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View Diary: Smearing Trayvon Martin: The True Lie that Black Men Commit More Crime than Whites (278 comments)

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  •  I have no idea how to fight this one (5+ / 0-)

    Besides race and class, it is inextricably tangled up with issues of authority, the elephant that nobody but nobody wants to acknowledge being influenced by.  Everyone likes to think she's her own person, but both academic studies and good old anecdata tend to agree that the vast majority of Americans will accept any level of cognitive dissonance to avoid condemning institutions of authority (save in the very narrow tea-party-ish sense).

    Facebook sells your personal information to corporations without your knowledge?  Well, they're offering the service, so they have the right.

    Employer wants a pre-employment drug test for a secretarial position?  Well, nothing says they can't do that.

    Police kill an unarmed man who was minding his own business?  Well, they must have had a reason.  Maybe he looked like he had a gun.

    Courts incarcerate black men at a ridiculously higher rate than white men for the same crimes?  Well there must have been some difference to justify that.  They wouldn't just discriminate for no reason.

    Government locks up political prisoners for years without a trial?  Well, I guess they're dangerous, aren't they?

    It's a noxious mixture of everything in human society that makes people treat each other like crap.  I don't know how to deal with this one.  Oddly enough (or maybe not) the best reception I get on it besides at liberal/social justice echo chambers like Daily Kos occasionally is, is with some of my friends who don't live in this country.  Because there's very little for them emotionally to defend.  Otherwise it's like talking to a brick wall.  "Well black people do commit more crimes!"  "Well I got mugged once by a couple of black kids." (I got raped by a black man and am arguing this, idiot, does that trump your anecdote?  No, of course not.)  "Well I can't help it if I'm scared."  (Yes you can!)  And the authority thing, just a complete inability to accept that yes, individual people and also systems that are supposed to be fair and just, can be anything but that.

    If you have any suggestions on how to talk about this with people who are not predisposed to listen, I will take them gratefully.

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