Systemic Racism And Yale’s Wrong Rocks

A video, yet again, changed the public perception of a police killing from a mundane shooting of a bad black kid threatening a cop to an execution.  At the New York Times, Charles Blow is on it.

Disturbing video had been released of the police shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. He had been shot 16 times by Officer Jason Van Dyke. Most of the shots were fired when McDonald was no longer standing. Some entered through his back.

There was no column 400 days earlier, when the murder occurred, though McDonald was every bit as dead the night it happened as he was when Blow reached his epiphany as to why it happened.

The only reason that these killings keep happening is because most of American society tacitly approves or willfully tolerates it. There is no other explanation. If America wanted this to end, it would end.

The exceeding sad and dreadfully profound truth is that America — the majority of America, and that generally means much of white America — has turned away, averted its gaze and refused to take a strong moral stance in opposition. That’s the same as granting silent approval.

Omitted from his “profound truth” is that cops kill whites too. Not at the same rate as blacks, but still. Of course, Blow’s beat is race, so that’s the nail to his hammer.

People try to pitch this as some sort of ideological argument, as an issue of blacks against the police or vice versa, but that is simply an evasion, a way of refusing societal blame for a societal defect: We view crime and punishment with an ethnocentric sensibility that has a distinct and endemic anti-black bias.

So much right and wrong in the same paragraph, as if the two issues are mutually exclusive.  There is the police problem, manifesting in the “us v. them” issue, and the race problem, that of the “them,” blacks are worse “them” than whites. Overlaid is the problem that people don’t care about a problem until it touches their world.

We’re all self-serving to some extent, regardless of race, and put our energy and focus toward the problems that directly affect us and our loved ones. Others will have to fend for themselves. It’s not that we don’t care, but that we don’t care enough to take to the streets over it.

And still, there’s more to the problem.  Enlightened self-interest gives rise to a conflicted sense of purpose. While many acknowledge that the police problem exists, we also recognize that we want the cops to be there, to do their job, to protect us, because the incipient fear of crime remains intact, and we crave safety. It’s a balancing act between wanting cops on the beat to keep our families safe, and wanting cops to stop needlessly killing people.

This can be overcome, and occasionally has been, but it requires a transcending of self-interested racial tribalism, an ability to see the issue as an intolerable human cruelty rather than as an acceptable and even warranted condition of another, and that can be a high hurdle to clear in this country.

The confluence of recent events, the murder of blacks and occasional whites for no reason, caught on video so even the intellectually challenged can see it, was moving us closer to the point where broader society was prepared to put aside its craving for safety and demand change, because it was being seen as “intolerable human cruelty.”

And then, selfishness sucked the life out of the room.

Critics have dismissed the nation’s student protesters as mere coddled young people in a rage over some nonsense having to do with costumes or fraternity parties or whatever else the headlines say is the matter. I can tell you that none of these really is at the root. Rather, these and similar events are the catalyst for a revelation – that the rage and sadness these students inherited have been there for years, waiting to make themselves known. The inheritance of disaffection can only really come into its own with the maturity of social consciousness.

No clear-thinking person growing up in a society like ours could reach adulthood with an entirely and genuinely hopeful demeanor. Black citizens these past years have found themselves bearing public witness to a morbid series of disincentives to hope. Just this last week the American public was once again forced to confront senseless tragedy when the city of Chicago released video, a full year after the fact, showing Laquan McDonald being shot 16 times by Jason Van Dyke, a police officer we now know had amassed more than a dozen civilian complaints.

Hear that whooshing sound?  That’s what comes of comparing the murder of Laquan McDonald with the “disaffection” of black students at the most privileged universities in the world, searching for racism in the library. That’s what comes of black girls given the same opportunity to enjoy the fabulous life of the elite screaming at their housemaster to shut up.  That’s what comes of making demands that every course of study require a mandatory class in diversity and inclusion.

And poof, you lost the budding concern of white America for the travails of black kids being murdered by cops. Sure, you held on to a few SJWs, who enjoy life in the same cocoon, but their whining about their personal pebbles in their shoes fails to persuade anyone to give a damn. They’re just as off-putting, silly, trivial whiners as the Amherst student who screamed, “fuck your white tears.”

As long as people who look like McDonald are disproportionately affected, and those who don’t look like him are not, it is likely and even predictable, based on historical precedent, that the terrible silence of enough people will continue to sanction this carnage.

Until someone as smart as, and with as big a soapbox as, Charles Blow broadens his vision and takes on the unpleasant task of telling the students at Yale, where his son goes to school, to stop whining about their feelings of disaffection and focus instead on what it feels like to be gunned down in the streets, there will be no change.

We were edging ever closer to a tipping point, where society at large was growing sufficiently outraged at needless murders of black kids, and the occasional white, by police that they were ready to put aside their self-interest in safety to demand an end to violence, when the list of demands expanded to the trivial, to the exaggerated whines of feelings over the trauma of historical names on buildings and Pocahontas Halloween costumes.  We were so close.  But you lost us when you went looking under rocks at Yale for things that hurt your feelings.


15 thoughts on “Systemic Racism And Yale’s Wrong Rocks

      1. John Barleycorn

        Says the guy who went to the University of Nebraska–Lincoln College of Law. You do know that would probably be drinking a bloody mary for lunch, surounded by your security detail, right now in Georgetown if you went to Yale.

        I don’t know judge…intellectual ain’t all what’s it’s cracked up to be. Unless you get tenure of course. I think the esteemed one just tries extra hard when he is especially pissed because that paper he reads every day prints a piece that he knows to the core of his existence shouldn’t have been printed until after he had a chance to mark it up in red and send it back to the author for another draft.

        And it’s a little passive aggressive of him, seeing as how he doesn’t do face book to be expecting that the kids at Yale are gonna get his message. Not to mention border line behavior talking about others writers “kids”.

        Speaking of part of his post message today….

        I think Clarence Thomas is a Yale Law graduate. Perhaps the esteemed one could call him up and see if he could pay a visit to New Haven and deliver the esteemed ones “message” about library eddiciate? I bet Clarence looks good in a red sweater. Heck perhaps he would be up for playing santa clause one weekend too. I am sure those kids have some holiday lists they would like to pass along. And Clarence is a good listener. Not to mention I think it would be pretty cool if he kept up his mostly silent thing from the bench going but every now and then started letting go with a thunderous Ho, Ho, Ho…from the bench at unpredictable moments just for the heck of it. He could get some good practice with that back at his old stomping grounds.

        Anyway, Stop Picking On The Kids esteemed one!!! They were just warming up in the library and looking for recruits as “radical” as they are.

        In fact I heard their main mission was to inquiring into where the heck someone can find a bus schedule on campus and I heard they were also looking for some assistsnce as to how to find city hall so they could go pick up the local police department stats and check out if there is any correlation and or any significant statistical deviation between the the use of the the tazer in diffrent neighborhoods within the greater New Haven area.

        I think they intend to take the bus to city hall so they can devolope strategies with the locals. Because when the time is right they intend to put up some sort of full embargo on the entire Yale Campus. Which I hear is the largest employer in town. Who knows some of them intellectual big T- tenured professors might even join them and show um how to use wrist rockers to sling tear gas canisters back at the man after they bounce off a their skulls.
        Safety first kids don’t forget to wear your bicycle helmets.

        You know, I was just thinking (the thought of tear gas always makes me think) I don’t think any city in America has a police chief that is a Yale grad?

        What’s up with that?! No wonder the country is going to shit…. Bush Sr. Went there Jr. too, and I think Bush Jr.’s right hand man Dick could also find his way around campus from his time there. And lets not forget about Hillary and Bill. Poor Jeb, he went to Austin, it’s not looking too good for him. He should have listened to Barbra when submitting his college apps. Oh well can’t win them all….at least he didn’t marry a librarian though.

        No where was I? Oh yeah, I wonder if they intend to embargo the nearest community college that specializes in criminal justice associates degrees, where cops go to get their book learning, after Obama gives the wink to the governor to call in the National Guard to break the Yale embargo? That scene ought to leave a lasting impression on all those future leaders and bankers that choose not join the embargo students wouldn’t ya think? You know what they say, think nationally but act locally…well I am not sure they say that at Yale but they ought to get the hang of that “locally” part with a bit more practice if they can round up the crew to take it to the man before they become the man….

        Stop picking on the college kids esteemed one. Give ‘um all a chance regardless of their current status in life.

        After all it’s a proven historicia fact that Yale Lives Really Matter. Give um a chance esteemed one. I think it’s kind of sweet of them to be concerned about their friends back home and those they see on the TeeVee and Facebook Book struggling with their respective stations in life.

        P.S. I expect that you will be posting up an apology when the Yale Embargo t-shirts become more hip , and faster, than Nike sneakers did in the 80’s.

        Just give um a little time and practice they will Do It, or they won’t. In the mean time I trust you still own a wrist rocket. If not, I think you can still get them at K-Mart but they might be behind the counter these days, so don’t give up so easily if one doesn’t readily appear where you might have expected to find it.

        —Oh yeah my cogent editor the goat has been hanging out with the neighbors donkey. I am gonna have to put an end to that. So, I hate to disapoint your readers but I won’t be having too much time to post such consise posts for awhile.—

        One last thought. I bet you never thought that one day you might be in the market for a bicycle helmet did ya!
        …and BTW, your tan suit would look good with a black bicycle helmet and and a gray bandana.

          1. John Barleycorn

            We can’t be having any of that, even in your back pages.

            I knew I should have never cited Idaho Supreme Court rulings a while back when you posted about the killing of Jack Yantis. That story fits in with the cops kill plenty of white people too part of your post today.

            Except Jack was not a “kid” but I guess everybody knows old white guys that arent wearing suits scare the shit out of cops damn near as much as young black men do?

            Anyway, no worries. Chances are my goat and the neighbors donkey aren’t gonna break it off so I might as well take them on a road trip out to Yale so the children can get a little hands on animal husbandry
            under their belts before they start rioting. They will need some skills to fall back on after their future employees do a background check. Them failure to disperse and disorderly conduct charges don’t set to well within certain circles.

            I think William Doriss  lives in Connecticut. Maybe he will let me camp out in his back yard. He and I ought to be able to figure out a way to restore the normal order of things in back pages around here.

            Will be bringing the wall tent William. How about I get some of those kids from Yale to help me chop a few chords of wood when I am ‘learning them about the importance of knowing how and to what donkey and goat you should attach your buggy to.

            Trade the wood for a few months rent on your back yard? We can talk about the good old days…and lawyers.

            1. Richard G. Kopf

              Dear Brother John,

              Please stop it with the goat and the donkey. I left the practice of law out in the hinterlands to avoid fun with farm animal cases.

              You have never lived until your client in a child custody matter admits in a deposition to having a satisfying liason with a cow, despite my red faced screaming that my client should not answer the incriminating (literally) predicate question. The old saw about closing barn doors is true.

              All the best.


            2. William Doriss

              Thanx for the notice, J. BC, but we do not live in CONnecticuc anymore. We sought “political asylum” in a neighboring jurisdiction twelve years ago. And it was NOT nEY yORK, if you catch our drift? (Nor Jersey, new or old!) So far, so good.
              So where were we?
              This/these issues are very problematical for us, and they have been for a v. long time. We are troubled–disturbed by recent events–nationwide. We wish there were an easy solution(s), but do not know what it/they might be? We did live in New Haven for ten years–with plenty of war stories–and are entirely sympathetic with the Yale community, irregardless of race and all of that nonsense. People are people, get real! We all want the same things out of life.
              Charles Blow,… we do not know? He tries, he fails. So what else is new?

              J. BC: T/L and too,… but you do have a way with words. Ha. Go to bed early and get up early; that is our prescription for what ails ye!

            3. John Barleycorn

              Deposition Barn Doors and Rule Book 404…?

              I’ll tell ya, you officers of the court especially you umpires and those of you that manage the wells just kill me with all your numbering and reminiscing about sections, sub sections and especially the sub-sub sections of the sub sections of your various assorted rule books.

              No wonder no one likes you guys except your mothers.

              If it would it be permissible for me, Your Honor, I’ll tell you and the esteemed one a thing or two about depositions and Rule 404, from the cheap seats, that you distinguished officers of the court don’t even seem to hear any more for all the clamoring and posturing you seemingly have to do over the subsections.

              It’s probably because far too many of you are all hunky dory with a domesticated skunk that hasn’t had his dew clalws removed (sort of like those kids at Yale) and for some reason or another (probably to keep the Boer and LaMancha Goats out of your guild) there ain’t no rule in any of your rule books that insists that be done after a domestactated skunk passes the bar exam and embarks on his or her new station in life as an officer of the court and all the responsibility that entails.

              You see regardless of what well a domesticated skunk who is also an officer of the court drinks from, or even if he gets to sit in the coolest chair in the courtroom there isnt a domesticated skunk in the land, who is an officer of the court, that don’t intentionally make that dew claw scratching on chalk tablets noise when he is sorting through his chalk tablets to cite one of those subsections of Rule 404. (Thats THE rule book that the officers of the court, regardles of their species, use when they are haggling over what sort of “character evidence, crimes or other acts” they are gonna use against you, the accused from the cheap seats wheather or not you are a domesticated skunk or other sort of creature and it don’t even matter if you are with or without dew claws even if your species weren’t even born with dew claws)

              They always say no, no, no its not “will be use against you” it’s “may be used against you” because the rule book says so. But sure as the sun rises in the east and show cows will be grouped by a few lost keepers while being groomed there are more holes in the cheese of the 404 Rule Book than there are stars in the sky, even on those cloudy nights before a morning storm when the horses get that wild look in their eye.

              So anyway before I load up my buggy for my trip out to Connecticut to school the Yale kids I need to figure out a way to harness my neighbors donkey next to a goat that have mutual feelings for each other without the two of them somehow or another being put on the spot and presenting evidence against me in my 404 deposition that I have comming up over the disagreement I am having with that lady from the Army Corps of Engineers (whom seem to be multiplying like my rabbits these days) about just what is and isn’t considered a wetland on that section of land where I have been growing non monsanto approved cerial grains for the past forty years except for the two years in the mid 80’s when the Army Corp of Engineers decided to move one of the streams up creek and keep mighty fine records of their endeavors while doing so.

              So anyway this lady from the Army Corps figured it would be OK to stop by unannounced, open my gate, pet my dogs, admire my cows, and then drive on over to inspect my cereal grain patch and then cut across my pasture in her government issued vehicle and ask me about a few things while I was trying to fix the broken axel of my mobile chicken coup.

              Needless to say she asked a lot of leading questions about my motives, opportunity,
              intent, preparation, plan, knowledge, identity and on and on and then she had the gumption to ask me if I had made any mistakes as to where I have seen fit to grow my cerial grains.

              I kind of gave her a bank stare, ignored her questions and proceeded to ask her if she knew anything about newspaper editors that have been reincarnated as goats while pointing to my goat that was getting good and ready to defend the chickens.

              She didn’t take very kindly to my goat or my follow up questions and now it seems some government lawyer is traveling around the countryside asking people if I do anything more to my goat than just talk to her about wheather the metaphysical revrence placed on the carbon atom is overrated.

              And now it looks like it is gonna cost me five grand to have my lawyer make sure the whole world knows I only talk to my goat which I hear the Army Corps Lady is certainaly gonna testify to.

              So don’t you worry judge I won’t be talking to or about my goat or her new donkey friend until we reach the city limits or this forth comming deposition concerning my dispute with the Army Corps of Engineers is over because my lawyer told me so while he was going over the various Rule Books he gets paid the big bucks to interpret.

              You just can’t win…even if you are a concerned kid who got accepted to Yale because lurking around every corner is a know it all lawyer who hasn’t even deposed a cow let alone have a cow come up in a deposition.

          2. John Barleycorn

            Good for you William. I will keep you in mind, and might reach out if I
            run into any open grazing issues with the law and end up having to pack a lunch to any Connecticut courtroom/s to sort things out.

      1. David M.

        No, that’s a truncheon. I think he’s talking about securities, because Greenfield’s brains make him feel secure.

  1. Keith

    When did the faintest criticism of someone who shares you same goals, but with tortured logic, become tantamount to throwing in the towel? Besides, it serves to foster better arguments (and supporters) in the long term.

    Blow has to know the difference.

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