Join in on the discussion with Charles Shaughnessy & other Thoughters on Ferguson, NYPD & race relations in America!


Hey There Thoughters!!
Because of the discussion going on here on the blog, I'm updating this blog from my  December 4th at 3 pm PST Here's A Thought with Charles Shaughnessy on TradioV. It was a commentary and exchange on Ferguson and The NYPD & race relations & some other 'topical' issues!  I want to know what YOU think!!  

To watch the archived show from December 4th, click on this link:  http://bit.ly/HATdec4

I also talked a little bit about the play I am doing at the Mark Taper Forum, "What The Butler Saw" and a few other things that have been happening, as time allows.

I really appreciate all of you that send your questions and comments to me or Janelle and especially who discuss with each other here on the blog.  

Keep it coming!
And remember Only Connect!

Charlie


2 new additional comments by Charles Shaughnessy
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Comments

  1. Great news! Looking forward to it!

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  2. Okay, here's a question. I remember at the time of the Trayvon Martin decision you tweeted (apologies for bringing out an old tweet to haunt you. I'm not sure that's fair) about the importance of the rule of law, and of effecting change by changing the law. I don't disagree, but then I am white and European and so privileged. Now, though, I live in Atlanta, in a black neighborhood which is also a poor neighborhood. I have black roommates. I teach black students. And, as a poet, I also know black writers, college professors, professional people who, regardless of their standing in any community, are never free from either the actuality or the threat of injustice in their daily lives based only on the color of their skin. I'm reading right now about today's grand jury decision in the case of Eric Garner. So, in light of Ferguson and every other example of how people of color struggle with injustice not only in regard to our common humanity but also within the legal system, how would you further parse the "rule of law" v institutional racism. And are you hopeful for the future of race relations in this country? I guess that's two questions, but they seem intimately linked.

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    1. Oh I really like your comment! Interesting questions also!

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  3. I will probably be stuck in a meeting (it's that time of the semester), so I suspect I'll have to listen to the show later. Anyway, here is my question: Why is it automatically presumed to be racism when a member of a minority group perceives an injustice has occurred? As a follow up question, do you think media coverage of events promotes racism, or do you think it promotes equality of all people regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, etc.? I'm just thinking of how the media doesn't have a problem pointing out when it's a white cop who injures/kills an African American youth (such as in Ferguson or the Eric Garner case), but when it's white-on-white (or black-on-black), there is seldom mention of a victim's race. Thanks--and looking forward to this week's show!

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    1. Karen,
      You voiced a thought I have also had. To expand a little on your question, at what point can it be considered a form of racism itself when a minority group participate in a racially charged behavior in the name of trying to prove how bad the majority group is? When it comes to the media pointing out the races of white police officers who injure/kill African American criminals but not the races of the individuals when they are of the same race, I believe it comes down to ratings and what keeps people interested. Given our nation's history, racism is something that we take very seriously because we are afraid to repeat the history and the travesties that were a part of it. That means that we perk up and pay attention if the media points out that something or someone is backsliding in history. When an incident in question involves people of the same race, we don't have the same backslide to fear, so it's not perceived as important to the American people and therefore glossed over by the media. At least that's my take on it.
      But now I ask to all, does the way that we react to each other in incidents where people of different races are involved, whether or not the races are identified by the media, amplify racism so that every reaction on all sides displays a version of racism itself? In other words, can a reaction to racism be racist itself, and therefore start a downward spiral of hatred as we seek to point out the fallacies of those with whom we disagree? How can we stop that downward spiral without stopping all communication completely?

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  4. My plan is to be able to watch/listen live, but it is difficult to tell sometimes when it comes to my second job. So here's my thoughts and questions, just in case. When it comes to Ferguson and the Eric Garner cases or any other such racially charged cases, is the problem exaggerated or amplified when anyone tries to lay the blame on a single factor such as racism (among police officers or just in general)? As I work with individuals of many different races and walks of life, and, as a white individual of obvious European decent, I often hear statements blaming everything that is less than desirable in life on the racism of others, and it serves no purpose other shut down the conversation, leaving no room for response. This brings the next question: How can we, as a nation, keep productive conversation progressing when some seek to blame all undesirable factors on a person’s race, but still recognize the inequality among races that has existed throughout the our history? Is it possible to do justice to history, without using it as a shield against unpleasant realities of the present? This is not to say that racism does not exist, because it definitely does and needs to be addressed where and when it does exist. Rather, I’m saying that while racism is an underlying cause to some unfavorable circumstances, it should not be the go-to argument when someone wants to prove a point.

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    1. Hi, Becky. I hesitate here because I don't know you or your circumstances - and also because I do know how difficult it can be to say exactly what you want to say in a few lines. I"m a writer, so this I know. In your post, I hear someone grappling with a huge and difficult subject which is, of course, the antithesis of "black and white" in the metaphorical sense - and I relate to that because I struggle too. There is one thing in particular that I feel I want to take issue with though. If I understand you, you are calling it "racism" against white people when a person of color does that thing that is called "playing the race card." I have to say that, if this is what you mean, then it's an incorrect use of the word "racism," which specifically involves the assumption that one race is superior to another. In other words, for a black person to be racist toward a white person, they would have to say that black people are superior to white people. I dare say that sometimes happens - after all, it's not an uncommon response to turn the insult back on the insult-giver. However, I think maybe you are talking about something else, which is blaming white people for "everything." That's not racism, It's not even necessarily wrong, depending on the context. This whole issue reminds me of the argument that feminists are man-haters, and the conclusion therefore drawn that feminists just as bad as misogynists, that they want to replace the patriarchy with an oppression of there own. Do people of color, do women, sometimes blame everyone who looks like "the man," thereby upsetting individuals who do not oppress? Well, yes, sometimes. Is this ever justified? That, I think is a very difficult question, and depends how deep you go - also on the context. But ask rather is it ever understandable. The real underlying point in all of this is that institutionalized racism, like institutionalized patriarchy, affects so many areas of a person's life that it's hard to know sometimes what's "fair" and what isn't. Depends how far back you stand, how closeup you get. The system affects privileged lives too. I think it is incumbent upon those who are privileged - by being white, by being male, or both - to recognize that however good their intentions, however impeccable their own behavior in regard to race or gender issues may be, they - we - are still favored in ways that we don't even realize. So, for example, to automatically talk about criminals and criminal behavior in cases where the problem is that the case doesn't even go to trial, or where protest gets confused with looting, is to demonstrate the problem, and how deeply rooted it is. And that's before we even get to the problem of a legal system that demonstrably favors some over others - not just on the basis of race. Assumptions, even once we are aware of them, also allow us to avoid the much more difficult business of bearing all the contradictions, all the historical issues, the local issues, the personal issues, the different and sometimes difficult behaviors of individuals in mind, and still being able to see and acknowledge some larger truths. One of the ways in which the system wins is by insisting that every case must be looked at only individually, and not as part of a bigger picture. Another way, of course, is by insisting that the system is always right and can't be changed - or at least not without terrible consequences. Sometimes, it's true, the consequences are terrible - but I really believe that the way to make that less likely is by trying to see every side, challenging assumptions, getting to what is different in people's lives,even while never forgetting what makes us all human.

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    2. Hi Jude,
      First, I sincerely hope that neither you nor anyone else ever needs to feel hesitant to 1) expand the conversation, 2) seek clarification within the communication or 3) respectfully express an opinion regarding any part of the conversation. I spend a large portion of time in transferring communication between languages and therefore understand all too well the need and clarify and expand on what one has said. I appreciate opinions and perspectives that differ from my own, especially as a big part of my personal philosophy revolves around recognizing that there are always two sides to every circumstance and argument available. This is why I strongly believe that sincere, respectful communication is the solution to the problems that plague society. So thank you for taking the time to respond to my (I’ll admit it) slightly disjointed post and thoughts. It helps me organize my own thoughts and find the best ways to develop and express them.
      Second, let me try to clarify what I was getting at. Based on my experience in working to establish communication between languages and cultures, I brought up the question of how racism can go both ways with the intent to explore, not only the denotative meaning of racism, but also the connotative meaning of it, as well as what it has come to mean to those who don’t fully understand the superiority complex associated with true racism. You are right, though, that this is a small fraction of people in general. Historically, institutionalized racism caused a great deal of hatred and deep seeded feelings of resentment on both ends of the spectrum. My question was more about how, if at all, that sense of hatred and resentment, as well as the way some people demonstrate it and act upon those feelings what some could consider a new face of racism. I will also agree with you that, though it is a dominating force in the conversation, it is not the only issue involved in cases such as those discussed here; though I also wonder if it playing such a large part of the conversation is merely misplacing the blame on an easy target. Factors that need to be included in the conversation as well are the unchecked exercise of police power and authority, the inequality of a system that offers justice to some but takes multiple measures to make that same justice more difficult for others to obtain, as well as a system that will not look at the big picture. The conversations that need to happen are not comfortable for a lot of people, but I believe that having them in mutually respectful settings, like the one we have here, is one of the first steps in identifying and solving the problems. It is the way to stop destructive assumptions that escalate the problems and obscure the underlying causes. I really believe that open and respectful communication on all sides, regardless of how much we agree with or disagree with someone else, is a big step in finding the most effective way to challenge the system and change what isn't working. It's also the way to remember what makes each of us human. The trick is to avoid taking offense at something someone else says when they don't agree with us. I have to believe that the assumptions we've talked about and offenses taken are often related.

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    3. I agree with you Becky in what you say. I too believe, that open, frank communication is the only way to bring about change. It has to start there. And. as you say, this kind of discussion can be very difficult and uncomfortable but it has to happen first. It is communication with each other, in a calm way that will help show one side that there is more of a problem than perhaps they are aware of, and the other side that we are aware and are trying to change.I have to believe that we can do this and that we can bring about change in our country.

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    4. HI, Becky. I'm glad you replied! I just typed out a whole other message only to realize, when I tried to post, that I wasn't logged in - so it's all gone. I don't think I have the energy to redo it - you may be glad to hear - as it's 3:30 eastern and even for me that's late. However, I did just want to say that I appreciate your elegant answer, and I agree with you by and large. I do just think that right now there's a groundswell of outrage across a large swathe of the country for all that is wrong in the relationship between black and white, and that this is the moment to go with the groundswell, to build empathy and acknowledge white privilege, and focus on how race skews everything - including, most drastically, the experience of policing - not because there aren't other conversations to be had, but because race is the core issue and a groundswell just might get something done. It's too easy, as we have so often seen in the past, for vested interests to use "divide and rule" tactics to stop genuine protest, to stop consensus, by playing on fears or by dissecting individual cases. I don't mean to suggest that the details of a particular case aren't important - of course they are - but I think timing is everything. Genuine protest that might effect change is something that I think we should neither fear nor impede. I don't know if you read poetry, but I can do no better, I think, than to recommend Claudia Rankine's new book "Citizen" which is galvanizing - it was for me, and I know it is for many others. This book - shortlisted for the National Book Award and it definitely should have won - gives me the courage to talk about race even if I get it wrong because it articulates so clearly and relentlessly how the black experience of just about everything is skewed through living in a white person's world. I can't explain it better. It's not my place to try. All I can do, what I plan to keep doing, is to talk about how these issues look to someone like me, and about my experience of privilege (as a white person) and disadvantage (as a woman.)
      I was actually at a reading that Professor Rankine gave last night, at Emory, so I didn't get to hear the show live, and haven't had time to listen yet. I hope it went well. And thank you for the conversation.

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    5. I really like the way that Sharon put it: Side A needs to let side B know that there is a problem and side B needs to let side A know that they recognize the problem. Then, both sides need to agree on a path to try to fix the problem. That is one of the most important steps that we can take to establish an open communication and actually find a solution that allows us to get past the current hurdle as a society. I also believe that this would allow us to look more at some of the other problems that are going on and desperately need addressing. I really like what Charlie said about opening a discussion of offering some kind of reparations as a way for the white majority and the government to officially recognize the injustices that happened during the years of slavery and do what is possible to make it better now. It would establish the fact that we recognize the origins of the problem, and even though we can’t have a better past, we are willing to do what we can to make it right now. I also understand Jude’s point in that, sometimes, you need to work with the groundswell as a first step in trying to affect the change that needs to happen. When used properly, that groundswell can be powerful force in pushing the nation forward and helping make us, as individuals and as a society, not only better than we have been in the past, but better than we are now.

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  5. Hi Charlie! Happy that you're back LIVE on TradioV! And thanks for all the informations Janelle!

    I will watch the show on Thursday... but am not ready to call in right now hiiiiiiii!
    Too scary for me to talk in English live on your show LOL!
    Maybe later who knows? ;-)

    However I will tweet my comments and reactions if I manage to listen AND think AND understand AND write in English at the same time! :-p

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    1. I should have added one more "IF" : ..."if I manage to stay awake"!! :-(

      Pfffff I was too tired yesterday to watch it live... the pregnancy is morphing me into an old granny who falls asleep at 9.30-10 PM! :-p

      Will wait for the link of the archive to listen to the show: hope it went well!!

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  6. Two things I would like to add to this very important discussion. 1. About my comment that the police are too far reaching. I think the way they are trained needs to be examined and changed. They seem to automatically think that if an African American is involved in any way, he is automatically guilty, and needs to be apprehended by whatever means necessary, which usually means excessive violence on the part of the police. Why must they always shoot to kill!!!
    2. I appreciate your pint about demonstrations needing to make us uncomfortable, but I really feel that in Ferguson, they went way too far. It turned people's support away from their cause, in many cases. Certainly among the people whose ideas they are trying to change.
    Thanks for a great show! And congratulations on the success of What the Butler Saw. It is terrific and I enjoyed every minute.

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  7. Great show today! Unfortunately we can discuss the subject of racism until we are blue in the face. It's a shame that in this day and age that racism still goes on in this country. How do we go about making changes to racism when there are extremists on both sides? I think we need to start at home by teaching our children not to judge someone because of skin color. Maybe then we can make changes happen!

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  8. First of all...GREAT to have you here, Jude! Thank you for your insightful, respectful and relevant contributions! My intention has always been to encourage ( maybe even inspire!) timely conversation rather than indulge in diatribe. The progress of civilization depends on conversation and debate..so thank you. I would like to chime in here as well. It sounds a bit as though some people ( and Becky is by no means alone in this,) feel frustrated that the Black community are quick to criticize, protest and react to what they perceive as racism but have little else to say either critically or constructively. It echoes a little the frustration that Democrats feel for the obstructive and critical tactics of the GOP: repetitive, redundant and, in the end, unconstructive. The difference, however, is that where the GOP can be seen to have other options, the Black experience has less room to manoeuvre. An example is the decision by SCOTUS to roll back legislation won through the bloody, painful and courageous acts of the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, on the basis that Racism no longer exists in the U.S. When efforts to be constructive and progressive are simply dismissed by the white majority, it is hard to know where to turn other than to criticism and obstruction. I would repeat my suggestion that a conversation on Reparations for the crime against humanity that was slavery should be proposed. There is no statute of limitations and we had a similar conversation with regards to our treatment of the native American. It would put our present crisis in a concrete, historical context that has been denied or avoided by many in this country. An admission of guilt and wrongdoing could clear some of the underbrush of distrust and unaddressed pain, making possible a constructive way forward.

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    1. That is a good way to describe some of the frustrations I was trying to express. Yes, it is very frustrating to have the black community rush to criticize and protest without trying to communicate further on the subject. From the other side of the spectrum, it's also frustrating when members of the white community wish to do nothing more than turn a blind eye and deny that there is remaining tension. From one side, it feels like nothing you do can be viewed as right, no matter how hard you try to build bridges. From the other side, (I can only imagine) it would have to feel like no one really listens because they don't want to admit the validity of the complaints and criticisms. As I work with people from many different cultures and backgrounds, I have learned that these particular frustrations are most prevalent when blanket statements happen regarding the opposing side, their actions or their motives. This is true on both sides, The biggest frustration is when the blanket statements are made to serve no other purpose than to shut down the conversation. That is why I very much agree that a reparation of some sort could be a way of displaying that the white majority not only wants to move forward, but that we recognize the sins of our nation's past at the same time. When I work with people of any race individually, I can usually have open and honest conversations with them and do what I can on my part to help dispel the assumptions that many make. I have often even found my own thoughts and understandings redirected by way of this communication. However, despite the immense significance of personal relationships, in order to broaden the perspective of the conversation, as a nation, we need to recognize that something from our past was wrong and show that we are doing what we can to make up for it in the present. The problem comes when it feels like any efforts to build bridges and reach across the racial lines are thrown back in the faces of the ones making the effort. That can happen from members of both communities involved, and only furthers the frustrations felt on either side. If the white majority and the government were willing to make this kind of an offering, it would help clear some of the tensions that obscure and distract from some of the other problems that desperately need fixing. If we could get past that hurdle, it would make dealing with the issues of police over-reach, excessive force and accountability more accessible to everyone.

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    2. Thank you, it's good to be here. The only thing I would add is that my writer friends of every shade are both critical and constructive in their comments - and they are all tweeting and posting up a storm. I think, though, that they are right to insist that nothing - or nothing lasting - will happen until the full extent of white privilege is exposed. It's hard to be implicated in something that we had no say in, or control over, but then that is also the point.

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    3. One HUGE problem with reparations "for the crime against humanity that was slavery"--who would be eligible for the compensation? Would it be everyone who has a drop of African blood? Would it be any African American (or black person)? Or would it just be people who can trace their ancestry back to slavery? Using the first option, that would mean our current president (son of a Kenyan father and white mother), who during slavery probably would have been considered white because his mother was white, would be eligible for reparations--even though obviously his ancestors were not slaves (or slave owners, for that matter). There needs to be some sort of standard set, and there needs to be documentation before a government that already has an $18 trillion debt pays out that money. Who would be required to contribute to the fund? People whose ancestors came over in the 17th and 18th centuries, whose ancestors never owned slaves but are presumed to have condoned that practice (even though their religion was the first to advocate for the abolition of slavery)? Or would you as a recent immigrant contribute to the fund, even though your ancestors were not slaveowners (and, in all likelihood, experienced discrimination because of their national origin)? Reparations for slavery might have been an option in the 1860s and 1870s (and, in a way, it did occur through the activities of the Freedmen's Bureau), but it's not feasible today. It's one thing when the federal government acknowledged its error when placing U.S. citizens of Japanese heritage in relocation camps during World War II and confiscating their land then provided them with compensation for their losses. It's another entirely different thing when you are offering compensation for someone whose enslavement ended almost 150 years ago and who have benefited from social programs established by the federal government and from federal policies that protect them against discrimination (such as affirmative action). Besides, if you provide people with compensation because of the possibility that one of their ancestors was enslaved, aren't you basically putting a price on someone's head, just like the slaveowners did?

      Racism will always exist as long as people perceive that they are being discriminated against because of their race. And, to some, discrimination means that you are not receiving special privileges because of your race--not that you are being denied things because of it (based on my personal experience).

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    4. Reparations are a good idea but very difficult to implement. They are still struggling with the problem in South Africa 20 years after independence!

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  9. I want to thank all of you for getting engaged in this important topic. An especial thanks to our new listener/viewers for joining in the conversation. I don't think I know Becky from before, so a big welcome to you and "thank you" for such pithy and stimulating discussion. Keep the conversation going: from that can spring action! And remember, Only Connect!! :-)

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    1. Thank you. I appreciate having a respectful forum to express and further evolve my own thoughts. As a moderate, it's actually very difficult to find a forum where I can do this without constantly feeling as though I'm being attacked or belittled because I don't fit into any particular end of the spectrum-even within my own family (I got anything political banned from conversation with my in-laws when I'm around because I always try to see and understand the other side of the argument). That's why I have often shied away from participating in these conversations, no matter my own thoughts and opinions. I am glad to have a forum in which to expand my own understanding and develop my own thoughts, without feeling like I'm somehow the oddball (no one here knows me, so I can get away with saying that) and so I thank you for that.

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    2. This is a great place to express your thoughts. No one bashes anyone. Sometimes we agree to disagree and that's OK. It also has made me look and think about a subject from a different point of view.

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    3. Becky, I think most of us here are "moderate" on many issues. Of course there are always left and right extremes, but I think everyone has their "passionate" issues and are willing to compromise on the other stuff. I'm a fiscal conservative/social libertarian Independent, so my views are often all over the map LOL. My "not gonna bend" issues are fiscal sanity and personal responsibility for actions. For others, it is welfare reform, or universal health care, or racial equality. I think we all agree on the problems, but disagree on the solutions. It's a great group of people, so join in!! Glad to have you and Jude on board.

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    4. Thank you to you both for the welcome. I picked up that sense as I have read through some of the conversations on previous blogs and that's why I decided to join in. I enjoy respectful discussion about differing opinions since it can lead to further insight and understanding. Glad to be a part.

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    5. Welcome Becky! It's good to have you here. I hope you will join in on future shows and blogs!

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  10. I must live under a rock, I had no idea that this conversation was going on! I was looking at the blog from Friday and wondering why no one was commenting LOL. Welcome Jude and Becky!! So nice to have some "fresh blood" around here. I find myself wanting to just reply "Yeah, what Becky said", because your replies are almost verbatim what I would have said. I do think that there is a "realistic" definition of racism, where every real and perceived slight is met with "you're just racist". The conversation ends at that point.
    My reaction to the Eric Garner case is shock, just like the rest of you. I thought it would at LEAST go to a trial. While Pantaleo appeared to be out of control, what horrified me was the other cops standing there doing nothing! And the lead officer on the team was a black female sergeant!! They didn't tell Pantaleo to get off of Garner, or try to physically separate the two. They just stood there and watched. I'd "assume" that may have been part of the Grand Jury decision. I live in NJ, and it is virtually impossible to get an indictment against a NYC police officer. They are a 35,000 member family. That's not a police force, that's an army(and I'm thankful for them).
    With the Michael Brown case, I have much stronger opinions. First...THE MEDIA!!!! Shame on them!!! They spread a false narrative(white cop kills unarmed black teen), and there are people who still believe it. I saw a post on Facebook saying "A kid can't even walk down the street anymore". If they had done their JOB and waited till evidence was presented, they'd have seen that their little story was fiction. Meanwhile, professional looters/arsonists were on the bus to town, ready to do some early Christmas shopping. The media, fueled by the likes of Al Sharpton, caused this. I'm also not understanding the complete refusal to discuss Michael Brown's role in this. He was NOT a gentle giant or a good kid, he was a thug gang member with more than 20 incidents on his public adult record(he was 18!!!), and an even longer protected juvenile record. He had robbed a store and man-handled the much smaller and older owner(on video no less), was high, and assaulted the officer who got stuck with the job of finding him(do you think that Wilson got a radio call that said "keep your eye out for a really big black guy?" I'd bet money the dispatcher said "oh Lord, Mike Brown's at it again. Somebody bring him in). It's tragic that someone so young had to die, but it's even more tragic that he was in that position in the first place. It was Darren Wilson's job to protect the citizens of Ferguson from people like Michael Brown. The professional looters have moved on to greener pastures, the innocent citizens and shop-owners are left to pick up the pieces of their lives, and the media? No where to be found. Is Al Sharpton down there helping the community to heal, leading meetings to discuss how to help the young men in their neighborhood who are on the same dangerous path as Brown, cleaning up a store? Nope. And black people who ARE speaking out, on you tube and social media, are bombarded with comments about being a traitor, not being a real black, trying to act white. How are we supposed to have a discussion about race with that mindset? So we throw up our hands and say "oh forget it" and then get called racist for not caring. It's a terrible and tragic situation.

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    2. First I want to say Hello and Welcome to Jude and Becky!
      Secondly I must say that I agree with every word that JoAnn said.
      I was horrified to see what happened to Eric Garner! Especially with that many officers being evolved with what happened to him. As I said when I called, I believe there are officers who have no business being police officers. They take things to the extreme and end up hurting or killing someone. With that being said I think Michael Brown case is different. To put it bluntly he was a thug and it's unfortunate that his choices basically caused a snowball effect that resulted in his death.
      Then you have the looters and rioters who go out and terrorize their neighborhoods while complaining about racism! ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Your burning black businesses and stealing from others in your own neighborhood and your blaming racism. How is this supposed help your cause?
      Then there is Al Sharpton! He shows up to stir the pot of racism but yet does nothing to help the poor business owner who just lost everything in the riots, that in my opinion he encouraged. Also I personally think that the man is a racist himself! There are "black on black" crimes that happens daily especially drive by shootings and yet nothing is said not even by Al Sharpton. I do believe that there should be equality for every race and sex, but rioting and looting is not the way to go about getting equality.

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    3. I agree , for the most part, with Jo and Tracy. I do not think the Eric Garner case and the Michael Brown case are the same at all. In the Eric Garner case, the cops were at fault, no question, and they certainly should have been held accountable. The Ferguson situation is totally different, starting with no one will ever know exactly what happened. Michael Brown was no saint! He had been in trouble for most of his young life. Did he deserve to die for this! I don't think so! I do not blame Darren Wilson. He was doing what he was trained to do! I believe there needs to be a change in the training of our police officers. Too many times, a suspect is killed, when there was no need to kill at all. There are ways to stop and bring down a suspect without killing them!!

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    4. When it comes down to it, the mentality and approach to "problem solving" that Al Sharpton seems to love is what seems to cause productive discussion and conversation to come to a screeching halt in any case that involves black and white people. It's the attitude that everything can be taken as an insult or be blamed on some racially charged issue. It almost feels like that attitude is designed to say "I get the last word in by blaming it on racism and therefore I win because you can't or don't know how to respond." In other words, it's an attitude designed to say "You don't have anything to say because you know I'm right and therefore I'm stopping the conversation."
      In both of these cases, race is being brought into the discussion, even though it's by far not the underlying issue in either one. But those with the mentality that everything must be somehow racially charged get in the way, and won't let the discussion progress any farther. We need to recognize that's a two-way street as well. It's not just blacks who can stop discussion progress by saying "Well you're just a racist" because anyone can be just as guilty at shutting down the lines of communication. Anyone can say that something is racially charged. A white individual can do the exact same thing by simply saying that a member, or group, of any minority are only doing or saying something because of their race. The conversation can also be halted if a white individual refuses to recognize that racism exists or that there is another side to an experience for someone who feels anything is deeply personal and based on their race. I agree that the there is definitely a good way to go about fighting for change and fighting for equality, and there is a non-productive way to go about it. If we can avoid shutting down the conversation, on either side, then we are more likely to find the best ways to fight for that equality and to fight for changes that need to happen.

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    5. Great reply, Becky! I think I can speak for the others when I say that NO ONE meant to imply that the "communication problem" was one-sided. I'm so sorry if that's how it sounded. I follow several conservative pages on Facebook, and I'm horrified to see racist replies or "memes" showing primates. Thankfully, those replies are always condemned by other posters. There are bad apples in both bunches, and the media finds every one of them.
      I do not understand why the black community holds Al Sharpton up as their 'spokesman'. He's a tax-evader(how many homes and inner-city schools could have been built with the 65 million he didn't pay?), and those of us who live in the NY/NJ area distinctly remember the Tawana Brawley incident(google it, it's not pretty). If we are going to have intelligent discussions about systemic racism in America and how we can change that, and what the black community can do to improve their situation....I'm not sure we can do that with Al at the helm. Granted, I don't get to "pick" who families want to represent them, but I do think there is a blindness to just how much he is disliked and disrespected. I judge a man by the content of his character, and when I see Al Sharpton on my tv screen, my finger hits the off button on the remote. Once he is involved, it becomes a circus, and much credibility is lost. I do hope that others will step up to the plate and provide an alternative, without being called a sell-out Uncle Tom. We need to have these discussions and we WANT to fix them, but not with an attitude of "You're racist and you don't even know you're racist, and you'll never understand because you're white". We want to understand, but we need to be heard too.

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    6. Bravo...Well said Jo!
      I also turn Al Sharpton off! I quit watching MSNBC because he has his own show on there. He causes more problems than he helps solve. I don't think he should be in the news at all.

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  11. I'm sorry but I DO NOT THINK that reparations is the answer. First off who would they pay it to? There are no actual slaves alive today. Secondly what about the other races who were slaves (like the Irish)? Or better yet the Native American who's land and rights were robbed from them? Why is it that a black person who complains about there own race (and I'm talking about the "Thugs" and a few others) is called a "Uncle Tom" by their own race?

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  12. With all due respect...the vital similarity between Brown and Garner has nothing to do with the action of the police, but everything to do with the Grand Jury. Not just " a few bad apples" but an entire legal process that saw no difference and no actionable conduct. In the Garner case, the jury was not even allowed to consider "aggravated assault." This is what everyone is missing. Not a "few bad apples" but a whole process and culture that is heavily weighted against the Black man. Again, imagine if it had been a white woman. Would the prosecutors and Grand Jurors have acted differently and, if so, would we have dismissed all of them as simply " bad apples.?

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    1. Charlie, I agree with you in the Garner case. Did Pantaleo go on the call intending to kill Garner, no. But did his actions contribute to Garner's death, most likely("homicide" by a coroner means that it was not natural causes, not that it was "murder". Gotta love legal semantics!). Aggravated assault should definitely have been on the table, but then again, this is the NYPD. I love them, but in cases like this, it's hard to get indictments. Had an obese white woman with 31 prior arrests for things like larceny and assault, who was BREAKING THE LAW by selling loosies while out on bail (and thereby violating her probation) been the victim? No indictment there either, and it probably would have been a slam dunk with not much media coverage, even though Pantaleo appears to be in the wrong.
      But can we say that the Brown case bears ANY resemblance to that? I think that's what some of us are trying to say. The GJ got that one right, tragic as it is. The FACTS prove that, with all black witnesses. I would counter....what if the situation were identical, but Wilson was a black cop? How would it have played out in the media?
      I think many of us here(and a LOT of others in the outside world LOL) do not see the resemblance between the two, and are frustrated that they are lumped together as some kind of proof of racism. It makes it nearly impossible to have a discussion about this, because it requires presenting Brown as the 'bad guy' here, and that is construed as racism. I totally get that you(and many others) see it differently.

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  13. Enjoying your "take" on my upcoming topic. Interesting how my "Rightist" friends are already seeing some kind of anti-GOP bias in the studies. I'm not sure where "emotional" was equated with "caring," but I'm pretty sure it wasn't in the study. Hope you all get a chance to listen in and join the conversation ! :-)

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    1. I replied on the other thread, but silly us for taking an article from Huffington Post and an opinion piece from Los Angeles as biased against the right!!! LOL, and a big wink.

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