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Monday, April 5, 2021


 The case for BLM is a statistical one. Police kill people of all different races, so they are also killing white people and plenty of people from other minority groups. The difference is in the numbers of people, in relative not absolute terms. In other words, the police kill more whites than black, but they kill more blacks in relation to the size of these populations. Most people don't think of it that way, of course. White victims of the police don't matter, because they don't fit the narrative. Presumably the lower number of white victims is a matter of "privilege." The police still might shoot you, but not as often.  

Yet the consciousness of it centers around a very few exemplary victims whose names happen to be known to the general public. This is a recipe for confusion. For example, Derek Chauvin might be convicted (or acquitted) of killing George Floyd. Seen from the exemplary perspective, this is going to be extremely meaningful in its impact, because that was the case that came to the attention of the public because of the length of time Chauvin's knee was on Floyd's neck. It is horrible to watch and has had a powerful impact on everyone who has seen it. Yet others have died, and we haven't seen their videos. The real drama is in the statistics, not in any individual case. 

I'm watching the trial, and it seems the prosecution's strategy is to bore the jury to death.  


Leslie B. said...

On the other hand, you could have been following this stuff. There's been plenty of news, lynchings etc. within or lifetime, and they didn't stop whipping prisoners working the fields until 1967, and it's so easy to have a jail sentence if you're black.

So I would say yes, it's a question of privilege or of whether it matters to you, perhaps.

Jonathan said...

Yes, I think the historical consciousness is lacking in the coverage of all this. We never hear about what the long-term trends are, just particularly egregious cases we remember that are national news, like Rodney King. But it's easier to get indignant in individual cases than about the thousands of other people whose names we never learn.

Leslie B. said...

But the thousands of others *are* the point in this. We had an amazing, historic march last year. I went because I figured they'd need me, they'd have 12 people and my presence would increase by 8%. Then I got there and they had 1200, and all the cars going by were beeping in approval. It was amazing.

2 or 3 days later the police killed somebody a few blocks away from where the march had been, for no good reason. I've seen the videotape, it was a beggar approaching someone to beg, and they had simply said no, it wasn't a problem. Then some bystander calls 911 not because crime, but because beggar actually appears to have some health problem, to be fainting or something like that. So police show up and mow down. I'd say "unbelievable" except, it wasn't.