Thursday, September 22, 2016


Political Mayhem Thursday: Race and the Election

Last week, Hank Shea and I moderated a great discussion about race and policing.

This week, Charlotte NC exploded with protests after a black man was shot dead by the police there.

This is not a topic that is going to go away, nor should it. Yet, other than the vaguest of generalities, I don't hear it discussed much within the political races in this election cycle. Hillary Clinton has listed it as a problem... but her website puts "criminal justice reform" and "racial justice" literally at the bottom of her long list of positions (really-- you can check it out here). Even at that, the "racial justice" page (linked here) says nothing about policing. At least there, she ignores the bloody core of the Black Lives Matter movement's concerns (though she has talked about it on the stump). 

Meanwhile, Donald Trump's short list of issues and positions doesn't come close to the issue.

The great enduring question in America has long been and will be about racial equality.  Given that there are literally riots in the streets, how is it that this is not a part of the campaign?

More later perhaps from me, but a quick defense of HRC. Your characterization of her position strikes me as not quite fair. I have seen her on many occasions call out the names of the African American men killed by police and other situations and lift up the families of the slain. Also, she gives every indication that she will continue the policy of the Obama DOJ in their attempts to use federal tools to police local police and provide heightened scrutiny.
Thank you for pointing me to Hillary Clinton's website. There is a trove of information. If you tap on "more" there is really more.

The largest police union, The National Fraternal Order Of Police, just endorsed Donald Trump. Donald has stated that we as a nation must become more vicious and violent than our adversaries. He has advocated for "waterboarding and even worse" and now for stop and frisk. He admires demagogues who control their people. REALLY SCARY

I agree with your Dad. Trump's spoutings (I hesitate to call them positions) scare me. He has the depth of a late March sheet of ice on a Virginia puddle.

And Hillary has spoken to the issue. Some would say pander.

But here's the problem, and here's (I regret even saying this) where Trump is correct, in a blind squirrel finds nut kind of way: Hillary is not campaigning for black votes. She is playing for the white, middle class guilt vote. She's shaming people into feeling badly about the way we as a nation have handled race.

And of course, she's right. Our history is flawed and in some cases awful.

However, when commentators start talking about white privilege it makes my skin crawl. Sure there are millions of well off white people in the U.S., but the number of white people who are NOT well off, not healthy, not living in the lap of luxury, not well educated and very worried about the future is a lot bigger. It reminds me of the OJ Simpson trial where all the commmentators murmered on about race. Well even more importantly it was about money. OJ had money. That's why he got off.

People have privilege because of money. Yes, there is racism in this country and yes, police abuse their powers and often against blacks.

Look back to the Henry Louis Gates incident where the white police officer mistakenly apprehended Prof. Gates at his own house. Obama set up the beer summit at the White House and it turned into two Ivy League guys and the poor dumb cop. A total PR disaster and an example of elitism. Yes, the cop screwed up. Yes, he almost undoubtedly would not have hassled a white professor fumbling with keys at his doorstep. Even so, Obama's involvement made it worse.

Sadly the long slow move towards full equality is just that, long and slow. There's no magic wand. It will take time, education and money. There's no magic wand. But telling white people that they should feel guilty is like disciplining a child. Positive reinforcement is going to work better, not shaming.
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