Do All Lives Matter?

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Vikram Bath

Vikram Bath is the pseudonym of a former business school professor living in the United States with his wife, daughter, and dog. (Dog pictured.) His current interests include amateur philosophy of science, business, and economics. Tweet at him at @vikrambath1.

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129 Responses

  1. Avatar gabriel conroy
    Ignored
    says:

    Sometimes I think this could have been avoided if instead of “Black Lives Matter,” the activists said “Black Lives Matter Too.” But I’m probably mistaking a symptom for the underlying disease, and some sort of racist-but-facially-antiracist retort would have emerged.Report

    • Avatar InMD
      Ignored
      says:

      I was about to post the exact same thing. But to your point, for those hellbent on not giving it a hearing on the merits, I’m sure there would be something else superficial to latch onto.Report

    • Avatar JS
      Ignored
      says:

      “Black Lives Matter Too.”

      Anyone paying even the slightest modicum of attention and acting in good faith knows that’s what it means. “Black Lives Matter” is saying “Stop treating us as if our lives don’t matter. They do matter, just as much as yours”.

      The problem, of course, is the people who like it how it is — either through fear of change or abject racism or whatever idiocy prompts them to response to a simple cry to stop killing blacks for no effing reason with “Durr, all lives matter, moron!”Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels
        Ignored
        says:

        Black people have had one consistent message since, oh, 1601 or so and the message has never wavered or changed in the slightest.

        “We want to be treated with the full dignity and respect as co-equal citizens”.

        That’s it; Its just that simple.

        But for 500 years white people have feigning confusion and been dithering with imagined doubt and uncertainty, hemming and hawing that the time just isn’t right, maybe tomorrow, this is too radical, we can’t understand what it all means, and gosh its just so complex.Report

        • Avatar George Turner
          Ignored
          says:

          Um, no. Africans had so many different classes of slave that the Wiki goes on forever to try and explain it all. There also wasn’t even such a thing as a citizen in 1601. Not even Englishmen had that status. They were just subjects.Report

        • Avatar Dark Matter
          Ignored
          says:

          “We want to be treated with the full dignity and respect as co-equal citizens”.

          I don’t think anyone objects to “one set of laws that applies to everyone equally” (equality of inputs).

          I think there’s a lot of pushback for “you are expected to hire/admit at the percentage of population and not the percentage of application pool”, “you’re expected to send your kids into sub-optimal schools for the good of the collective” and so forth (equality of results).

          If you’re pushing hard for “anti-racism” (Affirmative Action, Reparations, various other social engineering efforts, and making Percentage of Population evaluations) then “complex” is a good word for it.Report

          • Avatar Chip Daniels
            Ignored
            says:

            Sure, legal solutions to the problem of white people behaving badly are complex, if only because those who behave badly are so stubbornly resistant to changing.

            The non-governmental solution to changing people’s behavior is generally erecting norms of behavior, then enforcing them with shunning and shaming. “Canceling” if you will.

            But for some reason, people find that objectionable as well.Report

            • Avatar Dark Matter
              Ignored
              says:

              Sure, legal solutions to the problem of white people behaving badly are complex, if only because those who behave badly are so stubbornly resistant to changing.

              A lot of this hits the radar as social engineering in the face of facts on the ground.

              During the 4th of July weekend, Chicago had 17 people killed and 63 wounded in gun violence. Given that none of these went viral I’m going to guess they weren’t the police killing people.

              The single biggest economic gift I’ve given to my children is getting, and staying, married to their mother. Unwed birth rate for Blacks is something like 75%.

              So… clearly the problem is the whites are behaving badly and need to change? That’s the biggest piece of the inequality pie?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Yes, white people behaving badly is a very big problem in America and needs to change.

                As a side note, when you state how you built a stable family, you realize that you yourself (and all of us) are the end result of a long process of social engineering?

                The norms and expectations of how a man conducts himself is an engineered product. This is what all the institutions are explicitly for, to design and construct society.

                BLM and #MeToo are just latter day advocacy groups which seek to establish norms and shape the future.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                Unwed birth rate for Blacks is something like 75%.

                And how much of that can be traced directly back to the over-policing of black neighborhoods and the disparate treatment of young black men by the CJ system.

                I mean, it’s real hard to settle down and be responsible when your ability to legally earn a wage is basically dead before or shortly after you turn 18, and that is if you actually avoid spending those crucial early years in prison.

                When we talk about the problems with ‘black culture’, we need to also recognize how our systems create, contribute, and perpetuate that ‘culture’.

                I mean, I am not a fan of affirmative action/social engineering solutions like that, but I recognize that they are (albeit imperfectly*) trying to undo the damage of Jim Crow, the Drug War, etc.

                *AA, Reparations, etc. – all of these are largely a waste of time and resources until the Drug War is ended and the CJ system is brought to heel and reformed. Until then, it’s throwing good money after bad in pursuit of a handful of success stories that play well to pundits and the media.

                Hell, I can see exactly how Reparation cash payments would go. Money gets paid, and as fast as it hits accounts, what isn’t squandered would probably be seized somehow through CAF.

                ETA: This is a disturbing picture.Report

              • Avatar Swami
                Ignored
                says:

                “And how much of that can be traced directly back to the over-policing of black neighborhoods and the disparate treatment of young black men by the CJ system.”

                This is a really good question. The problem is that I can also reframe the question as how much can be explained by 10X levels of violent crime and murder?

                We have a chicken and egg issue. We over-police these areas because they are where most of the real crime is, and there are likely negative side effects of over-policing. Does sending rapists, murderers and burglars to prison make the community better off, (positive direct effects of removing serial criminals),or do the efforts to catch these people lead to negative population effects That promotes criminality in various ways?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                We have a chicken and egg issue. We over-police these areas because they are where most of the real crime is

                Right. Do you think black people are more predisposed to violence and violent crime than white people are? If yes, then more cops is the only answer, right? But if not, then addressing the underlying causes of that higher crime rate makes sense, especially if the role of over-policing (and other racist aspects of the CJ system) contributes to it.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                if not, then addressing the underlying causes of that higher crime rate makes sense

                It depends on whether “addressing the underlying cause” is possible and how much it would cost.

                Removing lead from pipes is a good possibility, but crime would only fall in the next generation decades down the line.

                Another potential “cause” is “society is much less tolerant of crime” (just like we’re less tolerate of Blue privilege) so voters insist on more cops no matter what the side effects are.

                Yet another is we have some dysfunctional cultures in the inner city and don’t really know what to do about it. Various utopian solutions exist on paper but they tend to ignore the issue, assume infinite resources, or hand wave how hard it is to change a culture.

                The War-On-Drugs hits the radar as a really good candidate for cause and it’s at least possible to end it so there’s that.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                If you want a good example of “crime being fueled by culture in the modern world” think “Honor killings” in the United States. Adjusted for population (i.e. “immigrants from areas that practice honor killings”) the rate is really high.

                We treat this as a purely criminal matter. If a parent kills his child over her sex life, then he faces a murder charge. It’s on their culture to change to fit modern norms.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Yet another is we have some dysfunctional cultures in the inner city and don’t really know what to do about it.

                Dark, is it possible that the dysfunctional culture is the one with a legacy of slavery and Jim Crow, the one which tolerates (celebrates?) that the US has the highest incarceration rate in the world, the one in which cop violence is glorified on TV and movie screens and permeates cop culture in obviously bad ways, etc etc?Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                Dark, is it possible that the dysfunctional culture is the one with a legacy of slavery…

                Murder rate in my zip code is zero and I picked it for the schools.

                If you’re trying to claim my zip code needs to change so our murder rate increases and our schools are worse, then you have a lot of heavy lifting to do.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                I’m super happy for you but that doesn’t answer the question.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                You’re claiming the problem is mine. I’m pointing out that I don’t see it, experience it, and can live perfectly fine without changing anything.

                People I’ve never met are killing each other and the police are trying to stop it. It’s being claimed that the police are part of the problem, there’s probably some truth to that.

                However policing is a local thing. My police, paid for by my zip code and run by people I can vote for, don’t work there. The police who do work there don’t answer to anyone I vote for.

                The evidence I can see doesn’t line up with it being my culture which has the problem. We have BLM signs up in my area but afaict they’re calling for other zip codes to change.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                I’m pointing out that I don’t see it, experience it, and can live perfectly fine without changing anything.

                Exactly. Hence my asking you if the dysfunctional culture youi refer to isn’t the *dominant* culture which … has the highest incarceration rate in the world, has a legacy of slavery and Jim Crow, etc etc.

                I’m asking you to *see* what you concede you do not see.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Actually, that last bit isn’t quite right. Rather, I’m asking you to see what you concede you do not see despite having *chosen* to live in a low-crime/good school neighborhood.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                If you’re asking whether my culture is involved in this mess, the answer is “sure it is”.

                One issue is people who seriously value education and have serious resources move here. That concentrates poverty there and has tax effects. IMHO my caste is the leadership caste for cultural enrichment activities so that creates secondary problems.

                Another issue is my area reflexively cooperates with the police and doesn’t have the “don’t snitch” cultural value. This is going to concentrate crime in areas which do have that value.

                Low poverty means the gov has resources to do other things which make the area nicer, which attracts higher value people who increase the tax base and start businesses locally which increases the tax base.

                However, if we’re talking about which culture is dysfunctional, then policy desires are focused on trying to make their culture like mine and not the reverse.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                Dark,

                Let’s say you live below a dam. If the dam fails and destroys your home and community because the people above the dam have a habit of dumping trash in the lake and fishing with dynamite too close to the dam, do the people above the dam have an obligation to help you out and try to make you whole?

                Or can they just refuse to help and say that you should not have lived below the dam?Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                What does “make whole” mean in this context?

                Feed him while he’s homeless? We already do that, no one starves in the US.

                Replace his house? Income transfers via the gov’s many dozens of programs is north of a Trillion a year so that’s pretty much covered.

                Replace his house, hire him for a job he doesn’t have the skills for, send him to a college he’s not prepared for, and get his grand-kids to not kill each other many decades later?

                A ton of the current mess is people making bad choices about their lives and their kid’s lives.

                Claiming that someone only started drinking, doing drugs, and beating their kids because we destroyed his house is fine, but we’re still on the hook for just the house. We’re not obligated to give all of his descendants a happy life and have no way to make good choices for them.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                It can also mean stop letting the people upstream carelessly cause damage that impacts the people downstream.

                Getting back to the original issue, the problems with police culture persist and are permitted to constantly damage AA communities specifically because communities like yours allow the police culture to maintain the status quo.

                And I’ll meet you halfway, policing is a local issue in a lot of ways. Large urban areas with large, poor communities of color, that have been governed at all levels by other people of color, have had plenty of opportunities to try and shape their local police culture into something better. They have to own some of that.

                But at the same time, we’ve had state level and federal policies that work hard against those reforms (I can’t express enough how powerful the federal incentives for the Drug War, and the GWOT, etc., are; and how much those incentives permit the police to avoid local reform).Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                It can also mean stop letting the people upstream carelessly cause damage that impacts the people downstream.

                Figuring what that means in reality is the subject of constant debate. During the Clinton presidency it meant cranking up the WOD, now-days we’re told its gun control. The Chicago gangs and mass murders would totally respect the law if we’d just disarm.

                IMHO the biggest damage I and mine do is refusing to live/school in places like that.

                the problems with police culture persist and are permitted to constantly damage AA communities specifically because communities like yours allow the police culture to maintain the status quo.

                Police culture is largely per city. Also, “allow”? Do I seem like a team blue union supporter?

                IMHO the issue is less “allow” than it is apathy. It’s easy to think you don’t have a dog in the race if your murder rate is zero, your police aren’t driving ATVs around, and there are no team Red politicians AT ALL in that neck of the woods.

                I regard a lot of the political leadership and efforts in those areas and deeply corrupt, self-serving, ineffectual, and economically ignorant. However people deserve the leadership they vote in. The alternative to me “allowing” that is… what? Stripping them of the right to vote? I’ve expressed my disapproval by voting with my feet and leaving.

                Large urban areas with large, poor communities of color, that have been governed at all levels by other people of color, have had plenty of opportunities to try and shape their local police culture into something better. They have to own some of that.

                These areas are totally run by Team Blue which puts support of the union over things service to citizens with all sorts of things.

                we’ve had state level and federal policies that work hard against those reforms (I can’t express enough how powerful the federal incentives for the Drug War, and the GWOT, etc., are; and how much those incentives permit the police to avoid local reform).

                I’m totally good with getting rid of the drug war. GWOT seems to have dried out on its own.

                However these cities never had a WOD or GWOT for the schools. I don’t see why we should expect their police departments to run better than their school systems. Worse, schools are more important. Reform the police and seriously functional AA people who value education for their children still need to flee to the sub-ubs… so they will.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                Police culture is not actually local. Police policies are, and how police interact with a given community is, but when they are up against the wall, police behave the same all over.

                Even in my very liberal small town community, when an officer killed a 70 year old man with a chokehold, our normally very friendly and bored police instantly began behaving like Seattle PD.

                That said, what, exactly, are you opposed to?Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                That said, what, exactly, are you opposed to?

                I am not opposed to Police Reform, I support it… but I also suspect it’s a small part of the entire inequality pie. Police murders may even not be part of inequality at all, so holding police accountable may help the white community disproportionally.

                If “reform” includes ending the WOD then it’s certainly worthwhile. If it doesn’t then ending the WOD should be the priority. “Reform” that fails to consider/believe different crime rates has the possibility of making things worse.

                I also think that inner city culture will be where it’s at for decades or even generations.Report

              • Avatar Swami
                Ignored
                says:

                Let’s say the problem is a subculture which promotes dumping trash in the lake and killing each other for fish. The net result is everyone else — not of this subculture — moves away from the putrid lakes ruined by this dysfunctional mindset.

                To try to suggest that those of us preaching for fifty years to avoid dumping and killing are responsible for the mess this inner city subculture has made is pretty rich. You may be right (or not) that we have encouraged over-policing and that this has contributed to negative spirals of imprisonment and criminality. But the local city government which these people choose is the one which needs to figure out which course to take. I am pretty sure they will screw it up even worse this time, but I hope I am wrong.

                In the meantime, follow my lead and get the hell away from Chicago.Report

              • Avatar Swami
                Ignored
                says:

                When people are killing each other at levels orders of magnitude higher than any civilized nation (see Chicago And other inner city problem areas), yes I think more policing is part of the answer. (And more policing isn’t the same as over policing)

                I am aware that this isn’t intellectually fashionable today. But as I stated repeatedly, the result of less police is going to lead to a lot more black deaths and a lot more flight of middle class from these areas. The negative spiral is guaranteed to get worse. You know it, even if you don’t have the courage to admit it. What is needed is better policing and more accountability and a complete rethinking of the war on drugs, but also more of a police presence until inner city citizens are safe in their own neighborhoods.

                The underlying causes are greatly cultural, IMO. I certainly accept that over-policing could have contributed to this culture, but I can also argue that the get tougher on crime initiatives of the past 30 years have done more good than harm in these same neighborhoods. They could have been even worse.

                I am also convinced that the current BLM focus on solutions will make the culture worse, not better. I predict thousands of additional deaths, which will be directly attributable to the BLM movement, but which in two years will lead you guys to argue for even more iatrogenic “solutions.”

                They say the hardest problems to fix are those where the medicine is contributing to the malady. This is clearly the case here.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Swami, you’re argument is, and has been since we first started discussing this issue, that BLM has politicized policing to the extent where cops *won’t* police the inner city. If that’s the case, then we need to fire the cops, not give them a free pass. I’m baffled that you think you have a coherent response to the pro-police reform proposals on the table since – again – all it consists of is *not* pissing off cops to the extent they unilaterally refuse to perform their tax-payer funded duties.

                I apologize if that sounds a bit exasperated, but I guess that’s where I’m at.Report

              • Avatar George Turner
                Ignored
                says:

                So you fire the cops. Is there a line of people waiting to fill out employment applications at the precinct who are somehow totally different from the current officers?

                If policing is so darn bad, how come nobody noticed when Obama and Biden were in charge of things for eight years, when the police were killing vastly more unarmed black people than they did under Trump?

                What really changed? Nothing, other than the left and the left-wing media lost their minds and started spending all their time screeching that we’re living under racist fascism. The solution to that is apparently to elect an old white racist who defends the Confederacy, teamed up with segregationists to stop school busing, and who led the get-tough-on-blacks crime initiatives that put millions of blacks in prison.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                (Dude, the “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” thing happened under Obama. So did the killing of 5 police in Texas thing.)Report

              • Avatar Swami
                Ignored
                says:

                Thanks for being so clear!

                First. Why would be the people asking them to reduce policing the crime ridden inner cities turn around and fire them for doing what they are demanding?

                My argument certainly is broader in that even where not being asked, prudent cops who care for their reputations will be less likely to do their job in places where they can be filmed out of context for violence against blacks (even though the suspect is resisting arrest, fleeing and shooting a weapon at them), which will lead to nothing but trouble. People respond to incentives. The incentives now are for cops to avoid any kind of conflict with blacks, even ones with long criminal records who resist arrest while on drugs.

                My argument does not start and stop with not pissing off or alienating or emasculating cops. This is simply one essential element in a rational strategy that works. I am exasperated that the Lemming mentality of the left that we should take actions which don’t consider this.

                I certainly have not laid out a comprehensive strategy, but I would be comfortable with something like what Oscar laid out. The keys are increased police accountability, reduced protection of unions, rethink war in drugs, improved training, supplement police intervention with softer community support roles, etc.

                What I am saying is having a negative side effect already and will get worse is accusing cops of being institutional racist pigs. This course has already led and will continue to lead to negative consequences in black neighborhoods where the biggest threat is criminal predators, not officers.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                I’d alternately ask why you think policing inner city violence entails abuse of force and unconstitutional over-policing?

                Not sure why you’re hung up on the racial element of this, though. If it’s true, as you claim it is, that cops will be less likely to police black communities over criticisms that PDs and the CJ system in general are systemically racist, then it rather proves the point that cops act on a race-motivated (or race-incentivized, to use your language) basis. I mean, the one sure way for cops to *demonstrate* that they aren’t racist, and that PDs engage in systemic racism, would be for the police to *not* engage in selective policing re: violent crime while concurrently *not* using unconstitutional lethal force and other types of over-policing.

                I mean, your argument is that cops will respond to claims that they’re racist by not policing (ie., doing their job in) black communities, which strikes me as pretty fucking racist, no?Report

              • Avatar Swami
                Ignored
                says:

                “I’d alternately ask why you think policing inner city violence entails abuse of force and unconstitutional over-policing?”

                Not a fair comment, and I am pretty sure you will agree after some pause. My position is clearly for policing, and is clearly against abuse of force or accountability. I will let communities decide what is over-policing but I agree this could very well be a root problem.

                ” If it’s true, as you claim it is, that cops will be less likely to police black communities over criticisms that PDs and the CJ system in general are systemically racist, then it rather proves the point that cops act on a race-motivated (or race-incentivized, to use your language) basis.”

                That does not follow at all. If a cop polices based upon location, and a location is predominantly black and extremely high crime, then most interactions (and can we assume most interactions are professional and legitimate) will be with blacks. If interactions with blacks are used to stigmatize cops (see the news) then cops will avoid those interactions. They won’t just avoid their “racist targeting, ” they will also avoid doing the job they are being paid to do. Do you have another explanation for why inner city black on black murder rates are skyrocketing in inner cities post Floyd, which increased post Ferguson?

                “…your argument is that cops will respond to claims that they’re racist by not policing (ie., doing their job in) black communities, which strikes me as pretty fucking racist, no?”

                A more accurate summary of my position is that they will be asked to reduce their presence and influence in the inner city areas of contention. They won’t just be asked to stop abusing their power, they will risk having every legitimate exercise of their power used to fan the flames of this hateful BLM narrative. The mayor will redirect them from optimizing crime reduction to minimizing propagandized political damage. They will be “defunded” (I guarantee you suburbs are not trying to defund right now), good cops will retire (already happening in droves), and black youths will view their local peace officer as even more of an alien threat than today, and thus even more likely to resist arrest, flee, and show disrespect. Spiraling feedback loop of more crime and more disparate impact (which even Veronica’s links admitted that up to 80% of the black/white imprisonment is justified by higher crime rates).

                This narrative and its ramifications are cancerous.

                Do you really not see this? Are you just being argumentative?

                I want to solve this problem in a way which doesn’t lead to higher crime rates and more black deaths. It seems I am alone here.Report

  2. Avatar greginak
    Ignored
    says:

    I like this. But to go in different direction what is endlessly unfortunate about the US and how we attempt to discuss things is getting lost in three word phrases. Anybody with a shred of good will knows what BLM means since people have explained it approximately 10000 times. Same thing with Defund/Abolish the Police. But people keep coming back to the bumper sticker phrases. Sure sometimes there is actual debate of the issues. But we spend to much time on bumper stickers.Report

  3. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    I like horses. I’m not crazy about Trojan horses.

    Of course I agree that Black lives matter. I’m just not sure that I’m on board with Black Lives Matter.

    To make an easy analogy to make, imagine someone arguing that Palestinian Lives Matter to a fan of Israel. On one level, of course! Nobody is arguing that they don’t! You’re arguing against a strawman by defending a proposition that no one disagrees with! Oh, you think that the state of Israel is illegitimate and we need to abolish it?

    Wait, weren’t we just talking about whether Palestinians lives matter?

    It’s not the argument that I disagree with.
    It’s the semiotics.

    “All Lives Matter” is meant to be a Trojan Horse as well. On one level, nobody disagrees with it (really).

    But when it’s used as a response to Black Lives Matter we quickly realize that we’re in a dialectic.

    Again.Report

    • Avatar Marchmaine
      Ignored
      says:

      I think this is the nub of it. There’s a slogan, and there’s a political organization of the same name.

      Strikes me as a pretty obvious Motte/Bailey situation… endorse Black Lives Matter. Which? The Motte where we all agree or the Bailey where we don’t?

      I’ve losely tracked BLM since they first made a splash; what struck me in the early iterations was how vigorously intersectional they were; over time the website has gone through multiple iterations working on the rhetoric to make the intersectional underpinnings less of a thing… more mainstream than original. Its possible, even, that BLM gets co-opted and drops most of the intersectionality in favor of a unified focus. It wouldn’t be the first organization to have its principles sheared in the interest of political gains.

      But, I don’t really have a problem saying Black Lives Matter and BLM is an organization I don’t back. The challenge for the people in the Motte is letting people in before they are unwittingly wounded in the Bailey.

      A more cynical take recognizes that Mottes aren’t for that… its all about the Bailey. In this context, All Lives Matter becomes a clumsy attempt to avoid the Bailey… which fails in the obvious way all Mottes work: what Bailey?Report

  4. Avatar Rufus F.
    Ignored
    says:

    I think some people hear it as “BLACK Lives Matter” and others hear it as “Black Lives MATTER.” I’ve tended to hear it in the most anodyne way possible- saying to young people “We’d really much prefer to have you alive.” So I have not sympathized with the people who see it as the start of a fightReport

  5. Avatar Mike Schilling
    Ignored
    says:

    From Huckleberry Finn:

    “We blowed out a cylinder-head.”

    “Good gracious! anybody hurt?”

    “No’m. Killed a n*****.”

    “Well, it’s lucky; because sometimes people do get hurt.

    Report

  6. Avatar Mike Schilling
    Ignored
    says:

    I wonder who responds to “Hire the handicapped” with “All applicants matter”.Report

  7. Avatar Kazzy
    Ignored
    says:

    I’ve seen a couple helpful analogies that point out the problem with the All Lives Matter response.

    Rainforest Analogy
    “We have to save the rainforests.”
    “But shouldn’t we save all forests?”
    “Well, yea, but the rainforests are under threat of destruction right now and are rapidly being depleted.”
    “What about pine forests?”

    Doctor Analogy
    “Doc! I think I broke my arm. Can you help me???”
    “All bones matter.”
    “Uhh… sure. But my arm bone is broken.”
    “Why do you want me to focus on ONLY one bone when ALL bones matter?”
    Etc.

    Reading this, I’m reminded of a conversation that often arises with young children when conflict emerges. There is often an intense hashing out of what did or did not happen, who did what, and what their intent was. I always try to shift the conversation to a forward-facing one. “Sounds like Bob doesn’t like being pushed. Johnny, I hear you saying you didn’t push Bob. Sounds like you don’t want to push Bob. I’m not sure what happened before, but seems like we can agree that, going forward, we’ll all try not to push each other.”

    “I hear you saying All Lives Matter. Cool. If you really believe that, then surely you believe Black lives matter since they’re a subset of all lives. In that case, I trust I can have your support in taking action to ensure Black lives — like all other lives — are treated as if they matter.”

    Somehow, it never quite works out that way.Report

    • Avatar DensityDuck
      Ignored
      says:

      “I hear you saying All Lives Matter. Cool. If you really believe that, then surely you believe Black lives matter since they’re a subset of all lives. In that case, I trust I can have your support in taking action to ensure Black lives — like all other lives — are treated as if they matter.”

      Somehow, it never quite works out that way.

      Well, no. No, it does not. Usually, someone says “All Lives Matter”, and then they get screamed at about how they’re a disgusting racist, and video of them gets posted on Instagram with hashtags like “KarensGoneWild” and “ParkingLotPatty”, and people figure out where they work and they’re fired the next day, and now there’s someone else who’ll spend their life thinking “gosh, black people sure are touchy“.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon
        Ignored
        says:

        Of course, it’s typically not black people who are being touchy, it’s all those uber-caring privileged folks being touchy for the black people.Report

        • Avatar veronica d
          Ignored
          says:

          [citation needed]Report

          • Avatar Oscar Gordon
            Ignored
            says:

            Not really, we don’t. We’ve seen enough examples of this in the past, and even in this current round, of performative privileged kids playing ‘white savior’ (see the post by Dennis).

            How many of these people, marching in protests, and social media blasting Karens, are actually packing city council meetings and telling their local officials how they feel about this?Report

    • Avatar Aaron David
      Ignored
      says:

      Kazzy, at one time I broke my collar bone and my #1 rib. If the doctor had simply focused on one of those two, it would not have healed correctly as the two work in concert.

      All bones matter.Report

      • Avatar veronica d
        Ignored
        says:

        Yes, but it would have been odd for the doctor to focus on your thigh bone.

        I simply don’t believe that anyone here is unaware of what is happening, rhetorically, when someone says “all lives matter” in response to “black lives matter.”Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon
          Ignored
          says:

          When I see ‘All Lives Matter’, I just translate it in my head to ‘Blue Lives Matter More’.Report

          • Avatar veronica d
            Ignored
            says:

            Yeah pretty much.

            This whole conversation is tiring, tbh. Black people get a raw deal in America. They get stomped on. Cops treat them like absolute garbage. Their neighborhoods are “over policed,” meaning they are more likely to get arrested for minor, victimless crimes. They face more felony arrests for doing things that white people do with little fear of arrest. They face prosecutor bias, jury bias, longer sentencing — which renders them unemployable.

            Does this diminish crime in black neighborhoods?

            Of course not. It makes things worse. You don’t need a sociology degree to understand how and why.

            Note this happens regardless of the character of any particular black person. Thus, they have to be “twice as good to get half as much.”

            People will say this isn’t “racism” because the cycle has its predictable effect. The lives of black people are diminished. White people (many of them) can stand back and say, “Well darnit, I didn’t do anything wrong, not personally. I’m a good person.”

            Golly gee, feels great to be a good person.

            Many people seem highly motivated to explain why this isn’t about personal, overt racism. Instead, they suggest, it is about the character of black people. They often code that as “culture.” This does nothing to fix the problem.

            The character of a young black man who grows up in poverty, in a neighborhood where joining an organized drug gang is the most obvious path to success, will very likely turn out differently from a white kid whose friends all go to nice colleges. Like, duh.

            Our response: add more cops to arrest more black people for minor crimes and funnel them into a biased criminal justice system.

            Good plan! I bet that’ll work!

            (It won’t work.)

            This does little to lessen the demand for drugs, nor the capacity for drug gangs to recruit in our most disadvantaged communities. The “war on drugs” just creates more casualties. It doesn’t fix things.

            Like, duh.

            And the murder rate soars, as it would. And the predictable people then explain why the cops are justified in terrorizing Black people, even those not in gangs.

            Personal character doesn’t matter. The cops (and jurors and judges and pretty much everyone) use skin color to indicate criminality. This is (as some claim) justified because statistically it is true.

            Except, if you do this enough, it has a societal effect. It makes criminality worse. Black people don’t get as many second chances as white people, so they give up (a lot of them, enough of them). They stop trying to play a bad game with a fixed deck.

            And (some) people then justify turning the knob further, add more cops, make more arrests, convict more, toss more black men into a downward spiral, then use the degradation of their neighborhoods to justify doing it more.

            The future will look back on the past and ask, “What the fuck were you all thinking?”

            Like seriously, what are we thinking?

            Black lives matter, a lot.Report

            • Avatar Damon
              Ignored
              says:

              Perhaps it’s more of a short term outlook vs a more long term (especially in younger folk) But again, Chris Rock has a point.

              Report

              • Avatar veronica d
                Ignored
                says:

                Sure it’s a long term problem, but few support any long term solutions. We punt the ball down the road and hire more cops.

                Hiring more cops makes it worse. We now live in a country where the police are overfunded — enough that they can buy military toys — and virtually every social service is underfunded.

                Keep turning the knob. See what happens.

                It goes to 11, then it blows up.Report

              • Avatar Damon
                Ignored
                says:

                Oh, something will blow up. Whether it’s this or something else…. But I’m not a pessimist. Cough!Report

            • Avatar Dark Matter
              Ignored
              says:

              There a weird disconnect between “over policing”, law enforcement being mostly a local thing, and the black community having massive influence in terms of who their local leadership is and their local political establishment.

              We’re going to run some interesting social experiments here. Various communities will do serious police reform, others will not. Maybe we’ll find out that serious police reform is a serious part of the overall problem. My guess is we find the police’s various dysfunctions are more a symptom of the community’s various dysfunctions more than a cause.Report

            • Avatar Swami
              Ignored
              says:

              “Cops treat them like absolute garbage”.
              This isn’t true. Cops abuse their power, granted, but their abuse of blacks is roughly statistically proportionate to their rates of violent crime. This is the fundamental lie of the BLM movement.

              When 3 or 4 percent of society commits about half of all violent crime, it is natural that the cops focus on this segment, even if just by policing the neighborhoods where most of the criminals live. And any community which wants less crime should want more police presence, not less.

              “Golly gee, feels great to be a good person.”

              I would add that this is exactly what those preaching BLM are doing, even though they absolutely know that the net effects of their actions will be angry black men more likely to resist police and fewer cops willing to respond to real crime in black neighborhoods. Thus the results will be a continuation of the almost 2000 more blacks murdered (almost exclusively by other blacks) since the Ferguson riots. The crime stats out of Chicago and NY are already horrific since the recent riots/collective virtue signaling.

              “They often code that as “culture.” This does nothing to fix the problem.”

              As you go on to illustrate, inner-city culture is extremely dysfunctional in many ways. Sadly, the BLM movement is intent on making it more dysfunctional.

              “The character of a young black man who grows up in poverty, in a neighborhood where joining an organized drug gang is the most obvious path to success, will very likely turn out differently from a white kid whose friends all go to nice colleges.”

              Exactly. As in statistically more likely to commit major crimes including robbery and murder.

              “The “war on drugs” just creates more casualties. It doesn’t fix things.”

              Agreed.

              “And the murder rate soars, as it would. And the predictable people then explain why the cops are justified in terrorizing Black people, even those not in gangs.”

              Nobody is recommending that cops terrorize anyone. You are replacing real arguments with a straw man for your own comfort, perhaps so you can say “you are a good person” who opposes terrorizing minorities.

              “The cops (and jurors and judges and pretty much everyone) use skin color to indicate criminality. This is (as some claim) justified because statistically it is true.”

              I would argue that an even more harmful practice is to propagandize conviction rates based upon disparate impact without considering disparate crime rates. Even worse is broadcasting every illegitimate killing of blacks compared to illegitimate killings of white to imply a false or wildly exaggerated (“open season on black teens”) myth.

              “….if you do this enough, it has a societal effect.”

              Yes, negative spirals exist, but I strongly question that the 10X level of violent criminality between men and women is caused by cops being too tough on men. For similar reasons, I strongly doubt that the almost 10x difference in murder rates between blacks and everyone-who-isn’t-black is caused primarily (or even significantly) by racist cops or the biased criminal justice system. I am not even sure it contributes toward as compared to against the cycle. I will say that I agree that our prison system is like finishing school for lifetime criminals, but again, I am not sure if getting tough on crime makes the feedback loops better or worse. Letting murderers and violent criminals run rampant won’t help the cycle or reduce gang influence either.

              “The future will look back on the past and ask, “What the f.. were you all thinking?”

              Here I agree completely but for the exact opposite reasons. We will be asking why the hell did we run cops out of black neighborhoods, leading to huge spikes in crime and murder? These are already showing up in the stats and fatalities of inner cities (would you like links with the names and pictures of the victims?) There will be thousands of murdered blacks who don’t matter to those of you preaching that they matter. Try looking at results not just vacuous intentions.

              Seriously what are you thinking?

              I agree with Dark Matter. We need to experiment with better policing and justice systems. But first we need to frame the problem correctly and stop the annoying virtue signaling and soft racism of pretending black people are subhuman victims not capable of self agency.

              If you want to destroy someone’s life, there is no better way than to convince them that they are victims.Report

              • Avatar veronica d
                Ignored
                says:

                As much as I hesitate to Gish gallop, here are a collection of studies showing that Black people face disproportionate bias across the entire criminal justice system: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ido70LgXsEhxcnyXE7RVS0wYJZc6aeVTpujCUPQgTrE/preview?pru=AAABc08riPg*f4l58YISXDQ_8VmKfGv9mA

                Yes, the level of criminality is higher in Black people compared to white people. However, taken collectively, these studies show that the difference in criminality doesn’t fully account for the difference in treatment. The remainder is best explained by bias.

                You can read through these studies. You’ll find that most of them do control for the obvious variables. That said, it is kind of a game to watch racists try to dream up some confounding factor for each study. They seem very motivated to find that the differences are anything other than race. I wonder why they are motivated thus?

                So we have to ask why black criminality is higher than white criminality. So, why? Much of it is socioeconomic, but that doesn’t fully account for the differences. So why? “Culture”? But that’s not really an answer. Cultures don’t just develop magically in the ether. They arise from factors both material and historic. So what are the material and historic factors that make Black neighborhoods the way they are? What are we going to do to fix them?Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                So what are the material and historic factors that make Black neighborhoods the way they are? What are we going to do to fix them?

                I’ll even lay out the first order effects.

                Jim Crow effectively makes black neighborhoods slums/ghettos/whatever you want to call it. Being the kind of place that would very much not like to attract the attention of the police (who enforce Jim Crow), crime finds a place to flourish. The enlightenment of the Civil Rights era does not magically fix this.

                Before said black neighborhoods have a hint of a chance to start turning themselves around, Nixon kicks off the Drug War. Now Drugs are all illegal, and those dealing in them look for places that are unlikely to draw police attention, like black neighborhoods who don’t trust the police. Police don’t really care much because they have no incentive to go hard after drug crimes (yet).

                Feds figure out police are ‘meh’ on drug crimes, and basically establish a ‘bounty’ system for drug arrests and prosecutions (it’s not called a ‘bounty’, but PDs get federal dollars for drug arrests, etc.). Now the police have a strong incentive to go into those neighborhoods and hunt down drug crimes. Said neighborhoods now get over policed, pressure and prices rise (furthering the violence in those neighborhoods) and a whole lot of black kids get pinched for whatever the police can dream up. Getting pinched most likely means a plea deal, and a record, and future employment prospects get shit canned.

                See how we helped create that culture?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                The war on drugs creates a situation in which these neighborhoods are simultaneously over- and under-policed.

                I’ve come around (again) on whether we should abolish the police entirely, but I do think that we are overlegislated out the wazoo and do not think that the cops should be interested in de minimus crimes. At all. And, on top of that, de minimus needs to be a *LOT* broader.

                But I’m repeating stuff I’ve been saying for years. (If you want to relive us arguing this again back in January, though, there it is.)Report

              • Avatar veronica d
                Ignored
                says:

                Yes. I mean, theories require evidence, and there is sociological and criminological data to back many of these ideas (although I don’t have a link handy).

                But yeah, you see the obvious pattern.

                Ending the war on drugs is an obvious first step. It’s something that leftists and libertarians can agree on. Likewise, eliminating over-policing. These things are pretty straightforward.

                Regarding things like bias in the justice system, that is far more tricky. Getting people to accept that bias exists is an important first step, but what’s next? We probably can’t fix bias among jurors. We might be able to fix bias among judges, since we can measure the repeated behavior of judges and remove those who are repeatedly unfair. But there are a lot of moving parts.Report

              • Avatar George Turner
                Ignored
                says:

                Jim Crow effectively makes black neighborhoods slums/ghettos/whatever you want to call it. Being the kind of place that would very much not like to attract the attention of the police (who enforce Jim Crow), crime finds a place to flourish.

                I am pretty sure that Southerners weren’t running New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Detroit, Seattle, San Francisco, etc. Whatever horrible racist things Democrats were doing elsewhere, it wasn’t Jim Crow outside of the South.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                The north had Jim Crow too, it just was under the table Jim Crow (redlining, etc.).Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                The North had levels of racism to the point they would have had Jim Crow if they’d needed it.

                Although we tend to frame the War-On-Drugs as a racist thing now-days; When Clinton and various others were expanding it, it was thought to be more social engineering. For that matter paying people to not get married if they were pregnant was also an attempt to “help” people with social engineering.

                If history a guide, although ending the war on drugs is a needed first step, the recovery just starts there. Culture is HARD to change, it will be hard to change back and will take generations.

                On a side note you’ve said a lot here (and especially above) which I agree with.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                I agree that there is work that black communities need to do to change culture, but I feel like a lot of people are acting as if the failure for that culture to change is all on the black communities.

                The reality is, it’s less akin to a lazy person being unable to stand on their own, and more akin to a bully constantly kicking the feet out from under someone and then wondering why they can’t stand themselves up.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                a lot of people are acting as if the failure for that culture to change is all on the black communities.

                In theory, the right to vote has resulted in most of these communities having a large say in their own (local) destiny. The mayor, police chief, some/most of the police force and school administration could all be black.

                We’re throwing a lot of money at the problem through lots of gov programs, something north of a trillion a year if memory serves. Law enforcement is also an attempt by the gov to “fix” things and “help” people. Every decade or so we have a “new” vast social experiment which is supposed to make things a lot better. Examples that come to mind are school busing, Affirmative Action, the war on poverty, and even the War on Drugs.

                Maybe in a few years we’ll try “repartitions”, I’m already hearing how it would fix centuries of wealth imbalances and discrimination (let’s just ignore what happens to lottery winners).

                Right now, police reform is in vogue. It’s possible this is the ticket to true reform of culture… but we’ve heard that lots of times before. In ten or twenty years we might look back and think that unleashing vast numbers of criminals on the black communities wasn’t the best of ideas and this will be yet another example of “constantly kicking their feet out from under”.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                In ten or twenty years we might look back and think that unleashing vast numbers of criminals on the black communities wasn’t the best of ideas…

                Assuming this is what happens. I mean, if ALL we do is police reform, it’ll help a little. But all that would do is slap some gauze on a nasty wound.

                It’s police reform + expunging non-violent drug offenses + tuition/job training assistance (how many black kids had stupid drug charges and could not get student loans) + some psych support (Intelligence that is not tempered with emotional stability is largely squandered) + some other things I am not thinking of.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                “unleashing vast numbers of criminals on the black communities”

                Wait, who is unleashing what now?Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                Assume that the narrative is wrong, the cherry picked videos aren’t representative of the normal situation, these communities aren’t over policed, and the police really are doing a reasonably good job.

                Or maybe just assume our reforms make things worse. Seattle trying a police free zone which instantly turns bad is a good example.

                We currently have soaring rhetoric and good intentions. That’s the first screen of a Dilbert cartoon. The next is where the pointy haired boss translates our great intentions into reality.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                If you are searching for examples of how various reforms turn out, wouldn’t the before and after of New York’s Stop & Frisk be a good place to start?Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                Stop and Frisk was a single policy. What we’re talking about here is MUCH larger and broader. In terms of scale we’re in war on drugs territory or maybe even larger.

                Unless we want to call Bill Clinton a closet racist, most of the WOD was good people trying to do good things… sort of like what we’re trying now.

                I’m not saying we shouldn’t do it, but humans are complex, cultures more so, and the line between our good intentions and a good outcome isn’t as straight as we’d like to think.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Why Stop and Frisk and not Broken Windows?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Sure go ahead.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Here’s the National Bureau of Economic Research.

                Here’s a paragraph from towards the end:

                The police measure that most consistently reduces crime is the arrest rate of those involved in crime, the study finds. Felony arrest rates (except for motor vehicle thefts) rose 50 to 70 percent in the 1990s. When arrests of burglars increased 10 percent, the number of burglaries fell 2.7 to 3.2 percent. When the arrest rate of robbers rose 10 percent, the number of robberies fell 5.7 to 5.9 percent. In the case of murder, the decline was 3.9 to 4 percent; in the case of assault, 2 to 2.4 percent; and for motor vehicle theft, 5 to 5.1 percent.

                Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                Yes. That.

                We’re thinking of “non-violent drug crimes” as “innocent people arrested for no reason”.

                There’s an element of truth to that, but they may also now be “criminal who should be locked up”.

                Criminals that we’ve created. Criminals that we shouldn’t have created. However we’ve educated them that they shouldn’t be respecting the law, given them criminal contacts up the food chain and even given them a criminal record.

                We wave a magic wand, pass some laws, legalize drugs, get rid of their records… and do they become normal law abiding citizens or do they look for other criminal employment?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                The banking sector, or campaign finance management or lobbyist would seem like fields uniquely attractive to these sorts of individuals.

                Indeed, America has delivered a very powerful education in respect for law.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                Those numbers are noise.

                You arrest 10% more burglars and the rate drops ~3%, then you picked up a bunch of ‘burglars’ who probably weren’t actually burglars.

                Also, how long did that effect last?

                If the police arrest a class of criminals (e.g. burglars), word gets around and the remaining actual burglars lay low, or ply their trade elsewhere for a while. Until the police get distracted by something else.

                But we still have the question of, how many actual burglars were arrested, and how many arrests were for people in the wrong place/wrong time with common household tools in their trunk?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                If some went up and some went down, the argument that it was just noise would be stronger, I think.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                It’s noise because the numbers removed doesn’t even remotely align with the reduction. So either the police are crap at arresting actual criminals*, or the void is almost instantly filled.

                *If I am being generous, the police, when they are not arresting people for whatever fever dream they are currently having, are very good at arresting the dumbest of criminals, ergo the increase in arrests, ideally, removed the amateurs and idiots, and the pros kept right on doing what they do.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                There are worse outcomes than removing the amateurs and idiots.

                (Of course, one of those outcomes includes a lot of false positives.)Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                DING! DING! DING!Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Even worse, what is the overall effect on society of arresting and traumatizing that innocent 7%?

                What does that do to the public’s trust of the police and legal system, and what are the long term consequences of that?

                After enough of that, even I am at the point of wanting to spray paint “ACAB” on walls.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                Even worse, what is the overall effect on society of arresting and traumatizing that innocent 7%?

                10% more arrests, creating a drop in that crime of 3%, doesn’t mean 7% were innocent. Those percentages are of different groups.

                10% more apples doesn’t mean there are fewer oranges.

                In this case presumably more man hours were devoted to dealing with this crime. Probably more than 10% more man hours than normal since it’s unlikely that relationship is linear. There’s probably a point of diminishing returns.

                In any case they caught 10% more people than normal, the amount of that crime dropped by 3%, so (assuming no noise) that 10% was committing 3% of that crime.

                Or to put it differently, this was apparently a lifestyle thing for them or simply their profession.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                You arrest 10% more burglars and the rate drops ~3%, then you picked up a bunch of ‘burglars’ who probably weren’t actually burglars.

                10% “more” is not the same thing as “10% of the burglar population”.

                It means 100% of the “arresting” population is committing 30% of the crimes, so in theory increase the arrested population by 333% and the crime would drop to zero. (I know, much hand waving).Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                From the quote:

                When arrests of burglars increased 10 percent, the number of burglaries fell 2.7 to 3.2 percent.

                That means they increased the arrest of people suspected of burglary by 10%. If they previously arrest 50 people a year for burglary, now they arrested 55. Now, obviously part of the problem here is we don’t actually know how many people were arrested before and how many were arrested now. If we assume that every arrest was an actual burglar who was recently active, I think we can compute some values for what those whole numbers might be.

                But if those whole numbers are wrong in one direction, the police managed to nab all the high activity burglars, but if they are wrong in the other direction, the cops arrested a whole bunch of people who were innocent of the charge. Go far enough in that direction, and I can argue that the police arrested no burglars, but only served to harm innocent people and warn the actual burglars to lay low or clear out.Report

              • Avatar Swami
                Ignored
                says:

                Let me give an example

                5000 burglaries per year.
                50 convicted burglars year one.
                55 convictions year two.
                Burglaries go down to 4850

                Thus a ten percent change in burglars leads to a three percent change in annual subsequent burglaries. Removing just 5 scumbags from a community reduces over a hundred and fifty crimes. In communities I would choose to live in that would actually be considered a great thing.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                Arrests != Convictions

                Otherwise, yes, that’s a good example. If that was the case, and you got a solid conviction for each arrest, you would be doing great.

                But that’s not even close to how the real world works.Report

              • Avatar Swami
                Ignored
                says:

                Why do you say that is t how it really works? Do you really have THAT much mistrust in our legal system?

                Obviously I operate under the assumption that most cops are honest, most convictions are legitimate and os on.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                Data suggests otherwise.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                How did they know ahead of time that they were arresting robbers, instead of people suspected of robbery?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                How do we know that we are not in a simulation?

                I only exist as words in text on a screen for you.

                Are you even awake right now? How do you *KNOW*?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                A silly thesis deserves a silly comment.

                They just pair two correlated curves and announce a causation.
                Arrests go up, crime goes down.
                Of course, they ignore any other variable which might explain this.

                Even they admit that arrests for misdemeanor crimes had little effect, and arresting people for misdemeanors is the very heart of Broken Windows.

                So far as I know, no one has made a clear and widely accepted explanation for the dramatic fall in crime over the past few decades.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                If you accept that crimes like burglary are committed by criminals, would locking a criminal up result in crime going down?

                Or is it like selling drugs and that the moment you lock up a drug dealer, you create a job opening?

                I believe that locking up a burglar is not the same as locking up a drug dealer. I believe that the two crimes are very different.

                As such, I see that arresting a burglar would result in fewer burglaries.

                So far as I know, no one has made a clear and widely accepted explanation for the dramatic fall in crime over the past few decades.

                The Lead hypothesis strikes me as likely.

                But I believe that even though IQ doesn’t exist, it’s used as a proxy for something that does exist.Report

              • Avatar George Turner
                Ignored
                says:

                There isn’t such a thing as under the table Jim Crow because Jim Crow was a system of segregation laws. We shorten it now, but the phrase is “Jim Crow law”, which referred to “laws just for blacks” that mandated separate facilities, etc.

                All the other kinds of discrimination blacks faced elsewhere (outside of federal service thanks to Woodrow Wilson) may have been racial discrimination, but it wasn’t an example of Jim Crow laws, which is why people outside the South didn’t sit around wondering if they should repeal their own Jim Crow laws instead of deploying troops to Alabama.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                Fair enough, if we are being specific, only the south had Jim Crow Laws and Provisions.

                The north still had plenty of official and unofficial segregation and discrimination. Perhaps it wasn’t codified in state laws, but it was enacted through policy and in a whole lot of local laws and attitudes. Which is why it was ‘under the table’ or if you prefer, ‘Jim Crow Light’.Report

              • Avatar Swami
                Ignored
                says:

                Thanks for the response.

                You mentioned that cops treat blacks “like garbage” and “terrorize them”.

                I responded that “abuse” is proportional to the rates of violent crime. By abuse, I was referring to physical violence or killing, as has been used to galvanize the recent protests and riots.

                You then respond with a handful of studies of cops being biased in their traffic stops. This is not the discussion in the slightest. If you want to make that the topic, then I might or might not choose to weigh in, but I have no dog in that hunt. I certainly understand how zero tolerance, broken windows style policing in high crime areas would lead to disparate impacts and legitimate frustration and resentment. But I can also at least imagine why citizens might choose to still request such policing.

                In the first article highlight that you provided, it reinforced my original point exactly. Up to 81% of the disparity between black and all others in imprisonment rates is explained by higher black crime rates. Considering the rate of violent crime is an order of magnitude higher, this explains most of the statistical disparity in rates of cop violence with/against citizens. The highlight goes on to then suggest that the crime rate is perhaps also explained away at least in part by past discrimination, a point which you also have made repeatedly.

                I certainly agree that people are products of their environments, and that culture and institutional constraints and shared narrative framing are essential to life outcomes. Past and current racism is almost certainly a factor. But so are ideologies, beliefs, values and how various people and institutions responded to this racism. They all mix together, sometimes multiplying in complex and emergent ways. The net effect is that black inner city culture has become extremely dysfunctional in many serious ways which is harming the people of the culture.

                I already specifically agreed with you that a culture which breeds members of a violent street gang are going to produce completely different results than a culture stressing middle class values of marriage, parental obligation, and honesty, trust, hard work and education. How could anyone disagree? So the question is how do we get away from the former and more to the latter?

                In other words, as most conservatives (I am adamantly not conservative) would stress, Culture matters. A lot.

                “Cultures don’t just develop magically in the ether. They arise from factors both material and historic. So what are the material and historic factors that make Black neighborhoods the way they are? What are we going to do to fix them?”

                Agreed. My answer above (and elsewhere in previous threads) was by focusing on increased police accountability and rethinking the war on drugs, which certainly has adversely affected black communities. What I specifically warn against is pulling (formally or informally) cops out of high crime black neighborhoods. Included in this warning is to not to breed distrust between blacks and cops. You know by shouting that cops “terrorize” and treat blacks “like garbage”.This will lead to avoidance on both their parts. Cops will avoid confrontations with black criminals if they fear that even every justifiable act they take can and will be blown up on the media as an act of police brutality proving the narrative that they are “terrorizing” blacks and “treating them like garbage”.

                This avoidance is exactly what we are seeing in inner cities, and I can “Gish gallop” you back with reports that this is already happening. We need to promote accountability and trust.

                A good start is specifically to stop the propaganda. Failure to do so will lead to black deaths, and if lives really matter, and they do, then I think you can rise up and help change the narrative. Beyond this we next need to start focusing on how we can collectively begin to foster a more progressive culture.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                You really don’t see the illogic in “criminals who are black represent the majority of crime therefore police abuse of innocent black people at higher rates is therefore proportionate”?Report

              • Avatar George Turner
                Ignored
                says:

                Well, why don’t the police just take the attitude of “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” regarding minority neighborhoods? Why are they patrolling there since whites don’t need to care? Why do Detroit, Atlanta, Baltimore, and Chicago even have police precincts in minority neighborhoods?

                Surely pulling the police out will solve all the problems in communities of color. Surely.Report

              • Avatar Swami
                Ignored
                says:

                Yes, I see the illogic in that. What is your point? Did I write that Quoted sentence?Report

              • Avatar Swami
                Ignored
                says:

                I didn’t think so.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater
            Ignored
            says:

            When I see ‘All Lives Matter’, I just translate it in my head to ‘Blue Lives Matter More’.

            Not me. When I hear “all lives matter” said in response to phrase “black lives matter” I translate it as “black lives don’t matter more than white lives”. Which is, as people have been expressing in the thread, a willful misinterpretation of what the phrase “black lives matter” means, revealing either those folks inherent racism OR their (idiotic) culture-war partisanship-ism. 🙂Report

        • Avatar Aaron David
          Ignored
          says:

          Two things changed my mind: stories and data.

          First, the stories. Each story in this paragraph involves a police officer killing an unarmed white person. (To demonstrate how commonly this happens, I have taken all of them from a single year, 2015, chosen at random). Timothy Smith was killed by a police officer who mistakenly thought he was reaching into his waistband to grab a gun; the shooting was ruled justified. William Lemmon was killed after he allegedly failed to show his hands upon request; the shooting was ruled justified. Ryan Bolinger was shot dead by a cop who said he was moving strangely and walking toward her; the shooting was ruled justified. Derek Cruice was shot in the face after he opened the door for police officers serving a warrant for a drug arrest; the cops recovered marijuana from the property, and the shooting was ruled justified. Daniel Elrod robbed a dollar store, and, when confronted by police, allegedly failed to raise his hands upon request (though his widow, who witnessed the event, insists otherwise); he was shot dead. No criminal charges were filed. Ralph Willis was shot dead when officers mistakenly thought that he was reaching for a gun. David Cassick was shot twice in the back by a police officer while lying face down on the ground. Six-year-old Jeremy Mardis was killed by a police officer while sitting in the passenger seat of a car; the officer’s intended target was Jeremy’s father, who was sitting in the driver’s seat with his hands raised out the window. Autumn Steele was shot dead when a police officer, startled by her German shepherd, immediately fired his weapon at the animal, catching her in the crossfire. Shortly after he killed her, bodycam footage revealed the officer’s despair: “I’m f—— going to prison,” he says. The officer was not disciplined.

          Stories and Data – Coleman Hughes
          https://www.city-journal.org/reflections-on-race-riots-and-police
          Far too many people of ALL races are killed by police, and dividing any responses to this universal problem by race, class or any other grouping will not help the problem. To simply say that you take All Lives Matter to mean Blue Lives matter cannot in any way help build a coalition to end this series of tragedies.Report

          • Avatar Oscar Gordon
            Ignored
            says:

            Except that when someone says ‘All Lives Matter’, it is, almost always, to suggest that there isn’t really a problem at any level, or that somehow we should be focusing more on how tough the folks in blue have it.

            I think I’ve been pretty clear in my disdain for focusing this only on black lives, even though I agree that black citizens suffer significant disparate impacts when it comes to how the police and the CJ system interact and deal with them. I mean, BLM is not wrong, but we can also say that Indigenous Lives Matter, and Homeless Lives Matter, and Runaway Lives Matter, and Sex Worker Lives Matter, and LGBTQ Lives Matter, because those are all demographics that get the spiked, shitty end of the stick that the police beat us all with*.

            That said, BLM is getting the issue front and center, and seems to be pretty good at keeping it there, and the people I see using ALM tend to oppose BLM and are strident ‘Back The Blue’ kinds of people. Obviously, exceptions exist (I know quite a few people who hate BLM and still think aggressively believe ACAB). Still, it’s a handy shortcut until I see evidence otherwise.

            *As your societal privilege rises, you go from the spiked shitty end to the smooth wooden end, to the padded end, but no matter what, the police are beating you with a stick, whether you want to admit it or not.Report

            • Avatar Aaron David
              Ignored
              says:

              I’ll be perfectly honest, even looking at many rightward sites and speakers, I have only ever heard that from you. Which isn’t to say it isn’t out there, but if it is it is on such a low level or is only coming from the left.

              But, I don’t think BLM is getting the overall message across in a way that matters. At least not in a way that will move the needle and help end police violence. Above, I quote a black man listing off multiple white people who had been killed by the police, and yet there is zero push to show how this effects everyone. We are all at risk for this, whether we want to admit or not. And if this isn’t simply a race-based problem, which has been shown time and time again both by commentor Swami and by various black intellectuals such as Glenn Loury and John McWhorter, along with the above-quoted Coleman Hughes, then a soley race-based antidote will not help end this problem. Already we can see that the proposed antidote of BLM involves political actions that are anathema to much of America, which, as you say, dilutes any message. No, to solve this problem, as opposed to allowing it to Balkanize, what is need is to show that it affects all people, and you cannot do that by insisting that others are not part of the message. It needs to be inclusive, as opposed to exclusive.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                I agree, but what I am not seeing is a push from the people saying ALM to make it a movement. I have had this conversation so many times over the past few weeks:

                Person: BLM is crap! ALM! I mean, how about this white guy who was killed by the police? You didn’t see anyone rioting or protesting when they died, did you?

                Me: So what are you saying? That we shouldn’t be protesting the unjustified killing of any person by the police, white or black? Or are you saying us white folks are so complacent and unwilling to risk our illusion of safety that we will let police kill us with nary a peep?

                P: uhhh…

                If ALM is supposed to be a push for police reform, it’s a shit one. It’s crap at getting a message out there that is meant to be anything other than a whiny complaint about BLM. And that is the problem. I’m all for the idea that ALM, but if ALM is supposed to have meaning and be useful when it comes to police reform, it needs to not be used in opposition to BLM, but in conjunction with it. And that is most decidedly not how I see it being used.

                Maybe we should start PONST – Peace Officers Not Storm Troopers. Not as catchy, though.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling
                Ignored
                says:

                Radley Balko has devoted years of his life to what amounts to ALM. When I see him objecting to BLM or its messaging, I’ll listen.

                Arguing that America’s criminal justice system is, in fact, racist was Radley Balko, an opinion writer for The Washington Post.

                https://reason.com/podcast/radley-balko-and-rafael-mangual-debate-systemic-racism/Report

              • Avatar Aaron David
                Ignored
                says:

                Simply, BLM has sucked all the air out of the room. You have been a follower of Balko, I believe? For years he has been talking about this, to deaf ears in both parties, but as soon as Obama could get some traction from BLM, it was shot up in prominence.

                But when we look at police reform as proposed by the one African-American senator, who offered the opposing party unlimited amendments along with it, not to mention the backing to filibuster anything that didn’t meet with approval, the Dems shot it down.

                I will absolutely agree with you that BLM is a movement that is making noise about this issue, while white people are being complacent. But anything to increase the scope of it, which is what I feel is desperately needed to actually make a working solution happen is being shot down.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                Yeah, I don’t see anyone seriously trying to limit the scope to just black people. What I see are black people trying to make sure that the movement they’ve gotten rolling isn’t subsumed into activism that is cosmetic shit that makes people feel like crap got done, but in reality maintains the status quo.

                And when I hear people saying ALM in opposition to BLM, that is what I believe is going on. The persons I’ve encountered who are saying, “ALM! BLM doesn’t address the complete systemic failure of American policing! Here’s what we need to do to make the system equitable to all!”, those are rare birds indeed.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David
                Ignored
                says:

                Well, Oscar, we will have to disagree on that front. But after watching the Dems call the one AA senator “token” and then walk out after being offered anything they wanted by same, I can only conclude that they don’t give a shit about Blacks, but rather about, as Dark Mater stated, keeping the issue up until election time when they can conveniently bury it.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                Hey now, don’t be confusing my criticism of ALM sloganeering for some kind of support for Team D (who, as I am sure you know, has been an ardent supporter of making shit worse by giving the police whatever the hell they ask for).

                You should know me better than that by now.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David
                Ignored
                says:

                Oh, I know you are a passionate believer in both sides suck, the one true and godly faith.

                I am just noting where we are right now after BLM has been on the case for so long.Report

              • Avatar greginak
                Ignored
                says:

                I didnt’ see the R’s all that willing to negotiate about the bill the D’s passed in the house and authored by one of many African Americans.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David
                Ignored
                says:

                Greg, they were offered unlimited amendments and a promise of a filibuster if what came out wasn’t what they wanted. But, no. They walked out after calling the author “token.”

                And R’s crossed the line to help approve the house bill, which was conveniently passed the day after poisoning the senate actions with some blatantly racist language.Report

  8. Avatar Aaron David
    Ignored
    says:

    “The War of Northern Aggression” vs. “War in Defense of Slavery” Redux.

    And thus is always was.Report

  9. Avatar Dark Matter
    Ignored
    says:

    This is about duelling narratives.

    BLM’s is “cops killing black men” (implied to be acts of racism and thus totally unjust)

    ALM’s is “they’re not” (implying that adjusted for number of encounter’s with the police, there is no problem and this is cherry picking… or put differently, the cop that killed Mike Brown in Ferguson had a choice of killing him or dying).

    ALM wants to totally ignore Blue Privilege and focus on Police defending their own lives.

    BLM wants to talk a lot about Blacks dying at rates greater the their population and not about different cultures or classes.

    I’m not sure if it’s BLM or just some of their supporters, but a number of the proposals for “true” solutions are to deal with inequality in general; The police won’t be dealing harshly with the poor’s problems if everyone is rich. This where we end up in “restructure the economy” (my words) and/or “reparations” territory.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon
      Ignored
      says:

      That is the far left standard practice of asking for every single ideological want, rather than focusing in on the needs that are relevant to the issue at hand.Report

      • Avatar Dark Matter
        Ignored
        says:

        That is the far left standard practice of asking for every single ideological want, rather than focusing in on the needs that are relevant to the issue at hand.

        Maybe. Or maybe they understand Blacks will still die out of their proportion of population even if we end Blue Privilege… maybe even more so that now. Reducing the total number of people killed by the police may increase the proportional mismatch.

        Or in other words, to actually fix that proportion, we really do need to fix all these other stats (class, education, income, etc) which result in far more encounters with the police.Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon
          Ignored
          says:

          I guess it depends on which parts of that list you are talking about.

          Reducing contact with police and the CJ system is a big part of it.

          Demanding UHC, less so.

          Climate Justice, even less.

          I mean, sure you can draw some lines from UHC and the climate to disparate impacts on minority populations, but those lines tend to be longer, and curvier. There are some much shorter, more direct lines that can be addressed first that will have much greater impacts.Report

          • Avatar Dark Matter
            Ignored
            says:

            The list I saw would “work”. The purpose was clearly to make everyone equal from an economic/social perspective and THAT is what is really needed to end police “racism” (by which I/they(?) mean “classism”).

            Education reform/equality.
            UHC.
            Reparations to bring equality to wealth.
            Economic reform/equality.Report

            • Avatar Oscar Gordon
              Ignored
              says:

              Sure, it would ‘work’ for certain values of ‘work’.

              Building a space elevator would ‘work’ to give us a cheap path to orbit. We even have an idea as to how to do it. Doesn’t mean we can, right now, do that. The idealist in me really wants a space elevator or two.

              What we can do is build re-usable rockets that can land themselves. The pragmatist in me thinks self-landing, re-usable rockets is a great place to be right now.Report

  10. Avatar DensityDuck
    Ignored
    says:

    broke: “I wish all humans had compassion for all humanity”
    woke: “when you say All Lives Matter you’re actually saying Black Lives Don’t.”Report

  11. Avatar Mike Schilling
    Ignored
    says:

    Trump’s response to COVID makes things clear: No Lives Matter.Report

    • Avatar George Turner
      Ignored
      says:

      Indeed. Allowing the protests to continue, knowing that thousands of innocent blacks would die as a direct result of the increased spread, shows that no lives matter to any of the protesters. They’re just out virtue signaling and scoring some free big screen TV’s.Report

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