Black, Blue And Dead

A twit by Adam Serwer, senior editor at The Atlantic, formerly of Mother Jones, piqued my interest for all the wrong reasons.

The number of knee-jerk defenders of police who reversed themselves over the MN shooting because the cop is black and Muslim is remarkable.

He’s referring, obviously, to the killing of Justine Damond by Officer Mohammed Noor. His point, which was similarly voiced by Jake here, was that people who failed to see a problem when the bold-faced names of the recently deceased were black, are suddenly seeing a problem. It’s not the right problem, as they blame it on Noor’s being Muslim and brown, but at least it’s a problem.

Seize the moment to bring the “knee-jerk defenders of police” into the fold?  Try to create consensus that there is a problem, and that neither white women nor black men (nor any other combination of whatever identities touch a nerve with you) should die needlessly because some easily scared cop feels entitled to kill? Nope.

Serwer can’t pass up the opportunity to tweak those evil racist badge-lickers. Smack them, hypocrites all. Because in the scheme of relative importance, it’s far more important to demean your hated enemy than, oh, stop police from killing people. What are mere dead bodies when there is identity politics to be played?

I engaged in some twits back and forth, which shockingly went nowhere. I started with what might have been an uncontroversial point, but for the fact that nothing is uncontroversial for those obsessed on identity politics.

Worry more about dead people than shaming your enemies as hypocrites? That’s not the social justice way.

But more to the point, it became clear from Serwer that this was all about race, about racist cops and a racist public that only cares when it’s (a) a white woman, (b) a brown cop, or (c) both. As Serwer explained to me, because what would I know about cops as compared to him, I was mistaking the symptom for the disease. The disease was racism. The symptom was dead bodies. I begged to differ.

Is the problem black or blue?

There are two hurdles here. The first is that there can be racism, meaning that police will perceive black guys as being inherent more threatening due to their race, than white guys. But that’s secondary to the fact that a cop isn’t going to risk a threat by a white guy (or gal) either. The First Rule of Policing will prevail, race and gender notwithstanding. The point isn’t that cops kill black guys, though they do in disproportionate numbers, but that cops kill non-cops (and the occasional cop out of uniform).

The second hurdle is how to achieve public consensus, to muster sufficient public support to get politicians, police, courts to hear that we’re not nearly as thrilled with their shoot at the slightest smell of threat. That’s where Serwer’s twit blew it bigly.

We’ve had numerous opportunities over the past few years to make serious headway on police resort to deadly force. We blew each opportunity. Some were blown when causes like Black Lives Matter couldn’t stay focused on dead bodies and went off on words and images that made them cry. As Elie reminds me, blacks don’t need white permission to feel any damn way they please, which is certainly true. But if they want broad public consensus, then driving the majority of people away is foolish.

And that’s what Serwer does here. He hates those racist badge-lickers, and can’t pass on the opportunity to call them hypocrites? Or deplorables? Or racists? Or misogynists, homophobes, xenophobes? Not that he did this time, but this is how we perpetuate dead people on the business end of a service weapon.

Serwer believes the disease is racism. Because black cops don’t kill. Women cops don’t kill. And certainly brown Muslim cops don’t kill. Oh wait, they do. I contend that, racism notwithstanding, the cop culture, the First Rule of Policing, is the disease. Racism is a boil on the buttocks of policing, but cop fear and entitlement to kill is the disease.

Serwer can’t resist the impulse to attack the racists, the haters, the badge-lickers, because identity politics is his religion. I just want to stop the killing, and if that means bringing the badge-lickers under the big tent, then that’s what I’ll do. But what I find reprehensible is driving them away, indulging in the constant shaming and name-calling when the opportunity presents itself to create consensus if you can just resist the compulsion to engage in burning the heretics at the stake.

I want to stop people from being needlessly killed. If I can get the racist badge-lickers on board, that’s what I will do. People like Adam Serwer make that harder by driving them away. Warm comfort to the next cold dead body.

10 thoughts on “Black, Blue And Dead

  1. B. McLeod

    Serwer is just projecting his biases and hypocrisies onto others. I would like to see him identify as many as ten (10) public commenters on the entire Internet who defended the shooting of Philando Castile and then criticized this one. I think it is an utterly false postulate, simply assumed by him to be true because he is an ignorant asshole.

      1. Jake

        I know it was not intentional and I bear some responsibility as I commented here with my full name for many years. After being doxxed and harassed by a crazy person in 2015 for sharing my opinion on a video game, I’ve stepped up my approach to infosec. Mostly out of respect for Mrs. Jake’s sanity.

  2. Fubar

    I want to stop people from being needlessly killed. If I can get the racist badge-lickers on board, that’s what I will do.

    Preventing the next needless killing
    Just isn’t exciting and thrilling.
    But, a rant about race
    Is a tried and true Ace
    In the hole, and it feelz so fulfilling!

  3. Pingback: Recognizing Race | RHDefense

  4. el profesor presente

    Meanwhile folks like Serwer guy are drowned out by the people making the same damn point about his own ideological peers. (At least outside of the straw world created by him and his colleagues in the media, where they are now wallowing in the white supremacy of harping on how she was an urbane yoga instructor that the patriarchy thought was pretty.)

    Then as evidence that his team is better he cites a passive five word Deray tweet. Well shit, if that’s the bar for consistency what the hell is he complaining about?

    The folks on his Twitter feed sound like they get their worldview from splitting their time between Stormfront and MSNBC.

Comments are closed.