Skip to main content

I don't post very much but SemDem's diary has me seething.  The only way Republicans can win in the future is if they make significant inroads among the white working and middle class in states like Wisconsin/Michigan/Ohio etc.  The quickest route to losing white voters is to pretend that white fear of black violence is misplaced or misguided and nothing more than a figment of racist imagination.  

While I don't dispute the statistics that most murder is intraracial, it really doesn't matter because people don't fear just any kind of violence.  They fear the kind of violence that makes the news; carjackings, home invasions, convenience store hold-ups, robbery, etc.  

Rather than deny the problem, it would be much more constructive to look to the root causes of it.  We should point out that in traditional hunter-gather societies in Africa like the Hadza, murder is practically non-existent.   Therefore, there is nothing genetic about black violence.  Instead, it is a consequence of the brutal legacy of slavery and really bad governmental policy that has fallen disproportionately on African Americans.

Does the writer to the Orlando Sentinel have good reason to "find many black youth threatening?"  I believe he does.  But you will not solve the problem by more stand your ground laws or tougher sentencing guidelines.   The solutions lie in better education and good jobs at good wages for all.  In short, we need to elect more Democrats.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  I wonder why the don't also fear the Adam lanza's (11+ / 0-)

    Of the world who are way more dangerous than convenient store hold ups ?  Why do they fear the black criminal while giving the white mass murderer a pass?

    •  I don't know anyone with a fear of mass killing... (5+ / 0-)

      ...but only being mugged, robbed, killed in cross fire, or going into a 7/11 during a robbery, being followed home.... Street crime. Self protection from street crime is pretty rational to a degree in most cities. It's not rational IMO to fear mass murderers.  

    •  they are also much more rare. (4+ / 0-)

      than either white or black people who hold up convenience stores.

      Gondwana has always been at war with Laurasia.

      by AaronInSanDiego on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 08:21:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  They're also rarer (5+ / 0-)

      And they claim an order of magnitude less in life lost.  And, most importantly, the perpetrators mostly die in the act.  There are very few unsolved mass murders, where as African American homicide clearance rates are abysmal.

      No one who talks about violence can be taken seriously unless they also address it's disparate impact of violence on the Black community.  And while it may be more satisfying to rage when lighting spectacularly strikes white victims, it's black victims that are bearing the brunt of our negligence and black survivors that are bearing the cost of our poorly thought out responses.

    •  He's killing me with his kindness and (10+ / 0-)

      understanding:

      Therefore, there is nothing genetic about black violence.  Instead, it is a consequence of the brutal legacy of slavery and really bad governmental policy that has fallen disproportionately on African Americans.
      This must be willful ignorance. May I just remind this person that it is black children who are being slaughtered by white adults? Get your facts together. Please!

      Maya Angelou: "Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can't be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest."

      by JoanMar on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 09:05:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Some facts (0+ / 0-)

        Three times as many whites are murdered by blacks than the reverse.   The overwhelming proportion of "self-defense" killings of blacks are committed by other blacks.

        •  Except that blacks are SIX TIMES more likely to (0+ / 0-)

          be murdered, on a per 100,000 basis, than whites.

           In 2008, the homicide victimization rate for blacks (19.6
          homicides per 100,000) was 6 times higher than the rate for
          whites (3.3 homicides per 100,000). . . .
          From 1980 through 2008—
           84% of white victims were killed by whites (Figure 19).
           93% of black victims were killed by blacks.
          http://www.bjs.gov/...

          We don't want our country back, we want our country FORWARD. --Eclectablog

          by Samer on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 08:00:04 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  OK, but how does that address your (0+ / 0-)

            original statement?

            it is black children who are being slaughtered by white adults? Get your facts together.
            As I noted, whites are much more likely to be murdered by blacks.  That's a fact.

            Maybe I am missing your point.

            •  (A) That's not MY statement. (0+ / 0-)

              (B) The point is that you're conflating two different things.

              The homicide rate for blacks is so much higher than the homicide rate for whites that, even with the disparity you cite, there could still be more blacks killed by whites than vice versa.

              We don't want our country back, we want our country FORWARD. --Eclectablog

              by Samer on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 11:03:11 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Nope, not even close (0+ / 0-)

                from 2000-2010, 78,521 blacks were murdered.  Of those, 5,045 were killed by whites. In that period, 58,987 whites were murdered.  Of those, 10,613 were killed by blacks.  If you took the difference in populations sizes into account that difference would be huge.

                How about when the murder occurred as part of a robbery of a stranger (the kind of thing that particularly scares people)?

                During that time period, 1,590 whites were killed by blacks in those circumstances.  108 blacks were killed by whites.   Similar huge gaps occur when considering murders committed while involved in other felonies, such as auto theft, rape, and burglary.  Those are the kind of numbers which lead to fear and irrational responses.  The reality of that reaction should not be ignored or dismissed merely as a racist construct.

                A lot of that data can be accessed here:

                Murder in America, WSJ report

                And yes, statement (A) is taken directly from your post above.  When you made the claim that black children are "being slaughtered by white adults" it seemed some sense of perspective and proportion might be useful.

                •  As I said before, the phrase you quote (0+ / 0-)

                  isn't mine.

                  And, in any case, if you look at the demographics of this country that still leads to the conclusion that a black person (especially a black man) is more likely to be murdered by a white person, than a white person is to be murdered by anyone.

                  We don't want our country back, we want our country FORWARD. --Eclectablog

                  by Samer on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 02:05:04 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Ok, true that wasn't yours (0+ / 0-)

                    but that was the point I responded to.  Your stats in your previous post didn't address it either as I noted above.  

                    As to this statement you just made "a black person (especially a black man) is more likely to be murdered by a white person, than a white person is to be murdered by anyone" I don't really know what point you are making.  Even if that's true, which I doubt,  a black man is far, far more likely to be killed by another black man.  I guess I don't get your point though.

                    So let's do the math:

                    In past 10 years, ~ 3,500 blacks killed by whites (I am excluding people killed in the act of committing a felony and death penalty executions).  
                    ~39,000,000 blacks
                    rate over this period = 9 deaths from white murderers/100,000 blacks

                    Using same criteria:~ 39,500 whites killed by whites
                    ~224,000,000 whites
                    rate over this period = 18 deaths from white murderers/100,000 whites

                    I don't know what this shows really, but your guess was incorrect

        •  I can't take you serious when you act like (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          i saw an old tree today

          black people are dangerous savages who are always out to get the civilized white man. This is not the first time you've posited this theory and tried to use cherry picked stats to bolster your claim.
          The history of black people in this country - and in the New World) will show that  you are a willful liar.

          Between 10 and 15 million Africans were forcibly transported across the Atlantic between 1500 and 1900. But this figure grossly understates the actual number of Africans enslaved, killed, or displaced as a result of the slave trade. At least 2 million Africans--10 to 15 percent--died during the infamous "Middle Passage" across the Atlantic. Another 15 to 30 percent died during the march to or confinement along the coast.
          http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/...
          the reduction of the North American Indian population from an estimated 12 million in 1500 to barely 237,000 in 1900 represents a"vast genocide . . . , the most sustained on record."
          - See more at: http://hnn.us/...

          Lynchings, Ku Klux Klan, white mobs destroying prosperous black towns, police brutality. This was a multi-tiered attack against black and brown people. Physically kill and maim them and then paint them as the savages. As the boogeyman. Have them work for free to enrich you and yours and then paint them as shiftless...and lazy.
          This is 2014. Your lies won't fly this time.

          Maya Angelou: "Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can't be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest."

          by JoanMar on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 11:40:19 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  when the facts don't go your way (0+ / 0-)

            build strawmen, lay out the red herrings, and let the insults fly.  

            Look, I make no apologies for regarding crime as a huge problem.  A problem that makes millions of lives miserable and fundamentally violates the personal freedom and civil rights of the victims and those in neighborhoods across the country who live in fear.  That goes for victims of every variety of human on earth.

            The discussion should be about what to do, and how to help people deal with these things rationally, not about whether there is a problem at all.  

            •  You are defining the problem as a legitimate (0+ / 0-)

              fear of the black savages. I seek to point out there are significantly bigger problems affecting us and that those problems were not created by the black youth. I further want to underline that you are talking about "youth," here. And yet you are more condemnatory of them than you are of adult white males...whether it is in the savagery of killing unarmed black children or the bilking of the economy.
              I submit to you that more people have been harmed by the bilking of the country's wealth by the overwhelmingly white 1% than anything black youths have done. They - the one percent - are doing everything you are accusing black youth of doing, just on a grander scale.

              Maya Angelou: "Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can't be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest."

              by JoanMar on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 12:10:21 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  Before someone posts it (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FrankRose, rduran, Sharon Wraight

    …I don't consider this a call-out Diary.

    It's the continuation of a discussion.

  •  So we should not call out racists for their "fear (22+ / 0-)

    Of the black youth" which leads to black youths being murdered.........because we don't want to loose the white vote? I'm I misreading your diary? If I am I apologize.

    •  I'd be more afraid (6+ / 0-)

      Of lunatic White men who seem to think that it's no big deal to pull out a gun and shoot someone for the slightest offense...

      Or for the "crime" of Breathing While Black.

      I live in a very diverse neighborhood - in Florida. I have more fear FOR the young Black men in my neighborhood than I do OF them.

      "We have only the moral ground we actually inhabit, not the moral ground we claim." - It Really Is That Important

      by Diogenes2008 on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 08:38:55 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  What's your alternative? (3+ / 0-)

      Scream bloody murder at whites who have fled the inner cities?  Rage against the trickle returning to gentrified neighborhoods?  Pray that shame will overcome nightly Action News alerts?

      It's one thing to call out racists to assuage your righteous fury.  It's another thing to jump into a racially charged stand off between suburbs and the cities (or within the suburbs themselves at this point) and start labeling everyone a Zimmerman or a Dunn.  Especially since my community needs that tax base in order to enact desperately needed reform.

    •  Persuasion starts with knowing your audience (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sharon Wraight, Be Skeptical

      Knowing that they're afraid and knowing where their fear comes from (television) is the foundation for getting them to vote Democratic.

      Have you ever gotten a kid or a dog to overcome a fear by dismissing it? No, you used controlled exposure to the fear and you created a safe base from which to explore. Or maybe you used humor.

      Anyone considering a dog for personal safety should treat that decision as seriously as they would buying a gun.

      by Dogs are fuzzy on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 10:55:55 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Exactly. No vilifying them. Not alienating them. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Be Skeptical

        (Except for the truly reprehensible and irredeemable mouthpieces among them, of course.)

        That understanding needs to go both ways, of course. (I rec'd both diaries.)

        This being America, is there the possibility of using reality-TV for something like this? It's probably been tried -- I don't watch much TV, so I wouldn't know! :-)

        Maybe 2 different shows, aimed at different audiences (Fox, BET?)? Or pilot 4 different shows, see which flies? OR just one show, with flexibility to feature different scenarios? Juxtapose black vs white, rich vs poor? Interracial couples? Any TV script-writers on here? :-)  I suppose the biggest challenge is that TV audiences seem to like more and more violence (emotional and physical), more extreme reactions rather than subtleties, so it might open the floodgates to fanning racial fears.

        There's lots of bat-sh*t crazy racism (among all races, it should be said).

  •  A link to the disputed Diary would help. (14+ / 0-)

    As to the substance ...

    It is not like there is no one trying to counter the myths with facts. The civil rights movement is alive and well, and many people push back hard against the suggestion that anyone need fear young, black men.

    There is, however, a very well-funded attempt to smear black people by a hard right hell bent on creating division and selling guns.

    SemDem's Diary was a very good example of how an ignorant, or complicit media simply makes the task harder.

    You may have read it differently, but that was my take.

    I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
    but I fear we will remain Democrats.

    Who is twigg?

    by twigg on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 07:01:40 PM PST

  •  What that letter in the Orlando Sentinel did was (11+ / 0-)

    to indict an entire group of people solely based on their color, even though the vast majority of those that look similar to a few bad actors strive to be good citizens.

    I found the promotion of that LTE to be shocking in 2014. It serves only to vindicate the prejudices of some, and to cast doubt in the minds of others.

    I grew up in a region that had very few "minorities", yet somehow there was always crime afoot.

  •  Dick Cheney poses a far greater danger to me (16+ / 0-)

    than any black youth I'm likely to encounter.

    Americans really aren't very good at risk analysis.

    To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

    by UntimelyRippd on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 07:16:23 PM PST

  •  I couldn't disagree more. (7+ / 0-)

    Even if you were to broaden your condemnation to "all youth" and leave race out of it, this is an absurd - and insulting - generalization.

  •  Let me see if I have this straight. (15+ / 0-)

    Nope.

    So basically, to make an analogy here, I should not mention child rape in the Catholic church because it might cost a few votes?

    Or I shouldn't mention women dying every day from domestic violence because it could offend the "man in his castle is god, the War on Women is righteous," crowd and risks losing a few more votes?

    Nope. I don't do appeasement well.

    I don't give a damn what the TV is saying. It is not the final arbiter. We are. We choose, and that choice says everything.  

    "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."

    There is something in us that refuses to be regarded as less than human. We are created for freedom - Archbishop Desmond Tutu

    by Onomastic on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 08:00:43 PM PST

  •  Wow (23+ / 0-)

    This reminds me of all the folks who used to say stop fighting for LGBT rights so strongly or you'll lose a bunch of votes. Funny how it's always the oppressing class that gets protected in the name of votes far more than the oppressed.

    From this moment on, I recommend a new tactic: How about we stop pissing off people of color? They are, by far, the most loyal voters of the Democratic Party. Maybe we should stop taking them for granted and focus on getting more of them registered and out to vote instead of hitching our ride to a bunch of white people who refuse to give up their racist view of life.

    Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

    by moviemeister76 on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 08:09:34 PM PST

  •  The black youth is the modern day boogie man. (15+ / 0-)

    He is coming to rob your homes, pick your pockets and steal your cars.
    In days gone by it was the black man who was the boogie man. He was coming to get your white woman so you had to lynch him to protect her honor.
    I wonder how the Native American feels when he sees the white man?
    How should I feel when i see the white man?
    You have successfully pulled this switcheroo, haven't you?
    Those slave ships were filled with white bodies packed like sardines being brought over to be treated like pack animals so as to make my ancestors rich. Those were white bodies with the "chokecherry trees" on their backs as they work on my ancestors plantations. Bernie Madoff, Steve Cohen and the likes? They are all black, don't you know?
    Yea, it was the black youth who brought the world to the edge of destruction with their greed and rapaciousness.

    Maya Angelou: "Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can't be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest."

    by JoanMar on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 08:57:08 PM PST

  •  I'm straight, white male (4+ / 0-)

    and have been profiled more than once.  I can only imagine what it must be like to have this happen more consistently.  There are other reasons why I have some idea what it feels like to be 'other' to the majority, but in general, in normal arms-length everyday interaction, I 'pass.'

    As a somewhat intimidating and/or sketchy-looking, white, male, teenage, construction worker and college student, walking to and from mass transit it was not at all unusual to hear automatic door locks thunk locked as I crossed a street.  Since adolescence, as a male, grinning at a cute kid, as often as not means his/her parent pulling the kid closer, and darting a worried or even admonishing look at me.  Hanging out with working-class minority friends, makes me somewhat conscious of how much worse this can be.

    We have a responsibility to create the society we wish to live in.  It isn't irrational for young minority men to be resentful of the constant discrimination to which they are subjected.   Less rational bias on the part of the insecure and fearful among the majority is also understandable.  We should not pander to bias, but this does not mean we should put voters on the defensive and drive them away from the party, since that does nothing to improve the situation.  Engagement with and outreach to, well-intentioned, but ignorant or less developed biased voters will reduce bias rather than concentrating it.  If you can bring a white working class voter into the in-group of a multi-cultural alliance, his/her natural feelings of identification with that group will erode and call into question remaining biases.

    Iron sharpens Iron. Normal is a dryer setting. STOP illegal immigration NOW! -- Make it LEGAL. If Corporations are People--Let's draft them.

    by benamery21 on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 09:00:54 PM PST

    •  Well put (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      benamery21

      For example, you said "understandable" and not "excusable".

      There is a practical problem of figuring out who is "well-intentioned but ignorant" and who needs to be written off. I think there are a lot more of the former but certainly can't prove it.

      Anyone considering a dog for personal safety should treat that decision as seriously as they would buying a gun.

      by Dogs are fuzzy on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 11:16:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I think you make an important point (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Be Skeptical, DaveDC

    We ignore or belittle people's fears at our peril, especially when those fears aren't totally irrational. I will tell a personal story:

    A number of years ago, I was robbed at gunpoint in Washington, DC. It was the second time I had been robbed, although the first time at gunpoint. On both occasions, the perpetrators were young black men. I am white. And I will readily admit that these incidents caused me to feel a twinge of fear when approaching a young black man on a dark street.

    Not long after the second incident, I was running to catch a commuter train that I missed. Also running to catch it was a middle-aged black man, both of us wearing suits and carrying briefcases, and both of us somewhat overweight. Since we had an hour to wait for the next train, we adjourned to the bar, and I told him about my robberies, and about my reaction when meeting a young black man on a dark street, and that I felt guilty about my reaction. His comment was that my reaction was rational, given the fact that most perpetrators of street robberies in D.C. are young black men.

    Before I'm accused of being a hopeless racist, I would point out that, after the second of these incidents, I spent lots of time registering voters in overwhelmingly black areas of Philadelphia and Baltimore, and contacting voters in overwhelmingly black areas of the Hampton Roads area of Virginia.

    I think we make a mistake ignoring the reality that, in our present society, crimes such as street robberies and muggings, are disproportionately committed by African-Americans, just as during earlier periods of our society, they were disproportionately likely to be committed by members of various white ethnic groups. That doesn't make it right to assume that all (or even most) young black men are criminals, since they certainly aren't, but I think it does mean that we need to focus on the reasons for that crime, and they are overwhelmingly the lack of any real economic opportunity.

    Bin Laden is dead. GM and Chrysler are alive.

    by leevank on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 09:04:43 PM PST

    •  Why did you think the perp's race noteworthy? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Chi

      I know you're working for the side of enlightenment but there's a hidden assumption you should weed out of your mental garden that it's useful to generalize racially.

      That won't help with gut-level fear, but that's more practically handled by studying self-protection, which includes awareness, which includes looking past irrelevancies like ethnicity and watching behavior and movement.

      Anyone considering a dog for personal safety should treat that decision as seriously as they would buying a gun.

      by Dogs are fuzzy on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 11:23:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  In a city where 70% of the population is black (0+ / 0-)

      What else would you expect? THINK, for God's sake!

      Oy....

      ObamaCare! Sign-up by phone: 1-800-318-2596

      by mwm341 on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 06:13:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Interesting. (0+ / 0-)

      I've traveled a lot all over the world, and the only place I've been accosted on the street -- twice -- is in Washington, DC, both times by black teens on a public street. And yes, it affects my perceptions.

      First time was three kids maybe 15 years old or so, but VERY aggressively confronting me (both body language and verbally) on the sidewalk, as I stopped walking and stood still. Fortunately a car came by just then and I walked away with it.

      The second time, a guy pulled a knife on me in broad daylight on a city street (near 19th & H), after he'd kicked in my front headlight just as I walked up. (Evidently he didn't like it that I'd parked close to his friend's car -- although there was nothing in front of their car so they could pull out easily.) I defused it by smiling, holding my hands up palm first as he approached me and (rather ironically) telling him as I walked backwards: "Friend, I'm not going to hurt you." Fortunately he got in the car and they took off. When I reported it to the police, the African-American cop very much wanted to know the race of the guy -- definitely "noteworthy" for him, hardly worth "weeding out of one's mental garden," and not generalizing racially.

      The US is very far from being a "post-racial" society. It's not clear to me that that's even a desirable goal. Weeding out racism, now that definitely is!

      •  I don't think your experiences are that unusual (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DaveDC

        but it sure makes people uncomfortable to admit that.

        Every burglary and car break-in  in my neighborhood over the past 5 years (maybe 10-15 incidents) in which the burglar was caught or spotted in the act has been committed by a black man.  Yet in my immediate area there are very few black residents.  

        How do you approach this issue?  When a person in an unknown vehicle pulls up in front of your neighbor's house, should the fact that it is a black man make a difference in how you react (such as noting the license plate)?  When an unknown person is walking along the street after dark, should we take note of the person's race? Age? Sex?  

        Don't kid yourself.  Millions of Americans of every race are making these mental assessments every day.  To dismiss any attempt to acknowledge this as racist fear mongering is delusional.

        •  yep, agreed. (0+ / 0-)
          Millions of Americans of every race are making these mental assessments every day.  To dismiss any attempt to acknowledge this as racist fear mongering is delusional.
          Yep, remember Obama's comment about his grandmother "who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street," and Frank Marshall Davis telling him "your grandma’s right to be scared. She’s at least as right as Stanley is. She understands that black people have a reason to hate." (Those were the days, eh, when we thought we'd get more dialogue on ways to build racial harmony in the US. Instead the Tea-Party has given us non-stop obstructionism at every step, and dog-whistle racism.)

          One more story along those lines: one time when I was in staying in mainly-white Chevy Chase, I noticed a black teen walking down the alley between streets, and something made me think he didn't belong there -- his walk, or clothes, or body-language, or whatever. Being liberal, I chided myself for having such 'racist' thoughts, and imagined how unfair it would be for him to have to experience those sentiments from so many people. Not long afterward I was out at my car in the alley, and a police cruiser came by with an African-American cop in it. He asked me if I'd seen anyone suspicious. I said "Yes!", and I proceeded to describe my guess on the teen's age, height, weight, clothing, hat, knapsack, and that he didn't seem to fit in. The cop stayed quiet until I was finished. Then with a friendly but somewhat tired expression (hard to describe), he said: "You know, it's OK to say his race." It was as though the cop was used to dealing with white-liberals who danced around the issue, and for him it was just part of the job. I think he followed up with a question about the color of his skin ("Dark, coffee, light?") that left me feeling a little silly for having thought it a taboo topic.

  •  I'm more worried about white meth-head crime (7+ / 0-)

    Realistically, that is the criminal element causing most of the mischief where I live.  I keep my vigilance cranked up to 11 or so, which managed to piss off some of the local white punks who once rented a house in my neighborhood.  They couldn't understand why 2:00 AM, loud-assed drunken arguments in the street were anyone else's business.  The police came out and were kind enough to explain it to them.

    Conversely, a black teen who lived in my neighborhood was hanging out in front of my house, fiddling with a bicycle.  Being a friendly sort of middle-aged, paranoid whacko I walked up and said "Hi".  Turns out the bicycle chain was so loose the pedals kept slipping.  I rummaged out a couple wrenches & some oil from the garage, tightened & lubed the chain, and sent him on his way.  The kid said something totally scary & ominous like "Thanks".  Every so often he'd wave as he sped by on his now functional bike.  His family has since moved on and I kind of miss the kid.

    If some white guy somewhere can't come un-puckered enough to actually talk to people before assuming they're out to harm him, I don't have a lot of time to invest in his fears.

    "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win". Mohandas K. Gandhi

    by DaveinBremerton on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 09:20:14 PM PST

    •  You're part of the solution (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      a2nite, mwm341

      You're setting an example. The Fox viewer I imagine living across the street now knows how decent people interact with unfamiliar teenage black males.

      You're not dismissing anyone's fears or yelling "racist" at anyone -- you're leading by example.

      Anyone considering a dog for personal safety should treat that decision as seriously as they would buying a gun.

      by Dogs are fuzzy on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 11:28:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  At least where I live (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Throw The Bums Out

    There's a profile that I do look at when determining should I be afraid.

    I'm not usually worried by the guy walking down the street, or the woman. I'm not worried by the pack of young men or young women laughing and talking as they walk down to a friend's place. But there is such a thing as a human wolf pack, and when I see that on the street I get very worried, no matter what color of skin the participants have.  I get worried by people who are ridiculously thin and have bad teeth and look old and used, because that's the meth look, and they are crazy. And I get defensive around men who are obviously beautifully in shape, every muscle detailed. Because around here a guy in his early twenties with that build only gets to spend hours lifting weights if he doesn't have to work, and this side of town is not where those with inherited income live. Fair or unfair, I read that as "recently out of prison".

    But I give everyone a fair shake.

    When you come to find how essential the comfort of a well-kept home is to the bodily strength and good conditions, to a sound mind and spirit, and useful days, you will reverence the good housekeeper as I do above artist or poet, beauty or genius.

    by Alexandra Lynch on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 09:32:47 PM PST

  •  The problem is guns (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    i saw an old tree today

    If we could get rid of guns, it would drastically reduce the worst violence.

    This would free society and the police to control all the other crime.

  •  my mom is one of these people (0+ / 0-)

    she was held up 3 times in her life. Last time while she was pregnant with my little sister. Every time by a black male.

    She used to tell me "First time is an accident, second is a coincidence, third is a trend"

    and even though it's been more than twenty years since the last time it happened she can't be alone around a black male without being in near paralyzing fear.

  •  Root cause is racist slanted news, my friend. (7+ / 0-)

    Remember the old saying? If it bleeds, it leads.

    Our Craven Corporate Media™ constantly, endlessly, breathlessly report every violent crime and burglary. They pay special attention to the very rare random carjacking or mall parking lot assault inflicted on affluent suburbanites.

    Yet, back here in the reality based community, it's a fact that violent crime in America is approaching historic lows. By assiduously publicizing every single violent crime, corporate media are manufacturing a false reality at odds with, you know, reality.

    So, by validating a bogus fear of 'black crime', you are playing into the hands of the right wing fear-mongers and doing their work for them.

    •  How is it a fact (0+ / 0-)

      that violent crime has reached historical lows?  The police maintain the statistics and they are encouraged to underreport.  Certainly, in NYC much low level crime, whether violent or not, is flagrantly ignored by the police.  I am not arguing that we actually live in a crime ridden society, but I do question your certainty about historic lows.

      •  Just look at murders then (0+ / 0-)

        They are probably the least likely crimes to be under-reported.  And they are at the lowest point in the era of record keeping, suggesting the declines on crime, esp violent crime, are real.  

        •  Suggests is quite different than (0+ / 0-)

          it is a fact.  I have no problem with the former, although I am not convinced that murder rates provide enough evidence for the claim, as it is usually the lower level crimes that are underreported.

          •  Murder rate also declining across multiple cities (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Ralphdog

            and states, and that decline has been occurring fairly steadily over 20 years, which also lends support to the claim.  I would think that rates of other violent crimes trend with murder rates.  Not so much the case with property crimes.

      •  These statistics are reasonably reliable. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Be Skeptical

        Far more so, for example, than truthiness like the official unemployment rate, or the GDP.

        Police departments really do not have an incentive to under-report violent crime, because it undercuts their goal of maintaining or increasing their funding and keeping the number of cops on the beat as high as possible.

  •  what. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    doroma, i saw an old tree today

    Dawkins is to atheism as Rand is to personal responsibility

    by terrypinder on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 04:34:56 AM PST

  •  The new title could have gone somewhere useful (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    doroma, mwm341, Onomastic

    ("I think it's a mistake to dismiss white fear of black violence.") but then you quickly hit

    The quickest route to losing white voters is to pretend that white fear of black violence is misplaced or misguided and nothing more than a figment of racist imagination.  
    It is 'misplaced' or 'misguided', and there's no 'pretend' about it.  It's like being as or more afraid of being hit by lightning than tripping on slippery stairs.

    It's a 'fear' that is constantly reinforced by propaganda from the right, as much as the 'fear' of the government, and for the same reasons.  Political scapegoating.  People who never really got over having the ability to have black slaves taken away from them, and who think they are 'better than' other people based upon something as nonsensical at one tiny shred of DNA protein expression need other whites to be 'afraid' of 'black violence' to further their own greedy political ends.

    Violence is violence, and a white person is FAR more likely to endure violence at the hands of another white person than that of a black or latino.  But not because they have some specific snippet of DNA - because they spend their time mostly around other white people, because most of this country has never fully desegregated.  There is no 'black violence', there is no 'white violence'.  There is simply violence.

    Now we should recognize that the irrational fear of 'black violence' exists, but only in the same way we recognize other propaganda that exists to split the 99% along stupid racial lines, fighting over scraps, while the plutocrats continue to parasitically suck wealth from the rest of us.

  •  I agree. We should not dismiss it. We should (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Be Skeptical

    deconstruct it and understand it. Beyond fear, there is also annoyance and alienation, on both sides, which is holding up racial progress. We should overcome that too.

    You can't make this stuff up.

    by David54 on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 05:55:44 AM PST

  •  We need to understand that the media leverages (0+ / 0-)

    a certain amount of fear into a bigger quantity of alienation.
    Not everyone is sorting these things out in their neocortex.
    They're mostly absorbing these things passively into the more primitive levels of the brain and then creating "narratives" in their conscious minds to rationalize or explain them.
    We really have to break down boundaries on both sides of the equation and do the opposite of what the goppers and the media have been doing in the last 6 years.

    "Being right"  is not always the most important thing. Sometimes you have to wear the other's skin in order to figure out how to break down the boundaries just so you can have a dialogue. Tben being right has its advantages.

    You can't make this stuff up.

    by David54 on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 06:07:09 AM PST

  •  Given things like Stand Your Ground laws (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    doroma, Onomastic

    and the way they're handled in court, WHITE people have to fear BLACK violence? Gimme a break.....

    Progressive, my ass!

    ObamaCare! Sign-up by phone: 1-800-318-2596

    by mwm341 on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 06:07:23 AM PST

  •  I know it's a corny thought, but the only (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Be Skeptical

    thing I can think of to begin to alleviate this fear is for people to talk to each other in a safe setting. Just get to know each other.

    The fear isn't just from the differences. It's also the unfamiliarity.

    Ethnic minorities would avoid talking because they can feel the scrutiny and suspicion and fear and those are dangerous things to detect.
    and the rest would be suspicious, because they would see that avoidance as a red flag.

    Throw in the media driven racism and the institutional racism and a few other dynamics, and it goes down hill from there.

    And when I say talk to each other, I don't mean activists pontificating from a podium--I mean people sitting down over a cup of coffee and a piece of cake, and just talking. Building up their knowledge of each other slowly.

    I don't know if anyone would be brave enough to do that. Or to make a place where that could happen, but wouldn't it be cool if it could happen.

    You could start with the moms and grandmothers. I expect a lot of awkwardness, and misunderstanding, but if you are braced for that, determined to reach out no matter what, whether it's explain for the upteenth time what something means or doesn't mean, or just someone taking their lumps for being slow understanding or even learning a new vocabulary--Something wonderful could happen.

    "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

    by GreenMother on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 06:10:51 AM PST

  •  The problem is 1.) There is a much higher crime (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Be Skeptical

    rate among African Americans than among whites and 2.) Whites generalize.
       It actually makes no sense for whites to fear all blacks because of the actions of a small minority. And, as everyone knows, most of the victims of black criminals are black.
       But the psychology of fear is such that a black teenager walking home minding his own business is scary to many white people.
       And when you have the psychology of a George Zimmerman, the fact that somebody makes you afraid makes that person a potential enemy.
       Add to that the feeling of frustrated entitlement, of feeling angry and ineffectual, and you have the recipe for white on black murder.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site