George Floyd Thing

Ironicaintit

New member
. . .but that's not the question at hand. The question is whether or not we fall for a completely fabricated narrative of widespread institutional racism and identitarian guilt that is supported solely by the vitriol of its advocates, without an observable fact in sight.
Alrighty then, no we shouldn’t fall for it.
but sadly, a huge segment of the population has been raised to believe that the deck is stacked against them.

I blame LBJs great society.

but what to do about it? THAT is the question
 

Ed Ames

Member
. . .but that's not the question at hand. The question is whether or not we fall for a completely fabricated narrative of widespread institutional racism and identitarian guilt that is supported solely by the vitriol of its advocates, without an observable fact in sight.
Does it matter whether it’s a fabricated narrative? It’s coming from life experiences and it seems right to the people living it. Right enough that they are risking their lives and futures to tell you about the problems.

But let’s take an outsider’s view:
We know that the US has a long history of institutional racism. The drug war, Jim Crow, gun control, etc.. And we know that much of that is still in place. Jim Crow laws didn’t all go away, the drug war didn’t go away, gun control didn’t go away...little ever goes away, it just gets added to.

And we know that Americans nowadays have an authoritarian streak about 87 miles wide. The first reaction to anything is to make laws more punitive, to make law enforcement more aggressive. One crazy person shoots someone? Ban all guns! People don’t want to turn them in? Then we’ll send police in armored cars to force them. Authoritarian.

And we know that repressing a group endangers everyone, inside and outside that group. It creates unrest, civil disorder, larceny, and all manner of other social ills. Desperate people without safety nets resort to crime to survive. Opportunistic people resort to crime to get ahead. Idealistic people do things they don’t think should be crimes. And the system treats them all the same, chews them up, tries to make it hard for them to ever work, live, or have any freedom again. Zero tolerance, zero grace. Once you get caught up in the system you are marked, and once you are marked there is no real benefit to following the rules. You will not even be allowed to follow the rules everyone else follows. You can’t get a job, live where you want, own a gun, or so many other perfectly normal things. So what happens to people who are marked and trapped that way? Well, it makes them more desperate for one thing, and it removes the incentive to follow the rules for another.

Add those things together, and you have a system designed to escalate injustice and conflict. A recipe for increasing disorder and increasing attempts to restore order by more and more authoritarian means, until finally something will break.

What we’re seeing now is cracks. People saying, hey, you’ve tried being stricter and stricter for 50 years and the results are bad. We asked you to change nicely and you didn’t. So now we’re going to try and force the issue. And if the message doesn’t sink in, if people still opt for authoritarian responses, the next time will be worse, and the next even worse, and so on until finally we don’t have a country any more.

The only way out of this mess is to step back and de-escalate. To say “you know what, it doesn’t matter whether there is institutional racism or just a messed up system. It’s broken, and it’s hurting you, so let’s step back from me imposing my will on you and instead try finding a way that we can all have a chance to succeed. An equal opportunity for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
 

edwardware

New member
Does it matter whether it’s a fabricated narrative? It’s coming from life experiences and it seems right to the people living it. Right enough that they are risking their lives and futures to tell you about the problems.
Yes, of course it matters that it's a fabricated narrative. Are you really asking what it sounds like you're asking?

If you start with a misunderstanding of the problem, you'll never solve it and will almost certainly suffer the consequences of your error.

As I pointed out elsewhere, vehemence doesn't demonstrate verity, it just prevents you from learning anything. If you're willing to read, there's several decades of solid research with broad statistical data on sociology, socio-economics, crime, and policing, much of it available for free online. Of course, you'll have to actually go looking and read it. . . no one's writing catchy headlines on CNN about uncomfortable reality.

You can start with MacDonald's piece in the WSJ.
Normalized by the arrest rate, black men are killed less often during detention or arrest than white men, and it turns out that if you differentiate down to incidents involving caucasian officers and black subjects, the rate is even lower. WSJ had a good summary on their editorial page (Heather Mac Donald) recently if you're interested.

What there certainly is is a great deal of profiling of young black men (traffic stops, frisks, etc). This is unfortunate and unfair, but probably unavoidable in the context of a country where black people are ~13% of the population and >50% of convicted murderers. A tiny slice of that 13% voluntarily engages in criminal behaviour that imposes an enormously huge societal cost on everyone who looks like them; there's an injustice we can protest!
 

edwardware

New member
Alrighty then, no we shouldn’t fall for it.
but sadly, a huge segment of the population has been raised to believe that the deck is stacked against them.

I blame LBJs great society.

but what to do about it? THAT is the question
We should start by stating the truth, and expecting opposition. It isn't headline-friendly, and places the great majority of responsibility for peoples fates right on them and their parents.

No one likes being told that they are their own problem. Realizing it and deciding to go do something about it is the greater part of growing up.
 

Ed Ames

Member
No, I’m not really asking what you think I’m asking. I’m arguing that your interpretation of the correctness of the narrative doesn’t actually matter to the underlying problems. Nor does their interpretation. You can argue interpretations all you want but the problems are there and until you and a lot of other people let go of your egos and say “you know, it doesn’t matter who is right, let’s fix this”, everything is going to get worse. And worse. And worse. Eventually we won’t have a country.

Here’s the reality as I see it: The approach taken to governance in the US today has the effect of amplifying underlying problems. It’s a feedback loop where someone doesn’t like something, so a law is passed, and then the fact that the law is violated becomes a justification for making the law more strict, enforcement more aggressive.

That sort of system isn’t racist in itself, but even when operating in a completely color-blind way it can easily create racist results if racism is an underlying problem...and, given the evidence we have from incarceration rates, wealth rates, educational attainment, and many other things,there are clearly racial divides.

Is that institutional racism? That’s a matter of interpretation. Like a good prosecutor, people find facts that fit their narrative and use them to prove their case to their peers. You can find your facts, they can find theirs, and you are all missing the big picture. This wouldn’t even be a discussion if things weren’t broken in a way that affects people along racial lines. That’s not fair, and unfairness is dangerous, so it’s in our selfish best interest to fix the problem. I don’t care whose fault it is.
 

edwardware

New member
. . .until you and a lot of other people let go of your egos and say “you know, it doesn’t matter who is right, let’s fix this”, everything is going to get worse.
I think I understand. I think that you're saying that if we all agree on what to believe, whether or not it's factually true ceases to matter. So long as we agree that The Narrative is true, it doesn't matter that it's factually false; our agreement can bend reality to our common ends.

I give you every sincerely believed failure in history as a counter point, from Babel, to Marxism. If the power of belief and agreement mattered one iota, North Korea would lead the world in prosperity, and Cargo Cults would work.

You cannot fix a problem that exists in someone's imagination, no matter how many people agree to imagine it; you cannot fix a problem that exists in reality until you achieve some minimally factual understanding of it.
 

edwardware

New member
This wouldn’t even be a discussion if things weren’t broken in a way that affects people along racial lines. That’s not fair, and unfairness is dangerous, so it’s in our selfish best interest to fix the problem. I don’t care whose fault it is.
Interesting extract that deserves a reply.

"Something" is broken, and the results are highly correlated to race. Turns out that outcomes are even more highly correlated to single-parent households and finishing highschool, among other things.

For example, the single greatest predictor of childhood poverty is single-motherhood. For some reason, a single-parent black child is slightly less likely to end up in prison than a single-parent non-black child. The "problem" is readily predicted by observing that the single-parent households comprise 60-90% (in some places) of households raising black children; that they are slightly less likely to suffer the consequence is lost in the overwhelming volume.

Another good example; over the past 5ish decades a significant number of people have migrated from Africa to the US. They are self-selected to the population that was successful enough in their origin counties to afford to migrate. If you look at their appearance, they are indistinguishable from the rest of the population in the US from the same area of Africa. If you look at their socio-economic data, they are more successful than many non-black immigrants from everywhere else, and after a generation or two are indistinguishable from the general non-black population. Their skin color didn't do that for them, their behavior did. (Citation, first 50 pages of Bell Curve and subsequent work).

If you don't care "who's fault it is", (or what the cause is), what makes you think anything you do will improve it?

LBJ & the subsequent iterations of the War on Poverty contributed to the single greatest predictor of generational poverty and criminality, single-motherhood. If you don't know that, you're probably going to do exactly the wrong thing, again.
 

Ed Ames

Member
lol, no. I write out an entire screed saying that obsession with the narrative is pointless, and you take from that that I think everyone should believe a narrative? Nope. You didn’t understand.

You are fighting over narratives because it’s a distraction from dealing with the real problems. You burn up all your energy dealing with the problem of how to talk about the problem, and you’ll never actually make substantive changes. Maybe it’s a deliberate strategy on your part or maybe someone is using it to neutralize you. Either way it’s a waste of your energy.

The problem isn’t in someone’s imagination. The problem is a real thing that exists independently from all your narratives and philosophies and attempts to fit it into an

Think about it this way: There’s a bright glowing thing in the sky. If you look at your eyes hurt and you can’t see as well after. Now some people say that glowing thing was placed there by Urkuflabs to punish those who dare to look up. Other people say it’s just a concentration of matter that we were placed near so we could keep an eye on it in case it did anything untoward. Still others say it’s just a concentration of matter, and the earth is just another concentration of matter, and we’re just some organisms that self-organized to take advantage of the energy potential that currently exists and by the way saying you are “looking up” is really planecentric and from a heliocentric point of view you are actually looking down when you look at the bright thing, and up when you look at the night sky.


In the context of preserving your vision, does the specific narrative actually matter? What you are doing is the equivalent of saying saying, “Until everyone agrees that Urkuflabs put it there, they won’t stop looking at it!” It’s just not true. The problem isn’t Urkuflabs or anything else you are using to conceptualize it. The problem is physics.

Well, in the case of the racial thing, the problem is (to paraphrase F.D.) that when a group of people is made to feel that society is organized to rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe...because the people who feel wronged aren’t going to put up with it forever. If you’ve built a society that does that - for whatever ideological reasons - you are creating an unsafe situation. Doesn’t matter if you are doing it from the left, right, top, or bottom.
 

Ed Ames

Member
In regards to your second post: I’m coming at this from a utilitarian point of view rather than an ideological one. All of those things you cite as predictors of outcomes are things I would cite as evidence of a problem. And remember, things feed back, so yesterday’s outcome is today’s causal factor, and today’s outcome is tomorrow’s causal factor.

Humans are all basically the same. There’s a range of course, but the individual deviation is far greater than any subgroup average difference.

We have systems in place that keep those with disadvantage at a disadvantage. If you are poor, a speeding ticket can snowball into losing your job, your home, your family...and without a safety net (which doesn’t have to be government provided but does need to exist) the next step is desperation...and nowadays we don’t have the desperation option of heading west into the wilderness. Most desperation options are crimes, so that speeding ticket can snowball into serious crimes.

Is that racist? Not as such, no. It’s a trap that catches anyone poor. But if the starting economic position of most people is related to race, it becomes a defacto form of institutional racism.

And what happens to the children of people who were caught up in that trap? Well, a lot of them grow up in single family homes, poor, ready to be caught by that trap themselves.

You can argue all you want that being vulnerable to that makes someone a bad person. I don’t care whether they are bad. I want to live free in a peaceful country where I don’t need to worry that someone may have a legitimate grudge against how they have been treated and take that grudge out on me/mine. OK, truth be told the fact that my tax dollars pay for a system that is actively harming my fellow citizens bugs me as well, but that’s as close to ideological as I get.
 

Grunt

New member
In regards to your second post: I’m coming at this from a utilitarian point of view rather than an ideological one. All of those things you cite as predictors of outcomes are things I would cite as evidence of a problem. And remember, things feed back, so yesterday’s outcome is today’s causal factor, and today’s outcome is tomorrow’s causal factor.

Humans are all basically the same. There’s a range of course, but the individual deviation is far greater than any subgroup average difference.

We have systems in place that keep those with disadvantage at a disadvantage. If you are poor, a speeding ticket can snowball into losing your job, your home, your family...and without a safety net (which doesn’t have to be government provided but does need to exist) the next step is desperation...and nowadays we don’t have the desperation option of heading west into the wilderness. Most desperation options are crimes, so that speeding ticket can snowball into serious crimes.

Is that racist? Not as such, no. It’s a trap that catches anyone poor. But if the starting economic position of most people is related to race, it becomes a defacto form of institutional racism.

And what happens to the children of people who were caught up in that trap? Well, a lot of them grow up in single family homes, poor, ready to be caught by that trap themselves.

You can argue all you want that being vulnerable to that makes someone a bad person. I don’t care whether they are bad. I want to live free in a peaceful country where I don’t need to worry that someone may have a legitimate grudge against how they have been treated and take that grudge out on me/mine. OK, truth be told the fact that my tax dollars pay for a system that is actively harming my fellow citizens bugs me as well, but that’s as close to ideological as I get.
If you can't afford a speeding ticket then don't speed. The "poor" in America have iPhones, car leases, air conditioning, hair extensions, and $100 nail jobs, not to mention covering their bodies with tattoos. Where does all that money come from? If you're poor and on assistance and can afford tattoos then you should be kicked off that assistance because it's obvious that you aren't really poor, you just make bad life choices.

If you're a single woman, on assistance, and have more children then it VERY obvious you make poor life choices. However the system is set up to reward these continuing poor life choices. If you can afford the Devil's Lettuce then why the hell can't you afford to feed your kids?
 

edwardware

New member
If you can't afford a speeding ticket then don't speed. The "poor" in America have iPhones, car leases, air conditioning, hair extensions, and $100 nail jobs, not to mention covering their bodies with tattoos. Where does all that money come from? If you're poor and on assistance and can afford tattoos then you should be kicked off that assistance because it's obvious that you aren't really poor, you just make bad life choices.

If you're a single woman, on assistance, and have more children then it VERY obvious you make poor life choices. However the system is set up to reward these continuing poor life choices. If you can afford the Devil's Lettuce then why the hell can't you afford to feed your kids?
You just answered @Ed Ames more succinctly than I was going to; hit the nail on the head.

And regarding points of view. . . I have a hard time imagining a POV more utilitarian than looking directly at highly correlated causative choices, and encouraging better choices.
 
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edwardware

New member
Is that racist? Not as such, no. It’s a trap that catches anyone poor. But if the starting economic position of most people is related to race, it becomes a defacto form of institutional racism.
Have you read Marx? You should.

If we accept disparate impact as the definition of racism, the concept ceases to be meaningful. Every single decision in any society of more than two people has an inevitable disparate impact on someone. So long as there are people, there will be correlations between their skin color (and everything else about them), their choices, and their outcomes.

You've emerged from your argument right where the academics who started the lie behind BLM, the War on Poverty, and Social Justice (or disparate impact) intended, at the theoretical end state of Marxism. In the ideal Proletarian state, everyone's outcomes are the same, because no one's outcome is dependent on anything they are, or did, or could do. We haven't tried Marxism here yet, and given how it's gone everywhere else I'd rather not.

I grant that you might not recognize that this is the consequence of your definition of racism. None the less, it's source is clear in Marx (Engels, their predecessors) and it's consequences are the story of the 20th century.

Humans are all basically the same. There’s a range of course, but the individual deviation is far greater than any subgroup average difference.
You have this exactly right, but I think you're missing the corollary. I point again to the first 50 pages of Bell Curve, probably the best short primer on sociological statistics written in the last 50 years. While Individual variations from any Group Mean (however defined) completely swamp the Intra-Group variation, the Intra-Group Variation remains a significant cause of correlation between Groups and Outcomes. This remains true of both characteritics (height, weight, etc), and choices.

Moreover this effect is amplified at the tails of each group's variation, which is where all the really visible outcomes occur.

Really, you should read Bell Curve. Skip Marx, he's depressing.
 

Ed Ames

Member
If you can't afford a speeding ticket then don't speed.
You know, in dismissing all of your straw men I didn’t address the one non-straw man thing you said. So I’ll do that now:

When it comes to laws, there are several ways of looking at them. One is to say that following the law is a moral issue - doesn’t matter what it is, if you follow it you are good and if you don’t, well, whatever bad happens is your own fault. The problem with this view is that it’s tautological- obeying a law is good because because it’s good to obey laws, and the punishment for breaking a law is good because someone broke a law. Good has no meaning.

Another way of looking at laws is to think of them as tools for trying to make life better for as many people as we possible. In this way of looking at it, a law, and a punishment, fit into a larger context of what enhances life, liberty, and all that stuff we say we like.

So in the case of speeding, you have the harm that the crime causes...generally low which is why everyone does it, but it can contribute to bad outcomes so we want enough of a punishment to deter the behavior. There is no moral issue at play...speeding by itself harms nobody. And you have the harm that the punishment causes, which should also be low.

So let’s say you are driving along a highway exactly the speed of traffic and a cop decides to give you a ticket. Because everyone is speeding, and it’s just a question of who gets the ticket this time.

When you get caught speeding you might end up with a $150 fine. Result? Maybe you can’t buy some ammo this week. No real harm, but it’s a deterrent. You ask for traffic school, complete that online, and it doesn’t even affect your insurance.

Now how about someone who doesn’t have $150? Skip all of your excuses for blaming them and just look objectively at what happens. They can’t pay, so they end up in jail. They lose their job. They can’t afford insurance any more so the car can’t be driven. Now when they get out of jail they have a whole bunch of additional problems: they don’t have transportation to get to jobs, future court appearances, etc., they don’t have income so they can’t afford their home. They aren’t going to qualify for unemployment no the like so no safety net to keep them from being evicted. Now they are livingin their car that they can’t insure, register, or legally drive, and if they get pulled over again they will be in even worse shape.

So that person, doing exactly the same thing as you, has their life ruined because they don’t have money.

Now let’s address the “don’t speed” thing. Search around and you will find a video of someone getting pulled over and issued a warning for driving 65 in a 70 zone. You can bet that the cop there thought they had found someone who can’t afford to get pulled over. So people are in a “damned if they do, damned if they don’t” situation. If they don’t match traffic they get pulled over. If they do match traffic they get pulled over. Either way there is a chance that they’ll receive a punishment that can destroy their life...for doing exactly the same thing as everyone else in the road.

That’s exactly the sort of thing that ends up fitting into a “racism” narrative. And it isn’t racism per se...it’s just general injustice...but when poverty correlated with race it is easy to think it is racism and people who do so aren’t necessarily wrong.
 

Ed Ames

Member
Have you read Marx? You should.

If we accept disparate impact as the definition of racism, the concept ceases to be meaningful. Every single decision in any society of more than two people has an inevitable disparate impact on someone. So long as there are people, there will be correlations between their skin color (and everything else about them), their choices, and their outcomes.
I don’t accept that...but I have mentioned that what we think racism is doesn’t matter. What matters is that someone has a legitimate grievance. They call it racism because that’s the language they know. I don’t care if they call it racism or anything else, there is an underlying unfairness in how they are treated that will cause a breakdown in the social order, and that breakdown will cause us all harm

You've ...
Just so I haven’t left this unaddressed: no, you are trying to fit my point into your world view and labeling it according to your understanding, but your labels are wrong. You are like a Christian labeling a Hindu as a devil worshiper because you can’t see that there are be systems of thought outside your own.

You have this exactly right, but I think you're missing the corollary. I point again to the first 50 pages of Bell Curve, probably the best short primer on sociological statistics written in the last 50 years. While Individual variations from any Group Mean (however defined) completely swamp the Intra-Group variation, the Intra-Group Variation remains a significant cause of correlation between Groups and Outcomes. This remains true of both characteritics (height, weight, etc), and choices.

Moreover this effect is amplified at the tails of each group's variation, which is where all the really visible outcomes occur.

Really, you should read Bell Curve. Skip Marx, he's depressing.
I think you are doing what I mentioned before: assembling facts to prove your narrative to yourself and your peers. You want there to be something wrong with “them” instead of something wrong with how you treat them, so you find sources that give evidence to your claim.

Anyone can do that, from any ideology. The BLM people do the same thing. It’s just self justification, and a way of distracting blame for the problems.

Here’s my advice: if you think that your interpretation of The Bell Curve is a really important point that will be of service to all mankind, why don’t you work to make the systems that are throwing all sorts of noise and distraction across your data as fair and unbiased as possible?Then, when all the variables like poor nutrition, poor education access, etc. have been eliminated, you can collect untainted data about actual ability across groups and make an argument that will stand up to scrutiny.
 

Grunt

New member
You completely missed the point. It goes far beyond don't speed if you can't afford the ticket.

Law enforcement deals with the dregs of society on a daily basis. This affects EVERYTHING they do. They can't profile, but if they don't profile they are going to end up dead real quick. They know that more police officers are killed by blacks than any other group. A police officer is 18.5 times more likely to be killed by a black than a police officer is to kill a unarmed black man.

They know that while blacks are 13% of the population they commit around 50% of the crimes.

Doing 65 in a 70 during normal driving conditions is impeding traffic. It should be ticketed. If you can't drive the speed limit in normal conditions perhaps it's time to examine if you should be driving at all. BTW, a common tactic of many criminals is to drive under the speed limit. They think it doesn't draw any attention. As my LEO friend has told me. If you see a car driving under the speed limit and it has multiple young black males in it then the odds are EXTREMELY high, around 95% if there are four people in the car, that at least one person in the car has a warrant, that there are drugs in the car, that's there's a gun in the car.

Here in the DFW area the speed limits are suggestions. Most of our freeways have a 70 mph limit. If you're going to drive 70 you better be in the lanes to the right. The left lane is going to be doing much closer to 80 if not faster. Let's take the George Bush Tollway. It has a 70 MPH limit. Almost every LEO on it won't even bother to ticket under 84 in normal driving conditions. But that car creeping down the GWB at 60, that draws attention, as well as creating a hazard for the rest of the drivers who are going 75+.

I've been driving 45 years. I received my last moving violation 42 years ago. I normally don't drive the speed limit. But I don't get crazy either. 5-6 MPH plus on a freeway doesn't even turn a LEO head.

Everyone in life has choices. How you choose will define your life. If you're 15 years old and decide to carjack someone and kill them during the process you've made several bad choices.

If you fight the police while they are trying to arrest you then you've made a bad choice.


It sums up pretty simple.

Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.
 

Ed Ames

Member
The problem is, the approach to policing affects the need for policing. If you say “those people are dregs, I’ll step up the aggressiveness of my policing,” the people you label dregs will respond. Especially if in your push for law and order you make punishments so severe that there is no going back from them. It feeds back on itself meaning they step up then you steps up then they steps up and eventually you are at war, and nobody around you is safe.

And that’s where we are now. A whole bunch of lawful middle class citizens starting to think that, between the “dregs“ and the police, they’d rather live with the “dregs”. And people willing to fight to make the point that the system is unfair. And innocent bystanders getting hurt in those fights.

Which is where I am. I’m a bystander with a kid under 2 years old. I have an obligation to protect myself and my family, and being armed isn’t enough...I also need to point out that the US is approaching a complicated social issue in an authoritarian way that is guaranteed to cause more problems and less safety for everyone.
 

Grunt

New member
If you think the middle class wants to live with the "dregs" then you're smoking rope.

I don't see a mass movement of the middle class into the zip codes where most of the crime is.
 

Ed Ames

Member
If you think the middle class wants to live with the "dregs" then you're smoking rope.

I don't see a mass movement of the middle class into the zip codes where most of the crime is.
Have you looked at the demographics of many of the recent protests? A whole bunch of middle class people going out of their way - risking health and life - to say “the police have gone too far, step it back”. Have you looked at where some of those protests have taken place? They aren’t all in your redlined zip codes.

Yeah, a growing number of middle class folks of all backgrounds are thinking that it would be better to tolerate few “dregs” than to keep going down the paramilitary police path.

As for moving to zip codes, guess you haven’t been paying attention to the whole “gentrification” debate that has been raging since the 1990s. They are absolutely moving into the zip codes and patting themselves on the backs for what diverse neighborhoods they live in.
 

Grunt

New member
Have you looked at the demographics of many of the recent protests? A whole bunch of middle class people going out of their way - risking health and life - to say “the police have gone too far, step it back”. Have you looked at where some of those protests have taken place? They aren’t all in your redlined zip codes.

Yeah, a growing number of middle class folks of all backgrounds are thinking that it would be better to tolerate few “dregs” than to keep going down the paramilitary police path.

As for moving to zip codes, guess you haven’t been paying attention to the whole “gentrification” debate that has been raging since the 1990s. They are absolutely moving into the zip codes and patting themselves on the backs for what diverse neighborhoods they live in.
No, a whole bunch of middle class CHILDREN who have for the most part NEVER worked a day in their life. That and mentally ill people who believe the shit that BLM is shoveling.
 
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