My Views on BLM

I was at a function the other day when I was challenged to take a position on the stupid 'black lives matter vs. all lives matter' false dichotomy.    I was fortunate to be in a group that actually let me answer with more nuance.  Here is essentially what I said:

  1. There is a real problem with police accountability and police violence in this country, one I have been writing about since long before the BLM movement was even created.
  2. The harm of these police accountability issues falls disproportionately, but not solely, on blacks and other minority ethnic groups
  3. For any number of reasons, fixing racism is not the immediate answer.  Most obviously, because racism is super-hard to eradicate and has persisted (though improved, IMO) despite a lot of attention over many decades.   It is hard to point to any time and place in human history when some folks have not been seduced by in-group-out-group thinking.  The other reason is that the primary issue is accountability, not racism.  We give police special powers to use force that the rest of us do not have, but impose less accountability on them for the use of force than the rest of us face.  No matter how good most police officers are, this accountability problem is going to allow bad eggs to repeatedly abuse their power.
  4. There are real, identifiable steps that can actually increase police accountability and transparency and reduce the types of police violence incidents BLM was formed to oppose.  Early on, BLM actually identified a pretty good list.
  5. BLM did a fabulous job of raising awareness and putting these issues near the center of political discussion.
  6. Having done so, BLM now has gone completely off the rails.  It appears to be entirely focused on virtue-signalling and disruption and support of progressive issues completely tangential to its initial focus.  It has no coherent action plan.  Colin Kapernick torpedoed his own football career to bring attention to BLM, but once he did so and had microphones thrust in his face from every direction, neither he nor any of his supporters had anything specific to advocate for, other than outrage and telegraphing their victim status.
  7. Progress can be made on these issues, but what it will take is a hard city by city slog to change the rules that govern police discipline and transparency.   As I wrote before, BLM "could learn a lot from Conservative and libertarian groups like ALEC, that focus on creating model legislation and local success stories that can be copied in other places."
  8. Republicans often oppose police accountability steps -- they don't just support the police, they fetishize them.  But the cities that most cry out for new accountability rules -- New York, Chicago, Detroit, Baltimore, St. Louis, Los Angeles -- are have Democratic super-majorities and governments whose officials almost to a one have come out publicly in support of BLM.  So why no progress?  One big barrier is the Democratic Party's unwavering support for public employee unions, and it is police unions that are the biggest barrier to implementing the steps BLM should be demanding.  This is another side of this issue discussed earlier in the week.
  • jimc5499

    Nothing can be done about race issues until open discussion happens. Open discussion isn't going to happen because as soon as somebody says anything that the progressives disagree with they are labeled a racist and are shouted down or have their career trashed.
    http://www.post-gazette.com/ae/tv-radio/2016/03/30/WTAE-TV-s-Wendy-Bell-fired-over-racially-inflammatory-messages/stories/201603300196
    By the way I know Wendy and her family personally and the people arrested for these murders fit her description perfectly.

  • Craig

    I though that you were going to take on the Bureau of Land Management. Another time?

  • Recovering libertarian

    BLM was born in fraud (Trayvon Martin case) and flowered with the Michael Brown (aka The Gentle Giant) lie. A cancer on our country.

  • brotio

    I had the same thought. When I see "BLM" in a post by someone in Warren's occupation, I assume it's going to be about bureaucracy run amok.

  • mlhouse

    Race, race, race, race.....BS. Your behaviour matters. WHite people do not cause black students to drop out of high school, cause young black teenagers to have illegitimate children, abuse drugs and booze. This is all individual choices and the driving cause of almost all of the problems.

    If you are a young black female that is going to have one of the 70+% of black children born ilegitimately, do no have a high school diploma or job skills, was impregnated by a father without a high school diploma or job skills, have very rudimentary reading/writing/grammar and PARENTING skills, have very little family structure of your own, very limited family financial means-------->>>> YOu and your child, more often than not followed by more, ARE GOING TO BE POOR.

    Here is the solution: stay in school and learn job skills, don't have illegitimate children, don't abuse drugs and alcohol, don't commit crimes, wait to have children until you are married and can afford them, be thrifty, keep the jobs you have and work hard at them. Notice anything about race?

  • jdgalt

    I agree with all of Warren's points except 2 and 3. The only racism that still exists in this country is by the "minorities", and it is destroying our universities and suppressing non-Marxist speech (in places like Evergreen and Berkeley) to such a degree that it makes me question my own opposition to anything at all that police want to do -- except to "stand down" and let terrorist thugs like "antifa" control our cities. Indeed, one more major incident like those in which the police stand down and I'll be ready to join or start a vigilance committee to take their place, because the job needs to be done by somebody.

    BLM as a movement is incoherent because their sponsor (Soros) wants them that way. If they ever form a coherent platform they win local elections in places like Baltimore and Ferguson, which would probably lead to the merits and legality of their demands being tested in courts, where they would probably mostly lose and that would be that. But as thugs who stay in opposition, they can help secret allies who promise the public to suppress them. This is how the Brownshirts won in Weimar Germany. It's important to know those allies when they start showing their faces.

    "Recovering libertarian" has a good point, too, but only partly so. Many of the BLM movement's so-called martyrs, including Martin and Brown, were thugs who not only deserved arrest but forced their opponents to kill them. But this doesn't go for all of them -- Freddie Gray was arrested for a knife that wasn't even illegal, and Eric Garner was killed over selling loose cigarettes. (The excuse that "police have the ROE never to let someone escape an arrest" isn't good enough. There needs to be a proportionality rule for every use of force by police.)

  • jjc

    Outstanding. Thanks for getting this down. I think the transition from step five to step six involved Black Lives Matter moving from the street level to the college level. It got swallowed up in PC nonsense.

  • BobLouGlob

    I think the problem in talking about racism today is how the definition of the word has been expanded to include relatively innocent language, and/or ignorance, in discussions of race. Human beings all make assumptions about each other. It's part of our nature. This means we will make assumptions about groups, including racial and ethnic minorities. These assumptions are usually ignorant or innocent misunderstandings, but are rarely racist. However, make a mistake and say something out of ignorance and you get labelled a racist today. The people calling you a racist don't understand what real racism is, i.e. racial hiring, segregation, violence. This kind of labelling, as all labelling does, inhibits discussion and makes us all worse off in the long run.

  • BobLouGlob

    While Bell said something that was a bit ignorant, she should not have been fired for it. It's a perfect story of taking political correctness too far. Instead of turning it into a learning moment for an entire city that needs it, it turned into a lesson to white people to keep their mouths shut.

  • Max Bnb

    We keep hearing that "black lives matter," but they seem to matter only when that helps politicians to get votes, or when that slogan helps demagogues demonize the police. The other 99 percent of black lives destroyed by people who are not police do not seem to attract nearly as much attention in the media.
    What about black success? Does that matter? Apparently not so much.

    The war on cops and racial strife are exacerbated by race hustlers and the media.

    Chief among those who generate this poisonous atmosphere are career race hustlers such as Al Sharpton and racist institutions such as the Black Lives Matter movement. All such demagogues need is a situation where there has been a confrontation where someone was white and someone else was black. The facts don’t matter to them.

    Black votes matter to many politicians — more so than black lives. That is why such politicians must try to keep black voters fearful, angry and resentful. Racial harmony would be a political disaster for such politicians.
    Racial polarization makes both the black population and the white population worse off, but it makes politicians who depend on black votes better off.
    By Thomas Sowell

    We’ve already seen that even a black president means little or nothing. Politics and political power cannot significantly improve the lives of most black people and might even be impediments.
    Among the nation’s most dangerous cities are Detroit, Chicago, St. Louis, Baltimore, Memphis, Milwaukee, Birmingham, Newark, Cleveland, and Philadelphia. These once-thriving cities are in steep decline.
    What these cities have in common is that they have large black populations. Also, they have been run by Democrats for nearly a half-century, with blacks having significant political power. Other characteristics these cities share are poorly performing and unsafe schools, poor quality city services, and declining populations.

    Each year, more than 7,000 blacks are murdered. That’s a number greater than white and Hispanic murder victims combined. Blacks of all ages are killed at six times the rate of whites and Hispanics combined.
    by Walter E. Williams

  • wreckinball

    Blacks have disproportionate contact with police because they commit more crime,
    Thus more contact more instances of abuse. Based on amount of contact I'd bet black abuse is actually lower. I mean policing is sexist too right because more men are arrested. Nope men commit more crime
    That being said much more could be accomplished by focusing on police abuse not race.
    BLM has preached violence and racism and thus is illegitimate IMO

  • cc

    One of the big problems is the lack of training for dealing with people who are noncompliant but pose no immediate risk. A woman was in a police station and pulled a knife: they shot her dead. Do you mean a whole police station can't disarm a woman with a knife? Often people are too drunk/in a diabetic coma/don't speak English/are deaf/are crazy and when they don't respond immediately to commands they get tased or shot or beat up. What is the rush? There was an autistic young man who instead of complying was hugging a lamp post and crying. He was neither a threat nor going anywhere. He would have still been there hours later. Why did they have to taze him?
    No-knock raids are insane and both civilians and cops (and dogs) get killed that way. When waking up to men in black busting in and shouting in the dark there is no way people can understand or even believe it is the police. Unless it is a dangerous gang house, don't.

  • cc

    For police encountering criminals with guns, whites as a % are more likely to be shot. But there are far far more blacks vs police gun encounters, so more in % of population are killed. What people ignore is how few, like 2% of all black deaths, are at the hands of police. My numbers are from memory but the generalization is true.

  • SamWah

    I'll believe Black Lives Matter when they stop killing other blacks and stop aborting black babies. It's Progressive fraud and policies, at bottom.

  • GoneWithTheWind

    According to the stats based on crimes committed whites receive improper violent treatment from cops more often than blacks do. I don't think this police violence is a result of racism but more often simply a result of the way the suspect reacts to the police. That is resisting arrest, verbal assaulting the police and irrational behavior. There is ample examples of exactly that thanks to both cop TV shows and numerous cases where bystanders take video. What choice does a cop have when the suspect becomes violent? Afterwards some chalk it up to police violence or racism but most of the time it is simply the suspect acting in a way that seems intended to create a confrontation.

    There are real examples of police violence that are simply cops gone bad. Fine! Prosecute and punish accordingly. But most "police violence" is justified and caused by the suspect.

  • Zachriel

    jdgalt: I agree with all of Warren's points except 2 and 3. The only racism that still exists in this country is by the "minorities"

    That's contrary to multiple studies, court cases, and anecdotal evidence, that show racial bias is alive and well.

  • cc

    There is more evidence for bias that is based on class. Young black men with baggy pants and gang symbols look and act and are dangerous and it is foolish not to be careful if you are around them--don't bump into them on the subway, don't make eye contact. I have had a white woman claim she was lost and could she follow me on a train full of blacks, many of whom looked quite shady/dangerous--was she wrong? No. My black neighbor who was always dressed sharply and was well-spoken and charming had very few incidents of bias over a 30 year career in sales--his report. Same with his wife, a teacher.
    There IS however, racial bias in the criminal justice system, but much of it has to do with defendants being poor and not very educated and sometimes having a real attitude. Poor uneducated whites also don't fare so well.

  • texasjimbo

    Individual cases ("court cases") and anecdotal stories (which are usually lies) are irrelevant to the frequency with which various races/ethnicities are the victim of police abuse. You didn't link to any "studies", so color me skeptical of the notion that anti black racism by whites is not a far less common occurrence in the US than anti white racism by blacks, or that the latter is not a larger social problem than the former.

  • Zachriel

    texasjimbo: anecdotal stories

    Anecdotes show the existence of racism, though not the prevalence. The claim was the non-existence of racism by non-minorities. Here is one of many studies showing bias. See Bertrand & Mullainathan,Are Emily and Greg More Employable than Lakisha and Jamal? A Field Experiment on Labor Market Discrimination, American Economic Review 2004.

    As racism was baked into American society, certainly until the 1960s, perhaps you could provide evidence that bias against minorities has ended.

  • Zachriel

    cc: Young black men with baggy pants and gang symbols look and act and are
    dangerous and it is foolish not to be careful if you are around
    them--don't bump into them on the subway, don't make eye contact.

    The vast majority of such people are just going about their business. Cultural differences have always led to misunderstandings and distrust. Nothing new about that. Someone is speaking a foreign language, and you think they are talking about you. Or someone says "Allahu akbar," and you think they're a terrorist.

    Basketball players suspended from game for hand signals

  • texasjimbo

    I take jdgalt's claim that "The only racism that still exists in this country is by the "minorities", as transparent hyperbole. Because people are often not precise with their reasoning or their language. I was careful to avoid any absolute language. I would gladly join you in dissent if I see evidence he believes his statement is literally true. So of course I don't see much value in a refutation of his literal statement that doesn't effectively challenge what I believe to be the true and valuable kernel of his point: the primary culprits in the lack of improvement in race relations and the actual decline in race relations over the last 20 to 40 years are white leftists and the portion of the AA population that is excessively race conscious.