These online conversations are messy--every bit as messy as in-person conversations can be. Sometimes we talk at each other instead of to each other; sometimes we can't get our point across; sometimes we don't listen well to the other person's perspective. The conversations copied below followed an article from The Atlantic, "A Year of Black Lives Matter," by Clare Foran. Posted on December 31, 2015, it reviewed the Black Lives Matter movement in 2015. The time stamps are meaningless at this point, but please read the back-and-forth arguments, and please add your voice and views to these ideas.
This Week's Conversation:
"There's an absurd quality to the idea of people telling you to be calm and controlled in your pain." Does anyone deny that there is immense pain fueling the BLM movement? Sure, it's easier to ignore or reject or denigrate someone else's pain, but haven't you been helped at some time in your life with a pain that you couldn't resolve alone?
Deus ex iguana Mary Neighbour • an hour ago
Yes, I do deny it. The Missouri student who went on a hunger strike was the member of an extremely wealthy family. Virtually all of the incidents of racism at Missouri were fabricated and even if they had been real, they were hardly painful. A "poop swastika" on a bathroom stall door (seen by no one) is offensive to Jews, if anyone. It was certainly a prank left by some idiot. This is the pain point? Who in their right mind would take that seriously?
I'll refer in reply to another article today, in the Chicago Tribune, "Dunbar slayings prompt a rethinking of Black Lives Matter," by William Lee. Among other things, he writes about a high school where 3 students were killed this past year, and he asks what are the odds of 3 classmates being murdered within days of each other. He researched the odds with the CDC: "The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that between 2010 and 2012, on an annual basis only one in every 40,000 white Americans was a homicide victim, while the number was one in 5,000 for African-Americans." If that's not a painful reality, I don't know what is. If I grew up knowing and feeling this reality, I'd feel pain, fear, anxiety--and yes--anger.
Deus ex iguana • 4 minutes ago
I think we are in agreement. I fully support any movement, BLM or whatever, that wants to stop the senseless murder going on in the black community. I will join the movement myself.
So you think BLM is dealing with criminal violence in the black community? If so, please give links.
Mary Neighbour Will Yum • 8 minutes ago
I agree with the author: "The challenge, for the movement, is to stem the tide of violence against black men and women while working to fix what activists believe is a fragmented and broken society. It's an ambition that won't be easily achieved. But as the movement evolves and expands, it has forced change."
This whole article is a review of the BLM's growth and impact, with prescriptions for its ongoing growth. BLM is not centrally organized; as they become more organized, new priorities--like addressing all violence in black communities--will likely be added. I think your argument, Will, is a mirror image of the debate over black lives matter vs. all lives matter. BLM has a legitimate focus. It's narrow for a legitimate reason, and it's to be expected that it will become more broad as the movement expands.
I deny it as whites have the same "pain" as statistically proven by the data from Holder's Dept. of Justice. Thus, there is no "problem" as the BLM paints it (racism heavily against blacks by LEOs). If one is bereft of the ability to use logic to analyse these situations one is apt to fall for the false rhetoric of a group like BLM.
Mary Neighbour Moonchalk • a minute ago
I'm new to these types of conversations, so please bear with me. I don't know what statistics you're talking about that show whites have the same pain. I'd like know about that data.
About blacks being unfairly and unequally handled by law enforcement, both the Washington Post ("A Year of Reckoning") and the Guardian ("The Counted: people killed by police in the US) have the most recent data--more recent that the FBI or the Justice Dept.-- which substantiate that unarmed blacks are indeed more likely than unarmed whites to be killed by police.
Mary Neighbour 2ndRules • 4 minutes ago
No one denies the reality of the problem of black-against-black violence. But why can't BLM have the objectives of--(1) bringing awareness to the higher rates of black deaths at the hands of police and (2) eradicating that risk in their lives--without addressing other objectives? Your priority is not their priority--but does that delegitimize their position?
"(1) bringing awareness to the higher rates of black deaths at the hands of police" That number is tiny compared to the real problem.
"(2) eradicating that risk in their lives" You do that by not running from cops, not robbing liquor stores, not allowing a cultural acceptance of violent behavior
Mary Neighbour 2ndRules • a few seconds ago
Your perspective is valid: you perceive violence in black communities to be the main issue. I'm making the point that other perspectives also are valid, especially the expectation that a black man or woman should be safe from police brutality.
The bigger problem I perceive with conflating these two perspectives is that your position implies that police brutality against blacks is somehow justified (or at a minimum, should be ignored) because blacks are violent themselves. You wouldn't, I think, say that all blacks are violent, would you?
Tamir Rice was not violent; Freddie Gray was not violent; Bettie Jones was not violent; Jamar Clark was not violent; Felix Kumi was not violent; and on and on--and none of these were armed.
You are opining purely on emotion, I am talking hard numbers. More than the people you mentioned are killed every weekend in any one major city 52 weekends a year, by other blacks. The numbers speak for themselves, inarguable.
Mary Neighbour 2ndRules • 2 hours ago
We are talking issues and facts. In support of my position, I presented five instances where unarmed blacks were killed by police. Please check "The Counted," database of police killings in 2015; you can find it at www.theguardian.com. You have not given any numbers or references to support your argument that black-on-black crime justifies police killings of blacks.
I can only conclude that you are saying that police can kill unarmed blacks because, after all, blacks kill other blacks. That's not an emotional argument, but it lacks logic.
2ndRules Mary Neighbour • an hour ago
I never said it "justified" anything, the two aren't connected, what I said there is selective outrage bases upon a political narrative.2015 in Chicago alone:
Since 1/1/16: 29 shootings
This far exceeds any police shootings, but you will never hear about it, because it would force him to admit the abject failure of Ron Emmanuel, a political ally.
Mary Neighbour 2ndRules • 35 minutes ago
Good, so we agree: the two issues (cops killing blacks and blacks killing blacks) are not connected. So, why do you focus only on the second, and use that focus to dismiss the first?
2ndRules Mary Neighbour • 30 minutes ago
I'm not focusing on either, I don't have a dog in the fight. I'm saying that the outrage is a false political one.If he was so concerned, he would send in the National Guard to quell the problem. But he won't because of political ties and his disdain of anything Military. His gained political capital would not be worth the cost.
Mary Neighbour 2ndRules • 2 minutes ago
You've lost me. You've responded 5 times in this thread, and now you say you're not focusing on the topic? And in the last two you interject an unidentified "he." I can't follow your thoughts.
The unidentified "he" is his majesty obama, and when I say I'm not focusing, I'm just commenting. I honestly don't care about either type of shooting, cop or thug
I've found that any attempt to engage in meaningful online conversation is absolutely pointless. Most people are already segregated into...what does Twitter call it? "people in your network"? We are already so divided, odds are that you are only connecting with someone who already agrees with you or someone already brainwashed by a narrow agenda backed by narrow minded, engrained talking points--typically angry, lonely people needing a group to identify with, seeking out places to vent. They have already decided and there's no point. And a lot of these people belong to (or possibly work for) groups like the NRA, who's only purpose is to seek out and attack online comments that oppose their agenda.
Although now that I say this, I recall reading an article about a granddaughter of the group that (used to?) protest military funerals holding signs that read "God hates fags." (Sorry can't recall their names.) BUT she had the job of promoting the group online, challenging comments, yet experienced a profound change of heart after communicating with a (Jewish?) man online. And she was born into the group, protested with them since the age of 5, so I guess if even one person is awakened (from the dark side), it is worth your effort to reason. Best of luck!
Welcome back and best wishes for the new year. Your conclusion in the first paragraph is certainly supported by this week's thread. But so far, I'm leaning toward the sentiment in your second paragraph. I can't say how long my optimism will hold out, but in the meantime, at a minimum, I am hoping that these conversations will bring ideas to "people in my network" so that they can engage in their own conversations, armed with some recent data.
If you or anyone else has ideas about how to move outside our own networks--which I think is crucial--please share those ideas here.
Frustrating as they may be, thank you Mary for continuing these conversations. Since the bottom line is to educate others about racial issues, this blog provides opportunities to do so. Frequently as I read these blogs I remember the 1960s when I participated in Project Understanding-- an organization that linked families in Wisconsin with black families in rural Mississippi. Each summer children from the south were brought in buses to Wisconsin to stay with open-minded families for several weeks. The chairman of the Mississippi county that I was connected with was a tremendously brave and influential black man who in spite of being targeted by the Ku Klux Klan continued his efforts to educate others about the plight of black people. He sometimes spoke to Wisconsin high school student assemblies. On one occasion when I attended a forum regarding civil rights and spoke on behalf of the black people, a university professor countered my talk by giving reasons why black people are not equal to white people. On another occasion when civil rights activist, Father James Groppi, who lived in Milwaukee organized a freedom march to the Wisconsin capital in Madison, the march came through the town where I lived. The plan was to have sleeping quarters for the marchers in this town which the Catholic priest agreed to provide in the parish hall. Interestingly, only the Lutheran minister and myself greeted the marchers as they reached the outskirts of the town in the evening. Residents of the town were not in favor of the march and I believe they were fearful. Unfortunately, decades later the need to educate others about non-violent ways to improve racial relations continues. Thank you once again for providing this opportunity.
Jeannette, your comparison to the '60s is a good reminder that America's collective learning curve is not very long, nor is it continuous. But it is continuing, thanks to many individuals who seek to understand the problems and step up to be part of the solutions. I was deeply moved by the nightly news casts of the 1960s Civil Rights movement. Truth and justice have a way of shining through the darkest hours, leaving an indelible impression on the heart and mind. Thank you for sharing your experiences of people, communities, and everyday heroes.