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View Diary: A Bombing in Boston Leads to Musings on Othering Evil to White Privilege (126 comments)

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  •  But who do you blame for this? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    heybuddy

    It must be hard to experience and I would resent it like hell.  But the main reason some whites react that way in certain circumstances is a fear of becoming a victim of a crime, and they believe that young black men pose a greater risk.  Sure, I would grit my teeth at the attitude of the shunning passerby.  But I think I would be really pissed at the young black men who commit the crimes that people fear in their daily lives.  Not the insane mass murderers who are extremely rare, but the muggers, car jackers, and robbers.  And in big cities anyway, those crimes are disproportionately committed by young black men.  

    The reasons for this are very complex and it will take a while to change, but it is a very important factor in racial attitudes in 2013.  

    •  The reason whites behave this way is because (0+ / 0-)

      they are human beings, which means they are idiots.

      Wherever, whenever, however the circumstances might be reversed, the humans viewed as Other by one group become the Safe And Normal, from which vantage they perceive those not Safe And Normal as Other. It's a psychosis planted deep in our biology, and it doesn't play well with the kind of efficiencies of slaughter that come with modern technology.

      Read D'Allaire's account of the Rwandan bloodbath sometime, if you think you can stand it. I know I could not.

      To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

      by UntimelyRippd on Sat Apr 20, 2013 at 11:04:40 PM PDT

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      •  We all make risk assessments all the time (0+ / 0-)

        Those risk assessments are based in part on prejudices, but also on life experiences.  

        I completely believe in the concept of the Other as a partial explanation.  But there's more to it than that.  Some of the fear behavior is quite rational, though difficult to admit to.  Behavior that is most likely to be fear based occurs under circumstances where a rapid risk assessment needs to be made.  An individual's self-regulation of their own prejudice is less likely to take precedence.  

        See also my comment below.

    •  Most of the white people who feel that way (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      aitchdee

      Have limited contact with black people if they have any at all. Few or none live in their community; few or none work with them...and the overwhelming majority have never been assaulted/robbed/raped or had a family member or close friend who has suffered such or killed at the hands of black people...yet fear of black people in general and black men in particular has become generational to people who have largely never encountered black people...positively or negatively...

      That being the case, who deserves the blame?

      Fear doesn't just breed incomprehension. It also breeds a spiteful, resentful hate of anyone and everyone who is in any way different from you.

      by awesumtenor on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 09:28:31 AM PDT

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      •  That may partly be true (0+ / 0-)

        But I have lived in Oakland/Berkeley, Atlanta, LA, and Boston and those attitudes are not frequently held there.  Many of my friends and acquaintances had been victims of crime, knew people who had been, and seen many reports of violent crimes on TV and in the newspaper.  They made their own inferences about risk.  Those fears were certainly not present in many circumstances--people worked with African-Americans, had African American friends. encountered African Americans in their daily lives all the time with no fear.  But under circumstances like walking home from the subway at night, or having a vehicle with tinted windows and fancy rims with young African Americans inside pull up near you in a mostly empty parking lot, then it evoked that reaction.  Certainly those are inherently risky situations, but the fear is heightened if there are young black men involved.   It's sad, but it's true.

        Blame is not really the right word.  I just know that I would be angry and frustrated at both the whites who treated me that way, and the young men who continue to reinforce that stereotype.

        •  where you have lived is not really relevant (0+ / 0-)

          because all white people are not from Oakland/Berkely, Atlanta, LA and Boston; many ( if not most ) are from places where no black people reside and where in the course of their lives they have had scant interaction with black people in general and none of that interaction involved their being the victim of a violent crime...yet they fear black people and deem them suspicious and dangerous based on nothing more than what they have been told by people such as yourself... and yes, I already know you feel utterly justified in how you feel about black people so don't bother trying to belabor the point...fact of the matter is if you took the time to know black people as more than a bogeyman you fear you'd know that your claim of how you feel is nothing more than your projecting the privilege you current enjoy...and is not remotely similar to how I or any other person of color deals with a reality that will never be more than a hypothetical to you.

          Fear doesn't just breed incomprehension. It also breeds a spiteful, resentful hate of anyone and everyone who is in any way different from you.

          by awesumtenor on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 04:03:49 PM PDT

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          •  Sure it's a hypothetical, but can you deny my pt? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            heybuddy

            n.b., I made an error when I made a change to my first line above.  It should read "But I have lived in Oakland/Berkeley, Atlanta, LA, and Boston and those attitudes are frequently held there."  This changes the meaning significantly.  

            As I said, your point about those people who rarely have encountered African Americans is mostly true, though what 20 years ago would have been strictly local news is now rapidly spread across the country.  People read about the murder rates in Detroit, and New Orleans, and Chicago.  National crime statistics are widely known.  It's no doubt true they could have been told things by people like myself as well, based on our own experiences.  Nevertheless, in their environments, their fears are, as you call them, mostly just bogeymen.  

            I don't have to justify how I feel about black people beyond the scope of this discussion.  I do feel justified taking extra caution under circumstances similar to the ones I provided above.  Why shouldn't I?  I haven't just hatched from an egg.

            •  I don't need to deny your point (0+ / 0-)

              because your point is not relevant to what I am discussing... and, BTW, seeing black people while watching the news on TV is not encountering and engaging black people. You posited your point in an attempt to rationalize why people who don't know, associate or even encounter any black people fear them... also... white people commit crimes too; they rob, rape, murder, assault etc... and if you don't hide behind the statistical manipulation of crime rates one sees that more crimes are committed by white people... and no; it's not even close; the DOJ reports that in 2008:

              Of the 3,652,340 crimes of violence committed, 58.4% of them were committed by white offenders compared to 22.8% being committed by black offenders

              Whites committed more rapes than blacks, 54% to 32.1%

              Whites committed more robberies/attempted robberies that resulted in the victim's being injured, 45.8% to 36.3% and 39.6 to 31.4 respectively

              Whites committed 51.8% of aggravated assaults to blacks 24.1% and whites committed 63% of simple assaults to 19.5%'s having been committed by blacks

              The above statistics are for violent crimes that do not result in homicide... but DOJ statistics also note that 86% of white murder victims are killed by white people.

              Overall whites commit nearly twice as many violent crimes as blacks do every year... yet you do not fear white people as you admittedly fear blacks...

              Fear doesn't just breed incomprehension. It also breeds a spiteful, resentful hate of anyone and everyone who is in any way different from you.

              by awesumtenor on Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 10:05:22 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  But we're not talking about the entire popul (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                heybuddy

                where whites outnumber blacks by six to one, we are talking about making a risk assessment when meeting a couple of individuals.  Some very basic math will demonstrate that the odds of committing a violent crime are much higher on average for an individual black versus an individual white.   Let's just take your statement that whites commit twice as many violent crimes as blacks.   Given the population of whites is six times greater, it means that, proportional to their population, blacks committed crimes at three times the rate of whites.  Sorry, it's just a mathematical fact.  
                So when someone encounters two young men age 20 on the street who are not known to them, the average risk of being a victim of a crime, unlikely as it may be, is higher if the young men are black.  A risk assessment is not only fear-based.  It can be rational.  It may make sense to cross the street when encountering a group of young men of any race.  The point is that when ranking risks, people take into account things like age, race, and sex when they make their decisions on how to react.

                Have you seen this?

                2008 DOJ report on Homicide Trends in the United States

                The DOJ data states that for homicides :

                In 2008, the offending rate for blacks (24.7 offenders per 100,000) was 7 times higher than the rate for whites (3.4 offenders per 100,000).
                Look at Figure 20a, "Stranger homicides, by race of offender and victim, 1980–2008"  This is the type of murder that is most likely to engender fear.  By eyeball, it looks like black on white murders account for 18% of stranger murders, while white on black murders account for about 8%.  So that's over twice the number of black on white murders vs white on black murders.  Note this doesn't even take into account the relative sizes of the two populations.  

                [Note that "white" in these data also includes most Hispanics.]

                As far as rural/suburban whites who rarely encounter blacks in their daily lives, the point I made was that their attitudes are no longer solely based on what their daddy told them, but also by what they watch on TV and read in the news.

                These are facts that are essential to recognize if we are to understand why some whites react the way they do in certain circumstances.  Any discussion that doesn't take this into account is just not going to be very realistic.

                •  I suppose next (0+ / 0-)

                  you'll say it is those hispanics who are lumped in with whites who are responsible for all of the violent crime committed by whites... and you and the rest of real white america are simply victims of circumstance...

                  Fear doesn't just breed incomprehension. It also breeds a spiteful, resentful hate of anyone and everyone who is in any way different from you.

                  by awesumtenor on Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 02:51:27 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Not much of a response (0+ / 0-)

                    I was just noting what the data represent.  I made no other inference about Hispanics.

                    But do you see why these facts are important?  You don't really imagine they have nothing to do with whites' attitudes, do you?  

                    •  That whites commit twice the number of crimes (0+ / 0-)

                      as blacks is a fact per the Justice Department... if the amount of crime perpetrated by blacks is a justifiable reason for fear and suspicion, you should be even more afraid of those like you who are melanin-challenged...

                      You need to change your screen name; it is clear you have neither the desire nor the wherewithal to live up to it where your acceptance of racist framing and memes is concerned

                      Fear doesn't just breed incomprehension. It also breeds a spiteful, resentful hate of anyone and everyone who is in any way different from you.

                      by awesumtenor on Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 06:38:27 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  You have three problems (0+ / 0-)

                        1) Innumeracy
                        2) Closed-mindedness
                        3) A judgmental attitude

                        Oh well...maybe someday we can try again.

                        •  LOL (0+ / 0-)

                          This from a man who thinks he is justified in believing random black people to be criminals and therefore rightly are feared and viewed with suspicion because there are crimes committed by black people... but even though the number of crimes committed by whites is far greater than the number of crimes committed by blacks, you see no basis for being afraid of people who look like you

                          Go on to your cross burning; you know the grand pooh bah gets vexed when you're late...

                          Fear doesn't just breed incomprehension. It also breeds a spiteful, resentful hate of anyone and everyone who is in any way different from you.

                          by awesumtenor on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 08:44:38 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  You don't have a clue (0+ / 0-)

                            Why don't you show this thread to someone who has access to a dictionary and a 9th grade algebra book and maybe they can help you.

                            Sorry, no more time for you.

                            bye...bye............

                          •  Surely (0+ / 0-)

                            you can do better than this... then again... no; you can't

                            What you should be skeptical of is the belief that your family tree doesn't look like a telephone pole...

                            Fear doesn't just breed incomprehension. It also breeds a spiteful, resentful hate of anyone and everyone who is in any way different from you.

                            by awesumtenor on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 12:15:54 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

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