Friday, September 23, 2016

Cut the strings

I'll make a few observations about the recent rioting in Charlotte in response to a police shooting. 

i) Let's begin with the "black lives matter" slogan. The insinuation is that police don't think black lives matter. Some conservatives have responded with counter slogans like "all lives matter" or "blue lives matter". In a sense, that's appropriate. It responds to the slogan on its own level. 

However, proponents of the "black lives matter" slogan object that this response misses the point. The point of the slogan is not that other lives don't matter, but that black lives matter too. 

A problem I have with this whole dialectic is issuing blanket generalities about a whole group of people. That conditions an outlook which lacks moral discernment. But the fact is, some lives matter more than others. What I mean by that is that a person can forfeit his prima facie right to life by certain kinds of misconduct. For instance, the lives of innocent school children matter more than the life of the suicide bomber who will murder them unless he's stopped by a bullet. In that sense, not all lives are equal. 

ii) Then we have the instant reaction to police shooting a black person. There's the presumption that whenever police shoot a black person, that must be racially motivated. I'd simply note that people who react that way are bigots. They are stereotyping all police. To assume, absent specific evidence, that when a policeman shoots a black person, that must be a racist shooting, is textbook prejudice. It's especially ironic in the case of the Charlotte incident where the policeman was black. 

iii) In my observation, black Americans are the only ethnic group in this country that routinely resorts to rioting as a form of political protest. They seem to think that being black gives them a special right to riot. Keep in mind that rioting isn't the same thing as peaceful protest or demonstration. Rioting involves arson, looting, and other forms of violence. 

iv) Apropos (iii), I'm struck by how a segment of the black community regards rioting, or even peaceful demonstrations, as its first recourse. An especially striking example is Ferguson. From what I've read, protestors complained that even though the city is 67 percent black, the local government is almost completely white. White mayor. Five out of six councilmen are white. White police chief. Nearly all-white police department. 

Now, I do think it's a problem when a majority population is governed by a minority government. I think it's a problem when the municipal population is drastically underrepresented in municipal government.

But I'm struck by the passivity of the population. If you represent 67% of the population, then you already have the political clout, if you choose to use it, to change the racial representation in city government. So why do the protesters act so powerless and disenfranchised? Why resort demonstrations or rioting as the first recourse when you already have the political wherewithal to change the status quo through legal means? Some blacks have become conditioned to a victimhood mentality that ignores a reality that's staring them in the face. If legal remedies are readily available, that should be your first resort. 

The composition of the police department is more complicated. Because black men have rap sheets out of proportion to other racial groups, that lowers the recruitment pool for black policemen. 

Now, Ferguson may be somewhat exceptional in that regard, but then we have the opposite irony in a city like Baltimore, where you had a black major, black police chief, black district attorney, majority black police department, majority black city council, black school superintendent, yet you still have the same knee-jerk reaction, as if black citizens are powerless and disenfranchised. 

v) There's a certain percentage of blacks who allow themselves to be manipulated. The only people who benefit from rioting are Democrat politicians and the white liberal establishment. It's not a good thing to let political puppet masters pull your strings. You need to cut the strings.

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