It's a noxious mixture of everything in human society that makes people treat each other like crap.  I don't know how to deal with this one.  Oddly enough (or maybe not) the best reception I get on it besides at liberal/social justice echo chambers like Daily Kos occasionally is, is with some of my friends who don't live in this country.  Because there's very little for them emotionally to defend.  Otherwise it's like talking to a brick wall.  "Well black people do commit more crimes!"  "Well I got mugged once by a couple of black kids." (I got raped by a black man and am arguing this, idiot, does that trump your anecdote?  No, of course not.)  "Well I can't help it if I'm scared."  (Yes you can!)  And the authority thing, just a complete inability to accept that yes, individual people and also systems that are supposed to be fair and just, can be anything but that.

        If you have any suggestions on how to talk about this with people who are not predisposed to listen, I will take them gratefully.

  •  I think this is why the Trayvon story is (10+ / 0-)

    so much in the forefront.

    People are saying, "Enough is enough!"

    It stops here.  It stops now.

    Racial profiling, benefit of doubt, all do not equate what the symbol of our justice system portrays.

    She is blindfolded.  Equal justice under the law.

    I had a discussion with someone who made the statement, "Oh yeah- well why are the jails filled with blacks?"  His excuse for believing that all blacks are criminals.

    My reply:  "Why then are the FBI's Ten Most Wanted white?"  Should I believe all white males are serial killers?

    How about bombers?  Timothy McVeigh was white.
    How about cult leaders?  Jim Jones was white.

    I could go on and on.

    It seems to me the only 'group' that can be trusted are girls of every color.  Every other group can boast of criminal behavior.

    Growing old is inevitable...Growing up is purely optional

    by grannycarol on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 12:48:14 PM PDT

  •  Let me suggest a slightly different (6+ / 0-)

    hypothesis -- one that begins with the shooter, rather than the victim.

    George Zimmerman seems to be an instinct-driven person whose behavior is externally (superficial optics, what things look like) and internally (fear) prompted by his gonads, absent any cognitive adjustment or intervention. In addition, since the dispatcher told him "don't follow" the black boy and he did it anyway, one might hypothesize that he's one of those people who do not comprehend the meaning of the "not."  (That this morpheme changes the meaning of a sentence into its opposite is a peculiarity of the English language.  That some brains fail to comprehend its import is a fact.)

    I make this point because I have had experience with this deficit and because Zimmerman's otherwise compliant demeanor is inconsistent with what he did in response to a negative instruction. I'd argue that the reason he ignored the dispatcher was because he did not understand.

    Zimmerman's compliance is obvious in the video, depicting his arrival at the precinct, released by the police.  That the reporter had no trouble getting it was because it showed Zimmerman as totally compliant and compliance is what the cops value. Compliance is why white perpetrators of crime get off and why innocent folk, whether they're white, brown or black get the shaft.  Innocent folk are more likely to be non-compliant, to refuse a plea bargain and to give the cops and prosecutors a hard time.  And that's why they deserve to be punished by a culture that's committed to obedience.

    More blacks, and more recently women, are being incarcerated, not because they commit crimes or deal drugs or whatever, but because they are non-compliant.  Confession is not only "good for the soul" of the miscreant; confession enhances the self-importance of those hearing the confession and basking in the subordination of the penitent.
    Whether or not father Zimmerman made phone calls, George had obviously already acquired the habit of getting out of scrapes by being humble and compliant.  Humility is a very primitive trait.  Dogs exhibit it whenever they expose their bellies to a dominant figure. Instinct-driven people exhibit it as easily as the killdeer pretends to have a broken wing.
    George is also, obviously, a habitual story teller whose reports are unreliable.  It's even possible he does not know the difference between what he did and what he imagined and what someone else did.  But, in the culture of obedience, where all that matters is compliance, none of this matters.  He is forgiven every infraction (whether he did it or not) because he is compliant and strokes the egos of the more dominant.
    Which, of course, is exactly what makes compliance so socially detrimental.  It leaves people without conscience roaming through the world perpetrating damage without a thought.

    People to Wall Street: "LET OUR MONEY GO"

    by hannah on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 12:50:59 PM PDT

    •  that's not what your lawyer (6+ / 0-)

      would tell you, I don't think. Talking to the police, even if innocent, is not a good idea.

      Also, it wouldn't have mattered how "compliant" Zimmerman appeared to be if he were black...and whether he understood or not, he did kill someone for no reason.

      •  Typically, crime implies intent and (4+ / 0-)

        some benefit to the perpetrator.  Our adherence to state authorized executions attests to the fact that human rights are fungible.  One level down, prosecutors are presumed to be absolutely immune from liability for their acts, regardless of how negligent, manipulative or career-advancing they might be, because none of those qualify as a measurable self-interest.

        Zimmerman seems to have killed as if he were squashing a spider and then he came up with an excuse to justify his fear.
        Lots of people are endemically afraid.  Letting them have guns (a coward's weapon) is a bad idea.

        People to Wall Street: "LET OUR MONEY GO"

        by hannah on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 01:31:55 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  This part is nonsense (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kingfishstew, hmi, Sharon Wraight
      Innocent folk are more likely to be non-compliant, to refuse a plea bargain and to give the cops and prosecutors a hard time.  And that's why they deserve to be punished by a culture that's committed to obedience.

      More blacks, and more recently women, are being incarcerated, not because they commit crimes or deal drugs or whatever, but because they are non-compliant.  Confession is not only "good for the soul" of the miscreant; confession enhances the self-importance of those hearing the confession and basking in the subordination of the penitent

      The overwhelming majority of peope in prison are there because the plead guilty. A very small percentage of convictions results from trial.
  •  murder rates (6+ / 0-)

    http://www.fbi.gov/...

    Whites: 32.1%
    Blacks: 38.2%

    Unknown: 28% (I suppose because the suspect's race is unknown) and if we allocate it in similar proportions it becomes:

    Whites: 44.9%
    Blacks: 53.5%

    Whites as % of the Population: 72.4%
    Blacks: 12.6%

    What these stats mean is that while Blacks are about 1/6th of US population, they actually committed more murders in raw numbers than whites in 2010.

    I think you would find discrepancies in other violent crime as well. There are many problems including racism, prejudices, judicial system, police profiling, etc but they do not fully explain the facts that are not lies.

    •  read what i wrote (17+ / 0-)

      and think systematically. just because a group is "arrested" at higher rates does not mean said group commits more of those crimes in reality or a given individual is likely to be a "criminal." this is a nuanced and challenging argument. dig deeper.

      •  yeah but do you really think (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Celtic Pugilist, hmi

        that blacks do not commit more murders than whites, and if you are talking about other crimes (than murder) don't you think you would need to provide some statistical evidence?

        •  Look (12+ / 0-)

          Even if we were to accept your premise ( and I find it hard to as it's awfully broad), I think one of Chauncey's main points is that that does not make it more likely that a white person is going to be murdered by a black male. Therefore, white people's fear of being murdered by a black male is disproportionate and irrational. That may sound counterintuitive but I don't think it.

          •  exactly (19+ / 0-)

            these percentages do not scale down. you are more likely to be killed by a member of your own race, and specifically a family member or friend than the mythic black criminal who is waiting to pounce on every white person.

            that symbol and narrative is age old. it needs to stop. alternatively, we can deploy it fairly in regards to white people because as I stated many times before both in the present and historically it was white people killing and murdering black people in mass. therefore, i should run for my life when I see a white person coming my way.

            •  Definitely true (0+ / 0-)

              But if you are walking down the street and there are two strange men of about the same age who look more or less similar except that one is white and one is black, both randomly chosen out of the US populate, the black man is significantly more likely to be a violent criminal and significantly more likely to commit a violent act against you, whether you are white or black.

              I stated many times before both in the present and historically it was white people killing and murdering black people in mass. therefore, i should run for my life when I see a white person coming my way.
              Actually, blacks are 13 times more likely to be killed by other blacks than by whites.  See http://www2.fbi.gov/....  Suggest you run for your life when you see a black person coming your way.
          •  and my statistics (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            hmi

            make the opposite point, or at least the point that you are much more likely (more than 6 times) to be murdered by a black male. Thus the fear, while mostly prejudiced (since the murder rate is not that high, is not as irrational if you look at statistics.

            Instead of intuition we need to look at the actual numbers and then work on explanations.

            •  you are not six times more likely (12+ / 0-)

              common error in understanding how stats work. sorry. you would have to take those convictions, add in crime not reported or where folks who were guilty walked (or were not charged), then examine the percentage of all those folks out of the aggregate population--thus my 2 percent or so figure, then apply the probability across a whole population to arrive at some figure for what a given person would do, who you have no info for, in a given scenario.

              check out Negrophobia and her exploration of Bayesian decision making. It should be on google books or in the library.

              Or again, using a more basic example, white men are most of the serial killers in this country. So is a given white person, assuming you are white for the purposes of the example, more likely to eat and kill me than a black person?

              Should I run when I see you. Shoot you dead in the street preemptively, profile you? Please given an answer.

              •  as I point out myself (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                WereBear Walker

                the number of murders is small relative to total population, and especially with your case serial murder rate is especially tiny. Based on both, there is no reason for any person to automatically prejudge anyone as potential killer, and no reason to run or shot.

                But the rates are still startlingly different by race. And yes, most black murders are black on black, just like most white murders are white on white.

                As for the stats, I rounded them off but those factors you listed would not have affected the more than 6 to 1 ratio by any meaningful number. Sorry. None of the things you mention would swing the numbers unless you imagine that thousands upon thousands of white murders are being shrugged off.

              •  Um... yes? Perhaps you don't understand (0+ / 0-)

                statistics?

                Or again, using a more basic example, white men are most of the serial killers in this country. So is a given white person, assuming you are white for the purposes of the example, more likely to eat and kill me than a black person?
                A randomly chose white person is more likely to kill and eat you than a randomly chosen black person.

                Nobody knows why this is the case, but it is the case.  

            •  The statistics do not differentiate between (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Tonedevil, Larsstephens

              black on black crime/black on white/white on white/white on black crime - this is not to downplay black on black crime or to say that one is more significant than the other - of course both are major problems. But the diarist is specifically addressing the  fears of the white population and the way that those fears are -arguably- disproportionately directed at black males, it's relevant.

            •  But the statistics -don't- (9+ / 0-)

              show that I am more likely to be murdered by a black male. I'm not. I'm white, and surrounded by whites. I live in Maine. I'd have to import a black guy to kill me. So any fear I have of being killed by a black man is nonsense.

              The diarist, as a black man who probably, going out on a limb, lives  a less lilly-white life than I do, has more to worry about.

              But I don't. Most whites don't. Even if you set aside disproportions of arrests and investigations, and even if you control for demographics--poverty, education--there's this mythic fear of black men. I know it. I feel it. I have a hard time believing that any white person (and maybe black people, too) doesn't. It's part of the cultural heritage.

              I saw this, and it blew me away, because I just don't ever get to eavesdrop on black men like this: http://vimeo.com/...

              "Gussie, a glutton for punishment, stared at himself in the mirror."

              by GussieFN on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 01:39:55 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  To expand on my other post (4+ / 0-)

              and not even trying to challenge your numbers ...

              you are many times more likely to die driving your car than you are to die as anyone's victim of murder.  Should you be fearful of your car?

            •  Your statistics don't show this (4+ / 0-)

              Your statistics say that white's were convicted of 4,849 murders and blacks 5,770. Even putting aside all of the issues of bias involved in getting from the acts themselves to the conviction rates, this does not show that I am 6 times more likely to be murdered by a black male. It shows almost no difference in the chances (about 1.2 to 1).

              Moreover, since I am white, and tend to encounter more white people than black each day, and since murders tend to be more often within the same race, I am probably much more likely to be murdered by someone who is white. The same is probably true for the vast majority of white people who walk around afraid of blacks.

              The fear is irrational if you look at the statistics and aren't playing games with them.

        •  again, you are conflating a whole (10+ / 0-)

          process here. blacks may be arrested for murder at higher rates, and be sentenced more severely. But, white people commit the most number of murders in this society. Crime is a social process, and a symbol of power relationships. Why white collar and blue collar crime? Who is making the rules?

          If blacks are predatory murderers by nature why do black middle and upper class folks commit much less violent crime, and all other types of crime, than whites?

          This is about class and enforcement. It isn't an easy puzzle. Many take the answers for granted which is why it demands a real exploration. Check out some of the books I listed, you may find them illuminating.

        •  I suspect that if you were able to control (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          leftist vegetarian patriot

          for poverty, education, and age the statistics would move pretty close to alignment.

          "I said, 'Wait a minute, Chester, You know I'm a peaceful man.'" J. R. Robertson.

          by NearlyNormal on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 02:46:47 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  if anything cops probably spend more effort (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Wham Bam

        solving murders involving white people. In a lot of cities, black-on-black murders hardly even make the daily newspaper. The police just put in a perfunctory effort and close the books because "nobody is willing to talk" (their favorite excuse). Whereas when a white middle class person is murdered, it makes the front page, and the police is expected to solve that murder.

        Generally victims are murdered by somebody of the same race. In other words, it's probably the case that white murderers are arrested at a higher rate than black murderers, who tend to get away with murder because the police just don't care.

    •  The FBI statistics are based on (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shanikka, Tonedevil, Odysseus, Plantsmantx

      crime reports and arrests. Period.  Nobody is following up to correlate the conviction rate, in part because the over-charging is then masked by the plea bargain -- people settling for the lesser evil just to get the whole matter over with.  Besides, prison is "three hots and a cot" and health care and education for the minimally compliant. Prison is safer than the streets and safer than the highways, where 40,000 a year are killed.

      However tempting, it's not logically correct to argue from the effect to the cause.

      If there's one lesson to draw from OWS, it's that the non-compliant get targeted for arrest and punishment, regardless of their race, age or gender.
      When Breitbart screeched "behave yourselves," he was expressing the essence of the conservative outrage.  Non-compliant people are maddening.  Why?  Because compliance is an abasement of the self and misery wants company.  People who have humbled themselves want others to do likewise.  Otherwise, having debased themselves is pure humiliation.

      People to Wall Street: "LET OUR MONEY GO"

      by hannah on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 01:17:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  which is why I picked out murders (0+ / 0-)

        being the most serious of crimes, they have the highest priority of police departments. Assuming that whites actually committed more murders than these statistics suggest because they were underreported or arrested at a lower rate makes no sense because we would also assume that police departments would, presumably being biased, devote more resources to catching white murderers of other whites.

        What I am saying is that murder stats are probably the least dependent on any potential police bias.

        •  come on (8+ / 0-)

          Look at the Martin shooting as an example. Also the sentencing rates and jury issues with racial bias. This is systemic.

          •  Exactly (10+ / 0-)

            If Zimmerman were a black man, and Martin white, he'd probably be charged with murder right now, and given the biases of juries, judges and sentencing would be more likely to be found guilty and more likely to get a harsher sentence. Instead, he's charged with nothing. Or if he's ever charged, might be charged for something less severe like manslaughter, and therefore never show up in the murder stats at all.

            To maintain his position cryonaut asserts numerous dubious non-facts like "those factors you listed would not have affected the more than 6 to 1 ratio by any meaningful number." Really? How does he know this?

            And "None of the things you mention would swing the numbers unless you imagine that thousands upon thousands of white murders are being shrugged off." - Really? How does he know this? His statistics are based on 4,849 and 5,770 murders attributed to blacks and whites respectively. We're not talking about a difference of "thousands upon thousands". In terms of nationwide statistics measuring a phenomenon in a population of 300,000,000 people, we're talking about something approaching a rounding error. And it is not just about "shrugging off" murders. It is a wide range of issues, such as white offenders being more likely to get a lesser charge or sentence (like manslaughter instead of murder).

            He also says, "Actually my numbers from FBI showed that black people committed most murders in this society." But "actually" his statistics don't show anything of the sort, not just because his numbers show the number of convictions for murder (which brings in the problem of bias at every stage of the process - which he "shrugs off" by simply imagining it's not a big problem), but also because his statistics show that 38.2% of convictions were black, and cryonaut just turns this 38% into "most" by imagining that most of the unknown race cases are "black".

            The imagination is truly a wonderful thing to make numbers support any conclusions you like.

            •  Lets look at Sanford (0+ / 0-)

              http://www.sanfordfl.gov/...

              You will need to click the side bar.

              The career or repeat offenders are almost exclusively black.

              The sexual offenders are nearer to 50/50 white black parity.

              It's a reasonable sample. The population of Sanford is  

              http://www.movoto.com/...

              well under 50%.

              What sort of per capita rates of criminality does this suggest?

              you could add Zimmerman murdering Martin to the murder stats too.

              A Catholic, Jew, Muslim and Buddhist walk into Al Aqsa Mosque. Buddhist immediately exclaims: "excuse me I appear to be in the wrong joke."

              by Salo on Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 09:31:06 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Actually, I'm inclined to argue that (0+ / 0-)

          the American fascination with death, something that everyone will eventually experience, is strange in itself and attests, strangely, to the fact that living in abusive conditions tends to be ignored.  There are some things worse than death and being deprived of the sustenance of live is right up there.  Being deprived of medical care in the event of injury and infection is next.

          Wherefore the deprivation?  To enhance somebody's sense of power and self-importance or cater to envy.

          How does George Zimmerman differ from George W. Bush who ordered the killing of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis?  Dubya got permission from the Congress, an authorization to use military force.  So, being in compliance with congressional directives makes Dubya immune.  Zimmerman did the deed himself 'cause he's a dummy.

          People to Wall Street: "LET OUR MONEY GO"

          by hannah on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 02:05:37 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Since you say they are probably... (2+ / 0-)

          then you can argue that as pure fact?

          This makes about as much sense as Mike Huckabee on mescaline. - Prodigal 2-6-2008

          by Tonedevil on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 02:07:39 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  facts and lies (4+ / 0-)

      According to your same chart:

      Male: 9,972     
      Female: 1,075

      Looks like possession of a penis and testacles is the real sign of criminality in these statistics.

      You also say, "There are many problems including racism, prejudices, judicial system, police profiling, etc but they do not fully explain the facts that are not lies."

      How do you know this? In order to know this you'd have to statistically measure how much all those factors impact the resulting statistics. Only then would you know whether the inferences you're drawing from those statistics are facts or lies. Have you done this? Didn't think so....

      •  To be fair, I think it's socialization. (0+ / 0-)

        Little girls are usually not encouraged to be a certain way. "Be a lady" and such. There's such a gap in the way boys and girls are raised, even today. I think if we closed that gap, we'd have less crime all around. Women are a lot of times, the victims of these murders. If girls were a bit rougher and boys were a bit gentler, I think it would solve a lot of problems. We'd be a lot closer to equal.

        "It's not enough to acknowledge privilege. You have to resist." -soothsayer

        by GenXangster on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 08:54:36 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  What? You didn't know this? (0+ / 0-)
        According to your same chart:

        Male: 9,972    
        Female: 1,075

        Looks like possession of a penis and testacles is the real sign of criminality in these statistics.

        For the vast majority of violent crime that is definitely true.  (There is some argument about child abuse for non-biological children and domestic abuse due to reporting bias - men very rarely report it if their wife hits them.)

        Does anyone seriously worry if they are walking down a dark street in a bad neighborhood and they see a woman (of any race) coming towards them?

    •  Even on the raw numbers (5+ / 0-)

      absent all sociological and victim profile-y context, you are looking at it precisely backwards.  What's the odds any given black man you come across is going to murder anyone in his lifetime (much less you)?  What are the odds for the white guy you walk past next?  Are either of those numbers large enough to justify fear?

      No.

      Looking at it in the other direction just reinforces harmful stereotyping.

      •  Oh, and one more thing (5+ / 0-)

        Men vs women.  There is a far FAR greater discrepancy between violence committed by men against women and by women against anybody, than between violence as committed by black and white men.  Hugely, hugely, hugely different.  Yet our culture resolutely fails to portray and treat "the male" as frightening, criminal, or dangerous in the way that it portrays and treats "the black male" as such.

        WHY.

        •  Well.... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          leftist vegetarian patriot

          Generally when you hear that someone was murdered, you assume that it was by a man.  Many movies and TV shows designed to surprise the viewer or create a "twist" ending end up having the murderer be a woman.  ("Oh my God!" says the crowd...)

          I think that if had a "name that murderer" quiz and asked, "A guy walking down the street got beaten to death the other day," they would say, "Male, young male."  If you said "Man minding his own business somewhere got shot" they would say "Male, middle-aged male".  Killed a cop - "Male."  Buried 20 people alive and ate them - "White male."  

          So I think it comes as no surprise to people that males are more violent.  Males are way more feared than females.  If I am walking home at night all alone and turn around to see what appears to be a woman walking 20 feet behind me, I might slow down to see who she is.  If I see what appears to be a guy 20 feet behind me, I do not slow down one step and walk quickly home.

        •  because... (5+ / 0-)

          if a black man harms a white woman, it's a racial crime that the white male universe will view as an attack on "our women," but if a white man harms a white woman, she deserves it because he's her social superior, or she's his property, or she should be subservient and if she isn't, she provoked him. "Why" in this case is because of where black men fall on the social hierarchy as compared to white men.

          It is not so much about actual behavior as it is about who is allowed to do certain things.

          Statistically men are vastly more likely to commit violent crimes. A useful book on this topic for women is The Gift of Fear.

          Another aspect of cultural attitudes about violence is that it is glorified - white men are supposed to fight, be physically strong, crusade around - it's a glamor thing. So that's not portrayed as frightening, it's portrayed as tough, brave, and "protective." White male violence is, in a sense, viewed as a desirable and even necessary quality.

        •  I agree with much of what you have written (5+ / 0-)

          I think, though, that men do have to live with some assumptions about their potential risk, and that risk is based on solid statistics.

          I'm male, and big/tall.  I'm acutely aware of the potential threat I present for women late at night, or women alone, and will be careful to cross the street if a woman is trying to open the lock to her apartment, rather than walk up to her on the sidewalk.  Fact is, women have good reason to keep in the back of their mind that any man they don't know (and perhaps some they do) is a potential rapist.  I wish it were not that way, but to be male is to be conscious of that fact.  

          The inverse is not true.  Men usually take it for granted, but I never automatically feel fear if a woman approaches me or if a woman is walking behind me on a street late at night.  That could be foolish, but the truth is, women are far less to commit crimes of any sort, and particularly violent crime.

          “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” Charles Darwin

          by ivorybill on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 06:21:45 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Age Factor (6+ / 0-)

      From 13 to 29, blacks account for more of the murder arrests. From age 30, whites do. So I assume you're pointing out that older white people become more violent while older black people become more peaceable. Good to know. I'll stay away from that white granny I wanted to help cross the street because she's likely a killer.

      Congress shall make no law abridging the right of the people peaceably to assemble.

      by edg on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 02:29:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  True Lies, Yet Again (15+ / 0-)

      Here's another way of looking at your data:

      In 2010, according to the FBI 5,770 Black persons were accused of murder (not convicted, mind you, since the FBI data reflects only arrest data, and not guilty, mind you, because a lot of folks' cases have now proven that innocent people are convicted of murder all the time).  
      That same year, there were 42,020,743 Black people living in the United States.

      That means that a single person's odds -- of any race -- of encountering a Black person who will kill them, even if I assume most favorably to your argument that every person accused of murder in 2010 was in fact guilty or convicted (not the same thing, as noted above) is 1:7,282.  Put another way, white folks who insist that there is something to be worried about when it comes to Black folks are basing their fears on something that only 1 out 7,281 different Black people they ever encounter might ever do to them in any given year.

      Of course, most whites in this country don't encounter that many different different Black folks in a day, a week, or a month - and in many places, they don't encounter that many Black folks in a year.   Doesn't stop most from treating the few they do encounter, especially young Black males, like shit anyway.

      Now that's before we take into account that of those 5,770 arrestees for murder, some will be completely innocent of the crime (even if they convicted - the Innocence Project has been doing yeoman's work in proving that point, not that folks who use FBI statistics to prejudge criminal risk based on race ever notice.)  That's before we take into account that in most cases, murder is an intra-, not inter-, racial crime, such that of the 3,327 whites who were murdered in 2010, only 447 of them were killed by Black people.  And before we take into account that just under 1/2 of all murders are committed by people who are either family members, friends or acquaintances of the victim.  

      All the above reduce even further the actual odds of any white person being murdered by any Black person EVER to the point where one has to wonder how white folks who even spend time thinking about this possibility walk out of the house every day, that's how racially paranoid it is.

      And it's before we take into account that there were actually, in 2010, only 447 whites were alleged to have been murdered by Black folks, making the actual odds of being a white person killed (or alleged to have been killed) by a Black person in 2010 to have been 1:94,006.

      So given all of the above even it is true that young Black men between the ages of 13-29 are accused of murder more often than young white men (raising the aggregate statistic so much that it does superficially appear like "more Blacks" kill people -- but not by much) would you mind telling me why it is rational to make any racial assumption about Blacks and murder that ascribes the issue to race?

      If you or anyone else can explain to me why it is anything but racist paranoia for whites to spend a nanosecond fearing anyone Black given those statistics I'm all ears.

      By your reasoning (since, after all, you brought the statistics up), God save us all if we see a white person over the age of 29 walking down the street because whites commit more murders over that age than Black people - and after the age of 34 commit more murders than ANYONE else combined according to your own source of data)  The only age group of Black people accused of more murders than whites are ages 13-29.  They were 62.6% of the Black people accused of murdering anyone.  

      Now I could play with the FBI statistics you rely upon all day long (if I didn't have to work for a living, anyhow) and come up with all sorts of other "data-supported" that could lead me to ascribe a whole host of deviant criminality to white people  (such as, for example, the data that suggests that you should NEVER let a white man near your child because they are odds-on favorites to molest them or kill them - by a wide margin.)     Imagine for just a moment if the world took those same FBI statistics (where the FBI even bothers to keep race data, and it should tell you something that for many violent crimes other than murder you have to a lot more work to find it) and applied them to prejudging white people we encounter, or used them to determine whether any individual white person is "suspicious".  After all, when it comes to murder most whites who kill people don't even have youthful ignorance as an excuse for killing someone (unlike most black folks accused of murder, since just under 2/3 of all Black folks arrested for murder are under the age of 20).  

      Imagining should lead an intelligent person to only one rational conclusion - the entire business is irrational.  I used to hope for that day, when folks would just be fair, and rational.  But I am increasingly convinced that it will never happen.  That is because IME one thing that folks like you who keep pulling up FBI statistics to justify racial profiling against Black folks are great at is pointing out how you're all individuals so we can't apply any group lessons we've learned about racism when we are observing what you focus on, or the arguments you make, trying to justify it being OK to see Black people and white people differently when it comes to crime.  

      If you don't stand for something, you will go for anything. Visit Maat's Feather

      by shanikka on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 03:05:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

        •  Anytime (5+ / 0-)

          Your diary was excellent and it should have been food for thought.  Instead, the same old same old.  Few things irritate me as much as white liberals (those who claim to be our friends, mind you, unlike the "real racists") who trot out the same racist tropes about Blacks and crime based upon IMO not accidentally reported crime statistics involving a comparative handful of white people who have been harmed by Black people.  Not to mention the friends that have convinced themselves that their unfortunate victimization by someone Black MUST be have something to do with the race of the perpetrator, such that it's OK for them to henceforth be worried about other Black people having nothing to do with them, or the crime committed against them.  If these fears were in another context we'd recognize this type of thinking for the PTSD that it is, an illness that can be treated.  Instead, folks defend that type of thinking as "justified" -- and all of us Black folks but especially our sons pay for it.

          If you don't stand for something, you will go for anything. Visit Maat's Feather

          by shanikka on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 04:41:20 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I would say your response to the commenter (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dr Swig Mcjigger

        is more than a little rude.  I've seen this behavior from you before so I'm no longer surprised by it.  
        But to correct your soliloquy, you're conflating the FBI statistics with the probablity of a white person encountering a black male youth, a point of comparison made by only you, not the commenter.  Secondly, in your comparison, you do not attribute population density of AA people in places like Big Horn, WY as compared to places described by denise b.
        This is a topic of significant importance that has an opportunity to elucidate and educate.  I would hope you, and everyone else engaged, would treat it as such.

        Koch Industries, Inc: Quilted Northern, Angel Soft, Brawny, Sparkle, Soft 'n Gentle, Mardi Gras, Vanity Fair, Dixie

        by ChiTownDenny on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 03:32:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  And I Would Say (5+ / 0-)

          That I could care less what your opinion is about the tone of what I said.  I am quite direct, to be sure - but I do not think I was rude in any way.  Just thorough.

          Since my comment does not address the odds of a white person running into a "[B]lack male youth", I'm not sure what you're on about.  However, since you bring it up, if your odds of running into any unique Black person who might be a murderer-o-whites are around 1:7200 (see above) in the best of circumstances, surely the odds are a lot longer than that when you consider only young Black males (since they are but a subset of Black people.)

          But of course if you live in a community with  higher percentage of Black people, you have more chance of running into a Black person.  Still doesn't mean that the odds of any individual white person running into any individual Black murderer-to-be change a whit, though.  

          If you don't stand for something, you will go for anything. Visit Maat's Feather

          by shanikka on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 04:27:04 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I appreciate that you cared enough to respond. LOL (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Dr Swig Mcjigger

            As I indicated to you above, the application of your statistics is significantly flawed.  As such, your citing more statistics from the same flawed analysis doesn't serve as construsctive analysis.  I find it futile to continue this discussion with you.

            Koch Industries, Inc: Quilted Northern, Angel Soft, Brawny, Sparkle, Soft 'n Gentle, Mardi Gras, Vanity Fair, Dixie

            by ChiTownDenny on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 04:50:37 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  OK (4+ / 0-)

              If it's flawed, spell it out.  In detail.  Your argument, unless I misinterpreted it, was that the more Black people you are around the more likely you are to be victimized by crime.  That argument is superficially correct in the sense that if your odds are 1:7280 Black people and you run into 15,000 unique Black people a day, or your odds of being a white victim of a Black murderer are 1:92,000 unique Black people, and you live somewhere where you actually encounter that number of unique Black people, you are twice as likely IF you are victimized to have your murderer be Black.  But it is not correct to say that the more Black people you encounter the more likely you are to be murdered, which you seem to be suggesting.  That's a whole lot of fail as a matter of logic.

              If you disagree, no worries.  But it would be good if you would spell out reasoning, based in some math including the rules of logic, not just emotion.  

              If you don't stand for something, you will go for anything. Visit Maat's Feather

              by shanikka on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 05:03:14 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Left out a couple of words (4+ / 0-)

                Above should read:

                "That argument is superficially correct in the sense that if your odds of being a white murdered by a Black are 1:7280 unique Black people, and you run into 15,000 unique Black people, or your odds of being a white victim of a Black murderer are 1:92,000 unique Black people, and you live somewhere where you actually encounter twice that number of unique Black people, you are twice as likely IF you are victimized AT ALL to have your murderer be Black."  

                If you don't stand for something, you will go for anything. Visit Maat's Feather

                by shanikka on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 05:05:23 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  NO. I'm done with you. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  WereBear Walker

                  You're not direct, or even blunt.  You're just offensive and rude.

                  But it is not correct to say that the more Black people you encounter the more likely you are to be murdered, which you seem to be suggesting.
                  I have made no such suggestions and what you are doing has been clearly addressed by Kos in his recent purge.  
                  Done with you!

                  Koch Industries, Inc: Quilted Northern, Angel Soft, Brawny, Sparkle, Soft 'n Gentle, Mardi Gras, Vanity Fair, Dixie

                  by ChiTownDenny on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 05:18:05 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  This is Now (3+ / 0-)

                    The second diary where you've stormed off in a huff instead of actually reading carefully and, most critically, responded to what was said instead of what you thought was being said.  I wasn't even the person you huffed off about the last time - quite the opposite, you thanked me for engaging with you.

                    Guess that was a short-lived appreciation.  /shrug

                    If you don't stand for something, you will go for anything. Visit Maat's Feather

                    by shanikka on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 05:36:52 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  P.S. (3+ / 0-)

                      I'm confident that if you make a complaint to Markos, he will be happy to evaluate my postings on their merits as it relates to the behavior that resulted in folks being "purged" from the site.  

                      If you don't stand for something, you will go for anything. Visit Maat's Feather

                      by shanikka on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 05:37:39 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  You really have a problem. (2+ / 0-)

                      Your comment thread is full of shit like this:

                      white liberals (those who claim to be our friends, mind you, unlike the "real racists")

                      Koch Industries, Inc: Quilted Northern, Angel Soft, Brawny, Sparkle, Soft 'n Gentle, Mardi Gras, Vanity Fair, Dixie

                      by ChiTownDenny on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 05:45:22 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  I know a lot of black people (3+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Larsstephens, Plantsmantx, luckydog

                        who agree. We all have a problem. lol

                        Racism is racism. White paternalism and privilege is not limited to the right.

                        Now report me. I'm rude.

                        "It's not enough to acknowledge privilege. You have to resist." -soothsayer

                        by GenXangster on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 09:07:56 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  You might call your actions rude. (0+ / 0-)

                          I would call them insignificant.  You see, there is an opportunity in this diary that you, and others, have squandered.  People on this site want to figure out what the facts are and then figure out how to address the facts.  Others are rude or boast of being rude.  They contribute nothing to the understanding of the facts.  And that makes you insignificant.  That also makes you culpable for the status quo.  Good job!

                          Koch Industries, Inc: Quilted Northern, Angel Soft, Brawny, Sparkle, Soft 'n Gentle, Mardi Gras, Vanity Fair, Dixie

                          by ChiTownDenny on Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 08:15:36 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Uh-huh. lol (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            luckydog

                            You have contributed nothing to my understanding of what the fuck's wrong with you except for the white paternalism you display towards blacks in this thread. Good job!

                            "It's not enough to acknowledge privilege. You have to resist." -soothsayer

                            by GenXangster on Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 08:18:15 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  We both have burdens to bear. (0+ / 0-)

                            Mine is living with white privilege in a downtown Chicago highrise with a doorman and a BMW in the garage.  Yours is living with the knowledge that young black males get shot and killed for being young black males and that you, and those like you, pick the wrong fights and with the wrong people.
                            Done.  EOM. See ya.

                            Koch Industries, Inc: Quilted Northern, Angel Soft, Brawny, Sparkle, Soft 'n Gentle, Mardi Gras, Vanity Fair, Dixie

                            by ChiTownDenny on Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 08:33:07 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  lol Uh-huh. People who (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            luckydog, starfu

                            think "those like me" pick fights with "the wrong people" are usually not the people they think they are and it gives them a sad and sometimes a big old mad to hve it pointed out to them. Nobody likes to be told they're lacking in racial understanding and being offensively paternalistic when they think they're infallible liberals.

                            It'll be okay. Sometimes people learn the hard way.

                            "It's not enough to acknowledge privilege. You have to resist." -soothsayer

                            by GenXangster on Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 08:55:37 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  what a burden (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            starfu, SethRightmer

                            "Mine is living with white privilege in a downtown Chicago highrise with a doorman and a BMW in the garage. "

                            must be stressful!

                          •  Translation: (0+ / 0-)

                            "I just lost this fight that I picked in a very humiliating way so I'm going to rub your face in my privilege."

                            Holy crap. Just... wow.

                          •  Envy is one of the "Seven Deadly Sins". (0+ / 0-)

                            You can refer to me as one of The Jones'.  LOL.  
                            Does the fact that I have worked to achieve a comfortable lifestyle make you uncomfortable?  That's your problem.  My problem is engaging in discourse with people who would dismiss my point of view, and even attack it, because they're unable to articulate and resort to attacks.  And yeah, I'm quite aware of the smack-down my comment represents.

                            Koch Industries, Inc: Quilted Northern, Angel Soft, Brawny, Sparkle, Soft 'n Gentle, Mardi Gras, Vanity Fair, Dixie

                            by ChiTownDenny on Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 11:29:53 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Projection (0+ / 0-)

                            You have not expressed yourself clearly. You have engaged in appeal to emotion. You have not presented facts. The folks you were responding to expressed themselves clearly and without undue emotional language.

                            Your point of view is simply your opinion, not inherently worthy of respect. As you do not present facts, but rely on emotion and attack, your opinions are not worthy of respect, period.

                            I have a comfortable lifestyle. I am not uncomfortable with your success, I am disgusted by how you represent your success and use it as a weapon to attack others. Your comment does not represent a smack down, but a disgusting stream of emotion laden, fact free verbal diarrhea.

                          •  How's that Cyndi Lauper lyric go? (0+ / 0-)

                            Something about seeing your true colors, shining through?

                      •  As a white guy let me just say (0+ / 0-)

                        Shut up please, you're making us look bad. I found Shanikka's logic, use of statistics and argumentation to be above reproach. I found your comments to be petty, fact-free and emotional. This is not about you and your hurt feelings. If you don't want to engage, then stop.

                        •  From one white guy to another, (0+ / 0-)

                          your race has no significance to me.  Your ignorance in thinking that it does, however, is significant.  

                          Koch Industries, Inc: Quilted Northern, Angel Soft, Brawny, Sparkle, Soft 'n Gentle, Mardi Gras, Vanity Fair, Dixie

                          by ChiTownDenny on Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 11:58:31 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  You have not illustrated my ignorance (0+ / 0-)

                            You state opinions as if they were facts. You appeal to emotion. You are haughty and egotistical. You, sir, disgust me and I do not consider you part of any "reality based community" as you obviously live in a fantasy world constructed out of ego and privilege.

                            Good day, sir.

                  •  LOL! Rude? Where? (5+ / 0-)

                    Whatever. I'm probably being "rude" by wondering how the hell was shanikka being rude.

                    "It's not enough to acknowledge privilege. You have to resist." -soothsayer

                    by GenXangster on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 09:05:35 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Not giving a white guy's emotion due deference (0+ / 0-)

                      Oops, ChiTown is a white guy so what I really meant to say was "factual presentation of very facty facts" not "fact free emotional melt down."

                      I believe the only correct response would have been to prostrate yourself before this shining luminary of post racial analysis and admit his innate superiority and the correctness of his interpretations. Anything less is rude, don't you know your place? /snark

                      As if I needed any more examples of how racism is still prevalent in our country, even among so called liberals. Still, I'm white. I don't have it thrust in my face every day like you probably do, and when I see something like this it IS shocking.

                      Seriously, who says things like this:

                      We both have burdens to bear. Mine is living with white privilege in a downtown Chicago highrise with a doorman and a BMW in the garage.  Yours is living with the knowledge that young black males get shot and killed for being young black males and that you, and those like you, pick the wrong fights and with the wrong people.
                      Done.  EOM. See ya.
                      People like you. Picking fights with "the wrong people" (your betters.)

                      Holy fuck. I'm sorry. I am so sorry.

      •  This does not match the stats... (0+ / 0-)
        (such as, for example, the data that suggests that you should NEVER let a white man near your child because they are odds-on favorites to molest them or kill them - by a wide margin.)
        Can you document your claim?  Here are the stats I found:  http://www.acf.hhs.gov/...

        They seem to indicate that child abuse is also disproportionately committed by blacks.

        This should not be a surprise - most of the factors that correlate with child abuse such as poverty, substance abuse, and broken homes are disproportionately present among black Americans.

    •  the numbers you are looking for is here (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dr Swig Mcjigger

      http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/...

      It's a few years out of date, but it does show that the homicide offending rate for blacks is about 7 times higher than for whites. As you said- the reasons for this could very well lie in the economic disparities, employment disparities and other problems of racism. However the fact remains unchanged- blacks do commit significantly more murders than whites. (Men also commit murder at a rate that is approximately 10X that of women, for what it's worth)

  •  A couple more things (14+ / 0-)

    1. In addition to all the things you cite above about what's contributing to stereotypes - there's also a belief that anyone who raises the possibility of race as a mitigating factor is out to gain something at their expense or trying to get out of trouble.  In this scenario, fear of black men is quite justified and "common sense" and yet they cannot express this common sense out loud without being "unfairly" called a racist. When these people speak with black people, they spend the entire conversation worried that at any point, the other person is going to turn on them and call them a racist for something they said. Ultimately, where this leads to, is that they just stop talking to black people all together. Also, despite the fact that the examples of them actually having a tangible impact on the verdict of a trial are relatively few, these people ascribe to Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson a power and influence that goes well beyond the actual reality. In their minds, they imagine that the people who are up in arms about Trayon have not actually researched the case themselves and are simply "following orders." In fact, however, I would posit that with the internet, most people now not only research things for themselves but do it obsessively.

    2. This incident has illustrated something very sad which is that a good chunk of white America knows absolutely nothing about how black people live. We really have become two distinct and separated cultures. You can see this in the way people react to Trayvon's tweets or the gold teeth pictures. These people have absorbed and an internalized an image, filtered down to them through the media, of hip hop culture without ever laboring to understand that culture from the inside. For that reason, they are quite sincerely shocked when they are exposed to that culture  -the self contained world of the black teen- in raw form. I myself am guilty of this. I had to google half of what Trayvon was typing just to decode it. And yet, when you 'translate' it into terms that are understandable for those outside his circles, there is little to nothing in the conversations that  Trayvon was having that is not also said among white teens.

    I first became of problem #2 when I lived in Japan. I had what was, for me, a pretty profound experience when I was living in a guest house -half Japanese/half foreigner - with around 30 other people. Because I could speak Japanese, I often found myself interpreting and explaining American culture to my Japanese housemates. Then one day a young black man who was around the same age as me moved in and in talking to him, I realized that none of the things I had been saying about "America" applied to his life. Our experiences growing up, the realities we knew, the generalizations that popped into our head when we told people about home were completely divergent. It made me aware that the white experience is only one side of things and that there is a country within a country that I had never seen, never bothered to get to know, and likely never would.

    This is why it's important that so many white people have joined in to protest the Trayvon killings. At least it's a sign that this gap is closing, even a little, and that white people are now able to recognize a black child as someone who shares their common humanity.

    And maybe that, in a way, is what really sets Zimmerman's defenders off. A world in which their subconscious fears are no longer taken  as "common sense" by a "silent majority". A world in which they can no longer live without having to challenge their basic assumptions and in which they might have to make an effort to understand things which they've up til now been able to conveniently ignore.

     that is any different from the

  •  if their positions (12+ / 0-)

    had been reversed, if Trayvon were white and Zimmerman black, there is no question that Zimmerman would have been arrested for homicide. What you have said in this diary is plainly accurate.

    I have also read that statistically, more violent crime is committed by white males (perhaps 20-40 years old) and nearly all serial killers are white guys.

    White crime tends not to be viewed so often as crime - and can even take on connotations of college pranks, or as a sign that the perpetrator needs therapy (don't we all?). The criminal behavior of the ass clowns who screwed over the economy is seen as delicate and dainty because of their aristocratic status. In effect it's about class, because by definition, the rich are blameless, and rich white people are by definition innocent because they are the guys who own everything and make the rules (or their friends do.)

    The whole story depresses the hell out of me, because I have sons about the same age as Trayvon Martin. I am appalled that Zimmerman hasn't been arrested.

    •  Foucault would agree (5+ / 0-)

      I was going to quote him to support just that point, but passed for efficiency. spot on.

      •  never read foucault (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        linkage

        but probably should....

        •  Discipline and Punish (3+ / 0-)

          I'd recommend starting there.  Most of his work is really good, but a lot of Foucault is not easily accessible even with a strong background in theory.  That's one of the better entries because it's readable and draws you into the bigger, more abstract concepts regarding knowledge and power smoothly.  At least, that's how it was in my case; Discipline & Punish was the key that allowed him to fully make sense for me.

          Friends who speak French as a first language say Foucault's much easier to understand in French, but I'm not entirely sure that's true.

          •  thanks (0+ / 0-)

            Good to know. We probably have a copy in the house.

            None of those hifalutin philosopher/critical theorist types are easy to follow. I have long wondered why they can't express their ideas more succinctly - with a 100-word overview of the general concepts - before launching into 5000 pages of self-referential, convoluted rambling. I want them to get to the point, which they never do. I've seen enough of that type of writing to agree Foucault is probably as obscure in French as he is in English. Who teaches these people to write, anyway? It's like there's a rule somewhere that they have to use a lot of big words and get into the tiniest nuances of different shades of meaning in order to talk about anything, and it has to take all fucking day. I don't have the brain power to hold on that long. Kudos to anyone with that kind of patience.

            ;)

  •  Great title. "True Lie" is a grabber. (5+ / 0-)

    What'd the devil give you for your soul, Tommy? He taught me to play this here guitar REAL good. Oh son, for that you traded your everlastin' soul? Well, I wuddn' usin' it.

    by ZedMont on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 01:25:30 PM PDT

  •  And even if it is true, so what? (6+ / 0-)

    I mean, even black men commit crimes at a higher rate than white ones, that absolutely should not have any bearing in the judgment of any individual.  To do otherwise is the cardinal sin of judging individuals by the actions of others who sort of look like them or share a characteristic.  I sure would be furious if someone judged me negatively if it came to light that people with middle toes longer than their big toes disproportionately cheated on their taxes.

    Here's a simple rule:  Do not just anyone by the actions of other people who may share a characteristic with them.  It seems pretty straightforward, but remarkably few people seem to get it.

    •  Yet pattern recognition is a basic survival tool. (0+ / 0-)

      If my personal experience with those who have characteristic "X" is universally negative, then my hind brain is going to drive me to avoid them.

      The above points to a major flaw in the rhetoric of identity politics - the personal is political, except when YOUR personal contradicts MY political.

  •  By they way (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mconvente, Tonedevil, WereBear Walker

    I loved this

    Anecdotes matter.
    Yes, the sure as hell do.  Distressingly so.
  •  White supremacist hacks Trayvon's accts (13+ / 0-)

    the link is below, and someone with more time than I should diary this.

    Evidently an anonymous but self-professed white supremacist has hacked Trayvon's gmail, facebook and other accounts in an effort to find 'evidence' and 'rationale' for his death. To add add insult to this inhumanity, they not only hacked his account, but then began sending emails/messages 'from' Trayvon in order to further indict him.

    http://gawker.com/...

  •  Symptom (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    slothlax, lilsky, wasatch, GenXangster
    Once more, our politics are sick.
    .

    I think the sickness is in our hearts. The politics are a symptom.

    "Corruptio Optimi Pessima" (Corruption of the best is the worst)

    by zenox on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 01:50:52 PM PDT

  •  I was with you for most of this... (3+ / 0-)

    ...but this part is simply incorrect:

    African Americans are also more likely to be poor than whites. When a researcher accounts for these variables, the story becomes one of class and not race.
    The crime disparity remains even after correcting for socioeconomic status.  It'd be trivial to dismiss the whole argument if it didn't.
    •  it does not (6+ / 0-)

      Poverty or crime? Poverty over determines both incarceration, and certain types of crime rates.

      Cite on that claim?

      •  Poverty does correlate well with crime. (0+ / 0-)

        However, African-americans are substantially more likely to be convicted of a crime even when normalizing for income and wealth.

        I'd have the cite handy, but it doesn't come up in the top Google searches like it used to.

        Wikipedia does have some discussion on the matter, with some sources.

        •  But w/convictions (5+ / 0-)

          1) given history of this nation there have been those who have been wrongly convicted via race
          2) how many whites aren't being convicted of crimes. For example I always say look at the movie Traffic, the scene where the suburban white kids are getting high. If police went through the burbs looking for dope like they do in black other minority communities there'd be a hell of a lot more white people in prison too.

          So your message about conviction goes deeper, as the author of this diary says, there is a racial disparity to this.

          And how about this, I'm black, grew up in a mostly black neighborhood in southeast VA. It was blue collar middle class area (aka one or both parents worked multi-jobs). My friendship network was all black, I listened to rap, played ball in the park. I went to college & got educated, I wasn't am not a criminal. My friends, even the ones who didn't go to college weren't/aren't criminals. But guess are blue collar MIDDLE CLASS upbringing had nothing to do with it. But I can't change society & I'm fucking well past sick & tired of being judged on my skin color, having someone think I'm automatically a criminal b/c of my DNA. That one day I'll end up a criminal b/c of my DNA (guess why even at my damn job conservative whites still look at my like they're scared). So fuck it, excluding my family & close friends... the rest of society can burn in hell. Screw y'all don't like me, I don't like y'all either!!!

          "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ." - Mahatma Gandhi Proud Obama Supporter! I write stuff sometimes

          by wlfpack81 on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 03:28:49 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Just a thought from a cab driver(former) (11+ / 0-)

    I drove a cab in San Francisco for 8 years on a day shift and without any exaggeration I had twice as many whites not pay their fare as any other ethnic group.  They just walked out of the cab, announced they were not paying and off they went. I'm not into physical violence and just let it go.....it isn't worth getting into a confrontation over a silly $10 cab fare.

    I would always answer radio calls in black neighborhoods, those familiar with the City those would be Hunter's Point, Bay View, and Potrero Hill----in 8 years I was never threatened or assaulted by anyone.  

    My single biggest problem was associated with white drunks....

    Just saying.  

    "It took us a couple of days because I like to know what I'm talking about before I speak." President Barack Obama 3/24/09

    by sfcouple on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 02:09:14 PM PDT

  •  well put, chauncey... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Larsstephens, Plantsmantx

    ...Cheers.

  •  YES on the Rorschach (8+ / 0-)

    Struck me from the start that it took awhile for the racism to come oozing out from the cracks. At first, only the police were defending Zimmerman by giving him the okeedokee and sending him home, hiding Martin's cell phone and body, etc.

    But once the groundswell began to build for justice, out came the slime and lies and stereotyping and red herrings and hideous hateful comments. I fully expect it to get even more craven and sick.

    I hope the majority of our young people take a good look at this tragedy and what went into creating it, and choose open hearts and minds over racism and its culture of willful blindness and death.

  •  Great diary, Chauncey (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GenXangster, Larsstephens
  •  Ok, count me as somebody who views this as (0+ / 0-)

    a very poor diary.  First things first though.  I'm a "conservative' and a registered Republican.  I also was born into a white body but I don't identify with white (a deeper discussion is necessary if we want to go into that).

    Anyway, I would love to think that AA's do not commit crimes in greater percentages than other groups.  But let's just take one form of crime.  Let's take murder rates.  What I understand from the statistics is that blacks are more likely to be the victims of murder than their percentage in American society would lead you to believe if murders were committed proportionate to their rate in society.  And they are also more likely to have committed the murder, after all most murders are intra-racial not inter-racial.

    Now, as I understand it this is simply the readily available data.  Now the interesting sociological question is:  Why is this?  Conservatives and progressives, unsurprisingly enough, draw different conclusions.  But what this diarist is saying, without citing figures, is that this statistical observation is simply not true and he/she writes this without citing any of those pesky things we call statistics.

    As a caveat to what I have written, I really don't know what the statistics say about many of the different types of crimes.  I chose murder because that is the most serious crime and I have heard numerous reports from all sorts of media that the victim/proven murderer rate is disproportionately weighted toward african-american.  If this is incorrect, the diarist should cite sources.

    One of the things that I admire about the progressive community is that you all seem more likely to be "reality based" (at least as compared to my "conservative" brethren in the last decade or so).  This diarist seems to not want to confront reality though.

    And, as a final PS...No, I don't think the disproportionate murder rate is a genetic thing.  That is what racist conservatives preach/say.  I reject that.

    We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

    by theotherside on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 02:53:01 PM PDT

    •  I answer those questions in the comments (6+ / 0-)

      and also work through the logic above, take the meta claim, read through the logic and consult some of the books I listed.

      is the logic that specious, that you cannot generalize from aggregate data on who is jail to the likelihood of a given person committing a "crime" given all that we know about institutional bias in enforcement, incarceration, and conviction rates?

    •  how mighty white of you (4+ / 0-)

      this part is priceless, "I also was born into a white body but I don't identify with white (a deeper discussion is necessary if we want to go into that)."

      Did you check the privilege that comes with that color and body at the door?

      I just had to ask.

      Some other comments have demolished your claim so I need not be repetitive.

      •  My guess is that if you are a person of good (0+ / 0-)

        faith and are as interested in justice as I am that in a relatively short period of time that you will re-read what I have written and read what you have written above and come to regret your choice of words.

        And please realize that I may be marching side by side with you for justice for Trayvon and for Kenneth (see another diary that details that murder of another person for no damn reason).

        Be well.

        We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

        by theotherside on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 03:31:15 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  One has nothing to do with the other (4+ / 0-)

          I didn't say you were a bad person, I just asked how you disavowed your privilege...my point being good luck with that.

          •  The logical side of my person would tend to say (0+ / 0-)

            something along the lines of "how does my understanding and  somehow disavowing my admitted privilege somehow change the crime statistics?"

            Further I would ask you if you have ever seen the movie "Cry Freedom"?  While it has been nearly 20 years since I have seen that movie, your comment has stirred memories of that movie.  Denzel played the lead role of Steven Biko and there was a scene that Biko said something similar to "Perhaps its not entirely appropriate for a white South Afrikaner to tell the  blacks how best to react to apartheid."  (I'm sure I'm butchering the actual quote but the sentiment, I hope, is loud and clear).

            Anyway, I do attempt to understand the historical significance of being born in a white, male body in America in 1971.  How that leads to the way I think, act, and behave.  I'm not always successful but it is something I'm cognizant of.

            But I'm not really sure what you mean by disavowing my privilege and wishing me good luck with it.  So how does a person born into a white body "disavow" my admitted privilege?

            We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

            by theotherside on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 04:29:17 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  you can't (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              GenXangster, Larsstephens

              but you can be conscious, struggle, be righteous, and be a good race traitor against whiteness as Brother Noel Ignatiev would say.

              check out his talk at OWS if you are not familiar with him.

              •  If, by your own admission, I can't disavow (0+ / 0-)

                my "white privilege" then why did you interject that loaded term into the discussion?

                And, no, I can't be a good race traitor because that doesn't compute.   My race is the human race.  I'm not going to betray humanity because that is all we have.  Am I imperfect in practicing this?  Absolutely.

                Perhaps like you, I'm an imperfect human that was born in the 20th century with all the racial, political, gender, religious, etc. baggage of those that came before us.  

                But I think the real issue is that the diary is not really defensible and so you lashed out at my being born into a white body.  It's a perfectly understandable, if flawed, human reaction.  I've seen worse.

                Be well.

                We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

                by theotherside on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 05:41:36 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  my diary is sound (4+ / 0-)

                  feel free to disagree. be specific. how is the logic flawed. please help me.

                  in all, that is life. You can be a race traitor. You have to own your whiteness and disavow it if you are really striving to do the work you claim to.

                  verbal semantics won't get you out of that ethical bind. sorry.

                  also, white privilege is real. again, if you want to do the type of work you profess you should brush up on it. i am not in the business of comforting white folks--check out my earlier post on liberal racism here on Kos to get some insight on my m.o. in that regards.

                  now, if you just want to fly the flag to make yourself feel all righteous and good, so be it, just don't pat yourself on the back too much.

                  •  I had a really hard time explaining this (0+ / 0-)

                    I was trying to explain the concept of owning whiteness (I used the terms "recognize and accept") to a friend, and I did a piss poor job of it, IMHO. (I sort of stumble through issues of race and try to do what's in my heart; articulating concepts like this isn't my strong suit.)

                    What - to you - does it mean to own one's whiteness?

                    Also, I'd like your take on disavowal, too.

                    The problem with going with your gut as opposed to your head is that the former is so often full of shit. - Randy Chestnut

                    by lotusmaglite on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 05:59:10 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

    •  I do not have the statistics (0+ / 0-)

      But suspect if you control for income and/or unemployment, past incarceration, etc the numbers may equalize a bit more.  Also blacks are more likely to simply be arrested, and the FBI stats are for arrests, not convictions.  

      I suspect that the very high rates of incarceration might also increase risk.  It's part of the failed war on drugs.  Black men are disproportionately imprisoned, for longer, for drug crimes than whites for a host of reasons... law enforcement patterns, differences in sentencing for crack vs rock cocaine, etc etc.  On an individual basis and in the aggregate, you might expect a little more violence in a population who is cut off from employment due to the difficulties of finding work with a criminal record.

      I suspect that the murder rate among white meth addicts and dealers has got to be as high or higher as that among black crack dealers.  There are all sorts of ways to split the data - put white people in similarly situated environment and no doubt you'll have a similar murder rate.

      “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” Charles Darwin

      by ivorybill on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 06:37:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Try being female for awhile (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dukelawguy, bluedust, starfu

    Most of us women and girls have been afraid (at one time or another)  of black males, as well at white males, Hispanic males, etc.  It depends on where your at, and what the MSM is obsessed with reporting at the time.  Rape and sexual harassment has no racial "inequality".  

  •  Oh, Jesus... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dconrad, Larsstephens, Singing Lizard

    If only Rich Pryor had lived to be President.

    Richard was a genius. His telling of the truth was so powerful because he always, always, always did away with The Emperor's Clothes right away.

    Please know I'm not demeaning President Obama with this particular clip...but it was in fact how Pryor imagined the "First Black President" (or his writer's did.)

    In this piece he takes the whole Black/White thing and slams it against a brick wall. He was a genius. People laughed, and Richard became a superstar because he was telling the truth and that truth resonated with blacks and whites.

    I miss him.

    Good diary, chauncey. Wonderful comments too commenters.

  •  crime (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mrbeen38, Singing Lizard

    is typically gonna be committed based more upon socioeconomic conditions rather than race.

  •  People really do that? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Plantsmantx

    People really accept it when racist assholes bring up our slanted justice system as means to excuse racism?

    Wow. Am I ever out of the loop. There is no part of this that doesn't make me angry.

    Tipped and rec'd, but I don't trust myself not to start screaming, so this is all the comment I have.

    The problem with going with your gut as opposed to your head is that the former is so often full of shit. - Randy Chestnut

    by lotusmaglite on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 03:29:00 PM PDT

  •  Glad to know this, but any recent figures? (0+ / 0-)

    On black and white violence figures. I'm shocked to read this because as you say it is so prevalently stated that blacks commit the most crimes it is accepted as a truth. Thank you so much for this.

    "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

    by Gorette on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 03:44:37 PM PDT

  •  I don't know about the statistics (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    balancedscales

    I, like everyone else, have my opinion about what the 'truth' behind crime and its relationship to race is. I just don't think that the fact that Black people are the 'Slave Race of America' can really be said to have no bearing on people's perceptions, or black people's lives.  

    Also, if you do accept that there is a divergance in the black crime rate, which I do, it seems to have shot up in the 1960s when all the manufacturing jobs were leaving. Figures, black people would be the first hurt by the deteriorating economic position of America, right.  (That's not to say that being heavily policed doesn't effect it. I'm pretty sure if you tallied up the number of traffic tickets given, blacks must appear to be the worse drivers in the world as well, since its always blacks who are being pulled over. Here I really doubt blacks are just racially predisposed to committ trafic violations though.

    Related, the murder rate has actually gone down since the 60s, according to the FBI, but the robbery rate has more than doubled. I don't think the equation is as simple as poor people commit crime, but I imagine increased unemployment and lower educational rates in the black community have to influence the number of people who decide to rob. (Rape and Kill, not so much. I can see how being unemployed can make a person say let me rob this person, not seeing the connection between being unemployed or unemployable and deciding to rape someone, or kill them for shitz n giggles.)

    Hell, in light of the Trayvon Martin case you've been hearing all the testimonials about black mothers telling their sons how to behave in public and not be shot. I also sometimes secretly suspect some of the issues facing the black community are the result of collective PTSD. Being America's 'slave race', the convient whipping boys and girls, the scapegoats for the world economic collapse (It happened because blacks bought houses you know.) is stressful. Stress ain't healthy, people.  

    •  and what they reveal and do not (4+ / 0-)

      read what I wrote fairly and challenge yourself.

      •  I read it (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        WereBear Walker, bluedust

        and found it rather weak and unconvincing. The best you might be able to maintain is that some (large but unspecified) amount of crime committed by whites is going unnoticed. It will still be the case that blacks in the USA appear to generate criminal behavior much in excess of what would be predicted by their percentage makeup of the population. The primary point of your diary seemed to be to point out reasons why it is understandable (excusable?) that this is the case. Be that as it may be, it is, nevertheless, the case.

        And why wouldn't it be? Most social scientists would be surprised were an aggrieved, urban underclass to generally produce law-abiding, productive citizens. All too many blacks find themselves members of that underclass. I think you are correct that class means more than race, but where the two coincide I can't think why or how you would ignore the correlation (not causation—correlation).

        By the same token (and I doubt you will wish to hear it), African-Americans have also generated themselves a contemporary culture (especially among the young) that is anything but functionally aspirational and more than a little angry. It reinforces (i.e. aggravates) an Us-Them mentality and, entirely unsurprisingly, builds more walls and suspicion than engenders trust and acceptance. Add that to the statistical picture and you get a recipe for hostility. Again, this may be what might be expected, but it does little good to try to brush aside the facts on the ground that the portrait they paint is unflattering.

        •  wow (4+ / 0-)

          "By the same token (and I doubt you will wish to hear it), African-Americans have also generated themselves a contemporary culture (especially among the young) that is anything but functionally aspirational and more than a little angry."

          Angry folks without the same life chances as other folks! Not aspirational? Far from it. You need to go out and talk to some young people of color and gather some data on that claim, or even try to understand the "lazy" and lacking in "aspirational" "culture" you so easily deride.

          Matters are more complicated than you seem to realize. Reading between the lines there is much recycling of black folks have bad culture neoconservative mess that was in fashion back in the 1970s and 1980s--and Gingrich/Santorum are peddling now.

          Forget structures! Fix their "bad culture!"

          My claim again is more nuanced than you seem to be getting. My prime point is highlighting the lack of generalizability of aggregate data to individual level analyses and connecting this to the propensity of many on the Right to forgive Zimmerman his sins and valorize him as a "victim" while smearing Trayvon because he is a stand in for those "criminal" blacks.

          There is alot more going on here than you seem willing to grasp.

          •  Golly gee. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            WereBear Walker, bluedust

            Please don't put words in my mouth with lying quote marks, especially ones like "lazy." Pretty sleazy thing to do, actually.

            Thanks for the advice, but I already talk to young people of color pretty constantly. Also some older ones. Some are my students. Some are my relatives. Some are my friends.

            I've got a pretty good handle on the nuances and complications, which I've been following with attention for most of 40+ years. I have no problem with your point that general data says little about any given individual, only with your dismissal of the general data as meaning anything at all.
            As for the propensity of the right to forgive Zimmerman, it is only matched by the eagerness of those on the left to condemn him. In both cases it amounts to almost entirely speculative mental masturbation in the absence of determined fact. That people are ready to believe the worst about people or groups they already dislike or find suspect isn't exactly headline news, and nothing that takes the slightest effort to grasp.

  •  Fact is, young black men (16-35) are about (3+ / 0-)

    three percent of the U.S. population, but commit nearly half of the total murders. Until that changes, people of all other races, genders, and age groups are going to fear young black men more so than they do other groups.

  •  The expression is that (0+ / 0-)

    Figures don't lie, but liars [can] figure.

    Putting "numbers" at the front ruins the line.

    It isn't what we don't know that gives us trouble, it's what we know that ain't so. — Will Rogers

    by dconrad on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 05:54:07 PM PDT

  •  Excellent diary, Chauncey. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mali muso, Larsstephens, Plantsmantx

    And such an important topic. Thank you.

    My forthcoming book Obama's America: A Transformative Vision of Our National Identity will be published in Summer 2012 by Potomac Books.

    by Ian Reifowitz on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 05:56:37 PM PDT

  •  To Kill A Mockingbird Redux (0+ / 0-)

    lies within lies, assuming that racism will prevail and clear the liar

    First, Serve the People - Second, Defend the Community - Always, Organize to Take Power

    by mpjh on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 06:06:22 PM PDT

  •  Good Diary (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hmi, WereBear Walker

    Many good points.  However, I live in a mid-size Southern city with abou 35% black population.  About 80% + of violent crime is attributed to bklack male adolescents between ages of 13 to 25.  Anecdotal, I know, but it would be hard to accept that a proportionate amount of white adolescent violent crime was going un-reported.  
         The important thing though, whether Black crime is a perception or a reality, is that  it is a big social mover.  It is what causes Blacks to move from the inner-city to suburbs and what causes whites to move out of mixed race neighboorhoods to "whiter" areas.  It results in the decay of predominantly Black neighborhoods.   It is what is behind the re-segregation of schools.  It perpetuates the lack of economic opportunities for young Black men.  The perception of Black crime is, more than anything else, what is holding back better opportunity for Blacks and better race relations.

  •  Vermont, Utah & Minnesota? (0+ / 0-)

    Seeing as most crime is intraracial, and lots of crime committed by whites goes unreported; life expectancy in Utah, Vermont, New Hampshire & Minnesota should be less than in other states.  

    All the white murder victims in these states should be cutting down the average.

    Unemployment would also be higher in these states.  It's hard for crime victims to keep jobs and gain the education needed to obtain jobs.

    Wouldn't Spanish-speaking immigrants; who usually don't obtain their news from the racist white media, stay out of dangerous, crime-ridden white areas?

  •  Dano must not be booking them (0+ / 0-)

    Is crime committed by Asians also underreported?

    Hawaii should have a relatively low life expectancy because all of the unreported crime there.  

  •  Who has the burden of proof here, please? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    linkage, starfu

    We keep seeing these former prosecutors and other lawyers on the news shows, and even at one point the current DA for the jurisdiction in question, talking about the high burden of proof for murder or manslaughter.

    But normally a prosecutor has to prove someone did the shooting.  Isn't that usually the hard part?

    In this case, there's no question who shot whom.

    When I look up Affirmative Defense in Wikipedia, I find this among other things:

    Burden of Proof
    Because an affirmative defense requires an assertion of facts beyond those claimed by the plaintiff, generally the party who offers an affirmative defense bears the burden of proof.[6] The standard of proof is typically lower than beyond a reasonable doubt. It can either be proved by clear and convincing evidence or by a preponderance of the evidence. In some cases or jurisdictions, however, the defense must only be asserted, and the prosecution has the burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defense is not applicable.
    Does the Stand Your Ground law change the landscape so radically that a shooter does not have to prove self-defense?  That he can merely assert it and then the prosecution must prove it does not apply?

    Well, we all knew something bizarre was going on here.  But is it officially, legally, that bizarre for this case?  In Florida you only need to say you were standing your ground and then all the burden is on the prosecution to prove that's not so?

    Are they really concerned they couldn't meet a prosecutorial burden or is it just the transparent foot-dragging it looks like?

    Any Florida lawyers familiar with the law?

    ------
    Ideology is when you know the answers before you know the questions.
    It is what grows into empty spaces where intelligence has died.

    by Alden on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 08:39:24 PM PDT

  •  Something I have found ironic (0+ / 0-)

    is that if George Zimmerman, being Latino, was picked up and dropped somewhere along the US/Mexico border in Arizona (without his papers), near a known crossing for undocumented individuals, he would be subject to a lot of the same suspicion and assumption of "being up to something" that he subjected Trayvon Martin to.  If he was so unfortunate as to run into some of the vigilante groups that patrol the borders, he could easily suffer the same fate as Trayvon.

    That's not the ironic part.  The irony to me is that there are probably a lot of knee jerk conservatives who are defending George Zimmerman to the death right now, who would have no problem dragging him off to jail, or worse if he couldn't produce his proof of citizenship on demand in Arizona.

    You hear about crazy, but it's rarer than you think. -Jon Stewart 1/10/2011

    Help Me Find Mister Boots

    by lcork on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 10:41:41 PM PDT

  •  Diarist is correct when it comes to drug usage (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kingfishstew

    rates, but when it comes to violent crime, the sad reality is that when victims are polled as to the perceived race of the offender, according to the DOJ, in single-offender violent crimes, the fraction of violent offenders identified a black by their victims are nearly twice the portion of blacks in the general population.

    To simply write these numbers off as perceived bias is to do a disservice to a serious problem, rooted almost certainly in poverty, broken social institutions, higher concentrations of environmental neurotoxins like lead, and other problems that most directly impact America's poorest communities. It also ignores a legacy of the acceptability of violence inherent in Southern culture (of which AAs are participants) not present in regional cultures that descend from Puritan New England the Quaker mid-Atlantic culture.

    But you can't simply make these figures go away because we want them to not be true, or because all ethnic groups use drugs at the same rate.

    Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

    by Robobagpiper on Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 03:54:45 AM PDT

    •  That said, the comment that people are much (0+ / 0-)

      more likely to be the victim of a violent crime by someone who looks like them than someone of a different race is absolutely true. In this case, race of the violent offender in a case where the victim is white is much closer the overall distribution of race than looking at offenders alone.

      Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

      by Robobagpiper on Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 03:58:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I buy the argument that all things being equal (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Robobagpiper

      a black person is more likely to be charged with murder when a white person would be charged with manslaughter which probably does skew the statistics. For instance, I imagine a least some fraction of the black-on-black crime involves two people who where armed or a black person killing an armed black assailant near his place of residence. If Southern stand your ground culture is indication, it wouldn't be considered murders but self defense if white men were doing it.

      So overcharging and the fact that everything a black person does tends to be viewed as more sinister has to play some role in statistics. On the other hand, you're right, it's a tough sell to ascribe the entirety of the phenomenon to that.

      •  The first table I included doesn't even have (0+ / 0-)

        homicides explicitly included, certainly not broken out; it's focusing on all crimes of violence (attempted and completed), as reported by victims.

        You can sure make this argument when it comes to conviction rates, but you can't hand-wave away the victim reports.

        Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

        by Robobagpiper on Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 04:14:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I ou offer a lot of what ifs....i (0+ / 0-)

    I will say this.  I lived in New Orleans before Katrina and Birmingham,al after Katrina.  Many of the same ills.  I like living in downtown areas so both towns I lived near the city center.  While my streets were relatively calm we still had 12+ armed robberies a year and not once was the suspect anything but a young, black male.  My solution to this was to reach out to kids 11-14 and buy them tools say they could make money and meet their more fortunate neighbors.  One of the kids is now 17 and still cutting grass and washing cars.

    But to deny that at least in some municipalities there is an epidemic of violent crime in the young, black, male community is silly.  Those other issues do still exist and need to be remedied as well.

  •  The demonization of (0+ / 0-)

    the victim is in full swing. I have to work today but if anyone wants to add this to an existing diary or diary it please do.
    http://gawker.com/...

    The racist smear campaign against Trayvon Martin, the unarmed black teen shot to death last month in Florida, has reached a new level of ghoulishness. A white supremacist hacker says he's broken into Martin's email and social networking accounts, and leaked his private Facebook messages. We've been able to confirm that at least one email account that belonged to Martin was cracked.

    The hacker, who goes by the name Klanklannon, posted what he said were Martin's private Facebook messages to the politics section (NSFW) of the anarchic message board 4chan—called "pol"—Tuesday afternoon at around noon. The messages were posted on four slides, strategically arranged to back up the insane racist argument that Trayvon was a Scary Black Teenager and so somehow deserved to be killed by neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman that night.

    ~War is Peace~Freedom is Slavery~Ignorance is Strength~ George Orwell "1984"

    by Kristina40 on Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 06:41:05 AM PDT

  •  In the early 90's (0+ / 0-)

    I worked for the state public defender and continually tried to tell people of profiling and the bias of law enforcement against people that were black or brown.  I argued that it was a class war, not as much a racial war, and if someone was poor, they were more likely to be incarcerated than middle or upper class people.  I said these things from first hand knowledge in the criminal defense of indigent clients.  

    Some said, the government would never allow that.  Those were the same people who argued that the Bush administration would never lie us into a war.  I spoke of the disenfranchisement of a whole generation of black men by incarceration, and how we incarcerated more people than any other country in the world.  Bias works on everyone, not just white people.

    Those were the days before the internet, where anyone can now look up statistics, if they're inclined.  Some, unfortunately, are still not inclined to find out the truth.  But I have friends now who fight in non-profits for truth and justice because of the information they found to be true.  

    Like this diary.  Thanks for this.
     

    I may be crazy, but I'm not stupid.

    by Singing Lizard on Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 08:27:48 AM PDT

  •  You make me embarrassed to say I'm a liberal (0+ / 0-)

    This is intellectually dishonest. Blacks commit FAR mor violent crime against whites than vice versa. Murder rates are not fabricated. Police don't look for blacks to pin murders on. White on black rape is very rare. Facts are facts. If you have contrary facts, state them. Cute saying disprove nothing.

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