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View Diary: Poll: White people a lot more likely than black people to think police treat racial groups equally (182 comments)

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  •  East Austin (3+ / 0-)

    In Austin, Tx the City Council issued a report in the early 1920s that made a significant determination.

    They had decided to create an area, which became East Austin, east of Interstate 35, where the infrastructure investment was to be less, where it was OK to "redline" home loans, and where the minority populations were to be kept where they could easily be observed and policed.  These were, in the colloquial language of the era, "no count people."  

    By the 1960s this had become an area most heavily populated on the south end by Hispanics and on the north end by Blacks.  Since then a variety of efforts to accomplish economic development have begun to turn this historic injustice around.  

    But the deal is still the same.  Economics in America are based on the unwritten assumption that some must be valued less than others, so that some can be valued highly.  

    I drove a cab for a while and wrote articles about the drug scene that you could witness from behind the wheel.  What you have is essentially a proposition that is given to energetic youth eager to take a risk in order to get ahead.  The proposition is that  you might die and get arrested many times a year, but in the end, you could join the wealthy class because it is all about risk and reward.  So from behind the wheel, you could literally see that there were thousands out on the streets.  

    Meanwhile, the real drug dealing was done in high rise offices and out on ranch lands where no one would suspect anything untoward might be happening.  You could land a plane from Mexico and not be noticed out there.  

    The inventory on the streets comes from people who can take a risk worth hundreds of thousands or even millions without worrying about it too much.   Privacy costs money
    and those with it can escape scrutiny a lot better than those who are visible out on the street corners.  

    The public and the politicians therefore focus on the street corner where the faces might be black or might be hispanic.

    The police can't chase down people in the tall buildings who are ordering up transactions that they can be insulated from, because this takes incredible FBI level detection.  

    So the police bust the streetcorner guys, over and over.  It is of course, quite frustrating to be arresting the same people over and over without being able to get at anything remotely resembling the cause.

    The problem is that most people are happy to be unaware.  I did a series of experiments in which I asked people from West Austin what they knew about all this and when I started to fill them in, see what their reaction was.  No one wanted to be informed.  Their investment was in their own comfort.  

    Economic Development will eventually replace the blighted streets that provice a kind of delicious late night entertainment for bored college kids and upper middle class suburbanites.  But the basic deal in which society burns people in order to fuel the engines of the economy in general is still in effect.  

    That is what needs to be addressed.  We need real economic development and it has to be based on open eyed understanding of what is going on.  

    Ending the War on Drugs would be a start, but it needs to happen with a lot of debate.  That debate is not happening.

    hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

    by Stuart Heady on Tue Aug 26, 2014 at 09:04:54 AM PDT

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