News reaction

June 18, 2015

I woke up to the news about the shooting of African-Americans in a church, and I don’t deny that it put me in a foul mood.  It’s surely the act, but it’s also the “big event”-mode news coverage and the pious reactions.  Why can’t people do something more helpful in race relations every day?  Saying the right thing in a time-limited context is preferable to some other options, but it’s not the same thing as doing what a person could do to improve the situation on a more regular basis.

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7 Responses to “News reaction”

  1. Matthew Says:

    >doing what a person could do to improve the situation on a more regular basis.

    Like what?

    • Diana Moses Says:

      Not be a silent bystander, for instance — I am thinking along the lines of how kids are apparently taught to deal with situations in which they encounter bullying. Relate to a person as a person, not as a member of a group. Not engage in self-fulfilling prophecies — not engage in conduct oneself that will produce the feared result, such as excluding the person from participating in the mainstream and then condemning them for finding an alternative.

      My freshman year in college, I had 5 suitemates. One was African-American. Towards the end of the year we had to submit requests for housing for the following year, and in the discussions about who wanted to room together again, I heard justifications along the lines of, “It’s not me, it’s my friends who would have a problem with it.” I am talking about not engaging in that sort of thing. I have gotten something similar myself about my kids when they were infants and toddlers: “It’s not that we don’t want to accept them, it’s this other relative who will give us a hard time if we did.” People could choose a different course of action in those contexts.

      • Matthew Brooks Says:

        On a personal level I agree with you. On the social level I think you’re missing something essential to human nature.

        I used to work for the government; at one point I was sitting together with ~7 black people, and one of them started out saying, “birds of a feather” and then they all finished it “fly together”. I was the only one who didn’t say it, which, upon reflection, was appropriate. And even tho I was friendly with them and they were friendly with me, there was an honest reluctance between us at the same time. Near the end of my time with the government, at lunch I sat with a young black woman. Most of the rest of the cafeteria (90+%?) self-segregated by race. “It’s just nature…it’s nature to want to be with your own”.

        There are plenty of graceful/gracious white and black people in society, but there will always be the majority whose behavior is determined primarily by their basic tribal instincts.

        To put it another way, we’ve been talking about harmony and peaceful coexistence and post-racism etc. since MLK. For all those good intentions, it doesn’t seem to have worked out. MLK was assassinated. There are many more young black men in prison now (as a % of the population) than there were in the 1960s. Black families have been decimated. Good jobs for those without a college degree have largely disappeared. Racial hostility is only welling up. At some point that dam will probably break. There is no future here.

        The solution, imo, is freedom, and the dignity and self-determination that go with it.

        “Among a large class, there seemed to be a dependence upon the government for every conceivable thing. The members of this class had little ambition to create a position for themselves, but wanted the federal officials to create one for them. How many times I wished then and have often wished since, that by some power of magic, I might remove the great bulk of these people into the country districts and plant them upon the soil – upon the solid and never deceptive foundation of Mother Nature, where all nations and races that have ever succeeded have gotten their start – a start that at first may be slow and toilsome, but one that nevertheless is real.”

        “It means a great deal, I think, to start off on a foundation which one has made for oneself.”

        -Booker T. Washington, Up from Slavery

        Black people will not achieve justice living under the control of the white man’s system (we’ve discussed this before with the corollary of living under the roof of a stepfather).

        I’ve been thinking of a crowd-funded campaign to send black people back to Africa where they could finally be free. It would be completely voluntary (both the funding and the traveling).

        “Then the LORD said to him, “Know for certain that for four hundred years your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own and that they will be enslaved and mistreated there. But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions.”

        Genesis 15:13,14

  2. Matthew Brooks Says:

  3. Matthew Brooks Says:

    On a personal level I agree with you. On the social level I think you’re missing something essential to human nature.

    I used to work for the government; at one point I was sitting together with ~7 black people, and one of them started out saying, “birds of a feather” and then they all finished it “fly together”. I was the only one who didn’t say it, which, upon reflection, was appropriate. And even tho I was friendly with them and they were friendly with me, there was an honest reluctance between us at the same time. Near the end of my time with the government, at lunch I sat with a young black woman. Most of the rest of the cafeteria (90+%?) self-segregated by race. “It’s just nature…it’s nature to want to be with your own”.

    There are plenty of graceful/gracious white and black people in society, but there will always be the majority whose behavior is determined primarily by their basic tribal instincts.

    To put it another way, we’ve been talking about harmony and peaceful coexistence and post-racism etc. since MLK. For all those good intentions, it doesn’t seem to have worked out. MLK was assassinated. There are many more young black men in prison now (as a % of the population) than there were in the 1960s. Black families have been decimated. Good jobs for those without a college degree have largely disappeared. Racial hostility is only welling up. At some point that dam will probably break. There is no future here.

    The solution, imo, is freedom, and the dignity and self-determination that go with it.

    “Among a large class, there seemed to be a dependence upon the government for every conceivable thing. The members of this class had little ambition to create a position for themselves, but wanted the federal officials to create one for them. How many times I wished then and have often wished since, that by some power of magic, I might remove the great bulk of these people into the country districts and plant them upon the soil – upon the solid and never deceptive foundation of Mother Nature, where all nations and races that have ever succeeded have gotten their start – a start that at first may be slow and toilsome, but one that nevertheless is real.”

    “It means a great deal, I think, to start off on a foundation which one has made for oneself.”

    -Booker T. Washington, Up from Slavery

    Black people will not achieve justice living under the control of the white man’s system (we’ve discussed this before with the corollary of living under the roof of a stepfather).

    I’ve been thinking of a crowd-funded campaign to send black people back to Africa where they could finally be free. It would be completely voluntary (both the funding and the traveling).

    “Then the LORD said to him, “Know for certain that for four hundred years your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own and that they will be enslaved and mistreated there. But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions.”

    Genesis 15:13,14

    • Diana Moses Says:

      Maybe Native Americans will send Americans of European descent back to Europe? I don’t know, would I go back to Germany or to Ukraine?

      • Matthew Brooks Says:

        Well, we can’t stay here. None of us can. Black people have the privilege of seeing it easier than others, perhaps.

        Maybe we’ll all together go to a safe haven to survive the apocalypse. Maybe at and after that point the races will live in harmony for a time.

        I dunno exactly. The future is uncertain, but it is clear enough the current paradigm is unsustainable and fixin’ to explode.


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