SOLVING AMERICA’S GREAT RACIAL DIVIDE
(A conversation of two white men)
THE ISSUE… WHITE SUPREMACY
Patrick, I laud your energy and courage for taking on tough subjects… notably, your most recent article “Plan for Racial Justice Dedicated to the Memory and Leadership of Martin Luther King” (June 2020 )… aka Project 90%.
Forever the lawyer that I am… I wish that your eight page presentation (Project 90%) would have (more clearly) set forth the “issue.” I am left “somewhat” in doubt as to your issue. You do mention a “purpose”… “The purpose of this paper is to set forth the elements of a plan to alleviate the racial tension now engulfing our country [in 2020].” (page 1, para 1 of your paper). But, Patrick, I respectfully suggest that your “purpose” (“alleviate the racial tension now engulfing our country”) focuses on the present “symptoms” (protests and civil unrest) with too little emphasis on the historical illness that is causing today’s symptoms (street protests and civil unrest).
Four hundred years of White Supremacy and systemic oppression of Blacks in the Americas is (I strongly suspect) the cause of today’s symptoms of racial unrest and racial distrust, now playing out (yet again) in the Streets of America in 2020. Today’s White Supremacy may have its roots in the eons of the White man’s evolution and its “survival of the fittest” instinct. Today’s White Supremacy, therefore, may be a coded, evolutionary trait of DNA that has left the White man with a “subconscious signal” that skin color of non Whites is “different” and, therefore, a “threat” to the White man’s survival. And, the White man’s “subconscious signal” of threat from Blacks may be on high alert in the year 2020, as Whites in America… fully realize they are on the way to becoming a “minority sect” in the very America they founded. I, in no way, give a “pass” to Whites for the coded, evolutionary traits of their DNA. Spiritually speaking, every race on Earth and every race that may exist elsewhere in our ever expanding Universe must bend to the “due unto others” message of the man who walked this Earth in Sandals from Nazareth to Jerusalem, 2,000 years ago
I repeat for the sake of clarity. I respectfully suggest that the cause of the Great Civil Unrest of year 2020 is White Supremacy in America. For the present analysis of White Supremacy in the Americas, we must start 400 years ago… when the White man’s “systemic oppression” of the Black man in the Americas began… beginning with the first arrival of African Slaves to America’s Jamestown Colony in 1619 A.D. (“laborers needed”), and continuing today in 2020 with a contingent of Christian White Supremacists still exerting their claimed “Superiority” over God’s non-white Children— a throwback to the Christian Ku Klux Klan, the true American Christian Patriots of yesteryear. Patrick, I hope I haven’t lost you to a knee jerk reaction of “denial.” I refer not to the River De Nile, but to the emotional black out that occurs when we Whites first hear something we are use to dismissing as “bull sh_ _.”
When I speak of “White Supremacists” and their claim to “White Superiority”, I refer to (at least) four categories of White Supremacists… all still very much alive in today’s 2020 America.
1) Overt White Supremacists like Neo-Nazis, Skinheads, Proud Boys and the Unite the Right group… who took to the streets in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017… condemning all that was not White and all that was not Christian. Historic forefathers of those White Supremacists who took to the streets of Charlottesville in 2017 were (and are) overt White Supremacists who have historically “incited” others to White Supremacist’s violence, including…
- South Carolina Senator, Benjamin Tillman, who opposed President Teddy Roosevelt’s invitation of Black man, Booker T. Washington, to a White House dinner… by stating to the press “We shall have to kill a thousand niggers to get them back in their places.”
- And, in more recent times, Donald Trump’s rush to judgment and his message of hate in the 1989 Central Park Five case… Black and Latino Defendants (Central Park Five) charged with the rape and murder of a jogger in Central Park in 1989. Trump’s rush to judgment (and his poisoning the the minds of future, would-be jurors) was implemented by taking out $85,000 in full page ads in four New York newspapers (less than two weeks after the Black and Latino teenagers were charged). Those ads shouted out “Bring Back the Death Penalty… Bring Back our Police” (similar to Trump’s present day shouts of his “Law and Order” rallying cry for his 2020 election campaign). In addition to his $85,000, “Hang ‘em High” newspaper promos, Trump gave an interview long before trial began… “I hate these people [“these people” ??? code words for White Supremacy ???]. Let’s all hate these people because maybe hate is what is needed if we’re going to get something done.” When the cases were finally dismissed against all Defendants, on the basis of a confession by another man (confirmed by DNA), and after the City of New York agreed to pay $41 Million to settle a civil rights case for the cop’s blatant violation of civil rights… award winning filmmaker, Ken Burns, produced a 2013 award winning, documentary, The Central Park Five… showing how the Black and Latino Defendants were the victims of rush to judgment and enormous civil rights violations. Donald Trump’s reply… “piece of garbage.”
Patrick, I have to give credit to Donald Trump’s consistent vision of race in America. Through “thick and thin” and for (at least) 31 years (1989 to the present 2020), Trump remains true to his support of White Supremacy, or, as Trump said about the Unite the Right, Neo Nazis, White Supremacists in Charlottesville Virginia in 2017… “very fine people on both sides.” And, as he said in his 9/29/2020 Presidential debate with Joe Biden about energizing the White Supremacist, Proud Boys… “Stand Back” and “Stand by.”
(2) Next, Closet White Supremacists who will not take a combative role on the streets of America, but who, nonetheless, claim a kinship of White Supremacy with Neo-Nazis, Skinheads, Proud Boys and Unite the Right Brotherhood of White Supremacists.
(3) Next, Ideological White Supremacists who freely and overtly blame the Blacks for all that ails the Black communities… Black communities still shackled (as they are) with the residue and remnants of 400 years plus of Slavery, Jim Crow segregation (“separate but equal”), White Supremacy and “systemic” poverty that leaves way too many Blacks to face a “hand to mouth” existence of grinding poverty… day in, day out, year in, year out, decade in, decade out and Century in, Century out.
(4) Last, Benign White Supremacists whose subconscious minds tell them… all the blame to the Blacks for their woeful economic condition. Those benign White Supremacists do not see and do not understand their “ingrained” bias. Why ???
- Because the “biases” of benign White Supremacists, and the seeds of White Superiority are (most times) buried in the subconscious mind of White Supremacists… hidden, even from them. These benign White Supremacists are so out of touch with their own subconscious minds that they would deny being a White Supremacist, and pass a lie detector test with flying colors. This is the kind of White Supremacy and White Superiority that we grew up around, as we came of age, in Detroit in the 1950s and 1960s… all of us kids of our generation using derogatory, pejorative descriptions of Blacks (colored, coons, jigaboos, jigs, jungle bunnies, spooks, “Smile so I know where you are in the dark”). Demeaning ??? Yes. Ignorant ??? Yes. But, without any intent to harm, and without any real animosity. This is the kind of “benign” White Supremacy I learned growing up (not at home but) on the streets of Detroit… the kind of White Supremacy I was, finally, able to see in me and in all the neighborhood kids we grew up around… thanks to non White-Supremacist parents, thanks to a Law School education, thanks to an understanding of American History, thanks to representing Blacks in the practice of Law and thanks to endless work as a Trial Lawyer, picking juries filled with Blacks and Whites (Voir Dire).
- In one 18 month period (1977-1978)… as a Court-appointed lawyer for indigent Black Defendants in Detroit, I voir dired 36 different Jury panels to ferret out bias against Blacks and bias in favor of White cops. I tried all those 36 Jury trials to conclusion, and awaited the knock on the Jury room door, “Your Honor… we have a verdict.” What an eye opener for a Detroit middle class kid of uneducated parents. What an opportunity to discover the biases of… White and Black Jurors, White and Black Judges, White cops, and my own benign biases… benign, but biases nonetheless.
- White cops, you say ??? Yes, especially White cops. Case in point. Two years ago when Black athletes used their freedom of expression, and peacefully protested by taking a knee during the National Anthem (telling White cops and White America… “Black Lives Matter”), the Director of the Michigan State Police, Colonel Kristy Etue, unwittingly let her biases of White Supremacy slip out of her subconscious mind, as she boldly referred to those Black (take a knee) athletes as “ungrateful anti-American degenerates” who “hate America.” Hate America ??? She who has never walked in a Black man’s shoes or his bare feet or a Black woman’s shoes, or her bare feet. She who has no notion of what Blacks went through for 250 years as Slaves, 100 years of Jim Crow laws segregated as “separate but equal,” and thereafter 50 years of civil rights and economic disadvantage, carrying a green book while traveling… as a hedge against coming too close to the White man, offending him with the Black man’s very presence, and end up being lynched. Colonel Etue apologized to save her job and her pension, but the story remains… about what biases lurk in the hearts and minds of White cops, when it comes to their claim of superiority over God’s Children of Color. If you were Black State Police recruit in Michigan, imagine how you would have to dance on eggshells during your employment interview with with State Police Chief, Colonel Kristy Etue. Tell her how you really feel, and your would-be employment as a State Trooper is doomed… by Colonel Etue’s subconscious, but entrenched attitudes of White Supremacy.
DON’T SHIFT THE FOCUS
Patrick, in your Project 90%, you set forth an “Objective.” Your White man’s objective… ”Enhance the safety and quality of life in the black community by shifting focus from ‘systemic’ white racism and ‘systemic’ police brutality to the true causal factor – the minority who prey upon the vast majority who need and want protection.” (page 1, para 5 of your project 90%). I read that sentence 15 times, and I must confess some doubt about what you are trying to say… in your paragraph entitled “The Objective.” I find your words somewhat ambiguous because your phrase “true causal factor” is a subject that doesn’t tie in directly to any object i.e. “true causal factor” of what ??? Are you talking about the “true causal factor” of “white racism,” or the “true causal factor” of “police brutality,” or the “true causal factor” of (your words) “the minority [of Blacks] who prey upon the vast majority [of Blacks] who need and want protection” ??? You mention all these, but you don’t spell out the object of your phrase… “true causal factor.”
Therefore, my educated guess is that you want to discuss “Black on Black” crime in Black neighborhoods. My educated guess is that you… like many, many Whites think it is okay to “shift the focus” (your words) rather than face head on… “white racism” and “police brutality.” I “suspect” that Blacks might consider your “shifting of focus” the same-o, same-o “shift of focus” they have seen in the Americas for 400 years… a shift away from White Supremacy, police brutality” and White accountability to “Black on Black” crime in Black neighborhoods. I think Black on Black crime in Black neighborhoods is a legitimate topic and worthy of consideration… somewhere down the line. But during this year’s (2020) civil unrest (triggered, yet again, by the needless torture and death of George Floyd at the hands of a White cop claiming the role of Judge, Jury and Executioner), any attempt by you to change the subject by (as you say) “shifting the focus” will be seen by many in the Black community as nothing more than the same-o, same-o White Supremacy and lack of the White man’s “accountability” for the oppression of Blacks for 400 years. Patrick, it is time to talk about that 400 years of systemic, White oppression of Blacks in America. There will be no “shifting of focus,” yet… not until we have a full discussion of White Supremacy, the White man’s role in 400 years of systemic suppression of Blacks and police brutality.
Knowing that knowledge is power, let us Whites try to educate ourselves so we can fully understand and grasp the 400 year old, historical journey of Blacks… a 400 year journey that is responsible for America’s Great Racial Divide. Let’s use that 400 year old story as the “context” (the background, if you will) to better focus on, to better understand and to better answer the following questions ???
- 400 years of White Supremacy… ??? myth or reality ???
- 400 years Oppression of Blacks… ??? myth or reality ???
- 400 years of Blacks being under the thumb of White cops and vigilantes… ??? myth or reality ???
- 400 years of the Great Racial Divide in America… ??? myth or reality ???
And, what prompts this conversation, again (now in 2020 A.D.) ??? Answer… the recent abuse by White Minneapolis, Minnesota cop, Derek Chauvin, who tortured and suffocated a Black man, George Floyd, to death on the streets of Minneapolis (Judge, Jury and Executioner)… while “the whole World watched.” And, the whole World is still watching. And, may the whole World never stop watching. And, may the whole World never forget White man cop, Derek Chauvin’s inhumanity to his fellow man. That phrase, the “Whole World is Watching” came right out of the 1968 Democratic, National Convention with the Chicago Cops, swinging their “tried and true” nightsticks, “thumping” heads as they clashed head-on with the “Stop the (Vietnam) War” protestors. That 1968 Chicago incident at the Democratic National Convention is indelibly seared into my Senior year, Law School memory… just as vivid today (in 2020) as it was in “real time” 52 years ago, in 1968. As French writer, Jean-Bapatiste Alphonse Karr said in 1849 (the year after the French Revolution)… “The more things change, the more they remain the same.”
(same people, different bias)
Patrick, we have so much in common… born within months of one another (while the world was consumed in the flames of World War II), same neighborhood, baptized into the same Catholic faith, in the very same year, raised in adjoining Catholic parishes in Northwest Detroit… only a few miles apart, educated by Nuns in the same Catholic Grade School system, raised in the same de minimis, economic circumstances of (middle to lower) Middle Class households, you without your war-hero Father, but an extended family of Irish Aunts and Uncles to guide you, me with a 9th grade educated Father of wit and compassion to guide me, and steely eyed, 8th grade educated, Irish Mother of compassion and discipline to keep me in line, and whack a little humility in me (whenever and wherever necessary), both of us graduating from the same all-boy’s Catholic Central High School in the same year (1961), going off to private Catholic Colleges on scholarship (you the GI Bill and me an athletic scholarship), both of us influenced by Military service (your service more extensive than mine), both of us writing books. To say we were connected at the hip like siamese twins in our formative years would be no exaggeration. But, although both of us still have an emotional affinity for one another and tons of respect for one another, we do not connect at the hip anymore. What once was… once upon a time is twice removed. You have gone your way politically as a conservative who voted for (and still supports) Donald Trump, while I have become what your group on the right refers to (when you are being kind)… a “bleeding heart liberal.” Parenthetically, was Jesus who died for the sins of mankind a “bleeding heart liberal” ??? Just asking.
You went off to become a Marine and a Public Accountant and loyal and esteemed employee of Big Eight, CPA Firm, Coopers Lybrand. I went off to the New Mexico Military Institute, U.S. Air Force Academy (for a while), and then, hearing the beat of a different drum, I became a self employed, sole proprietor, Trial Lawyer and (no surprise)… the voice for the common man, the forgotten women and society’s no counts (my own parents). Maybe the roles we embraced early on were the roles we were predestined to follow… you growing up with an authoritarian, entrenched Chain of Command and need for prompt response to Military orders (Yours is not to reason why, yours is but to do and die… as “into the jaws of Death and into the mouth of Hell rode the 600.” Alfred Tennyson, Charge of the Light Brigade). Me growing up with a revolutionary bent, always questioning… “Are these marching orders reasonable ??? Necessary ??? Fair ??? Just ??? or merely commands for the sake of authoritarian control and dictating to others” ??? Or, as Catholic Central head football Coach, Irish Bill Foley, was wont to say whenever I suggested a change in his coaching plans… “Who the hell are you, a Philadelphia Lawyer” ???
What forces of environment shaped me ??? I grew up in the midst of Greatest Generation parents who lived the destitution of the Great Depression of the 1930s, parents whose psyches were tinged with Post Traumatic Stress and poverty. I saw life through my parent’s eyes… always living an emotional step away from financial despair or ruin. “Where will we get the extra $20 for this or that and this” How are we going to afford braces for the kids’ overbites ??? Turn the furnace down. Air conditioning ???… not for us. Turn the lights off. Buy something, but… put it in layaway, so you may be able to pay it off and hock it someday. Maybe. The need to be frugal was always in the forefront of our minds. I will never forget the desperation, struggle, depression and the brokenness that always sat on the sideline of my family’s life, making sure humor and frivolity never got out of hand… watching and waiting for an unanticipated, financial or emotional hardship that was waiting on the sidelines to move to midfield, and dance its fitful and dreaded dance when the vagaries of unexpected (or expected) financial or emotional calamity became a reality. That, I thought then (and still do now) was but a small taste of what the destitute people of poverty must go through every day of their lives, preoccupied (as they are) with their own poverty of hopelessness and the overwhelming anxiety of not being able to do anything (or much) about it… with the self evident truth of “Pursuit of Happiness” always postponed for another day.
I went to Law School to arm myself for the war against the forces that would break the will and the spirits of the already broken, poor and downtrodden. I did not go to Law school so I could join a powerful law firm, or the Chamber of Commerce or the Oakland Hills Country Club or buy a castle in the suburbs. I went to Law School so I could seize the “power of knowledge,” and be a force, and stand up to the forces of anti-humanity… those forces that always hung around my front door, ready to inflict further desperation, depression and brokenness of my people. I went to Law School so I could stand up to those who would afflict the afflicted and comfort the comfortable. Mine was a bias in favor of the struggling masses ??? A bias in favor of the poor and downtrodden ??? A bias in favor of those whose psyches were overwhelmed and constantly under siege with day to day living, a bias in favor of the marginalized… Black, Brown, Red, Yellow, White ??? Yes, I admit. I plead guilty. But, I also know that my admitted biases must always be held in check by the voice of reason that demands “intellectual honesty”… an intellectual honesty that must always be open to new information that may show my preexisting biases to be wrong or misguided. I can never allow myself to be close minded, but I will also tell you that my biases of today (2020) are not emotional, knee jerk bias. My biases of today (2020) are the result of a lifetime of continuous examination, reexamination, evaluation, re-evaluation, always questioning with trial and error… the the merit of of what I think to be true.
As I say, I plead guilty to my biases … biases of compassion for the underdog and the downtrodden that I saw in my own parents growing up, biases reinforced by the “Do unto others” Message of the Man walking in sandals from Galilee to Jerusalem (who took a special interest in the poor and the marginalized), biases reinforced by the Priests and Nuns under whose direction we learned the “Do unto others” message, Priests and Nuns who developed and nurtured our integrity and character, allowing us to prosper, educationally, emotionally, spiritually and professionally, a “do unto others” Message that was driven home to me by the good Dominican Nuns at St. Scholastica, by the Benedictine priests (especially Father Livius), by the Basilian Priests at Catholic Central (especially Father Richard Elmer, Father Wilfred Kehoe and Father Norbert Clemens), by the Jesuits at the University of Detroit (especially Father Celestin Steiner, Father Norbert Heutter and Father Paul Harbrecht), by Father Clement Kern of Holy Trinity Church in Corktown and by Father Solanus Casey (now Blessed Solanus Casey) at the Capuchin Soup Kitchen in Detroit.
My biases sprung forth from the fertile examples of watching those “do unto others” heroes soothe and spiritually lift-up the depressed outcasts and the marginalized of life… like my own family, living in economic and (more importantly) spiritual oppression, depression and desperation… the kind of “beat you down” emotion that sets you up to be a disconnected, challenge authority, hard-ass, kid who says, “organized society is not my friend, organized society couldn’t care less about my family, so societies’ values and rules are not mine”… with my Father running a “Bookie” joint and my brother Marty “pinched” for the Irish Misdemeanor of fighting cops, finally fighting his way into Jackson Prison where he fought for the Heavyweight Championship of the ”Joint” against Black Detroiter, Alvin “Blue” Lewis. Blue got an early out (shortly after the 1967 Detroit riots) and fought the Champ, Muhammed Ali, in Croke Park, Dublin Ireland on July 19, 1972… an 11 round slugfest. See Irishman David Hannigan’s book, The Big Fight.
As I say, the ton of effort put in by my parents, by the Nuns and Priests who planted the seeds in the reckless spirit of my youth, with those seeds, eventually (and belatedly)… bearing enough “mature” fruit to save me from joining my Brother Marty in the “Joint.” Wasn’t I the lucky one… uneducated parents who, nonetheless, knew the importance of education (in the 1950s, no less), and other role models who put heir lives on hold to nurture mine… fortuitous and serendipitous “breaks” that many Black (and White) children of destitution never even knew existed.
So Patrick, while you were (as you indicate) peddling papers and waiving to the nice cops from our neighborhood, I was living a different life… not better, not worse, just “different.” I was ducking down the alley way in an “Oh, nothing” mode, trying to avoid another confrontation with Detroit’s finest, those who were bound and determined to confront and harass me for their own merriment because I didn’t have those “I like our friendly police” social skills that you naturally absorbed and presented to the World as you came of age in Detroit in the 1950s and 1960s. But, despite our differing (preexisting) biases, despite our different circumstances in life and despite our different outlooks of life, we must make every effort humanely possible to strive for “intellectual honesty”… so that our thoughts, words and actions are guided by critical thinking, deductive reasoning, logic, rationality and history, especially when we are tempted (as we all are from time to time) to cut corners… with a knee-jerk solution that is compatible with our preexisting biases.
But (and here is the crucial point), Patrick. Everything else being equal, you will interpret our world with a Militaristic, Authoritarian, “Law and Order,” Chain of Command solution day in and day out, while I will err on the side of the human rights found in the Bill of Rights… that document that was the very essence of Law and Order for the Founding Fathers. For it is the Law and Order of the Bill of Rights that separates America from every other country in the World. It is the Bill of Rights (and only the Bill of Rights) that justifies America exceptionalism. It is the Law and Order of the Bill of Rights that protects all of America, guaranteeing that the rule of law and due process of law will protect… the young and the old, men and women, princes and paupers, Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives, Independents and Libertarians, anarchists and radicals, revolutionaries and subversives, billionaires and discount bargain bin shoppers, fortune 500 and fortune cookies and all people of color… White, Black, Brown, Red and Mello Yellow. It is the Law and Order of the Bill of Rights that protects all of us… from the overreach of cops and the military and governmental officials who would destroy the philosophical freedoms our Founding Fathers found worth dying for.
Patrick, I have hesitated a long time before deciding to respond to your project 90%. One side of me says, “Patrick is a dear friend and a man you so respect and so admire so… don’t respond.” But, another side of me says, “bad things happened when men (and women) of good will do not respond”… with frank transparency. My hesitations… in responding to your eight page paper, Project 90% ??? As I got into the first two pages of your “Project 90%” paper, I swear I saw vestiges of White Superiority marching down the heartland of America, under the banner of Dr. Martin Luther King. Don’t get me wrong Patrick. You are a great human being with an open heart to all, but, in your paper, Project 90 %… I see traces and remnants of 1950’s White Supremacy still percolating in your thoughts and words, and still guiding your beliefs in today’s 21st Century. We are not only different people in our methodology and in our profession… but, more importantly, we differ in our preexisting, long standing biases… long standing biases which prompt us to see the cause of America’s Great Racial Divide through different lenses, through different eye glasses, two different perceptions, two different focuses… your world of Authoritative Law and Order dominance by “data” and Military solutions of domination, and my world of dominance by Philosophical Truths, human rights and equality for all of God’s children… White, Black, Red, Brown and Asian. There is my “transparency.” Whether I am right or wrong, will be judged by the passage of time.
BIAS… CHEERLEADING FOR THE HOME TEAM
Patrick, you are double teaming me with duplicity (redundancy for effect). In one breath, you say you “intend” “an apolitical discussion prepared with no intended bias,” (page 1, para 1 of your paper), but then in the next eight pages you mention “liberals” 15 times in the most unflattering and demeaning of terms, blaming them for all that ails your nearby City of Chicago, including statements like…
(1) (your words, Patrick)…The “Judicial System has been radicalized over the years… with the stated goals of the liberals in Chicago to reduce incarceration of Black criminals… the perception now is that crime is not going to be punished.” (page 5 of your article).
Patrick, you overlook the pressing need of Criminal Justice Reform in America. Law and Order “tough on crime” is not working. We need to try something new, like being “smart on crime” to reduce crime, reduce the rate of recidivism (repeat offenders), and get the mentally ill off the merry-go-round of prison sentences. As I say, being “smart on crime” is the first step. America’s mantra of “tough on crime” has already lost the decades-old War on Drugs (just as our law and order President has lost America’s War on the Coronavirus Pandemic… all at an enormous cost of lives and money). Patrick, you are a man of “data.” Let me give you some alarming data…
- America has more prisoners locked up than any country in the World. America has 2.1 million in prison… versus number two, China (with three times our population) with 1.7 million, and number three, Brazil, with 773,000.
- America has more prisoners per Capita than any country in the World 655 per 100,000 (versus number two, El Savador with 590 per 100,000).
- America has 4.4% of the World’s population, and yet incarcerates 22% of the World’s prisoners.
Reforming the Criminal Justice System will, hopefully, yield better results than the old failed, knee-jerk Law and Order, “tough on crime” solutions. And, do you think that Martin Luther King (to who you dedicate your eight page paper (Project 90%) would be saying “Thank you Patrick, we need to lock up some more Black men” Or, do you think he would disavow your dedication.
(2) (your words Patrick) “The well documented… [Chicago] leadership are increasingly progressive liberal. The attack on the police and their performance is consistent.” (page 3 of your article).
Yes, and the attack on the police should be consistent because the promoters of Law and Oder, “tough on crime” sycophants have blinders on as they walk the same-o, same-o path rather than “progress” from “tough on crime” to “smart on crime” (with new ideas on fighting crime). You can’t keep making the failed past… the solution of the future. A major thrust of Criminal Justice Reform is “accountability” for cops. And, nobody can seriously doubt that we need to put the cop’s feet in the fire, and hold them “accountable”… like everyone else from all walks of life. Lord knows they have been getting away with little or no accountability for decades. No wonder (as you say)… “The attack on the [Chicago] police and their performance is consistent.” It should be.
Your Chicago homeland is just the tip of the iceberg on police misconduct. See the Detroit Free Press article of July 19, 2020, “Prosecutors reported [repeat for emphasis Prosecutors… not defense attorneys, not Judges, not social movement groups, not sociologists, but Prosecutors reported] that Chicago police beat, kicked, shocked or otherwise tortured scores of Black suspects from the 1970s to the early 1990s to try to extract confessions from them.” My home State Michigan (also your home State) and the rest of American tries to hide these same kind of abuses from the public eye. As a Detroit Free Press article of July 17, 2020 says… “cops with histories of misconduct jump from job to job, despite their records” because of the “lax oversight of abusive cops.” Also, according to the Detroit Free Press, a USA Today Network report found that “at least 85,000 law enforcement officers across the country [repeat at least 85,000 cops] have been investigated or disciplined for misconduct over the past decade” but their “records of misconduct [dishonesty, perjury, tampering with evidence or witnesses, or falsifying reports] are filed away, rarely seen by anyone outside their departments,” and are “shielded from public view, or even destroyed.”
Those characteristics of abusive and dishonest cops and the deep sixing of their misconduct records are not related (repeat, not related) to liberal leadership that you mention. It is related to “law and order” conservatives who make the same kind of statements that you do… “law and order” conservatives who continuously undermine the “law and order” of the Bill of Rights by condoning excessive force, perjury, tampering with witnesses, tampering with evidence, filing false police reports and then going go out of their way to whitewash that police misconduct by sweeping it under the rug. The accusations just made (about the problems with bad cops) is not a 1% problem. It is a systemic problem that well intentioned “law and order” advocates have no interest in correcting.
The bottom line. Don’t try to minimize or discount what’s out there to be seen. The cops that returned your friendly “wave” as your 14-year-old self delivered your newspapers in Detroit… those very same friendly and benign officers of the law (that you mention) would eat your eye for a grape if you dare use the Bill of Rights to question their authority, or the lawfulness of their actions. There are many (way too many) bad cops who throw wrenches into the machinery of the “rule of law” and “Justice for All.” Those cops must be eliminated from police work… including the Salt Lake, Utah cop who (a month before George Floyd was killed by cop Derek Chauvin) was seen on video continuously “siccing” his police dog on Jeffery Ryans, a compliant black man laying face down on the ground, who never resisted, even a for moment. Jeffery Ryans suffered severe nerve and tendon damage requiring multiple surgeries, hoping to save his left leg. And, just imagine what cops Derek Chauvin and the cop dog handler in the Salt Lake City incident would be telling the public (and Judge and Jury) if their actions were not caught on camera ??? I’ve heard their stories hundreds of times over four plus decades as a Prosecutor and defense attorney. “Well, your Honor, the suspect continuously attacked me, and made a motion toward his waist band as if he was going to pull a gun out so I had to make sure the suspect didn’t kill me or my fellow officers” … ”Thank you Officer. I find the Defendant guilty of resisting arrest and sentence him to 3 to 10 years. Call the next case Bailiff.”
Now Patrick, 65 years after waving to your friendly cops on your paper route, those days of Ozzie and Harriet, Leave to Beaver and The Rickey Nelson Family are over (if they ever existed). Time for bad cops to be exposed, fired and jailed. The Bill of Rights was the primary Law and Order document for the Founding Fathers, yet the cops disregard the Bill of Rights with impunity… as the cops play a game of “cat and mouse” with suspects, and the Bill of Rights be damned. Or, as I write in my upcoming Book IV (What Every Informed Citizen Should Know… Chapter entitled Good Guys… Bad Guys)…
“But equally dangerous… to the ‘unalienable’ Rights given to us by our Creator and equally dangerous to our American way of life given to us by our Founding Fathers and equally dangerous to our ‘Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of and Happiness’ given to us by the Declaration of Independence, and equally dangerous to the Constitutional rights, privileges and immunities given to us by that Law and Order document known as the Bill of Rights… repeat, equally dangerous are the ‘good guy’ cops who swear to uphold the law and protect us from the ‘bad guys.’
“I’m talking about cops, Law Enforcement Agencies, State Police, State Attorney Generals, local Prosecutors, U.S. Attorneys, the FBI, the CIA, our American Intelligence agencies and others who, in the very competitive effort to ferret out and arrest ‘bad guys,’ become ‘bad guys’ themselves and nullify the Bill of Rights… as they cut corners, take short cuts, ignore restraints and constraints and, in the process, take away our ‘unalienable’ God-given Rights, take away our American way of life, take away our ‘Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness’ and take away the Constitutional rights, privileges and immunities that our Founding Fathers painstakingly set forth in that Law and Order document known as the Bill of Rights. Our Founding Fathers created the Bill of Rights to protect us Americans from our own American government… the ghost of the British past. Our Founding Fathers knew of governmental abuse first hand, and knew that there would always be a clear and present danger from our own American law enforcement ‘good guys’ and, hence, our Founding Father’s gift to We the People… the Bill of Rights to protect ‘We the People’ from the overzealousness and the overreach of the ‘good guy,’ law enforcement contingent of our American government.
“No better example of the ‘good guys’ becoming ‘bad guys’ exists in America than the student arrests that occurred on the campus of Kellogg Community College in Battle Creek, Michigan in the fall of 2016… where students’ handing out pocket United States Constitutions on campus was seen as a crime. In the Fall of 2016, security officers at the Battle Creek school arrested students for doing just that. The students were advocating for the Bill of Rights as officers ironically approached them and shut down their Bill of Rights freedoms… 1st Amendment freedom of expression” (Detroit News, January 23, 2017… article by Ty Hicks of Young Americans for Liberty).
“There it is… the dual threats to our American way of life, to our Democracy and to our freedoms… the ‘bad guys’ and the ‘good guys.’ Although most Americans see the ‘bad guys’ for the bad guys they are, too many Americans (and, surprisingly, way too many Judges and way too many Legislators) refuse to see the ‘good guys’ becoming ‘bad guys’… ‘good guys’ who will, in a heartbeat, take away your American way of life, your Democracy and your Constitutional rights, privileges and immunities.
“This lack of critical insight (in failing to see the ‘good guys’ for the ‘bad guys’ they many times become) creates a clear and present danger to our American Democracy, a clear and present danger to our ‘unalienable’ God-given rights, a clear and present danger to our American way of life, a clear and present danger to our ‘Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness’ and a clear and present danger to the Constitutional rights, privileges and immunities set forth in the Bill of Rights… a clear and present danger that is created by a weak-kneed, or, perhaps, unsophisticated, ill-informed, submissive, even enabling, Legislative branch and Judicial branch of government, that is all too willing to give a ‘pass’ to law enforcement… a ‘pass’ from accountability and a ‘pass’ that erodes the way of life our Founding Fathers won for us in the Revolutionary War, and a pass that erodes our Constitutional rights, privileges and immunities set forth in the Bill of Rights, and a pass that erodes the very fabric of our American, Democratic way of life.
“And, the irony of it all??? It’s always the smug, misdirected and self proclaimed ‘law and order’ Patriots like Donald Trump, like former Michigan Attorney General, Bill Schuette, and like Fox News commentator, Sean Hannity who, with pomp and circumstance, egotistically clothe themselves in the garb of ‘patriots’ as they use their ‘law and order’ chants of ‘patriotism’ to nullify our Founding Fathers’ ‘Law and Order’ document, the Bill of Rights.” (upcoming Book IV)
Today, in 2020, police abuse of our citizens continues on relentlessly… an old plague walking hand ’n hand with the new plague, Coronavirus/Covid 19.
(3) (your words, Patrick) “There does not seem to be much moral courage, or outrage around anymore. Everyone seems to live in the fear of being labeled a racist or worse by those who espouse the narrative. Suburban Moms have signs in the yard proclaiming, ‘Fear Has No Place Here’ !… as if that somehow mitigates their guilt at being white, and establishing their right to the free liberal pass of ‘caring.’ Don’t burn down my house— I care” ! (page 3 of your paper).
Your words, are somewhat ambiguous (like the style of George Will or William Buckley). Your words may not have communicated what you intended me to hear. I’m not sure. But, may I add a relevant point. Given 400 years of undeniable oppression of the Black man by the White man (as I document below), let the White man stand up with a clarion call… a message that condemns “White Supremacy,” condemns “Racism,” condemns Colonization and Condemns Oppression. Irish Priest, Father Diarmuid O’Murchu, in his book, Christianity’s Dangerous Memory says what Jesus really brought to the masses of his time was… psychological and spiritual empowerment to help the crowd of faceless faces overcome the decades of “brutal” and “internalized oppression” at the hands of Rome and at the hands of their own Jewish religious leaders. What the hell is wrong with Whites (following the Message of the Man walking in sandals) speaking words of Truth, comfort, empowerment and reconciliation to Blacks ???… like… “I am not a White Supremacists.” “I am not a Racist.” “You Blacks are children of God, and you are my Brothers and my Sisters.” After all, the idiom of “empowerment” is the language of Love.
(4) (your words, Patrick) You hang the troubles of Chicago on “increasing liberal,” “white,” “civic and political leaders”, with “black leadership emerging mostly in support of liberal policies” and a State Legislature that “has been solidly liberal.” (page 2 of your paper)
Patrick, do you not see that your anti-liberal description is the furthest thing from what you claim is “an apolitical discussion… with no bias.” Your attack against liberals and your “apolitical” disclaimer… just don’t match up. They are opposites that don’t walk hand in hand. Your description of “apolitical” and “no bias” is immediately and unwittingly betrayed by your political attacks on Chicago’s (as you call them) liberal “political leaders,” “liberal State Legislature,” “liberal and radicalized Judicial System,” etc. Do you think that… if you don’t mention the words “Democrat” or “Democratic party,” that you somehow magically transform your political attack on “liberals” and “progressives” into (as you claim) “an apolitical discussion” ???
Patrick, my money says you started out intending to present your Project 90% paper as apolitical and unbiased, but you were then subconsciously betrayed by your deep-seated, subconscious “Law and Order” Bias… “Tough on Crime” bias, “Military” bias, and, perhaps a, “White Superiority” bias. As I mentioned above (in an excerpt from my upcoming fourth book, Chapter Good Guys, Bad Guys), Law and Order for our Founding Fathers was the Bill of Rights… the philosophical boundary, the buffer zone that protects the faceless masses of America by “checking and balancing” the power of America’s militarily-armed Police Departments. I respectfully suggest that you consider shifting your perception by neutralizing your Law and Order biases. Start with the recognition that for the Founding Fathers…Law and Order was the Bill of Rights. I respectfully suggest that shifting your perception on Law and Order will put your biases in check, and start you down a broader path to self recognition and understanding the need for Constitutional restraint of government and its agencies.
I think a “shift in perception” is exactly what is needed. I respectfully suggest that your Project 90% paper is much influenced by your right wing, “Law and Order,” “Tough on Crime” politics. You make some valid points. And, as an ex-Prosecutor, I understand (and take into consideration) that America must judge police response through an objective “heat of the moment” lens… a lens that requires all Monday morning quarterbacking of police actions to ask… How should the quickly changing situation in the street have “reasonably” appeared to cops on the scene ??? I think that’s exactly why the cops in the Breona Taylor case were not charged with a homicide offense. Also, I also understand that criminals, if convicted, must be held “accountable”… under the totality of circumstances (not “one size fits all” formulas)… at the time of sentencing. I am not an anarchist. I understand that all violators of law, bad guy criminals and bad guy cops, must be held fully and fairly accountable for their actions… including any violation of the Bill of Rights by the cops. And, if you say… “The Bill of Rights is too rigid, and the cops should be freed up to go after the bad guys without looking over their shoulder at the Bill of Rights,” then I say you are being short sighted in your views. So would the Founding Fathers and Dr. Martin Luther King.
But, Patrick, I also respectfully suggest that you lose much effectiveness by painting with too broad a brush in your diatribe against liberal politicians and liberal points of view… especially where all of America (Black, White, Brown, Red, Asian, etc) should be in the camp of Criminal Law Reform to remedy America’s failing system of Justice. All of America should also be joined at the hip to wage a just and holy war against excessive force and police brutality which were declared “illegal” by the Founding Fathers in their Law and Order document, the Bill of Rights… specifically adopted by our Founding Fathers to protect American Citizens from the abuses of Law and Order cops (1st Amendment freedom of speech and right to assemble and petition, 4th Amendment excessive force, warrant requirements, probable cause standards, 5th Amendment due process of law, right to remain silent, 8th Amendment “cruel and unusual” punishments, etc.).
Patrick, you are a very bright guy, and well intentioned, but I respectfully suggest that you have to broaden your analysis with more fundamental concepts than just the same-o, same-o “Law and Order” and “Tough on Crime” slogans. Subtlety, nuance and historical perspective is needed for new solutions. Me thinks you are bogged down (maybe til death do us part) in one-way “Law and Order” and “Tough on Crime” thinking. I am inviting you to adopt a new view, with consideration of new solutions… even at 77 years of age. Stay young, stay fresh and stay adaptable. Time to look at and consider new perceptions.
But, we have had this conversation before… and I don’t think I will reach you. But, because you are so intellectually bright, I still hold out hope. The old formulas are not working. Have the courage to try something new. What can it hurt ??? Don’t get stuck in the old ways simply because they comfort you with their familiarity, or because they touch the chord… you heard growing up eight decades ago. I see you as “Law and Oder” and “Tough on Crime”… all day, everyday. I invite you to consider leaving that one trick pony, and start using more subtlety and nuance, and start becoming more resourceful, start thinking about becoming a real Law and Order, Bill of Rights guy. Start thinking about becoming “smart on crime” and reject the certainty of “one size fits all” where the only certainty in “one size fits all”… is the “certainty of injustice.”
Patrick, I have known you long enough to know that you don’t want to let life pass you by as you hitchhike on the side of the road with a sign that says Patrick the “Tough on Crime“ Dinosaur… will work for food and Law and Order.” As Bob Dylan said…
Our old road is rapidly agin’
Please get out of the new one
If you can’t lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin’
And, as I said before, I note your dedication of your Project 90% eight page paper to the Memory and Leadership of Martin Luther King. I join you. I have been a long-time fan of Martin Luther King… even when the FBI (under “Law and Order” Director, J. Edgar Hoover) went out of their way to use illegal surveillance and dirty political tricks to diminish Dr. King’s reputation, even when the White Supremacists in the neighborhood we grew up in the 1950s and 1960s were condemning Martin Luther King as a Communist radical, and even when many of the White Supremacist we grew up with were adamantly opposed to setting aside a holiday for Martin Luther King. When plans were announced for the possibility of a Martin Luther King Holiday, did you jump on board from jump street, or did you join the Dr. Martin Luther King Fan Club… after it became safe, fashionable, main stream thinking ???
Finally, I point out other statements in your Project 99% article that may show some bias (maybe not). You take the position (apparently for the sake of argument… not sure)… repeat, you take the position that (1) Police brutality in the Black community is not rampant, and (2) the killing of Blacks by police is not systemic— as you adopt unidentified “studies that dispute those assertions.” You then say that… “If comparable data can be presented in support of the allegations of brutality and murder, such data should be provided.” (See your page 2, para “Premise”).
Patrick, I know it is the lawyer in me, but the law always puts the burden of proof on the “proponent” of a proposition. You are the proponent who takes the position that police brutality is not rampant in black communities (whatever “rampant” means in that context)…while for me one case is unacceptable and two or three cases is way too much. Or, as my Irish Mother was won’t to say, “Enough is enough, and sometimes too much.” And, as Martin Luther King said on January 26, 1956 during the Montgomery Bus Boycott, he dreamed of a day when police brutality and racial violence would be a thing of the past. “The Negro” (King said) can never be satisfied “as long as Black America continues to be the victim of police brutality.”
Now, Patrick, you are the proponent who says there is no “systemic” killing of Blacks by police (whatever “systemic” means in that context). Since you are the proponent of those statements, you have the burden of proving those denials (no “rampant” police brutality and no “systemic” killing of blacks by police)… rather than just denying those statements, and putting the burden on others to refute your undocumented position. And, a question about the word “systemic” ??? In the first 26 years of our lives (1943 to 1968), at least 31 black men were “lynched” in America. That averages one Black man a year lynched (ie murdered, executed without any due process of Law). Is that “ systemic” ??? Does it even matter ??? One Black man a year, being lynched is way too many. So, we don’t need the adjectives, “rampant” and “systemic.” By ridding ourselves of those vague, subjective, “eye of the beholder” adjectives, we can free ourselves up to go after the lawless actions of cops whenever they violate the Bill of Rights… period.
But, more importantly… here is my dilemma, Patrick. You are “data” man… always have been, always insisting that “data” rules the world. Yet, you give no data as you reject the concepts of “rampant” police brutality in Black neighborhoods and also “systemic” killing of Blacks by police. Some would say, that’s a “Freudian slip”… where your subconscious Law and Order mind, subconsciously takes you to your preexisting bias in favor of cops. Translated, your subconscious mind whispers to you … “Cops don’t use excessive force (and, if they do, so what… the bad guys needed to be roughed up a little), and cops don’t engage in ‘systemic’ killing of Black suspects (and if they did, so what… they are protecting us good guys… so no big deal).”
Perhaps a little too harsh, perhaps not. As I say, your limited experience with cops tells you cops are good guys. But, if you had my lifetime experience with cops (both inside and outside the Courtroom), I doubt you would say the same thing. Regardless, just reading your Project 90% paper tells me that (although you are my lifelong, well respected friend), you are the last person I would want on one of my Juries when I was representing a Black man in a criminal case, or in a Civil Rights case. No doubt the deck would be stacked against my client with your cop-like, Law and Order bias sitting front and center in the Jury box… waiting to pass judgment on my Black client.
On the issue of cops and racial bias when handling Black “suspects” (those not convicted of anything), let me share some research “data” provided by Roland G. Fryer Jr to the Wall Street Journal on 6/22/2020… (Harvard Professor of Economics, a black man of a checkered past).
- Blacks are significantly more likely to be subjected to police non lethal force (at least… 66% more likely).
- “Black civilians who were recorded as compliant by police were 21% more likely to suffer police aggression than compliant whites.”
- Police shootings are not driven by racial differences. “We found no racial differences in shootings overall.”
- “People who invoke our work to argue that systemic police racism is a myth conveniently ignore these statistics. Racism may explain the findings, but the statistical evidence doesn’t prove it. As economists, we don’t get to label unexplained racial disparities ‘racism.”’
I would add… what does it matter whether the label “racism” is the explanatory label ??? The “data” which you like so much, Patrick, shows Blacks receive disparate treatment at the hands of cops which (may or may not be racism) in the world in which there is significantly greater incidence of police force used on blacks… whether they are trying to comply or not.
- The author, Professor Fryer continues… “For all of us who are frustrated about the decades of racial disparities that have gone unchecked, this is our Gettysburg. Yet, we do ourselves a disservice in the battle against racial inequality if we do not adhere to the rigorous standards of evidence, if we cherry-pick data based on our preconceptions. The truth is enough to justify sweeping reform.”
I have been a Trial Lawyer for decades, long enough to know that… if I want to prove police brutality numbers and police racism numbers, I would call an “expert witness” who will support my claim. And if you want to prove the opposite, you would call another “expert witness” to prove the opposite. As they say in the Trial Lawyer business, let “The Battle of Dueling Expert Witnesses” begin, and we shall see which expert witness the Jury thinks to be more credible (as I am reminded of a three week construction accident, personal injury case I tried in Oakland County with 20 expert witnesses). Patrick, I have known you long enough to know that you worship at the alter of “data.” So be it. But, there is more than interpreting our world through statistical data. There are large Philosophical Truths, which our Declaration of Independence calls “self-evident” Truths, and which… I now provide.
CPA DATA vs PHILOSOPHICAL TRUTHS
Patrick, in short… you are a CPA and I am a Philosopher, Trial Lawyer. I deal with Philosophical Truths, and then look at data as a check and balance on those Philosophical Truths. I submit that you bypass Philosophical Truths in their entirety, and go right to the CPA, omnipotent alter of (what you perceive to be)… all powerful “data.” But, surprisingly, this time around, I saw the mention of the supremacy of “data” in your article, but I saw very little, if any, actual data from you.
Let me give you a concrete example of whereof I speak, when I mention Philosophical Truth. After 250 years of slavery (1619 to 1865), salves were freed in 1865 with the 13th Amendment (to the Constitution). But, the former slaves were still not recognized as full citizens. The freed slaves were only second class citizens with the infamous Jim Crow laws forcing Blacks to segregate themselves from White Society. The Supreme Court upheld that forced segregation as a constitutional under the legal fiction of “separate but equal” (Plessy v Ferguson). Finally (almost 100 years later), the 1954 Supreme Court case of Brown v Board of Education (decided by an unanimous U.S. Supreme Court… 9 to 0) held that… the prior “segregation” of Blacks and Whites through Jim Crow laws (aka “separate but equal”) was unconstitutional. Wow. It took almost 100 years from the 1865 freeing of the salves to the 1954 decision in Brown v Board of Education to theoretically (repeat “theoretically”) move blacks from second class, segregated citizens to full citizens who were finally allowed to attend a school of their choice.
In 1954 (when we were 12 years-old, Patrick), all nine members of the all White, United States Supreme Court gave the (theoretical) legal right to Blacks to go to a school of their own choice. (almost 100 years after the slaves were freed in 1865). I say theoretical because…
- In 1963 (nine years after Brown v Board of Education), the White Supremacist Governor of Alabama, George Wallace, stood in the doorway to block a Black college kid from attending the University of Alabama… as he recited those famous words, “Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.” In a show of force, President Kennedy sent in the National guard to ensure that Blacks (as the Supreme Court ruled nine years earlier) were really able to attend a school of their choice. Ditto for Governor Orville Faubus of Arkansas.
- Finally, Blacks were granted the same citizenship rights as Whites (at least theoretically), including the right to play baseball in the all White American and National Leagues, play football in the NFL, and the right to race cars in the “good old boys” NASCAR circuit (one black thus far and slowly counting to two someday).
- Then, in 1964 (ten years after Brown v Board of Education), my University of Detroit football team travel to Memphis, Tennessee to play Memphis State. Our lone Black player, Bob Rice, was not allowed to stay at the White man hotels or eat in the White man’s restaurant. And when we took the field under the lights, all we heard from a sea of faceless faces was the the chant… “Nigger Lovers,” “Nigger lovers,” “Nigger lovers”… that same Memphis State team that was lead by Fred Thompson… Republican Senator and candidate for President in 2008. Can you imagine that ???… 99 years after the slaves were freed, and 10 years after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Jim Crow segregation laws were unconstitutional, nothing had changed.
- Finally, in 1965 (100 years after the Slaves were freed), an emboldened Congress finally stepped in and passed the Civil Rights legislation to give Blacks the option to go to a restaurant of their choice, to sit in a booth of the restaurant, to stay at a hotel of their choice, to go to a movie house of their choice, to buy a home in the neighborhood of their choice, to get a haircut at the barbershop of their choice, to have access to the same facilities on military bases that Whites soldiers had, to choose to sit in either the back of the bus, or in the front of the bus (where a defiant and uppity… ”doesn’t she know her place”) Rosa Parks once sat in defiance, or to go to a swimming pool of their choice (with Crystal Pool in our neighborhood closing its business rather than allow those damn Black kids in for a swim).
The bottom line. Brown v Board of Education was decided in 1954, and the Civil Rights Act passed in 1965… 189 years after the 1776 Declaration of Independence proclaimed the “self evident truth” that “all men are created equal.” Repeat, after 189 years, the “self evident truth” of equality, finally, began to give Blacks the same citizenship as Whites (at least theoretically). And, going back even further in history, the Black Journey from slavery (1619) to (“theoretical”) first class citizenship with the Civi Rights Act of 1965… took 346 years, a three and a half Century “trail of tears”… just to get White America to begin (repeat, “begin”) to accept the self-evident” truth… “that all men are created equal.” And, no wonder Blacks (in silent protest) kneel during the National Anthem triggering Whites to go off on a tangent of condemnation, with Whites not even attempting to understand what it’s like to walk in a Blackman’s bare feet of slavery for 250 years (1619-1965), and then walk another 100 years in ragged shoes of poverty, walking to the beat of Jim Crow and second class citizenship… a journey for equality that has still not reach Dr. King’s “promise land.”
The White man is still not able to comprehend that for Whites… the American flag stands for liberty and freedom. But, for Blacks, the very same flag represents 250 years of Slavery (1619-1865), another 100 years of second class citizenship under Jim Crow laws (1865-1965) with segregation, “separate but equal,” lynching, unjust convictions, bombing, and terrorism, and then yet another 50 plus years non-ending oppression, discrimination, economic sanctions and poverty for Black man… which takes us up to the present (2020 A.D.). The global picture ??? The Black man his been systematically oppressed by the White man for 400 years… four Centuries, covering 20 generations of Blacks who still yearn to trade in their “hopelessness” for full freedom and acceptance in their own country.
And, even worse ??? In the year 2020, the White man (as “hypocrite” first class) wants to co-opt the Black man’s view of America… by demanding that the Black man have the same view of America as the “favored-child” White man does. Where does the White man get the shameless audacity to demand that the Black man give up his “Black perception” of American for the White man’s perception of American ??? The answer ??? White Supremacy. Or, as the head of the Michigan State Police, Kristie Etue, put it in 2018… these peaceful protesters are “degenerates” and “ingrates”… “who hate America.” That would be the same Kristie Etue who retired at age 61 with a lifetime $92,000 a year pension plus an additional $639,000 lump sum in her retirement account accrued during her last six years on the job (2012 to 2018)… certainly no degenerate she.
Taking a knee during the National Anthem to point out the errors of America treatment of Blacks is not hate. It is “love.” I love you America, but look in the mirror, America, and see how you are falling short of Black expectations. This is what our parents (and our support village) do when their beloved children fall short. It is not hate. It is a cry for improvement… 400 years and counting. Kriste Etue had a 1st Amendment right to broadcast her ignorance, but her statement of ignorance and intolerance will forever mark her as a White Supremacist who is a little short on her history… a cop who doesn’t have a clue about the Christian concept of “walking in another’s shoes.” And, to make matters worse, she didn’t have the courage to stick to her guns when she was called out. Instead, she caved in to save her job… as Michigan Republican Governor Rick Snyder was calling for her head. Yeah, she apologized, but my money says… to this very day, her White Supremacist attitude still tells her she was right all along. No wonder Thurgood Marshall, NAACP counsel in Brown v Board of Education and first black U.S. Supreme Court Justice said… “Ah America, the greatest country that never was, but, hopefully, always will be.”
And, Patrick ???… was the 1954 Supreme Court opinion in Brown v Board of Education (that did away with Jim Crow laws and allowed Black children to go to a school of their own choice) based on the concept of your beloved “data” ??? Not really. It was based on the “perceptions of Black children”… who consistently rejected Black dolls in favor of White dolls which the Black children saw as “superior.” You see, Patrick, these psychological/philosophical proofs of how Black kids perceive themselves convinced the Supreme Court (9 to 0) that Jim Crow’s “separate but equal” segregation created the psychological “inferiority” of oppression in Blacks. And, rightfully so.
Although I cannot speak to the Black experience personally, I have had upwards of 50 Black clients and numerous Black friends. Many have shared their journey with me. So, I think it pretty safe to say… you grow up as a Black kid in “separate but equal” segregation, and you see the poverty and the lack luster, worn out, segregated facilities, businesses, schools, gyms, Rec Centers and the run down neighborhoods where Blacks stay, and you endure the kind of psychological second class citizenship of a Black person, over the centuries of “oppression” and institutionalized Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and you will have a psychological message stamped into your heart, your psyche and into your DNA that says loud and clear… “you are inferior.” You are “less than.” Bottom line. Brown v Board of Education which began to turn the long, long corner for blacks was based on the concepts of psychology, perception, oppression and philosophy… not just on the “data” that you so elevate to almighty importance.
DATA NEEDS INTERPRETATION
Think of what I just said Patrick. I write what I said in the year 2020… 244 years after the Founders declared in the Declaration of Independence (July 4th 1776) the “self evident truth” that “all men are created equal.” The Declaration of Independence speaks of philosophical “self-evident” truths” of “all men being created equal” (not data). The Declaration of Independence speaks of the philosophical truth of “unalienable” rights from our Creator (not data). The Declaration of Independence speaks of the philosophical truth of “unalienable” Rights to “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” (not data). When our Founding Fathers published the Declaration of Independence, and declared themselves “free” from the tyranny of British rule on July 4th 1976, they did not see statistical data as all powerful tool that you do. For our Founding Fathers, their “data” was the anecdotal deprivations of “Life, Liberty and Happiness” that was the daily staple of their lives. For our Founding Fathers, their “data” was the reality of their day to day lives, the emotional scars of their clashes with the British and the Founding Fathers’ perception of the denial of basic God given, “unalienable” human rights by their British rulers. That was enough for our Founding Fathers to throw down the gauntlet, draw a line in the sand and say, “This is worth dying for”… all without the need to obtain statistical data from a Colonial CPA firm.
Patrick, we had this discussion before, but please allow me to add to it. I submit that your preference for “data” is over-emphasized. Data is only one of the tools at mankind’s disposal to solve problems. Data, in and of itself gets us nowhere. Data is what computers can give us at the speed of light. Data can’t analyze itself. Neither can artificial intelligence. It takes human intervention to “interpret” data, and give it some meaning, and move the ball down the court. The key word is “interpretation.” To be useful in solving human dilemmas, data must be converted into information and knowledge via interpretation. As Jesuit priest, Father Nicholas said (in Mexico) in 2010.
“When one can access so much information so quickly and so painlessly; when one can express and publish to the world one’s reactions so immediately and so unthinkingly in one’s blogs or micro-blogs; when the latest opinion column from the New York Times or El Pais, or the newest viral video can be spread so quickly to people half a world away, shaping their perceptions and feelings, then the laborious, painstaking work of serious, critical thinking often gets short-circuited. One can “cut-and-paste” without the need to think critically or write accurately or come to one’s own careful conclusions.”
Patrick, reading what you always say about data, leads me to believe that you are missing the most important aspect of data. You know it, but you fail to express how important the “interpretation” of data is… as mankind must go from data to the ultimate conclusion of what the data means. Data is not God. You cannot and must not worship at the altar of data. Data does not stand alone. Data requires interpreters. Data without interpretation is a hot air ballon without air. Data without interpretation is worthless, or even worse than worthless because it is misleading and deceptive, with the same data being used by both sides of an argument to prove their point. Besides, If we restrict everything to raw data, how does mankind ever go from data to information, from information to knowledge and, hopefully, from knowledge to wisdom. Stated differently, how do you go from data to information, to knowledge and, hopefully, to wisdom… if you stop at data ??? The real journey for advancement of mankind is to go from lowly rung of data to… information, knowledge and, hopefully, (someday) to the wisdom of our elders.
Data is only as good as its interpreter. And, all interpreters of data are “subjective“ interpreters… as Shakespeare captured 400 years ago… “It’s in the eye of the beholder,” and as Goethe captured 200 years ago… “We tend to find what we are looking for.” Now joining those geniuses of yesteryear is Dr. Chris Hutchinson, doctor of Emergency Medicine at Beaumont (and former 1992 Michigan All American footballer and NFL Pro Bowler). Dr. Hutchinson was quoted in the Detroit News of August 18, 2020 regarding U of M’s initial (Covid 19) decision to cancel U of M’s 2020 Football season (his son… a preseason All American out of Divine Child High School). As Dr. Hutchinson says… “Everybody has the same data, it’s whatever your personal preference is”… that determines what ultimate conclusions the data leads you to. Or, using Goethe’s above quote of 200 years ago, Dr. Hutchinson (in 2020) would say… “you start with data, and then let the data take you to the preferred interpretation you were looking for all along.” The only way out of that “loop” of subjective confirmation bias in interpreting data is to be as “intellectually honest” as you can possibly be, and insist that your intellectual rigor and honesty trump any “preferred interpretation” your confirmation bias is pointing you toward.
And, in my field as a Trial Lawyer… every case I have had comes down to expert witnesses who interpret the data. And, invariably, the so-called expert witnesses use the very same data and arrive at diametrically opposite opinions in their interpretation of what the data supposedly shows. Some experts are very skillful interpreters while others range from fair to mid-land. As an expert once said in one of my trials… “It’s all in the interpretation.” And, so it is. In a murder case or a wrongful death, civil case, there is only one dead body providing the very same data… of external wounds, internal examination, preexisting medical history and toxicological findings. But, the pathologists (who pronounce the cause of death) invariably differ in the interpretation of what that scientific data shows… regarding the manner and cause of death, the importance of contributing factors and what role (if any) illicit drugs played in the death. You need look no further than the contradictory findings of the two “cause of death” (medical) interpreters in the death of George Floyd at the hands (rather the knee) of cop Derek Chauvin in 2020. Stay tuned for the Murder trial of George Floyd, and I am sure you will hear an echo of what I say.
Ditto for accountants and economists on the amount of lost income (one set of data and two interpretations as to what the data means). Ditto for every other area of expertise… same data but widely different interpretations of what the data means… different interpretations by CPAs, lawyers, doctors, safety experts, mental health experts, meteorologists, vehicle designers, crashworthiness experts, business valuators, real estate valuators, artwork valuators, investment counsellors, P.R. experts, advertisers, etc. Data is merely data… until an interpreter sheds light on what the data supposedly shows. And, importantly (as I indicate above), the U.S. Supreme Court in Brown v Board of Education threw out Jim Crow laws and “separate but equal” segregation on the perception of black kids who chose white dolls over dolls of color… showing how the systemic oppression and Post Traumatic Depression of blacks through 250 years of slavery and another 100 years of Jim Crow laws of “separate but equal” segregation… created a psychological trauma of “inferiority” in Black children.
The same overemphasis about data can be said about your claim that “A ‘fact’ is what one can prove by data.” Does the thermostat data of 100 degrees prove the fact that it’s hot ??? It depends on interpretation. 100 degrees is data, but it may or may not be hot. It’s hot to do strenuous exercise in 100 degree heat… more so if the humidity is high. But, 100 degrees is not hot if you are cooking a roast and protecting your family from food poisoning. Does a two minute interval on a watch generate the fact that a two minute period is a short time ??? Heck no. Try holding your breath under water for two minutes and (if you survive) you will come up for air with aching lungs that say that was a long tortuous time. On the other hand, two minutes is barely a blip in a Universe that is over 13 Billion years old. Is 100 a high number ??? Yes and no. Living to 100 is a very large number, but having a retirement account with $100 is worthless. Data is not God. Data is data… no more, no less, and without valid and skillful interpretation, data is meaningless.
Ditto for your claim that “we must begin by separating ‘opinion’ from ‘fact.’” I understand what you are saying, but, again, you oversimplify. Even in Courts (where the object is to find the truth of a matter), lay witnesses are allowed latitude in stating their lay “opinions.” See Michigan Rule of Evidence (MRE) 701… a lay witness is allowed to give an “opinion” in circumstances where the witness’ opinion is “rationally based on the perception by the witness,” or where the witness’ opinion is “helpful to a clear understanding of the witness’ testimony or the determination of a fact in issue.” The exceptions to lay witnesses giving opinion testimony is in accord with the Judicial system’s understanding of human nature. If a witness says, “I saw two men in a ‘physical’ altercation”’… that is an opinion. But, the witness should be allowed to give that opinion… as opposed to laboriously going through a description of, “I saw one man with a balled up fist, and he thrust that balled-up fist in the air toward the other man… who I really took for a man, not a woman because he had broad shoulders, narrow hips and short cropped hair with a full days growth of a beard.” Ditto for “the man was running,” “the women were laughing,” “the boys were playing basketball.” Patrick, I respectfully suggest that your rules for gathering useful information are a little too restrictive, and exhibit an overly narrow interpretation of life and human nature. I don’t discount data. I use data as a fill in for Philosophical “self evident” truths and God given, “unalienable rights”… just like the Founders did in the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights.
MESSAGE TO THE WHITE MAN
THE DEPTH OF AMERICA’S ORIGINAL SIN
Patrick, right from “jump street”… those altruistic and sweet sounding words of “self-evident truths” of “all men created equal” (in the Declaration of Independence) were hijacked by the economic “data” that you (as a CPA) so treasure… the economic data of reduction of Plantation overhead via slavery, enhancing the economic bottom line of White American at the cost of the Black man’s humanity. Slavery was America’s “original hypocrisy.” Over its 250 years of slavery (1619-1865), and over another 100 years of Jim Crow “separate but equal” segregation (1865-1965), and over another 55 years of continuing oppression (1965-2020), America’s “original hypocrisy” became America’s “original sin” as White America became the Greatest economic engine in the world … off the sweat, blood and tears of Black slave labor and Jim Crow segregation and 20th Century discrimination. And, it matters not whether you or your family ever owned a slave. You, as a White Kid born in 1943, were the chosen one who inherited an economic system and opportunities that were generated off the backs of Blacks… a 328 year-old, un-level playing field that you inherited as of the date of your birth in 1943… 328 years of oppression of the Black man that favored your whiteness (and mine to), all based on an un-level playing field that (by and large) condemned the (so-called) the Black man to systemic poverty while it opened the doors of opportunity for us White kids. The only difference between us ??? I admit it… while you re still trying to explain it away.
But, that “un-level” playing field only gives you a glimpse of the unmeasurable depravity of America’s original sin. For 350 years, White America stoled the “Humanity and Human Rights” of God’s Black children, putting them behind the “economic” eight ball, and by not giving full acknowledgment to the “self-evident truth” that “all men (of any color) are created equal,” and that all men (of any color) are endowed by their Creator with certain “unalienable Rights”… among them “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
What must it be like… to be human and have your humanity and your human rights stolen from you??? Steal my bike, shame on you. Steal my car, shame on you. Steal my wife, shame on you. Break into my house, shame on you. Pass a $20 counterfeit bill, shame on you (and for this unproven offense, George Floyd paid with his life as cop Derek Chauvin became Judge, Jury and Executioner). Sell contraband cigarettes on the sidewalks of New York, shame on you (and for this unproven offense, Eric Garner paid with his life as the New York cops became Judge, Jury and Executioner). Steal my hard earned IRA retirement money as Citi Bank, Bank America, JP Morgan Chase did as they crashed the American economy in 2008 (proven, but no criminal charges, but Billions in civil fines voluntarily paid)… again shame on you.
As I ask, what must it be like ??? What greater loss can a man or woman suffer than the theft of their humanity, the theft of their God given “free will” to chart their own course, and set their own destination in life ??? What must it be like to have your equality and your “unalienable” rights to “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” stolen… generation, after generation, after generation ??? What must it be like for your entire generation, and for your Father’s generation, and for your Children’s generation, your Grandparents generation, your Grandchildren’s generation, and on, and on, and on… backward and forward for hundreds of years… to have your humanity stolen. That is precisely the loss suffered by Black Salves, generation after generation after generation for 250 years, and thereafter by (so-called) free Black men under the thumb of Jim Crow, segregation for another 100 years, and even after Brown v Board of Education was decided in 1954, the endless battle for freedom continued on and on with Muhammed Ali, Martin Luther King, John Lewis and many others battling against continuing White Supremacy, systemic oppression and poverty. The American roots of that White Supremacy, systemic oppression and poverty are now 400 plus years-old, and continuing today in 2020… 400 plus years of combined slavery, systemic oppression, second class, Jim Crow citizenship and the poverty of mind, body and soul… that it creates, and continuously reinforces. Sure, Patrick, you can point to some gains for the Black man at the end of the 20th Century, but that Black man will never, repeat “never” be a first class, American citizen in the mind of White Supremacy America until those White Supremacists of our generation (War Babies and Baby Boomers) die off. As by “bookie” Father would say about a sure bet… “Take that to the bank.”
YOU CAN’T DATA YOUR WAY OUT OF AMERICA’S ORIGINAL SIN
Patrick, I feel you and I are joined at the hip in so many ways, and we have stood up in our world, aspiring to be leaders and have fought so many of the same battles and endured many of the same challenges. There is so much to admire in a man of your caliber. And, if I had a choice to spend time with anyone from our old Catholic Central High School (“Teach me Goodness, Discipline and Knowledge”), it would be you. And, I also know that if Blacks were to join in with us, and have a conversation, they would be made to feel right at home with your “rolling” Irish charm and humor. Yet, your natural charm and those natural social skills you possess in abundance “subconsciously” camouflage a benign White Supremacy that will always respond to the general problem of racial discord by pointing out in knee jerk fashion that… it is the Blacks who are responsible for their own plight, their own problems and their own poverty, as well as all the social ills that grow out of that plight of poverty.
I cannot guarantee that my view of you, or of the racial discord in America is correct. But, I can guarantee you (and others) that I have enough “time and grade” in life, and enough experience and enough understanding of the history of the Black man’s dilemma, and enough understanding of the intersection of Law and Race and enough exposure to Blacks… to believe with a fair measure of certainty that I am right. I am (as I said before) a man who starts with “philosophical truths” while you are a man driven by “data,” or as you would proclaim, “show me the data.” I hear your reply in my ear. I know you have a philosophical side, as you know I also have an interpret data side… but only if and when the interpretation of data leads to “information” and then to “knowledge.” I once thought our differences were semantics. So, I offered a way out. Forget the concept “data” and the concept “facts” and let’s just use the words “proofs.” That way, you don’t get bogged down with primacy of data while I (in like fashion) would be open to data as part of your “proofs.”
But, I now think our differences to be much more fundamental than semantics. Now I think we are separated by much more than semantics, data and philosophical truths. I now think we may be permanently separated by our own bias… your bias starts off with an authoritarian, law and order dominance that ignores history, and simply says “no excuses”… Blacks must be held responsible for the position they find themselves in today (2020). On the other hand, my bias starts off trying to understand how the historical environment of endless White Supremacy has oppressed and beaten Blacks down over the last 400 years, leaving Black America with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in their DNA and a poverty in their hearts, bodies, minds and souls that makes their burden of trying to rise out of hopelessness to pursue the American Dream so very difficult than us white men… especially where White America still stands in the way in the 21st Century, and thrusts the dagger of White Supremacy into the heart of Black America. Take that, you Black “ingrates who hate America” (the words of Michigan State Police Director, Christie Etue referring to Blacks taking a knee in silent protest).
The issue driving America’s protests of 2020 is Police Brutality… the Cop’s unnecessary and excessive force directed toward all citizens (Black, White, Brown and Asian) in violation of…
- The 4th, 5th and 6th Amendments of the Bill of Rights, and, in violation of
- The 14th Amendment substantive and procedural due process, and in violation of
- The Declaration of Independence’s “Self-evident” equality and “unalienable” God given rights to “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”
The “triggering” event leading America’s street protests of 2020 is yet another torture and death… this time, George Floyd at the hands of cop Derek Chauvin… which has now blossomed into a First Amendment issue with Cops attacking peaceful protestors, and with (I acknowledge) some undue and unacceptable lawlessness by some protestors, both right and left leaning protesters.
My life’s experience interacting with cops (on numerous occasions age 9 through age 77) and my 45 years experience as an active practitioner of the Law (Prosecutor, Criminal Defense Attorney, Civil Rights Trial Lawyer and instructor at Police Academies) tells me that… way too many cops (formerly known as Peace Officers) are way too many times just a brutal bunch of rouge thugs who mistakenly see themselves as the good guys of domination… protecting society from the bad guys. So what ???… as the good guy cops rationalize. So what ???… if they have to short circuit the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence to protect society, and rough a few people up to get the job done. If so, so be it. I doubt you agree with my analysis of cops. Why ??? Maybe because you don’t have my hands-on experience of being a Criminal Trial Lawyer and Civil Rights Trial Lawyer for 45 years. And, maybe because our present day differences can be traced to our differing views of cops in our formative years… A Tale of Two Cities.
You Patrick (as you tell me) have always had those friendly encounters with cops… the Big Four in Detroit returning your friendly wave as you peddled your newspapers, and your 14-year-old self through the hardscrabble, Brightmoor section of Detroit. That’s not the land of police pollyanna I grew up in. That’s different from the abusive cop I saw pull my Father over in 1952 (when I was but 9 years old) and humiliate his gentle self in front of his entire, captive family… for no reason. That’s different from the cop I saw knock my mother right off her feet onto the pavement of Six mile in 1964 when I was 21 years old (then it was “game on” for me and the assaultive cop, with a trip to Palmer Park Precinct lockup for both me and Mother Dear). That’s different from the two Cops who jumped me at Tiger Stadium in 1984 because they didn’t like my tone, during the Tiger playoff game (with the the Commander of the DPD security detail releasing me from custody because of the many protesters who saw what happened, and told the Commander what really went down). And, that’s different from the cop’s modus operandi I saw as a Prosecutor, or as an Instructor at the Police Academies, or as a 45 year practitioner of law representing Black defendants in criminal cases (trying 30 plus cases to conclusion in a single 18 month period in 1977-1978), and representing Black Plaintiffs in Civil Rights cases… with the outraged Juries returning substantial verdicts against the cops. It just might be that you have a bias in favor cops (for your own reasons), and it just might be that I have a bias against cops for good reason (much more hands-on experience). Maybe.
The greater majority of other Criminal and Civil Rights lawyers (White and Black) with my very same experience share my views. And, our Civil Rights sentiments are borne out by the numerous Jury verdicts rendered against Cops for excessive force and police brutality over decades, and borne out by the Detroit Police Department’s consent decree to allow the Feds to oversee the Detroit Police Dept. for 13 years (2003-2013) due to police brutality, excessive force, illegal dragnet arrests, illegal detentions and false confessions. Ditto for Chicago P.D., New Orleans P.D. and New York P.D. Those proofs (aka facts) provide all the data you need… to know what happened (and is still happening across America in 2020). It to finally say no more, “enough is enough.” Changes must be made, and assaultive bully cops must be weeded out.
And, there is no need for analytical data to prove the fact that cop Derek Chauvin tortured and murdered George Floyd (although Derek Chauvin is still entitled to a “due process” trial). The whole world saw what cop Derek Chauvin did, and any attempt to manipulate that fact with some analytical data is not reasonable or well founded… unless of course you are Derek Chauvin’s defense attorney who would attempt to distract the Jury away from what they see in the video. And, just imagine how different the proofs (of the torture and murder of George Floyd) would look in the American conversation today… if it were not for some brave 17-year-old who shot the video of George Floyd’s last agony and execution. “Well, your Honor, Mr. Floyd never stopped struggling and resisting, and eventually he asphyxiated himself to death during his own resistance.” “Officer Derek Chauvin, I find you innocent… call the next case, Bailiff.”
Our City of Detroit Police Chief was on WJR radio in September (2020) describing an incident in which a Detroit police car drove through peaceful protesters with their squad car… to (??? I guess to harass them, push them down the street or separate them). I repeat… drove a police vehicle (a dangerous instrumentality) through peaceful protesters who were just exercising their 1st. Amendment rights. Maybe, the cops were just following the lead of President Trump who did the same, but with his paramilitary out ahead, parting the Red Sea for him… so he could grandstand by holding up a Bible. During the WJR interview, the Police Chief of Detroit justified the cops driving their police vehicle into the protestors because the protesters were “angry.”
Angry ??? So what ??? Citizens do not lose their 1st. Amendment rights because they are angry. Justifiable anger is not an oxymoron. Do you think Jesus was angry when he engaged in an act of “civil disobedience” by throwing the money changers out of the Temple ??? The 1st. Amendment is a broad right, and it gives citizens the right to piss off other citizens… like the the Abolitionists did leading up to America’s Civil War, like the Women Suffragettes did when they protested for the vote, like the Selma Alabama marchers did when they crossed Pettus Bridge on Bloody Sunday, and just like the Christian Bible Believers did in Dearborn Michigan when they put the head of a dead pig on a stake and marched through East Dearborn… home to a large Muslim population. All these actions (angry or not) are protected by the 1st Amendment.
BACK TO YOUR “SHIFT OF FOCUS”
As I said before Patrick, you want to “shift the focus” from police brutality to the issue of black crime in black communities. I think many would consider that just another distraction away from George Floyd, police brutality and the Civil Rights protests of 2020. Even though a worthy topic, I think many Blacks would consider your deliberate shift in focus away from police brutality to “black on black” crime in Black neighborhoods… just the same-o, same-o sleight of hand distraction they have heard from generations of Whites. As Black America is trying to call White America’s attention to Centuries of mistreatment and oppression, White America, in knee jerk fashion, just points the finger at Blacks, rather than respond to the issues of White Supremacy and police brutality. In fact, I know many Blacks (and Whites alike) who would say that any sleight of hand, shift of the issue (from White Supremacy to blaming Blacks) is standard fare in the White man’s wares… the playbook of White Supremacy, and a sleight of hand shell game. “Ladies and gentlemen, keep you eye on the moving shell, now you see it… now you don’t.”
- Even if (for the sake of argument) your statement about Black criminals in the Black community is absolutely true, society cannot (and must not) give the cops a pass for violating the Bill of Rights. Cops, as government agents, are sworn to uphold the law and the Bill of Rights, and neither they (nor society) can “cop out” (no pun intended) for police brutality toward Black “suspects” in Black communities by saying (as I think you do)… “Well, your Honor, the ‘true causal factor’ for my police brutality is the fault of the Black criminals, not my police misconduct.” Patrick, the citizens’ protections in the Bill of Rights are not lost because of “black on black” crime. The citizens’ protections in the Bill of Rights are not lost because because Blacks become “suspects” or because Blacks are accused or arrested or jailed or even tried for a crime. Many progressive Whites I know (and probably most Blacks) would say that the shift of focus… evidences a White man’s effort to escape “accountability” for the role of the Whites in the plight of Black America. Many would say that your starting point, a “shift the focus” from police brutality to “black on black” crime evidences the attitude of White Supremacy… as if you are saying, ”You Blacks complain of police brutality, but the real problem is ‘black on black’ crime which just forces the cops to brutalize you and take away your protections in the Bill of Rights… so we Whites aren’t going to listen.”
- Additionally, your analysis of the “true causal factor” of “black on black” crime in Black communities is out of sequence. Your analysis places the cart before the horse. The first thing we need to discus about “black on black” crime in Black neighborhoods is the fundamental cause of Black crime… continuing poverty, mass incarceration and the continuing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder of 400 years of State sponsored oppression via slavery, badges of slavery, Jim Crow laws, legally-imposed second class citizenship (culturally and financially), “Separate but Equal” segregation, discrimination and the economic sanctions aka “red lining” and other economic disadvantaging of Black neighborhoods… all the product of the never ending 400 years of oppression of Blacks by White Supremacy.
Patrick, you mention your Irish relatives as you repeat the same old platitudes of “smoke and mirrors” problem solving. Blacks gotta get a job. Blacks gotta get an education… like my Irish relatives did. Easier said than done. It’s like telling a baseball player to hit a home run. No doubt, that’s the desired goal, but the real question is… how do you hit a home run ??? It is no solution to talk about minimum wage jobs that don’t provide a livable wage. It is no solution to talk about the ideal of a college education (or even a trade school education)… unless you dig deeper and find out how you can get “Black kids of relentless, grinding poverty” (and their families) to understand the value of education and the value of postponed gratification. If you can’t do that, then it will always be the same-o, same-o peer pressure, and the never ending temptation for a “quick fix” to get out of poverty by working at McDonalds, or engage in petty crime or in a Drug Distribution Network.
And, how do you get Black kids (or impoverished White kids, for that matter) to avoid that “quick fix” ??? That (avoiding a quick fix) is a monumental task. It is a monumental task to shift the focus of the poor from their hopelessness and short term gratification … to sacrifice, discipline, postponed, long-term gratification (of a College or Trade School education), advancement, forward progress to the American Dream, and, eventually, a livable wage with better jobs. No matter how your Irish relatives did it, they were never slaves in America (perhaps indentured servants for a couple years, but never slaves). And, although we both understand the Irish had to fight for acceptance, they were Whites who never lived under the crushing thumb of de jure slavery for 250 years, and thereafter impoverishing, de facto and de jure segregation and discrimination for anther 150 years… and counting.
I was the only one in my family (Mother, Father, four kids, Grandparents, etc) to graduate from High School. It is easy to overlook the value of a College education, when you grow up in a household where no-one ever graduated from High School. Of course, I had a very supportive Father, and, of course, I was one of the lucky kids who was recruited to play College football with a full scholarship (room, board, tuition and books). So College, for a lucky kid like me, was just an enticement to play more football… while, coincidentally, getting a College education on the side (while I matured more and more, each year to the point where I could finally appreciate education). I suspect, therefore, that my life’s early experience tracks the Black experience more than yours, perhaps, giving me “somewhat” of a better understanding of the Black experience… although I will never have the full grasp of what it means to be Black. I also suspect that my professional experience as a Trial Lawyer for Black Criminal Defendants and Civil Rights Plaintiffs also gives me a better understanding of the Black experience… although I will be the first to admit being Black, and walking for years and decades in a Black man’s shoes, is the only true experience to know what it’s like to be Black.
The St. Thomas Aquinas philosopher in me says your discussion of “causal factors” in “black on black” crime in Black neighborhoods started in the middle of the causation link. Your analysis started with you … overlooking or discounting the emotional, spiritual, intellectual and the physical toll of a combined 400 plus years of White imposed slavery, Jim Crow segregation, legally imposed second citizenship, discrimination, lynchings, voting sanctions, economic sanctions (“restrictive covenants” in deeds, red lining, no mortgages, no Blacks hired, stay in your own neighborhood, etc)… all sustaining the Century after Century relentless and grinding Black “poverty.” The items you ignore in your causative link are, most likely, the “truest causal factor” of “black on black” crime growing out of much, dead-end hopelessness in Black communities.
As I said above, no one in your Irish lineage was a slave in America. At worst, they were indentured servants with the longest term capped at 7 years. Slavery is different breed, different in kind because… there is no way out for the slave, no way out for the slaves’ children, their grandchildren, their great grandchildren, their great great grandchildren, etc. etc. The slave in America was born with the black mark of Cain… a black mark he passed on down in his will to his children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, etc. Yet, you deal out and ignore (with nary a mention nor an acknowledgement) the combined effect of 400 years of institutionalized, systemic slavery, second class citizenship, oppression and mistreatment of Blacks in an America driven by the institution White Supremacy.
The investigation and discussion of “true causative factors” (your words) of “black on black” crime in Black communities begins with 400 years of systemic White oppression and White Supremacy. The investigation and discussion of “true causative factors” begins with Centuries of impoverished Black communities, Centuries of no opportunity, Centuries of neglect, mass incarceration and a deck stacked against Blacks by White Supremacy. Again, many Blacks (and progressive Whites) would say… your starting point (“black on black” crimes in Black neighborhoods) is the very essence of White Supremacy and is nothing more (or less) than a sleight of hand distraction to avoid White “accountability.” Or (in your own words)… “shifting the focus away from ‘systemic’ White racism and ’systemic’ police brutality to the true causal factor— the minority who prey upon the vast majority who need and want protection.” Yes, I know you covered “the need for jobs” and “education” six pages later… but again no discussion of the destructive impact of generations and generations and generations of “systemic” legal oppression and poverty caused by the White man stacking the deck of White laws, the deck of White customs and the deck of White culture against the Black man…
- From slavery to second class citizenship,
- From “separate but equal” to segregation to discrimination,
- From tenant farming to poll taxes and literacy tests, just to vote,
- From Martin Luther King to the Pettus Bridge march,
- From Rosa Parks to Viola Liuzzo of Oak Park,
- From Eric Garner of New York City to George Floyd of Minneapolis,
- From the U.S. Supreme Court case of Brown v The Board of Education to the Arc of Justice by Detroit Eastside, Catholic School kid, Kevin Boyle…
- all the while the White man’s self endowed Supremacy was in control, and controlled whether Blacks lived or were lynched, where they live, whether they worked, where they work, what kind of menial tasks they would be allowed to perform, and, now, how their mass incarceration would be managed… in a fashion similar to the White man’s management of Japanese Americans incarceration in prison camps in World War II. See dissenting opinion in Korematsu v United States by Michigan’s favorite son, Justice Frank Murphy.
I appreciate your analogies of the Irish (our common ancestry), but, since your Irish relatives were never slaves, that takes us back to the eight bullet points I mention directly above, and the acknowledgement that our white skin and our births in the early 1940s gave us all the benefits of education and the best of employment opportunities that women and Blacks of our era never had, and couldn’t even imagine. The bottom line… White Supremacy has put the Black man behind the eight ball (with slavery), kept him behind the eight ball (with Jim Crow segregation, second class citizenship and discrimination) for over 400 years. Even if you disagree with that statement, your analysis makes no mention of (and no allowance for) “poverty” as the common factor (or in your words… “true causal factor”) of “black on black” crime in Black communities. You simply mention the word “poverty” with no actual analysis. With a credit to my Father and my Irish Mother, I give you an analysis of “poverty” from my second book…(Wealth Power Politics Jesus).
“Poverty is the ultimate breeding ground for diminishment, discouragement, depression, disillusionment, dispiritedness, despondency, despair, detachment and then the final switch, ‘lights out’ disconnection… a disconnection that throws the ‘rejected children of poverty’ headlong into a spiritual black hole of lawlessness, revolution, anarchy and terrorism: ’It’s us against them, man… so take whatever you can, from whomever you can, whenever you can.’ Thank heaven, I was one generation removed from the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl and the abject poverty of my Father. And, God bless the strong-willed men and women of the ‘Greatest Generation’ who weathered those terrible economic storms and survived those bleak, ‘bring you to your knees’ hard times. Thank heaven I had a hard-nose, 8th grade educated, ‘take no prisoners,’ Irish Mother whose life by example taught me the enormous amount of energy and determination it takes to be a ‘survivor of life.’ Thank heaven I had a 9th grade educated Father to teach me the importance of embracing a compassionate, ‘idealistic’ philosophy of life. Thank heaven I had the spiritual refuge of St. Scholastica Grade School and the nurture of Sister Margaret Francis, Sister John Leo, Sister Gertrude Mary and the rest of those hard working, self sacrificing Dominican Nuns to direct and influence me… ‘to be the very best I could be.’ Thank heaven I had Father Livius… with his ‘living the Message-of-Jesus’ example to help me understand the ‘essence’ of the ‘Message of Jesus.’ Thank heaven, I had many extra parents from the St. Scholastica Parish as loving ‘guide posts’ and ‘back-up’ voices to assist my parents in nourishing me along during my own, emotionally challenging childhood. Thank heaven for the Basilian Priests at Catholic Central… who took up where Father Livius left off. Thank heaven for a supporting ‘cast of thousands’ in my emotionally supportive world at St. Scholastica Grade School and Parish, and thank heaven that today, in my 77th full year of life, I can still draw upon that ‘strength gathered’ and those ‘lessons learned’… to help me weather the emotional tsunamis of life that still buffet me today and still threaten to emotionally sweep me away even during these ‘winding down’ years of my life. Without all of those beautiful followers of Jesus teaching me and forgiving me… there is no me.” (Wealth Power Politics Jesus… page 9-10).
And, my answer to the relentless poverty in Black neighborhoods ??? Get to the kids of poverty, black, white, brown… before they get set up for a failure of expectations, a failure that keeps everybody in jail, or out of work, or making peanuts at dead-end jobs. See:
“RESULTS. Results indicated that ∼13% of children in the sample had developmental delays that would make them eligible for Part C early intervention. At 24 months, only 10% of children with delays received services. Children with developmental delays were more likely to receive services than those who do not have delays; black children were less likely to receive services than children from other ethnic and racial groups.”
“CONCLUSIONS. The prevalence of developmental delays that make children eligible for Part C services is much higher than previously thought. Moreover, the majority of children who are eligible for Part C services are not receiving services for their developmental problems. Strategies need to be developed to monitor patterns of enrollment in early intervention services and reach out to more minority children, particularly black children.”
Research also suggests that even a few years of poverty can have negative consequences for a child’s development. What we are now learning from brain science and developmental psychology is that the negative effects of early childhood poverty, from prenatal to age 5, might be especially harmful and enduring. This is likely because a child’s brain grows and changes rapidly during the first few years of life, making young children especially sensitive to environmental influences. Early childhood may be critical also because that is when the family context dominates children’s everyday lives, a context that differs dramatically by socioeconomic status.
“These young children suffer in the classroom: Poverty-stricken youth show higher rates of academic failure and an increased probability of grade retention. Children from poor families are twice as likely to repeat a grade, and they are about 10 times as likely to drop out of high school. These outcomes are likely due to the fact that poverty saddles children with a seemingly insurmountable disadvantage at perhaps the most critical time in their lives. Early childhood is the single most prolific period of development for children—90 percent of a child’s brain growth occurs between birth and the age of three. Children in poverty, however, frequently do not have access to the same educational and developmental resources as their counterparts from higher-income families during this vital time.”
“Researchers estimate, for example, that children from professional families are exposed to 45 million words by the age of four, while children from working-class families only hear about 22 million. Children in poverty, however, are exposed to a scant 13 million.  Further, more than two-thirds of poverty-stricken households do not possess a single book developmentally appropriate for a child under five.”
MESSAGE TO THE BLACK MAN
Let me first acknowledge that I cannot speak for what Blacks feel, based on their 400 years combined Slavery, Jim Crow segregation of second class citizenship, discrimination and the red lining, economic sanctions the White man’s White Supremacy has visited upon the Black Community. Therefore, I tread gingerly on any message to a Black man. But, I do know of, listen to, reinforce and repeat the historical formula for financial success and upward mobility for any man or women of any color… compete, compete, and compete some more with hard work, sacrifice and more hard work. And, I also hear and heed the many Black voices (including Frederick Douglass) who say “no good will ever come from Blacks seeing themselves seeing themselves as ‘victims’ of White America’s injustice (regardless of how true that victimization is or has been).” Therefore, if I am having this conversation with a Black (man, woman, child, adolescent or teenager), I will first acknowledge and concede the undeniable truth… the “victimization” of Blacks for 400 years by White Supremacy America. After that salutary acknowledgement and concession, I will quickly add, “The well documented and oppressive mistreatment of Blacks for 400 years (and counting) is no excuse (repeat for emphasis … no excuse) for you Black men and Black women not doing what you have to do… to capture your version of the American Dream. Do not count your status as ‘victim’ of White Supremacy (no matter how true that statement may be). You have to do the very same thing Patrick McDonnell did with his life. You have to commit to hard work, day in day out, month in, month out, through the decades of your life, and you cannot (and must not) allow the concept of ‘victimization’ or any other weakness, anxiety, exhaustion, being overwhelmed (day in and lay out), depression, rejection, unfairness and skin color… defeat you or give you an excuse or a pass for not realizing your American Dream.” As Capuchin Priest, Blessed Solanus Casey, once said…
Do not pray for easy lives;
Pray to be strong.
Don’t pray for tasks equal to your power;
Pray for powers equal to your tasks.
Then, the doing of your life’s work shall be no miracle.
You shall be the miracle.
So kid, get out of the house and go kick some ass… with a fortitude, courage, transparency, vulnerability, humility and a relentlessness that is truly a worthy reflection of the DNA that courses through your veins, the DNA you inherited from those strong, proud, Black souls whose genes you carry, those Black hardy souls who have paved the way for you by pointing out the road less travelled that was never open to them… your personal road less traveled that leads to your own American Dream in this world of White Supremacy.
YOUR PLAN… NO PLAN
Bob Dylan sang “Don’t criticize what you don’t understand.” You and I endorse Dylan’s words 100%. Your oft mentioned mantra, “Don’t criticize unless you ofter a solution.” I endorse your words 50%. If my kid has a broken heart, and he wants to drink himself into a stupor, while pining away to Hank Williams on the jukebox (Your Cheatin’ Heart), I will criticize his solution… even though I don’t have a clue how to mend a broken heart. My point. Many suggested plans and solutions are obviously dead end solutions from jump street, and need to be criticize and shut down before they waste time… traveling down the wrong path and into a blind alley. As the world awaits a vaccination solution to Coronavirus/Covid 19, time is of the essence, and responsible scientists who know what they are talking about need to manage precious time by criticizing and rejecting solutions that are losers from jump street… even if they have yet to discover a vaccine solution. No need to waste time on any solution that is damned from the start.
I do not, however, level that “damned from the start” criticism at your plan about education and jobs in the Black community. But, I do level another criticism. Getting an education and getting a job (with a livable wage) is not a plan… it’s a goal. It’s an educational goal in search of a plan. It’s an employment goal begging for a plan. We desperately need a plan to move the Children of Poverty forward… toward an education and a job with a livable wage. How… to get an education ??? How… to get a job with a livable wage ??? Those are the questions that demand a plan. What America needs now is a viable plan for education and jobs with livable wages… for the “Children of Poverty.” Just telling a kid, “Hey kid, get an education” or “Hey kid, get a job with a livable wage”… is like asking the kid to climb the ladder by jumping up to the 5th rung (impossible for most). It’s like telling a little league baseball player to hit a line drive. The line drive is the obvious result you want. But, the real solution is a plan that helps the kid understand the concepts of a level swing, of “watching the ball hit the bat” and the endless effort, discipline, postponement of gratification and practice, practice, practice and more practice that it takes to learn how to hit a line drive… level swing and keen eye.
Education ??? You mention your Irish relatives getting educations. That’s a great story for the Irish, and many other nationalities to… but (as I said before) the Irish were never slaves, nor were the others. Talking about your Irish relatives getting a college education, and then mentioning in the same breath educations for the beautiful Black children of America… is a comparison of apples and oranges. But, many in White America (living in denial) like to make that comparison as they speak the language of White Supremacy and say, “See it’s the fault of the Blacks. My Irish relatives got educated, so if the Back children didn’t, it’s on them.” But, as I say, that’s “apples and oranges” because Blacks were the only group that came to America as Slaves, and who were then… subjected to 400 years (repeat 400 years) of systemic oppression, and the Grand Theft of Black Humanity…
- 246 years of legally, institutionalized Slavery (1619–1865)…
246 years of legally, institutionalized slavery for the original slaves, kidnapped from their African homeland, and brought to the Americas in 1619, followed by 15 generations of slavery for their descendants. Count them… legalize slavery for their children, their Grandchildren, their Great Grandchildren, their Great, Great Grandchildren, their Great, Great, Great Grandchildren, and each succeeding 15 generations bearing the biblical, black mark of Cain… marking them as God’s gift to the White man, for the White man’s profit, leisure and pleasure … each and every generation of Blacks oppressed, held down, beaten down into “hopelessness” and submission, summarily executed by their owners (when necessary), robbed of their “self evident truth” that “all men are created equal,” robbed of their “unalienable”… “Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness,” robbed of their free will, robbed of their Human Rights, robbed of their culture, robbed of their language, robbed of their religion and, in short, robbed of their God given humanity.
- 100 years of legalized, institutional “Second Class Citizenship” (1865 to 1965)…
Beginning with Jim Crow laws (designed by Whites to hold free Blacks down economically, and keep them, physically, in their segregated place) locking Blacks into tenant farming, red-lined neighborhoods, menial employment and keeping them in “second class citizenship” until passage of the Civil Rights laws of 1965.
- 55 years of de jure, defacto and disparate-impact discrimination (1965 to 2020)…
Another 55 years of “holding Blacks down”… as Martin Luther King and his many heroic companions raised their voices all over America, and on up to the present day of George Floyd’s execution via a cop’s knee… rather than an old fashion lynching with the onlooking, White Christians, all dressed in their Sunday best, and smiling for the camera.
Lynching ??? Yes, an estimated 6,500 lynchings of Black men, women and children aka Premeditated Murder by lawless Whites with 37 lynchings of Blacks documented during the first two decades of our lives (1940s and 1950s). Whites who do not run from the past of the American White man’s original sin are left to wonder and ask… what has the White man’s Supremacy and domination of Blacks over four Centuries done to the collective psyche of the Black man’s DNA ???
What does 400 years of systemic oppression do to the collective psyche of human beings… any group of human beings, of any color ??? What does 400 years of combined Slavery, Jim Crow laws, “Separate but Equal” segregation, tenant farming, lynchings, beatings, discrimination, denial of the vote, and the systemic red lining of poverty right into the very fabric of Black neighborhoods… do to the collective psyche of any group of God’s children ??? What havoc did 400 years of abject, grinding poverty… wreak on the collective psyche of our Black brothers and sisters ??? Is the psychological damage of each Black slave, of each second class citizen, and each soul who is a product of 400 years of systemic oppression… passed on in the collective DNA of each new generation of Blacks ??? How do you measure the collective emotional and psychological damage done by over 400 years of systemic oppression and poverty of Blacks… that was legally passed onto to each new generation of Black descendants ??? What “self image shattering” psychological damage is done to the collective psyche of any group, Blacks or others… over a 400 year period of systemic oppression, grinding poverty and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, passed on from generation to generation to generation to generation… over 400 years ???
I doubt there is a way to prove to a “data” driven CPA like you the philosophical understanding I received from my Father and his anecdotal story of surviving the hunger and the hopelessness of the Great Depression of the 1930s. The closest I can come to it is quoting what I wrote in 2012 in my second book Wealth Power Politics Jesus when I said…
“My Father once told me that poverty was ‘grinding’… kind of a relentless, physical dimension that, at first, discourages, depresses, then dispirits and, eventually, grinds you down, finally demoralizing you as you realize you are not part of the social fabric of society and not part of the establishment, but rather just part of a marginal subculture— an imprecise emotional realization that consciously and unconsciously ‘disconnects’ the ‘children of poverty’ from society’s values and society’s system of laws while throwing them headlong into the self-justifying, self-comforting, dysfunction of rejection: ‘It’s us against them man… so society’s rules and laws don’t apply to me.’ Poverty is the ultimate breeding ground for diminishment, discouragement, depression, disillusionment, dispiritedness, despondency, despair, detachment and then the final switch, “lights out” disconnection… a disconnection that throws the ‘rejected children of poverty’ headlong into a spiritual black hole of lawlessness, revolution, anarchy and terrorism: ‘It’s us against them, man… so take whatever you can, from whomever you can, whenever you can.”’
And, it would seem intuitively obvious (at least to me) that getting to the Children of Poverty early on, in the beginning of their lives is crucial to reaching their hungry souls, and developing in them a hunger … for “learning,” building a vocabulary, computation of numbers, art, science, music, language, equality, “self worth” and education. The early intervention studies I previously set forth above support my intuitive belief with data.
So Patrick… What is the bottom line of our differences ??? You want to ask the impossible, and tell Black Kids of Poverty to just jump up to the fifth rung of the ladder and “get an education”… while my plan is to reach those kids (hopefully, at the same age our parents reached us), and instill in those Children of Poverty the same thing our parents instilled in us… love of learning, equality, self worth and education, and then constantly reinforce those messages by telling the Children of Poverty they can do it, they can do it, they must do it and will do it. Can do, must do, will do, did do. That loving direction and the constantly reinforced message of success is of paramount importance for all kids… especially for Black kids, many of whom don’t see the example of an education anywhere in their own family or in their own neighborhood. Teachers alone cannot overcome the inertia, and convince kids that there is a better way… because the teachers are not there soon enough in the kid’s lives. The plan is not to just tell kids, “Get an education”… “Get a job.” The plan is early intervention, early intervention, early intervention. Climb the ladder out of poverty one rung at a time, starting with the first rung of the ladder… which provides that most important realization for kids. “Hey, look at me; I can climb.” Early intervention, early intervention, early intervention, tapping into a kid’s potential, and empowering the kid. That’s the key to unlocking the potential of any kid… especially needed for the Kids of Poverty.
THE REAL PLAN…
DISMANTLE WHITE SUPREMACY
(AND ITS LEGACY)
Based upon the history and philosophy I set forth above (some of which I found important enough to repeat many times), based upon my life’s experience of eight decades, based upon my formal educational experience of two decades, and based upon my (almost) five decades experience in the Courts of Law representing Blacks (in Criminal cases, Civil cases and Civil Rights cases), I submit the following plan… implementation of which is left to others.
1. RECOGNIZE AND RID AMERICA OF WHITE SUPREMACY
America is shackled to a 400 year-old (and counting) history of White Supremacy, a strong sentiment that refuses to die. A White Supremacy that continues to march on, and on, and on… unfairly drenching the American landscape with Black victims of oppression and mistreated. The Black victim’s sin ??? The color of their skin. Unless White Supremacy is subdued and neutralized, no plan for racial harmony will ever work. White Supremacists of all sizes, shapes and beliefs are everywhere in our midst and on the borders of our lives. Soon to be ex President Trump proves that fact everyday from his early “birtherism” argument against President Obama to his most recent message to the White Supremacist Proud Boys… “Stand back, and stand ready.”
So, who are these White Supremacists in our midst ??? How will we know them when we see them ??? For me these two questions are easily answered. Easily answered because, Patrick… both of us grew up in the 1940s and 1950s in Detroit’s land of White Supremacy, and because I know I was a fourth degree White Supremacist, long ago and far away… long before a College education, a Law School degree and actual courtroom experiences representing blacks opened my eyes, and enlightened me… on Black man’s 400 year-old journey of systemic oppression in White America’s land of the free and home of White Supremacy.
First, who are White Supremacists ???
Hearkening back to what I said earlier, White Supremacist generally fit into one of four categories…
(1) First degree White Supremacist. Those White (Christian) Supremacists like the Unite the Right who participated in rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017… those insecure White souls who not only profess to hate Blacks, Jews and other non-Whites, but who also go out of their way to confront them and do harm.
(2) Second degree White Supremacists. Those “closet” first degree, White Supremacists who will not take up a combative role on the streets of America, but who do, nonetheless, claim a closet kinship with Neo-Nazis, Skinheads, Proud Boys, Unite the Right Brotherhood and many others of the first degree, White Supremacy persuasion.
(3) Third degree White Supremacists. Those who blame the Blacks for all that ails the Black communities… Black communities still shackled (as they are) with poverty, the collective psyche and low self image of 400 years of systemic suppression… Slavery, Jim Crow, “separate but equal” segregation, lynching, tenant farming, voter suppression, red lined neighborhoods and the “systemic“ poverty that forces way too many Blacks into a “hand to mouth” existence… day in, day out, year in, year out, decade in, decade out and Century in, Century out. But, as third degree White Supremacists are quick to volunteer, “It’s on them, not me”… followed by their long nursed, multi-versed and well rehearsed, litany of Black sins and misadventure.
(4) Fourth degree White Supremacists. Those benign White kids you and I grew up with and went to Catholic Grade School and High School with…just ordinary guys like me and you and our friends to who had no hatred in their hearts for Blacks. Guys, like me and you and our friends to who would never confront Blacks, threaten them, humiliate them or hurt them, but guys like me and you and our friends to, growing up in Northwest Detroit in the 1950s and 1960s who just thought Blacks were inferior to us Whites because… well, because those Blacks lived in even poorer neighborhoods than we did, and because those Blacks were not headed to College after High School like we were, and because those Blacks were not skilled workers, nor (for the most part) Professionals. But our White Supremacy vocabulary and pejorative jokes about Blacks gave us away (colored, coons, jigaboos, jigs, jungle bunnies, spooks, “Smile so I know where you are in the dark”). That fourth degree White Supremacy still lurks “subconsciously” in the hearts and minds of the fourth degree White Supremacists of today (2020). You need examples of who I’m talking about ??? Allow me…
- A judge who graduated from our Catholic Central High School, just four years after us (1965) recently sent a Black female, pregnant Mother to jail as a first offender for using an unloaded gun to protect her elderly Mother in front of her own home (no one hurt). Our 1965 Catholic Central Brotherhood Judge refused the Black woman’s request to postpone her jail sentence so she could deliver her baby. That Black woman (in heavy labor) was shackled in leg irons as she delivered her baby, and then headed right back to jail after the birth. Can you imagine the immensity of that “Black woman wronged” ??? A year later, the Court of Appeals reversed her conviction. But, what was done was done. That Catholic Central Judge’s actions seem more akin to (subconscious) fourth degree White Supremacy than to the message of Jesus that the Judge was taught at Catholic Central High School.
- A Priest who graduated from our Catholic Central 10 years after us (1971) recently became the Pastor of Holy Rosary church (where the original Catholic Central was established in 1928). A front page article of the Sunday Free Press/News (8/23/2020) described him as a man who regularly goes down into the Communion line to challenge and cross examine Black and Hispanic communicants about their right to receive communion… even challenging the brown skin Hispanic man who had been taking care of the Church grounds for years (without pay) before the priest became Pastor of the parish. The Priest’s actions seem more akin to (subconscious) fourth degree White Supremacy than to the message of Jesus our Catholic Central Brotherhood Priest was taught at Catholic Central. I don’t remember Jesus taking “roll call” on faith and morals, before dispensing the “fishes and loaves” to the multitude of his followers. I don’t remember Jesus checking I.D. at the Sermon on the Mount. I don’t remember Jesus giving a “faith and morals” test before passing the chalice at the Last Supper. As I say, many of our generation and our contemporaries remain fourth degree White Supremacists in the 21st Century… but their anti-Christian, subconscious “Sentiments of White Supremacy” have been so well covered up and denied over the decades… that our White Supremacist friends could say, “I’m not a White Supremacist,” and pass a lie detector test with flying colors.
Second…the “lingo” of White Supremacists ???
In short, you will know them by their words, their (knee-jerk) shift the focus… quickly and seamlessly shifting the focus from 400 years of White oppression of Blacks to, well… to the White Supremacy party line, “The Blacks made their own bed so let them lie down in it.” It is so easy to just sit back, listen and pick up on how White Supremacists immediately “shift” the focus from 400 years of White oppression of Blacks to, “Well, Blacks have only themselves to blame for their circumstances.” The tried and true strategy of White Supremacists ???… shift the focus away from White “responsibility” to Black “accountability,” and never give any credence or acknowledgement to (or any discussion about) the White man’s 400 year systemic oppression of the Black man. Just shift the focus to black “accountability”… shift the focus, shift the focus, shift the focus, and when in doubt… well, just shift the focus again. You need some examples ??? Allow me…
- If anyone says anything about the oppressive plight of the Black man in America, the first words out of the mind of a White Supremacist is “Yeah, but” _ _ _ _ _ _ [fill in the blank], as the White Supremacist seamlessly shifts the focus. “Yeah but”… George Floyd had a Criminal record. “Yeah but”… Eric Garner was illegally selling cigarettes on the sidewalks of New York. “Yeah but”… Ahmaud Arbery was “running.” The White Supremacists in America (the land of the free and the home of the brave) attempt to justify the unjustifiable by condoning cops to be Judge, Jury, Executioner and God… for any “subjectively” suspicious activity on the part of a Black man. Black man, George Floyd, death penalty for passing a $20 counterfeit bill. Black man, Eric Garner, death penalty for selling cigarettes. Black man, Ahmaud Arbery, death penalty for running. Or, as a White Supremacist would say… “Yeah, but” _ _ _ _ _ _ [Fill in the blanks]..
- The shift of focus of White Supremacists is, also, many times, an easy to see through sleight of hand distraction with “data and statistics.” For example, the White Supremacist (in response to George Floyd’s death would say)… “Hey, more black criminals kill Blacks than White cops do.” So What ??? That distraction is a false comparison. That’s classic apples and oranges. Criminals are outlaws, outliers who get convicted for their criminal actions, and serve time or pay with their lives in today’s gallows of lethal injection. Cops, on the other hand, are government appointed agents, who swear to uphold the Law and the Bill of Rights (which forbids Police Brutality, excessive force, false arrests, physically extracting confessions, etc… 4th. and 5th Amendments). Again, the sleight of hand, shift of focus of statistical false comparisons by White Supremacists are seen for what they are. Just that… a shift in focus, and a distraction away from holding the White man “responsible” for what he has done to the Black man for 400 years… and counting.
- My favorite White Supremacy distraction, and one you can see coming from a mile away is… the White Supremacist propping up a Black man in front of a T.V. camera to lay the fault on his fellow Black man. That is the favorite one of the White Supremacist. “See what I told you” !!! Warming the cockles of their hearts, and music for White Supremacist ears to hear… we see a Black man suddenly appear on video or T.V. to tell the smiling and smug White man, “It’s the Blackman’s fault, not the White man’s fault”… an ounce of truth and a pound of distraction. This talking head Blackman (no matter how earnest he may be) is but a ”sleight of hand” man that shifts the focus away from the real issues of 400 years of systemic White Supremacy, 400 years of systemic White oppression and 400 years of “collective” Black Post Traumatic Stress Disorder… all creating an enduring black hole of second and third class citizenship, an enduring black hole of poverty, enduring black hole of second and third class Black neighborhoods, and an enduring black hole of low self image (Brown v Board of Education)
What a proud Black man or Black kid does not need to hear is the sermonizing, patriarchal criticism of U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Clarence Thomas, talking about how his Grandfather’s beatings made him a man. Clarence Thomas is certainly no Thurgood Marshall (first Black U.S. Supreme Court Justice who once said… “Ah, America, the greatest Country that never was,… but, hopefully always will be”). What a proud Black man needs to hear is a Frederick Douglas (a former slave) who, at the end of the Civil War said said… “All I ask is, give him (the Negro) a chance to stand on his own legs! Let him alone . … If you see him going into a workshop, just let him alone — your interference is doing him a positive injury.” But, as I would add as a necessary update for the year 2020… “Give the Black man a level playing field like baseball G.M. Branch Rickey of the Los Angeles Dodgers gave Jackie Robinson and like Bill Veeck of the Cleveland Indians gave Larry Doby… both Jackie Robinson and Larry Dody then allowed to rise or fall on their own merits.”
The solution of America’s Great Racial Divide will not happen overnight. The solution and the effort needed to allow the Black man to dig out of the black hole the White man dug for him over 400 years, lies in the long, long overdue process of overcoming White Supremacist’s attitudes (first degree through the fourth degree)… a process that may take decades of “enlightenment and concerted effort” to dig out of. But, a halting and sobering thought ??? Maybe only the dying off of the War Babies (our generation… those children born to Greatest Generation parents) and the dying off of the Baby Boomers will rid America of White Supremacy. As I say, a sobering thought.
White Supremacists tilting at the Bogeyman (Black, Brown and Immigrant)
Let me update White Supremacy as it exists in the year 2020… both the educated and the undereducated White Supremacist…
- The bogeyman for the “educated” White Supremacist is…
Socialism (code name for Blacks, Hispanics and immigrants), safety nets for the poor (code name for Blacks, Hispanics and Immigrants), Early Intervention Programs for the children of poverty (code name for Blacks, Hispanics and Immigrants), Public School Systems in Urban areas (code name for Blacks, Hispanics and Immigrants), Social Security Disability, Medicaid (code name for Blacks, Hispanics and Immigrants).
- The bogeyman for the “undereducated” White Supremacist is…
The Black face, the Brown face and Asian face… those the White Supremacists see as stealing their jobs, threatening their pensions and health care benefits, and bringing in socialism. Ironically, the actual enemy for “undereducated,” White Supremacist is not Socialism. It’s Corporate America’s Capitalism and its Laissez-faire economic “competition” in a “global economy” … with the undereducated, White male being replaced by those Blacks, Browns, Asians and immigrants willing to work for less than the undereducated White man.
But, those White Supremacists (who have an automatic, knee jerk aversion to Socialism) didn’t send their $1,200, Coronavirus, stimulus-check handouts back to the U.S. Treasury to protest Socialism, now did they. Nor did the government-subsidized, American Farmer send their billions in bailouts back to the U.S. Treasury, did they. Rather, the undereducated White Supremacists gobbled up the $1,200 stimulus check for groceries while the educated White Supremacists rolled their $1,200 stimulus checks over into their Stock Market accounts. Although the “educated” and “undereducated” White Supremacists blast off against “Socialism,” they don’t really complain about Socialism for the rich White man aka the rich White men who dominate and control the “too big to fail” Wall Street Investment Banks… who in 2008 and 2009 took their share of the $750 Billion in socialism, TARP funds that President George W. Bush and the American Congress earmarked to bail out those “too big to fail” Wall Street banks… after they toppled the American economy. The “too big to fail” Banks and Corporate America never hesitate to socialize their losses on the backs of the American taxpayer, while never failing to “capitalizing” their profits for themselves alone.
The best paradigm of the past to describe what ex President Donald Trump’s “Making America Great Again” really means is Major League Baseball of yesteryear… that yesteryear when the White baseball player was “Supreme,” and the baseball players of color had to play in the Negro Leagues… if they were to play at all.
Back when America was great (as in ‘Make America Great Again”), Major League Baseball was a game played by the White man only. Back when America was great, all the very talented ball players of Color were kept out of the Major Leagues by the Jim Crow laws of segregation, aka “separate but equal.” Back when America was great, Black Super Stars like Satchel Page, Josh Gibson, Cool Papa Bell, Larry Doby, Jackie Robinson, Buck O’Neil were kept in their place in the back of the bus, traveling the “no frills,” Negro Leagues circuit. But then, a change in the wind… thanks to Branch Rickey (General Manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers) who brought Jackie Robinson into the all White National League. Ditto for Bill Veeck who signed Lary Doby to play for the Cleveland Indians in the all White American league. That change in the wind, with those two rapid fire signings of Black men in the National and American Leagues… brought the same “tumult and cries” of victimization we hear today from the educated and undereducated Trump supporters. That change in the wind… changed the White man’s position in baseball forever.
With ball players of color gaining entree into the White man’s Major Leagues, the White man found out that he was no longer good enough, athletically, to dominate Major League rosters. Now, many a White man’s dream of being a Major Leaguer stops at the AAA level in the minor leagues, with the ball players from the rest of the World squeezing the White man out of his own Major Leagues. The Black man from America and the very talented ball players from from the rest of the World have pried the White man’s grip off of baseball… forever. In short, many of the all mighty whiteys who were good enough to be Major Leaguers back in the day are no longer good enough today… to compete against Black players or against foreign players from Japan, Korea, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Mexico and South America. Many a White ball player who would have been a Major Leaguer back in the day (when America was great again) now languish in the Minor Leagues… because their ability and athleticism is no longer good enough to compete with the ball players of color. Overnight, baseball got a whole lot more competitive with signing of Black Jack, Jackie Robinson and Black Jacoby, Larry Doby… as the “talent pool” of players of color made baseball that much more competitive.
The Boys of Color became the “Boys of Summer” and the White man was squeezed out of baseball in large numbers by more athletic Blacks, Hispanics and Immigrants.… just like the White man of today (2020) sees himself getting squeezed out of the Global economy, lacking the talent, the staying power, or the will to compete against Blacks, Hispanics and Immigrants. Just think… if Donald Trump had been elected Commissioner of Baseball instead of President of the United States, he would have appealed to his White athletic base by saying “Make Baseball Great in America Again.” And, how ??? Well, by hard lining Immigration and by building the Wall… all around America so that athletes from “shit hole” countries couldn’t take away baseball jobs from the White man.
The White man rails against unfair competition, affirmative action, and demands advancement by meritocracy only. But, when the White man falls short, and is not able to compete in a World Economy… he puts on a Red Hat with MAGA across the front (code for White Supremacy), and screams out for his leader Donald Trump to take us back to the good old days when America the Great had the playing field tilted in the White man’s favor and against the Black face, the Brown face and the Asian face. And, that is the portrait of White Supremacists… in the year 2020.
I refuse to abandon the undereducated White man as he seeks to have a steady Middle Class income and way of life for himself and his family. But, the reality of 2020, and into the indefinite future???… many of the jobs the undereducated White man lost to Capitalism (of a globalized economy) at the end of the 20th Century and the beginning of the 21st Century are gone for good. Those jobs are not coming back. The answer, therefore must lie in retraining. But, as Artificial Intelligence takes over our World, the future of the undereducated White man (and the man and woman of any color) are fighting a losing battle for Middle Class jobs and status. When that financially bleak day of full tilt, Artificial Intelligence soon arrives, and takes over… some system of governmental assistance may be inevitable, whether you call it Socialism, modified Capitalism or just implementing the message… “When I was hungry, you multiplied the fishes and loaves”… for which I am eternally grateful.
2. ACKNOWLEDGE AND VALIDATE 400 YEARS OF SYSTEMIC BLACK OPPRESSION
I learned as a Trial lawyer (practicing in six decades), that when the Judge’s view is contrary to yours, you have to “acknowledge” and “validate” the Judge’s view before you can open the door for the Judge to (hopefully) see your view and (hopefully) change his mind. If I just told the Judge what I wanted to, “Judge, you are woefully misinformed,” it was game over. I lost. Because the Judge (like 99% of us) would just turned off emotionally and mentally. But, if I first “acknowledged” the Judge’s view and “validated it,” I was still in the game vying for the result I wanted. “Your Honor, I can understand how you could see it that way, but there’s another way to look at the issue… maybe even a better way.” That diplomatic approach (that was always a little foreign to me) smoothed the Judge over so that the Judge was not “defensively” entrenched in his initial view. The bottom line… “acknowledgement” and “validation” are important tools to open doors, open minds and bring warring people together in order to find mutual respect and viable solutions.
One of the great “acknowledgement” and “validation tools of our time was South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (of the 1990s) where all the guilty parties on both sides, Blacks and Whites, came forward and “validated” one another by “acknowledging” the “truth” of 44 years of “apartheid” (segregation and discrimination on the basis of race). That “Acknowledgement,” “validation” and “truth” brought forth a “reconciliation.” That’s exactly what America must do to reconcile the deep divide of mistrust between Blacks and Whites. Denials and finger pointing over the last 78 years of my life have failed to bring any reconciliation. There will be no progress… unless Blacks and Whites both “acknowledge” and “validate” one another with a common historical truth.
I am not advocating for reparations, but I am advocating for a Truth and Reconciliation type “acknowledgement” by the White man… for his original sin of slavery. How ??? By using taxpayer money to build a “never let it happen again” Memorial on the National Mall. That Memorial of our Black Brothers and Sisters will memorialize the 400 year-old story of Black oppression, laying bare for the whole World to see… the Black journey from kidnapped Africans, to 250 years of American Slaves, to the Civil War, to Buffalo Soldiers, to the Emancipation proclamation, to the 13th Amendment of the Bill of Rights, to Jim Crow laws of “Separate but Equal” segregation, to the NAACP, to the Tuskegee Airmen, to Brown v Board of Education, to Emment Till, to continuing discrimination, to Thurgood Marshall (first Black U.S. Supreme Court Justice), to Freedom Rider, Viola Luizzo, to bus rider, Rosa Parks, to “have a dream” rider, Martin Luther King, to Bloody Sunday on the Pettus Bridge, to the 1965 Civil Right’s Act, to poll taxes and literacy tests (in order to qualify to vote), to the Voting Rights Act, to continued discrimination, to police brutality, to Eric Garner and George Floyd. Much space will be needed and much artistry must be called upon to evoke the magnitude, the sanctity and the catharsis involved in this project. The money will come from tax payers, and the project will be undertaken and finished by Black artists only. It must be the expression of Blacks only. Whites need not apply… unless asked by Blacks to contribute. And, it must bear the imprimatur… Never Again !!!
3. ATTACK POVERTY
As I previously documented, another crucial step in reducing the crushing effect of poverty, and building an America replete with Black success stories… is best accomplished through “early intervention” into households of the poor. That intervention will pay huge dividends… as those Children of Poverty become adolescents and teenagers. It will pay dividends in socialization, education and reduction of crime. I know first hand that early intervention would have added another positive dimension to my own family of struggles. The Catholic Nuns and Priests started with me at age six. Even earlier intervention to drive home the emphasis of “reading, writing, arithmetic” and social skills would have been even more influential. There may be resistance from some families of poverty (how dare you tell my “low self image” how to raise my own family), but that should never stop the impetus or emphasis on behalf of God’s children of need… Los Pobres de la tierra.
Role Models and Mentors
As I said before, just simply telling a kid to get an education is like telling a baseball player (from Little League to the Major Leagues) to hit a line drive, or hit a home run. All three (education, line drives, home runs) are the ultimate goals, but just telling somebody what the ultimate goal is (as you do) is not the same as laying out the path to get there.
For those dead end, Kids of Poverty, telling them to get a College education is not enough when their teachers in their run down, dilapidated schools are the only ones they ever met with a college degree. The first lawyer I ever saw was in Law School. It’s hard imagining being a lawyer when you never even met one. For me, I never would have imagined being a Trial Lawyer, if my parents had not purposely opened my eyes by taking me to see Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird. It’s hard to imagine being an Engineer, a CPA, or a College professor if you never even saw one. And, even if you were lucky enough to see success up close and personal, there is always that “low self image” that Kids of Poverty carry like a chip on their shoulder… a message of “inferiority’ that speaks to them in words only they can hear… “the class of successful professionals is way, way above my own class, so it’s just not in the cards for guys like me.” Or, as some well meaning parents tell their kids, “be seen, and not heard” and “Don’t get above your raisin.’” Appropriate dressing down for confident kids who need some humility, but inappropriate and destructive words for the kids of low self image.
How much more difficult it must be for the financially, emotionally and spiritually impoverished children of our world to look into the mirror, and envision a future as a professional or an entrepreneur. How much more difficult it must be for the Children of Poverty to even grasp the importance of education or even aspire to get a college degree when no-one in their family has ever been to college, or even talks about getting an education. And, even if a Child of Poverty has the “aspiration” for a different future, how very “difficult” it is for that Child of Poverty to even comprehend how high the bar is set for the discipline, sacrifice and study habits needed to get a college degree… especially where you may have never seen that kind of effort, first hand, in your own family.
It’s “difficult” (or more likely, virtually impossible) when you come out of abject poverty to even center you aspirations around anything beyond getting some menial task, minimum wage job so you can help your parents with their own “struggles of poverty.” It’s “difficult” (or, more likely, virtually impossible) to walk toward the ultimate goal of education when all the pressure of the world is on you to make some money to stem the awful tide of the “grind you down” poverty you see all around you.… with your choices limited to menial, minimum wage jobs at McDonalds, Arbys, Burger King, janitorial services, lawn care maintenance or the, all the more tempting, drug currier jobs in your neighborhood, so you can pay some bills, help your family. and get some wheels.
Contemplating college education, contemplating what schools to apply to, how to fill out a “Common Application,” what your aptitudes are, what field of study to pursue, what major to declare, where to get the money, how to even begin to fill out the indecipherable forms for financial assistance etc, etc, etc are crushing, and not the luxuries that Children of Poverty sit around thinking about. And don’t tell me about a handful of Children of Poverty who made it out because a handful are not going to move the ball forward when we are talking about educating the masses, or talking about giving the benefit of a trade school education to those who may not be College material… all geared toward raising the education levels of the masses up, while tamping the levels of crime statistics down. That’s why early intervention programs are essential. Ditto for Role Models who, amongst the poor are usually, just the same-o, same-o poor, diminished, lackluster spirits who have spent their lifetimes beaten down by relentless poverty. Ditto for Mentors and Big Brothers who are far and few in between.
4. RAISE TUITION MONEY FOR THE CHILDREN OF POVERTY
I fear that talking about free education is a non starter for Republican conservatives like yourself, Patrick. Maybe I am wrong. You had a free ride to Notre Dame on your Father’s G.I. Bill. But, I understand I tread on slippery ground when I use the word “free” because you had to grow up without a Father (a Military hero) in order to lay claim to the benefits of the G.I. Bill. But, without the G. I. Bill, I doubt you could have afforded a prestigious education at Notre Dame. Ditto for my “free” College education on a football scholarship (although my many broken bones and osteoarthritis tell me my education wasn’t exactly free either). Everyday I wake up, I am reminded of my “throw your self through the air” bravado of yesteryear, as I awake saying, “The best part of the day is over… time to stretch through the pain.” I borrowed $600 for my first semester of Law School. Then Jesuit priest, Father Paul Harbrecht, and Dean Phil Colista (God Bless them) set me up with an academic scholarship for the rest of Law School …which I paid back over the last 50 years 100 fold.
If we are to educate the Children of Poverty and give them the same breaks we received, we must first turn around the overwhelming challenges for the Children of Poverty that I described above… all through early intervention programs and role models who would help the Children of Poverty become aspiring candidates for education. Then, we must figure out how to pick up the tab for a college education so that it’s not just the “Athletes of Poverty” who get the opportunity for a free ride to College. In 2019, Bernie Sanders proposed a plan to both wipe out student debt and pay college tuition going forward… for all. That money (as Bernie suggested) would come from a De minimis tax on various stock market transactions…
- .5% tax on a stock trade ($50 on a $10,000),
- .1% tax on a bond trade ($10 on a $10,000),
- .005% tax on tax on derivatives (50 cents on $10,000 trade).
Whether you are looking at paying off existing student debt, or whether you are looking for a source to fund future college educations for Children of Poverty going forward, the logic of a de minimis tax on stock transactions is appealing for several reasons (1) the tax really is de minimis, (2) college students graduating with no debt will pour their “after college earnings” back into the economy by purchasing homes, cars, and smaller ticket items… thus stimulating the American economy, and (3) more importantly… there is no injustice in a de minimis tax on Stock Market investors so they can “chip in” small amounts to solve the dilemma of educating America’s Children of Poverty (that very same America that paved the way for Stock Market Investors to do well). And, I am open to a conversation on payback scenarios by those who benefited from a free College education.
Hey, when the Wall Street Investment Banks blew up the American economy in 2008, and caused the Great Recession, we taxpayers bailed out Wall Street to the tune of 750 Billion in TARP Funds (Troubled Asset Relief Program). So, let the rather well to do and super rich who play the Stock Market help America bail out the deserving Children of Poverty (and even middle class kids) who otherwise couldn’t afford a College education. Imminently fair in my judgment. As usual, the anti-tax naysayers like Republican Grover Norquist will say, “increase my taxes over my dead body,” telling us the horrors of forcing those who throw $10,000 around the stock market to pay a $50 tax (or a $10 tax or a 50 cent tax). Oh my gosh, what is America coming to by telling a person investing 10 Gs in the Stock market to pay an outrageous $50 tax (or a $10 tax or a 50 cent tax) to fund the education of our most precious commodity, our children, especially God’s Children of Poverty… who, once educated, will keep the rest of America out of the harm of poverty-driven crime. Besides, do you really think a $10,000 stock investor is going to put his 10 Gs under the mattress, earn nothing and lose purchasing power… just to avoid the the $50 tax that will educate God’s Children of Poverty and others ??? The question answers itself.
5. REFORM THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM
Patrick, as I said before, Law and Order, “tough on crime” and “domination” are soundbites that Cops, Military and Trump supporters live by. Soundbites I live by are Bill of Rights, “deescalation of emotion” by cops on the street and “smart on crime” (to reduce recidivism… repeat offenders). When you hear the phrase Criminal Justice Reform, you cringe, or, as you said in your Project 99% paper… (your words) “The Judicial System has been radicalized over the years… with the stated goals of the liberals in Chicago to reduce incarceration of Black criminals… the perception now is that crime is not going to be punished.” (page 5). Criminal Justice Reform means many things… including reducing the number of inmates locked up throughout America. As I previously verified for you…
- America has more prisoners locked up than any country in the World. America has 2.1 million in prison (versus # two China with 1.7 million and # three Brazil with 773,000).
- America has more prisoners per Capita than any country in the World… 655 per 100,000 (versus # two, El Salvador with 590 per 100,000).
- America has 4.4% of the World’s population, and yet incarcerates 22% of the World’s prisoners (not to mention 22% of the World’s coronavirus deaths… another subject).
There’s America’s third world, Hall of Shame data. When we couple that Hall of Shame data with (1) “for profit” corporations running our American Prison Systems and (2) woefully inadequate mental health care in America leading to mass incarceration of the mentally ill, it is beyond dispute that the Criminal Justice System needs reform (for those two reasons alone). We lost the War on Drugs (another soundbite of dire consequence to the Black man) and now we see the damage… way too many low level, mentally ill criminals of poverty-stricken backgrounds locked in prison cells just “Souls on Ice” doing time and passing time… with society paying the price for room, board and health care, with repeat offenders the norm. Patrick throw down your opposition to Criminal Justice Reform, and get “smart on crime”… and broaden the goal of Criminal Justice to include Mental Health care “rehabilitation.” The money saved in reducing inmate, prison population needs to to be spent on mental health care and rehabilitation. America’s response to Coronavirus/Covid 19 is (at best) third world, (most Corona cases and deaths in the world… 22% of the world’s deaths although America is only slightly more than 4% of the world’s population). Ditto for America’s incarceration rate and prison population
Yet, you and your fellow “tough on crime” conservatives stand in the way of reform, and clutter up the hallways of Justice… as everyday, in every part of America, the Halls of Justice are cluttered with the same-o same-o “turnstiles of injustice.” I have been there, Patrick. Give me credit for hands on experience. As “Court Appointed” attorney for Black indigent Defendants, I tried 36 Criminal Jury trials to conclusion in one 18 month period (1977-1978)… including a 30 day insanity defense case involving a G.M. plant shooting (see Book I, Chapter 15, Taking on General Motors. Insanity and Broken Hearted Melodies). I know first hand how the Judges don’t like guys like me because I didn’t fall in line, and have my Court-appointed clients plead … “Guilty, your Honor.” “Guilty your Honor.” And, just to make sure we all get out of Court early, “Guilty, once again, your Honor.” Recalling the American principle of Presumption of Innocence, I use to say… “presumed to be innocent until proven broke.” Well, the Black defendants going through the turnstile of injustice in Detroit were all proven broke from jump street, and the quality of their representation by many lackluster, Court Appointed attorneys shows it. “Yes, your Honor, once again (and again and again and again) my client will avail himself of the Prosecutor’s most generous offer and plead guilty, so we can go home early and take in a round of golf, or maybe hit a topless joint for a lap dance.” An attorney I have know personally for decades talked his innocent 15 year-old client, Devontae Sanford, into pleading guilty to Murder II to avoid a possible conviction of Murder I, and a “natural life” sentence. Thank God for David Moran and the Innocence Project at the University of Michigan Law School who finally sprung a “verifiably” innocent Devontae Sanford, but only after he had already served eight tough years. See Detroit News front page expose of July 25, 2016. The cop whose perjury set Devontae Sanford up for a wrongful conviction was not charged… because the Statute of Limitations had run, while the Prosecutor sat on those perjury charges for months. How’s that for “tough on crime” ???
Recently, the Michigan Supreme Court reformed the Criminal Justice System in Michigan (partially) by providing for the “Pretrial Discovery” of witnesses’ statements in Misdemeanor cases… mandating that criminal Defendants in Misdemeanor cases be allowed to see the Witnesses’ statements in advance of trial. Are you kidding me ??? Defendants and their lawyers in criminal misdemeanor cases being forced to go to trial unprepared, just waiting to get blindsided by the cops and the Prosecutor because the law didn’t allow them to see the Witnesses’ statements before the trial started. Criminal Justice Reform is clearly long overdue, and I am left to wonder what took the Supreme Court so long to change the previous, archaic recipe for “hide and seek” injustice. Yet, two “tough on crime” Republican supported, Michigan Justices (still living in the land of anachronisms and dinosaurs) said the “no discovery” rule in Misdemeanor cases isn’t broke, so “it doesn’t need fixing”… and besides it cost too much. I immediately responded with an article (published in the Michigan Lawyers Weekly on 3/20/2020) protesting against those two Republican Supreme Court Justices who think that Lady Justice is okay with keep criminal Misdemeanor Defendants in the dark so the Prosector and cops can lie in wait and catch them by surprise.
“Supreme Court Justices Markman and Zarah oppose the new “across the board” discovery in Misdemeanor cases because it costs too much, and requires more judicial resources. I never thought I would live to see the day that American Justices become bean counters, and so cavalierly tell us Americans that “due process” is expendable if it costs too much. Finally, Justice Markman tell us that the old rule of inconsistent, “hit and miss” discovery for Defendants in Misdemeanor cases should be grandfathered in because, well because that inconsistent, “hit and miss” discovery and lack of due process in Misdemeanor cases has been going on for 180 years. Now there’s a rationale we can all get behind. But, I wonder why that “grandfathered in” argument by Justice Markham…
- wasn’t used against slaves when the battle for abolition of slavery was fought, or
- wasn’t used as a defense to lynching on those rare occasions when someone was charged. “Hey, your Honor, we’ve been doing this lynching thing for 180 years, so it’s grandfathered in,” or wasn’t used against indigent Defendants when they sought a Court appointed attorney to represent them, after centuries of ill equipped and overmatched Defendants fending for themselves in American courtrooms.”
Patrick, when you and your conservative friends finally see what’s really going on in the Courts of Criminal Law (as I have seen for decades), hopefully, you will see it’s time to ditch your “law and order,” “tough on crime” soundbites, and stop cluttering up the hallways and the turnstiles of Justice with injustice. If you want to reduce crime (black on black, or otherwise), get “smart on crime” and get on board with Criminal Justice Reform.
6. REFORM… HIRING, FIRING AND DISCIPLINE OF COPS
Patrick my experience with cops encompasses 70 years…
- As a nine-year-old kid whose Father was pulled over for nothing and humiliated in front of my Mother and his three young children.
- As a kid who has been locked up by the cops a few times from age 12 to age 45,
- As an Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor workin hand ‘n hand with the cops for 16 months,
- As an instructor in the Wayne County Police Academy for two years, and
- As a lawyer for 50 years… defending criminal cases and bringing Civil Rights lawsuits against cops and their police departments…
My anecdotal data convinces me that a good 40% to 50% of the cops are a “law unto themselves.” That bears repeating. Despite your waving to the cops as you peddled papers in Detroit (with your friendly Detroit cops waving back to the 14-year-old Irish kid with the cherubic smile and sweet disposition), despite that mutual show of affection that formed your view of cops… 40% to 50% of cops are a law unto themselves. They have no concern or worry about violating the Bill of Rights. The cops disregard the Bill of Rights with impunity, and then cover their (unconstitutional) tracks with false police reports and perjury. And, according to a recent article of 11/06/2020 (covering research by the University of Miami Florida Sociology Professor, Jamils Braddock II), anti Black biases of both White and Black cops play a role in the treatment of Blacks…
“There are lots of other studies that show that doctors or lawyers or public schoolteachers have implicit pro-white biases that affect their performance with people of color,’’ Braddock said. “But there seems to be such a reluctance to acknowledge the possibility that bias exists beyond a handful of individuals in policing. Not recognizing this represents an obstacle to doing something about it. So, let’s stop using the excuse of a few bad apples.”
Sociologists dispel the ‘bad apple’ excuse for racialized policing
Patrick, you want concrete examples ??? Allow me…
Fourteen years ago (July 19, 2006) your Chicago Prosecutors… “Reported that Chicago police beat, kicked, shocked or otherwise tortured scores of Black suspects from the 1970s to the early 1990s to try to extract confessions from them.” (Sunday, 7/19/2020 Detroit News, Free Press… page 2A).
Fast forward to 2020. An article from the July 17, 2020 Detroit Free Press shows that your Chicago homeland is just the tip of the iceberg on police misconduct…
“The Problem [police misconduct] isn’t unique to Michigan. A USA TODAY Network report found that at least 85,000 law enforcement officers across the country have been investigated or disciplined for misconduct over the past decade.
“The records of their misconduct are filed away, rarely seen by anyone outside their departments. Police unions and their political allies have worked to put special protections in place ensuring some records are shielded from public view or even destroyed.
“Among the national findings: Dishonesty is a frequent problem. The records document at least 2,227 instances of perjury , tampering with evidence or witnesses or falsifying reports, There were 418 reports of officers obstructing investigations, most often when they or someone they knew were targets” (Detroit Free Press Article of July 17, 2020… Wayne County labels 35 cops as tainted by misconduct, page 1A).
And that police abuse and brutality continues today (2020) with your Chicago P.D…. an old plague walking hand ’n hand with the new plague, Coronavirus/Covid 19…
Proactive Approach to Abusive Policing
Departments need leeway to investigate and act on civilian complaints and target frequent offenders.
By Kyle Rozema and Max Schanzenbach
June 3, 2020 7:00 pm ET
“An ugly and sadly familiar cycle is playing out across the nation this week: A black man dies at the hands of a police officer. Recordings of the tragedy go viral. Neighborhoods burn.
“The officers involved in George Floyd’s killing were swiftly fired, though that decision may still be reversed after an arbitration process. But cities need the authority to identify problematic officers and intervene before a tragedy occurs. Police get to use force—including deadly force—under circumstances in which private citizens cannot. They also typically have a mountain of statutory and contractual protections surrounding their employment and discipline. Foremost among these are limitations on how civilian complaints of misconduct can be investigated and used in managing the police force.
“In a peer-reviewed academic paper examining civilian complaints against the police in Chicago, we identify officers who, after accounting for experience and assignment history, receive excessive complaints. We find that officers with the most complaints—the worst 5% in particular—are far more likely than other officers to have large civil judgments leveled against them later in their careers. They are also more likely to be cited for dereliction of duty and off-duty misconduct. We estimate that in Chicago the worst 5% of officers account for a third of all civilian complaints. In short, such officers are likely to be bad apples.
“Because civilian complaints are meaningful predictors of serious misconduct, they can be combined with other metrics—such as civil-rights lawsuits, supervisor complaints and serious off-duty misconduct—to get problematic officers off the streets or into retraining. Examples of avoidable tragedies abound. Jason van Dyke, the Chicago police officer who was recorded shooting the unarmed 17-year-old Laquan McDonald in 2014, was in the worst 3% of Chicago officers for civilian complaints before the shooting occurred. Derek Chauvin, the police officer filmed kneeling on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes, was among the worst 10% of Minneapolis officers for civilian complaints, according to our rough calculations.
“Unfortunately, Chicago, Minneapolis and many other cities don’t take civilian complaints as seriously as they should. State laws and union contracts often prohibit leaders from making use of complaints unless they’re “sustained”—found to have merit by an investigator—after a long and highly regulated investigation. Moreover, even for the rare civilian complaint that is sustained, any major disciplinary consequences are typically subject to lengthy arbitration or appeals.
“In Chicago, we calculate that around 2% of civilian complaints are sustained. The majority of sustained allegations result in a one-day suspension or less. Minneapolis follows the same pattern, with around 1% of civilian complaints resulting in discipline.
“Further, many jurisdictions often place barriers that make it difficult to file a complaint in the first place. Illinois law requires complaints to be dismissed unless supported by a sworn statement, and a 2016 investigation in Minneapolis found that citizens were frequently turned away from police precincts or otherwise discouraged when trying to file complaints. How much of Mr. Chauvin’s misconduct went unreported due to the barriers to reporting and investigation? Could a more open and effective monitoring system have more clearly identified Mr. Chauvin as a problem before Floyd’s killing?
“States can stop this ugly dynamic by changing laws and taking on police unions. Legislatures must give police departments greater latitude to investigate civilian complaints and use them in personnel decisions. If departments had the authority to identify problematic officers and intervene before a tragedy occurs, mayors and police chiefs would face greater democratic accountability for police misconduct. The killing of George Floyd and its aftermath should force policy makers and the public to reconsider whether it’s a good idea to combine police powers with a system of limited oversight and discipline. In our view, it isn’t.”
Mr. Rozema is an associate professor at Washington University School of Law. Mr. Schanzenbach is a professor at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law.
The bottom line… don’t try to minimize or discount what is out there to be seen. This cops that would wave to you as you delivered your news papers, those nice, benign officers of law… many times would have your eye for a grape in other circumstances. There are many (way too many) bad cops who throw sand, rocks and axe handles into the gears of the “Rule of Law” and “Justice for All”… and they must be eliminated. No more waving to your friendly cops. The days of Ozzie and Harriet, the Nelson Family and Leave it to Beaver are over. I know cops I have much respect for, but it’s time for bad cops to be jailed or fired or both. The Bill of Rights was the Founding Fathers Law and Order document, yet the cops disregard the Bill of Rights with impunity… as I point out in my (upcoming) Book IV What Every Informed American Should Know… Chapter entitled Good Guys… Bad Guys.
“I’m talking about cops, Law Enforcement Agencies, State Police, State Attorney Generals, local Prosecutors, U.S. Attorneys, the FBI, the CIA, our American Intelligence agencies and others who, in the very competitive effort to ferret out and arrest ‘bad guys,’ become ‘bad guys’ themselves and nullify the ‘Bill of Rights’… as they cut corners, take short cuts, ignore restraints and constraints and, in the process, take away our ‘unalienable’ God-given Rights, take away our American way of life, take away our ‘Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness’ and take away the Constitutional rights, privileges and immunities that our Founding Fathers painstakingly set forth in that ‘law and order’ document known as the Bill of Rights. Our Founding Fathers created the Bill of Rights to protect us Americans from our own American government… the ghost of the British past. Our Founding Fathers knew of governmental abuse first hand and knew that there would always be a clear and present danger from our own American law enforcement ‘good guys’ and, hence, our Founding Father’s gift to us… the Bill of Rights to protect ‘We the People’ from the overzealousness and the overreach of the ‘good guy,’ law enforcement contingent of our American government.
“No better example of the ‘good guys’ becoming ‘bad guys’ exists in America today than the student arrests that occurred on the campus of Kellogg Community College in Battle Creek, Michigan in the fall of 2016 for handing out pocket Constitutions… apparently a crime on the campus of Kellogg Community College. Last fall , security officers at the Battle Creek school arrested students for doing just that. The students were advocating for the Bill of Rights as officers ironically approached them and shut down their Bill of Rights’ rights under the 1st Amendment freedom of expression. But, this isn’t an isolated incident.” (Detroit News, January 23, 2017… article by Ty Hicks of Young Americans for Liberty.)
As those in the know… say today (2020), police abuse and brutality of our citizens continues on relentlessly, an old plague walking hand n hand with the new plague of 2020… Coronavirus/Covid 19.
What needs to be done to start eliminating bad cops ??? First, identify who they are. I started my relationship with good cops at age five… with a young cop and his pretty young wife living two doors away. I started my painful interaction with bad cops at age nine. How could I ever forget my dear, gentle Father’s humiliation in front of his captive family. On a warm, humid summer evening in 1952, our family of five was coming back from a drive-in movie theatre when two very aggressive Detroit cops pulled my Father over for no reason (repeat… absolutely no reason), and humiliated him in front of his captive family… for sport, I guess. No traffic citation was issued. See my Book III, Chapter III (Getting to know the Law… a Family Affair). Through the next 68 years as a kid, a teenager, a Law student, a Prosecutor, a teacher at the Detroit Police Academy, and as a Criminal and Civil Rights Lawyer, I have had many more contacts and run-ins with cops than you and 500 others of our contemporaries, combined. Why ??? One part bad luck of the draw, one part trying to exercise my 1st Amendment rights when the cops pulled me over, and started in on me as I was made to explain myself, and one part professional bad blood as I sued and cross examined cops over the decades… in the land of the free and the home of the brave.
And what do I know for sure about bad cops. First, the number of bad cops is a large pool. And, they are a very “confrontational,” “competitive” and “aggressive” bunch who will do whatever they have to… to win the game of “Cops and Robbers.” I don’t have the temperament to be a good cop. My brother, Marty, who went to jail for standing up to cops (a losing battle) did not have the temperament to be a good cop. Both my Brother Marty and I were “bad cop” material. We were both too “stand your ground” confrontational kind of guys to be good cops. Even my Catholic Central High School aptitude test knew that fact… “too confrontational” was the label the aptitude test (correctly) put on me. That bears repeating. At age 17, the psychological tests of the 1960s caught on to the fact that I was a “confrontational” personality.
So, step #1… let’s try to solve the problem of bad, overly assertive (non-problem solving) cops who have the same personality deficits and confrontational personalities as my Brother did, and as I still do. Let’s weed out guys like my Brother Marty and me with psychological testing. Let’s hire cops whose personalities are fit for the job of being “Peace Officers”… cops who keep the peace by de-escalating emotion and engage in problem solving. An article in the Sunday Detroit Free Press/News of 9/6/2020, pointed out how the police in Detroit went from Peace Officers trying to maintain peace and de-escalate emotionally tense situations… to warriors trained to blow the enemy (their fellow citizens) away with overwhelming military force.
As kids growing up in Detroit Patrick, we both saw this incremental escalation first hand… as cops went from Peace Officers walking a beat amongst us, to the Big Four with four huge plainclothes cops of intimidating physiques riding in a tinted window, unmarked vehicles (trying to dominate and intimidate everyone within their line of vision), to the TMU (Tactical Mobile Unit), to STRESS cops used a decoys trying to invite, tempt and entrap a criminal response (killing many citizens), to a para military SWAT teams, armed-to-the-hilt with $40 million worth of military equipment meant for the battle fields of Iraq and Afghanistan. Over the course of our lifetimes, the cops have gone from Peace Officers, walking the beat amongst us, to paramilitary soldiers invading their own cities with a military battlefield mentality… shoot first and ask questions later. Or, as Phil Abdoo (former military officer who saw three tours of duty in the Middle East war zones), now a Police Academy training officer for the Macomb County Sheriff’s Department) says… the training at the police academies has changed for the worse…
“When you’re basically telling recruits everybody can kill you, you’re teaching them to be paranoid. …The warrior mindset is great when you are in combat, which is basically a free-fire zone. But, if we treat all citizens as enemy combatants until they prove they’re not, should it be any surprise that they treat us [citizens] like the enemy ? And people wonder why we’re where we are with all the hatred of law enforcement. I think teaching the warrior mindset is a disservice to our officers.” The Detroit Free Press writer continued…
“A former hostage negotiator Abdoo features de-escalation techniques prominently in his current work with young officers, while instructing them that use of weapons or extreme physical force should be a last resort.”
(Detroit Free Press/News 9/6/2020 article… Militarization of Police Started Before Trump… page 30 A).
A thoroughbred, first generation, Irish kid I grew up with in St. Scholastica’s parish (and who I had several run ins with.. very early on in life and even later) had a highly competitive, aggressive and explosive temperament… at about age seven. Over the years, my friend’s myopic response to life in general, and to everyone of America’s wars ???… (and I quote him) “Bomb the Sh_ _ out of ‘em.” Yet, my friend’s aggressive and explosive temperament (like his Irish cop Father before him) was welcomed with open arms into the thin blue line of the Detroit Police Department. After 10 years, and to no one’s surprise, my long-time grade school classmate was trial boarded, and thrown off the Detroit Police Department for over the top racist comments. My friend should never have been allowed to serve a single day on the police force, let alone 10 years. I lament how many lives of Black kids he probably hard-assed or railroaded. For the sake of harmony, law and order, and peace in the streets of America, let’s use psychological testing to discover “stand your ground,” non-problem solving escalators, like my brother, like my Irish friend and like me, and tell them… “no thank you very much” when they apply for a position in the ranks of the thin blue line.
Patrick, in closing, a short summary of my plan to Solve America’s Great Racial Divide is to…
(1) Expose and Destroy White Supremacy
Every time White Supremacists raise their skinned heads or allow their ignorance to be heard, let’s confront them head on, and tell them they are not welcome in our “all created equal” America. But, I fear, it will take the dying off of our generation of War Babies, and the dying off of the next generation of Baby Boomers, to put a dent into Centuries of America’s White Supremacy. But, whatever it takes must be done.
(2) Double Down on Early Intervention Programs
It would seem intuitively obvious (at least to me) that getting to the Children of Poverty early on, in the beginning of their lives, is crucial to reaching their hungry souls, and developing in them an appetite for… “learning,” building vocabulary, computing numbers, appreciating art, science, music, language, equality and cultivating a “self worth.” The early intervention studies I previously set forth above support my intuitive belief with data.
And, Patrick, the bottom line of our differences ??? You want to ask the impossible, and tell the Children of Poverty to just jump up to the fifth rung of the ladder, or, as you say, “get an education kid.” My plan is to reach those Children of Poverty (hopefully, at the same age our parents reached us), and instill in those Children of Poverty the same thing our parents instilled in us… love of learning, equality, self worth and educational goals, and then constantly reinforce those messages by telling the Children of Poverty they can do it, they can do it, they must do it and will do it. Can do, must do, will do, did do. That loving direction and the constant reinforcement of the “message of success” is of paramount importance for all kids… especially for Black kids, many of whom don’t see the example of an education anywhere in their own family or in their own neighborhood. Teachers alone cannot overcome the inertia, and convince kids that there is a better way… because the teachers are not there soon enough in the kid’s lives. The plan is not to just tell kids, “Get an education”… “Get a job” (aka jump up to the fifth rung of the ladder). The plan is early intervention, early intervention, early intervention. Climb the ladder out of poverty one rung at a time, starting with the first rung of the ladder. That first small step on the ladder of life provides that most important realization for kids. “Hey, look at me; I can climb.” Early intervention, early intervention, early intervention, tapping into kids’ potential, and empowering them. That is the key to unlocking the potential of any child… especially the Children of Poverty.
Early intervention programs are key to educating the Children of Poverty, and setting them up for meaningful employment, livable wages and self worth… thus addressing your concerns about black on black crime in Black neighborhoods. The early intervention programs can turn the tide and rehabilitate the “Us against Them” mentality that grows out of being a child of poverty and a child suffering from “collective” Black, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that is ingrained in the DNA of Black America due to 246 years of Slavery, 100 years of Jim Crow’s “separate but equal” segregation, 55 years of de facto, de jure and disparate-impact discrimination… with Blacks in the year 2020 still swimming upstream against the current of White Supremacy and Centuries of poverty. See Brown v Board of Education.
(3) “Acknowledgement” of 400 years of Black Oppression
I am not advocating for reparations, but I am advocating for a Truth and Reconciliation type “acknowledgement” by the White man… for his original sin of slavery. How ??? By using taxpayer money to build a “never let it happen again” Memorial on the National Mall. That Memorial of our Black Brothers and Sisters will memorialize the 400 year old story of Black oppression, laying bare for the whole World to see… the Black journey from kidnapped Africans, to 250 years of American Slaves, to the Civil War, to Buffalo Soldiers, to the Emancipation proclamation, to the 13th Amendment of the Bill of Rights, to Jim Crow laws of “Separate but Equal” segregation, to the NAACP, to the Tuskegee Airmen, to Brown v Board of Education, to Emment Till, to ongoing discrimination, to Thurgood Marshall (first Black U.S. Supreme Court Justice), to Freedom Rider, Viola Luizzo, to bus rider, Rosa Parks, to “have a dream” rider, Martin Luther King, to Bloody Sunday on the Pettus Bridge, to the 1965 Civil Right’s Act, to poll taxes and literacy tests to vote, to the Voting Rights Act, to continued discrimination, to police brutality, to Eric Garner and George Floyd. Much space will be needed and much artistry must be called upon to evoke the magnitude, the sanctity and the catharsis involved in this project. The money will come from tax payers, and the project will be undertaken and finished by Black artists only. It must be the expression of Blacks only. Whites need not apply… unless asked by Blacks to contribute. And, it must bear the imprimatur… Never Again !!!
(4) Eliminate Bad Hiring Decisions of Cops
Use state of the art phycological testing to eliminate from police work those whose overly aggressive and confrontational profiles show they are too aggressive and dominating to be Peace Officers, or not problem-solving enough to de-escalate tense moments on the streets of America. If my psychological profile in 1960 at Catholic Central High School said I was confrontational, I am sure today’s psychological testing can ferret out those who are too confrontational and aggressive to be set loose on the streets of America … as Peace Officers.
(5) Reform Police Departments and Police Unions across America.
One of the Detroit Police Departments former chiefs (and long time Professor of Law Enforcement Studies at the University of Detroit Mercy), Ike McKinnon, Ph D, laid out his six point plan to reform police departments across America. The plan (1) defund certain areas of police jurisdiction, (2) higher aptitude and fitness standards for recruits, (3) regular mental health checkups, (4) establish a nationwide data base of police misconduct so bad cops can no longer stay one step ahead of discharge, by jumping from one police department to another, (5) stop promoting officers with multiple disciplinary complaints, and (6) get Police Unions to understand that they serve the best interests of police officers by ferreting out bad cops (See guest column in the 9/6/2020 Detroit Free Press/News, page 30 A).
(6) Restore the Model of “Peace Officer.”
Set up new police training regimens to show recruits that (1) their primary role is to be a “Peace Officer” de-escalating emotionally charged situations and restoring the peace, and (2) hammer home to recruits that their’s is “to reason why” and their’s is to perform their law enforcement duties consistent with the requirements of the Bill of Rights (a document that shows America’s only true “exceptionalism” and a document that makes America, altruistically speaking… the country whose founding documents protect human rights better than any other country in the World).
(7) Eliminate or Curtail Cop’s Use of Military Assets.
Eliminate arming of police officers with Military assets. Eliminate arming police officers with a military state of mind. Restore the role of Peace Officers to our cities with a change in the Police Academy Regimen, as suggested by Phil Abdoo, former military officer who saw three tours of duty in the Middle East war zones… now a Police Academy training officer for the Macomb County Sheriff’s Department.
“When you’re basically telling recruits everybody can kill you, you’re teaching them to be paranoid. …The warrior mindset is great when you are in combat, which is basically a free-fire zone. But, if we treat all citizens as enemy combatants until they prove they’re not, should it be any surprise that they treat us [citizens] like the enemy ? And people wonder why we’re where we are with all the hatred of law enforcement. I think teaching the warrior mindset is a disservice to our officers.” The Detroit Free Press writer continued…
“A former hostage negotiator Abdoo features de-escalation techniques prominently in his current work with young officers, while instructing them that use of weapons or extreme physical force should be a last resort.” Detroit Free Press/News 9/6/2020 article… Militarization of Police Started Before Trump… page 30 A)
(8) Criminal Justice Reform
America’s third world, Hall of Shame data, includes…
- America has more prisoners locked up than any country in the World. America has 2.1 million in prison (versus # two China with 1.7 million and # three Brazil with 773,000).
- America has more prisoners per Capita than any country in the World… 655 per 100,000 (versus # two, El Salvador with 590 per 100,000).
America’s incarceration data paints a picture of a third world country. No doubt, the Criminal Justice System needs reform. We lost the War on Drugs… a war that victimized the Black man in innumerable harsh ways it did not victimize the White man of the same circumstances (for example… Crack cocaine vs Powder cocaine). Now, decades later, we see the damage… way too many low level, mentally ill criminals of poverty-stricken backgrounds locked in prison cells just “Souls on Ice” doing time, passing time and losing time… with society paying the price for room, board and health care, with repeat offenders the norm. Patrick throw down your opposition to Criminal Justice Reform, and get on the “smart on crime” wagon… and broaden the goal of Criminal Justice to include Mental Health care and meaningful “rehabilitation.”
FOR WHAT ITS WORTH
As you say Patrick… “For what it may be worth.” And, as the Buffalo Springfield sang in their song For What it is Worth
There’s something happening here
What it is ain’t exactly clear
There’s a man with a gun over there
Telling me I got to beware
I think it’s time we stop, children, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down
There’s battle lines being drawn
Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong
Young people speaking their minds
Getting so much resistance from behind
I think it’s time we stop, hey, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down
What a field-day for the heat
A thousand people in the street
Singing songs and carrying signs
Mostly say, hooray for our side
It’s time we stop, hey, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down
Paranoia strikes deep
Into your life it will creep
It starts when you’re always afraid
You step out of line, the man come and take you away
We better stop, hey, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down
Children of the Greatest Generation… 2011
Wealth Power Politics Jesus… 2012
Fightin’ Irish of Detroit, Fightin’ in the Streets, Fightin’ in the Courts… 2017