racially motivated according to whom?



Freddie deBoer used to blog at lhote.blogspot.com, and may again someday. Now he blogs here.

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17 Responses

  1. Avatar Jaybird says:

    What evidence?

    How about the link in the first paragraph? *NOW* the link says that the police chief is backing off previous statements… but the earlier story has this line in it: “”In my estimation, it’s racially motivated,” said Capt. Don Sax of the Belleville Police Department. He said one reason he had formed this opinion was that many of the students, most of whom were black, yelled their support for the beating.”

    I presume that he linked to the story *BEFORE* the update.

    If he did, would the story he linked to count as evidence?Report

    • Avatar Freddie says:

      Uh, Jay? The cop isn’t coming up with anything resembling a plausible justification for saying that. He says, “other black students were whooping and hollering.” Take it from me, Jay– kids whoop and holler when someone’s getting beat up. There’s nothing even remotely persuasive in that story.

      But then, I suppose who posted this matters most…..Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        You asked “what evidence?”

        I am pointing to a story that has the police chief saying “evidence”.

        If you don’t see that as evidence, that’s cool.Report

    • Hmm….even granting that Dreher could safely rely on the police chief’s statement to claim that this was a racially motivated attack, that’s not really how Dreher approached it. His response to the chief’s statement was “ya think?” This means that he thought the police chief was just stating the obvious, ie, his conclusion that this was race-based was independent of the police chief’s claims.

      I don’t know if there’s any audio to the video, but from the description of the incident in the news report and the video, it looks pretty difficult to conclude that this is race-based. Frankly, the thing that jumped out at me was the difference between the front and back of the bus. It looks like everyone in the back of the bus (including, it seems, at least one or two other white kids) was cheering the attacker on. Everyone in the front of the bus (including a lot of black kids) appeared horrified by what was going on. Anyone who’s ever ridden a bus to school knows that there’s usually a pretty direct correlation between where one sits on the bus and social hierarchy.

      I’m pretty sure I can remember one or two incidents when I was growing up where you could have filmed this exact video, right down to the issue of the kid sitting in a socially unacceptable seat, just with white victims and white attackers. Well, that, and the bus driver would have pulled over and tried to resolve the problem.

      This looks like a bullying problem, not a race problem. Bullying is a big problem that shouldn’t be downplayed; it’s also such a common problem that a relatively run-of-the-mill incident of it hardly seems worth reporting.

      One final thing – I think that the racism card gets played far too easily by the Left, and to the point where it winds up undermining credibility where the racial elements of an incident really are self-evident. But it’s really hard to complain much about the overplaying of the race card when conservatives are often so quick to cry “racism” when the tables are turned.

      If conservatives are serious about wanting to be able to speak about race (or things that have only a loose connection to race) without being immediately labeled “racist,” then it would behoove them to, well, stop labeling something as racism the second a black or Latino person does or says something about race (or only has a loose connection race).Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        I don’t know that it was, I don’t know that it wasn’t. I do know that if we shuffled races around (what if it were Latino-Americans beating up a Hmong? What if it were Pacific Islanders beating up an Arab? What if it were white kids beating up an African-American kid?) that one sees group dynamics at play that could, for lack of a better term, be called “racist”.

        Are there no such group dynamics at play here?

        Hey. I don’t know. I think that the racist card gets played way, way, way too often. When played way, way, way too often, it sounds like Chicken Little.

        Now I don’t know that the dynamics weren’t there, I don’t know that they were.

        I do know that the police chief said something that he or she is now walking back from this morning and what the police chief said qualifies as “evidence”.

        Now, if you say that the word of a police officer (let alone police chief!) is worth approximately the electricity it costs to not light them up against a white background (note to self: work on that one), I couldn’t agree more.

        But I could see how someone might see such a statement as “evidence”.Report

        • I don’t disagree with any of this. My point is that Dreher responding to the police chief’s now-retracted statement with “Oh, ya think?” can only be interpreted as Dreher saying that this is clearly race-based regardless of what the police chief said. In other words, he didn’t seem to be relying on the police chief’s statement as evidence because unless I’m behind the times on common colloquialisms, “Oh, ya think?” is a way of saying “way to state the obvious, dumbass.”

          Is it possible that this was race-based? Totally. So I could understand if Dreher limited his comment to speculating on whether this was racially motivated. I could also understand if the conclusion was just that “race probably played a role because it is always lurking in the background.” My objection arises from the notion that race was obviously the but-for cause of the incident without any evidence beyond the fact that it was a black kid victimizing a white kid (keeping in mind that Dreher’s words suggest he was not relying on the police chief’s statement).

          Now, if Dreher had just not used the line “Oh, ya think?” and kept the rest of the post the same, I’m probably not writing this.Report

          • Avatar Freddie says:

            Again, a police officer saying something is so, when he has no factual basis for saying so, is not evidence. It’s just a police officer’s speculation.

            What’s more, this is a bus with both white students and black students; it has both every day. This kid got beaten up on this day. Why didn’t any of the other kids get beaten up, if this was a racial attack? Why didn’t it happen any other day, if it was indiscriminate?Report

            • I also totally agree with this. But it’s difficult for me to ignore that a lot of people really do take the word of anyone in uniform as bullet-proof evidence unto itself. So if Dreher had said something other than “Oh, ya think” I’m probably still writing something – it would just be more along the lines of “people really need to stop accepting the opinions of people in uniform as objective, indisputable fact” instead of “it’s outrageous to conclude that this was racially motivated solely on the basis of the fact that it was a white kid being beaten by a black kid.”

              Of course, if it were shown to me that Dreher is selective in the instances where he trusts the opinions of people in uniform, then I probably revert to the current position.

              As for your second paragraph, I’d say that possible does not mean probable. I can see a credible argument that it was a secondary (ie, non-proximate) motivation, at least if you ascribe to the notion that race colors everything we do (a position that white conservatives reject). Since I can’t hear the actual audio of the incident, and since there is no information about whether there was any history between these kids, I have to leave open the possibility, however unlikely, that evidence of racial motivation will eventually turn up. My expectation is that when more inevitably comes out about this story, the evidence will show there was no racial motivation.

              My general philosophy, though, is that I can tolerate speculation as long as the speculator recognizes that they’re speculating. Where speculation is offered as certainty, I have a problem.

              In this case, I think having certainty that there was no racial motivation here is totally warranted given that the evidence that does exist suggests this was just a run-of-the-mill incident of bullying. On the other hand, I can’t completely foreclose the possibility that there was a racial motivation because the evidence before me is still relatively sparse (a short news report and a video without sound). I find this evidence enough to be persuasive, but not enough to rip someone else for finding unpersuasive. To be sure, I’ll try to convince them that the evidence is persuasive, but I won’t think any less of them if at the end they’re still on the fence.

              I know that you’re going to say that I don’t offer this same courtesy to liberals, but so far as I know, I do.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird says:

              The cop may have had no evidence, true.

              But if a cop says “X” and the story says “Cop says ‘X'”, then someone who links to the story has evidence of X. The newspaper reported that a cop said it, after all.

              Evidence is not proof. Evidence can even throw someone down to the wrong conclusion. This does not make it !evidence, however.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird says:

            Hey, don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that Dreher is right to have written what he did. (Personally, I think that the whole “crunchy con” thing is a way for conservatives to get in on the “stuff white people like” craze.)

            The original post asked what evidence Dreher had. I merely pointed out that he did, indeed, have an article that had a (since updated) cop quoted as saying it was racially motivated.

            It seems now that it was just an issue of a white kid moving a black kid’s bag and sitting down next to him on the bus. No racial anythings at all.

            I’m sure we’re all breathing easier now that we know that the black kid beat up the white kid for being presumptuous rather than for a race-based reason.Report

  2. Avatar Ergoproxy says:

    So one kid getting beaten with no real justification constitutes “kids fighting each other”. GTFO.
    The kid didnt even fought back.Report

  3. The irony of a liberal questioning a tenuous link to racism should not be lost on any of us.Report

    • I disagree. See above. If we’re ever going to be able to have free and open dialogue about things that may or may not have to do about race, the worst thing that can be done is to make it so that it’s ironic for a non-liberal to question a tenuous connection to racism.Report

  4. Avatar Zach says:

    Being harassed by a gang of kids on bicycles is the sort of humiliation Rod Dreher will never forget? He’s lived a pretty charmed life, I guess. That happens to just about anyone who lives in Baltimore fairly frequently and for the life of me I’ve never worried that someone would pull a gun on me if I said anything. There’s certainly acts of random violence, but I’ve never heard of anyone being attacked for speaking up, or anyone being called a racist for asking people not to call them names.

    Also, there are other white people on the bus. Race was not the only motivating factor here. QED.Report

  5. Avatar Jaybird says:

    This is an odd discussion to be having.

    It’s like discussing whether the graffiti on the side of a mosque is representative of a hate crime or if it’s merely vandalism.

    Everything is topsy-turvy.Report

  6. Avatar Nob Akimoto says:

    In fairness to Dreher, he took down the post and posted up a strong, strong rebuke of other conservative voices playing the race card, particularly of Limbaugh.Report