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It has never been about race. It has always been about money. Slaves were currency:  currency with a mind of its own that had to be held in check by means of brutality. When slavery ended, brutality remained in force, powered by resentment for the devaluing of the currency, habit and by unhealthy wrong-minded views of entitlement, rechanneled to form new exploitative structures that were handed on, generation to generation, structures that have been and remain effective in insuring that the offspring of freed slaves, and (what has become increasingly clear) anyone not part of the power structure, perpetually draw the short end of the stick in the zero sum game that is our money-centric society. This system, codified at the local, state and national level, makes losers of us all, including those in power, though it may take some education for them to understand their loss.

One contributor on the GoFundMe site for Officer Darren Wilson praised his efforts as an “animal control officer”.  This attitude is an atavism from the time of slavery borne of fear of what the caged slave would do if he got free. Policing of the African American throughout this country is apparently and sadly still based on keeping the “ex-slave” caged. What the white power structure fails to understand is that true freedom from the tyranny of a justice system that harasses, arrests, and incarcerates young black American men in wild disproportion to the rest of the population would yield a more peaceful, prosperous and loving society for everyone.

What happened to the positive archetype of the policeman as ally and protector? First and foremost, police officers should practice methods of self-restraint and peaceful resolution of conflict. They should be leaders in non-violence. Only when they fully understand this principle can they fulfill the role of hero.

I am mystified that in the NY Times poll of Aug. 21 64% of the people queried said they didn’t know enough to say whether or not the shooting was justified. Just 25% stated that it was unjustified. Really? We have at least three eyewitnesses who saw the officer gun Michael Brown down after he had raised his hands in the universal gesture of surrender. If that does not constitute murder, what does?

Why go all the way back to slavery to explain what happened to Michael Brown? Because this nation has never really healed from that event. It has never fully taken responsibility for the devastating consequences of slavery. Civil rights legislation was never embraced by the South, but was won over their vociferous and violent objection. It has caused the South to move ever more rightward, and the right wing distortions we see going on about us can be traced directly back to resentment and wrong mindedness stemming from the loss of slavery.

Republican gerrymandering has twisted and distorted our political reality. It has resulted in the promulgation and acceptance of ever more wild and irresponsible notions about the role of government, which in turn hamstrings us from dealing with real and pressing problems.

The dialogue that needs to be entered into is the one will enable us to understand and overcome the obstacles to full and equal participation of each and every American in the benefits and responsibilities of our society. Inequality, which is codified and institutionalized in our political and economic structure, needs to be rooted out not just in the macro sense, as instituted by the (eroded) Civil Rights Act, but it has to be rooted out on the micro level as well. True overcoming will still require fundamental and revolutionary change. The Civil Rights Movement did not end with the signing of the Civil Rights Act. In many more subtle ways, we are all still at the beginning.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Untrue (18+ / 0-)
    It has never been about race.
    It has always been about race. Were it not about race, every indentured servant who sailed to the English colonies, and all of his descendants, would still be treated the way African Americans are treated today.

    It is race. It is otherness. It is "them" and not "us".

    And until white Americans can accept that and do something about it, nothing will change.

  •  Race and class intersect. The reality of one does (9+ / 0-)

    not cancel out the other. As Susan pointed out, the white indentured servants got their freedom eventually.

    Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

    by Wee Mama on Sat Aug 23, 2014 at 11:21:01 AM PDT

  •  Wrong. It has always been about race. (12+ / 0-)

    Those who wield power over others have to "other" somebody in order to wield it.

    In the US, that was/is done via skin color, first and foremost.

    Is it also about money, yes?

    But the fact that people of color have disproportionately paid the cost of the oppression makes racism a much more visceral reality. Trying to invalidate that and make it a colorless oppression is offensive.

    Building Community. Creating Jobs. Donating Art to Community Organizations. Support the Katalogue

    by UnaSpenser on Sat Aug 23, 2014 at 12:02:13 PM PDT

    •  It isn't just African Americans. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Susan from 29

      I have a lot of Navajo friends and they are discriminated against. I've traveled with them and been the object of other white people yelling at me about my "company". I see the Choctaws discriminated against in my area.

      I am not saying that the racism against American Indians is anything like black people, but it's bad. I saw racism against Hispanics in prison but it wasn't as severe as what African Americans endured. I did not one time see a white offender  discriminated against. That is not to say that they aren't the target of bigots because I didn't work in a pod. I was in a classroom.

      "When it's over, I want to say: all my life I was a bride married to amazement." Mary Oliver

      by weezilgirl on Sat Aug 23, 2014 at 12:26:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I concede that it is about both money and racism.. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    arendt, Detroit Denizen

    I concede that it is about both money and racism without hesitation. I have no need to defend the position that it is exclusively about money. I just felt that it needed to be emphasized. Of course, racism created the mind set that rationalized the taking of slaves. I also see that it is monetary interest that keeps subtle and not so subtle segregation alive. If we don't address the economic side of what keeps this system going we won't solve the problem. It's easy to pay lip service to the eradication of racism. It is much more difficult for entrenched interests to give up advantage so that others may be treated more fairly and given a chance to participate in their own governance and policing. It is not a coincidence that groups of people who are on the receiving end of racism in this society are also economically disadvantaged. These two go hand in hand.

  •  When the premise (6+ / 0-)

    that the Diary is based upon shows such a lack of understanding of the issue, what is the point of reading the rest of it?

    Money ALWAYS takes advantage of the conditions and opportunities that prevail.

    It was ALWAYS about race, and while money is a factor, that was simply greedy people exploiting racism for profit.

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

    Who is twigg?

    by twigg on Sat Aug 23, 2014 at 01:22:29 PM PDT

  •  Bullshit (7+ / 0-)

    In the case of Ferguson, Missouri and many, many other African American communities in the United States, poverty is a symptom of racism, not it's cause. That isn't to say that all poverty is due to racism but in the case of blacks in the United States, it is an overwhelmingly powerful contributor and no amount of dehumanizing of black people by comparing them to money is going to change that.

    "Given the choice between a Republican and someone who acts like a Republican, people will vote for a real Republican every time." Harry Truman

    by MargaretPOA on Sat Aug 23, 2014 at 01:36:16 PM PDT

  •  It's always been about race in the US. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Susan from 29, Onomastic, shanikka

    As any Danish ex-plantation slave family.

  •  For slave owners... (0+ / 0-)

    ...slaves were in fact a main capital asset. And that asset was devalued by abolition. Stating that fact is not the same as comparing black people to money or taking the point of view of the slave owner.

    Local governments and politicians with their boards of supervisors, etc. tend to favor entrenched monied interests to the detriment of populations of color. Hence you have defacto segregation institutionalized as a result of zoning etc. and all white police departments in predominantly black areas.These are the kinds of structures I was alluding to that are, in a sense, handed down generation to generation as they are hard clubs to break into if you are a minority. I would have thought I was stating the obvious.

  •  It has always been about race. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Susan from 29, Onomastic, shanikka, Chi

    And the false meme that it's always been about the money needs to be stopped. For good. It is a crippling hindrance and does nothing but whitewash the very real causes and effects of racism in this country. I understand where you're coming from, I really do, but you're wrong.

    It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see. ~ Thoreau

    by newpioneer on Sat Aug 23, 2014 at 03:11:24 PM PDT

    •  I disagree... (0+ / 0-)

      You can't separate the economic issue from the issue of racism. Racism was institutionalized by slavery - a very clearly mercantile endeavor - but was never fully de-institutionalized in its aftermath. At this point, I think we're into semantics. You could say, "The reason for economic inequity is racism." and you would be right. And I could say, "It has been and remains economically advantageous for the power brokers to keep minorities economically disadvantaged," and I think I would be right. When a crime is committed, we say, "Follow the money." Why should it be any different, when inequity is practiced on such a large and pervasive scale?

  •  sometimes big words don't help (0+ / 0-)

    interpretations of history can meander.
    supposed scholarship can fizzle out on the way to pointlessness.
    if you present a topic filtered thru or accompanied by or hidden slightly by suspect logic or semi inaccurate conclusions which aggravate wounds or cause new ones, it could take some time and space up. it might draw interest.
    there are gullible readers who might not notice the turnoffs leading them out away from utility because aspects of the issue interest them or they daydream a little.
    it could happen that way.
    to say,
    it isn't about this
    it isn't about that
    it's about this
    it's about this
    might be what it's about.
    there could be words surrounding the other words and hints of ideas which faintly resemble known positives but along with them come sneaky attempts to mole in mangled slants of intentional misrepresentations to poison slowly the discourse and perhaps attract a follower or two.
    so watch out for that in case it arises. it's never been about the topic when a diary has ulterior motivations. it's about the underlie.

    for the love of humanity please protect the light in all that may glow and try not to make anyone else's path more cruel than it would be on its own.

    by renzo capetti on Sun Aug 24, 2014 at 05:07:29 AM PDT

  •  Africans would not have been enslaved (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DaNang65, newpioneer, Kitsap River

    had it not been for race. They were seen as less than human, and the comments on the GoFundMe page (there is a petition around for taking it down and refusing the profits) show that people still see them as less than human.

    I belong to one of the formerly (and not so long ago) oppressed white groups, and over time we have assimilated and prospered as a group. Blacks have never been able to do this, and the only reason is race.


    We need a world in which we ask "What's happened to you?" more and "What's wrong with you?" less. (From a comment by Kossack nerafinator)

    by ramara on Sun Aug 24, 2014 at 10:09:38 AM PDT

  •  It has ALWAYS, ALWAYS been about race. (0+ / 0-)

    That there was economic advantage for white people in viewing and treating Black people and Native peoples as less than human, which they claimed was justified by their religion, is one of the results but not the cause. Native Americans were able to escape because they knew the land. Africans didn't. There was an enormous effort put forth to recapture an escaped Black slave. So huge was that effort that it was likely economically nonviable. So why go to those lengths to re-kidnap a Black person who was able to flee lifelong torture and claim his or her rightful freedom? Because due to that person's race, he or she was seen as property that had been stolen. If re-kidnapped, the Black person was treated like that, told that by his or her kidnapper, torturer or so-called "owner", and at times murdered for that. There's no economic advantage there, only racism.

    That racist mindset, that Black people in particular are viewed as much less than human, continues today, as anyone can see if they read the disgusting things said about them almost anywhere that white people frequent en masse. Go look at any article about Ferguson on the Fox News site. Hell, you can find such comments in the New York Times (though they are usually removed by admins).

    An organ donor saved my life! Shop Kos Katalogue

    UID#39520 01/06/2005

    by Kitsap River on Sun Aug 24, 2014 at 09:57:08 PM PDT

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