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11/26/2014

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What's disconcerting is that that obnoxious and silly commentary in Salon was penned by someone with a faculty position at Rutgers. You thought public research universities had, you know, hiring standards?

There's not much you can do about this but enforce the law assiduously and hope that someday there will be a cultural shift in the black population wherein their understanding of their history and abstractly-conceived common life will be informed by their palpable experience of mundane life. I suspect that will be a while.

It is so frustrating. And what is really frustrating is when I see young people that I know falling for media hype. And then, there is the complete ability to reason that is so ubiquitous.

I have serious doubts as to whether it will exist except nominally a hundred years from now.

As always in these matters, you seem to be more optimistic than I am.

AMDG

Sigh...yes, you may well be more justified. I actually stopped and thought about that number for a bit, originally intending to say fifty years. Part of the reason I changed it was that fifty years doesn't seem all that long to me any more.

I've several people who should know better repeating the stuff about cops frequently murdering black men with impunity etc etc.

I can't say the Salon writer's position at Rutgers was disconcerting. My reaction, when I'd read half of the piece or so and glanced down at the byline, was more like "I might have known." The general level and tenor are pretty typical of people who "teach" things like gender studies.

"There's not much you can do about this but enforce the law assiduously and hope that someday there will be a cultural shift..." My fear is that there is a cultural shift and it's going in the wrong direction entirely.

I do remind myself frequently of the "palpable experience of mundane life," in which every day I see the races getting along reasonably well, with tensions maybe but not this hysteria.

I think this is a good post. It makes me angry that I'm afraid to post a link on Facebook. Well, I'm not really afraid; I just don't want to have to have the conversations it might elicit.

AMDG

"The establishment in practice, however flawed, of a government of laws, not men, is the greatest achievement of Anglo-American civilization. It's under both implicit and explicit attack now, and I have serious doubts as to whether it will exist except nominally a hundred years from now."

This is very disturbing no matter how long or short the time frame is.

I'm afraid it's pretty much the normal path of civilizations: ascent, success, decline, and fall.

Glad you liked it, Janet. I don't post things like this on Facebook, either, or very rarely. It's not even so much that I don't want to have the conversations as that I don't want my leftish friends to just write me off as an evil person. Also, it almost seems like bad manners. It's like being at a social gathering with a group of people who have a wide range of views on everything--you don't want to just start pushing your politics on them, especially these days when politics is a religion for a lot of people. At least I don't.

Whereas if they come here, it's a bit like visiting me at home. If they find me obnoxious, they don't have to come.

I think there's actually a different reason why many people believe Darren Wilson is guilty of murder. To them, murder is not defined by a certain set of legal constraints; instead, the word simply refers to any killing, with the possible exception of obvious accidents. All the factors the grand jury considered appear to these people as legal smoke and mirrors set up to protect a murderer.

I think there are also a lot of people who understand the verdict, but remain hugely angry at the frequency with which young black men get killed by (usually white) cops. Even if each individual killing is legally justified, the accumulation of cases creates a despair-inducing pattern.

I at least, and I suspect many other non-blacks, am frustrated at the lack of cooperation between police and black communities. To me it seems obvious that most black people are potential victims rather than potential criminals, and as such they and the police both have an interest in working together against the criminals. But perhaps the police see them more as potential criminals, and perhaps the themselves identify with the criminals more than I realize.

I don't want my leftish friends to just write me off as an evil person.

Yes, it's that, and I don't want to have those conversations with them on Facebook or just write me off forever without saying anything because what I really want is to maybe have those conversations in private conversation. I don't even want to do it on my blog.

AMDG

I'm pretty sure that very few of my liberal-leftist friends read this blog, though I have an uneasy feeling that doing so may have caused a rift with one. It's a tough call--the line between hiding your views and being to in-your-face with them.

As a leftish friend who is finally comfortable with the label I do not think you are evil. I have long evidence that this is not so. I do think way too many white people are oblivious to the black experience.

But at least a lot of white people arefinally getting it that the police ARE a problem a lot of the time, that the job appeals to bullies and assholes and wannabe commandos. And often if not racist at least hostile to young black men, who like young men everywhere are a problem to the rest of us until they settle down.

Anne-Marie, I think you're absolutely right about the mistaken definition of the word "murder." I consider that part of the problem--the complete ignorance of how the law is supposed to work, the dismissal of any attempt to explain it as smoke-and-mirrors, and the filling of the void with emotionalism. And a lot of people who should know better fanning the flames. At the same time, as best I can tell, they seem to want the penalty that attaches to murder in the legal sense.

Relations between law enforcement and the black community are often a tangled mess, there's no doubt. I'm sure racism is involved, and even more, the long history of racism. But it can't be discussed rationally (there's that insensitive word again) without also taking into account the very high crime rate among blacks. I have no doubt that there is a lot of fear and tension on both sides whenever a cop, especially a white one, encounters a young black man. Why did Michael Brown react as he reportedly did? What state of mind was he in that caused him to attack a cop, an incredibly stupid thing to do?

I apparently cross-posted with you, Daniel, though the times are pretty far apart. At any rate I hadn't seen your comment.

Far too many young black men are not making it past the problem stage, being either dead or in prison. I have to keep reminding myself of the ones I know who are doing fine.

And far too many cops are not making past the problem stage either. But they rarely pay so dearly for their assholiness.

My older boys would have a vastly lesser chance of making it out of the problem stage if they were black.

I think it's because they have a father.

AMDG

Like Janet, I wish I wasn't so afraid to share this post, because it is good.

I was really surprised by a couple of friends who I consider pretty level-headed and not excessively dogmatic in their leftism posting some very over-the-top stuff about this. They do indeed seem to believe that there is a conspiracy involved, and that the black jurors are perhaps suffering "internalized racism." I find that assumption so much more racist than the thought that they are rational, level-headed people who made a decision according to evidence not according to tribe. But then of course, I am informed I have no right to an opinion on this subject. Unlike my white leftist friends, that is.

And the hagiography getting passed around about Brown...really? If it was wrong to shoot him, it was wrong even if he was a terrible person. Why the need to exaggerate his youth and innocence?

I am terrified by mob mentality. Obviously this is not the first time I have seen it at play, but it is much more powerful and frightening right now than many of the other instances I can think of. Many people really and truly do think that the mob should be allowed to overturn the judgment of "twelve men, good and true." They really do think that they have that right, and they want to live in a society that is ruled by this kind of might makes right. That completely petrifies me. I know I would be crushed by such a system. I am not strong, I am not charismatic, I am not rich or influential.

Less of a large example, but still a terrifying one: remember that woman who wrote an inadvisable tweet then boarded an international flight, only to find when she landed that the mob had gotten her sacked, paparazzi were stalking her, and the news media was trashing her character, calling her family, and destroying her life?

I made a point of cutting ties with anyone in my life who thought that was "just comeuppance" for exercising her right to free speech. It's terrifying. She was nobody, and the mob crushed her for sport.

Mac,
Glad to have found your site. I can appreciate your epistle.
I'm neither the smartest person nor the most sensitive, however, my common sense meter is calibrated with precision.
Col. Alan West delivered a perspective a couple of nights ago which cuts across racial lines and appealed to one who possesses a healthy dose of rationale and the ability to reason through such a challenge.
Please------click on this link and watch the 3 minute video featuring Col. Alan West:
http://allenwestrepublic.com/2014/11/25/allen-west-obama-using-race-to-inflame-tensions-in-america-by-cherry-picking-ferguson/

Mac, allow me to challenge one of your comments. First paragraph, last sentence:
"The second is nothing more or less than the advocacy of mob rule, which almost no one will openly advocate, but many seem to want."
_______________________________________

Apparently you did not see Michael Brown's step father, Louis Head, yelling to the crowd: "BURN DOWN THIS B*TCH" (three times) in effort to foment the very, "mob rule" you reference.
Granted, there is heightened sensitivity within the Brown family, however, contrast this behavior with the repeated calls for calm by Michael Brown's real father and it might give you reason to pause. (footnote: when googling "Burn down this b**ch", the only site which comes up is Rush Limbaugh's. FASCINATING. None of the mainstream media outlets are found to have it.

I'd love to contribute more to this. On my way to a large gathering for Thanksgiving.

To each individual here I would like to extend best wishes for a healthy and happy Thanksgiving. May each of you find many things to be thankful for. May each of you reflect on why this country is great.
(Once a true leader emerges to help all of us concentrate on positive and productive issues, ideals, notions, we shall recover from the radical, counterproductive energies in force---God willing)

What was that "inadvisable tweet", Cailleachbhan? I don't remember having heard that story.

What the left has been doing, with a fair amount of success, is to socially criminalize certain opinions. Given the free speech tradition in the U.S., they can't be optimistic about putting their political enemies in jail. But they can and do paint people who disagree about, e.g. same-sex marriage, as the moral equivalent of being Nazis or Klanners. Then they say to the millions who have no problem ostracizing and condemning Nazis "We don't treat Nazism etc. as just another set of opinions about which there can be polite disagreement, and these views are just like those, and therefore the people who hold them should also be shunned and stigmatized."

I did say "*almost* no one," Clairityseeker. :-)

I saw the "Burn this **** down" story somewhere or other, but I can't remember where. It wouldn't have been Limbaugh's site. I want to say it was a link on Google News but I don't where the link went.

Best Thanksgiving wishes to you, too. I'm not as optimistic as you about the country recovering--I think the historical tendency is that decline is not often reversed.

In the opinion of the 150 or so PhD students or recent PhD graduates who are amongst my facebook friends, if you don't think Darren Wilson was guilty you are not a racist. You are a white supremacist.

Q.E. dadgum D.

I posted a very good piece by a black minister about how the problem was sin - both as fatherlessness, within the blackcommunity and as racism, amongst whites. I didn't get any 'likes'. I wondered if people dared! It was a balanced, thoughtful piece. He spoke of how he had been arrested for no cause, as a young boy along with his cousin and his uncle, and how his uncle said to the policeman, 'how can you do this to me in front of my son.' He also spoke of how Michael Brown's lack of a present and active father had harmed him. He spoke of the destructive things African American males are doing to one another today.

I think they call that "blaming the victim."

It is really hard to talk about this without either getting on the Q that you Ded bandwagon--"this proves pervasive racism etc etc." or, on the other hand, seeming to say that Brown had it coming. But although he didn't deserve to die he did do something that was at best assaulting a police officer and at worst attempted murder. As soon as he took a swing at the cop he was in big trouble. And it just doesn't make sense to ask "why?" about the policeman without at the same time asking "why?" about the deceased.

I saw that on Facebook but was in too big of a hurry to read it, as is often the case with me. I'll go back and read it.

Its a good piece from a christian perpective by a black author

I didn't get a chance to read it either.

He also spoke of how Michael Brown's lack of a present and active father had harmed him.

Hmmm. Seems like somebody mentioned fathers on this thread. ;-)

AMDG

That was a good speech, Francesca. I hope some people listen to him.

More importantly, it worries me that so many Christians view themselves primarily as members of this or that ethnic community more than they see themselves as members of the body of Christ.

Amen to that, and not only in respect to ethnic communities, but also political parties, nations, etc.

I wanted to say earlier, but did not have time, that the solution to all this mess has to come from the black community. I have found it rather fascinating that in Memphis where the mayor, chief of police, superintendent of schools, chief fire marshal and 7 of 13 members of the city council are black, every sort of ill in the city is blamed on whites. A black girl is raped by a black man and we hear civic leaders blaming this on white oppression. I'm not making that up. It really happened. But what, really, can the white community do? And what do blacks want from the white community? I don't know--money, for sure, but I can't see that that has helped.

Well, I think that as individuals, we can do a lot by just treating everyone we meet as though they were sent to us by the Lord-or as though they were the Lord. We can do our best not to contribute to the problem, although I'm pretty sure that the people who read this blog are already doing that. Sometimes, there may be community efforts in which we can participate, but really, I'm not sure what else we can do.

As for policemen, I only know three policemen personally that I can think of--two black and one white--and they are all fine Christian men. I know there are some policemen who are bullies--I had one (white) threaten me with jail for running a stop sign, but I am also very thankful that there are police.

AMDG

There's a piece up at CNN, "Why I feel torn about the Ferguson verdict", by a black woman who's married to a black Washington, D.C. police officer, in which she talks about the complexity of her situation, and by extension the situation we're all in:

When my husband first donned his uniform nearly 10 years ago, I told him clearly and directly: "You do whatever you must to come home to me." Nearly a decade and three children later, he's heeded that order, navigating the dangers that only populate my nightmares -- just to make sure he comes home.

The irony isn't lost on me. I know what the research says. I know that this country often denies agency to African-American boys, and that they're often seen as a threat just by virtue of their skin color.

But in moments such as this, it's the denial of agency to law enforcement officers that angers me.

All cops aren't bad. All cops aren't racist. Many cops have spouses and children. They have loved ones and friends and pets. They leave all this every day to place themselves in harm's way for people they never meet. ...

So when I heard St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCullough describe how Michael Brown allegedly lunged at Officer Darren Wilson in his police car, I knew it was likely that my husband could have responded the same way: shoot to disable the threat. Do what he must to make it home to us at night.

This is part of my reality. It's how I process these incidents now.

But it was also my reality when, as we sped home to relieve our sitter one night, my husband and I were pulled over by a police officer on a dark, wooded parkway in Virginia. And I watched my husband, an officer for nearly 10 years, immediately turn off the car, turn on all the interior lights, place the keys on the dashboard and put his hands on the steering wheel.

He turned to me, calmly and coolly, and said, "Get our insurance card out. Don't make any sudden moves, and leave your hands on your lap."

I froze. I teared up, and fear welled up as a lump in my throat. Because that night, before he was an officer, my husband was a black man. Like Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin and Oscar Grant.

That really does justice to the complexity of the situation.

I have a couple of stories which I'll tell when I have more time. I'm going to be away all day tomorrow, btw.

But just quickly: Janet said "But what, really, can the white community do?" Yeah, this is what I've been saying for many years now. The solution has to come from within the black community.

The woman mobbed for her tweet was also a leftie, though the attackers were way too thick to figure that out at first, and her inadvisable comment was a bit of ironic humor. Something about going to Africa but she wasn't worried about getting HIV, since she's white. (I got what she meant because that kind of unfunny snarky irony is so common among young lefties who I have spent so much time with. "Haha, I'm not worried because I know my privilege saves me, and I feel suitably guilty about it of course.")

I just looked it up, her name is Justine Sacco, you can google and try to make sense of the insanity.

I made an impatient error driving out of a mall last week. I was stopped by a policeman. He asked to see the registration. I reached over to the gloce compartment and for a split second he froze. I lnow there are bad cops but for a second there I saw the level of fear at which they operate

"The solution must come from the black community". No, the solution must come from the human community.

Unless you are arguing that the problems of the black community came from the black community, instead of from the history of racism and oppression and the status quo of economic hopelessness....

Wilson's comment that "it" looked like a demon just might give credence to charges of racism, as well as being a typical bully cop, feeling safe only when possessing overwhelming power. As you know, testimony was all over the place re just what Michael Brown did or did not do.

On the other hand:https://caelumetterra.wordpress.com/2014/11/27/black-and-white-and-brown/

Far too many young black men are not making it past the problem stage, being either dead or in prison.

Incarceration is not forever. A typical spell in the state prison is about thirty months. One in the county jail is about six months. Black men in America are more likely than just about any occidental population segment to be killed by the hand of another. Still, 96% shuffle off due to natural causes or accidents. The experience of New York City in the last 20 years suggests that intelligent public policy and administration can reduce the share dispatched by homicide to 1% or so.

The situation is less disagreeable than commonly realized and subject to amelioration. The impediments, as always, are inertia, vested interests, and bad mentalities.

Unless you are arguing that the problems of the black community came from the black community, instead of from the history of racism and oppression and the status quo of economic hopelessness....

Michael Brown did not rob a convenience store, saunter down the middle of the road like he owned it, and attack a police officer who rebuked him because of 'a history of racism' or 'economic hopelessness'. He did those things because that's how he rolled.

Wilson's comment that "it" looked like a demon just might give credence to charges of racism, as well as being a typical bully cop,

Only to a political and social fanatic.

--

Darren Wilson had a perfectly unremarkable history, on the force and off. The only oddities are his mother's history as a grifter (not his doing) and the abrupt implosion of his first marriage.

Why did Michael Brown react as he reportedly did? What state of mind was he in that caused him to attack a cop, an incredibly stupid thing to do?

You want a multi-part hypothesis?

1. Did you catch the business about his mother being arrested for assault over some T-shirt sale proceeds? Suggest he was reared in a household where crass and impetuous behavior is bog standard.

2. If I understand correctly, there is a juvie record that his family is taking steps to prevent being disclosed. (Cannot be sure as there is much disinformation about this case floating about).

3. The same reason he strong-armed the convenience store manager and walked down the middle of the road. He was 6'5" and weighed 292# and fancied he wasn't subject to anyone else's rules if he did not care to be.

RE: Marianne's
"Why I feel torn about the Ferguson verdict"

I'm neither black nor do I know what it is like to be so. My best friend in high school happened to be black. We never had such conversations.

Many, many years ago I read an article pertaining to being stopped by an police officer. It was about the protocol to follow so as to set the officer at ease and make the experience go more smoothly.
1.) If your window is closed, open it before the officer approaches the vehicle.
2.) Place both hands on the window sill of the door (that part where the window disappears into the door) so that when the officer approaches, he can see where your hands are. Another version of this is to place both hands at the zenith (top) of the steering wheel. Again, most visible.
3.) Stay as still as possible and await the officer's comments. Answer with, "Yes sir", "No sir". Should he ask for your driver's license, or insurance----and you've not got it within eyesight, ask the officer for permission to reach into your pocket for your license. Likewise, request permission to open glove compartment to access insurance papers.
Were these suggestions directed at blacks? No more than they were at whites. Were these mentioned for reasons of relaxing any racial tensions? Only if you are predisposed to see everything through the lens off race.
These suggestions are merely to set the officer at ease----AND-----to subtly communicate to him/her that you acknowledge and understand that he/she is vulnerable to someone who might not be as welcoming as you are at him/her doing their job. That you are NOT a threat. By allowing the officer to see your hands and by addressing the officer with respect----you will engender a much more relaxed and approachable individual.
My guess is the black officer in Washington D.C. knew this when he placed his keys on the dash, when he turned the interior lights on. He knew that by showing the approaching officer that he was not a threat. His wife---the woman who wrote this piece appears to make that entire scene (where they got pulled over by an officer) one about race (very sad).
And that, is not the case, as I've been educated regarding the contributing to an officer's sense of reduced threat when they are putting themselves in harm's way.

Mac,
You did write "almost". Pardon me for not having acknowledged this earlier.

That said, we have a president who, without FACTS, opted to inject his narrative into the Louis Gates incident in Massachusetts by declaring, "The Cambridge Police acted STUPIDLY".
He set the tone of that storyline (and his administration). He established the tensions. He elevated that very common situation to national status-----drawing the eyes of all Americans to the little town of Cambridge and the mindset that it was entirely about racial stereotyping. Unfairness. Inequities.
It was later determined that the responding officers (some black) had acted in accordance with their training (and within the law) in how they handled that situation. In reality, Obama proved to have "acted stupidly". And then thought a Beer Summit would wash away the inanity.
Nonetheless, Baraka Obama elevated tensions.
Baraka Obama elevated tensions in the Trayvon Martin killing by injecting himself there as well.
He very much contributed to the environment of hostility as Spike Lee decided to get involved (from 1,500 miles away in NYC) while brazenly tweeting out the residential address of George Zimmerman's parents (incorrect as it was).
Obama's narrative very much contributed to the New Black Panthers elbowing in; setting a $1,000,000.00 bounty on the head of George Zimmerman.
During that very incident, Baraka Obama enlisted the help of Al Sharpton, from that point forward became a federally paid race-hustler. His "official" visits to the white house now number near 100.
That does not count visits to Eric Holder's office.
Eric Holder set a divisive tone when he arrived in Ferguson, MO following Michael Brown's death. He elevated racial tensions.
The governor of Missouri did the same thing when he gave his first presser. He demanded that the officer be indicted (before any facts or details become known).
Did all of the aforementioned come out and openly request mob rule? No.
Did each of them lend tacit approval to same. In my opinion, yes.
Each of them assume leadership roles. They carry a responsibility that exceeds the comments of Joe Blow off the street. They help set the tone. And in each of these cases, they did nothing but contribute to the foundation for what we saw occur in Ferguson, Mo this week. And in New York City. And in Los Angeles. And in several other cities.
It became a NATIONAL issue precisely because national figures like Obama and Holder and Sharpton et al made it one. They did not have to say, "BURN DOWN THIS B**CH".
They know that there are enough individuals and groups of individuals to take the cue from their not-so-subtle injections of divisiveness and disdain.
It's how Community Organizers roll.

There was, of course, no need for federal intervention in this matter, especially flashy and highly publicized federal intervention.

One of the clowns in this whole fiasco has been the dithering Governor of Missouri.

No, the solution must come from the human community.

Daniel, that sounds nice, but what does it mean in practical terms. I don't see where you've told us what we are supposed to do that will fix this mess. What solution can we give--other than money, which is not exactly abundant around here--that the black community will accept?

Did electing a black president help? Did those people who were rioting and destroying their own community have any more respect his pleas for peace any more than they would have respected them from a white president.

Has pouring money into government programs helped? As far as I can see, not at all. In fact, I think it has in many ways contributed to the demise of the stable black family.

So, just tell me what.

In my own life, I know that whatever sin someone else has committed against me, and however crippling that might have been, until I am willing to look at the mistakes I have made as a result of my woundedness, and with the Lord's help change my own behaviour, no one else can really help me. It's not fair, but that's just the way it is. This prinicple holds in communities as well.

AMDG

Did those people who were rioting and destroying their own community have any more respect his pleas for peace any more than they would have respected them from a white president.

Again, 70% of the population in Ferguson is living in owner-occupied housing. It's a reasonable wager that few of the rioters are local residents.

It's not fair, but that's just the way it is. This prinicple holds in communities as well.

Janet, it is in most respects an unremarkable working-class suburb. It's not a collection of tar-paper shacks in some small town in Mississippi or a viperous slum in Detroit.

Just quickly before I go for the day, I want to express particular agreement with Janet's last post above: what, specifically, can white people do? A little, here and there, but really not that much. I think everyone is pretty well aware of the history of slavery and segregation. No one has yet come up with a way to make those things not have happened, or to magically cause their after-effects to disappear. Simply pointing them out and expressing dismay is of little use.

Oh, and re the rioters: one report said that by far the greatest number of those arrested did not live in the area.

Well, that last sentence makes a lot of sense.

AMDG

I read the post on his blog that Daniel Nichols linked to above that had this:

This is purely anecdotal, but here in the Steel Belt of eastern Ohio the poor and working class are the least racist segment of society. Working and going to school and living with other races disarms prejudice, humanizing the Other. And of course men and women fall in love, make love and make babies, regardless of color. And grandmas and grandpas lose their prejudice in light of love for their grandchildren."
And then I found this in a piece in the Washington Post from this past August:
In the southeastern appendage of Ferguson, there is a dense, overwhelmingly black apartment complex where Michael Brown was killed. However, the rest of the city is, by the standards of American suburbia, striking in its level of racial integration. Ferguson and the proximate sections of Florissant and Hazelwood are composed of modest single-family houses on streets where blacks and whites live side by side.
Especially in light of what Daniel wrote, that living side by side must explain why most of those arrested are from outside the town. And Michael Brown's not having had that experience seems important. Not sure if the goal of living close to each other falls under the "little, here and there" category, but seems a worthy goal, although more and more economics makes attaining it difficult.

Inter-racial sexual relationships--not necessarily marriages, as is the way these days--are not that uncommon here, either. The fact that this can even happen and not only not put the participants in danger but not even attract that much attention is, among other things, evidence that things have changed a whole lot over the past 50 years, and that the 1965 "narrative" simply doesn't fit the facts any more.

I probably qualify as one of Daniel's "empathetically challenged white people" on the basis of the views I've expressed here. But that brings me back to my main point: I don't see that empathy has all that much to do with the attempt to determine what happened in a case like this. There seems to be an implication in such talk that empathy demands that we see the white policeman as racist, and the black teenager as a victim of racism, and punish the policeman accordingly. I would hope that simply stating the implication in clear terms would cause anyone to reject it.

Maybe most fundamentally, to empathize with someone does not entail encouraging him in false or harmful beliefs and behavior. It is not doing any black person in the United States a favor to encourage the belief that homicidal white cops gunning down black men in cold blood is a commonplace occurrence, any more than it's a favor to white people to encourage the belief that most black people are violent criminals.

Yep.

It's not a collection of tar-paper shacks in some small town in Mississippi

Well Art, I'm not quite sure what the point of that is. My home started out as a tar-paper shack in a rural area outside of a small town and Mississippi and I haven't noticed any great proclivity around here to riot and burn.

AMDG

Darn it. IN Mississippi, not AND Mississippi.

I didn't mean to imply any of that about empathy justifying anger or causing a need to acknowledge the basic racism of whites in what I wrote above. Sorry if that’s how it came across. I think it cuts both ways the misunderstandings between blacks and whites, due to not really knowing one other.

http://korrektivpress.com/2014/11/benjamin-watsons-facebook-post/

I thought the above was probably the best thing I've read about Ferguson because Watson looks at the shooting from all angles, and refuses to point a finger or make judgments without evidence or based on his own fears. He admits to being confused! We ought to be confused. If sin darkens the intellect, the accretion of sin surrounding this whole mess should be enough to confuse us all.

AMDG

I don't know, Janet. The human community as in 'we are all in this together and are brothers and sisters' sort of human community? What I see lacking on the right is any real sense of solidarity with black people. Solidarity is the primal social virtue, a fancy word for love and compassion and you know, trying to do what Jesus said to do.

Which begins with looking the Other in the eye and giving them your full attention, one human to another, I have had the good fortune to have done quite a bit of this with felons and addicts and street people and even Republicans. I find that whatever addictions or delusions or ideologies or religions or traumas afflict them pretty much everybody responds to compassion.

what, specifically, can white people do? A little, here and there, but really not that much.

There is a mentality which you see from time to time in comboxes and which animates local politics in many areas (especially where I grew up). That mentality might be called 'the suburban f*** you'.

If you provide a public good, its enjoyment is not exclusive to any party and the enjoyment of it by any party does not diminish the enjoyment a neighboring party can have. So it is with such things as public order. However, suburban residents have a habit of fancying that public goods purchased with property tax revenue are like Hostess twinkies and you are 'stealing their tax base' if there is a demonstrable beneficiary outside of some fuzzily defined ken they never specify.

The practice of devolving the police force to municipal governments in juridically fragmented metropolitan settlements has the unfortunate effect of providing for duplication and deficits of co-ordination in local law enforcement. Also, the portions of the metropolitan settlement wherein law enforcement is most salient for quality of life are the loci which have the weakest tax base.

It's perverse, of course, so long as you regard slums and suburbs as different facets of the same community. For my mother and father, that was always so in their mind.

The suburban 'f*** you' is symbiotic with the obnoxious shuck and jive favored by most black pols. A cynical view of the modal dispositions of such pols would say they care very much about having control of institutions but not how those institutions perform. You can look at Detroit and see the results.

So, replace county government in concentrated population centers of some size (say 50,000) or more with metropolitan authorities which provide services in common for the residents of their constituent municipalities; vest that authority with the police department and the child protective apparat; and amply staff the police force, deploy them optimally, and allow them to proceed according to best practices. There's a reason that the homicide rate in Harlem and East Harlem is no worse than it is in Utica.

You can do a number of subsidiary things which can assist which involve re-jiggering the delivery of schooling, re-distributing property tax burdens, and restructuring how common provision is expressed. However, you improve public order and security in the slums, you are addressing the most salient aspect of how those neighborhoods differ from the larger community.

Daniel,

Well, I am the secretary in a parish in a very poor area of Memphis. What you describe is what I spend my days doing. And even before that I was involved in feeding people on the street. I've written about that
here and here and most recently here. Every morning I pray that I will see everyone that comes to that door as Jesus coming to me, and that Jesus is who they will meet when I open that door. Some of these people are white, more are black, and many are Mexican. (And then there are Irish Travelers, but that’s a whole other ball of wax.) So, this is what I was saying earlier. We can do what we can on a one-to-one, day-to-day basis, but this massive, unreasoning anger is something else altogether.

I don’t really identify myself as being on the right, or at least very far on the right, but I have many friends who do, and most of them are engaged in some sort of this day-to-day ministry. Many of them, for instance, work with the Missionaries of Charity here.

I really think that what you see as a lack of concern or solidarity on the part of many people on the right (and let’s face it on the left, too) is fear. And there is some basis in reality for this fear. My husband and I deliberately moved into an integrated neighborhood—much like yours probably—in 1977 after I read Education of a WASP. I must have had some quixotic idea that I would somehow make a difference by getting to know my black neighbors, but I never really became close to any of them, mostly because I was very shy. I didn't get to know my white neighbors either for the same reason. My oldest and youngest did make black friends there.

However, during the 24 years that we were there, we were burglarized 3 times, our car was stolen out of driveway 3 times, and when a young black man in a stolen car smacked my van in which my 3 year old son was riding into our driveway, our neighbors (all but one) gathered around the young man and someone managed to help him get away before the police got there. Shortly before we moved, someone took a shot at my neighbor right outside my bedroom window. I was accosted on the street once in a very frightening and vile way by a young black man once, and worst and saddest of all, my small daughter was molested by a young black man. My children lived in fear all the time. It is nothing short of a miracle that they are not all racist today, but thankfully they aren't.

I, by the grace of God, do not have this fear, but that lack of fear is a gift, and I understand why others have it. And I understand why they are angry and frightened about the injustice of a man being assumed guilty because he is white. I agree with much of what you say, but where we part ways, I think, is that you seem to think that it is all right to vilify one whole group of people (police officers, or people on the right) in defense of another, because those groups are also part of the human community and I have to have solidarity with them also.

Well, I timed out and had to cut and paste all this, so I hope I can get it to post.

AMDG

Just finished watching the film, "Gentleman's Agreement" (1947) on TCM.
"When journalist Phil Green (Gregory Peck) moves to New York City, he takes on a high-profile magazine assignment about anti-Semitism. In order to truly view things from an empathetic perspective, he pretends to be a Jew and begins to experience many forms of bigotry, both firsthand and through a Jewish friend, Dave Goldman (John Garfield). Phil soon falls in love with beautiful Kathy Lacy (Dorothy McGuire), but their relationship is complicated by his unusual endeavor."

Something to be learned about in all forms of bigotry. Those who've professed to make this Ferguson, MO incident one of race included.

Thank you, Janet.

Marianne, I didn't think you were saying that--I was responding mainly to Daniel's remark on his blog which seemed to suggest that empathy on the part of white people requires accepting the black interpretation of what happened.

Art, those are interesting steps that do sound like they could actually help. The suburban mentality you describe is certainly a reality.

Daniel, I doubt anyone here would argue about the virtue of solidarity. I would say it's lacking across the board in our society, not by any means just on the right. I don't think there's any contradiction between believing that and also believing that the solution to the problem we're talking about here has to come primarily from within the black community itself.

Sounds like an interesting movie, Clairityseeker. I vaguely remember having heard of it.

I'm still catching up, but still busy (this is Iron Bowl Day). I followed up on the story mentioned by Cailleachbhan--you can read the whole creepy thing here. Her remark was in terrible taste, but the mob reaction to it really is scary.

Arguably her tweet is mildly racist--I'm not sure what she meant to be saying unless it's that AIDS predominantly affects black people in Africa, which if true would hardly be surprising. More than racist it strikes me as callous.

Even more of an over-reaction was that to the remark several years ago by a Greek Olympian--account here--which caused her to be expelled from the Olympics. What she said was in bad taste, but I don't see how it can be said to be truly racist, and certainly not a reason to destroy her career. There is a hyper-sensitivity and hyper-consciousness of race which really strikes me as being almost a kind of racism in itself. If the comment had been in reference to any other region than Africa, no one would have thought twice about it.

...the problem we're talking about here has to come primarily from within the black community itself

I agree. FWIW, I try to as friendly and welcoming as possible to the blacks I meet, especially when they're isolated, like the woman who was the only black in my office of about 30 whites and asians. And given the generally positive responses, I assume it works OK.
------------

Somewhat related to Mac's observation about there being a "hyper-sensitivity and hyper-consciousness of race:"

Back to the piece Marianne excerpted (11/27 @11:44PM), the one about the black woman from DC who is married to a black policeman. Pulled over at night "on a dark, wooded parkway in Virginia," she saw her husband "turn on all the interior lights, place the keys on the dashboard and put his hands on the steering wheel." He told her "Don't make any sudden moves, and leave your hands on your lap."

As Clarityseeker explained (11/28 @8:32AM), this is simply a procedure designed to reassure the cop that the person(s) he pulled over is not a threat. I heard the same thing myself and used it once when I was pulled over at night.

The woman who wrote this piece is obviously well-meaning and brave. And yet even she seriously misinterprets the nature of the incident she described (which is especially baffling given that her husband must have known what the drill was about):

I froze. I teared up, and fear welled up as a lump in my throat. Because that night, before he was an officer, my husband was a black man. Like Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin and Oscar Grant.

So she attributed to racism an incident that very likely had nothing at all to do with it.* And given how often some white people tell blacks how racist this country is, her reaction makes sense: after all, these whites must have an inside look at the attitudes of other whites.

Other than being as kind and friendly as I can, I cannot prevent misunderstandings such as the one described above, situations that inflame blacks' suspicions and resentment because they confirm the impression that they live in a country filled with ill-will towards them, a place determined to do them wrong and hold them back.


* I lived in the Virginia suburbs of DC for a few years and was pulled over by the cops there at least 4 or 5 times. The Fairfax county police are the most obnoxious, intrusive force I've ever had the misfortune to deal with--and I'm white. They are an equal-opportunity pain-in-the-ass, but what would I assume if I were black? And how much more unpleasant and volatile would these annoying incidents have been if my mindset was that the cop is targeting me, and being especially obnoxious, because of my color?

I really wonder about Darrell Williams's tone and general demeanor when he stopped Michael Brown. Is it possible that he was belligerent and aggressive, and thereby triggered what seems to have been a sudden burst of rage on Michael Brown's part? Might a less confrontational approach have led to a non-fatal end? It's just speculation, but I wonder.

"...she attributed to racism an incident that very likely had nothing at all to do with it."

That, I am certain, happens regularly. I can think of several that I've personally been aware of--unfortunate misunderstandings that fortunately led to nothing worse than interviews with someone in "human resources."

One frequently sees surveys on race relations which show that white people believe them to be better than black people do. The assumption is always that "white people don't get it." And I have no doubt that that's sometimes true. But it's also true that black people sometimes see racism when it's not there.

"And given how often some white people tell blacks how racist this country is..."

I think at this point white liberals are more likely to exacerbate racial hostility than to advance healing. For some portion of them, it always has to be Bull Connor vs. Martin Luther King. Most of them at this point are too young to have any firsthand experience of the 1960s civil rights movement, but they long to feel the warm glow of righteousness gained by being on the right side of it, so they keep trying to recapture it. The headline and first paragraph (that's all I read) of this Christian Science Monitor story are a good example: "Ferguson Protesters Follow Path of 1960s Activists."

"I try to as friendly and welcoming as possible to the blacks I meet, especially when they're isolated..."

Same here. I wrote about one such instance here. The thing that was so touching about that was that I didn't really even try very hard, because I was too wrapped up in my own problems, but it still made a difference.

Gary,
Hat tip to your common sense insights. I remember a time when one was not moved to show special recognition for common sense (that's why they call it, "common"). No more.
Final note regarding respectful protocol to assume when stopped by a law officer.
While enroute to our ski lodge in Breckenridge, I was pulled over for speeding just north of Alma, Colorado, prior to ascending Hoosier Pass.
Hands on the window sill. "Yes sir", "No sir". "May I please get my insurance papers from the glove compartment?"
Wife and kids were in car. Everyone was quiet and still.
After going through the procedure, I was let go with a warning. Only time that's ever happened. The two tickets received since then were followed by similar protocols of respect.
Driving is a privilege----not a "RIGHT", as some consider it to be.

You're welcome, although I'm not exactly sure what you're thanking me for.

AMDG

Mac,
Good point.
I mean, the thug was nothing but respectful towards the shop owner when he was confronted upon being discovered for STEALING.
It's not as if he was bullying the shop owner. Moments before he was disobeying the officer in the street.

If it were not captured on video, I wonder to what degree he'd been painted as an angelic teenager?

Found with drugs in his system; no reason to consider that this had an affect on him.

Mother has been found to be highly disrespectful since the shooting.
Stepfather? He's a saint.

Yeah, the cop could very well have been the cause for the problem. What was he thinking?

White people certainly have a role in the 'solution', as they have profited from black servitude and have as a people contributed to the destruction of the black community. And you do not have to have had slave owners as ancestors for this to be true. Part of solidarity is recognizing common responsibility. We are not just individuals. We have a place in the bigger picture.

Those are nice generalities, with which I don't disagree. They don't do anything to change my view that the crucial and fundamental change in our current racial situation, and specifically in problems like the high crime rate among young black men, has to originate within the black community.

White people certainly have a role in the 'solution', as they have profited from black servitude and have as a people contributed to the destruction of the black community.

It's been pointed out by Thomas Sowell that family structures in the black population were predominantly conventional in 1960 and had grown slightly more so during the course of the 20th century. The replacement of conventional families with mix-and-match happened in the last 50 years and has been present on both sides of the color bar (just more severe on the other side).

And again, the worst problem perpetrated by the larger population has been neglect. However, the main perpetrators of that have been those in charge of inner city municipal governments and school systems. And it's not as if black pols are commonly in the business of agitating for vigorous policing or enhanced behavior and academic standards in schools.

White people certainly have a role in the 'solution', as they have profited from black servitude

I think during the period running from 1619 to 1860 the black share of the labor force was variable but ran to about 15% of the total. Even if half the value added which might be attributable to black laborers in a free labor system were was appropriated by the slave-masters, that's still going to amount to five or six percent of the income of the white population as a whole.

Among the most affluent predominantly negroid populations in the world (outside the U.S.) are to be found in the Bahamas and Barbados. Even their income levels are about a third lower than the mean for American blacks (who I believe are roughly on a par with their Anglo-Caribbean counterparts in Britain). Life in America has not turned out to be a bad deal at this point in time as far as the availability of purchasable goods and services. The real deficit is in public goods and collective purchases not to be found on the open market.

Fortunately, there are numbers of rational voices who happen to be black.
Despite being referred, all too often as, "Uncle Tom's", by angry and ideological blacks.
Shelby Steele made it clear in "White Guilt" that blacks have been quite successful at fostering racial guilt among whites. Mr. Steele maintains that if whites are unable to shed this guilt, this country will not heal.
Agreed.
Eric Holder is dedicated to America not healing.
Baraka Obama is dedicated as well.
Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Kweisi Mfumi, Reverend Wright, The New Black Panthers, etc., etc., etc.
All similarly inclined.
Shelby Steele----yeah, he's an Uncle Tom. Because he speaks to Truth.
Like dozens of other blacks who've spoken to Truth.
75% out-of-wedlock births in the black community.
Baby-daddy's treating fatherhood, sans the "father".
Better yet, supplanted by, "Victim".
Replete with hoodies and "pants-on-the-ground".
Bill Cosby, despite his recent controversies, once spelled it out best.
But, ignore these Uncle Tom's.
For they are clueless. They can't appreciate the greater purpose of dishing out, "White Guilt".
That's the money shot.
Victimhood----NOT, fatherhood.
YeeHaw, a community organizer in the white house. That's what this country needed to increase, elevate, reinvigorate division. Divisiveness.
Prof. Louis Gates in, Cambridge, Mass.
Trayvon Martin in, Florida.
Michael Brown in, Missouri.
Following the paradigm of:
Tawana Brawley in New York.
Crystal Gail Magnum in Duke University rape case.
A community organizer's job is never really finished...

I hope it's not as bad as that. But...well, I don't think I'll even say anything else about the whole situation right now, as I want to do some other things this evening. I could write a very lengthy essay on the whole subject. I will say this: I think you're right that some of the more prominent black leaders are not really interested in healing at all.

Art, what are you referring to by "collective purchases not to be found on the open market"? I'm afraid it does little good to point out that black people in America are better off materially than black people in other parts of the world. The fact that they're worse off than whites is more significant. And going back more than 50 years there were definite actions taken by whites to keep them that way.

But it seems to me that the worst thing is not the poverty per se but the violence and general crime found in poor black areas. I know a couple who have spent their lives barely getting by financially--but at least they were fortunate enough to live in an area where there's little crime. They didn't have to cope with a situation like the one Janet described.

Art, what are you referring to by "collective purchases not to be found on the open market"?

Schooling.

I'm afraid it does little good to point out that black people in America are better off materially than black people in other parts of the world. The fact that they're worse off than whites is more significant. And going back more than 50 years there were definite actions taken by whites to keep them that way.

I would refer you to Thomas Sowell on this point: in ethnically or confessionally fissured societies, income differentials between communal groups are the norm, and are present whether there is a history analogous to that of the United States or not. Occupational niches are also normal.

In terms of their standard of living (regarding purchasable goods and services) black Americans are on a par with much of Europe (e.g. Britain and Italy) and with white Americans ca. 1975. The social stratification of the black population differs (being much more skewed to wage-earners (and people tenuously attached to the labor market). The thing is, attempts thus far at social engineering projects give you the pathological situation you have in academe and the abnormal sluicing of better educated blacks into civil service positions. They have not done much for 'equality', even if that were a goal worth bothering about.

No one fusses much about income differentials between Jews, Chinese, and Japanese on the one hand and Italians and Irish on the other (except people who have poisonous attitudes towards the Jews - pretty common among the alt-right). The same laconic disposition would be culturally beneficial with regard to blacks. There are some important issues to address and this is not one.

I agree that inequality per se is not that big a deal. The problem is not inequality but poverty. If you get to be middle-class (in American terms), you don't (or shouldn't) care very much how many billionaires there are. But if you have to work two minimum wage jobs to keep a roof over your head and food on the table in this country, it doesn't matter that you're objectively wealthier than the average Kenyan. And if you're part of a group that is very distinctively set apart, and you see that far more of your group are in that barely-hanging-on condition than of the other group, resentment is inevitable. And not unreasonable, given the mechanisms that were long in place to keep your group from acquiring and accumulating property.

'...resentment is inevitable'.

And hopelessness, Maclin, do not forget that. And the fallout of the breakdown of the family, by which I mean the real family, the extended family/band, not the nuclear 'family unit'. The organic family was destroyed by capitalism, which continues its evil work to this day.

But all conservatives do is criticize the moral failures of people born into brokenness. Hey, it is up to them to find the solution, even if they did not create the problem.

Modern American poverty may not be as materially destitute as some third world poverty, but it has its unique despairs.

I tried to read most of this. Wow. I certainly have not been paying any attention if at all possible. Changing the channel when it comes up. I am a self-confessed liberal and leftist friend of Mac's, but I don't take any offense to anyone's opinion. I don't think the police officer should be tried for murder and I do think that unfortunately many young black men act in a way around law enforcement that may help to get them killed. That said, I do mourn any unarmed human who is gunned down and wish that the police would take non-lethal methods to take care of issues. That's about it. Where is Bill Cosby when you need him?

But if you have to work two minimum wage jobs to keep a roof over your head and food on the table in this country, it doesn't matter that you're objectively wealthier than the average Kenyan. And if you're part of a group that is very distinctively set apart, and you see that far more of your group are in that barely-hanging-on condition than of the other group, resentment is inevitable. And not unreasonable, given the mechanisms that were long in place to keep your group from acquiring and accumulating property.

1. Who's talking about wealth, in Kenya or in Detroit? A large minority in this (~45% IIRC) have a net worth of less-than-zero. That's not going to change no matter how much is produced each year in this country.

2. However, income levels and the sort of well-being that personal consumption can bring are vastly higher in the United States than in tropical Africa. That's the counter-factual example, and I cannot figure why you're so dismissive of it. Income streams accruing to black Americans exceed those of Kenyans by a factor of 11. They exceed those of Eastern Europeans by a factor of 2.5. They exceed those of Israelis and Spaniards.

3. Multiple job holders amount to just shy of 5% of the workforce. Those working at least one full-time job amount to 3% of the workforce. The share of black workers in this situation (about 4.4%) is similar to the share of the general population.

4. As of 2013, about 4.3% of the wage-earning workforce was paid minimum wage (or below). The share of the black workforce paid thus was 4.9%. Generally, minimum wage workers are in the business of supplementing family income and are not primary providers.

5. This is America. In this country, our poor people are commonly fat, have telephone service, and own automobiles. What you refer to as poverty is not biblical poverty. Instead it's

a. Economic anxiety: insufficient income to save money or live in a non-viperous neighborhood or afford medical care.

b. Insecurity: consignment to shabby and crime-ridden neighborhoods.

c. Deficits of schooling: consignment to disorderly and academically lax slum schools.

6. I am not aware of any mechanism which has been in place since the post-bellum black codes were annulled to prevent blacks from 'acquiring and accumulating property'.

--

A big problem in political economy is how to finance medical care and long term care and the conduits for provision of schooling. There are ways to address these problems, but you're never going to create systems without flaws and any reforms are going to encounter vested interests.

Much the same deal applies with improving public order maintenance, as noted, and with improving the built environment in slum neighborhoods. Restentful and grasping suburban electorates are a problem here, but black pols obstreperously second-guessing the police morning, noon and night (as well as school deans struggling to keep order); demanding inane paperwork replace actual police work; and insisting that police and fire departments be a patronage dumping ground for blacks who have trouble passing civil service examinations have exacerbated the problem severely. That goes double for their enablers on the lawyer left.

And you're never going to create a society without strata unless your society is no larger than an agricultural village.

by which I mean the real family, the extended family/band, not the nuclear 'family unit'.

Hesh up.

Economists think five years is a long time, politicians think a week. In actual fact, decades are the blink of an eye in terms of social mobility.

Meaning that people tend to stay where they are socio-economically?

I accept most of your data, Art, but I don't think you're drawing exactly the right conclusions from it.

I don't mean wealth in the sense of accumulation, just as a loose term for material well-being.

#5: yes, this is true. Of course it's not biblical poverty. It's not Calcutta or Rio poverty. But it is, in the U.S. context, still poverty, in great part for the reasons you name. I'm not by any means dismissive of the fact that material well-being in the U.S. is higher for almost everyone than in many parts of the world. But it doesn't change the fact that life at the bottom in the U.S. is very difficult. The stressors are different--few people have to worry about finding enough calories every day to keep the engine running--but they're very much there, as you say in your #5.

I used "minimum wage" more or less rhetorically. But you can go a good bit higher than that and still not be making enough to live on in many parts of the country. And you certainly can't support a family on, say, $10 an hour, which is 1/3 higher than minimum (if the minimum wage is still $7.50 in most places). Even two $10/hour jobs--$40,000/yr--is tight for a family, especially since, as you say, those jobs probably don't have health insurance. And the organization of our cities makes having a car a necessity in most places, with the attendant expense and uncertainty. The jobs also have no sick leave etc., so that having to stay home to nurse a sick child puts your job at risk. And so on. The problems you mention in #5 may not be intrinsically related to income, but in practice they are.

If you want to argue that what people in those situations need most is not so much more cash as freedom from crime, etc. you have a point. The reality, though, is that little money and much difficulty are very intimately connected, here as everywhere.

Also: I'm not by any means agitating for the impossible society without strata. I don't know what gave you that idea, as I said that I don't think inequality per se is necessarily bad. I do think the lower strata in our society are in more difficulty than they should be, but that doesn't mean I think there's a simple solution.

El Gaucho asked "Where is Bill Cosby when you need him?" I've seen several news stories over the past day or two about someone named Pharell Williams (I think) taking a Cosby-ish line. And then there's the sage Charles Barkley.

I haven't had much time to read recent comments, but I just wanted to say I was shocked at the terrible things that Janet related and I'm so sad that her family have experienced such things.

Thanks Louise. We're fine.

Maclin, that guy in Francesca's link was talking about that BC stuff, too.

AMDG

"I try to [BE] as friendly and welcoming as possible to the blacks I meet, especially when they're isolated..."

Same here. I wrote about one such instance here. The thing that was so touching about that was that I didn't really even try very hard, because I was too wrapped up in my own problems, but it still made a difference.

That's a really fine post from 3 years ago for those who haven't seen it, a poignant, well-told story packed into just a couple pages. I'd recommend it as a "Best Of" if you ever decide to make such a collection, Mac.

Our Community Organizer in the white house is inspiring Americans all across the land to start grassroots rabble-rouser movements. For violence. For confrontation.
In New York, during the traditional Thanksgiving Day parade the "Hoodie Movement" marched:

http://ethicsalarms.com/2014/10/24/unethical-website-of-the-month-million-hoodies-movement-for-justice/

All Hail the Leftists and the other riffraff within this great land.

Racial divisiveness has only increased in this country over the past 6 years.
And that has been the intent of those who make it their mission to agitate----as they've done in this Ferguson, MO case.

Thank you. I do in fact have such a collection in the works. Almost ready, in fact, except now I'm wondering if I should try a couple of publishers rather than publish it myself, as I had intended. (A reconsideration given a push by a co-worker's reference to "self-published crap.") And that piece is in there.

Yeah, and you should also reconsider because your writing is light years beyond much of what is considered publishable by publishers these days.

Like "Brief Light?"

AMDG

I wish I could help with ideas about publishing. Have you thought about Angelico Press? They published Stratford Caldecott's last three or four books. The only publishing world I know is academic publishing, and it's its own tiny world with its own rules. That's why I have not offered to help before, because although I have extensive experience in publishing, it's only in this little micro-world.

No one reads self-published books. Avoid that.

I will let Maclin answer Art Data, as I cannot communicate with the likes of him at all. He is all soulless numbers and stereotypes and puffery.

Janet, I have been thinking a lot about your tale, which the fearful will take as confirmation of their suspicions about 'those people'. I think maybe your 'shyness' was read as fear or unfriendliness. Predators smell fear. I know that I have lived in far worse neighborhoods than this with never any issues. When I lived in the South Bronx in the late 80s I would walk a mile home from the subway at night. I was nervous, but never had a problem. And I was the whitest person around. The other friars were mostly Italian and Colombian. Even the one German was dark. But I dressed shabby, was bearded, and walked purposefully, neither making nor avoiding eye contact. The only time I felt really alarmed was when my friend from the diocesan seminary came to visit. He was dressed in a polo shirt and khakis and had some sort of golf cap on his head. People were looking at us with hostility, which I never got when on my own.

I think most of the people on this thread have always lived separately from the poor, have never had a friend who had done time for a felony, imagine that the poor with their unruly mating habits are more immoral than themselves, assumes that they are lazy, etc.

That is sad, but among those who live and work together in the working poor class I do not see any increase of racial tension. I see easy friendship and camaraderie. And of course love and babies.

Benjamin Watson, Tight End, New Orleans Saints (NFL)writes:

"At some point while I was playing or preparing to play Monday Night Football, the news broke about the Ferguson Decision. After trying to figure out how I felt, I decided to write it down. Here are my thoughts:

I'M ANGRY because the stories of injustice that have been passed down for generations seem to be continuing before our very eyes.

I'M FRUSTRATED, because pop culture, music and movies glorify these types of police citizen altercations and promote an invincible attitude that continues to get young men killed in real life, away from safety movie sets and music studios.

I'M FEARFUL because in the back of my mind I know that although I'm a law abiding citizen I could still be looked upon as a "threat" to those who don't know me. So I will continue to have to go the extra mile to earn the benefit of the doubt.

I'M EMBARRASSED because the looting, violent protests, and law breaking only confirm, and in the minds of many, validate, the stereotypes and thus the inferior treatment.

I'M SAD, because another young life was lost from his family, the racial divide has widened, a community is in shambles, accusations, insensitivity hurt and hatred are boiling over, and we may never know the truth about what happened that day.

I'M SYMPATHETIC, because I wasn't there so I don't know exactly what happened. Maybe Darren Wilson acted within his rights and duty as an officer of the law and killed Michael Brown in self defense like any of us would in the circumstance. Now he has to fear the backlash against himself and his loved ones when he was only doing his job. What a horrible thing to endure. OR maybe he provoked Michael and ignited the series of events that led to him eventually murdering the young man to prove a point.

I'M OFFENDED, because of the insulting comments I've seen that are not only insensitive but dismissive to the painful experiences of others.

I'M CONFUSED, because I don't know why it's so hard to obey a policeman. You will not win!!! And I don't know why some policeman abuse their power. Power is a responsibility, not a weapon to brandish and lord over the populace.

I'M INTROSPECTIVE, because sometimes I want to take "our" side without looking at the facts in situations like these. Sometimes I feel like it's us against them. Sometimes I'm just as prejudiced as people I point fingers at. And that's not right. How can I look at white skin and make assumptions but not want assumptions made about me? That's not right.

I'M HOPELESS, because I've lived long enough to expect things like this to continue to happen. I'm not surprised and at some point my little children are going to inherit the weight of being a minority and all that it entails.

I'M HOPEFUL, because I know that while we still have race issues in America, we enjoy a much different normal than those of our parents and grandparents. I see it in my personal relationships with teammates, friends and mentors. And it's a beautiful thing.

I'M ENCOURAGED, because ultimately the problem is not a SKIN problem, it is a SIN problem. SIN is the reason we rebel against authority. SIN is the reason we abuse our authority. SIN is the reason we are racist, prejudiced and lie to cover for our own. SIN is the reason we riot, loot and burn. BUT I'M ENCOURAGED because God has provided a solution for sin through the his son Jesus and with it, a transformed heart and mind. One that's capable of looking past the outward and seeing what's truly important in every human being. The cure for the Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice and Eric Garner tragedies is not education or exposure. It's the Gospel. So, finally, I'M ENCOURAGED because the Gospel gives mankind hope."

I linked to that way up in the thread

So, Daniel, you're saying that poor black people feel hostility and fear toward the Other. ;-)

Bravo to Benjamin Watson. I had forgotten about your link, Janet--usual thing of not having time to read it at the moment and then forgetting.

Grumpy, Angelico Press is precisely who I was thinking of. Thing about my book is that most of it is not specifically Catholic--it's rooted in the faith, but most of the pieces are not about the faith. I don't think it's as true as it used to be that self-published books get ignored. It certainly was that way pre-internet, then for a while some people did rather well with it, but now there are so very many self-published e-books that I think it's harder to stand out from the crowd.

I have to say I kind of like the do-it-yourself aspect of, well, doing it myself. I haven't even considered sending it to the big publishers--I don't think you can even get read there without an agent or some kind of in. Fifteen years ago I went to a writer's conference where they discussed the struggle to find an agent the way people discussed the struggle to find a publisher forty years ago.

Thank you, Robert. I really appreciate that.

Yes, Maclin, and that it is entirely understandable.

Do you know somebody that's connected with Angelico Press?

AMDG

Daniel,

I am thinking about and trying to understand what you are saying to me, because I don't want to respond until I do understand better.

I don't understand why you put "shyness" in quotes as though you think I wasn't. But anyway, I would think that the fact that I let my children play in people's houses would make them pretty sure that I wasn't afraid of them. And the people that did us harm were not, as far as I know (except in one instance, and that person was white), people that knew us.

Anyway, I have to figure this out some more. It sounds like you're saying that the things that happened to us were our fault, but I don't think you can possibly be saying that.

AMDG

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