This is why


40 responses to “This is why

  1. OK, what am I missing? ‘why’ what?

    • Susan Anderson

      Why Kaepernick took a knee; because patriotism is used to support white privilege and he wished protest its use to threaten those trying to live while black. Taking a knee in quite a different way, which threatens noone. While that policeman’s knee was used to murder a man.

      By the way, the police had heard a report of a “forgery in progress” and hauled the guy out of his SUV which was parked nearby. It wasn’t clear to me that he even was a suspect. Just a black guy.

      These stories are far more common than you might think. I’ve become close to some black people because of my mother’s care, and even gone to court to show a white face in support, because it does make a difference.

  2. “…and the officers observed the subject entering medical distress…”

    Yeah. Wonder why?

  3. To be clear, the comment above quotes–as nearly as I can remember it–from the description of the murder depicted in the left-hand panel, as given by a police spokesman on the news last night. My own words, which follow, are given in a spirit of bitter irony, fueled by anger and disgust.

    To me, this is exactly the sort of thing George Orwell described decades ago: we justify–or rather, obfuscate–outright murder, by cloaking it in anodyne phraseology. A man was slowly asphyxiated to death in plain sight on an American street, while bystanders pleaded with officers sworn ‘to serve and protect’ the public to be mindful of the victim’s life. (On the video, you hear a man urge “Bro, check his vitals!”–again, as nearly as I can remember.)

    Disgusting, vile, and disturbing–and not least because it’s very far from being the first time something of the sort has gone down, or even been caught on video. And yet it continues.

  4. When I heard the cops had described it as a “medical event,” I could just imagine…
    Police Spokesman: He succumbed due to a medical event.
    Reporter: Could you be more specific? What sort of medical event?
    Police Spokesman (translated): Murder by cop.

  5. Susan Anderson

    This article has a different juxtaposition of photos:

    Over the last few years, we’ve seen the videos of white women calling the police on Black people, especially Black children, for things as simple as napping, mowing lawns, and selling food. We call these women Karens. We have seen how teachers will call cops on first graders for throwing tantrums only for them to get cuffed with zip ties and traumatized as babies.

    All it takes is the slightest offense to warrant punishment in the eyes of some white folk. And they know when they feign fear, especially of a Black man, the odds that the police and vigilantes alike will avenge them are in their favor. Black people made up almost a quarter of victims killed by officers in 2019. We are only 13 percent of the population.

    The “school to prison pipeline” is particularly egregious. Kids whose whole lives are tainted. Vote suppression is part of it.

    • A good example of a Karen is here:

      • I see that Karen at least got sacked from her finance job. But then there was the guy jogging who just gets gunned down (ex policeman + son) and nothing happens until video comes out. And some other guy who suddenly ends up shot in/by his car right outside the police station (Courtney Copeland

        I hope the fact that half this stuff ends up on video these days helps make it clear just what’s going on, but then there was Rodney King filmed almost 30 years ago, and things don’t seem to have got any better (or or least some places still have a big problem).

  6. Spelled out for pendantry : Why Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem to protest the unwarranted killing (a.k.a. murder) of black citizens by police.

  7. In the German TV news today evening:

    ” President Trump said nothing about the murder of a black man by a white policeman. ”

    J.-P. D.

    • Why would he? To him, it doesn’t matter. And in this case, it’s not even primarily a matter of racism, IMO–there’s precious little sign that any of the 100k+ American lives lost matter to him, either.

  8. All lives matter.

    [Response: Those who feel they have to say it — at a time like this — call to mind an entire race starving to death, crying out that they need food — while the really fat guys slurping down roast beef & chocolate cream pie insist on reminding us that “all people need food!”]

    • Sorry, Tamino, I wasn’t trying to lessen the injustice but I do sometimes feel that the injustice done to people of certain heritage in certain societies keeps being exacerbated by reference to those races which gives the impression they are different from the rest of us. They’re not (apart from superficial differences, though I’m not trying to denigrate what each of us may feel is our identity). What has happened in the episodes highlighted is attrocious and it would be attrocious no matter what the skin colour of the victims was, though I know it is that particular attribute which has focused the minds of the low life scum who perpetrate these crimes.

      Again,sorry that my comment may have come across in the way I didn’t intend.

      • Mike Roberts: “…those races which gives the impression they are different from the rest of us. They’re not…”

        Oh, but they are. I and my ancestors have not had 400 years of suppression, bigotry, lynching and Jim Crow to contend with. I don’t have to cringe and avert my gaze every time I see a cop and wonder if he’s going to be the one to choke the life out of me. We don’t have to “have the talk” with our children. I don’t have to worry when I say goodbye to my spouse whether she will die from a run in with a cop or a cracker. We are different because our experience is different. We have to understand those differences, to sympathize, to empathize. And maybe if we work on our empathy and our understanding then half of white America won’t utterly lose their collective shit when a black man takes a knee to call attention to his fallen comrades.

      • Oh, but they are. I and my ancestors have not had 400 years of suppression, bigotry, lynching and Jim Crow to contend with.

        And is this why there will always be an “us and them” situation? In 100 years, your descendants, you and your ancestors will have had 500 years of bigotry. I’m just saying that, at some point, we have to get away from the notion that the origin of your ancestors and the colour of your skin affect how you’re treated in our societies.

        I was listening to the headline on Al Jazeera, which said something like “a black man who died in police custody”, not “a man who died in police custody”, so it was the skin colour which seemed to be the key point (and I do realise that it is currently a determinant in how someone is treated by police in some areas), which ultimately seems unhelpful in getting equal treatment. I don’t know how else this is ever going to change.

      • Sorry, snarkrates, I misread your comment but, hopefully, you get my drift.

    • Mike,
      All lives cannot matter until black lives matter. It seems to me that perhaps we could rectify the most egregious injustices first–like the ability of minorities and women to be secure in their person while minding their own business.

      The cop in this incident would have been guilty of war crimes under the Geneva Convention in a war zone. Can we not extend at least the same rights to our fellow citizens?

      • Well-said. All lives do matter intrinsically, of course–but in the current reality, black lives ‘matter’ a good deal less in actual practice. That’s a reality that can and must change.

        I loved the way you put it, so I’m going to repeat it, in bold, just ’cause I can:

        All lives cannot matter until black lives matter.

        One additional comment. Above, we had this exchange:

        Mike Roberts: “…those races which gives the impression they are different from the rest of us. They’re not…”

        Snark: “Oh, but they are…”

        “They”–really, a subset of “we”–are different because society has not yet thoroughly stopped treating “them” as different–and “different” here really means “less valuable,” or sometimes worse. What I hear people of color say is that, far from enjoying ‘playing the victim card’ (as the accusation has it), they would like nothing better than to have the role of victim cease being thrust upon them.

      • Good points, Doc and snarkrates.

      • Us and them is not a productive way to look at the world. However, at the same time we need to understand differences and if at all possible celebrate them. The history of black people in the US has been grim. They have faced and continue to face astounding cruelty and repression. Yet, in the face of it, they have survived, in many cases even thrived and made beautiful contributions to American and world culture. I once heard American musical history described as a continued attempt by black people to find a beat white folks could dance to.
        But the hardship is part of the heritage. We need to understand it if we are to empathize and understand. Only then can we move from tolerating difference to celebrating it.

      • In the interest of avoiding cultural appropriation–I saw it on a t-shirt.

  9. Susan Anderson

    ‘The only good Democrat is a dead Democrat,’ speaker says in video gleefully tweeted by Trump–The-only-good-Democrat-is-a-dead-Democrat-speaker-says-in-video-gleefully-tweeted-by-Trump

    The only difference now is that they feel free to say it in public!

    • Actually, some Republicans have been saying the quiet part out loud for over a decade. Way back in 2009, former Senator Phil Gramm said, “We’re going to keep building the party until we’re hunting Democrats with dogs.” There has always been a death cult side to the Republican party.
      Hell, a Pennsylvania Republican state legislator waited a full week to tell his Democratic counterparts that he’d tested positive for COVID. His Republican counterparts had gone into quarantine–and the only way the Dems found out about it was from the press.
      There are no decent Republicans left–anyone with any decency would have left the party years ago.

  10. Last Fall I read historian Richard Evans’ The Coming of the Third Reich (2003), the first book in his dry but methodically researched and documented trilogy on the rise and fall of the Nazi regime. Scoff if you will, but one can not help notice the parallels between 1920s-1930s Germany and the current state of America. The similarities are frighteningly close: a similar sort of extreme societal and political divide, a similar sort of economic devolution, of long simmering racism and xenophobia, the same sort of extreme rhetoric, formation of armed paramilitary militias and open threats of violence, and the rise of the once fringe radical right to the highest offices of the land. And now however much justified, the current pandemic and ignited tinderbox threatens to hand the white supremacists and neo-nazis exactly what they have yearned for, their own Reichstag Fire moment, all while being egged on by President Dumpster Fire.

    By any standard 240-odd years is a pretty good run for a republic, but it’s starting to look like America is living and now dying on borrowed time.
    And so it begins…

    • Jim, I don’t at all scoff at your parallels, which seem well-observed to me. However, that doesn’t imply that we are doomed to follow the same historical trajectory in some spooky deterministic fashion. Who was it who said that history seldom recurs, but frequently ‘rhymes’?

    • Of course we can’t follow the same historical trajectory, Doc, but the US is in a very precarious place at the moment and the outcome is anything but assured. History doesn’t so much rhyme as echo.

      One thing that I haven’t heard mentioned regarding the current unrest is that it does’t just stem from the murder of yet another black man by police. People of color have also been impacted disproportionately by this pandemic, in part because they were already poorly served by the health care and food distribution systems. They are also ill prepared or flat out unable to just stay home from work, and in many cases do essential but undervalued front line work that the rest of society counts on. Some of them may feel they literally do not have anything more to lose as they openly challenge the status quo on the street.

    • OK Doc, what do you think now that Trump has gone full blown President Nazi?

    • True enough, but now he has actually turned the US into Guatemala or El Salvador.
      He has made us all antifa now.

  11. Susan Anderson

    Interesting report from the front lines from a favorite writer, Masha Gessen of The New Yorker:

    It’s a crossover too, since the epidemic is going to get a huge bump from all this. And, other races, being dominant in the lower-paid service professions and cheap crowded housing and transport, are already at far greater risk.

    White (probably racist, though apparently cartels are also mixing in) ringers have been fomenting trouble and using the riots to attack black-owned businesses. Some of them have been caught in the act.

    How the arresting officer disappeared, and how they were told not to worry, they’d be released soon, in response to every question except for why they weren’t wearing masks, which the officers responded to with laughter. How her friend, who is black, repeatedly said, in the course of five hours, “I need a phone call, I am a minor,” and being ignored. How Yolka, who is white, finally screamed at the officers that she and her friend were two teen-age girls whose parents had no idea where they were and who would be in danger walking outside if they were, in fact, “released soon,” and how this finally got them their phone calls. …. How she was freezing cold, in a T-shirt and shorts, and kept asking for her jacket from her backpack, and was ignored. How an officer kept promising to bring hand wipes and never did. ,,,,

    Yolka has a court date, in September, on a charge of vandalism, for ostensibly writing “black lives matter” in chalk on the steps of City Hall. My eighteen-year-old child, who has asthma, was held for nearly eleven hours in conditions that violate public-health guidelines, for allegedly using chalk as a means of protest. She knows, and I know, that this shocks me only because we are white.

  12. Returning to the image on the right at the top of the post, today NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said:
    “We, the National Football League admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier, and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest. We, the National Football League believe black lives matter.”

    • NFL: “Hey, guys. Sorry we’re late to the party. Did we miss anything?”

      • For sure, snark, but as Doc said, better late than not at all.
        Plus it says something about the power of the current social uprising that a $54+ billion enterprise is willing do make such an about face if only to protect its image.

    • Better late…

      And, at that, Goodell’s missing the point for a couple of years is pretty inconsequential in the context that basically, white America mostly slept on this issue for at least 90 years–ie., from the ‘beginning of the end’ of Reconstruction in the mid-1870s until the Civil Rights era of the 1960s.

      It’s pretty remarkable, in a way, considering that emancipation and abolition were primary issues in the bloodiest war in American history, yet the North just ‘got tired’ and gave up on justice as the Southern establishment waged a generational culture war to re-establish slavery, or as close to it as they could get. It involved the blatant negation of civil rights, the rise of lynching as a form of domestic terrorism successfully undertaken to deny black civil rights, and widespread, ‘respectable’ revisionism about the Civil War, and the project of Reconstruction itself. I say, politely, ‘revisionism,’ but I really mean lying and/or bullshitting about many things, including the alleged incapacity of all black folks to participate in democracy.

      An iconic example is D.W. Griffith’s 1915 film Birth of a Nation, which:

      …based on Thomas Dixon, Jr.’s 1905 novel “The Clansman: A Historical Romance of the Ku Klux Klan”… depicts Southern slavery as benign, the enfranchisement of freedmen as a corrupt plot by the Republican Party, and the Ku Klux Klan as a band of heroes restoring the rightful order. This view of the era was popular at the time and was endorsed for decades by historians of the Dunning School…

      One of the first feature-length films, it was (unfortunately) a box-office smash:

      “They lost track of the money it made”, [star] Lillian Gish remarked…

      Kind of like the NFL. Culture wars…