Monday, July 18, 2016

questioning each other's sanity

My buddy Steve doCarmo writes on his blog, regarding the slogan "Black Lives Matter":

The Black Lives Matter movement has given us all an excellent litmus test—in the form of its very name.

Some people hear that name, that phrase, “black lives matter,” and they’re sure they hear a particular word right after it:


These people say, “Black lives matter more?” And they get angry. And they put signs on their lawns—and bumper stickers on their cars—making a retort: “All lives matter.”

Others of us hear that name, that phrase, “black lives matter,” and we’re sure we hear a different particular word right after it:


And we say, “Has it really come to this? So many years after Brown vs. Board and Dr. King and Malcolm X and the Freedom Riders, black Americans are actually having to remind us, in the wake of so many ugly recent incidents, that their lives matter too?”

And we say, It’s clearly time to get back to work.

And we say, Police, schools, and tax codes gotta change.

And we say, How on earth does any sensible American hear that name, that phrase, and imagine there's a more after it?

Meanwhile, at the Observer, Austin Bay writes:

No sane person ever said black lives didn’t matter or that racial prejudice doesn’t exist in America—quite the opposite. But two or three short weeks ago try and whisper “all lives matter” much less “blue lives matter” (ie, the lives of law enforcement officers) and Black Lives Matter activists, their political allies and their friendly media pals would have scorned your words as gutter racism.

Black Lives Matter activists and their propagandists have waged a very effective War On Honesty. Black Lives Matter leaders employ vicious charges of racism to silence political opponents, or, failing that, deter media criticism of their radical tactics, which include violent language and occasional violent incidents. The goal is political provocation and divisiveness. Yes, Black Lives Matter benefits as an organization from divisiveness. It serves their political goals.

So who's saner? Could it be we're all just talking past each other?

Statistics seem to indicate that it's not blacks who are killed at the highest rate by police.

But when it comes to the most lethal form of force — police shootings — the study finds no racial bias.

“It is the most surprising result of my career,” said Roland G. Fryer Jr., the author of the study and a professor of economics at Harvard. The study examined more than 1,000 shootings in 10 major police departments, in Texas, Florida and California.

The result contradicts the image of police shootings that many Americans hold after the killings (some captured on video) of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.; Tamir Rice in Cleveland; Walter Scott in South Carolina; Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, La.; and Philando Castile in Minnesota.

[Fuller disclosure of context: the article still concludes there is police bias against blacks in terms of the use of less-than-deadly force.]

And from Heather Mac Donald [sic—she really does write "Mac Donald" as two separate words, not as "MacDonald"]:

For starters, fatal police shootings make up a much larger proportion of white and Hispanic homicide deaths than black homicide deaths. According to the Post database, in 2015 officers killed 662 whites and Hispanics, and 258 blacks. (The overwhelming majority of all those police-shooting victims were attacking the officer, often with a gun.) Using the 2014 homicide numbers as an approximation of 2015’s, those 662 white and Hispanic victims of police shootings would make up 12% of all white and Hispanic homicide deaths. That is three times the proportion of black deaths that result from police shootings.

The lower proportion of black deaths due to police shootings can be attributed to the lamentable black-on-black homicide rate. There were 6,095 black homicide deaths in 2014—the most recent year for which such data are available—compared with 5,397 homicide deaths for whites and Hispanics combined. Almost all of those black homicide victims had black killers.

Police officers—of all races—are also disproportionately endangered by black assailants. Over the past decade, according to FBI data, 40% of cop killers have been black. Officers are killed by blacks at a rate 2.5 times higher than the rate at which blacks are killed by police.

Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, himself black (which matters not at all to me, but which matters to the identity-politics crowd), has this to say about the BLM movement:

The bloodbath continues for the American law enforcement officers in the name of "Black Lives Matter."

I listened to the president this afternoon...

Here's the thing [President Obama] will not do. And this will go a long way...

He will not condemn anti-police sentiment. He condemned the violence, he has to condemn the violence, but he will not condemn the anti-police sentiment.

When a terror attack happens, he goes out there and warns and condemns against Muslim-backlash. He will not do that for American police officers...

Black Lives Matter are purveyors of hate. It is a hateful violent ideology... That I said has to be wiped off the face of the earth. I said that a year ago and the liberal mainstream media went haywire. They bear some responsibility too.

So I would tentatively conclude that the BLM movement, by focusing on blacks, is itself adding an implicit more to the dialogue, and that this is what "All Lives Matter" is pushing against. Don't be so quick to cry "racism." All lives do matter... don't they?


TheBigHenry said...


Indeed, all lives matter. But ...

Recall what Nigel Powers said:

"There are only two things I can't stand in this world. People who are intolerant of other people's cultures ... and the Dutch."

Kevin Kim said...

Mr. Powers may be on to something.

(Or he may just be on something.)

Lorianne said...

Regarding the question of whether BLM implies "black lives matter more" or "black lives matter too," consider this:

In the years since 9/11, "I support the troops" has become a very popular phrase. I've *never* heard anyone suggest that saying "I support the troops" means the speaker supports military to the exclusion of other groups. Saying "I support the troops" doesn't mean you don't support police, firefighters, teachers, doctors, or other public servants. It just means you want to make a point of appreciating members of the military.

If a patriotic person were to say "Military lives matter," I'm guessing we wouldn't assume they meant that military lives matter more than other lives. And if a pro-life person were to say "Unborn lives matter," we again would probably assume they meant unborn babies are just as important as other humans. We wouldn't blame either group of focusing only on soldiers or fetuses to the exclusion of other human beings.

So why are we so quick to freak out when we hear the phrase "Black lives matter"?

TheBigHenry said...

I don't agree that "we" are "so quick to freak out". I think most people thought, as I did (and still do), when I first heard that slogan -- "of course they do; who said they didn't?"

But after all the recent murderous ambushes of police officers by black men, is there any wonder that some people are "freaking out about" the slogan that is prompting such atrocities?

King Baeksu said...

BLM have become shock troops for the Clinton campaign. Without a massive turn-out of the black American vote, her numbers just don't add up. (Thus, both she and Obama have been unabashed in pandering to them, rather than explicitly calling them out for their obvious lies and racial incitements.) And, of course, we all know who $hillary's paymasters are. In other words, BLM are "useful idiots" who are easily being played by the Wall Street globalists (it's no surprise the hedge-fund pirate George Soros is one of their biggest funders). This really does take cynical, nihilistic "radical chic" to a whole new level.

Black Lives Matter? More like Black Votes Matter. How many more innocent people are going to have to die at the feet of Crooked Hillary? "Hands up?" The BLM crowd need to be shouting that slogan at the criminal banksters in New York and their henchmen in Washington, DC, but of course that's probably asking too much of obvious idiots who don't even have a clue.

Kevin Kim said...


I completely agree that, in the abstract, there's nothing offensive or even bizarre about saying "Black lives matter." If anything, I'd consider the claim trivially true: of course black lives matter, just as it's trivially true that all lives matter.

The problem is that the "BLM" utterance isn't happening in a vacuum of abstraction. In my blog post, I contended that the BLM crowd is imputing an implicit "more" when they say black lives matter, and I think the proof—at least hypothetically—is this: now that we have the stats, and we know that whites and Hispanics are the ones being gunned down at a significantly higher rate than blacks are being gunned down, what would happen if a "White Lives Matter" campaign, highlighting this unfair treatment of whites, were to start up? The answer is obvious: there'd be a black backlash because that demographic's implied privileged victimhood would have been stripped away and exposed for the nothing it is.

As Heather Mac Donald observes, you could take away all the police's guns and black gun-death statistics would change only a minuscule amount because the real problem for blacks is black-on-black gun violence. BLM's focus—perhaps deliberately—is on the wrong phenomenon.

Meanwhile, "White Lives Matter" would be shouted down as racist and oppressive by the BLM crowd. It's sad, but that's the twisted, overly PC world we live in. Better, I think, to stick with "All lives matter," which is the most inclusive slogan, and liberals are (often rightly!) all about inclusion. It's strange to see liberals reject (or at least contest) the more-inclusive slogan in favor of a slogan that misguidedly affirms privileged victimhood for a specific demographic.

King Baeksu said...

When I was just 18, I was stopped by a cop in Berkeley, California for a busted taillight on my Honda Nighthawk. At one point, I made a sarcastic comment and he immediately put the boot down on my neck, proverbially speaking. I got a thorough and rather embarrassing frisking, right there by the side of the road, and learned never give lip to an officer of the law again.

US police officers are trained to assert dominance when they pull over a driver or stop a suspicious individual for questioning; the purpose is to signal authority, and most importantly to establish control of the situation. If you reject that dynamic, or attempt to assert your own "dominance" in any way, the officer will interpret such as a threat and immediately respond with full force. I was made aware of all this while still just a teenager, and find it hard to believe that inner-city thugs don't really "get" it, either. Supposedly Philando Castile had been pulled over some fifty times by the police before he was finally shot dead earlier this month. Does anyone really think that he didn't know the basic rules of engagement with traffic officers after long experience? There's a simple way not to get pumped full of lead by the police in America: Just do what the fuck they say. It's called compliance. It's not that fucking complicated.

Michael Brown actually attacked Darren Wilson and tried to take his gun. Alton Sterling can be seen on video literally wrestling with the two police officers attempting to apprehend him, and was only shot after he ignored a very clear warning: "If you fucking move, I swear to God!" In no way, shape or form can their behavior be described as compliant. They freaked the police out and bad shit happened. It was completely unnecessary.

I don't think their deaths were caused by 'racism." I think the main reason was fucking stupidity. As they say on the Internet: Darwin wins again.

Kevin Kim said...


I agree re: compliance. Koreans who get pulled over in the States often experience a rude awakening when they find out you never sass back at, or try to bribe, our police.

My own encounter with cops has generally been cordial. I've never experienced a beat-down, either verbal or physical. The police have always been polite. Direct and no-nonsense, but never unduly rude. Of course, I may have been partially protected by my arsenal of "Yes, sir"s and "No, Officer"s.

TheBigHenry said...

I recently had an online exchange with a guy who asserted in a sarcastic manner that in America you are likely to get shot for having a broken taillight. I responded as follows:

"I suspect you are implying that in America one is at risk of being shot when stopped for a broken taillight. That is simply false, provided you refrain from addressing the officer as 'motherfucker', especially if that happens to be your normal polite salutation."

End of discussion.

Kevin Kim said...


True enough. To be fair, there are videos out there of officers who have unduly flown off the handle, but even in those cases, there's almost always some sort of provocation involved.

King Baeksu said...

Kevin, you could easily interpret differing police cultures in the US and the ROK from the perspective of Richard E. Nisbett ("The Geography of Thought"). In the US, rule of law is generally seen as a transcendent, objective principal or good that is valued in itself, regardless of a particular situation or context, whereas I would argue that in South Korea, relationships often supersede such abstract constructs. Thus, there is not much flexibility in the application of the law in the US, unless you are a member of the elite and have the means to grease the wheels of justice (i.e., wealthy, famous or a high-level politician), whereas in Korea the law is much more flexible, even at the ground level. Thus, negotiating and bargaining are much more common when interacting with Korean police, as harmonious community relations can often be seen as more important than being too strict or unfeeling about following "abstract principals." Try "negotiating" or "bargaining" with a US cop, and that shit usually won't fly, as they are agents of the law and the law is what ultimately counts.

The better approach, as you have experienced yourself, is to be as polite and accommodating as possible, as American cops are people, too, and appreciate being shown some basic respect and courtesy. Of course, when a thug feels that he is being "disrespected" by a police officer simply because he has been stopped for breaking the law, he may foolishly respond with provocative words or actions, and that's when things quickly escalate. Of course, I doubt BLM activists are much interested in educating troubled black youth in such nuances and subtleties, as that line of approach is unlikely to secure them the sinecures and dollars that are really their main objective.

TheBigHenry said...


My own motto has always been, "Never argue with anyone who has a bigger gun than you do." Since I never had a gun, that has always precluded arguing with a police officer.

I can't imagine what one can possibly gain from provoking a police officer. That simply can't end well.

Kevin Kim said...

Scott & Henry,

Makes sense.

Maven said...

Perhaps I'm too literal, but why can't "BLM" just be just that, not appended with a "too," or "more?" And "Has it really come to this?" The answer, clearly is yes. There is a lot more work to be done--Jim Crow truly IS NOT dead, and despite having a black president, we are NOT living in a post-racial America.

And regarding police brutality--it's been shown time and time again, we have not moved beyond Rodney King, and it doesn't matter how many times people record video proof of this. The video proof, as another blogger, Awesome Luvvie refers to them as "state sanctioned snuff films." And to be honest, I don't even click on them anymore, and have chosen to redirect my attentions elsewhere.

And by "elsewhere" I mean this: The way I bear witness to this, if I see someone of color pulled over by the cops, I park my car nearby and keep my eye on things. Much in the way that some Jewish temples employ a "house goy" to turn on the lights and do all the things that cannot be done on shabbat, I, as a person with/of "privilege" (subtext: just being born white) WILL bear witness on what happens to my brothers and sisters; just as I would hope someone would come to MY aid if someone were trying to violate ME.

Maven said...

PS: I cannot help but think the quotable from Martin Niemoller applies:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

Kevin Kim said...


I published your comment with some hesitation. As I said elsewhere, watch the tone and keep it civil. Suze is a friend. She and I don't always agree, but she's cool with that and so am I. Let's keep disagreement respectful.

Maven said...

Read up on it. Sundown towns may have been legally off the books since 1968, they still exist. I'm in NY, and one town in particular, Verplanck is still homogenous, between local HOAs as well as financial institutions making it difficult for many years for blacks to get financing. See also/worth googling "Rockefeller Drug Laws," which have unfairly targeted blacks for low level crimes. Both sides, admittedly, eye the other with suspicion; however it is a well known that racism as an institution is still active in this country.

I take the Buddhist tack on things: all life is suffering. And a lot of our suffering is a consequence of shitty decisions we have made. So a thinking individual would want to make smarter choices, whether it be an African American male choosing NOT to wear a hoodie (since that usually fits a thug or criminal profile), or a woman NOT wearing a mini skirt and walking the streets alone at 2 a.m.

While yes, constitutionally "all men are created equal," there is a disparity in experiences, I.e. not everyone (black or white) is born with the same resources.

Also woth saying, I work with cops and I have friends of all walks of life, and what is depicted in the news, representing both sides, is not representing a good majority of people I know. So, I would say that the MSM is to blame in part with the divisive nature of what is passing for "reporting" these days.