Thursday, June 25, 2020

Maybe this'll help.

    A busy Wednesday—much progress on the book in the morning, then a pleasant social-distanced lunch on my pal Eric's back porch. In the afternoon, an interview for a future column, a quick 30 laps at the Y, and answering emails—is it possible to cheese off BOTH Fox News right wingers AND social justice radicals at the same time? Apparently so (the former didn't like that I seemed not to hold African-Americans responsible for every bad thing that goes on in their lives; the latter didn't like that I would address the topic at all).
     After dinner, this email came in, which was a more polite form of the Foxers. Polite enough to warrant a reply. Perhaps having polished my patter throughout the day, I achieved, I thought, a kind of purity in concision. Besides, it's all I've got.

    The reader, Jim, we'll shield his last name, writes:
     You'll have to forgive me.  I know it's been awhile.  I was glad to see someone finally touch on an area that many of us find very hard to understand.  Before you dismiss me as part of the Fox Nation or a Trump cultist, let me assure you that I am neither.  I do not consider the former to be a legitimate news outlet nor the later to be worthy or competent for the high office he holds.  That does not stop me from being troubled by the fact that there are thousands of young black men killed by other young black men in urban areas across this country every year with very little outrage or demonstrations for change in the black communities that are most affected.  But let just one of these young black men die at the hands of a rouge cop and you have thousands marching in protest wanting to shut down large parts of metropolitan areas and they don't seem overly concerned about the criminal elements that use their protests as a front to loot, trash and try to create anarchy.     
     What is wrong with this picture?
     I was just as appalled at the death of George Floyd as was the rest of the country but I am even more appalled by the shear numbers of senseless deaths that take place in Black Communities across this country every single day.  Most of the time we never even get to know their names.  They disappear from our streets without any fanfare or adoration.  Once in awhile a story will appear for a day or two about a three year old killed by a stray bullet or two cousins killed in the same bloody weekend in Chicago.  But the stories soon fade with no outrage or condemnation or protests for the kind of change that needs to come from within the Black Community.  So hard to understand.
I hope you are well and keeping safe.
  And I replied:    

Steinberg, Neil

7:12 PM (1 minute ago)
to Jim
Good to hear from you again, Jim. You bring up an interesting point. 

Let me restate the issue in a way that could help cut through the clutter and lead, perhaps, to clarity:

Do you expect more from police officers than from gang bangers? Why?

Thanks for writing.



  1. or, "is it fair to pre-judge police as a group from the actions of a few rogues."

    1. A few rogues ... tolerated, covered up for, and accepted by the rest? Yes.

  2. Your comment certainly did clarify the issue.

  3. Interesting take by both Jim and Neil. Of course the number of blacks killing blacks is obscene. Of course you expect more from cops.
    Agreeing with Jim, there should be outrage in the black community regarding the proliferation of gangs in certain areas.
    Police forces around the country have made strong efforts to control gangs for decades with little success.
    I admire the African American communities everywhere for demanding police reform. Maybe they should include in their agenda an item that addresses gang violence and how police might better deal with that. Sort of a package deal.

  4. Let me add to my last post that it is clear that gangs exist as a result of the disenfranchment of African Americans that can be traced back to 1619.
    Maybe its time our schools start teaching American history that includes some of the really horrible things we’ve done along with some those that are terrific. Eventually more of us will see that not everyone has gotten a fair shake by our founders and lol who’ve followed.

  5. I used to expect more from police officers than from gangbangers. Now I'm not so sure.

  6. One of the issues as to having policemen in schools is that unruly children in Black schools aren't sent to the office to cool their heels, they are sent to jail and commence the first baby steps towards criminal acculteration. I don't know about anyone else, but I, an altar boy if you've ever seen one, still managed to get into trouble that could have had dire consequences were I not a white well-mannered boy with a cop father.


  7. this Black on Black killing trope is wearing my rear end out. yes, it's true that the vast majority of Black people murdered are done so by Black people, but golly! who knew! the vast majority of white murder victims are done in by (drum roll please), white people! the percentages are in the 70s for each, by the way, but that doesn't matter to the all lives matter crew, it's just another hobby horse to cover up their utter indifference to what goes on in those neighborhoods that have long been abandoned by society.

  8. Years ago I worked out at a martial arts dojo that also had a number of CPD officers among its students. One of them wore a shirt with words to the effect of "CPD, the biggest street gang in the city." There are far more than a "few rogue cops" and the ones who claim to not be are belied by there silence. This was before widespread video was common, the only thing that's changed is that we can no longer ignore it.
    Also worth pointing out that there are members of the African American population who are working against Black on Black violence, they just don't get much attention from the media and when they do the White power structure acts against them. “People feel like the police don’t do (expletive),” Mayes said. “So a lot of this (expletive) is us taking our own (expletive) into our own hands.”
    There's no easy fix.

    1. Yup. In my younger adult days (70s and 80s), during which there was a LOT of gangbanging and street violence, the consensus was that the CPD was "the toughest and best-armed gang in town"...and that it was foolhardy, if not suicidal, to mess with them. Didn't matter who you were. I was Caucasian and Jewish and in my 20s and 30s, and even I had run-ins with them on occasion, just for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, or beause they were in a pissy mood.

      One simply assumed, if one lived in Chicago then, that most cops were "rogue" and that it was best to treat them accordingly, or, better yet, to avoid them as much as possible. The one time I needed cops, though, they magically appeared, and disarmed and dragged away a knife-wielding thug on the Red Line at midnight. I was lucky. Right place, right time.

  9. Solutions to the two problems are not mutually exclusive. It's not one or the other - if we kill black kids this way, isn't it okay to kill them another way, too? What the hell, they die either way? Two problems, related but separate. I think we should try to fix both problems.

  10. Your succinct reply is the way to go, but my tendency is to blather. The giveaway was "I am even more appalled." More appalled by violence perpetrated by black people than that meted out by white cops. Hmmm... why might that be?

    When a 3-year old is killed by a stray bullet, that's an accident. Stupid, terrible, an indication that something needs to be done. It is not, however, remotely comparable to consciously, purposefully torturing a man for 8 minutes and 46 seconds in order to murder him.

    "very little outrage or demonstrations for change in the black communities that are most affected"

    The following long thread is very good in its entirety, but I'll just post the salient portion addressing that falsehood:

    "Go to FB and look up 'stop the violence' events going on in your city... Now look up 'Black Lives Matter' protests. I BET there were more stop the violence rallies. It is a verifiable fact that black people work harder to stop violence in their communities than they EVER blame police violence. They commit more money and time to the issue. What does this have to do with anything?

    Well, anyone who actually went to a black church, barbershop, cookout, grandmother's house, strip club or anywhere that black people exist, would know that black people talk about this issue INCESSANTLY. There are black fraternities, sororities, church groups, mentoring organizations, fish fries, summer camps, after-school programs, community centers, athletic teams, science clubs, music groups and a whole motherfucking rap song dedicated to stopping violence in black communities.

    There's a good reason white people don't know this: BECAUSE WE AREN'T TALKING TO YOU!!! Why the fuck would any black person talk to a white person about black on black crime?"

    1. Jakash: I looked at the thread. Very revealing. Reminds me of reading an old biography of Sigmund Freud in which the author, who knew Freud very well, mentioned how he saw anti-semitism everywhere, apparently even in circumstances in which the author thought it was harmless or non existent. Oh, I thought, even Freud was overly sensitive to perceived insults. Of course, the book was written not long before millions of German Jews were rounded up and the Final Solution began. Freud had it right: the anti-semites weren't joking around; they were deadly serious.


  11. Excellent. You could, of course, point him to the hundreds of marches against violence in Black communities, but if he really cared he could have found that out himself.


Comments are vetted and posted at the discretion of the proprietor.