In contemplating the Ferguson disaster over the past two weeks, ‘Puter’s wondered if anything good will come from it. Pundits predictably called for yet another national conversation on race before Michael Brown’s body assumed room temperature. Media kept up its steady drumbeat even as store owners swept up the shattered glass looters left behind.
Each time there’s a tragedy in which a white person kills a black person, America is treated to our media betters wailing and gnashing their teeth, insisting on a national conversation on race. “If only we had had a national conversation on race! [INSERT NAME OF TRAGEDY HERE] never would have happened!”
But by “national conversation on race,” media doesn’t really mean we should have a respectful conversation about a difficult topic. Media means “forcing America to adopt liberal solutions that have consistently failed to resolve racial strife for more than 50 years.” ‘Puter’s seen this movie before, and it never ends well. Liberals and conservatives, blacks and whites, we each talk past the other, never really getting closer to solutions.
So, ‘Puter’s devised a new, improved method of discussing America’s current racial problems. It’s a two-parter, and divided according to race.*
Topic 1 (for whites): Criminal Justice and the Black Community
Assume the following to be true:
Blacks in America have undeniably been subject to decades if not centuries of oppression and discrimination at the hands of whites. As part of this systemic discrimination, white police forces and vigilantes were used to maintain and reinforce this system. Blacks have internalized this historic discrimination, and view the world as more hostile to them than to whites.
Today, blacks are incarcerated at a rate significantly higher than whites. Blacks’ sentences are disproportionate compared to whites’ sentences. Blacks are more likely to have a public defender. Blacks are stopped for the crime of “driving while black.” Blacks are generally viewed with greater suspicion by police and society at large. Blacks have internalized this treatment, and view the justice system as unfairly rigged against them.
- Are current policing policies exacerbating blacks’ beliefs about police and the criminal justice system? If so, how can American reform its policing to better accommodate these concerns without sacrificing community and officer safety?
- If there are disparities between sentencing guidelines for similar crimes (e.g., possession of crack cocaine versus possession of powdered cocaine), is it reasonable and feasible to reform the guidelines so as to eliminate these disparities?
Topic 2 (for blacks): Black America’s Toxic Culture
Assume the following to be true:
Since the end of legal discrimination in America, coinciding with the rise of LBJ’s Great Society and our current welfare states, blacks in America have suffered greatly. Children are born into single parent homes at dangerous rates. Blacks are disproportionately on welfare. Blacks are disproportionately committers of crimes, and disproportionately victims of crimes.
Black culture disrespects women as “bitches” and “hos.” Black culture teaches men to behave as thugs. Black culture glorifies violence. Black culture embraces promiscuity, absentee fathers. Black culture vilifies education as “white.” Black culture accepts government dependence. Black culture punishes cooperation with police.
- Is a culture that treats police as the enemy setting up unnecessary confrontations that could otherwise be avoided, or at least minimized?
- Is a culture that shuns education going to better itself, or will it result in generation after generation of failed men and women?
- Has glorification and acceptance of violence made the black community better than it was?
- Is depending on government’s meager handouts the best way to teach children to be self-sufficient?
These are only starter questions, for both blacks and whites. In order for race relations to get better in American, both whites and blacks must confront difficult truths, acknowledge each other’s good faith and work together to build trust. Hopefully, acknowledging our flaws and discussing them honestly and openly with others from a different race will enable America to break this never-ending cycle of tragedy.
Plus, if we succeed, we get rid of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, which benefits all humanity.
* Yeah, ‘Puter’s racist. Shut up already, media. Any conversation on race is necessarily going to involve discussion of a race’s differing view of the same set of facts, and it’s likely to get testy and uncomfortable. You’re the ones who asked for the conversation, not ‘Puter.