Philosophy | Politics | Religion

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Hello, Black Lives Matter

Last month, a poll by Ipsos found that an overwhelming majority of people in fourteen countries, on six continents, support the protests that erupted across the United States after the murder of George Floyd. Russia, the fifteenth country in the survey, was the only place where a minority—about a third—backed the demonstrators.

I have found it sad how many people that are now on board with Black Lives Matter (BLM) initially responded with All Lives Matter (ALM). Wow!!! I guess I should say I am an old white guy but maybe I’m a little more woke than the average old white guy. My parents grew up in Arkansas but moved to Southern California a couple of years before I was born. I was raised in a modest middle class town that was 99% white and wasn’t exposed to much racism.

I did visit my grandparents when I was 10 in Arkansas and saw white and black only drinking fountains that blew my mind. I saw an uncle who had two grocery items step in front of a black lady at the check out line with neither one saying a word. Again, blew my mind. As an adult, I was in a prison factory in Arizona and approached a few black inmates and quickly found myself surrounded by about 30 black inmates. We talked and laughed a little and one said and they all agreed that I must have some black blood in me somewhere. We laughed at that as well, me being with light red hair.

Old white men of which I have now been a member for awhile have controlled politics and the direction of America from day one when America was only a concept. And, typically our current bunch of old white men tend to be uncomfortable with BLM. A new wave of young men are becoming old white men and hopefully this infiltration will be more attuned to the need to bring black lives into being equal members of freedom and opportunity that has been there for white lives. Old White Men got a lot right but for too many, not being able to immediately recognize why the BLM slogan was needed and needed to be separate from ALM is, let me repeat, sad.

Simply changing policies isn’t enough. “Within a Police Department, culture eats policy for breakfast,”

J. Scott Thomson, the former police chief of Camden, N.J.,

20% of black men have spent time in prison.

03% of white men have spent time in prison.

Twenty seven (27) percent of black men between the ages of 25 and 54, their prime income producing years, had zero earnings in 2014 and incarceration and its aftereffects were the main reason.

The story behind BLM is so much more than mothers having to tell their black children that they are prey for racist cops.

The chances of being shot may be slim but the threat is there and so is jail and prison. That threat is smaller for the white population because many more people already believe that white lives matter.

Incarceration rates for black Americans has increased over the last half-century and the result has turned imprisonment into a dominant feature of modern life for black Americans.

Large numbers of black men are missing from their communities — unable to marry, care for children or see their aging parents. Many others suffer from permanent economic or psychological damage, struggling to find work after they leave prison.

David Leonhardt, NY Times

And yet, some will still respond with “all lives matter” whenever they hear some say “Black Lives Matter”; as if “make america great” again wasn’t enough of a slogan for MAGA hat wearers.

Are police 65% solution and 35% problem or 35% solution and 65% problem.

There’s a deep sense in the black community that when the police commit harms, they’re not held accountable, The continual push to shield the police from responsibility helps explain why a lot of people feel now that the police can’t be reformed.”

Alicia Garza, the principal of Black Futures Lab and a co-founder of Black Lives Matter, told The Times Magazine.

There would seem to be evidence that we need to reduce contact between the public and the police.  Think about the contacts you have had with a police officer.  Did that officer need a gun, taser, handcuffs, pepper spray, body camera, baton, squad car with rifle and another camera?

Do police protect us from bad guys?  Yes but most officers make no more than one felony arrest per year and spend most of their time responding to noise complaints, issuing parking and traffic tickets, and making arrests for petty misdemeanors. Most violent and property crimes go unsolved. 

We’re asking cops to do too much in this country.

David Brown, Former Dallas Police Chief

How much of the $115 billion allocated to police departments every year should go toward providing health care, housing, education and good jobs for everyone? Or instead, how much should go to less expensive and less threatening alternatives?  A mother of a son lost to a police shooting said he needed drug treatment, not six bullets.

It should be pointed out that when the Baltimore police stepped back after the uproar over Freddie Gray’s death in 2015, crime rose and Baltimore’s homicide rate became the highest in the nation.

Even some police officers agree that Americans rely too heavily on law enforcement.

Most Americans oppose calls to defund the police.

It is naive to think that abolishing the police will radically reduce robbery, rape and murder, even if all the saved money is reallocated to better housing, schools, jobs and social services. Fixing these broader problems will take far more resources.

It is equally naive to think that the problem with policing is just a few bad apples. Real reforms are possible, and it’s important to seize this rare opportunity to achieve them.

Stephen Crawford, a research professor at George Washington University

Civilian review boards  often lack teeth. To give them real power, they need to be able to hire and fire officers. 

There is bipartisan support for eliminating qualified immunity.

Qualified Immunity, a legal doctrine, has given an absolute shield for law enforcement officers that protects them from lawsuits.

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor

Increasing accountability would also require curbing the power of police unions which makes it  hard to fire bad cops, too easy to rehire them, too difficult to sue them, too challenging to win a guilty verdict when they’re charged with an offense.

The Roots of Blacks and Police Interactions

“In 1866, one year after the 13 Amendment was ratified (the amendment that ended slavery), Alabama, Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, Florida, Tennessee, and South Carolina began to lease out convicts for labor (peonage). This made the business of arresting Blacks very lucrative, which is why hundreds of White men were hired by these states as police officers. Their primary responsibility was to search out and arrest Blacks who were in violation of Black Codes. Once arrested, these men, women and children would be leased to plantations where they would harvest cotton, tobacco, sugar cane. Or they would be leased to work at coal mines, or railroad companies. The owners of these businesses would pay the state for every prisoner who worked for them; prison labor.

It is believed that after the passing of the 13th Amendment, more than 800,000 Blacks were part of the system of peonage, or re-enslavement through the prison system. Peonage didn’t end until after World War II began, around 1940.

This is how it happened.

The 13th Amendment declared that “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” (Ratified in 1865)

Did you catch that? It says, “neither slavery nor involuntary servitude could occur except as a punishment for a crime.” Lawmakers used this phrase to make petty offenses crimes. When Blacks were found guilty of committing these crimes, they were imprisoned and then leased out to the same businesses that lost slaves after the passing of the 13th Amendment.

This system of convict labor is called peonage. The majority of White Southern farmers and business owners hated the 13th Amendment because it took away slave labor. As a way to appease them, the federal government turned a blind eye when southern states used this clause in the 13th Amendment to establish laws called Black Codes.

Here are some examples of Black Codes:

In Louisiana, it was illegal for a Black man to preach to Black congregations without special permission in writing from the president of the police. If caught, he could be arrested and fined. If he could not pay the fines, which were unbelievably high, he would be forced to work for an individual, or go to jail or prison where he would work until his debt was paid off.

If a Black person did not have a job, he or she could be arrested and imprisoned on the charge of vagrancy or loitering.

This next Black Code will make you cringe. In South Carolina, if the parent of a Black child was considered vagrant, the judicial system allowed the police and/or other government agencies to “apprentice” the child to an “employer”. Males could be held until the age of 21, and females could be held until they were 18. Their owner had the legal right to inflict punishment on the child for disobedience, and to recapture them if they ran away.

This (peonage) is an example of systemic racism – Racism established and perpetuated by government systems.

Slavery was made legal by the U.S. Government.

Segregation, Black Codes, Jim Crow and peonage were all made legal by the government, and upheld by the judicial system.

These acts of racism were built into the system, which is where the term “Systemic Racism” is derived. This is the part of “Black History” that most of us were never told about.”

Damon K. Roberts | June 17, 2020 | #damonkrobertsrealtor

What do all these people have in common?

Donald J. Trump, William Barr, Mike Pence, Ivanka Trump, Melania Trump Jared Kushner Kellyanne Conway Ronna McDaniel Kayleigh McEnany.

They’ve all voted by mail, or tried to vote by mail, at least once in the past.

Trump, Attorney General William Barr, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, and RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel have repeatedly stated that vote by mail is ripe for fraud and abuse. That is a lie. Over and over it has been proven that vote by mail is safe and secure and voter fraud is virtually nonexistent.

Trump and his enablers know the path to his reelection relies on voter suppression and low turnout, and they’re pulling out all the stops to keep people from casting their ballots in November.

One way to show we as a nation agree that black lives matter would be to make it easier for everybody to vote.

Jobs, jobs, jobs. Health care, health care, health care. A troubled person may be only a job away from being untroubled. A person unable to get preventative care or have semi-elective surgery or afford prescriptive drugs has a big disadvantage to those who can. Level the playing field and lets see what happens.

Hope’s Role In Politics

We need to help developing countries raise their standard of living and quality of life.  There should be hope everywhere.  Our businesses should stop trying to merely maximize profits off the backs of fellow souls in third world countries or from the natural resources of third world countries.  A fair share of profits gained from workers or resources should by invested back into those countries to build infrastructure, schools, and hospitals and resources should never be taken without protecting the environment and beauty of those third world countries.

We can help create more global hope because hope is America’s unique national quality.  It is its outlook for a better and promising future.  Americans approach challenges as opportunities and not as obstacles.  Most Americans look ahead toward aspirations and do not dwell on current circumstance.  Americans do this because that is its history.  Everywhere else in the world there is a history of struggle that has had to be overcome–a history where populations have not benefited from the power of optimism.

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