Let’s Cut the Racist Crap

There has been quite a bit of talk about racism in the news lately, particularly with regards to police interaction. If you’ve spent any time at all on this blog you know I’m a firm believer in police accountability, and as a libertarian I certainly think that we should always be wary of government power and its potential for abuse. That aside, I’m tired of all of the allegations of racism and the crap that keeps popping up. For example, I saw this a few days ago:

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It is difficult for me to believe that with a black president, a black attorney general, a black Secretary of Transportation, a black Secretary of Homeland Security, an incredibly diverse Supreme Court, and the most diverse Congress we’ve ever seen that we can take the position Colin Kaepernick did when he said, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.”

Yes. Please tell me how you’re oppressed.

The biggest problem I have with Jon Stewart’s statement and Kaepernick’s belief is that it sets us up to see racism everywhere, even if it isn’t happening. This isn’t rhetoric; it’s actually scientific, and I guarantee it’s something you’ve experienced yourself.

Have you ever learned a new word, heard of a new concept, or seen a specific type of car for the first time? Chances are that, if it made enough of an impact on you, you saw it everywhere over the next few days. You may have watched The Princess Bride for the first time and now everyone around you is using the word “inconceivable;” perhaps you recently read about how the Arctic ice sheet is shrinking while the Antarctic ice shelf is growing, and now all you see are environmental articles everywhere. This is something known as the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon.

Our brains are designed to recognize patterns, and upon the introduction of new information (particularly if the information is shocking, mind-blowing, or perspective-altering) we subconsciously hyper-focus on that information. The result is that we see something that is, in all likelihood, relatively rare, but now we see it everywhere. You bought a Prius for the first time, and now you notice the fourteen other Prius’s in your neighborhood; you had a foodgasm at a Thai restaurant for the first time, and now for some reason you see three Thai joints on your commute to work.

The Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon is referred to in some psychological circles as “frequency illusion” because the mind distorts what we’re actually seeing into an assumption of much higher frequency than is actually occurring. One of the things I’ve noticed about discussions with people who allege systemic racism is an almost always ever-present statement akin to this: “I had no idea that this was a problem, but ever since X happened (I started dating a black guy, I attended a conference on hidden racism, I watched a documentary) I see it everywhere!” This is the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon playing out in real time.

A friend of mine recently shared an anecdotal story on his Facebook feed about his first encounter with racism. My buddy is black, and tells the story of how he and another black friend were pulled over by a white cop in a white neighborhood when they weren’t doing anything wrong – they’d broken no traffic laws, their car was in good condition, etc. Now, if you believe that all white cops are racist it would be easy to assume this was the reason for the stop. However, the introduction of three other pieces of information may shed light on the subject: both of these guys were teenagers at the time (16-17 years old) and the stop occurred at two in the morning in a neighborhood the car was not registered to when the cop ran the plates. Of course, it’s certainly possible that the white cop pulled over the kids because they were black; however, it’s far more likely that the cop was suspicious of two teenage guys cruising at two in the morning in a neighborhood they didn’t live in.

The above story illustrates another danger of feeding the Stewart/Kaepernick narrative to people: it causes them to attribute any incidental occurrence to a causality of racism, even if other (far more applicable) circumstances are at play. When I was in high school and college I worked part-time as a server at a local restaurant, and one thing I learned very quickly was that two types of people who frequented the restaurant didn’t tip well: Christians, and black people. Now, I’m a Christian so I don’t have any inherent bias towards religious types, but I can tell you that my heart sank every time I saw people pray before a meal because I knew my chances of getting a good tip just went down by 50% or more. The same occurred with black people. Now, perhaps this was a (very consistent) phenomenon that only occurred where I was at the time; perhaps you’re a black Christian who tips very well. However, I can tell you that the experience was so consistent that the restaurant had to implement and enforce a policy that servers couldn’t trade tables based on race or religion. None of the Christians or black servers at the restaurant had any problem serving people from those demographics, but when you’re making $2.13 an hour plus tips you quickly develop a pretty hard bias against people who have consistently demonstrated an unwillingness to tip. If you wanted a good tip, you went for white males who didn’t pray – and that’s not because we were racist or anti-religion.

I’m currently a loss prevention retail manager, and I recently arrested a couple of girls who had pushed out nearly $500 worth of merchandise without paying for it. For the uninitiated, that’s called “shoplifting.” When I got them into my office the very first words out of their mouths were, and I quote, “You only arrested us because we’re black.” No, it had much more to do with the fact that you just stole a bunch of stuff from my store.

Racism exists – I’m not going to argue that. But when we start telling people that the only reason blacks could possible receive anything but deferential treatment from the world is that systemic racism is everywhere we create a false narrative. We unintentionally contribute to racism by creating a divide where one race feels entitled and the other feels threatened, and the more we perpetuate this the deeper the divide grows. Morgan Freeman said it best in this interview clip:

How do we fix racism? Stop making it a constant narrative is a great first step. This has nothing to do with sweeping legitimate issues under the rug, or ignoring what’s really happening. It has everything to do with stopping giving credence to false narratives that are, to a great degree, largely ignorant and honestly, idiotic. For example, Colin Kaepernick’s statement that blacks are oppressed and treated unfairly is undermined significantly by the fact that he’s part of the National Football League, which has a racial makeup that’s 68% black and only 28% white. He’s also sitting on top of a $114 million contract with a $12 million signing bonus – yes, let’s talk about the oppression of systemic racism.

If legitimate racism exists, let’s talk about it. If we assume people are mistreated just because they’re black, that’s a load of crap and we need to call it for what it is.

The Problem Is Us Versus Them

Us Versus Them

Unless you’re living under a rock, it seems like the only thing people are talking about over the last 24 hours is black versus white, cop versus thug, and rare is the person who isn’t taking one side or the other. People are reminding us that black lives matter, telling us that to be a person of color is to be a target, and that certain minorities live in daily oppression for fear of their lives – all the while the other side is reminding us of how much we need police in our lives, how much we owe the thin blue line, and if we really have a problem with law enforcement then the next time we have an emergency just call a crackhead instead.

Stop it. Seriously. Stop it, all of you.

First off, the overall problem is that everyone is turning on each other. This whole thing is becoming an Us versus Them scenario, we’re squaring off, and the entire situation is devolving into a rapidly downward spiraling scenario of hostile and fatal acts. We’re Americans, together. Yes, there are several problems which need to be addressed. But the most important thing we need to remember is that we’re in this together.

Now let me address both sides. I’ll start with law enforcement, because I always start with authority. You have the greater responsibility.

There is a problem with the law enforcement community in America today. The problem is that you have a higher allegiance to your own than you do to the law. The main topic that cop apologists seem to be spouting these days is compliance with both cops and the law, and they’re searching for all of the subtle nuances to condemn Philando Castile, who notified the police he was legally armed, didn’t move until he was ordered to, and then reached for his ID after being specifically told to, and was shot five times. Somehow in that seemingly clear situation we can find enough murkiness to let the cop off the hook completely.

Funny how none of that murkiness was apparent in the case of John Biehn, a former cop who was arrested three times in 11 hours for DUI, then let go each time. Why did he leave active police work? He left the force after an incident in 2004 when he went on a drunken rampage at a housing complex, firing his gun at random and shooting out several windows. Three residents testified that Biehn pointed the gun at their heads and tried to shoot them. Others said Biehn fired at them but missed. Not only was he able to be peacefully apprehended, he was acquitted of attempted murder and assault and his sentence suspended.

Let’s talk about Erasmo Mata, Jr, a Pharr police officer who was charged with raping a minor five times, all on duty, all in uniform, and all while other members from his police department stood by and watched. “The Pharr Police Department did an internal investigation, but the family claims Chief Villescas told them not to hire an attorney and that he would personally take care of the allegations against the officer. While the officers were terminated, neither Mata, nor the officers who allegedly watched, initially faced any criminal charges for the 2013 attacks.” It wasn’t until the family of the victim reported the crimes to the Texas Rangers and he was investigated by someone outside of his own department that Mata was indicted.

Or we could talk about Eric Roberts, an Oklahoma State Trooper who raped a woman he pulled over on a traffic stop. After he was arrested multiple other women came forward and revealed that he had done the same thing to them, showing Roberts to be a serial rapist.

Virginia State Trooper Chris Allen Carson was was originally charged with forcible sodomy, aggressive sexual battery and indecent liberties with a child after exposing himself, providing pornographic materials to, and sexually assaulting a child. Carson exposed himself to the child and masturbated in front of and with him. One night, Cook said, the boy woke up to find Carson performing oral sex on him. The presiding judge in this case ruled in a similar case to give a non-police officer 66 years in prison, a hefty fine, and required the perpetrator to register as a sex offender. In this case, however, the presiding judge approved a plea bargain for the cop sentencing him to 9 years (and then suspended all but 30 days of it), and did not require the cop to register as a sex offender.

We could discuss William Monberg, who was pulled over for drunk driving and was so inebriated he didn’t even realize his penis was hanging out of his pants, couldn’t perform basic sobriety tests, and couldn’t even understand what the police officers who stopped him were saying. He was cuffed and put in the patrol car… until the police officers realized he was also a cop, at which point they uncuffed him and took him home instead of to jail.

None of these are anomalies, but are becoming increasingly frequent. If you want more stories like this, click here. The problem isn’t necessarily that horrible people become cops – in any profession you’re going to have people who do the wrong thing, to abhorrent levels. The problem is that, all too often, the thin blue line covers for their own. Guys, when these kind of actions are happening, you’re not law enforcement officers – you’re a gang. And that’s why people hate you.

The only ones who can change that are you. No one outside of the law enforcement community can bring integrity back to it. You have to stop being worried about being a “bro” and start being worried about enforcing the law among your family first and foremost. People like Erasmo Mata should be executed… and you’re covering for them. Is it any wonder that people feel the need to start doing the executing themselves?

It is a common saying among LE types that “the most important thing is coming home safe at the end of your shift.” With all due respect, no. It isn’t. You signed up, commissioned, and put on a badge to protect and serve. Sometimes that involves sacrifice – which may involve taking a bullet, or it may involve losing your job because you did the right thing. Stop acting like your personal safety, career, and the personal safety and career of others wearing the badge is the most important thing in the world. It isn’t. Making the community you signed up to protect and serve a better and safer community, is. And you’ll have to sacrifice to do it. If you’re not ok with that, put down the badge.

OK, now for the other side.

There is a problem with the black community. Seriously. First and foremost let’s cut the crap about you being oppressed in America. You’re not. If you think you are, pick pretty much any country in Africa where your ancestors may have come from and look at the problems THOSE people have. The average per capita income across Africa is $315 annually. The life expectancy of someone born in Africa is decades below the world average. Cannibalism is still an active problem in multiple places in Africa. If you want to gripe about problems black people who were born in America face, realize it’s the equivalent of a 26-year-old man complaining about that one time he stubbed his toe when he was two.

If you want to complain about problems your ancestors faced, then realize first that if you can’t name who those ancestors were or tell their story, you need to shut it. 95% of the people I know, black or white, can’t name their great grandparents, let alone trace their lineage back to days when slavery was a thing in America. So if you’re not even sure if your ancestors were ever slaves, then quit whining about the troubles your people faced. Here’s a hint: study history. Every race has been enslaved, and every people group has had troubles unimaginable to our twenty-first century, first world minds. Just because you assume your ancestors had trouble doesn’t mean you get to wear a chip on your shoulder.

You have incredible opportunity just by being in America. You don’t face the problems your ancestors did. If you think either of those statements is incorrect, you’re just flat out ignorant.

But let’s talk about actual problems with the black community. The rate of fatherlessness in the black community has ballooned to an unbelievable 72%. While this is a problem in other communities (31.2% in Hispanic/Latino communities, 20.7% of white communities), it is at an epidemic level among blacks. White people did not make black males abandon their children. Cops did not force this level of fatherhood absence. This is a black problem, with measurable and demonstrable social repercussions, which holds the black community back and down – and it is caused by blacks. And, more importantly, it can only be fixed by blacks. Whites and cops can’t make the black community embrace fatherhood.

Black mothers abort their children at an exponential rate compared to other communities. Whatever you think about abortion, you should recognize that it’s generally not a sign of exceptional social health. While blacks comprise only 12.8% of the population, they account for nearly 36% of abortions in America. In New York City in 2012, more black babies were aborted (31,328) than born (24,578). Whites and cops don’t make the decision to abort black babies.

The black community loves to highlight the relatively few black people who are killed by cops and security guards each year. However, they neglect to relate the other side of the story, where over the last thirty years 93% of murdered blacks were killed by other blacks. That statistic alone makes the whole #BlackLivesMatter movement absurd on its face – if black lives matter, then tell the black people that.

If you want to look at the number one killer of black people in America, statistically speaking it is the black mother. The number two killer of black people in America is the black man. There is a problem with the black community. No, it doesn’t make me racist to call obvious facts obvious facts.

No one outside of the black community can fix this. Whites can’t come in and tell you how to parent, or live your lives in such a way that the aforementioned problems disappear. In fact, if they do, they’re called racists. If whites say there’s a problem, they’re called racists. If whites stay silent and simply address the problem by jailing an equivalent percentage of blacks as are committing crimes in society, they’re called racists. Let’s get over the two-year-old name calling and simply face the facts.

Again, the problem is that each side is acting like they’re inculpable and the others are completely evil. We’re turning this into an Us versus Them situation and ignoring the reality that there are massive, society-impacting problems on both sides of the fence, and that the only solution is an infusion of integrity by the people in those groups. This is not an external problem. It cannot be fixed by an external solution. The problems within the law enforcement community can only be fixed when the law enforcement community decides it wants to, and the problems within the black community can only be fixed when the black community decides it wants to.

As a white, non-law enforcement officer, I’m cheering for both of you. God help us all if you don’t.