METAPHORS AND FACTS: From Nerdland, professor responds to Klein!

THURSDAY, AUGUST 28, 2014

Part 4—The quality of our discourse:
We wouldn’t have written Joe Klein’s piece ourselves. In fact, we didn’t write it.

That said, it isn’t gigantically hard to see what Klein was saying. For background, see yesterday's post.

We’d say that Klein made two different points. Given the way our discourse works, that’s often one too many.

We’d say that Klein made these two claims. We’re paraphrasing:
Joe Klein’s two points (paraphrased):
1) The story of Michael Brown’s death is more complex than it seemed at first.
2) There are cultural problems in black America which need to be addressed.
Uh-oh! As everyone knows, you aren’t allowed, in certain precincts, to make anything like that second statement. That said, this is the part of Klein’s column we’d paraphrase that way:
KLEIN (8/21/14): [W]e have developed new historic truths over the past 50 years. A great many bodega owners won’t see Michael Brown as a metaphor for anything. They see potentially threatening customers every day. Blacks represent 13% of the population but commit 50% of the murders; 90% of black victims are murdered by other blacks. The facts suggest that history is not enough to explain this social disaster.

[...]

Race remains an open wound. There is a new generation of black intellectuals who are raising the issue in thoughtful, provocative ways. “The Case for Reparations” by the Atlantic’s Ta-Nehisi Coates is compelling, even if the case is not a particularly strong one. We’ve had 50 years of drastically improved political, educational and employment opportunities for blacks, which have produced a burgeoning middle class, but a debilitating culture of poverty persists among the urban underclass. Black crime rates are much higher than they were before the civil rights movement. These problems won’t be solved simply by the recognition of historic grievances. Absent a truly candid conversation about the culture that emerged from slavery and segregation, they won’t be solved at all.
In that passage, Klein refers to “a debilitating culture of poverty” within “the urban underclass,” and to “the culture that emerged from slavery and segregation,” apparently within that lower-income subpopulation. That’s why we paraphrased Klein as referring to “cultural problems.”

Personally, we don’t have a giant problem with references to “cultural” problems within some part of black America. Here’s why:

There are obvious cultural problems within white America, as modern liberals often note, perhaps without using that term. Unless we’re mistaken, there are cultural problems within every society and every population, all over the world.

Given our nation’s brutal racial history, it would be odd to think that black America was the one population on earth within which there were no “cultural” problems, shortfalls or imperfections. But that bit of tribal scripting has seemed to emerge in parts of the “left” in recent months.

This may help explain one hapless reaction to Klein’s imperfect essay, in which he repeatedly cited the brutal racial history of the past 400 years.

That reaction was authored by Melissa Harris-Perry. It came to us in the form of an open letter to Klein, a letter delivered from Nerdland.

Harris-Perry was writing from Nerdland! That humble-brag peeped over her shoulder as she delivered her rebuttal to Klein on her MSNBC program last Saturday.

The tape and transcript of her rebuttal are available here, with an additional link to Klein’s column. Harris-Perry called Klein’s column “cringe-worthy.” We’d call her rebuttal “much worse.”

In our view, here’s why:

In our view, Harris-Perry’s attitudinal delivery was unfortunate, given the importance of the topics under review. Like her pitiful reference to Nerdland, it represented a bit of cable show business.

It was designed to pleasure us the rubes—us the liberal rubes.

That’s our view on Harris-Perry’s tone and trappings; your mileage may of course differ. With that in mind, let’s consider what the professor said.

Throughout, Harris-Perry read chunks of what Klein said, then offered rebuttal or comment. Below, you see was the first chunk of her rebuttal.

We’d have to say she’s already lost, or at least pretending to be, perhaps for tribal effect:
HARRIS-PERRY (8/23/14): You write:

“At first, it seemed a perfect metaphor for 400 years of oppression: a white police officer shoots an unarmed black teenager multiple times. He is shot with his hands up, it is reported, at least once in the back.”

Joe. When a community is reeling from an unarmed teen shot to death, when his body was left for hours in plain view of the community, when no arrests have been made for his slaying, when those who are protesting the killing are met with militarized local police force and tear gas–it is not a metaphor.

The people of Ferguson and the nation are mourning the death of a real person.
They are responding to actual events and actions taken by the local government. That this death and those actions are consistent with a long history of similar deaths and actions makes them historically rooted. Not metaphorical.
Coming from a university professor, we’d have to call that sad. Sad, and just a bit Ukrainian, in the sense we’ve been exploring over the past three days.

It’s certainly true—Brown’s death can be said to be “historically rooted.” That’s the point Klein seemed to be making with his repeated references to our “400 years of oppression.” (Klein: “black women have been casually violated by white men in America for 400 years.” Also: “all too often in the past, we’ve exonerated racist thugs who were clearly guilty” in the killing of blacks by police.)

Plainly, Michael Brown’s death can be said to be “historically rooted.” That doesn’t mean that the killing can’t also be a “perfect metaphor” for those centuries of brutal conduct, in the way Klein used the term.

That said, not every shooting is an act of oppression or even injustice. Klein’s point in discussing “perfect metaphor” was fairly easy to discern:

According to Klein, the initial description of Brown’s death made it a remarkably clear-cut example of heinous injustice. As more facts have surfaced, the nature of the killing has become less clear.

“The people of Ferguson and the nation are mourning the death of a real person?” This is an obvious fact, but it doesn’t begin to contradict what Klein said about “perfect metaphor.” Is it even dimply possible that Harris-Perry doesn’t understand that? Assuming she isn’t just clowning around, her next chunk is deeply pathetic:
HARRIS-PERRY (continuing directly): “But the perfection of the metaphor is soon blurred by facts,” you write. “The gentle giant, Michael Brown Jr. ...seems pretty intimidating in a surveillance video...

Joe. “Seemed pretty intimidating” is not a fact.

The fact is the surveillance video shows an apparent petty crime–one that Officer Darren Wilson did not know about when he stopped Michael Brown and one that does not carry a death sentence even if a person is guilty of committing it.

“An autopsy, requested by Brown’s parents, shows six bullet wounds; the kill shot is into the top of the victim’s head-which raises another possibility, that the officer, Darren Wilson, fired in self-defense.”

Joe. It is certainly a possibility, but let us traffic in facts:

Officer Wilson was armed. Michael Brown was not. Officer Wilson shot Michael Brown. Michael Brown is dead. Officer Wilson has not been arrested. On the day that the Ferguson police finally made Officer Wilson’s name public, they also released the surveillance video you mentioned despite knowing that it had no bearing on the officer’s decision to stop Michael Brown. Those are the facts.
“Those are the facts?” Truly, that’s deeply pathetic, especially from a university professor who signs her address as Nerdland.

Those are the facts? Actually, no—those are some of the facts! More specifically, those are the facts which help Harris-Perry keep her narration a bit of a “perfect metaphor”—a simplistic story with no moral ambiguity or factual uncertainty.

In that passage, she is picking and choosing her facts. She even includes the most pointless fact of them all. (Robbing a convenience story doesn’t carry a death penalty!) She’s also evading Klein’s simple point:

As more facts have emerged, the story has become a bit less clear that it was in its initial telling, in which a “gentle giant” doing nothing wrong was “shot in the back.”

Brown’s aggressive conduct in the store raises the possibility that he may have behaved aggressively at Officer Wilson’s car. It’s also entirely possible, of course, that he didn’t behave aggressively toward Wilson—and if he did, that doesn’t necessarily justify Wilson’s subsequent conduct.

The story got more a bit complex when that surveillance tape surfaced. But, like tribal players all over the world, Harris-Perry wishes away the facts that don’t serve her preferred thesis—and she pretends she doesn’t know what Klein is talking about.

“Those are the facts”—good God! Those are some of the facts! That is perhaps the most basic distinction we can ask a person to make.

Harris-Perry makes some actual points as she responds to Klein. When Klein presented his crime statistics, we’d say he wasn’t careful enough, especially given the seriousness of what was being discussed.

Klein was discussing the lives of black kids, both in St. Louis and in Baltimore! Harris-Perry makes one valid rebuttal here, but skips past an overall point:
HARRIS-PERRY (continuing directly): You cite these statistics:

“Blacks represent 13% of the population but commit 50% of the murders; 90% of black victims are murdered by other blacks.”

Joe. If you want to just cite random crime facts that have nothing to do with this case, how about this one: 83% of white victims are murdered by other white people.

Your statistics about black homicide perpetrators have nothing to do with what happened August 9. We know who shot Michael Brown to death–and it wasn’t a black man. And how about this stat: On average, between 2006 and 2012, nearly two times a week in the United States, a white police officer killed a black person. Two times a week. That fact would suggest Michael Brown had plenty of reason to be afraid of Darren Wilson.
It’s true that Klein’s “statistics about black homicide perpetrators have nothing to do with what happened August 9.” But the statistics cited by Harris-Perry indicate that blacks are being murdered at a much higher rate than other Americans, and that these murders are largely committed by other blacks.

The victims include a lot of black kids who are doing nothing whatever that’s wrong. It’s silly to think that a high murder rate of innocents can’t be described as a “cultural” problem, but that rule now exists in some precincts like Nerdland.

To see what we mean, read on:

At this point, the professor from Nerdland played her most pitiful card. Truly, this is low and grimy, sick and dumb, however pleasing it may seen to us the obedient rubes:
HARRIS-PERRY (continuing directly): You go on.

“A debilitating culture of poverty persists among the urban underclass. Black crime rates are much higher than they were before the civil rights movement.”

Joe. The American crime rate overall—regardless of the race of the perpetrator or victim—is higher than it was in 1960. And crime has dropped precipitously since its peak in the 1980s and 1990s. It is the poverty that is debilitating because it severely reduces access to sufficient nutrition, housing, health care, quality educational opportunities, and sustainable employment opportunities.

As for the “culture of poverty,” is that American jazz, blues, or hip-hop you are referencing? Because those are some of the cultural products of the black American poor.
Good God! That's amazing. Just wow.

Again, we think Klein was careless in some of the ways he discussed crime statistics. Harris-Perry makes an accurate clarification here.

But good God! Look at that highlighted passage. Klein is talking about the culture of a very high murder rate. Pulling out her cheapest, most disrespectful card, Harris-Perry pretends that he must hate the sweaty music of blacks!

Wow! What else can be said?

We liberals watch Harris-Perry thinking we’re seeing a top-rate professor. Here’s what you can often learn from watching her TV show:

Our black professors can be as pathetic as their useless white counterparts! Especially on the TV machine, our elites are often a worthless gang of high-paid tribal clowns.

Tomorrow: Touré gets it (exactly halfway) right

95 comments:

  1. Some of the music can be singled out because it glamorizes and makes appealing expression of hatred through violent behavior. Games and movies do the same. These have little effect on grounded teens, but they are dangerous for a subset of youth. This has been shown in research and is not an expression of racism. These are dangerous for all youth -- for example, the mass killings by white kids. You might argue that all kids shouldn't be denied these experiences because of the few who are nudged into violence, but why are these necessary for anyone? What do they say about our culture that we tolerate them as amusements for anyone?

    The other influences on ungrounded kids are more difficult to address (drugs, lack of fathers in the home, educational failure, lack of jobs) but this one is easy to control -- why is this not a no-brainer?

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    1. Thank you Tipper Gore.

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    2. History is proving she had a point. Just as it is proving her husband had a point about global warming.

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  2. MH-P: Disingenuous, willfully ignorant, or plain stupid, take your pick.

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  3. "In our view, Harris-Perry’s attitudinal delivery was unfortunate,"

    Interesting. The black woman is the one with "attitude."

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    1. This particular black woman in this particular episode of her show, used her delivery to convey a specific attitude about this particular topic. You are the one generalizing Somerby's comment to something racist. This is exactly the race card people get tired of liberals playing and this is why we cannot have a dialogue about race in this country.

      To borrow from Somerby today, all people have attitude. To pretend that black people never have attitude is ridiculous.

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    2. But I find it odd that he didn't explore the "attitude" of Joe Klein. His article was dripping with it.

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    3. Well, at least he didn't call her "uppity."

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    4. 1215: can you be any more obtuse?

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    5. "This is exactly the race card people get tired of liberals playing and this is why we cannot have a dialogue about race in this country."

      Exactly. People are so tired of having racism pointed out to them, they don't even notice the racism in calling out the attitude of blacks but not whites.

      Berto

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    6. The reason "we cannot have a dialogue about race in this country", is white people get all defensive and think slavery is the only racism blacks have ever suffered under (conveniently giving themselves the out that they can't be blamed because they weren't even born yet).

      Fixed for accuracy.

      Berto

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    7. Berto, Absent a truly candid conversation about the culture that emerged from blog commentary, Your problem won’t be solved at all.

      This is a simple observation aimed at your serious problems which we have been trying to solve for ever since Al's initiative without much help.

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    8. It would have been helpful for Somerby to explain what he found unfortunate about Harris-Perry's tone so that it would be clear he was not criticizing her for having attitude but for having a particular attitude. Somerby DID criticize many things Klein said, which exemplified his attitude.

      Someone who says all people share human traits is not singling out one woman for having attitude in the racist way you pretend. You have to ignore everything else Somerby says to think that, which is why this is a game.

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    9. It would be a good start for African Americans to acknowledge the racism and other discrimination (based on ethnicity or religion or even gender) so they can figure out what to attribute to racism and what may be a problem of living shared with others. As long as African Americans mistakenly believe that others are being better treated, it will be harder to cope with resentment and harder to make common cause to address problems, as is necessary for progress.

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    10. Speaking of attitude, can you explain to me why white people go all ballistic and defensive when a simple, undeniable fact is put before them?

      Bob is talking about two people -- a white man and a black woman. And he directly mentions the attitude of only one of them, while you bring up the "tone" of only one.

      No this is no game. It is the refusal of white people to recognize how their own "attitude" hinders, if not completely blocks, any serious discussion of race.

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    11. Yes, 1:36, the whole problem is the behavior of those "other" people. Why they don't even look like "us."

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    12. He did discuss Klein's attitude, which was expressed in words more than tone. Using tone to indirectly express attitude is more of a female communication pattern, according to Deborah Tannen (a professor who studies such things). It may be that people who feel less empowered use less direct communication. It doesn't make Somerby a racist to notice her tone.

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    13. My "problem", if you want to call it that, is I can see through bullshit.

      Berto

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    14. Klein begins to discuss real instances of dysfunction in African American culture that need to be corrected and naturallly "libs" fixate on the innocent term "attitude" in order to shift focus away from the problem. Our libs are simply not ready to address issues of race in this society.

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    15. "Using tone to indirectly express attitude is more of a female communication pattern"

      And let's add a bit of mysogyny to the mix while we're at it.

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    16. Deborah Tannen is of course a well-known misogynist.

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    17. "the race card people get tired of liberals playing"

      And in the words of Jon Stewart: "You’re tired of hearing about it? Imagine how f**king exhausting it is living it.”

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    18. If it is exhausting living it, it must be twice as exhausting living it and complaining about it. Imagine thinking no one else has a difficult life and no one else has problems while doing that living and complaining. How does that make someone feel? Better or worse?

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    19. Anon 1:40, it hinders discussion when it becomes the goal of a participant to label The Other as racist by any means necessay.

      In this instance I think Harris-Perry is full of shit. I've considered her a fraud from day one.

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  4. Armstrong Williams yesterday had callers who were discussing why so many black men are incarcerated. Williams professed amazement because (1) many teens are unaware that they can plead no contest and receive probation for minor crimes, a conviction that is expunged leaving them with a clean record for later employment; (2) some teens refuse probation because they do not want to comply with drug testing and probation visits and other rules, and they will gain "street cred" by having served time. It is considered higher status among their peers to have been in jail. It makes them seem badass and strong (macho) to have been able to do time. So they choose jail instead of lesser alternatives and wind up with felonies that block later job opportunities and disallow second chances. The discussion revolved around how important it is to have parents and other family members to prevent these bad choices and knock sense into their heads after a youthful mistake. I think this may extend to seeking out opportunities to do jail time by confused youth seeking to gain status in a street subculture. It would explain (1) stealing something trivial and pushing around a clerk by a normally quiet youth, (2) walking down the middle of the street and refusing to move to the sidewalk when confronted by an officer, (3) aggressive actions toward the officer to provoke an arrest. I think Brown may not have understood he could and would be shot. That is perhaps not on the radar (or inconsistent with being badass).

    Of course I do not know what happened, but this makes sense as a possible explanation, consistent with Brown's convenience store behavior and with the lyrics of the song he wrote and posted online.

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    1. Bob Marley shot the sheriff.

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    2. I'm sorry 11:59. What is it about Armstrong Williams that makes him more of an expert on black people than I would consider Rush Limbaugh to be on white people?

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    3. Armstrong Williams - Townhall columnist, Washington Times contributor, and notorious shill (to the tune of $240,000) for W's No Child Left Behind scam.

      Yet another concern troll, like Dinky (DavidinCal).

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    4. I listen to him for the callers who are more of a chance to hear the views of African Americans from a broad spectrum than I have in daily life. These are things said by his callers, not by him. I do think he is nothing like Rush and not sensationalist, like Oprah. Can you address the content instead of ad hominems?

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  5. "It’s true that Klein’s “statistics about black homicide perpetrators have nothing to do with what happened August 9.” But the statistics cited by Harris-Perry indicate that blacks are being murdered at a much higher rate than other Americans, and that these murders are largely committed by other blacks."

    Which also has nothing to do with what happened on August 9. Unless your point is that blacks are killing blacks at such a high rate, what's the big deal if whites kill a few more blacks?

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    1. The point is that there is a problem that needs to be talked about.

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    2. The point is, it will never be discussed when white people call black kids "thugs" then complain about the "attitude" of black women.

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    3. Politically correct use of language is more important to you than figuring out how to stop so many black teens from being shot?

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    4. Ah, yes it is a mere violation of political correctness to accuse dead black kids of being thugs and black women of having an attitude.

      Another refuge of the scoundrel who will never admit the obstacles he places in front of any discussion of race.

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    5. One way to halt the open season on unarmed black teens would be not to excuse the deaths of those who die as the mere death of a "thug."

      It is always much easier to kill "the other" when we have dehumanized them.

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    6. You refuse to consider intent and only focus on whether the correct words were used. If you do that, you will be unable to communicate, and without that you won't reach any understanding that will allow people to cooperate to solve a shared problem.

      People have said here over and over, a thug is a thug by virtue of behavior not skin color. You'll find the word applied to Russians, to the Mafia, to Chicago's white gangsters, to Chris Christie's henchmen, and so on. You don't get to define your own personal lexicon in which anyone who uses the word thug to describe thuggish behavior is automatically racist.

      It is certainly much easier to kill the other when you cannot reason with them. Maybe you should consider how this approach is helping anything.

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    7. Today the CBS evening news anchor referred to ISIS as thugs. No one thinks they are African Americans.

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    8. Ah, too bad they didn't use the "n" word. You would have seen that as permission to call Michael Brown that as well.

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    9. This comment doesn't even make sense.

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    10. Revered African American artist Tupac exemplified Thug Life. It's a badge of honor and a code to live by in terms of the 'G' lifestyle.

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  6. I'll applaud your snarky repetition of Harris-Perry's one time reference to Nerdland if you ever get around to explaining how far your sprawling campus is from Liberalworld.

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    1. Harris-Perry has been using #Nerdland to refer to her own show. It isn't a one-time reference but an ongoing thing.

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    2. It's part of her shtick. Every entertainer needs some sort of shtick

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  7. No matter how smart and professorial she may be, MHP is too pretty, telegenic, and (judging by her success) socially astute to properly qualify as a nerd. If she were on "The Big Bang Theory," she would be the hot babe across the hall, not one of the geeks -- even if she could explain the Higgs-Boson particle without stuttering. Not all smart people are nerds. She's smart enough to know that, and probably doesn't know the names of Spock's parents.

    "Metaphor" is one of those words used too often these days by lazy thinkers in a hurry (see also "irony/ironic"). "The Windmills of your Mind" is a metaphor. Black teenager shot by a white cop is just another particular in a broader history. Perhaps "microcosm" would be more suitable. If more poetic flourish is desired, try something like, "Michael Brown's shooting is the African American condition IN SMALL."

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  8. If the left could only finally discover ONE modern instance of a black teen killed by a white, preferably a cop, for being black instead of behaving like a thug. Just ONE. That's all they need. Sharpton has been trying to find ONE for decades now, but they don't exist, to libs' chagrin.

    Libs want so badly for these incidents to exist in modern society, but since they don't, they settle for the latest facsimile that they can lie about and exploit until the least common denominator "feels like" something racist happened, and until blacks despair more than they had the week before about their suck position in US society. Libs promote a destructive and evil racial agenda.

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    1. Clearly in your mind, there will never be any such case, which says a lot more about you than you can even begin to imagine.


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    2. ... meanwhile, the "right" wants to just have legal, socially-approved f'n target practice on black teens "acting like thugs," defined as needed for the given situation. Hey, simply holding a BB gun in a WalMart? Shoot to kill!!!! They want the cops to have the executioner's power, because... what, "protect and serve"? Protect who, serve who? They want justification for their abject cowardice.
      Take a damn look in the mirror, 2:40, it's f'n FUGLY. You'll never see it, though, will ya?

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    3. I think there are blogs you would find more satisfying to read where you can express your anger and find comfort from like-minded individuals. This is not that place. People here have a variety of perspectives, so you will hear opinions likely to make you angrier than you already seem to be (judging by your language and exclamation points).

      It cannot have escaped your attention that innocent bystanders going about their daily lives are being shot in public places, such as movie theaters, fast food restaurants, playgrounds, schools, even driving on the freeway. People are justifiably nervous about people with guns in those public places and cops are among them because it is their job to protect those innocent people from a shooter. If they assess the situation wrong and shoot someone who is innocent with something that either is a gun (but not being used as one) or looks like a gun, it seems to me the victim bears part of the responsibility for taking that gun (or gun-like object) into a public place where it can alarm both other citizens and cops (who are people too). Of course the cops shoot to kill. That is the only sure way to stop a person who is about to start shooting innocent people. Far from being a coward, cops who engage such a person are endangering their own lives because they go toward the shooter instead of away, as other people can do. If you think they should endanger themselves even more by giving the benefit of the doubt to someone with a gun (or gun-like object like a realistic-looking toy-gun or air-gun), talk to him a while and see whether he actually plans to shoot anyone, you are living in a fantasy world. If you show up in public with a gun where it shouldn't be and scare people (especially cops), you will be shot. Cops are permitted to protect themselves while doing their job of protecting the people. They are not required to sacrifice themselves, as guessing wrong about such a person would cause them to do.

      You might profitably ask why African Americans, who supposedly are targeted more often by cops, do not understand the dangers of walking around a WalMart carrying a gun (which cannot be identified as a BB gun at a distance). Why does everyone have this message except black teens?

      In case you are deluded, he was not in the process of buying the gun, nor was he inspecting it for purchase. He was leaning on it in a different part of the store while he talked on his cell phone. You've gotta ask, what was he thinking?

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    4. You mean the idiot who unpackaged and waved around a gun in Walmart that looked identical to the real thing? Try again. Libs would rather a few kids be mowed down in the toy aisle than police to act to defend them. Still waiting for ONE example of an innocent black teen gunned down by a white cop. We'll be here all day if I have to offer examples of innocent white or black teens gunned down by black thugs.

      http://www.abc22now.com/shared/news/top-stories/stories/wkef_vid_21623.shtml

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    5. I think the black man shot in the Oakland subway comes close to such an example, but he wasn't a teen.

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    6. "Still waiting for ONE example of an innocent black teen gunned down by a white cop."

      Go ahead and declare victory. Because no matter how many cases are put in front of your eyes, you'll always find that in fifth grade, they once spit on the sidewalk.

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    7. Spitting on the sidewalk in 5th grade = robbing convenience store.

      Trayvon Martin was dabbling in fighting, robbery/burglary and had a gun, plus truancy = spitting on sidewalk in 5th grade.

      No need to go back that far. These are kids who are engaging armed police because of the other problem behaviors in their lives. These are not D'Leisha Dents. I agree that it shouldn't reach the point where they are shot, but everyone seems to be insisting the problem is with racist cops not troubled youth. I think that will delay solution of the problem and result in more deaths.

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  9. "Pulling out her cheapest, most disrespectful card, Harris-Perry pretends that he must hate the sweaty music of blacks!"

    Sweaty music?

    OMG, Somerby.

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    1. Sweaty refers to the supposed attitude Harris-Perry is ascribing to Klein, not to Somerby's own attitude toward the music. Please learn to read.

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    2. "The sweaty music of blacks!"

      Once again, always helpful for BOBfans to point out that he never, ever really means what he says.His deep, down point is far more brilliant than the actual words he puts on his blog.

      Such is the faith of a True Believer!

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    3. Here is what Harris-Perry said:

      "As for the “culture of poverty,” is that American jazz, blues, or hip-hop you are referencing? Because those are some of the cultural products of the black American poor."

      Here is what Bob wrote:

      "Pulling out her cheapest, most disrespectful card, Harris-Perry pretends that he must hate the sweaty music of blacks!"

      Ah, but he wasn't calling black music "sweaty." He was calling Melissa Harris-Perry's "attitude" sweaty.

      Well, fella. With fans like you, Bob doesn't need trolls.

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    4. I'm trying to find out where you pulled the notion that Harris-Perry "ascribed" Klein's attitude as "sweaty". Can you help me by bending over, 5:15?

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    5. Somerby says "Harris-Perry pretends that he must hate the sweaty music of blacks." The pronoun "he" refers to Klein.

      Anyone who can read knows Somerby is not calling black music sweaty. He is saying Harris-Perry is accusing Klein of thinking that.

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    6. Somerby introduced "sweaty" to describe the "music of blacks."

      If Harris-Perry was accusing Klein of "thinking that" then she would have said so. But she didn't. So it takes Bob to tell us what she is accusing Klein of "thinking"?

      Oh my, the lengths we will go to protect our tribal leader.

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    7. Oh, and by the way, nowhere in the passage that Bob highlighted does she even imply that Klein hates the music that black American culture has produced.

      That's just Bob grossly imagining things to advance his own narrative, and serving up his own rubes another heaping, steaming platter of bullshit and calling it sirloin steak,.

      And there you are with a knife and fork, eagerly digging in.

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    8. I'm not the one who complained about the word sweaty. If you disagree, state your objection but don't pretend Somerby called black music sweaty because he didn't. If you think Klein didn't or that Somerby mischaracterized what Harris-Perry said, say so. Don't call Somerby a racist for saying black music is sweaty -- he never said that.

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    9. You guys truly cannot read.

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    10. The best blues IS sweaty.

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    11. The best music that has been gifted to the world from the African-American experience is difficult to describe in one adjective. "Sweaty" is not the first one that springs to my mind. I tend to think of it as "imaginative", "creative" and "brilliant."

      But that's just me. You and Bob go ahead and call it "sweaty."


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    12. Somerby didn't call it sweaty.

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    13. The first word that comes to mind? Not necessarily but live blues is somewhat like sex, it's best when it's raw and sweaty. I don't think having sweat glands is a bad thing.

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    14. Well then, how about a tribute to a genuine national treasure (no, not Rachel)
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=598dZ9hevpg

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EgaxYEsEVVY

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  10. Detroit, Chicago, South Africa. What happens when a perpetually aggrieved population gets the message it may abandon "white man's values" of work and family because slavery or apartheid.

    Everyone in abject misery and horror together, or as the left calls it, "Utopia."

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  11. Joe Klein's history as a hippie-puncher (radical centrist) makes him a less than perfect messenger (though predictable) for the Michael-Brown-is-not-James-Meredith viewpoint.

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    1. Klein is quite the predictable contrarian. Who the fuck is his audience? Mark Levin and his audience? Rush and his audience? No, Joe's audience is Cokie Roberts, Sally Quinn, Fred Hiatt and friends.

      The fucking arrogant presumption on his part that just drips from his superior holier-than-thou detached viewpoint is so offensive and insulting.

      >>>Joe Klein’s two points (paraphrased):
      1) The story of Michael Brown’s death is more complex than it seemed at first.<<<

      Oh, is that right? All of us stupid simpletons just haven't appreciated the nuance and complexity the way Joe with his superior and VERY SERIOUS intellect does. Gosh, thanks for stroking your well coiffed facial hair and 'splaining that to me.

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    2. Here's the Joe Klein money quote that's particularly appropriate for his homily on race relations in America:

      We journalists are never so idiotic as when we analyze things we shouldn't be analyzing.

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    3. Joe Klein wrote an enjoyable biography of Woody Guthrie back in 1980. Can't say I've been a big fan since then.

      As Somerby points out, it's not a ridiculous piece that Klein wrote about Ferguson. But it's not going to start any great conversation on race either...

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    4. Be that as it may.

      I turned on Morning Joe earlier this week and who do I see sitting around the table but Mr. Joe Klein. I thought to myself, that's odd, haven't seen his face on the TV in quite a while, I wonder why they invited him. Then it became quickly obvious why the Morning Joe crew had him on, he had written another contrarian Serious hippie punching lecture from his ivory tower. This is of course pleasing to Joe Fucking Scarborough 'cause Joe is so moderate as we know from his vote to impeach the president of the United States over a blow job.

      But just before they dismissed him, Mr. Klein had to get in one last shot at the lazy stupid selfish teachers and the venal Democratic politicians who are denying the opportunity of attending charter schools to so many poor inner city children. And all the very serious moderate folks sitting around the table nodded their agreement.

      As I said, Joe Klein, predictable and boring.

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    5. I'll say. Leave it to "Media Matters" to point to how quickly the "black-on-black crime" excuse sprang up.

      http://mediamatters.org/research/2014/08/18/right-wing-media-push-black-on-black-crime-cana/200467

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    6. Today's meme seems to be that black people are being shot twice a week, which is more often than white people (based on rate, not absolute numbers). Politifact broke down the numbers and found that if you control for income level, the rates are the same for black and white people and closely track crime rates (rate of committing felonies). So that means race is a minor contributor to being shot by a cop and not the major determinant. The main contributor of race to this situation is that it makes a person more likely to be poor. As I have said before, addressing poverty among African Americans, especially via education, is a place to start stopping these shootings. Others seem to just want to scold white people for being racist.

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    7. But hippie-punching (radical centrism) is a vote-getter. Bill Clinton won. Obama won, in part, by being to the right of Hillary Clinton on every domestic policy.

      Taking the position that a prosecutor should be disqualified because his father was a policeman killed in the line of duty will seem to many people like punishing the victim's children 50 years later. This is the kind of position that is a big vote loser.

      So it would be nice to see media progressives make their arguments without helping the GOP into office.

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    8. There are fewer deaths (black and white combined) from police shooting per year than there are accidental poisonings of children under 5 years old. More people are killed while riding bicycles. Ten times as many people die from accidentally choking on their food. Substantially more people die from accidental gun firings.

      I realize this type of accidental death has a strong effect on the families involved, but considering this a major social problem while ignoring these other forms of death, which also have differing patterns within different demographic groups, is just wrong.

      The frustrations arising from daily indignities attributed to racism (but most likely experienced by people of all races for different reasons) should not be displaced onto these situations where a death occurs accidentally. It is wrong because it compounds the difficulties faced by police officers who are doing a difficult job serving the public.

      Next thing, police officers will be required to buy costly malpractice insurance policies, as doctors now do, and their salaries will become inflated to cover those costs, and the quality of policing will decrease placing the public at increased jeopardy, because the families of these teens want a big paycheck to compensate them for a loss that other families must endure without financial compensation.

      This is an extension of the idea that: "If something bad happens to you in life, someone must compensate you for it."

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    9. Sooooo, if we only could double the number of kids who die by poison, then we shouldn't be too worried if the number of deaths-by-cop keeps climbing.

      Or that it surpasses the rest of the industrialized world. Combined. By many times over.

      Yep, Nothing to see here. Move along. We got bicycle accidents to attend to.

      "It is wrong because it compounds the difficulties faced by police officers who are doing a difficult job serving the public."

      Yes, we wouldn't want to get in the way of those cops who as they step over bodies they are serving and protecting.

      Thanks for the lecture, Sgt. Friday.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7COcohB9n3w

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    10. To prevent these shootings, African Americans need to stop insisting that compliance with police orders is optional. Over and over I hear them insisting they have the right to resist. That leads to fatalities because the police are better armed. Resistance comes after compliance, in the form of lawsuits. You cannot stand toe to toe with the police and argue. White people, even teens, seem to understand this. Black people do not.

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  12. Some people are too angry to be here today. Go cool off and come back when you want to talk instead of calling names and using vulgarities.

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    1. Thank you, thread nanny.

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    2. Quit accusing me of being a hothead, a name-caller, and foul-mouthed. You can come back when you learn to behave yourself. Meanwhile, NO SOUP FOR YOU!

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    3. Just trying to protect you guys from looking stupid because you're too upset to think clearly.

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  13. Does exaggerating the racism help or harm black Americans? A number of sources are reporting events in Ferguson that go beyond the available facts and make the shooting more racist than it is currently known to be (although additional facts may prove that the shooting was as racist as some currently claim.) Similarly, many sources exaggerated the racism involved in the shooting of Trayvon Martin.

    Typically, it's liberals and black spokespersons who exaggerate the racism. I would argue that this sort of exaggeration is harmful for black Americans. It makes them more fearful than they need to be. It may discourage them from allying themselves with whites who would gladly help them to advance.

    That's my opinion. What do you think?

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    Replies
    1. David, you left out the lawyer for the parents of the teen who was shot, who happens to be the same lawyer hired by Trayvon Martin's parents.

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    2. Yes, how dare they hire the same lawyer?

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    3. Yes, exaggerating the racism can benefit family of the deceased and their lawyer. The Martin family got a settlement of hundreds of thousands of dollars. These exaggerations help race hustlers like Al Sharpton. They help the media by providing a more dramatic story.

      I would argue that the exaggerations help the Democrats. They can win black votes by promising to protect blacks from the (exaggerated) threats of racism, even when their policies have made life worse for many black Americans.

      Aside from special groups, I think the exaggerations are not good for ordinary black people.

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    4. @9:53, same lawyer, same tactics with respect to press coverage.

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    5. Rates of racism have to be exaggerated, when white America thinks the rate of racism is zero.

      Berto

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    6. "White America' thinks the rate of racism is zero". That's a pretty broad brush. I think the topic of this thread was M-P, s denial that ANY level of dysfunction exists within the so-called African American community. As in virtually any large "community" self perpetuating problems exist. To deny that means never coming to grips with and solving those problems.

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    7. This is all very interesting, I'm particularly impressed with DinC's concern for what is good for "ordinary black people".
      In the mean time, a mother just buried her child this week. It would be nice if the authorities responsible would give her the courtesy of an explanation for why she had to do that.

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    8. Because he attacked a police officer.

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