Saturday, July 20, 2013

Most Republicans sincerely believe they aren't racists--and that if they are it's an irrelevant smigen.

Black pundits keep saying they want a national dialog on racism.

Whites greet this with the enthusiasm that the average guy shows when his girlfriend says she wants to talk about their relationship.

But beyond the universal human reluctance to discuss the defects someone else thinks we have, the Republican Ministry of Propaganda has done a bang-up job of enabling whites to sincerely believe that America doesn't have a Race Problem.

1. Black hustlers. From local community activists angling to get taxpayer-funded grants for bogus projects to black congressmen enjoying long-term sinecures due to Republican gerrymandering (packing and cracking that assembles all the black voters in a region into one super-safe district in order to make the surrounding districts equally safe for Republican pols), there surely are blacks who exploit white guilt for personal gain.

Of course this doesn't mean that there's no real racism, but it gives an excuse for whites looking for that excuse.

2. No laws discriminate by race. The old Jim Crow laws are all gone, though as recently as the 1960s some lingered on, as with the laws against interracial marriage.

Of course laws do now discriminate by race. They just do it once removed. Thus the mandatory sentencing laws about crack cocaine are wildly disproportionate to those about cocaine, even though the two drugs differ about as much as regular salt differs from "sea salt." Or take the laws make running a state's elections a partisan office. Nothing racist about that, right?

Only those laws result in blacks having to wait up to 8 hours to vote in black-majority precincts, while whites wait...well, how long have you (if you're white) ever waited to vote?

Or take the laws making it possible to charge teens as adults. Tot up the stats and you'll find that this is done to black teens way more than white teens.

Or take the laws disenfranchising felons for life. This happens to white felons just like it happens to black felons. Only blacks are charged as felons for crimes that when whites do it, they often get to plea bargain the charge for the same crime down to a misdemeanor. 

And the public defender system is a sick joke. Indigent defendants get a few seconds of a harried public defender's time--just enough to recommend a plea bargain that has most black defendants pleading guilty to a felony (and that lifetime disenfranchisement) in exchange for doing five years instead of ten for a crime he may or may not have actually committed--but the conviction makes the DA look good for when he runs for Governor.

Thus if you look at the stats, it shows the "crime playing field" massively tilted in favor of giving white lawbreakers a break and black lawbreakers (or just lower-class blacks who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time) the exact opposite.

Blacks know this. They know how often they've been stopped for "driving while black" or even just "walking while black." Or being followed by store security when they're shopping--as the President of the United States said yesterday had happened to him repeatedly up until he became a state Senator.

Whites don't know this, because it hasn't happened to them, and they're disinclined to believe blacks who talk about this. The statistics prove that the game is rigged against blacks, but most people--whites and blacks included--are too innumerate to understand statistics, and instead go by personal experience. They know people can lie with statistics, so they use that as an excuse to dismiss all statistics (at least the ones they don't like), instead of educating themselves about statistics.

3. Blacks look scary. It doesn't help that it's so fashionable for black teens to adopt a gangsta "look." Or that rap songs and videos glorifying thug behavior and appearance are so popular. The days of Harry Belafonte or Nat King Cole being the face of male black entertainment are long gone. There are still lots of "nice looking" black male entertainers, like John Legend and Bruno Mars, but the thug-looking kind predominate.

Of course this doesn't mean a black teen who looks like a thug is a thug, and black teens dressed like choirboys still get profiled and pulled over, but it doesn't help. Blacks have a right to dress however they please, just as women do, and I support their rights as American citizens to do so without harassment. But thug-looking black style does contribute to whites feeling that the Zimmermans of the world following and confronting the Martins of the world is justified.

4. Race discrimination now goes on without words. If someone who sounds black / has a black-looking name applies for an apartment rental around the country, in a remarkable number of instances he finds that the apartment was just rented. But then when a white-sounding/named person with exactly the same credit score, quality of references etc. applies for that "just rented" apartment, magically it's now available.

Scenarios like this play out in innumerable ways on a daily basis. But because the "for rent" signs no longer say "Negroes need not apply," whites who want to fantasize that society is now color-blind get to do so.

4. Many whites act as if racial discrimination abruptly winked out of existence around 1970. The white Southern establishment used race as its foundation for keeping poor whites quiescent for a century and a half, figuring that if they feared blacks enough they'd ignore the fact that both poor whites and poor blacks were getting screwed over by the same people in the same way. They were right.

Well, the need for the Southern white establishment to keep poor whites voting for rich whites in order to keep the boot heel on black necks didn't vanish in 1970. Anyone who thinks it did is either a racist or someone who lacks critical thinking ability.

In 1950 a white Southern pol would say "Vote for me and I'll keep them cullud fellas in their place." In 1970 a white Southern pol would say "Y'all know what ah stand for." And so they did.

And of course this extends outside the South to most of the parts of the country dominated by uneducated whites--rural white America--all those Red-colored congressional districts.


When the laws and the enforcement of the laws of cities, counties, states, and the nation are carefully rigged to work against people who don't look like you, only without every saying in so many words that's what's happening, it's easy for shallow people to delude themselves into thinking that our society is color blind.

Hah. I experienced the way things work back in the hippie era when I had long hair and a Fu Manchu moustache and drove a funky car. I got profiled and stopped too, then. Only my problems went away as soon as the cop and I talked, due to my polite middle-class speech/actions inside the hippie garb (plus the fact that I wasn't stoned). But I saw how things worked when you aren't "correct" looking.

With the Zimmerman case, just ask yourself these questions about what the Sanford, Florida police department would have done if:

1. Martin was a year older, carrying a gun as well, beat Zimmerman to the draw and claimed self-defense because Zimmerman scared him, under Florida's Stand Your Ground law (which both the judge and jurors in the Zimmerman case used in the particulars of the judge's instructions and the reasoning the female white jurors brought to bear on whether or not to convict "George" as they thought of him, vs. "that black punk").

2. Martin was white and Zimmerman was black, with cops arriving to find the black man holding a smoking pistol standing over the body of a white man (and yes Zimmerman was and is a white man by normal standards).

3. Martin and Zimmerman were both white.

4. Martin was a young, attractive, female white corpse at the feet of Zimmerman.

Theoretically the outcome should have been identical in each of these scenarios. Do you think it would have been?


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