Our Boys In Blue

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beatbandito
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Re: Our Boys In Blue

Postby beatbandito » Wed Jul 22, 2015 8:51 am

In case anyone missed it the dash cam footage got released and somehow managed to still show the officer escalating the situation quicker than a set of moving stairs in the Jersey Shore and clearly going against procedure in spite of the fact that the video was edited worse than YouTube poop before release.

Edit: page break, talking about Sandra Bland still.
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Mongrel
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Re: Our Boys In Blue

Postby Mongrel » Sun Aug 02, 2015 8:48 pm

Globe: After a Questionable Shooting, William J. Lewinski is a cop's best friend

Looking for a common factor between allllllll the successful defences of police shootings from the past decade or two? How about a single, highly-paid "expert" with highly questionable non-peer-reviewed (or reviewed at all, for that matter) "research" to tout at trial.

If you'd have asked me, I'd have told you my assumption was that it was a more systemic thing; that there were dozens of guys like this with similar dodgy companies, but apparently this asshole is a one-man cottage industry, near single-handedly producing the "expert" defence testimony that protects America's cops from prosecution.
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Mongrel
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Re: Our Boys In Blue

Postby Mongrel » Mon Aug 03, 2015 2:31 pm

lol, just another day Cleveland.

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(Black women get out of their car during traffic stop, the obvious follows)
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Rico
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Re: Our Boys In Blue

Postby Rico » Tue Aug 04, 2015 12:05 am

beatbandito wrote:In case anyone missed it the dash cam footage got released and somehow managed to still show the officer escalating the situation quicker than a set of moving stairs in the Jersey Shore and clearly going against procedure in spite of the fact that the video was edited worse than YouTube poop before release.

Edit: page break, talking about Sandra Bland still.

Late reply, but how fucking sick is it that one has to clarify which murder-by-police they're talking about after a page break?

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Mongrel
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Re: Our Boys In Blue

Postby Mongrel » Tue Aug 04, 2015 8:04 pm

Guardian: Alabama officer kept job after proposal to murder black man and hide evidence

I mean, that headline is actually rather dry. The actual quotes - recorded - are things like "that nigger [...] needs a god damn bullet".

Jesus Fucking Christ
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Brentai
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Re: Our Boys In Blue

Postby Brentai » Tue Aug 04, 2015 8:39 pm

Stories like this I feel would be much better served if we just sawed off the color of the people involved. White people have this tendency to think "Oh that zany Alabama racist is a real problem, but at least I don't have to worry about it happening to me" when in fact your skin color is not actually a magical talisman of protection against having your murder look like self defense.

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Re: Our Boys In Blue

Postby Thad » Wed Aug 05, 2015 12:49 am

Well, but the thing is that it happens a fuck of a lot more to black people than white people and that's something a surprisingly high number of people have still not recognized and acknowledged.

White skin isn't going to stop a bullet. But it provides a racial bonus against being subjected to police violence in the first place.

I think you're right that people need to be aware that corrupt cops are a threat to everybody. But I think people also need to be aware that corrupt cops are more of a threat to some people than others.

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Re: Our Boys In Blue

Postby Classic » Wed Aug 05, 2015 2:01 am

I thought Brent was trying to point out that (white) people would be more enthusiastic about police cameras if the power of police came down hard on people they counted as part of "them".

I mean, I don't know how you'll get (white) people who don't recognize the rates of police contact as a product of racism to come around to the fact. I do know that one of the changes of the intervening years since the successes of the 60's civil rights movements have been the strengthening of privileged (white) people being isolated from seeing the costs of racism. Like, throughout my life I've had to unlearn a lot of awful and obviously racist bullshit that you could only believe if you presupposed that "racism was over". And I could only suppose that because it has been so easy to ignore its costs.

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Re: Our Boys In Blue

Postby Thad » Wed Aug 05, 2015 12:55 pm

Well, yes.

(There are two particularly valuable lessons I learned when I studied the Civil Rights Movement as a kid, that weren't on the syllabus. One was that it's a mistake to refer to it in the past tense; it didn't end in the '60's or '70's, it's still going on. Another is something my grandmother, a school administrator, told me: that Brown v Board didn't really end school segregation, it just changed the law so that you couldn't officially make a school whites-only or colored-only. If your school is in an all-white neighborhood or an all-PoC neighborhood, the population is going to reflect that, and so is the funding.)

But I think the events of the past year have changed that. We're seeing protests that are big enough, and police violence that's excessive enough, that the news media and middle America can't ignore it, can't just avoid thinking about it, anymore. That much is something we already saw in the 1950's and '60's. The biggest difference today is we've got a populace where everybody carries a camera at all times, and has easy access to putting their videos up where anyone can see them; we're less reliant on the news media than we used to be, and we simply have more eyes on individual police encounters than the traditional media could possibly provide. The "this was just an isolated incident" rhetoric is less and less convincing all the time, and now we've got stuff like this:

Mongrel wrote:I'm starting to get the feeling that this is getting cross-party traction.



I suppose cops continuing to kill dozens of people a month and injuring god knows how many more, across every state of the union, and in spite of vastly increased recent scrutiny of all cops, brings a sort of damning inevitability to the wheel turning on this.


People across the spectrum, even unlikely ones, are acknowledging that we've got a fucking problem here, a problem with police brutality and a problem with racism. Now is exactly the time we shouldn't be backing off that narrative. You mentioned the "racism is over" narrative -- well, ignoring the racial component of police brutality reinforces that narrative.

Last month South Carolina finally took down the Traitor Flag (and while that's not directly related to recent police brutality, it's certainly related to racism -- and it was put up in the first damn place in support of police brutality in the 1960's, let's not forget). That's a sign of a sea change in public opinion. But it's also a really, really easy place for people to dust off their hands and say, "Okay, now racism is over." (Like Obama's election, or any number of other milestones.)

Backing off the emphasis on racially-motivated violence is exactly the wrong thing to do right now, just as an increasing number of people are finally acknowledging the problem exists.

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Re: Our Boys In Blue

Postby Brentai » Wed Aug 05, 2015 2:37 pm

Okay, but now we're talking about racism, and not the police plotting to murder people they don't like. As somebody who everyone - cops, criminals, whites, blacks, liberals and conservatives - will rush to assert is relatively safe and even has some power over the situation, how do you think this affects my concern about the thing?

It feels like you can get away with a lot of flagrantly evil actions by making them a Race Problem. We privileged liberals absolutely love to talk about Race[/Gender/Class] Problems because it seems more charitable (and more comfortable and safer) to talk about what's happening to those people, over there, than to talk about what this person right the fuck here wants to do with us. It becomes Not Really My Problem for the progressives, and then once we're on the page of it being a thing that just happens to minorities, the conservatives will HAPPILY line up to declare that the authorities have the right to do whatever the fuck it was they just did... even if it's literally planning to murder somebody (for the horrible crime of *posting bail*, no less.)

I don't want to not talk about racial violence. I just want to be careful not to let racial violence become (or continue to be) a sort of opiate for the majority, igniting our righteous indignation but suppressing our fear of things we should really, really be freaked out about.

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Re: Our Boys In Blue

Postby Brentai » Wed Aug 05, 2015 2:48 pm

tl;dr: I deeply believe that reactions to this story, even within this little community, would involve far more outrage if the color of the victim had been unspecified.

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Re: Our Boys In Blue

Postby Mongrel » Wed Aug 05, 2015 2:56 pm

"Alabama officer kept job after proposal to murder man and hide evidence." would have actually been an amazing clickbait-y headline. In a good way. It would say a lot that the average response from white folks would be to say "WHAT?!" and then to click on it and say "Oh. He's black. Well, of course.", whether or not they're racist.

And while Thad is right that we can't forget the underlying fundamentals of this issue, use of the phrase "black man" instead of just "man" in this case, does kinda-sorta perpetuate the underlying other-ing that contributes to racism.
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Re: Our Boys In Blue

Postby Brentai » Wed Aug 05, 2015 3:11 pm

See, look at those impressions. In the initial post you described the headline as actually somewhat understated; remove JUST the racial qualifier, and now you're calling it fantastic clickbait.

THIS IS NORMAL. I'm not implying anything nasty about you, Mongrel; you're unconsciously reacting exactly as I expect any regular not-particularly-racist non-black would. And you're being very honest about it, which I thank you for. But there's the example: just adding that one little qualifier, "black", has a profound effect on the story's emotional distance.

Maybe it's something we can't really avoid - you can't HIDE the fact that it was a white-on-black hate crime without being an irresponsible journalist - but... well, maybe there's nowhere to go with this. Maybe it's just a phenomenon that you can't really avoid but can only try to be aware of. If that's the case, my work here is as done as it can be.

I'm still surrounded by armed possible-murderers though.

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Re: Our Boys In Blue

Postby Mongrel » Wed Aug 05, 2015 3:30 pm

I think that if racism was properly defined, as the committing of "racist acts", instead of the weird historical artifact where it's a binary state of someone either being stamped "Racist" or "Not A Racist", you'd correctly find that damn near 99% of the population is racist on at least some level. And under that regime, I'll be happy to admit that I've committed what are effectively acts of both racism and sexism loads of times and in fact people do this about their own race/gender/creed all the time "Believe me guys, I know, because I'm one of them, hahaha.". Well, you do... and you don't, but as offences go, that's not exactly a capital one.

It's the old monkeysphere problem. We're always going to have trouble relating to the other seven-billion-minus-one-or-two-hundred people outside our personal bubbles without recourse to shorthand and generalization. In fact it's probably impossible to do so consistently, even if you're really trying hard.

If you genuinely want to do right in seeing other people as, well, people, as far as I can tell, the two genuinely important things to always emember are that 1) Individual variation among humans carries a far greater statistical and practical weight than population generalizations ever could, and 2) try your best to never deny someone equal agency (barring senile addlepated idiots like me who should probably be locked up somewhere).
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Re: Our Boys In Blue

Postby Thad » Wed Aug 05, 2015 3:35 pm

Brentai wrote:tl;dr: I deeply believe that reactions to this story, even within this little community, would involve far more outrage if the color of the victim had been unspecified.


And I don't think that's what taking race out of the equation does at all. I think ignoring racial motivations for police abuses reinforces the notion that it's a few bad apples, a few isolated incidents, and that cops don't target anybody but The Bad Guys.

Privileged people, by definition, don't have to deal with situations like this. For them (us), this is always going to be "something that happens to other people." Remove one word from the headline of that story, and it's not going to make me say "Christ, that could have been me," because honestly it's still pretty unlikely that it would have been me.

Acknowledging systemic patterns, on the other hand, makes the whole thing seem a lot less nebulous and random. It's a lot easier to recognize a concrete problem and a concrete cause.

And while, yeah, it may not affect guys like you and me directly, racially-motivated violence is something that bothers us. Bothers most people. Even conservatives mostly don't come out and say "Yes, this is racist, but that's okay;" they bend over backwards explaining why it's not racist.

In the end, that might not mean much in terms of who gets elected to state legislatures and to Congress. But there are already positive changes happening at the executive and judicial level. (I live in a place where a sheriff keeps getting elected despite repeated civil rights abuses, and it doesn't seem to matter whether the headline specifies "immigrant", "pregnant woman", or "as many as 400 children". But a civil suit finally seems to be clipping his wings, and the reason that suit succeeded was because it focused on provable racial discrimination.) We're seeing a huge push for body cameras, we've seen reform on providing military equipment to PD's, we're seeing various departments push reforms that focus on engaging with members of the community, and yes, we've seen a few indictments, even if it's not as many as we'd like. And I don't think those things are happening because we ignored the role race has played here.

To the privileged class, victims of police abuse are already the Other: they're accused criminals. (Or just "criminals", in the eyes of some people who think if you're accused of something then you're probably guilty.) Progressives might get outraged about that, but they're still not likely to think "That could have been me." Conservatives, as you say, may not get outraged at all.

But when you acknowledge the racial component, then you bring up an implicit proposition: either police treat everyone the same and black and Hispanic people are much, much, much likelier to be criminals than the general population, or police are treating people differently because they're black and Hispanic. While the former is still a fairly mainstream position, I think it's fair to say that at this point it's right of center and that it's not just liberals who find that sentiment galling, it's moderates and some conservatives, too.

tl;dr people who don't have regular negative dealings with the police are not going to respond to a story about police brutality by saying "That could have been me" no matter how the headline is worded; getting privileged people to push for reform is always going to require engaging some sort of sympathy for the Other; activating the pattern-recognition centers of their brains may not make it hit any closer to home* but it does a lot to make it obvious that it's both a systemic problem and a deeply unfair one.



* Then again, it might. While police violence may not affect privileged white dudes directly, I think most of us probably have friends or family who it does affect directly.

Mongrel wrote:And while Thad is right that we can't forget the underlying fundamentals of this issue, use of the phrase "black man" instead of just "man" in this case, does kinda-sorta perpetuate the underlying other-ing that contributes to racism.


And I think this is the equivalent of responding to "black lives matter" by saying "all lives matter" -- it's obviously true, and seems to be well-meaning, but it's at least ignoring, and perhaps even dismissing, a serious underlying problem.

Mongrel wrote:I think that if racism was properly defined, as the committing of "racist acts", instead of the weird historical artifact where it's a binary state of someone either being stamped "Racist" or "Not A Racist", you'd correctly find that damn near 99% of the population is racist on at least some level.



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Re: Our Boys In Blue

Postby Büge » Wed Aug 05, 2015 4:33 pm

Do you really want me to post that Jay Smooth video again

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Re: Our Boys In Blue

Postby Mongrel » Wed Aug 05, 2015 5:26 pm

Thad wrote:To the privileged class, victims of police abuse are already the Other: they're accused criminals. (Or just "criminals", in the eyes of some people who think if you're accused of something then you're probably guilty.) Progressives might get outraged about that, but they're still not likely to think "That could have been me." Conservatives, as you say, may not get outraged at all.

The thing that I think Brent and I are trying to get is, do you think those people are all unteachable lost causes? Because framing an issue in a different way can help people see things in a way that helps them to understand and learn. Obviously this won't work on everyone, but if it works on some I don't think it's a bad idea.

I also have to disagree with the characterization of something like "Police plan to murder man" with the #alllivesmatter hashtag, which has been pretty well established as a snarky dismissal. The first is an attempt to break down the barriers that prevent one person from understanding another person's different experiences, while the second is a denial that different experiences happen at all.
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Re: Our Boys In Blue

Postby patito » Wed Aug 05, 2015 5:41 pm

The problem with framing it as "cop shoots unarmed man" is that it basically erases the race component from the equation. It's like saying cops are awful to all people when the reality is that cops are awful to black people specifically. Like if you're a white guy and a cop pulls you over in the highway there's no reason to believe you're gonna get shot or murdered in prison, I can guarantee that you'll make it back home that night, but if you're a black man then boy, experience shows that yes, your very life is in danger.

So yes, saying "cops shoot unarmed man" is a roundabout way of saying racism is over, like you can go around saying that cops are terrible and you can't trust them all you want, but next time you interact with a cop, if you're a white person you're gonna have a very pleasant experience.

So yes, reframing it like that is exactly the justification of #alllivesmatter

tl;dr framing it as "cops shoot unarmed man" is like saying the reason a guy got shot is because the police are murderers, when the actual reason a guy got shot is because he is black. The police are racist first and murderers second.

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Re: Our Boys In Blue

Postby Classic » Wed Aug 05, 2015 5:50 pm

This is a pretty wild tangent here, but...
Thad wrote:
Mongrel wrote:I think that if racism was properly defined, as the committing of "racist acts", instead of the weird historical artifact where it's a binary state of someone either being stamped "Racist" or "Not A Racist", you'd correctly find that piss all over near 99% of the population is racist on at least some level.


FUCK THAT AVENUE Q SONG

I get violently angry at that song because I know I alienated a lot of people by not realizing that the racism people of color experience isn't anywhere near the same experience as occasionally being called a cracker.

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Re: Our Boys In Blue

Postby Mongrel » Wed Aug 05, 2015 5:57 pm

patito wrote:The problem with framing it as "cop shoots unarmed man" is that it basically erases the race component from the equation. It's like saying cops are awful to all people when the reality is that cops are awful to black people specifically. Like if you're a white guy and a cop pulls you over in the highway there's no reason to believe you're gonna get shot or murdered in prison, I can guarantee that you'll make it back home that night, but if you're a black man then boy, experience shows that yes, your very life is in danger.

So yes, saying "cops shoot unarmed man" is a roundabout way of saying racism is over, like you can go around saying that cops are terrible and you can't trust them all you want, but next time you interact with a cop, if you're a white person you're gonna have a very pleasant experience.

So yes, reframing it like that is exactly the justification of #alllivesmatter

tl;dr framing it as "cops shoot unarmed man" is like saying the reason a guy got shot is because the police are murderers, when the actual reason a guy got shot is because he is black. The police are racist first and murderers second.

That's valid if we're assuming that everyone who reads the title doesn't click on the article, where the man's race is very explicitly stated.

The teaching aspect I'm talking about requires people to actually read the article AND for the article to mention his race quite clearly. Sure, if you assume that a headline like that will go unread than you're absolutely correct. But my assumption is that the "clickbait" version would actually get MORE people to read the article, especially ones who would otherwise see "Police plan to murder black man" and just nod and move on without reading any more.

In no way do I think that mention of the victim's race should be expunged or buried. It IS a central fact of the case.
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