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View Diary: Zimmerman, Racism & Racial Progress (109 comments)

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  •  The easiest way to do this would be to (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jbou, Darmok, Be Skeptical, Dogs are fuzzy

    greatly increase the amount of Public Defenders and their associated staff of investigators.  When I worked the adult criminal caseload the numbers were staggering.  

    . On ne gagne que les combats que l'on mène

    by NearlyNormal on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 03:49:53 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  The racism I am referring to isn;t about class (6+ / 0-)

      The research above, about capital cases, shows that the race of the victim, is the determinant of outcome

      •  you can throw in environmental racism (4+ / 0-)

        the pollution load of neighborhoods is significantly associated with race even after accounting for class  Middle class black neighborhoods get more pollution than equivalently affluent middle class white ones across the board.

        As another, there's a fairly well demonstrated propensity for people to help those who are culturally like them or that they know.  Some institutional racism is created simply because as long as minorities are underrepresented in positions of authority minorities won't have the power figures to help pull them up.  It isn't necessarily bias against minorities as it is discrimination of people in favor of those who are like themselves.  In an way that's a more helpful thing, since as more minorities reach positions of authority, this mechanism at least ought to correct itself on its own.  Still, it shows clearly why affirmative action is a powerful accellerant of social change for the better.

        This tie of bias to cultural expectation as a profound generator of institutional racism is key.  Not entirely sure how to fix it, but it is clearly the problem.

        Great diary

        Touch all that arises with a spirit of compassion. An activist seeks to change opinion.

        by Mindful Nature on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 04:29:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  How are more public defenders going to make (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Richard Lyon, bruh1, johnny wurster

      sure that criminals who murder black people end up in jail?

      •  small steps (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Darmok, cap76, NearlyNormal

        How about we provide lawyers willing to help first time offenders who are poor avoid jail time so they don't become repeat offenders? Going to prison only makes you a better criminal. You can save a lot of lives black, white or brown by legalizing drugs.

        I sing praises in the church of nonsense, but in my heart I'm still an atheist, demanding sense of all things.

        by jbou on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 03:58:56 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  it's a long process (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jbou, TomP, Dogs are fuzzy, NearlyNormal

        and it involves the interaction of culture, attitudes and legal system that bruh points to.

        More public defenders will result in fewer minorities (esp. young black men) being thrown in jail for stupid reasons or essentially no reason at all.  Reducing that incarceration rate increases the number who can be productive and reduces the number seen as criminals (remember, if convicted for stupid or no reason, they aren't criminals, just convicts).  over time, the cultural biases that see young black men as criminals and a source of fear get eroded.  With that, the careless attitude toward their lives should decrease as well.

        It ain't fast, but it's pretty important.

        Touch all that arises with a spirit of compassion. An activist seeks to change opinion.

        by Mindful Nature on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 04:34:07 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  been the case for years (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Darmok, NearlyNormal

      but getting funding for additional lawyers and other services for the less fortunate is a long slow grind, and most folks aren't up for attending meetings and following up with people to make sure that the funding happens and is used to hire people. We have spent decades demonizing the poor so we have a system that reflects that. It is a proven fact that poor folks do more time than the not so poor people who commit similar crimes.

      I sing praises in the church of nonsense, but in my heart I'm still an atheist, demanding sense of all things.

      by jbou on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 03:55:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  While I agree with the class point, I don't (6+ / 0-)

        understand why you are shifting a discussion about race to class where I point out that the issue is racial related regardless of whether one is a defendant or victim.

        •  because you can't fix racism as easy as you can... (4+ / 0-)

          classism. You can provide better services so people can avoid jail time. you can't change someone on a jury's outlook on race.

          I sing praises in the church of nonsense, but in my heart I'm still an atheist, demanding sense of all things.

          by jbou on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 04:01:22 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  So because it's hard to fix (4+ / 0-)

            let's don't talk about it.

            •  let's talk about it (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Darmok, NearlyNormal, Dogs are fuzzy

              I am all ears. If the structure is broken then you either knock it down and rebuild it or you find where the structure is weak and you shore it up. The legal structure is broken, one place here it is broken is finding a decent lawyer if you're broke, by providing a decent lawyer to a broke person you are helping to fix that part of the broken structure.

              I sing praises in the church of nonsense, but in my heart I'm still an atheist, demanding sense of all things.

              by jbou on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 04:11:49 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  There are several examples given already (5+ / 0-)

                In the zimmerman case alone, where there was clear evidend3e that the defendant kept calling the police because of blacks in the neighborhood, and the judge responds by handicapping the prosecution by saying they can't call a duck , a duck by calling it racial profiling, that's an example of legally how the denialism works. When allowing defense to give arguments, while they should have a wide range of arguments to be made, ones that rely on "well we can't prove our self defense through injuries, but we invite you the use your imagination about the BLACK man should be considered out of bounds.

                •  ok... (0+ / 0-)

                  so who can tell the judge to stop doing that?

                  I sing praises in the church of nonsense, but in my heart I'm still an atheist, demanding sense of all things.

                  by jbou on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 04:18:14 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Prosecution appealing the rulings (5+ / 0-)

                    or judicial ethics are two off top my head, but that would require the criminal justice system to stop denying its race problem and to make it center stage of how policies are shaped

                    •  if you can't get people to agree on the problem... (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      a2nite

                      how are you going to get them to agree on a solution? I bet you can ask every prosecutor in this country if the poor people they are prosecuting  are getting a fair shake and I bet a good majority of them would say yes. So we have identified a real problem with a real solution. You have identified a real problem but your solutions are not based in reality.

                      I sing praises in the church of nonsense, but in my heart I'm still an atheist, demanding sense of all things.

                      by jbou on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 04:28:28 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  If you think prosecutors being able to appeal (0+ / 0-)

                      not guilty verdicts is going to help people suffering from racism I'd love to hear the reasoning.

                      . On ne gagne que les combats que l'on mène

                      by NearlyNormal on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 08:29:24 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Pretty sure that's not what bruh1 said (3+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        a2nite, Dogs are fuzzy, bruh1

                        Pretty sure bruh1 is saying you appeal the judge's in-trial rulings.  Meaning, if the judge says you can't refer to "racial profiling", you appeal that ruling to a higher court.  It's a strategy that's not without risk, though.  First, you're pissing off the trial judge (whom you WILL be before again at some point) and, second, judges tend to back each other up on such things, unless the ruling is absolutely beyond the pale.  In this case, restraining the prosecution from arguing race is not likely to be overturned unless the judge in the other court is black because the white judges will hold the same bias.  Sorry to be so cynical, but the facts are what they are.

                        "Power concedes nothing without a demand; it never has and it never will."—Frederick Douglass

                        by costello7 on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 10:51:46 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

              •  You are trying to focus on a part of the stucture (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                bruh1, Tonedevil, TomP

                that isn't really involved in supporting the racism. The black defendant is more likely to be there because of police and prosecutor bias than a white defender. Waiting until that insidious process has run it's course and then saying here's your public defender is accepting that it is an inevitable part of the system.  

                •  ok... (0+ / 0-)

                  so the root cause is poverty? We need to fix our system so we don't have people stressed about money and end up doing things like selling drugs or hooking to pay the bills. We need more and better drug rehabs, we need better mental health facilities. Fighting racism is noble, fighting poverty is icky. I get it.  

                  I sing praises in the church of nonsense, but in my heart I'm still an atheist, demanding sense of all things.

                  by jbou on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 04:34:28 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  No it is not! (6+ / 0-)

                    The root cause is racism. It impacts people of color regardless of their economic status. It is because of racism that a disproportionate number of people of color are poor.

                    •  so you solve the poverty problem (0+ / 0-)

                      the racism problem is much harder to deal with. You fix this problem a piece at a time. Like I said I am open to hearing solutions on how to fix people and how they perceive people who are different than them.

                      I sing praises in the church of nonsense, but in my heart I'm still an atheist, demanding sense of all things.

                      by jbou on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 04:47:50 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  In our present neoliberal society (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        bruh1, politicalceci

                        the poverty problem is getting worse and worse. I really don't think that one is easier than the other,

                        •  I have worked... (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Dogs are fuzzy

                          to get funding for jobs programs for poor people. You can do it too. The poverty problem can be addressed if we are willing to lobby on behalf of poor people and fight to fund programs. It means going to your state capital and your local city or town meetings, it ,means learning how to grant write. It is a grind, but it is a grind that is worth it when you see your program make a difference. The Big Dig in Boston was a colossal clusterfuck, but I worked at a job corps program that sent 30 kids to work there and these kids made the state prevailing wage and never looked back. I ran into a kid the other day, he's grown, with two kids and an ex wife. He joked that he can afford an ex wife and a girlfriend. He couldn't have done it without the help of job corps. These programs work. I should know I graduated from Job Corps and went back to work there for four years while I was in college.

                          I sing praises in the church of nonsense, but in my heart I'm still an atheist, demanding sense of all things.

                          by jbou on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 05:15:54 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                    •  Thank you for this, Richard (4+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Richard Lyon, bruh1, a2nite, politicalceci

                      In my experience, black people are impacted by racism differently according to class but they are still impacted.

                      Just ask Henry Louis Gates.

                •  I believe you about police and prosecutor bias (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  a2nite

                  Where do we act in order to fix it? Election time is better than nothing but is a pretty crude tool.

                  Freedom isn't free. Patriots pay taxes.

                  by Dogs are fuzzy on Fri Jul 19, 2013 at 11:07:18 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  yet another example of assuming the worst (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              jbou, NearlyNormal

              intent of people who actually have the best.

              The point, as I see it, is to use the more tangible problem of classism as a route to eradicating the less tangible (but endemic) problem of racism.

              It is actually a quite useful approach amd one that should be talked about more.  Unfortunately, such an approach can go nowhere if people such as yourself simply reject it out of hand and say 'blah blah blah you're ignoring racism'

              •  Most people do not understand the existence (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                bruh1, politicalceci, a2nite

                of structural racism. Giving them a pat on the head and saying there there I'm sure you mean well, does not create understanding of the problem.

                •  In fact, the response here when (4+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Richard Lyon, TomP, politicalceci, a2nite

                  I started to point out how the behaviors here were adding to the same environment in which a Zimmerman can exist (eg hiding behind reasonable doubt when one knows that racism is a part of the case and the cultural biases of it) and other legal arguments to avoid discussing race. ) The response was hostility and "how dare I" and how I was generalizing, etc. The typical responses in cases where one implicates how structural racism works.

                  •  and you feel that that the 'how dare you!!' (0+ / 0-)

                    defensiveness is what was driving the post we're talking about?

                    Perhaps you should take another look and see what the  intent actually was.

                    You're using a gigantic brush here.

                    •  Yes, over time, with multiple interactions (5+ / 0-)

                      and multiple events, I can say with certainty that I am clear that I am dealing with defensive posturing when the same people keep showing up to make excuses in different context. I can also use reasoning skills to understand this even if someone doesn't say it. Just like I can use reasoning (even if someone doesn't say it out loud) to look at statiscal data to make a reasonable judgment about what the stats  mean if the bias keeps showing up.

                      •  I've seen a lot of the defensive posturing you're (0+ / 0-)

                        talking about.  It shows up most of the time in the diaries that discuss privilege.   I don't dispute that it exists on this site.  Of course it does.

                        But that is not what I'm seeing in the particular proposal discussed here.

                        •  I am not refering the jb (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          a2nite, politicalceci

                          I was referring other users of the site.

                          I don't remember enough interactions to pass judgment

                          Where I have seen this defensive posturing is actually in the context of the Zimmerman case where people will hide behind legal issues and say what they think the law is while ignoring the racism that's occurring in the application of the law

                          Its the PiLi , which I will never forget as a warning that even on a site like this "this is how structural racism works", statement that Juror B37's comments about why she voted the way she did doesn't matter because the decision is final.

                •  and you think that this poster, who is a regular (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Be Skeptical

                  member of this site and is actually posting a point of view that is designed to ameliorate a problem of race via class--

                  is unaware of structural racism?

                  Perhaps you should direct your outrage elsewhere (i.e. at people who deserve it) rather than chastising people who are ON THE RIGHT SIDE.

                  •  Yes I think that he is (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    bruh1

                    unaware. Frequenting Daily Kos wouldn't do a lot to enlighten one on the subject.

                    •  perhaps it is easier to believe that (0+ / 0-)

                      he is unaware, rather than trying to understand a somewhat creative approach to the problem (creative in that this country DOES NOT TALK ABOUT POVERTY--so discussion of it is, in fact, novel)

                      I wonder why you choose to pigeonhole this person, rather than trying to understand what he has to say.

                      Your lens is incredibly narrow, is quite self-serving, and lenses this narrow contribute to the perpetuation of both the racism and the classism problem.

                      You ask people to spend time looking at themselves, and looking at the world.  That is a good thing to do. I would encourage you to follow your own admirable advice.

                      •  I think that it is entirely reasonable (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        bruh1, politicalceci

                        to draw inferences about a person's attitudes from the arguments that they consistently make. The complete refusal to listen to any other point of view but his own demonstrates a restricted attitude. It is not a refusal to listen on my part.  

                      •  Let add my perspective to Richard's point (3+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        costello7, politicalceci, amsterdam

                        Dealing with a specific issue sometimes requires deciding even if someone is good one area, it doesn't mean they are good for other areas.

                        The fact is this diary is about structural racism. Look  at my diaries, and you will see , that I am not adverse to discuss economic issues. Neither is Richard.

                        The issue here is that, in the context of this diary, talking about class has the effect of appearing to change the subject. There is a time and place for all types of argument, but one has to try to figure out what that time and place is rather than shoehorn the discussion in that direction.

                        We all have been guilty of what he is doing, but I really do what to focus on structural racism here. So, to continue to change the subject to economic issues does evidence a closed mind.

          •  Chnging the subject certainly decreases the (4+ / 0-)

            chance of fixing it.

        •  They are deeply intertwined (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Darmok, Be Skeptical, NearlyNormal

          bias against class and bias against race are interconnected, so that if you decrease one, you'll decrease the other.

          I think that it isn't so much a question of wanting to shift the focus so much as a sense that those are the aspects of it where people can see the most obvious solutions.

          Personally, I think that if it were me, I'd try to reduce racism by investing heavily in K-12 education in minority neighborhoods.  Sure, it's indirect, but frankly every smart, eloquent, capable young black man in the world erodes the kind of bias that got Trayvon killed and let Zimmerman go free.

          Does that make sense?

          Touch all that arises with a spirit of compassion. An activist seeks to change opinion.

          by Mindful Nature on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 04:38:59 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  If you get more representation for the poor (0+ / 0-)

          you will get more representation for those that also suffer from racism.  Well off black or brown people do pretty well in the court systems compared to poor black or brown people.  The post I was responding to, from jbou, addressed that fact.  

          . On ne gagne que les combats que l'on mène

          by NearlyNormal on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 08:27:35 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Nope poor white people vote for the 1%; white is (0+ / 0-)

            More important than their wallet.

            nosotros no somos estúpidos

            by a2nite on Fri Jul 19, 2013 at 03:38:18 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  2 things (0+ / 0-)

              1, how is that a reply to what I wrote above?
              2. approximately 43% of the white voters voted for  President Obama.  I suspect but haven't done the math, that that means that there were more actual white voters for him than black voters (though in a vastly smaller percentage).  I think you are engaging in too sweeping of a generalization.

              . On ne gagne que les combats que l'on mène

              by NearlyNormal on Fri Jul 19, 2013 at 12:54:07 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Therein lies the rub ... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jbou, Tonedevil, NearlyNormal

      Everything related to the criminal justice system is underfunded, except, perhaps, the building of prisons.  Judges have to beg for money for facilities and staff, public defender offices can't compete with firms for hiring lawyers, etc.  (And while a stint at the DA's office may be a stepping stone to a civil litigation career, being a Public Defender doesn't have the same boost to one's resume).  Compounding it, alternative sentencing programs are also first on the budget chopping block.

      So, when one talks about institutional racism, here's a big part of it, but outside a courthouse, few people recognize it or talk about it.

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