Altering the Policing Paradigm

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Oscar Gordon

A Navy Turbine Tech who learned to spin wrenches on old cars, Oscar has since been trained as an Engineer & Software Developer & now writes tools for other engineers. When not in his shop or at work, he can be found spending time with his family, gardening, hiking, kayaking, gaming, or whatever strikes his fancy & fits in the budget.

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171 Responses

  1. Avatar Jaybird
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    says:

    I don’t know why people think that just getting rid of Police Unions is a silver bullet that will immanentize the eschaton.

    (Good list. I find myself startlingly confused at why there hasn’t been *ANY* national movement to legalize pot. It’s low hanging fruit! Is this another example of Police Union lobbying? Taking away the ability of the Police Unions to lobby might not be a silver bullet, but it’s a silver amalgam, like the stuff dentists used to use in fillings.)Report

    • Avatar Jacob in reply to Jaybird
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      says:

      There’s no national movement to legalize pot because pot arrests put bodies in prison across much of the country, and those prisoners, having been convicted of a crime, can now be used for what amounts to slave labor in full compliance with the 14th amendment. Cui bono?Report

    • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
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      says:

      Because the states which have a lot of people who want legal pot have directly made it legal or some silly work around like medical pot. That has lessened the pressure for anything national. In most places small amounts of pot are relatively easy to buy even if its illegal.

      How exactly does take away citizen groups ability to lobby work? Cops can form lobbying groups that arent’ unions like everyone else.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak
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        says:

        Cops can form lobbying groups that aren’t unions like everyone else.

        Then let them. I officially would like to say that they should be free to.

        But take away the Police Union ability to donate to politicians, and make the Police Lobbying Group do it.

        I *FULLY* support this solution.Report

    • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Jaybird
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      says:

      I find myself startlingly confused at why there hasn’t been *ANY* national movement to legalize pot. It’s low hanging fruit!

      NORML would like a word about its 50-year history. Look, if it were cheap and easy to pass legalization everywhere, it would pass everywhere. If I recall the funding numbers from when there have been initiative campaigns, the big money opposing legalization isn’t usually the police, it’s ethanol, pharmaceuticals, and casinos. My understanding of the casinos’ motivation is that two drinks makes people play more aggressively; two THC-infused drinks and people no longer want to play at all.Report

    • Avatar Jesse in reply to Jaybird
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      says:

      The biggest issue at this point, I believe, politically, is a bunch of Democratic leaders are white people in their 70’s, who despite being liberals, may have their own personal opposition to pot legalization, and whom also still have PTSD from the tough on crime era of America.

      On the Republican side, you have the usual anti-drug coalition, that still marijuana leads straight to being a heroin addict, and even though they’re not a majority of even the Republican coalition, they are likely a large portion of the donors and the primary base.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jesse
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        says:

        You’d think that there’d be *SOMEBODY* willing to stand in front of the cameras for 3 minutes on this, though. It’s an opportunity! It’s an election year!Report

        • Avatar InMD in reply to Jaybird
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          says:

          The biggest reason is because hardcore marijuana prohibition has mostly collapsed at the state level. Jacob up above is ridiculously wrong about the status quo. Very, very few people do any time for marijuana and the practice in most jurisdictions for simple possession is diversion, regardless of what is on the books.

          Does it mean it’s good policy? Of course not. Does it mean it’s still used as pretext to harass people, especially those deemed undesirable? Yes. But is it the kind of thing in the forefront of peoples minds when it comes to our police problem? Not really, not anymore. That’s why people aren’t pushing it.

          The other piece is the type of progressives most likely to lead the charge still don’t really understand the problem with law enforcement. There’s a few symptoms that really piss them off but their eyes glaze over when the conversation turns from jeremiads on white supremacy to the policies that create the situation. You see hints of this in the conversation below about racial make up of urban governments and police forces.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to InMD
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            says:

            I was thinking about this in the shower.

            Why wouldn’t the congresscritter in charge of Denver not push for Legalization? It’d be a great stepping stone to the Senate!

            Wait. We get a lot of Marijuana tourism.

            Wait. That means that all of the people in (more restrictive state) will stop vacationing here for a long weekend or longer.

            It’s in the best interest of the constituents of his that donate to him (the pot shoppes, the hotels, the pizza chains) for him to *NOT* push for legal weed.

            Dang it.Report

            • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Jaybird
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              says:

              Why wouldn’t the congresscritter in charge of Denver not push for Legalization? It’d be a great stepping stone to the Senate!

              Degette has pushed, for years. But it’s never been a top-tier subject in Congress that Dem leadership has been willing to push. If that’s what she’s serious about, no way does she jump to the Senate. She’s been in the House long enough to finally be in line for the chair of a committee and to have a shot at a leadership position when Pelosi steps down and things get shaken up. Swap that for another 20 years climbing the Senate ladder to get a chair?

              Coloradans seldom (verging on never) get to chair committees because they don’t stay in Congress long enough. IIRC, if Bennett serves out his current term, he will hold the title of longest-serving US Senator from Colorado ever.Report

          • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to InMD
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            says:

            their eyes glaze over when the conversation turns from jeremiads on white supremacy to the policies that create the situation.

            Blaming “White Supremacy” means progressives don’t need to change. It’s someone else’s problem, the burden of changing is totally on those white supremacists.

            Changing policies that they, personally, have put into place for darn good reason means that they need to change. It might even mean they’ve been supporting “white supremacy” (even if they’re pro-minority or they’re a minority themselves).

            “Change” here means “their kids may end up in school next to poor kids”, or “the system will go lighter on the criminals they, personally, don’t want next to them”.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Dark Matter
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              says:

              Yeah, this is where the “hide the ball” seems to happen the most.

              It’s not about Personal Racism, it’s about Structural Racism.
              Wait, no, it’s about White Supremacy.

              And whenever the topic strays toward changing something the dominant paradigm benefits from, watch the ball be hidden again.

              “I don’t know why you think changing the thing that would affect *ME* is a silver bullet.”Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                Again, why I try to stay away from the racism aspect. It’s there, I get it, but it’s not all that useful to get the ball moving.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                In fairness the movement is a bit of a hydra. Whenever I have come across the more substantive, well thought-out policy proposals from BLM and other groups I have found little to disagree with.*

                Where it can go off the rails is belief in big, simple solutions. Police reform really requires a huge number of small solutions like what Oscar is proposing, none of which will be a watershed. It requires a lot of determined work and subject matter expertise.

                Where the ‘solution’ is ending something amorphous like ‘white supremacy’ it’s doomed go nowhere. This is especially so when the proposal itself is so misleading. What’s really being demanded is universal adoption of a highly specific and pretty faulty theory of race and politics. That’s never going to happen in a country this big and diverse, no matter how much religious fervor is appled.

                *Obviously I have quibbles even then but who doesn’t?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to InMD
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                says:

                This exchange shows why any reform that doesn’t address racism will fail.

                Dark Matter and Jaybird note the tendency of even liberal types to shy away from any solution which makes them uncomfortable, like school integration.

                InMD and Oscar then suggest that maybe smaller mechanistic solutions are better.

                But its useful to remember Lee Atwater’s insight that racism works best when it is hidden within exactly those small mechanistic policies.

                E.G.: We simply want to reorganize the school district, argle bargle this-n-that. The fact that the reorganization leaves it segregated by race and class is entirely a coincidence.
                We must address the crime problem in “Urban Area” with some sort of stop and frisk policy ; the fact that this affects young black males is just a coincidence.

                People aren’t stupid, they aren’t operating behind a Rawlsian veil; They grasp immediately the impact of any ostensibly “color blind” mechanistic policy and support or oppose it on those grounds.

                The fact that liberals yelp in pain when racism cuts close shows exactly why we need to address it more.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                Sure, no problem.

                We need to end the racist War on Drugs.
                We need to limit the powers of racist Police Unions and prohibit them from racist lobbying.
                We need to get rid of racist QI.

                Lemme guess: We don’t need to *CHANGE* things. We just need to “address racism”. Without, presumably, changing anything.

                “Why do you think that changing something is a silver bullet?”Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                It’s good to see Chip come out in favor of School Choice and Vouchers as an Anti-Racisim platform.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                Which racism are we addressing, though? Personal, or structural?

                I’m all for acknowledging structural racism and addressing it in ways big and small. I’m not going to waste time trying to address personal racism through policy.

                What I am not going to do right now is focus on the racism angle simply because it let’s too many people dodge the larger issue of police reform.

                The law and order types will use the stats to show that racism isn’t a problem and we don’t really need sweeping reforms, and the liberals will admit it’s a problem, but refuse to acknowledge that their pet issues are contributing to the racism.

                Focus on the fact that the police are out of control against EVERYONE (even other police, for crissake!), and no one gets a place to hide.

                Once folks are onboard with the idea that the police need to be reformed, then we can go about about making sure the structural racism is removed as well.Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                says:

                Focus on the fact that the police are out of control against EVERYONE (even other police, for crissake!), and no one gets a place to hide.

                Here is where we do politics 🙂

                I think Oscar probably underestimates the role racism plays across the board in America, how deep it runs. However, right now the militarization of the police is out of the control. Likewise, Trumpist authoritarianism is out of control. It’s a real danger.

                So we do this crazy thing called “coalition building.” Yes, he and I disagree on many things. However, this one thing is critically important right now. Moreover, we agree on this one thing. Many here do, even while we disagree on other things.

                In the long run, I would love an America where Oscar and I were in competing political parties, because in that America, the scope of decision would be between energized socdems and principled libertarians, rather than what we have now, which is a choice between literal jack booted thugs and anemic neoliberalism.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to veronica d
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                says:

                Yes, thank you! We need that coalition, so I am going to discard things that serve to weaken that coalition.

                PS I don’t think I underestimate the impact of racism. It’s just a very twisted kind of racism, where it isn’t black vs white, but blue vs not-blue. Harassing black communities just tends to cause less headaches for blue communities, so they get harassed more by the blue community.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                says:

                It is the Black Lives Matter protests which showed many white Americans for the first time how out of control the police really are.

                Until just a few weeks ago, most white Americans would have agreed with the proposition that police only use measured proportional violence.

                Because it is trivially easy to construct a world in which police violence is only directed at people who are out of view and silenced.

                Racism isn’t a separate issue from policing; they work hand in hand and we are going to need to walk and chew gum at the same time in order to address either one.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Because it is trivially easy to construct a world in which police violence is only directed at people who are out of view and silenced.

                How easy is it to argue that we don’t need to change anything until we address racism?

                I mean, are you doing some heavy lifting here that everyone else on the board is refusing to acknowledge?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                Where did I say we don’t need to change anything until we address racism?
                We can walk and chew gum at the same time.

                Exhibit A:
                Mona Charon, a rightwing NeverTrumper at The Bulwark:
                George Floyd Changed My Mind

                I’ve long believed that police have a difficult job and deal with the worst of the worst on a daily basis. I’m grateful for their protection. And there’s a lot of crying wolf in the race business. (See Smollett, Jussie.) But I’ve come to believe that mistreatment of African Americans is not a myth and is not even uncommon. I’m glad that so many white and other Americans, by marching with their black fellow citizens, and by what they tell pollsters, are signaling their dismay at these outcomes. People’s minds can change. Mine did.

                Her views on the policing of America have changed, as a result of her changing views on race. Or maybe vice versa.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                I can’t tell where you are on this one Chip.

                Are you suggesting we can’t reform the police until we have integrated schools?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Dark Matter
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                says:

                I think it’s that there will be no deal on reforming the police unless we also have a deal to integrate schools, allow school choice/voichers, and charter schools.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                Charter schools are the prime example of an ostensibly race neutral mechanism which becomes a tool of racism itself.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                Awful lot of POC out there with kids in Charter schools who would strongly disagree with you on that.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                says:

                Awful lot of white people who use charter schools as segregation academies.

                Like I said, on paper charters are wonderful.
                But then again, all the tools of racism are wonderful, until they get placed in the hands of racists.

                Democracy itself can become a tool of racism. That is, “The People get what the people want” is its core mission.

                And a lot of the time, “what the people want” is to inflict injury on their fellow citizens.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                Hey, that happens across the board, not just with regards to race.

                Welcome to the libertarian party, where we’d much rather people not have that kind of power through government.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                says:

                Not have the power to…define property rights? Defend property rights? Define contracts? Enforce contracts?

                Again, a minarchist state administered by people who want to inflict injury on the citizens, will inflict injury on the citizens.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                So what are we to do. If the government is a tool of oppression, and not having a government is a tool of oppression, and we can not structure government such that it can not be a tool of oppression because it will have no teeth to do anything else…?Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                Charter schools don’t seem to address the vast disparity between schools in wealthy areas and schools in poor areas. Taking a select number of socially disadvantaged students and placing them into a better environment leaves a lot of other kids behind. What are those other kids supposed to do? Rot?

                The same applies to vouchers. Sure, some number of minorities could plausibly use vouchers to better their kids, but what about all the other kids? Should they rot?

                We need to improve every school. We need to uplift all children.

                “But that’s hard!”

                Yes, it is.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to veronica d
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                says:

                Yes, but the point of vouchers and charters isn’t to let the other kids rot, it’s to use the right of exit to force TPTB to recognize that the school needs to improve.

                Ideally, we shouldn’t need to. TPTB would see the school failing and deploy resources to bolster it. But they don’t, so you need some other way to force the issue.

                Now if you have a better way besides allowing children to exit to monopoly, I’m all ears.Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                says:

                How’s that been working out?

                I think the problem is, we’re talking about schools that are underfunded, where the parents of the children are powerless and poor. In other words, TPTB didn’t care about the school before. The fact that some percentage of the students leave — will that motivate them to improve the school? What pressures them? Why doesn’t it pressure them before the charter school?Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to veronica d
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                says:

                Because if a school population drops low enough, TPTB can not justify keeping it open, and they have to either close it (thus the kids left get redistributed to other schools), or they have to fix it.

                Or they can vilify Charter schools and hamstring them 7 ways from Sunday in the hopes of getting those kids back to the failing public school, so they can continue to ignore the problem.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to veronica d
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                says:

                Underfunded? Are there measurements on this sort of thing?

                Are these school districts clustered in particular areas that would benefit from more people throwing away their red hats, swallowing their pride, and voting for a Democrat for once in their life?

                (Will we be allowed to look at whether teachers are good or bad and what it’d take to replace bad ones?)

                HEY WAIT A SECOND WE WERE TALKING ABOUT QIReport

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                I’m pretty sure we can find data the relates race and social economic status to things like class size, teacher salaries, per-student spending (versus administrative spending), etcetera. I’d expect we could find quite a lot of this data, although to be honest, I have no intention of looking right now.

                Likewise, I’m quite certain we can find credible academics who make it their live’s work to study these problems in detail.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to veronica d
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                says:

                I recall reading somewhere that these failing schools are funded just fine, and often times get extra funding.

                But it’s what the school does with that funding that matters, and a lot of times, it gets pissed away on shiny shit that looks good and gets oohs and aahs from parents, but that doesn’t really address the problems.

                It’s like putting on a fresh coat of paint on the school and calling it good.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to veronica d
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                says:

                There’s a hole in the bucket, Dear Liza, Dear Liza. There’s a hole in the bucket. Dear Liza, a hole.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to veronica d
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                says:

                per-student spending (versus administrative spending)

                10+ years ago I did a really deep dive on figuring out what the difference was between our local spending on education and Detroit’s. Normally these studies compare the best funded schools and I thought that wasn’t appropriate since the local schools are great. The big surprise was Detroit was apparently spending more per pupil. They were also paying their teachers a lot more than us. Their class sizes were silly more. The money just didn’t seem to be making it into the classroom.

                I checked to see how all these numbers could be and as near as I could tell, for every teacher my local public school had 0.6 non-teachers, while Detroit had either three or four. In the intervening years a number of Detroit Principals have been arrested for embezzlement.

                I’m not sure if the Detroit School Board are all still driving around in “official” cars with drivers and going on international “research” trips and so on but whatever. It’s not about the money.

                Corruption of the local administration is a local issue. Similarly, the best funded schools are ALSO not well served by their administration. There is a ton of lard and very expensive but not value-added classes in a lot of these money-cannon schools.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to veronica d
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                says:

                We have schools where the bulk of them are “rotting” right now. In practice you’re arguing that we need to let them stay there until we figure out a way to help all of them.

                You’re also arguing that, when the system is clearly failing one kid, she’s supposed to take one for the team. Arguing against Charters is arguing that parents should have less control/power, that the system can/should be trusted to do the right thing even when it’s clearly doing the wrong thing.

                For example I have used Charter schools as a club to make the school administration do the right thing for my kid. They’re the best school system around, they still drop the ball occasionally. “Helping every child” means empowering parents at the expense of the system rather than the reverse.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter
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                says:

                I’m saying we need to do many things all at the same time.

                Think of how America changed on the issue of gay rights.
                It wasn’t just this one legal structure here; It wasn’t just Hollywood depictions; It wasn’t just churches;

                It was attacked on every front.
                There were theologians arguing a Biblical support for gay rights; Legal scholars writing about Constitutional arguments; Hollywood writers casting openly gay people in positive roles. And so on.

                As people become aware of systemic racism, they become more open to the idea of overhauling the mission and scope of the police.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                While police reform and structural racism are coupled, they are not that tightly coupled in people’s heads. I still see people posting meme’s about Floyds and Brooks criminal records as a way to justify their killings and that the officers are heroes for it. Those folks aren’t going to be swayed by appeals to BLM. They are going to be turned off by it.

                They need to see themselves at risk. Once they are part of the coalition, you can work back to racism.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                Chip, I think the problem is that once you’ve conflated even the most mundane issues of self-interest with racism, or even more loaded terms like ‘white supremacy’, you’ve given up the game for a lot of people. It’s one thing to say that one of the myriad of our problems with law enforcement is the disproportionate impact seemingly based on race. It’s another entirely to say progress is contingent on people completely reordering their lives and thinking about everything.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to InMD
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                says:

                This. Thank you.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to InMD
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                says:

                “It’s another entirely to say progress is contingent on people completely reordering their lives and thinking about everything.”

                Isn’t this just reinforcing Jaybird’s observation that people want change, just not TO change?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                The observation was made about people who argue against police reform by pointing out that society is still racist, Chip.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                I can’t make people not be racist. There is no policy, no matter how well crafted, that will make people not be racist, or find a way to work within the rules, whatever they are, to be *-ist.

                All I can do is build a coalition to try and change the structure of the system so that it is hopefully more equitable and just, and maybe, just maybe, transparent enough that when people try to leverage the system to support their *-ist, it’s obvious to everyone else and society can apply pressure.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                says:

                “I can’t make people not be racist”

                It would be pretty (and convenient) to think so, but history says otherwise.

                Our attitudes and behavioral norms are amazingly flexible and constructed.

                What we regard as true or untrue, right or wrong are heavily influenced by the behaviors of our peers and the degree of social acceptance.

                Think of how views of homosexuality changed radically in the past four decades. This didn’t just happen. It was the result of a coordinated and determined campaign to change public opinion.

                We can make racism become taboo and unacceptable, but we need to be willing to see it in ourselves as well.

                “B-but, they will just dig in their heels!”

                Sure, like the Westboro Baptist church or Franklin Graham and Jerry Falwell Jr.

                How’s that working out for them?Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                The word “racist” is being used in multiple ways there.

                If not being racist means “not having a problem with minorities and not being opposed to them advancing”, then fine, I’m already there. My kids learn next to some of my coworkers’ kids. They picked this district for the same reasons I did and put the same value on education. They’re welcome to a white picket fenced house next to my own.

                If not being racist means I value other people’s kids more than my own, and I’m willing to put up with things from minorities that I wouldn’t tolerate from my relatives, then I’m never going to be there.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                Exactly what policies forced people to personally accept gay people into their hearts as equals?

                It wasn’t a policy that did that, it was visibility. It was people slowly realizing that someone they cared about was LGBTQ, so it mattered that those people have rights.

                But even so, take a look at that link in my last comment. There are still large swaths of the population who just can not tolerate LGBTQ persons, and there is no policy that will change that. The best we can do is craft policy to deny the bigots power and then hope/wait for the bigotry to die out on it’s own.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                says:

                It wasn’t a policy that did that, it was visibility. It was people slowly realizing that someone they cared about was LGBTQ, so it mattered that those people have rights.

                This whole line of thought is irrelevant.

                The lion’s share of the problem is “systemic racism”. You don’t need to be a racist to be part of the systemic-racism issue. This is best showcased by solid blue cities having areas of concentrated poverty.

                “Cure” everyone of personal racism and we’re STILL going to have systemic issues because personal racism isn’t fueling it.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels
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                “Structural racism” then.

                From your link:
                But the whole point of structural or institutional racism is that it doesn’t depend on any individual purposefully devoting themselves to destroying the lives of nonwhite people. So Gupta replied, “It means that there is bias built into existing institutions.”

                The problem, even in that quote, is we have this idea that “bias” is something that we can wave a magic wand against and make disappear. We can’t.

                One example of “bias” is “not wanting to give credit to people with bad credit and no assets”. Another would be parents not wanting their kids in classrooms with disruptive kids of any race. Another would be businesses not wanting to locate in areas where crime runs rampant and/or their employees are in danger.

                The underlying “bias” is rooted in sound reasoning. That it causes more problems for minorities than others is besides the point. The solutions for this sort of thing are EXTREMELY ugly.

                For asset bias, we could have the gov take all personal assets over a certain amount to equalize the personal level of assets. Of course we’d need to do this every 5 years or so, and it’d cause extremely nasty economic problems.

                To deal with the problem of parents trying to do good things for their kids we could take all kids away from their parents at the age of 5 and have them raised in some gov facility.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Dark Matter
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                says:

                Eh, sure, we could do that, but that’s not the only option.

                Honestly, this is where federalism can be useful, the whole ‘laboratories’ aspect. But before we can engage the laboratories, we need to first all acknowledge where the structural issues are (like credit, and schools, and criminal justice).

                And we need to accept that regardless of what is done to help, not everyone is going to be awesome. We have a nasty habit of looking at the stories and not the stats (and even worse, not bothering to look at the whole story).Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter
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                says:

                The point of structural racism is that it doesn’t depend on any single causal factor.

                Like, bad credit among minorities. The bad credit itself is a result of other factors which interlock into the structure.

                So it becomes a convenient chick and egg problem which can be waved away as unsolvable.
                We can’t solve this until we solve that, and that can be solved until we solve another thing, and so on in an endless loop.

                In your linkages, the problems are presented as unsolvable, conveniently so.

                Businesses do frequently invest in “areas where crime runs rampant”, and there are whole hosts of solutions to that being enacted right now in cities across the country.
                The VA/ FHA mortgage program was created specifically to allow loans to people with no credit as were student loans and SBA loans.

                And how are we not supposed to notice the underlying logic that “schools free of disruptive students” = “White schools”?

                Again, this is why ostensibly neutral mechanisms like “school safety” become weaponized to become code words for segregation by class or race.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                And how are we not supposed to notice the underlying logic that “schools free of disruptive students” = “White schools”?

                There are white schools which don’t meet my standards, I pulled two of my girls from public schools because the administration wanted to send them into a white school. The student who attacked my wife was white. That sort of behavior doesn’t become acceptable if he’s black.

                If there are no disruptive students, then great, there is no problem. Presumably the classes’ test scores will be high enough to attract people like me.

                I do not care, in the slightest, whether using metrics and trying to do my best for my kids advantages or disadvantages other people. If those other people are white then it’s not my problem. If they’re black it’s still not my problem. It would be bad parenting to lower my standards for what I can do for my girls because other parents have lowered theirs.

                Again, this is why ostensibly neutral mechanisms like “school safety” become weaponized to become code words for segregation by class or race.

                The mechanisms are neutral, they’re not code words. I do what is best for my kids. For example if I remember the newspaper talking about a local school have one of its students raped during school hours inside the school, I view that as a non-starter in terms of whether I’ll even consider them as an option.

                Thankfully when you filter for things like test results you’re mostly also filtering for all sorts of other negative issues so that works well. If me doing that causes problems for the collective then whatever.

                IMHO a lot of Blue voters do the same thing, they’re just less self-honest about their priorities and the problems those priorities create.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                Back in ye olden dayes of “Debating Gay Marriage”, the distinction that made the most sense to me was the difference between “Marriage in the Eyes of God” and “Marriage in the Eyes of the State”.

                A lot of Religious Types used the word “Marriage” to mean some vague combination of the two and you were never totally sure which they were using until you got to the end of the paragraph.

                My argument was that MEG was something that I didn’t particularly have insight into. Maybe I’m married in the eyes of God, maybe I’m not.

                He and I no longer speak.

                But Marriage in the Eyes of the State? That’s the manila folder stuff, the hospital visitation stuff, the “somebody dies, does their stuff go into probate” stuff.

                Marriage in the Eyes of God involves stuff like commitment and covenants and conversations about what type of Hamburger Helper to buy.

                Marriage in the Eyes of the State is mostly paperwork.

                The racism that *I* would like to address is the stuff covered by “Pot Not Being Legal” and “Qualified Immunity” and “Asset Forfeiture” and whatnot.

                Paperwork stuff that is tied to whether or not people go to jail.

                How people feel in their hearts?

                That’s outside of my area of competence.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Hell, we could start with sentencing disparities and we’d make a huge amount of headway.Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                This!

                I’m not sure how to fix it, however. I dislike “mandatory minimum” and shit like that. I rather prefer the idea that judges could make sound judgements about what sentence is appropriate. However, the subtle racism that shows up in sentencing is terrible.

                I suppose judges could get diversity training with a section of implicit bias. I bet that would totally solve the problem!

                Narrator: it didn’t solve the problem.

                Anyway, you’re right of course. Sentencing disparities are awful.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Gays got accepted because if we forgive who they love then they’re us.

                This problem goes a lot deeper than “acceptance”. My wife was attacked by one of her students, she now refuses to go back into that school. My kid was in a class with a bunch of disruptive students, I stepped in to move her to another class.

                My behavior is going to be the same no matter what the skin color of the other people are, but if their skin color is black then it’s “racism”.

                I’m in favor of accepting people and with reforming the police. If what is desired is a LOT more than “acceptance” then there may be serious resistance.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                “My wife was attacked by one of her students, she now refuses to go back into that school. My kid was in a class with a bunch of disruptive students, I stepped in to move her to another class.

                My behavior is going to be the same no matter what the skin color of the other people are, but if their skin color is black then it’s “racism”.”

                Only we have ample research to show that our behavior is influenced by the skin color of other people, as much as we may like to think it’s not.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                “I am motivated to attack you because of the color of your skin” goes to some weird places, though.

                If we’re willing to go there, I guess we’re willing to go there.

                (Bought a gun yet? If not, I recommend the M&P Shield 2.0. $500, concealable. Uses 9mm which means that it’ll be easy to find ammo.)Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                [gif of “Wow that escalated quickly”]Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                Dark Matter: “My wife was attacked by one of her students, she now refuses to go back into that school. My kid was in a class with a bunch of disruptive students, I stepped in to move her to another class. My behavior is going to be the same no matter what the skin color of the other people are, but if their skin color is black then it’s “racism”.”

                Kazzy: Only we have ample research to show that our behavior is influenced by the skin color of other people, as much as we may like to think it’s not.

                The skin color of everyone in my examples is white. Similarly I pulled my kids out the entire school system rather than let them go into a white school that had poor metrics.

                If/when I do the same thing to a much more minority school with much worse metrics, it’s part of structural racism.

                This problem goes a lot deeper than “acceptance”, because just treating everyone the same doesn’t even come close to what is desired as an outcome.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                You miss my point. There is a good chance you wouldn’t handle the situation exactly the same had the other people involved been non-white.

                How did you end up at a white school system that had poor metrics? Is there any chance you’d even end up at a black school with poor metrics?

                ETA: Even though you pulled your kids out, you paid taxes into that white school system for some number of years. Have you ever paid taxes into a black school system?Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                “Even though you pulled your kids out, you paid taxes into that white school system for some number of years. Have you ever paid taxes into a black school system?”

                Another good argument for Vouchers…

                “Yes, my [property] tax dollars were distributed equitably among the population.”Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Marchmaine
                Ignored
                says:

                I am not opposed to vouchers.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                I hear ya. Mostly I’m against weaponized zip codes…Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Marchmaine
                Ignored
                says:

                Zipwho remains the most fun you can legally have with zip codes.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                That is fun!Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Yeah, it still shocks me to run our zip code and see that College Degrees are at 15.2%… I mean, everyone I know has a college degree and most of my close friends have PhD’s.Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to Marchmaine
                Ignored
                says:

                Man, you need to get out and talk to your neighbors. (After the pandemic is controlled, ofc.)

                Funny thing, for my zip, it gives the male-to-female ratio as 94%. I wonder what that means? Does it mean 94% men? That seems wrong. Perhaps it means .94 men per 1 woman. That makes more sense, but it seems an odd way to express that.

                We have an equal number of blacks and whites, which tracks with my observations. It shows fewer Asians than I would have expected, but I guess it’s not radically outside of expectations.

                It seems my neighbors are poor as fuck. How do they afford it?

                Anyway, cool tool.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to veronica d
                Ignored
                says:

                Well, I’d need neighbors for that to help… but I take your point. 🙂

                Having been here for 25 yrs its true that we’ve had to learn how to navigate the town life we joined. Pluses and minuses and all that.

                But, now that the new development by the interchange has a Starbucks… and rumor has it a future Chipotle… well, practically like living in the suburbs.Report

              • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                We’re moving in about three months. I expected the new place to have a bigger jump in education level, given it’s five miles by bicycle from a campus with 33K students and 61 PhD programs.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Michael Cain
                Ignored
                says:

                I think the issue is that those 33K students mostly qualify as “no college degree” because there’s no distinction between “no” and “not yet, wait a couple of years”.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Marchmaine
                Ignored
                says:

                I think I said this elsewhere but I’m genuinely curious if the well-intentioned white folks in my town who are organizing and participating in BLM rallies and protests are also going to support zoning changes and development that will make our town more accessible to more folks… if if somehow that is going to “be different”. Time will tell…Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                I also have my suspicions about Property Taxes… but that’s even more complicated than vouchers.

                I’ve had some really weird conversations with my rich peers about how massive their property taxes are; but in a way that makes you realize that’s part of the allure.

                Zoning doesn’t do as much as we think unless Property Taxes are part of the mix.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                Vouchers are a BIG club to use against the school administration and seriously empower parents.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                True story… in my zip code a couple *Public* schools lost full accreditation – which I did not think was even possible.

                Now, that didn’t change whether you had to go to school there… it just meant you had to go there.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                There is a good chance you wouldn’t handle the situation exactly the same had the other people involved been non-white.

                Fleeing the system entirely is already the ultimate weapon here.

                How did you end up at a white school system that had poor metrics?

                The system as a whole was fine, we moved to be there, but there can be a lot of variance between schools even inside of a good system.

                Daughter #3 was doing poorly in school (C’s rather than A’s), we decided she was young for age and she should repeat 2nd grade. All of her friends advancing without her meant if she stayed in the same school she’d be bullied, so we changed schools entirely (so we’d lose bussing and have to drive her but whatever). We had been in the #2 school, we asked for the #1, we were granted way less than that, instead we went charter for 2 years.

                After a couple of years of doing this with her and daughter #4 we asked if they “had a spot open” in the #1 school for us. Charter schools are public schools, but they’re also a totally different system and the money the state gives follows the child.

                Is there any chance you’d even end up at a black school with poor metrics?

                Not in that school system, however I moved years earlier from one school system to another. All of the schools in the new system were rated higher than all of the old system.

                The old system has (could have?) several black schools but they pay a lot of attention to integration so I’m not sure how that works. After we have the statement “all the schools of one system are rated higher than the other” I can stop paying attention to the details.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                Daughter #3 was doing poorly in school (C’s rather than A’s), we decided she was young for age and she should repeat 2nd grade.

                On a side note this worked REALLY well for us, and it also showcased how the schools interests can be opposed to my own.

                My wife and I presented our plan of holding #3 back, and the Principal instantly put together a meeting with herself, the teacher, the school psychologist, and someone else. They all said in lockstep how bad an idea this was and how #3’s issues could be fixed with extra attention.

                The Principal has seen this movie before, she knows the move after “hold her back” is “move her to a different school”. Although the money from the state would stay inside the school system, her own school and budget would be losing it.

                So from her point of view her keeping her budget is more important than my kid getting A’s.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                “So from her point of view her keeping her budget is more important than my kid getting A’s.”

                That is a very simplistic analysis that ignores the realities of schools.

                First off, it isn’t the principal, teacher, or schools job for your kid to get A’s.

                Secondly, there are many reasons beyond budget that could have informed the principal’s perspective, including:
                – A very real belief based on observation and evaluation that continuing on with extra support was in her best interests
                – Class size regulations
                – Throwing off the incoming 2nd grade class with the presence of an older child
                – Creating a precedent

                Generally speaking, if you are in a public school, they are not going to bend to the whim of individual parents. They simply can’t. They have processes and procedures for making decisions. They are far from perfect and are often hamstrung by factors that ought not be factors and they don’t always arrive at the right answer. Education can be messy.

                “Academic redshirting” creates real issues. And while it does not sound like that was what you were actually pursuing, schools often have to take a firm line about honoring such requests from parents because it can really, really screw up the whole system.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                First off, it isn’t the principal, teacher, or schools job for your kid to get A’s.

                Yes. Her priorities are not mine.

                – Class size regulations
                – Creating a precedent
                – Throwing off the incoming 2nd grade class with the presence of an older child

                She wasn’t the oldest kid in her grade even after we did that (although she was the youngest before). Further these are all “the system takes president over the kid” types of answers and that’s fine for a Principal but unacceptable for a parent.

                Generally speaking, if you are in a public school, they are not going to bend to the whim of individual parents. They simply can’t.

                I used to think that, I no longer do. The VP’s job is to fold against people like me, to make “one off exceptions”… especially when the system is in the process of failing.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                I think you’re missing my point. Or I’m misunderstanding your history.

                You chose a community only to eventually learn the school didn’t work for you and your children. In the interim, you contributed positively to that system in likely a number of ways, including paying taxes and being what sounds like an active, involved, and constructive parent. Kudos to you for all of that.

                But how did you end up there in the first place? Why did you end up in a white community with schools that didn’t serve your needs? Would you ever have moved to a black community with similar schools? Was part of what brought you to the community was that it “felt right”? If you don’t think our ideas of where we want to live are heavily influenced by race, your are simply ignoring the ample data and science that shows this to be the case.

                This doesn’t make you a bad person or your actions wrong. It doesn’t make you racist. But it points towards how systemic issues exist and how so many of us contribute to them.

                Your leaving the school system wasn’t an issue. How you came to be there — and not anywhere else — and how you positively impacted that community — and not other ones — that is what I’m pointing out.

                I read an article recently about black quarterbacks in the NFL. A key quote stood out (paraphrased): We don’t want to get to the point where the best quarterback is black; we want to get to the point where the worst quarterback is black. It seems counterintuitive, but it makes a lot of sense: OF COURSE the transcendent talents — the Patrick Mahomes or Lamar Jacksons — are going to break through. They’re transcendent! But are teams willing to give the 3rd string, clipboard holding job to a cruddy backup QB who is black? We don’t really see that. Why?

                You were willing to move to a white community with a school district that failed you. Would you ever have moved to a black community with a school district that failed you? Many white folks simply won’t move to a black community… period. Those that will likely only will do so if it has a stellar school district. That means something.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                You were willing to move to a white community with a school district that failed you. Would you ever have moved to a black community with a school district that failed you?

                The word “failed” is being used to obscure important differences. The school administration not having the same priorities I do is going to happen wherever I go. Ditto the potential for dropping the ball.

                I moved to a community which had a great school district then refused to let them drop the ball when it came to Daughter #3. I escalated the issue to the point of pulling out of the district. Excluding issues that I was able to resolve with a visit to the Vice Principal, they were fine with the others. They were also fine with #3 after a while.

                I insist that my kids be in highly functional classrooms. If the test scores suggest that’s not possible in the district, then a visit to the VP isn’t going to work, nor even a pissing match with his boss’s boss. There we’ve moved from “failure is not an option” to “success is not an option”.

                Many white folks simply won’t move to a black community… period. Those that will likely only will do so if it has a stellar school district.

                The actual choice on the table is typically “those schools are terrible”. If the Obama voters in Blue enclaves are behaving like Southern racists when it comes to schools, then we should question whether racism is really the problem.

                They’re transcendent! But are teams willing to give the 3rd string, clipboard holding job to a cruddy backup QB who is black?

                I’m unwilling to let my kids have a 3rd string education. If you can’t make the first string then you don’t exist as an option.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                says:

                Some of it was just that, yes, the increasing visibility caused people to acknowledge them.

                Some of it was more assertive groups like ACT-UP or GLAAD which shunned and shamed those who refused.

                I’ve mentioned this a few times before, how the mythology tells us that civil rights progress just sort of happened peacefully and easily and no one got hurt.
                The truth was, it was rancorous and ugly and painful and a lot of people got hurt.
                They didn’t call it “cancel culture” but that’s what it was.
                For example, most celebrities like Johnny Carson were able to evolve and stay ahead of the tide, and they remained culturally current.

                Others like Anita Bryant or Pat Boone weren’t willing to do that and saw their careers cut short.

                Many others saw the writing on the wall and either changed their minds or at least held their tongue.

                People don’t like to acknowledge this because it makes progress sound like Orwellian thought control but in reality almost all of our norms and moral concepts are the result of pitched battles which happened years before we were born, battles that could have turned out very differently, and made us into very different people than we are.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                Still not seeing a government policy here.

                I see lots of social/societal pressure, which is awesome and exactly what is needed. I see lots of official recognition of rights and the deconstruction of structural impediments to the exercising of those rights, which is what strips bigots of the power to impose their bigotry onto others.

                But nothing that is a policy that causes people to stop being a bigot towards LGBTQ persons.

                So my point stands, policy can not change hearts. All it can do is grant or strip power.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                Agreed.

                I’m in the “politics is downstream of culture” camp.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                OK, good.

                Now, if you have policies that you think will strip bigots of power and/or help to dismantle the structural racism in the criminal justice system, without getting into the weeds the R’s in that WaPo article keep trying to get into, let’s talk.

                I mean, I think we can talk about disparate sentencing, discuss how it impacts people differently, and agree on what we could do, without implying that any one person is racist.

                We can talk about the drug war.

                We can talk about bringing Community policing back to the foreground.

                We can talk about all sorts of things, explain how such things have strong disparate impacts, and still avoid getting anyone’s personal hackles up.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                This is oversimplified. The desegregation efforts of the 50’s and 60’s didn’t directly change peoples hearts. But they broke down the impediments which led to changes that led to peoples hearts being changed. In the short term policy can’t change hearts, but in the long term it can lead to changes.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to greginak
                Ignored
                says:

                Right, which is what Chip meant by politics is downstream of culture.

                Policy can’t cause hearts to change, but it can, if done right, create an environment where hearts can change.

                Perhaps you and Chip see that as a distinction without a difference, but I do see a significant difference.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                I think the brietbart quote is pithy but reductive and simplistic. Politics and culture intertwine and effect each other.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                To some degree yes. The answer to that though IMO is to accept that there are legitimate interests in play and that any progress has to account for them. When that doesn’t happen the message is not ‘help fight racism’. It’s ‘sacrifice yourself for people who don’t give a damn about you.’Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to InMD
                Ignored
                says:

                This is a fair point. It’s really a couple issues. The first is the “optics” thing, which is about how you communicate with people in a convincing way.

                Let’s all agree, I’m not a good person with whom to discuss optics, cuz like fuckit.

                It’s obviously important. Obviously many of us (me!) should do better. On the other hand, “optics” can, in its own way, hold people hostage. I’ve legit met people who are racist to the bone, who will never stop being racist, but who will still play the, “Well I’m only racist because libtards were mean to me” card. Fuck that.

                Note, I’m not accusing people here of this. I’m just saying, it’s a thing. It happens enough that anti-racist carry around a lot of frustration on the issue. And “optics” cuts both ways.

                Beyond optics, we can honestly try to explore how racism works in society. Furthermore, each of us can (and should!) explore the roles we play, both large and small.

                Most of us here don’t want to be racists. However, for many people, they are satisfied if they don’t feel racist. Moreover, I think that desire not to feel racist is often a stronger drive than the desire for substantive change.

                Reals over feels, or something 🙂

                #####

                Racism operates three ways:

                1. Explicit racism in thought, speech, and behavior

                2. Implicit racism in thought, speech, and behavior

                3. Systemic racism.

                These are different things. Regarding category 1, explicit racism, often that is obvious, although dog whistles are surely a thing. In any case, explicit racist need to change. Many will change, depending on the path they take in life. Many won’t. It’s the obvious “hearts and minds” discussion, which we’ve all discussed many times. I have nothing new to say.

                Regarding implicit racism, story time.

                I grew up around plenty of black folks. However, I mostly encountered them in the workplace or school. Those were both particular social contexts. When I moved to Boston and began using mass transit, I was suddenly exposed to black people at a level I had not been before.

                I was afraid of black men, unreasonable so.

                Today, I no longer am. What changed? Did I become more moral? Not really. I’ve always known racism was wrong. In fact, it has been a conviction of mine for many decades. All the same, I was afraid.

                Why?

                I think it is simple. I lacked the social calibration to understand that a black dude in a hoody was just a dude, and there was nothing to fear. He was just a dude living his life.

                However, being outwardly queer, I do reasonably need to be concerned with violence. Furthermore, the human brain is actually pretty great at “pattern matching,” for picking up subtle cues of threatening behavior. People are actually really good at it. (See Gift of Fear.)

                As I spend time among black people on the subway, I was training my brain to recognize the normal behavior of cool black dudes in hoodies who like hiphop. Over time, the sense of threat went away.

                This is to my advantage. You can’t go around afraid all the time. It’s antisocial.

                Of course, some people are a threat. Some of those people will be black.

                When I moved to Boston, I had a kind of implicit racism. Blackness, along with the cultural signifiers of blackness, were frightening to me. Now they are not.

                I don’t think I’m special. Although I’m neurodiverse, I think my brain works very much like a lot of people’s brains, perhaps most people’s — at least in the ways relevant to this topic.

                Feeling afraid on the subway is not the only type of implicit racism. I can list all the small ways that implicit racist can hurt black people. I feel as if that list should be obvious.

                The effect of this are hard to measure in individual cases. We expect them to be small. But we should consider the metaphor I often use: compound detriment, which stands in contrast to compound interest, except for “social stuff” and not investment.

                Everyone here should be able to understand how “compound detriment” can, over time, lead to deeply unjust outcomes.

                So what should you do? Flagellate yourself before black people? Get into heated arguments with the kinds of leftists who enjoy heated arguments?

                Of course not. Don’t flagellate yourself. Likewise, please don’t let the behavior of the kinds of leftists who like heated arguments sour your view of implicit racism.

                Do you think you hold at least some implicit biases against black people?

                Probably. I do.

                I don’t want to. I do my best.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to veronica d
                Ignored
                says:

                V, I find nothing here to disagree with, and I think it touches on issues including but also beyond race. No, I don’t think anyone has some moral obligation to hang out with racists or people who want to do them harm anymore than I think the self-flaggelation is necessary.

                I do think we could all learn a lot about shared humanity by spending some time on crowded trains and buses though.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to veronica d
                Ignored
                says:

                You can’t go around afraid all the time. It’s antisocial.

                It’s fecking exhausting, is what it is.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                As people become aware of systemic racism, they become more open to the idea of overhauling the mission and scope of the police.

                If reforming the police requires me to compromise on my kids’ education then you can count on my strong opposition.

                My family deals with the police twice a decade. We deal with the schools every day.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                This exchange shows why any reform that doesn’t address racism will fail.

                If you try to fix everything you’re going to fix nothing.

                Dark Matter and Jaybird note the tendency of even liberal types to shy away from any solution which makes them uncomfortable, like school integration.

                I don’t think it’s “shy away from”. I think it’s “oppose as much as I (Dark Matter) do but are much less willing to talk about it”.

                If that is the issue then I’m not sure what “address it more” does.Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Jesse
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        says:

        This might not be self-correcting. I can already see that when it’s our granddaughters that have reached the age to experiment, my wife is going to be much less resigned to it than she was for our children.Report

  2. Avatar Aaron David
    Ignored
    says:

    One of the things running around the back of my mind for a few years is to combine prosecutors and defenders into a holistic County/City attorny office. The lawyers cycle back and forth between the two poles. This would give them exposure to both sides of the arguments, and better arm them for dealing with the BS that can come from both sides.

    Oh, and like Jaybird says, good list. But we also need to sunset a metric F*ton of laws that give unscrupulus agents of the law (officers, lawyers, judges, etc) too much power over things where they really should have none.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Aaron David
      Ignored
      says:

      That is military JAGs do it. The office has a pool of lawyers and those lawyers shift around from prosecution to defense quite often.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Aaron David
      Ignored
      says:

      I really like that idea, but it runs smack into human nature. That ambitious ones know that a prosecutor can turn victories into a campaign for higher office, while it’s going to be a handicap to have won a high-profile defense case (unless you’re Perry Mason and can get the real criminal to confess on the stand).Report

      • Avatar InMD in reply to Mike Schilling
        Ignored
        says:

        It also runs smack into some state constitutions. One thing that doesn’t though is adequately funding indigent defense.

        The other thing people rarely considered is reforming sentencing and/or charging. Currently the stakes are stacked so high that the last thing most people in these situations are thinking about is challenging the conduct of the dudes who roughed them up pre-arrest.Report

  3. Avatar Dark Matter
    Ignored
    says:

    7) Civilian review boards with the power to fire people who review complaints.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Dark Matter
      Ignored
      says:

      These would have to be, at a minimum, state level, and peopled with people who will critically examine such cases, and the Unions would have to agree to be subject to them (typically the Unions agree because they know such CRBs have no teeth, or will be filled with allies who rubber stamp positive reviews).Report

    • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Dark Matter
      Ignored
      says:

      8) The worst departments should simply be destroyed. Fire everyone, start up a new police force with new employees.

      The worst departments will have a really toxic culture, for years/decades, and that toxic culture has either driven away or corrupted the good cops who used to work there.

      It is very easy to vote with your feet and you need to expect that the people you’d want to work there have already left.Report

  4. Avatar greginak
    Ignored
    says:

    If we do get rid of QI it would be seriously amusing to see how many cops immediately quit. That right there might be a massive increase in the quality of the police since the ones who would leave based on not having QI are probably the ones who shouldn’t be cops in the first place.Report

    • Avatar Aaron David in reply to greginak
      Ignored
      says:

      You are saying this like there might be a downside.Report

    • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to greginak
      Ignored
      says:

      “If we do get rid of QI it would be seriously amusing to see how many cops immediately quit.”

      It did turn out that the Buffalo police quitting had more to do with the union saying it wouldn’t provide legal representation to them, and little or nothing to do with any notion of Cop Solidarity.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to DensityDuck
        Ignored
        says:

        Yeah but still lots of cops would quit if they lost….well much of any of the special privileges they have now…but especially QI. Hell tell them to take their blue bill of rights and shove. Any cops lost due to that we are better off without.Report

  5. Avatar Mike Schilling
    Ignored
    says:

    Or we could just get rid of police unions and let the invisible hand of the market fix everything else.Report

  6. Avatar Saul Degraw
    Ignored
    says:

    I am not sure that abolishing QI is the magic bullet people imagine it to be. Cities and counties actually pay hundreds of millions of dollars a year in civil damages cases because of civil rights violations. It is not the complete wall of liability that the media makes it out to be because only the high-profile defeats get covered in the press. But the police officers do not change despite these hundreds of millions of dollars in payouts. Though I think it will help.

    Sheriff Joe costed Maricopa County lots of money, the County exceeded its insurance payouts many years from what I recall. He still got re-elected because the people of Maricopa county liked what he was doing.

    Maybe this time is different but I suspect report for police reform is broad but shallow. People do not want obvious cases like George Lloyd or Eric Garner to happen but they still want to be able to call a cruiser to deal with “nuisances.” Plus even people who are smart enough to realize structural racism is a thing can be in deep, deep denial about say the cops in their lives. Who wants to admit that an uncle, a cousin, a niece, a friend could be a bad apple?Report

    • Avatar greginak in reply to Saul Degraw
      Ignored
      says:

      True there is no magic bullet. Change will take years and a number of different things. Those things will vary by locality. The underlying problem, as you state, is cultural. Many people want Tough on Crime. Very tough. That was a winning issue for one of the parties for a few decades so those voters are shuffling away that fast. But that is where the issue needs to be ultimately won, with cultural change among enough of the Tough on Crime types.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw
      Ignored
      says:

      He gave a list of crap, Saul.

      Seriously. He gave a list. First on the list (and made up most of the post) was restructuring the entire police department.

      Running to “I don’t know why people think the fifth thing in your list for things we need to do after restructuring the police is a magic bullet” is to sort of ignore the fact that he talked about the need to restructure the police and then mentioned four other things that we also need to do.

      He’s not treating it as a magic bullet.

      He’s treating it as one of the many things that needs to be done.

      I don’t know why you think that “I don’t know why this one item in the list you gave me would be a magic bullet” is a magic bullet.Report

  7. Avatar Chip Daniels
    Ignored
    says:

    8) Make police officers wait an extra 5 minutes for their Egg McMuffins.

    Seriously though, I think Oscar’s list is pretty good, and second Dark Matters addition of civilian review boards.

    Even the national conversation itself, like we are having here, may produce a shift in attitudes towards policing away from the militarized Domination model to a more conflict resolution model.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels
      Ignored
      says:

      Thank you, although honestly I think the list is pretty thin. I hacked it together between meetings this morning. Granted police reform is one of those things I spend some actual time thinking about, so I had a few ideas kicking about, but I only meant for it to be a kicking off point.

      I hope people will explore things further in the comments.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Oscar Gordon
        Ignored
        says:

        The list is a good start. I think IA/review of shootings, etc can’t be done by the department on itself. That hasn’t seemed to work. It should be at a state or fed level. Have the investigators of the cops have a completely separate career path and agency from the people they are investigating.

        Some departments with extensive corruption like Baltimore need a strong outside force to make them change. The Obama admin has strong consent decrees with Fed judges overseeing the cops. Trump/Sessions ended all of that. The worst departments won’t be changed by rules or even good oversight since to many of the cops are corrupt. There needs to be a power that will change them.Report

        • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to greginak
          Ignored
          says:

          The worst departments won’t be changed by rules or even good oversight since to many of the cops are corrupt. There needs to be a power that will change them.

          Change is really fishing hard. I’m not sure what we’re supposed to threaten them with, and what happens when that fails? “Change or I’ll give you another chance at changing?”

          The ultimate punishment needs to be destroying the entire department.

          We’re past the point where the ultimate punishment should be used on the worst departments.Report

          • Avatar greginak in reply to Dark Matter
            Ignored
            says:

            The Obama era consent decrees put a fed judge as oversight for remaking the worst departments. Sometimes you need a strong oversight with a hammer, or gavel in this case, to direct things. Lord knows the cops hated them and moaned about them forever so that is a sign they were doing something.Report

            • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to greginak
              Ignored
              says:

              We have a lot of history with federal judges playing god/over-seerer for Prisons, Schools, and so forth. All of the problems that we ran into then still apply.

              I don’t see much in that history to lead me to think this is going to totally redo the culture of the police.

              It might be an improvement, but it’s not a solution. So… what do we do when it fails (assuming that it hasn’t already been shown to fail given that the next President put an end to micro-management).Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                It’s just one part of the solution and aimed mostly at the worst departments. Some of the proposed solutions are one size fits all but some will need to vary depending on the locality. The Camden solution worked for them, though the story is complex, but it wont’ for every place.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to greginak
                Ignored
                says:

                At work we have “improvement” plans for employees. Being on an “improvement” plan is really bad news, 90% of the people (or more) don’t improve and are then fired.

                Here we have improvement plans but there’s nothing beyond that. You can have a shockingly dysfunctional department, with a shockingly dysfunctional culture, and everyone knows that’s the case for decades… and we’re all talking about how to “improve” them.

                The Free Market’s solution to that is bankrupsy, i.e. destroy the company.

                This is NOT get rid of the police. This isn’t even trying to copy Camden. Just starting over with different people using the same procedures would have a lot to say for it.

                My strong expectation is we find that Culture is doing a lot of heavy lifting here in terms of creating a toxic situation.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                Oh god the “free market” solution. Yeah right.

                Even starting over when it had been done means some of the people are rehired. Fine whatever. There is a reason cops and cop lovers freaked the F out over the consent decrees. It was taking their power and forcing changes.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                I think that toxic culture will prevent a simple cleaning house approach. You have to break that culture just like you have to break any other toxic culture.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels
      Ignored
      says:

      Damn! I thought you were just being funny, I didn’t realize there is an actual story here.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
      Ignored
      says:

      As it turns out, the Egg McMuffin story has additional twists and turns.

      Report

  8. Avatar dragonfrog
    Ignored
    says:

    I am perhaps not anyone, because I literally want the police in my city defunded. Not defunded by 100% of their current budget, but very definitely a progressive defunding rather than the perpetual funding increases above inflation and population growth that city council rubber stamps every year, while nickel-and-diming social supports (because there’s no money for it after spending so much on police).

    Right now my city spends $11 million a year toward ending homelessness, and $356 million on police, budgeted to go up to $412 million by 2022.

    The plan to end homelessness in this city calls for $40 million a year for a decade – and I would love for that to be funded specifically by defunding the police by the corresponding amount – and then for all the money the police would be getting in their seemingly inevitable annual budget increase, instead to go to similar programs whose long-term drastic underfunding leads to much of the need for police work.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to dragonfrog
      Ignored
      says:

      See, details are important. You aren’t just “Defunding the Police”, you are re-allocating the public budget to more precisely address a problem the police are ill-equipped to handle regardless of how much budget they have.Report

      • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Oscar Gordon
        Ignored
        says:

        I want something productive done with the money freed up by defunding police, yes. But I also want the defunding as an end in itself.

        If the city cut the police department’s budget and just did a property tax reduction, or paid laid off officers to spin fidget spinners, or withdrew it as cash from the bank and literally burned it in a furnace, I think it would be an improvement – it would just be the minimum achievable improvement, and we might as well do better than that.Report

  9. Avatar George Turner
    Ignored
    says:

    There are quite a lot of risks to drastic policy changes that would fall under the rubric of “You will reap what you sow”. So sow very carefully.

    We’re having a fit of white liberals dictating policy demands to black cities with black mayors, black police chiefs, and black cops, likely so the whites can morally posture, having never lived a day in some of the areas being policed. Many of the loudest protests are coming from people who don’t need to worry about what’s reaped, because it it goes horribly bad they can win points by protesting about that, too, while pretending they had nothing to do with causing the new situation.

    I saw an example of that when two black women confronted some white CHAZ kids and explained that “Joe Biden is the guy who teamed with Klansmen to pass these draconian get-tough police policies, and you expect us to vote for him?!” Kamala Harris tried attacking Biden on his horrible record on race, school desegregation, and lock-em-all-up policing, but she got immediately destroyed by Tulsi Gabbard, so all the other candidates avoided bringing up the glaring issues again, preferring to play for a VP slot.

    The demands of drastic and immediate changes now are a sign of a moral panic, not considered thought. If the situation was so intolerable bad, why did white liberals wait thirty years to star protesting? Some Hollywood stars released a cringe-worthy confessional video where one said [going from memory] “I will no longer look away while police murder black people in front of me.” One black Youtuber responded with “What?! You were perfectly okay stepping over our dead bodies up until this week?!” It does raise some obvious questions about whether they’re concerned about real solutions to real problems or whether they’re just having a confessional religious experience where they get to play white savior – because it feels so good to be a white savior.

    The odds that all the police departments have the same problems are slim, and the odds that the same fix is needed everywhere is even slimmer. In my city, the police don’t even have the same policies in different neighborhoods. They go into each area and ask the locals “What problems are you having, and how do you want laws enforced here?” And that’s what they do – in that neighborhood.

    The odds that their policies all need the same exact “fixing” as a police department in Portland, LA, Atlanta, or Sioux City is very low. The odds that they have the same problems as police in Amsterdam, London, or Paris is very very low. The odds that they need the same immediate fix, at this same moment, as policing in Zurich, Perth, Frankfurt, Budapest, and Amsterdam, which are also beset with massive protests, is essentially zero.

    So just bear in mind that the solutions you need to come up with must also address the problems in Switzerland’s policing policies, whatever those might be, and redress Switzerland’s long history of racism against, um, somebody who lives in Switzerland.Report

    • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to George Turner
      Ignored
      says:

      Well put.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to George Turner
      Ignored
      says:

      Yes & No.

      Each city has it’s own issues, but there are broad strokes that impact almost every LEA in the US.

      For instance, the drug war has created some nasty incentives across the board. So has the military hardware programs.

      Killology is another problem that seems to have a broad impact.

      Government concessions to Unions regarding officer discipline is yet another broadly applicable issue that has allowed a toxic culture to fester.

      One thing I meant to mention in the OP and forgot is metrics. If your police are justifying their existence based upon the number of arrests (and the DA on the number of convictions), then you are going to get cops who spend an inordinate amount of time looking for things to arrest people over.

      And figuring out how to redo metrics is going to be a thorny little knot.

      Another item I forgot is CAF and the retention of fines. CAF should just be ended, and criminal forfeitures, as well as fines, should all go into the state budget, to be allocated as needed (rather than simply kicked back to the department). Police should not be doing their job with a constant eye on the budget and how they can boost it.

      In my city, the police don’t even have the same policies in different neighborhoods. They go into each area and ask the locals “What problems are you having, and how do you want laws enforced here?” And that’s what they do – in that neighborhood.

      That would be closer to ideal (it’s part of Community Oriented Policing, IIRC), but it’s not what happens in a lot of places. Do you think the good people of Ferguson wanted the police to be ticketing them for every little thing?

      So sure, each department has unique bits to fuss over, but there are big picture issues to look at as well.Report

      • Avatar George Turner in reply to Oscar Gordon
        Ignored
        says:

        One of my points is that none of the problems you identify likely apply to the police or public policies in Zurich or Budapest, which are also having big protests. So what are protesters in those cities actually protesting? What could they possibly need to change to keep Minneapolis from doing whatever they did, and how did what happens in Minneapolis become an indictment of Zurich?

        Are people protesting because there is an intolerable situation that is effecting everybody, or are these protests the equivalent of a global phenomenon to save Larry the Lobster on SNL? How did this issue all of the sudden erupt in Perth? Was Perth a hotbed of burning crosses up until a few weeks ago, and nobody really noticed until now? Was London some kind of white supremacist compound, even though they elected a Muslim mayor, and the locals only now noticed?

        Is it more likely that the protesters are protesting because if we don’t make immediate changes, right now, millions of black people will be gunned down by cops by September or October? Is this mad rush for solutions to a complex problem, one that happens to be exactly the same in almost every Western city on the planet, more a hangover from being told that if we don’t all self-isolate tens of millions of people were going to die from a virus in the next few months?

        Years from now, when historians look back and examine these protests, will they even mention police policy except in passing, similar to how WW-I historians mention that Archduke Ferdinand got shot in Serbia, which had almost nothing fundamentally to do with why the Great War happened or what it was about, because the real factors were unrelated to the offered cause.

        Once the Germans marched through Belgium and the French and British had dug in outside Paris, reforming relations between radical Serbs and the Hapsburg royal family was completely irrelevant.Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to George Turner
          Ignored
          says:

          Frankly, what protests or problems exist in Zurich, or Budapest, or Ottawa are of little concern to me. I’m happy they support efforts here to reform, and if they have issues, I hope they can enact their own reforms, but beyond that…

          Shrug.

          Trying to have that discussion here is a distraction. It’s not relevant. And no one here should engage that.

          Same goes with this:

          Is it more likely that the protesters are protesting because if we don’t make immediate changes, right now, millions of black people will be gunned down by cops by September or October?

          No, there won’t be, but that’s not how shit gets done. People are willing to apply pressure now. Delays only serve the status quo, so yes, there is an urgency to it. Not to avoid a massacre, but to get the damn ball rolling.

          But then, you’ve pretty much indicated that you are fine with the tyranny we have, where cops can commit violence whenever they see fit. So I expect you to try to distract and stall.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to George Turner
      Ignored
      says:

      “… black cities with black mayors, black police chiefs, and black cops…”

      Can you name one city that fits that description?Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kazzy
        Ignored
        says:

        Baltimore?

        The last four mayors of Baltimore have been Of Color: Jack Young, Catherine Pugh, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, and Sheila Dixon.

        The Baltimore chief of police is Michael S. Harrison. Before him was Gary Tuggle, before Mr. Tuggle was Darryl D. DeSousa. All three were people of color.

        As for the black cops in the Baltimore region, there’s very much an issue with the cops being disproportionately white, but “Baltimore City’s police force is the most diverse in the region, at 45% white, 40% African American and 12% Hispanic. But whites are still overrepresented compared with the city population, which is just 28% white and 63% African American.” (Taken from the Baltimore Sun.)Report

      • Avatar George Turner in reply to Kazzy
        Ignored
        says:

        That you can’t speaks volumes. Look at Atlanta.

        For black mayors, try Chicago, Aurora, Gary, Birmingham, Montgomery, Jackson, Vicksburg, Ferguson, Little Rock, Compton, Denver, New Orleans, Shreveport, Baltimore, Buffalo, Ithaca, Rochester, Charlotte, Youngstown, Columbia SC, Dallas, Houston, Plano, Charlottesville VA, Newport News, Norfolk, Richmond, St Paul, and Tacoma.

        As for black police chiefs, this is called “the era of black police chiefs”.

        On the beat, blacks are over-represented in the LAPD. In Berkeley, which has constant protests because that’s where protesters live, blacks are twice as likely to be on the police force as their population would indicate.

        Blacks are over represented in Atlanta, the city with a black mayor, a lesbian police chief, and riots. The police chief resigned, and as The New York Times noted, “With her voluntary resignation Saturday, she joined a long and growing line of progressive, reform-minded police chiefs who have stepped down or been fired, often after high-profile episodes of police violence.”Report

  10. Avatar Slade the Leveller
    Ignored
    says:

    If things get tense, or if the call specifically talks about violence, Armed Response is dispatched.

    This is going to result in a squad of officers who go in with a shoot first mentality. If the Community Patrol officer has gotten to the point of calling in muscle, I can see the muscle’s mindset being, “Well, it’s already gone sideways, it’s going to be shoot first and ask questions later.”

    I have to go to work. I’ll chime in with some more positive suggestions later.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Slade the Leveller
      Ignored
      says:

      That’s fair, and exactly what I am looking for.

      One other thought I had was to make it very clear who had scene command and when. If Community Patrol/Fire/EMT is on scene, regardless if they showed up first or later, once they arrive, they are in command until they hand command back to the Armed Response. I say this because a lot of times police arrive with someone who is in medical distress and the cops just go violent because they don’t have the training or patience to deal with it, even if medical help is on scene.

      So Armed Response has to defer to the people with domain knowledge, until those people say that they need force applied.Report

  11. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    Is Yggy an indicator of anything in 2020? (Beyond “Deaniacs turn into Kerry voters”?)

    Report

  12. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    Now *THIS* is interesting. I think that these records should pretty much immediately be made public.

    Report

  13. Avatar Slade the Leveller
    Ignored
    says:

    After a long workday, and some running my wife around, here is my couple of additions to Oscar’s list:

    1. Train police to stop calling citizens civilians. The latter perpetuates the us vs. them mentality that currently infests police forces all over the country. Start with new academy classes and continue with official communications. Yes, it will take time, but as we have repeatedly seen, words do matter. Today’s African American was commonly a n***** within living memory.

    2. Pass fewer laws. This will de facto give police less to do.

    I’ll also add my full throated support to ending qualified immunity. Opponents theorize a flood of frivolous lawsuits and it is accepted as though it’s axiomatic. Show me some evidence backing this assertion and I’ll rethink my support. Until then, all we have is a judicial perversion of a well-intentioned statute that’s being used to excuse lawless behavior by the very people we should expect more of.Report

  14. Avatar Oscar Gordon
    Ignored
    says:

    By the way, regarding Unions.

    I have not checked to see if the journalist is talking out his nethers or not, but he provides links.Report

  15. Avatar Oscar Gordon
    Ignored
    says:

    A GOP US Senator has introduced the following bill.

    What is the over/under on how fast Mitch kills it?Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Oscar Gordon
      Ignored
      says:

      Why in the hell are Senators introducing bills? This drives me nuts. A bill will shortly be coming up from the House!

      Anyway, the bill isn’t perfect but it’s better than nothing. I’d rather it pass than it not pass and if it’s more likely to pass than Amash’s, it’s better than Amash’s for that reason alone.

      I don’t like that iconoclasm has replaced reform in the public discourse but I’m glad these bills are being talked about anyway.Report

    • Avatar Slade the Leveller in reply to Oscar Gordon
      Ignored
      says:

      There’s a lot of wiggle room here. The good faith exception you could drive a truck through.Report

      • Avatar veronica d in reply to Slade the Leveller
        Ignored
        says:

        Or a military surplus AIFV.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Slade the Leveller
        Ignored
        says:

        Good faith exceptions always bug me, since there aren’t a lot of such things when it comes to citizens breaking the law (there are a few, like Good Samaritan laws, but very few).

        That said, it is a shift away from the current doctrine that requires the plaintiff to show that the officer violated a previously held violation of rights, and flips it onto the defendant to prove that they were acting in a way that has been found to be acceptable.

        Now, IANAL, but my understanding of the current state of things is that the courts have been very stingy in finding any officer conduct unacceptable OR acceptable. They just say, “no precedent” and dismiss the case. This means that officers don’t have a lot of precedent to use to argue a good faith exception. So it could be a truck could fit through there, or a scooter, kinda depends on how the courts decide to play it.

        But again, IANAL…Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Slade the Leveller
        Ignored
        says:

        Also, the fact that a GOP senator is trying to do something is pretty significant.Report

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