Is Ferguson Just a Ferguson Problem?

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  1. Don W profile image83
    Don Wposted 9 years ago

    The recent DOJ report said there was a 'pattern and practice of constitutional violations (that primarily target African Americans) in stopping people without reasonable suspicion, arresting them without probable cause, and using unreasonable force.'

    The report is a scathing indictment of the Ferguson Police Department. But are these problems unique to Ferguson? Or are they symptomatic of a national problem of racial bias?

    1. Credence2 profile image78
      Credence2posted 9 years agoin reply to this

      All that went down this summer, most larger municipal police departments needs to review its procedures of arrest and confrontation. This should be initiated by the mayor or the executive of the jurisdiction in question. For the African American community there are a lot more 'Fergusons" then there are "Mayberry's". People's attitude are the prime mover, but a great deal can improve with less discretion given to procedure and taking hires in paying more attention to personality and temperament. The police in Ferguson treated the community with general disrespect, and this is not an isolated case

      1. oceansnsunsets profile image85
        oceansnsunsetsposted 9 years agoin reply to this

        We are indeed getting further and further away from the constitution.  Then we can see a cause and effect playing out.  I hope people are paying attention, or will start to, and then continue to.

        1. Kathryn L Hill profile image77
          Kathryn L Hillposted 9 years agoin reply to this

          We are headed toward greater enlightenment. Some day, all will be well. Heaven is somewhere… why not here too?

    2. wrenchBiscuit profile image68
      wrenchBiscuitposted 9 years ago
      Here are some previous Forum comments made by an apologist for Ferguson prior to the DOJ report:

      "... reasonable and necessary police action."

      "..  After all, the outcries were just that - unsubstantiated claims and outright lies without any basis in fact.  Or is that the part you like - that the public lies to hang a cop?"

      Talk to the hand! Now let go ... and let God!

      I am not surprised at the recent findings by the DOJ. Yes, Michael Brown was murdered in cold blood, primarily because he was black and didn't "obey" the commands of a white racist cop, and now we have the facts to prove it. Let's face it,the United States has been a racist country from the very beginning. Even George Washington was a miscreant slave owner! At the height of the lynchings of blacks and whites in the south after Reconstruction, and less than 3 years after the massacre at Wounded Knee, a school teacher, Katherine Bates, wrote the poem that would later become the famous song,"America the Beautiful". Not much has changed since then. A majority of Americans still prefer to ignore the facts and keep  singing along with Mitch. I doubt the DOJ report will make much of  a difference.

      1. rhamson profile image72
        rhamsonposted 9 years agoin reply to this

        The country is under attack from many fronts. One being a class warfare distinction that is becoming more and more clear as the Oligarchy entrenches it heels in our government. The race for them is to get all the money before anybody knows what is going on. As this scenario plays out the middle class is disappearing and being forced into poorer conditions and competing with the poorer people who have been there for years. Clashes will arise as tempers flare and violence is an expression of pain and frustration. The more we struggle the deeper the divide. It will come to a head only when we wake up to who really runs this country.

        1. Don W profile image83
          Don Wposted 9 years agoin reply to this

          I agree. Anyone who gives a damn about the constitution should be deeply worried about the fact that an entire police department, and the municipality it sits within can so flagrantly violate constitutional rights, so egregiously, for so long. African Americans bore the brunt of those violations in Ferguson, but we must recognize that violations of constitutional rights are a problem for everyone, not just those most affected. Such violations undermine the constitution, and in turn weaken the protection it affords all citizens.

          For example, the excessive militarization of the police highlighted in Ferguson, shows how the civil apparatus is changing shape. The 'war on [drugs, terror, crime]' has caused law enforcement officials to increasingly see the people they are there to serve, as enemy combatants. Civil forfeiture, excessive militarization, unconstitutional stops and searches. These things form part of what seems to be a war on citizens. Although those most affected in Ferguson were black, that doesn't mean it's not also problem for everyone else.

          But I have not seen commentators who usually go to great pains to defend the constitution, doing so in the case of Ferguson, and that leads me to ask the question: do some people dislike black people more than they love the constitution?

    3. profile image0
      ahorsebackposted 9 years ago

      Got common sense  ?

      No , Ferguson  isn't just a Ferguson problem , It's an everywhere and everyone problem ,  It's a racism problem , it's a heart issue , a soul disease , it's an interpretation  ailment ,  It's everywhere , it's in YOUR heart  as much as mine ,  Racism is just as common in the black mans  heart as it is in the yellow mans soul ,

      Here's a  piece of truth  to chew on though , There is just as much , if not MORE, of a race problem in the  heart of the minority  housewife , in the  clergy ,  in the  Asian elderly , in the highly educated  Hispanic  as well as the idiot  white  bigamist though, It's in congress , the white house  and the halls of justice  Racism is black  , white , green and purple  !

      As I become an older and more mature  man  I realize more and more that  bigotry is a problem of the masses !  Its born and bred  just as quickly into  the inner city  minority ghetto ,  In the ivory towered elitist   white professors house ,  And yes , its proudly and permanently worn upon the sleeves of  as many blacks , Hispanic , Asian  and  Martian men as it is the man on the moon's !

      Here's another  one for you , Racism is as much a part of a woman's heart and soul as any man I know  !   And we can all  sit side by side and swear allegiance to  the opposite  BUT  there is racism in all the hearts  reading these forums  too !    So go ahead and judge , yes judge me or anyone here because THAT is the very heart of the problem , Judging !     

      I personally am  tired of all the gabber about who , how  or what,  or if racism is  going to fall from our skies like rain  today .   Guess what O.P.---  it's in your heart too ,   I know , I know ,ALL  this  dialog is very  important - But , there comes a time when  inflammatory dialog is simply more  fodder for one more cannon in the war against common sense . And common sense to me say's  , let's begin ACTING  like  higher intelligent humans , and not like a daycare full of soap opera queens .

      1. GA Anderson profile image88
        GA Andersonposted 9 years agoin reply to this

        Come on ahorseback, stop mincing words, why don't you tell us how you really feel?

        We all have beasts we need to keep caged, it is the effort we make to keep them caged that decides whether we are bigots or not.


        1. Credence2 profile image78
          Credence2posted 9 years agoin reply to this

          That last sentence is so appropo, I don't think that it could have been said any better

      2. wrenchBiscuit profile image68
        wrenchBiscuitposted 9 years agoin reply to this
        To say that  African Americans can be as racist as white Euro-Americans is a popular fiction. Racism is not just an attitude. The personal feelings of an individual must come bundled with an institutionalized form of racism in order for the racist behavior or sentiment to have any teeth, or impact. In fact, it is not possible for a black person, or any other minority in the United States to be racist against whites.

        Yes there are those minorities who have a personal bias against whites, or even a hatred of white society, but we cannot define such behavior as racism as it is incorrect. Many also define sexual lust as "love" but most of us understand that there is a distinct difference between the two emotions. To further illustrate, there are women who obviously do not like men. However, to claim that a woman can be sexist is also a popular fiction, and for the same reason: Sexism and Racism both require the component of societal institutionalization.

        Because of the society we live in, the photo I have provided here will appear gratuitous and sexist to some. However, when men are portrayed as sex objects it is rare that anyone would seriously consider it to be an example of sexism.

        1. Kathryn L Hill profile image77
          Kathryn L Hillposted 9 years agoin reply to this

          <"To say that  African Americans can be as racist *as white Euro-Americans* is a popular fiction.">

            As far as I know, racism is prejudice.

          I, a white, have been treated with prejudice by blacks.

          Maybe I am not getting it... again.
          Maybe you can elucidate.

          Q. Is race-baiting racism?

          1. profile image0
            ahorsebackposted 9 years agoin reply to this

            Only  ,Kathryn seems to get my point  you All  ?   

            tt's not good enough to claim , by throwing a blanket  accusation over an issue , that  everyone is prejudiced     because that doesn't fit  YOURE  personal  unease about a complicated issue !  THAT is far far more the  bigger part of the prejudiced issue in America or Ferguson for that matter , than anything else .   

            And yes , I take it personal when  ,as in almost all cases ,  someone  uses this  R word as an accusation , as an indictment to Everyone else .,   My point :  you cannot be a  socially mature black person either -----If crying wolf is your answer to all the negative  issues of your own race .!

            Look at legal  and legitimate statistics in crime , in  legal system incarcerations , REAL TRUTH AND STATISTICS don't lie !     Most racism accusations come from  within one minority in America .,  and yet  , they are directed against  only races outside of their own !     My point? African Americans could  Clean up your their  house too  !  Here's a revelation , its not prejudiced to say that . .

          2. wrenchBiscuit profile image68
            wrenchBiscuitposted 9 years agoin reply to this

            Wikipedia, as well as other "authorities" has stated that: "...One view holds that racism is best understood as 'prejudice plus power' because without the support of political or economic power, prejudice would not be able to manifest as a pervasive cultural, institutional or social phenomenon."

            I understand that people define racism differently, but a major stumbling block to social progress has always been a misunderstanding of language, and a pervasive use of arbitrary definitions that are used to suit a particular personal,political, or social agenda. Three words that are commonly misused and greatly misunderstood in the English language are as follows:


            Having been a teenage boy myself, I can attest to the fact that it is very difficult for a teenager to differentiate between lust and love. Many songs that are considered to be "Love Songs" can just as easily, and in many cases more appropriately, be defined as "Lust Songs". Here, it is commonly a matter of perspective.

            The word "hero" has especially been abused in the media since 9/11. Today, according to talking heads like Nancy Grace, anyone who jumps out the window of a burning building to save their own life is considered to be a "hero".

            Today it is also not uncommon to hear white Americans speak of being the victims of discrimination and racism. Discrimination? Yes, it is possible, and it does happen. Racism? Absolutely not! It is not possible for a white person to suffer racism in America. To further clarify my point, let us imagine that I, a man, have been raped. Of course I would suffer the indignity, the pain, and the brutality of such a violent and intrusive act, but I would be in error to suggest that I now understood what it felt like to be a female rape victim in America. No, such a thing is not possible, because no matter how I have been brutalized, I am still a man living in a man's world, and as such, I will never fully be able to appreciate the cross that a woman must bear in this society.

            It has been said: " Sticks and stones may break my bloody bones, but words can never hurt me." An encouraging sentiment perhaps, but in this respect totally false. A misuse and misunderstanding of words has caused a great misery in the world, and one day, it may very well destroy us all. But be of good cheer, one day your heart will stop beating, and you will once again experience the blissful peace of the disincorporated.

            Concerning your question about "race baiting". It depends on who is doing the race baiting. If it emanates from a member of the white majority that benefits from institutionalized racism then the answer is yes. If it emanates from a member of a minority the answer is no. In the latter case it is not an act of racism, but  simply a matter of race baiting.

            1. wilderness profile image95
              wildernessposted 9 years agoin reply to this

              Discrimination, the misuse of power to the detriment of others, based on race, hatred, distrust etc. of a person of a different race, is not racism? 

              While it might be convenient to add the words "except when that power is applied to Caucasians" in order to "suit a particular personal,political, or social agenda" it does seem to be a reasonable definition at all.

              While it would relieve the members of any but the Caucasian race from the stigma of being racist (or exhibiting racism) such a result can only be the result of that "particular personal,political, or social agenda".  Better, it would seem, to treat all races the same and let the stigma fall as it will, onto those exhibiting racism and deserving of it regardless of their own race.  And yes, there are members of every race on earth that exhibits racism towards other races; that use their power and ability to hurt or degrade other races.

              1. wrenchBiscuit profile image68
                wrenchBiscuitposted 9 years agoin reply to this

                Whether it seems reasonable or not is beside the point. You, and many others here, have obviously grown accustomed to an inaccurate, and superficial definition of a particular term. For instance, throughout recorded history there have been individuals who have exhibited a similar degree of depravity and barbarism as was exhibited by the Nazi Party during World War II. However, it would be grossly inaccurate to suggest that Attila The Hun, the Visigoths, or Nero were all members of the Nazi Party, as it would simply be a false assertion; an assertion that can  only properly function as a metaphor.

                We can say that Nero "behaved like a Nazi" toward the Christians, just as we can say that a black person might " behave as a racist" toward whites. But we cannot move beyond the metaphor without perverting the proper meaning of the term "racism". The image I have provided  here is of one of the founding fathers of racism: Pope Nicholas the V. His papal bulls, the "Dum Diversas" and the "Romanus Pontifex"  laid the foundations for racism, which did not exist prior to the 15th century.

                1. Kathryn L Hill profile image77
                  Kathryn L Hillposted 9 years agoin reply to this

                  1. Pope Nicholas V (Latin: Nicholaus V) (15 November 1397 – 24 March 1455), born Tommaso Parentucelli, was Pope from 6 March 1447 until his death in 1455. The Pontificate of Nicholas saw the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks. He is the last pope to take the name "Nicholas" upon his election.
                  2. Papal Bull
                  A papal bull is a particular type of letters patent or charter issued by a Pope of the Catholic Church. It is named after the lead seal (bulla) that was appended to the end in order to authenticate it.
                  3. Dum Diversas [English: 'Until different'] is a papal bull issued on 18 June 1452 by Pope Nicholas V. It authorized Afonso V of Portugal to conquer Saracens and pagans and consign them to "perpetual servitude.
                  4. Romanus Pontifex, Latin for 'The Roman Pontiff', is a papal bull written in 1455 by Pope Nicholas V to King Afonso V of Portugal. As a follow-up to the Dum Diversas, it confirmed to the Crown of Portugal dominion over all lands south of Cape Bojador in Africa. Along with encouraging the seizure of the lands of Saracen Turks and non-Christians, it repeated the earlier bull's permission for the enslavement of such peoples. The bull's primary purpose was to forbid other Christian nations from infringing the King of Portugal's rights of trade and colonisation in these regions. Wikipedia

                  I get it now.

                  Thanks for enlightening us. To solve a problem, the difficulty must be isolated.
                  How can we solve today's problem of racism... in light of true racism, which you have clarified for us here? The difficulty seems to be a misuse of power and authority by certain types of people in certain influential positions.
                  Maybe you could tell us WHO, in particular. (Past or present.) I guess you would say the founding slave-owning fathers is one group. And of course Christopher Columbus and the Spaniards who attempted to civilize California's original people.
                  Anyone else you can think of?

                  1. wrenchBiscuit profile image68
                    wrenchBiscuitposted 9 years agoin reply to this

                    Your comment "...Spaniards who attempted to civilize California's original people". speaks volumes about your sincerity. Good Day Katherine.

                    1. Kathryn L Hill profile image77
                      Kathryn L Hillposted 9 years agoin reply to this

                      The spaniards did attempt to civilize the original people here. Their attempts were misdirected and cruel. I was serious.
                      So, do you have any other's responsible for present day racism?
                      I also guess they would have to be of European background.
                      This is what you have been indicating….

                      Sincerely Curious.

        2. PhoenixV profile image63
          PhoenixVposted 9 years agoin reply to this

          The irony.

          1. oceansnsunsets profile image85
            oceansnsunsetsposted 9 years agoin reply to this

            Yes, ironic indeed.  This is how we see truths become apparent sometimes.

    4. profile image0
      ahorsebackposted 9 years ago

      There we go now !- Racism is  simply JUST a white mans disease .- That is as naïve to even suggest  Wrenchbiskit ,     There is probably more prejudiced attitude towards white America than even  individually towards any minority !  Including black America .   

      I would go so far as to say that ,if four equally employable people show up for a  white collar  government job  today , that the last one to get that job will be a fifty year old white man .  Call it reverse racism , call it racism , call it race baiting if you want , its the truth .   

      To suggest that there is no such thing as prejudice FROM the African American towards others is simply untrue  !   Watch the live media  in a supposedly  racially  motivated issue and its blatantly obvious !

      1. wrenchBiscuit profile image68
        wrenchBiscuitposted 9 years agoin reply to this

        Racism in this country, and on this entire continent was originally designed and implemented by a white European ruling class. And so it has been maintained. This is simply a matter of historical record, and not a matter of opinion. Furthermore, I did not make up the definition for racism, I have simply pointed out the popular misuse of the term. Prejudice and racism are not necessarily synonymous. It baffles me why this is such a difficult concept for many of you to grasp.

        The responses I have received from my truthful and accurate commentary on racism help to illustrate how historical revisionism has influenced the mainstream. It is absurd to imagine that  we could not mention the fact that a great majority who belonged to the National Socialists Party were  German, in fear of offending the "good Germans"; or that we could not mention that Ted Bundy was a man, in case we might offend the "good men". Yet, today in America we cannot identify the source, and those  who continue to maintain the institution of racism without fear of offending the "good white people". Political correctness is a cancer that infects every aspect of American life.

        The story of Jess Washington illustrates how the white man in America  who cries reverse racism has as much credibility as a bad karaoke singer who suggests that he is a "real singer". … nref=story

      2. Don W profile image83
        Don Wposted 9 years agoin reply to this

        ahorseback, I think wrenchBiscuit is pointing out the difference between the personal racial bias of an individual, and systemic racial bias within the structures and processes that are fundamental to society: the justice system, education system, financial system, law enforcement etc.

        It has been shown that in all these areas racial bias exists which impacts negatively on African Americans. If you are a black person, then you are more likely to receive a longer prison sentence than a white person for the same offense (despite having the same criminal history), more likely to be excluded from class for bad behaviour than a white student who demonstrates the same behaviour, more likely to be given a higher APR on a personal loan than a white person in the same financial circumstances, more likely to be stopped by police without reasonable cause, and more likely to be searched as a result of that stop than a white person.

        So while it's true that a an African American can be racially prejudiced against a white person, and that is wrong. That type of prejudice does not compare, even remotely, to the systematic racial bias at the core of society that impact on every aspect of an African American person's life. Can you see the difference?

        You are right, there are attempts to level the playing field and reduce the negative impact of racial bias. But levelling a playing field that is sloped in favor of white people can't be described as racism (reverse or otherwise). It's just making things more equal. I think this cartoon explains it pretty well:

        Something else to note about systemic racism, or structural racism as it's sometimes called, is that is does not imply malice. In other words, the fact that black men are more likely to receive longer prison sentences than white men for the same crime, does not necessarily mean that all the judges are racist (some of those judges are in fact be black also). Instead there maybe certain negative assumptions being made on the basis of race (stereotypes) which influence the decisions of judges and others within the justice system. Those judges may be acting in good faith, and be completely unaware of those internal assumptions. It is only through statistical analysis that such bias comes to light, which is why such work is important, and why it's important to point out racial bias where it is shown to exist.

        Unfortunately the issue of race is such an emotive one that some people become very sensitive when shown some uncomfortable realities. I can see why. A judge who has consciously tried to avoid race factoring into her judgements would understandably be mortified if she were accused of racism. A natural response is to then go on the defensive; talk about people using the 'race card' or people 'race-baiting'. The result is that an important issue then gets overtaken by the politics of race. This is why I think we need to do better at talking about racism.

        We need to get away from looking at the issue of race as a 'blame game' because that doesn't help. Sure there are individuals who go out of their way to offend/harm others because they believe one race is superior/inferior than another. Those people can be dealt with through social ostracization. That's relatively easy to manage. Systemic racial bias is a more difficult challenge because it is insidious, i.e. it 'proceeds in a gradual, subtle way, but with harmful effects'. Dealing with that type of racism in a climate of mistrust would be almost impossible.

        So I think the national debate about race needs to take on a more reconciliatory tone. It needs to be about healing, not blaming. At the moment many black people are angry, and have every right to be. Many white people are defensive, and feel under attack and it's easy to understand why. A good start would be acknowledging these feelings on both sides of the debate because they are both valid. Then trying to move on from there. Perhaps by reaching a common understanding of what racism is and why racial bias from a black person has a different impact to racial bias from a white person.

        This guy does a good job in this 3 minute video of describing 'reverse racism'. It's obviously meant in a humorous way, but there is a serious point in there that it would be useful to understand about the dynamics of racial bias..

        1. wrenchBiscuit profile image68
          wrenchBiscuitposted 9 years agoin reply to this

          Thank you. That's exactly what I'm doing. But let's face it, the racists who participate in Hubpages forums aren't going to jump up and announce their true affiliation. No, instead they hide behind a facade of friendly debate and try to demean anyone who challenges their fiction of America. The cartoon you posted is right on point. It is next to impossible to challenge racism today without also being accused of racism. Such a tact is a very effective weapon that is frequently used on the internet, because everybody wants to be "Liked". This is where the insidious evil of capitalism creeps in. People want to be liked so they can get more followers, more views, and sell more product. And they basically want these things so that they may survive. What they reap beyond their basic necessities is purely for the sake of greed. Minorities, especially African Americans must be careful not to give in to such temptations, as the short term popularity and financial gain will never compensate for a future that holds another Ferguson, and perhaps much worse.

          The "honorable" Theodore Roosevelt said in 1886 : " I suppose I should be ashamed to say that I take the Western view of the Indian. I don't go so far as to think that the only good Indians are dead Indians, but I believe nine out of every ten are, and I shouldn't like to inquire too closely into the case of the tenth."

          This is a good example of American leadership, and the mindset that led us to Ferguson.

          1. Kathryn L Hill profile image77
            Kathryn L Hillposted 9 years agoin reply to this

            I disagree. What is your proof? Nothing you have said backs this idea up.
            As far as I can see.

        2. profile image0
          ahorsebackposted 9 years agoin reply to this

          I would "ask " you  all to look at the statistics of black  population percentage of Vermonters , Yes that little state in northern New England ! Where I live , in the African American population of the last 50 years ,  Today  I/2 of one percent  black ........Yes o.oo5 %.  But the incarcerated black population in Vermont , depending on where you get your statistics , is  4 o 10 percent of the prison population  !    Now why you may ask ,  Drug related crimes , is for the most part ,the problem .

          So ,  I'm a fair man ,  middle of the road   American ,I'm looking up statistics ,  from 1525 to  1866 , the end of the civil war in America ,   there were approximately  388.000   black slaves in America ,  Out of the  12 to  15 million slaves in the world ,     ........... today  , there are. 1 million to 2.33  million incarcerated blacks in the American justice system  ,  Of     12  to 13. %  blacks in America  ,  all of I in 3   blacks are in one way or another , involved in  probationary , or some  judicially enforced   mandated participatory   program in the justice system today .   

          Oh by the way the cartoon sucks , it could easily be reversed  and make sense ," Affirmative action " ring  a bell ?
          There is also , according to statistics ,  a fifty two percent drop out rate In black  high school populations in America  . I could go on and on ,  Can you explain how these statistics are white  America's fault ?     Please do though ,   google up statistics  for yourself !

          I will go out on a  forum dweller limb here  and ask .   How is it that a fair and open  minded  average white guy of 61  with a racially mixed  family  can google up  such mind boggling statistics  out of the blue ?     Does it make me racist  to ask ?  Do numbers even matter to the average forum dweller ?   Do YOU google statistics or  do you just emotionally  react  to the P.C. crowd ?  Just asking here ? Can you answer ? Can you "show me the light " of how I'm biased ?

          1. profile image0
            ahorsebackposted 9 years agoin reply to this

            By the way Wrenchbisket ,  try to look at the world in real , present day views  and  honest  numerical statistics and stop taking out of historical context   quotes from a hundred or two years ago !  Teddy Roosevelt ? Please !.... why not quote Caesar or Hitler  about  racial  matters .  Are you that emotionally  twisted  into this  present day extremely serous  dialog ?   .....forgive my  working man  English .

            1. wrenchBiscuit profile image68
              wrenchBiscuitposted 9 years agoin reply to this

              I have no remedy for your lack of understanding. The statistics you  have cited for Vermont only support my arguments. If not, then we can only subscribe to the fiction you are attempting to peddle here:

              That " according to the numbers" a large percentage of  black people in Vermont are basically shiftless, drug abusing criminals. It appears that you are the one who needs to get in touch with reality. It only follows that you probably feel that women have historically been paid lower wages than men for doing the same job because they just don't try hard enough. Who do we suppose has been keeping the women folk in the USA downtrodden, barefoot, and pregnant for well over 200 years? The Africans? The Muslims? The North Koreans? The Viet Cong?

          2. Don W profile image83
            Don Wposted 9 years agoin reply to this

            I'm not sure what point you are making with this. Are you saying that a greater proportion of black people are in prison because black people are just bad people? If not, what are you trying to say?

            I'm afraid you missed the point of the cartoon. The black character asking the white character to help him up (after the white character stepped all over him) represents initiatives like affirmative action. The white character's response "no, that would be reverse racism", after he succeeded himself by standing on the back of the black character, is intended to show the unfairness and selfishness inherent in that attitude. Unfortunately you seem to agree with the white character in the cartoon. That's problematic for several reasons.

            In education and business, ethnic minorities (and women) have been discriminated against for many years. This has produced unfair advantages for white people, and in particular white males. Initiatives like affirmative action are intended to redress that imbalance. I can understand why it feels unfair. The reason it's not, is because the advantage in education and the workplace was unfair to begin with. So it's not about being unfair to white people and to men. It's actually about being fair to non white people and to women.

            Or if you're a home improvement type, put it this way: if you have an uneven shelf that slopes to one side, a simple solution is to raise the lowest side. As the shelf was sloped in the first place, raising the lowest side doesn't make that side higher, it just makes the shelf even overall.

            It's not about the numbers, it's about how we explain the numbers. If there are proportionally more black people in prison than white, does that mean black people are inherently more criminally minded that white people? If there are proportionally more black people in poverty than white people, does that mean black people are lazier than white people? If there are proportionally more black people who drop out of school than white people, does that mean black people are less intelligent than white people? In short, do the numbers mean that black people are inherently inferior to white people? It could mean that.

            Or it could mean that the systematic, violent, state-sponsored oppression, degradation and humiliation of an entire group of people for hundreds of years (starting with the constitution which made it ok for black people to be owned by white people) followed by more years of legal segregation, degradation and violence, followed by continued racial bias in the justice system, housing, finance, education and employment, just might have had a negative impact on that group of people which is woven into the fabric of society so profoundly that a few decades of 'civil rights' is simply not enough to erase it.

            The difference between these explanations is that the first one relies on the belief that black people are inherently inferior to white people, and takes no other factors into account. The second explanation relies on what we know about psychology, history, sociology, economics, politics, education etc. In other words, I think the first explanation is based on ignorance. The second is based on knowledge.

            The devastating impact of historic crimes against black people cannot be overstated. The effect is still being felt now. Watch this to see how it impacts on black children today (I find this video utterly heartbreaking). Are the white children in the video being malicious? Of course not. But likewise it's absolutely not 'reverse racism' to make sure the black children in this video can have a positive image about themselves, and get the same opportunities as others. It's a restoration of the dignity of personhood that has been systematically stolen over the course of decades. I'm not personally responsible for that, and neither are you, but the responsibility for restoring it sits with all of us in society.

        3. Credence2 profile image78
          Credence2posted 9 years agoin reply to this

          Well, said, Don, the systemic racism within the structures and processes that form the base of society also  provides the buttress for individual racism and discrimination and that can only go one direction, from white to people of color.

          It is not as conservatives like to indicate that the behavior of African American people explains all the disparities and adverse statistics in regards to them in all the most important facets of living in America.
          I can understand Anglo fatigue about the issue, they cannot see or do not acknowledge that the system as it is currently structured confers advantages to them that are unearned. I can't imagine anyone being shot to death on a Mayberry street and the body allowed to lie there for 5 hours, the victim not receiving any medical attention.   When an Anglo man and I spoke about the Indian wars on this continent, he says, why should I be blamed for something that my ancestors, mine as well (buffalo soldiers)did. "I did not do this thing of stealing land and moving people about." Well, I said, "while you did not do it, you, as a descendant, are still in possession of stolen property". "If you really wanted to make amends, why not return it"? I know that this is a impractical analogy, but it can apply in many cases and in this case as well.  What kind of system indoctrinates such hatred that even toddlers and pre-school children have no self concept, self esteem, and self loathing? Out of curiosity, I wonder if this test of the dolls were done with other children of color, Hispanic, Asian, etc., which doll would they choose, the Anglo or one that looks like them?  This is the elephant in the room, even though denied as a figment of everybody's imagination it is there and it is powerful stuff. It reminds me of a gravitational field, always pulling, tugging with its subconscious reminders of its ubiquitous presence.
          Thanks for the illustrative material, to support your points.

    5. Kathryn L Hill profile image77
      Kathryn L Hillposted 9 years ago

      <"systemic racism, or structural racism as it's sometimes called,">

      We really need to focus on the history of this system as it relates to the present and future.

      I am still looking for the solution to the problem of racism within American society.

      What is it do you suppose?

      Acknowledging the truth of this statement is a start:

      <"It is only through statistical analysis that such bias comes to light, which is why such work is important, and why it's important to point out racial bias where it is shown to exist.">

      I guess it comes down to human nature. The lack of willingness to help one another. The willingness to bowl each other down.
      Why are we like that?
      In the past, racism came about with the struggle for survival and became the desire for power and riches.

      … due to a lack of boundaries based on The Golden Rule.
      We need to find ways to survive within the boundaries provided by The Golden Rule.

      - pretty simple in theory…

    6. profile image0
      ahorsebackposted 9 years ago

      Wrenchbisket , I would only ask you to google  honest statistics , Hell , Archey Bunker was like , my Father , ...The   facts remain  there is simply only  one truth !   So, get real please , not everyone that doesn't agree with P.C. is  a racist  my friend , some of us are simply seeking  real , honest and   remedial answers  to current social  problems.

      1. wrenchBiscuit profile image68
        wrenchBiscuitposted 9 years agoin reply to this
        Years ago, while living in New York, there was a debate on local TV about the disproportionate amount of African Americans in the military. I was completely floored when the anchorwoman who was moderating the debate said in all of her wisdom and glory: " Well you know, no one forced them to join, and they all enlisted voluntarily!" I still can't believe this person was hired by a TV station.

        Of course they enlisted! They had no other choice. People struggling to survive and support their families become desperate, like rats in a maze. When all other doors have been closed, they will move toward the open door. Blacks in the military were purposely set up by a racist system to move in that direction. A higher unemployment rate for blacks means more are likely to enlist: from slaves to cannon fodder. A 5th grader could figure that one out. Of course some would join anyway, but not in such great numbers if regular employment were available.

        Your argument about Vermont makes about as much sense. A  disproportionate amount of blacks in the prison system simply reveals that they are also being "herded" in that direction by a racist system. If we reversed the roles and rewrote history, then there would be a disproportionate amount of whites incarcerated. This is elementary. It is despicable to set up a race of people to fail, and then when a disproportionate number of them fall down , or even fall through the cracks , self-righteously proclaim," See, they did it to themselves,!"

        Do you also wonder why there were more Jews in concentration camps during WWII than blonde, blue-eyed Germans?

        1. Kathryn L Hill profile image77
          Kathryn L Hillposted 9 years agoin reply to this

          How is the setting up accomplished?

          1. wrenchBiscuit profile image68
            wrenchBiscuitposted 9 years agoin reply to this

            It is accomplished through an institutionalized racism.  A system that has made it difficult for minorities to find employment for hundreds of years. A system that creates a poverty, destroys self-esteem,  and creates a bitterness and hopelessness that can easily lead to criminal and anti-social behavior. There is a burden that minorities , especially blacks, must carry in this country; a burden that the white man will never know. Consequently, the notion of "reverse racism" is at best a bad joke.

            Once, while living in New York, I was working with a black R&B singer. I was recording some of his original music at my home recording studio which was located in a nice suburb; predominantly white.  His name was Charles, and he was a very polite and articulate man in his late forties who grew up in Harlem. He was late getting to my house for the first session. When he finally arrived he was visibly shaken. When I asked why, he explained that he had gotten lost and had to keep circling through the neighborhood to find my house. I still didn't get it. I responded with something like , "So what, what's the big deal about that?" He further explained that he was paranoid that whites would consider a black man driving around in their neighborhood in an  old car suspicious, and then  call the police. Apparently his paranoia was driven through experience. We had many conversations after that, and it is Charles who taught me a lot about the black experience in America, and how racism affects the human psyche. A white man would have never felt threatened in a suburb simply because he couldn't find my house!

            Furthermore, Charles was getting it from all sides. He couldn't afford to escape the ghetto, and so he had to deal with all of the hardships that entails. For him as a black man in America, there was no possibility of a happy home with a nice manicured yard and a picket fence. The best he could do was to find find relative states of calm in his life. For him, music was an oasis that allowed him a temporary escape from both worlds: The world of the ghetto, and the world of racism. He died several years later of a heart attack while working as a janitor at a local hospital. Charles was black; Charles was poor and he lived in the ghetto, but he was also an honorable man, and one of the most talented singers I have ever worked with. He was a hard working man who was deserving of a better life. Yes, when I hear whites  cry about "reverse racism" ,I often think of Charles and the millions of others just like him. He did everything he could do to free himself from his poverty, but to no avail. But ironically, he also knew that even if he did escape the ghetto, he would never be free from the yoke of racism that would confound and confine him at every turn.

    7. profile image0
      ahorsebackposted 9 years ago

      Here's my take on ' institutionalized racism " in America today  ,       On CNN this very morning I watched the latest  group of semi- famous  "rap" artists  that go by  popular trade names,  debating the  very public use of the word "nigger " ,  and "bitch " as  day to day acceptable language ,

      By the way  as a decent and average conscientious  American , it pains  me to even hear  a culture or sub-culture of "artists "     use these  terms ! 

      My point ,  isn't it also" institutionalized  racism"  when a particular  culture uses it's own  undeniably negative terminology on itself ?  And isn't it also disrespectful to denigrate women  to such  lower  social standards by this terminology ?  I wonder often , In the real street level of the   American society  , just how self inflicted is  this thing called  Racism  ?

      But hey  , let's blame  white America  for this too ! After all  , didn't the white American also  create the English language of modern day America ?   

      Just food for thought here people .

      1. Credence2 profile image78
        Credence2posted 9 years agoin reply to this

        I remember the punk rockers and deadheads and their aberrant behavior, no one seemed to indicate that it was reflective upon the nature of the Anglo group as a whole.

        1. profile image0
          ahorsebackposted 9 years agoin reply to this

          Go ahead ask me about why I believe that that  White  sub- culture sucks .

    8. wrenchBiscuit profile image68
      wrenchBiscuitposted 9 years ago

      Let's also not forget about the numerous motorcycle gangs that have existed since the 1950's, the Mafia, etc. Yet today the primary focus is on the black and so-called Latino gangs, as if these two groups invented the concept of gang violence and organized crime. Organized crime was invented on this continent in 1492 when Columbus wrote in his journal:

      " They … brought us parrots and balls of cotton and spears and many other things, which they exchanged for the glass beads and hawks’ bells. They willingly traded everything they owned… . They were well-built, with good bodies and handsome features…. They do not bear arms, and do not know them, for I showed them a sword, they took it by the edge and cut themselves out of ignorance. They have no iron. Their spears are made of cane… . They would make fine servants…. With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want."

      A childhood friend of Columbus, Michele da Cuneo, described in a letter how he raped a native woman:

         " While I was in the boat, I captured a very beautiful Carib woman, whom the said Lord Admiral gave to me. When I had taken her to my cabin she was naked—as was their custom. I was filled with a desire to take my pleasure with her and attempted to satisfy my desire. She was unwilling, and so treated me with her nails that I wished I had never begun. But—to cut a long story short—I then took a piece of rope and whipped her soundly, and she let forth such incredible screams that you would not have believed your ears. Eventually we came to such terms, I assure you, that you would have thought that she had been brought up in a school for whores."

      It is men like these that America continues to celebrate. Ferguson was a tragedy but certainly not a surprise.

      1. profile image0
        ahorsebackposted 9 years agoin reply to this

        Ferguson was and is about as much a crime against ITSELF and it's people  as it  can be . There is  as much ignorance  and racial aggression from within Ferguson as  from without .   But Today cannot be blamed on history , as one  people ,  we  are born with the awesome responsibility to improve ourselves and our own  society .  When ever  we take it to the streets , everything  human and inhuman  comes out with us .  Bad behavior as much as good behavior  ,  The slavery  of yesterday is no more the reason for abhorrent behavior of this  society today  than   Ceaser was to blame for  Hitler invading  France .    Want to improve you city , your town your country  or culture ? ,Improve your own house first .

        1. Kathryn L Hill profile image77
          Kathryn L Hillposted 9 years agoin reply to this

          That post was beyond rude. It is soul-crushing to read such negativity and such disregard for (true) hope of the future and of the (real) nature of mankind.
          I have faith in the TRUE nature of mankind. We are born with love in our hearts and it is the predominant element within most people.  MOST people!!!
          Especially as we move in the higher ages, which are coming.
          According to MOI.

          1. wrenchBiscuit profile image68
            wrenchBiscuitposted 9 years agoin reply to this

            I can't imagine how "soul crushing" it must be when you are  notified that your son or daughter is lying dead in the street; murdered because they didn't bow down and show the "proper respect" to a racist. The "We Are The World", "Three Cheers For Pollyanna" approach isn't going to prevent the next tragedy. This has been happening for over 500 years.  Albert Einstein said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing  over and over again and expecting a different result.

            1. Kathryn L Hill profile image77
              Kathryn L Hillposted 9 years agoin reply to this

              I am sensing reverse pollyanism.

        2. wrenchBiscuit profile image68
          wrenchBiscuitposted 9 years agoin reply to this

          Today cannot be blamed on history? Your very words illustrate the crux of the problem here in the United States, and throughout the world. And for those lovers of statistics, facts, and indisputable truth  out there in the great land of Google, I will now provide you with the coup de grace: the indisputable proof that the future is nothing but a present inextricably tethered to the past. The proof that I offer is your very existence! How many of you "have not" gone to grammar school, high school, or college? How many of you "have not" been taught, directed, and disciplined by a parent? How many of you "have not" been subject to pay taxes or fines levied by a government authority? How many of you "have not" grown older, wiser, and not so pretty as your High School prom picture over the years?

          All that I have cited is directly related to history. We go to school to learn from the past. When we are taught mathematics and language, it is the past reaching out to us. Language, Mathematics, and Science did not just fall out of the sky today. No, these things were developed over thousands of years. When a parent teaches his or her  children , they are reaching out from the past into the present,they are using their experience through time as an advantage to help guide their children. When a citizen pays tribute to the state in the form of taxes and fines, he is also being directed by decisions and policies of the past, many that are hundreds , or even thousands of years old! Finally, as a rule, a 90 year old woman will not look or act as an 18 year old. There is also a good chance the 90 year old woman will have sex on the first date. Why? Because the countenance of a 90 year old woman reveals that she has weathered many years; that her life  began in a more distant past than the life of the younger woman. The past reaches out to her, and will not let her go, no matter how she tries to hide it. Furthermore, at the age of 90, any opportunity for sexual intimacy may be her last.

          When we speak of crime, racism, and any other social ill, we cannot pretend that these things are not directly connected to , and affected by the past. Such a notion is quite absurd in light of the great truth I have just revealed. America continues to pay for it's past sins because there is a karmic debt that has yet to be paid. Goodness cannot come out of evil, and the selfishness and evil that existed in 1492 has continued from one generation to the next, unto the present day. In over 500 years, there has not been one decade, or even one year of peace on this continent. What kind of a man cannot see the writing on the wall? Yes, there is a very clear connection between the evil past of America and tragedy in Ferguson. For any of you over 40 who dispute my argument, I challenge you to look into the mirror and see a younger face than 20 years ago. You will see that you have been transformed by the past, which now defines your present.

          1. wilderness profile image95
            wildernessposted 9 years agoin reply to this

            You pay the karmic debt.  I don't owe anything, karmic or otherwise, for the actions of my forefathers (and they weren't here in 1492, 1592, 1692 or even 1792 anyway).

    9. profile image0
      ahorsebackposted 9 years ago

      I don't understand how any  people  of  a reasoned , supposedly educated and responsible society can blame todays  social and cultural  misbehavior and selfish   crime laden  issues on something  like two hundred year old  history  [ slavery ?}.  Naiveté ,  I  would guess  is the reasoning !

      Let's burn down a city or two ,   let's  rape ,  pillage and plunder people of the same  or  another  race of people ,one  entirely not  even responsible , lets let our children lose in the darkness of night to run free , breaking every law in the book. and  then excuse such deviant , anti- social  ,  violent  and illegal activity  by blaming  the past that Not one  of us , or they themselves were  fundamentally  any part of !

      Almost always in and  of  any selfishly motivated  rioting sub-culture ,.... L.A. in the eighties come's to mind , ...  it is the innocent bystanders that suffer  the most , the Asian  business owners of inner L.A. suffered the most  in the Rodney King riots ,  In Detroit in the sixties , the blacks ?,   In Ferguson  who suffered the most ?, It's  the very same  inner  city inhabitants  who were  victims of burning and destroyed property ? The very same inhabitants of the same cities those who profess to be victims of "racist" behavior  themselves !  Who will have to pay for the  clean up , the rebuilding , the loss of  personal  incomes of destroyed business' ? Who's city will be financially strapped for a generation to come ?

      Ferguson's !

      Is Ferguson just a Ferguson problem  you ask ?  No , but  Its  healing's going to  be for a long, long time  coming  yet  .
      To Ferguson ,  teach your children well   for you as thier parent's  sure  ain't doing so well !

      1. Don W profile image83
        Don Wposted 9 years agoin reply to this

        Let's stop pussyfooting around the issue and get to the heart of the matter:

        1) Why do YOU think there are proportionally more black people in jail than white people?

        2) Why do YOU think there are proportionally more black people living in poverty than white people?

        3) Why do YOU think black students proportionally perform worse academically than white students?

        1. profile image0
          ahorsebackposted 9 years agoin reply to this

          1-  The scourge of drugs [ alcohol ]and the heavy use of it for one , and yes  whether you want to face it or not  statistics show , fact , some ethnic cultures are more susceptible to these  addictions  than others .   

          2-  Blacks are not  so targeted  as much as the system is a progression , incarceration is a process , Do you think a jail or a judge  choses who's delivered to it  Why are 1 in 3 or 4  black kids involved in the judicial system ? 

          3 - Quite probably  it's the lack of  financial  attention being paid to inner cities ,

          I know only one thing , more Race  attention is being thrust at and  FROM  the black community  by the media , Todays media  is also a tool used very well by the masters of the black community ., Sharpton , Jackson ,  .So why is it then that we don't hear  hardly  one iota  about racial  inequities  from the Hispanic community , the Asians , No other ethnic group  gets more attention about  race than  blacks in America ,  Perhaps because it's source driven ?   

          And If , as a decent human being  , one doesn't see  the color of a mans skin when he sees him ,  How is he a racist  ? AS has been pointed out here more than not .  Here's another point a lot of you need to  think about .   All   the  facts and statistics pretty much speak for themselves !  Does it make me a racist  to  read them ?, To point them out ?   Googling  anything  , as to  statistics and you  too  become a racist ? 

          As much as Ferguson  is all  of our problem - It IS  more  than anyone's a Ferguson problem .   Communities all across this country  have many , many organizations  to enhance their  own economic  development ,   crime problems ,   ,  sourcing for job acquisitions,   When a community
          [ inner city }stops  progressing  and  stops fighting for  a better way  it stagnates and so do it's peoples .  Does that make it  another race's fault ?

          1. Don W profile image83
            Don Wposted 9 years agoin reply to this

            I'll assume this was a typo and you meant it as your answer to question 1, because it seems to be all about the justice system. If I've got that wrong, let me know.

            You're right it is a process. Before going to jail people have to go through the judicial system. Before going through the judicial system, they have to be arrested. Before being arrested, they have to have an encounter with law enforcement. So let's assume you are right and there is no racial bias in the justice system or in law enforcement, or at least not enough to have a significant impact. That leaves you with one explanation. That there are proportionally more black people in jail than white people, because black people commit more crimes than white people proportionally. As this is the only explanation you are allowing for, I have to ask: why do YOU think black people proportionally commit more crime than white people?

            Let me get this clear. You believe there are proportionally more black people living in poverty than white people, because black people are more susceptible to drugs and alcohol than white people? If so, why do you believe black people are more susceptible to drugs and alcohol than white people?   

            Why do you believe there is a lack of  financial  attention being paid to inner cities?

          2. SOBF profile image60
            SOBFposted 9 years agoin reply to this

            ahorseback I came across your stormfront statistical analysis of crime in the US and take you up on your challenge. Please share the New England state in which you reside and I will gladly provide statistics, and their source to refute your claims.

    10. Kathryn L Hill profile image77
      Kathryn L Hillposted 9 years ago

      HELLO! My son when he was about 19 was arrested and taken to LA County... for what?
      A ticket for a stolen burrito that went to warrant. (- he grabbed the burrito out of a lunch truck in Mammoth where he didn't have his wallet, since he was skiing. Why he thought it be okay to help himself, I do not know. Why he forgot about the ticket I do not know, either.)
      Anyway, he went to LA County and spent an entire week there. Blond as could be. Who took care of him and showed him how to behave and what to do to stay out of harm's way? The African-American inmates. The guys with the dark skin.  So guess what? My son is not racist in the least. He is color-blind and sees individuals for who they present themselves to be.
      I am sure it is human nature to be afraid of what we are unfamiliar with. But, if everyone behaves, we learn to accept and trust each other. 
      PS I always loved Haley Mills.

    11. wrenchBiscuit profile image68
      wrenchBiscuitposted 9 years ago

      The racist will tell you that the victim is to blame. Black apologists like Larry Elder will also agree, and accuse those who  put the blame on institutionalized racism of fostering a victim mentality. But once again, this is only an example of how an evil racist society confounds the masses by mis-defining key words and  perverting the language. The key word here is "victim". The racist will promote the notion that the word "victim" is synonymous with "weakness". But the historical record proves this to be a false definition. The men of the USS Arizona killed during the attack on Pearl Harbor were not necessarily "weak". Yet, they were the victims of the Japanese surprise attack. The people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were not necessarily weak, but they were the victims of one of the most  heinous war crimes in the history of the world. In the biblical story of Samson, who was a courageous and powerful man, we find that he became a victim when betrayed by Delilah.

      The word victim is defined as: 1.a person who suffers from a destructive or injurious action or agency. 2.  a person who is deceived or cheated, as by his or her own emotions or ignorance, by the dishonesty of others, or by some impersonal agency.

      There is nothing in the word "victim" that signifies "weakness". But the agenda here of the racist is clear. No one wants to think of themself as being weak. Once they identify their victim status as being a sign of weakness, the natural inclination is to move away from the idea of being a victim, and proudly proclaim: "I am not, I will not be a victim!" This aptly serves the purpose of the racist since a man who doesn't believe he is a victim will not seek a remedy. Consequently, the institution of racism continues unabated and unchallenged in the light of day.

      Black people have proven themselves to be just as competent, resourceful,motivated, and talented as anyone else. The facts that you have pointed out are symptoms of a racist society. Anyone who cannot see this is either a racist or a fool.

    12. profile image0
      ahorsebackposted 9 years ago

      Don W , Rather than  debating or baiting  my explanations of the issues of race related  issues in America , or elsewhere , lets ask this .  Why is any discussion about  race  statistics   or relations  in this particular problem so  volatile ?

      I  do believe a whole lot of people   look at am issue backwards !  Perhaps injecting personal  emotional attachments to an issue ,  Or by just plain being extremely near  sighted  about some  truths .,  In talking about regional  race relations ,I suggest  sticking with facts and statistics ,  In Vermont , where I live  , a very , very  liberal justice system prevails ,  We have an extremely liberal state government . as well . That by popular explanation , would eliminate racism as a cause ., right ?

      There is approximately  one half of one percent  blacks by population in Vermont , on the street .Yet ,    In our  incarcerated population  , that percentage changes  quite drastically ,- more like ten percent  and growing ..    Now ,  This cannot be blamed on racism , at least I don't believe it can .,   it can however be blamed on our  statistically  heavier drug and alcohol  addictions in this state !   

      A serious question then arises,  How does one half of one percent  on one hand  =  ten percent  on the other,  be  explained ?   By self definition, can a primarily liberal state  such as Vermont be considered racist ?  I think  liberal idealist s  are , by self  definition,  far more open minded  than that  !
      Is the cause then  racism ? 

      Or is it that  one  ethnic group or another can be more susceptible to  the addictions of drugs  and alcohol  than another ?, Look at the Native American  on and off the reservations  and the abuses of  drugs and alcohol ?  Is  racism then to ask .......Why  ?

      If we as a people , no matter what "color " ,  can't look at real  facts , statistics  , and the very hard truths  of our   many social problems  to find real and permanent cures .    What good can come of any discussion about race  at all ,?  Do we then not  all  become hypocrite's ?   


      1. wrenchBiscuit profile image68
        wrenchBiscuitposted 9 years agoin reply to this
        I used to watch "All In The Family" on a regular basis, and found it to be quite amusing. However, the real life version is not funny at all.

      2. Don W profile image83
        Don Wposted 9 years agoin reply to this

        ahorseback, it's important that YOUR explanations for the statistics you are quoting are clearly stated, because that's the only way anyone will know where you are coming from on the issue. If people know what YOU think the reason is for those statistics, then they can discuss that with you in a meaningful way. Without that, I think the discussion is superficial, with nothing of any substance to it. If a superficial discussion is all you want, that's absolutely fine, but it's not what I'm interested in. I prefer meaningful dialogue that stems from clear, honest and open discussion.

        You have mentioned a few times that there is a higher proportion of black people in jail in Vermont than white people. Although I don't know the exact figures for that area, I believe this is a national trend. So it's likely to be the case in Vermont. No disagreement there. But statistics are not an explanation, it's just the beginning.

        An old professor I had once told me that to get to the root of anything, ask "why?" at least five times. Sounds deceptively simple, but I've found it to be a powerful way for getting to the heart of a problem. The first "why?" in this case is, why is there a higher proportion of black people in prison in Vermont than white people?

        Now, I've already said I'll assume, for sake of argument, that racial bias does not exist within law enforcement or the judicial system in Vermont, or at least does not significantly affect the incarceration rate. So let's take racial bias within the judicial system and law enforcement out of the equation completely.

        You have mentioned twice that you think the reason there is a higher proportion of black people in prison in Vermont than white people, is because black people (and some other ethnic minorities like Native Americans) are more susceptible to drugs and alcohol than white people.

        Following my old professor's advice, the second "why?" is, why do you think black people are more susceptible to drugs and alcohol than white people? Specifically, do you mean to say you think some races are genetically predisposed to drugs and alcohol? Or do you mean you think that some groups of people are more inclined to use drugs and alcohol more heavily because of their general social conditions? Or do you mean something else? 

        Again, it's important to clarify exactly what you mean, because without that, people can't know for sure where you're coming from, which only leads to assumptions, frustrations, misrepresentations and misunderstandings, which are a waste of everyone's time.

        1. cathylynn99 profile image76
          cathylynn99posted 9 years agoin reply to this

          actually, although black people use marijuana at a lower rate than whites, a higher percentage of black people are jailed for it. the justice system is indeed biased.

          1. wilderness profile image95
            wildernessposted 9 years agoin reply to this

            Don is correct: before claiming racism (biased system) ask "why".  Why are they jailed more often for marijuana even though use it less?

            Because they smoke it openly, in front of cops?  Because of an attitude "you can't do anything about it"?  Some other reason?  Or, as you propose, because cops arresting for weed use are all racist?

            1. SOBF profile image60
              SOBFposted 9 years agoin reply to this

              Yes, wilederness black people actually look for a policeman before they fire up...smh

            2. Credence2 profile image78
              Credence2posted 9 years agoin reply to this

              What do you think, is there subtle bias as part of institutionalized racism that everyone seems reluctant to admit or ferret out.
              I have heard of these disparities not just in arrests but within judicial system, severity of punishment and incarceration time. At the arrest phase does abrasive relations between cops and AA community makes it self manifest through higher encounter and arrest rates?  Are biases and racial profiling making these officers more aggressive in minority communities? Thus the greater arrest rates?

              1. wilderness profile image95
                wildernessposted 9 years agoin reply to this

                Yes, we've all heard of such.  Just as we "heard" that the Ferguson shooting was into the back, while the victim was retreating.

                But you ask for an opinion, and mine is based on personal experience, or maybe lack of same.  I've not been witness to any such disparity, either living as a very definite minority or just as great majority.  Perhaps it's because I've never lived in an inner city or the deep south?

                But for yourself, you need to not only answer your questions, but also the "why", at least if you're looking for solutions.

          2. Don W profile image83
            Don Wposted 9 years agoin reply to this

            I was accepting ahorseback's assumptions and perceptions for the sake of argument, because I'd like him to clarify exactly what he thinks, and perhaps in doing so, get to the root of those assumptions and perceptions.

    13. SOBF profile image60
      SOBFposted 9 years ago

      Thanks Wilderness, ahorseback,

      I will respond later this evening. Don't want you think I simply trolled in and ran.

    14. SOBF profile image60
      SOBFposted 9 years ago

      ahorseback allow me to put your less than accurate account of the state of African Americans in Vermont to rest. Lets begin with your less than accurate account of the black population. To begin with 1/2 of 1 percent that you claim is far below the 1.2% to 3%  that actually make up the population in Vermont.

      The reason I offer a range is based on the fact that you have used incarceration as a argument and these statistics don't include "more than one race" as a category. This category has historically leaned towards black in such data capture, in the same way that most hispanics are captured in the white category when their is no such ethnic group included.

      You are correct on one point...blacks make up 10% of the prison population in the state of Vermont a number that totals 214 inmates out of a black population of 9,343 residents. The problem with these numbers are simply the lack of population in the state makes it easy to push the percentages up or down on either side of the equation. … adobe/view (see page 136)

      Your claim of 388,000 slaves in America is oh so wrong. Obviously either you or the source you used had a problem comprehending the data used to come to such a conclusion. The number 388,000 is actually the number of slaves that actually survived the trek from Africa to the United States. In no way is it the number of slaves held in captivity during three hundred years. Most slaves were born in this country. The 1860 census counted 4 million slaves in the United States, believe it or not that was 12% of the population at that time also.

      One of the things that amazed me the most was the wide ranging yet (you claimed) accurate numbers you offered as proof positive. 1 million to 2 million black men in prison. ahorseback their are only just over 2 million people in prison in total. The majority of which are white. The number you are searching for is actually 900,000 both males and females and those of more than one race that list black as one of their races. The disparity has a great deal to do with the occupation of black communities by law enforcement. Consider that whites are more likely to use illegal drugs than blacks, and have a higher arrest rate during traffic stops for illegal drugs, blacks are targeted more often that whites. Please explain the logic behind this procedure. … 41346.html

      The bottom line is that your opinion is viewed through a white superior lens. You have manipulated statistics to make a point that simply does not hold water.

      1. wilderness profile image95
        wildernessposted 9 years agoin reply to this

        According to Huffington, the primary reason seems to be the greater number of police per resident in low-income minority neighborhoods.

        "The race issue isn't just that the judge is going, 'Oh, black man, I'm gonna sentence you higher,'" she <Jamie Fellner> said. "The police go into low-income minority neighborhoods and that's where they make most of their drug arrests. If they arrest you, now you have a 'prior,' so if you plead or get arrested again, you're gonna have a higher sentence. There's a kind of cumulative effect."

        Are you suggesting the we should remove half the cops in such neighborhoods or maybe instruct them not to arrest or charge criminal activities that they find?  Or should we change the law to permit drug usage in those areas, but not higher income neighborhoods?  Should we hire lots more cops for the higher income areas, profiling the white people there as all drug users? 

        What would be your solution to "correcting" the offense of catching more black users (proportionally) than white, hispanic, asian, oriental, etc. in low income areas of the country?

        1. SOBF profile image60
          SOBFposted 9 years agoin reply to this

          I would never suggest that any criminals should get a break. How about spending as much time and effort in non low income areas. This would increase arrest of illegal drug users. Isn't that what the war on drugs is all about. The fact is that laws are not enforced in higher income areas in the same fashion and with the same diligence as they are in low income areas. Considering the higher hit rate when pulling over non black drivers that would only make sense.

          1. wilderness profile image95
            wildernessposted 9 years agoin reply to this

            Then your solution is to greatly increase the number of cops patrolling upper income neighborhoods (who is going to pay for the huge increase in cops?), deliberately profiling whites as drug users in order that it be "equitable"?  That seems a good method to reduce racial tension in the country?

            If you think diligence is disparate, why not just save some money and reduce the number of cops in low income USA?

            1. SOBF profile image60
              SOBFposted 9 years agoin reply to this

              Let me get this straight. Are you suggesting that unfairly targeting whites in order bring equity to policing would actually have a negative affect on race relations? ya think

      2. profile image0
        ahorsebackposted 9 years agoin reply to this

        I will not begin to debate  who's statistical information is most accurate ,  We all know , at least those of us who read a lot , that "statistics  , numbers , and  facts " vary  in accuracy as much from place to place  as peoples opinions do !     And yet , you imply that I am  racist , in so many words  at least . Interesting , ! 

        I wouldn't begin to  imply or  call you or anyone here a racist  , as you would me . although there is a lot of  inequity in  the use of  common sense or fairness in  the judging of available statistical information ,  we can all  use a little  dose of tolerance in listening to others in forums .   

        I'll tell you this , If I Google Wiki or  whatever  source of info on the net  , then my opinion  or quoting of such "facts " is as good as yours .  Hence my idea's  as to possible solutions to social problems , Yet I realize there are always those who ,when disagreeing , will simply  imply racism  .

      3. Don W profile image83
        Don Wposted 9 years agoin reply to this

        I think it is reasonable to ask, does racial bias account for all of the overrepresentation of black people in crime statistics? I'm not sure it does. I think poverty plays a role too. And it just so happens that proportionally more black people live in poverty than white people. So once again, we can ask "why?". That brings us to racial bias within finance, education, employment etc. now and historically which directly impact social mobility. Couple this with the growing disparity between rich and poor in general across all social groups, and it's clear that even if we ignore racial bias within the criminal justice system completely, we are still left with racial bias within every fundamental social structure. If anybody does not think this is a contributing factor to the overrepresentation of black people in criminal justice statistics, then I'd be very interested to hear their explanation of the data.

        1. profile image0
          ahorsebackposted 9 years agoin reply to this

          Do you wonder if this is simply   something  quite simply historically  proven , Is it simply because of the youth of our American democracy ? And a race introduced , in effect ,quite  recently  [ the traumatism of slavery ] to our society ?   Add that to modern Media ,   present day  politics , and the  rarity of factual statistical info of our written  history ? 

          I find it simply amazing that if I google  statistical info , Its right there in font of us !

    15. profile image0
      ahorsebackposted 9 years ago

      In the real world , there is  actually very little problem with law  enforcement in America , other than the mass militarism of late .  It is however so typical to blame the troops , First , I am not ,nor am I related to a cop .  Second , the blame lies directly in the  socially centered hot spots of law breakers ,   Let's ask this , Why is there never a riot on the streets of small town or rural America ?

      Why is it that  the  pillaging ,  mass robberies , the burning , the pilfering of goods , generally done  by people in  two hundred dollar sneakers and  hoodies pulled over their faces ?  How is it that  the sporting popularity of the media and the likes of Al  Sharpton , are the first ones always on the scene ?

      it always seems that the inner cities become the first ones embroiled in "protest "  and that protest is by mass rioting, burning and  boiling down the town ? Perhaps those who live in the population centers need to be held more responsible for  this , instead of the rest of  America .

      We can all learn from this and It has been quoted many times  and we need to think about this too, Ferguson ALSO needs to "-clean up it's   own house"  .

      1. wrenchBiscuit profile image68
        wrenchBiscuitposted 9 years agoin reply to this
        The socially centered hot spots of law breakers? Are you talking about Wall Street or Capitol Hill?  I grew up in rural America, and it should be obvious to anyone why country folk don't riot in the streets. But since you are intent on peddling the fiction that black people are inherent law breakers, let's take a trip across the ocean and see what the "green people" have been doing for the last 129 years:

        Belfast 1886:

        "... Officially thirty-one people were killed in the riots, although George Foy, who made surgical reports on the riots, reckoned that the real death toll might have been as high as fifty. Hundreds were injured. Over four hundred arrests were made. An estimated £90,000 worth of property damage was incurred, and local economic activity was significantly compromised."

        Belfast 1969: " ...The most bloody rioting was in Belfast, where seven people were killed and hundreds more wounded. Scores of houses, most of them owned by Catholics, as well as businesses and factories were burned-out. In addition, thousands of mostly Catholic families were driven from their homes..."

        Belfast 2013:

        " ... Many families with children were caught up in the violence.

        Petrol bombs, bricks and fireworks were thrown at the police who responded with water cannon and fired 20 plastic baton rounds.

        North Belfast MP Mr Dodds was knocked unconscious during the riot and taken away in an ambulance..."

        " ... Mr Dodds was hit by a missile thrown by loyalists at the junction of Woodvale Road and Woodvale Parade.
        Water cannon and baton rounds have been used in north Belfast after violence broke out..."

        "... Four police officers and one civilian have been hurt ..."

        These are excerpts taken from various reports over the years of the rioting in Belfast Ireland. This should answer all of your questions. In areas where population density is high, human beings are likely to protest and riot when a particular group feels threatened, or that their civil rights have been violated, regardless of race! Racism is often a factor of "why" black people riot in the United States, but the black man is not genetically predisposed to violence and disorder; no more than a white Irishman. The fundamental root of the problem in the U.S. is capitalism. The institution of racism simply compounds the problem.

      2. SOBF profile image60
        SOBFposted 9 years agoin reply to this

        ahorseback again you are wrong. Riots occur in every segment of society but for different reasons. While blacks tend to riot as a response to what they feel to be injustice. Whites tend to riot for what I would call non-reasons. Sporting events, partying, coaches being fired, and my favorite pumpkin fest. All events, mostly in small towns that saw property damaged, cars overturned, fires. Here is a list of riots by majority white participants.
        April 5, 2012
        The riot in the streets near the University of Kentucky’s campus saw shots fired and cars, couches, chairs and other furniture set alight.

        July 13 2013
        A frightening and violent mob swept through the normally quiet seaside community of Huntington Beach last night following a surfing competition in the area. Businesses were vandalized and looted, portable toilets overturned, and brutal fistfights waged right out in the open. It was an ugly display and a sad day for California. But more than that, it was a reminder that we must begin to seriously consider the values of our thuggish white youth.

        October 19, 2014
        A quaint pumpkin festival in New Hampshire ended with tear gas, street fires and at least one flipped car on Saturday as mobs of college students and young people turned parts of the town of Keene into a free-for-all.

        Social media footage from the scene showed revelers destroying street signs, throwing glass bottles, pushing barricades and hurling curses at the police.

        Nov 2011, (Peterno Fired)

        Demonstrators tore down two lampposts, one falling into a crowd. They also threw rocks and fireworks at the police, who responded with pepper spray. The crowd undulated like an accordion, with the students crowding the police and the officers pushing them back.

        I can actually go on and on...but the fact is that you fail to see the issues in your own community because you are spending so much of your time is another neighborhood.

        By the way I provided references for more stats, most of them were government sources. You provided nothing.

        1. profile image0
          ahorsebackposted 9 years agoin reply to this

          Well so far your more accurate statistics haven't shown me much , what  , Keene's Pumpkin fest is actually an out of control Frat party ?  as  are your  other revolutions in the streets , the university of Kentucky ? Huntington beach?   Please . , these are all college age related drunk fests, driven out into the streets  !   Nothing more .

          Not exactly major revolutions  in the streets ,are they ?.  Nor is this is  exactly "every segment of society " my friend .,  You sir , seem prone to pruning   Facts and statistics to your liking , why then should I be surprised  when you imply  that it's all about racism .

          And another thing , if there's one place I don't usually go for statistics , its the federal government .

          1. SOBF profile image60
            SOBFposted 9 years agoin reply to this

            ahorseback - The white apologist dictionary.

            Riot = Group of 2 or more black people causing mayhem and destruction in response to social injustice
            Reveling = Group of 2 or more white people doing that defined in rioting but for no social reason at all.

            1. Don W profile image83
              Don Wposted 9 years agoin reply to this

              And . . . .


              Apparently only black people loot.

    16. SOBF profile image60
      SOBFposted 9 years ago

      ahorseback starts the conversaton

      "I will go out on a  forum dweller limb here  and ask .   How is it that a fair and open  minded  average white guy of 61  with a racially mixed  family  can google up  such mind boggling statistics  out of the blue ?     Does it make me racist  to ask ?  Do numbers even matter to the average forum dweller ?   Do YOU google statistics or  do you just emotionally  react  to the P.C. crowd ?  Just asking here ? Can you answer ? Can you "show me the light " of how I'm biased ?"

      then for some reason moves to:

      "I will not begin to debate  who's statistical information is most accurate ,  We all know , at least those of us who read a lot , that "statistics  , numbers , and  facts " vary  in accuracy as much from place to place  as peoples opinions do !     And yet , you imply that I am  racist , in so many words  at least . Interesting , ! 


    17. wrenchBiscuit profile image68
      wrenchBiscuitposted 9 years ago
      Yeah, I know. And when a young girl gets gang raped at one of their frat parties, well, you know, "boys will be boys".

      It is typical for many Americans to downplay the criminal, anti-social, and psychotic behavior of whites while demonizing the minority. In 1893, over 10,000 spectators, predominantly white, witnessed the torture, dismemberment, and lynching of Henry Smith in Paris Texas. In 1916, between 10-16,000 spectators, predominantly white , witnessed the  torture and lynching of Jesse Washington in Waco Texas.

      A psychopath is defined as someone who exhibits sadistic, antisocial behavior, and a greatly diminished capacity for empathy and remorse. Apologists have noted that the spectators at these horrific spectacles of  human depravity were simply "curious", and that they were caught up in the moment; that they themselves were the "victims" of a "mob mentality". B.S.! It's time to get real. What is often described as a "mob mentality" is nothing more than psychopaths feeling free to act out their sick fantasies in public with the support and approval of other psychopaths. It is rather strange that a majority feels comfortable labeling an individual such as the serial killer Ted Bundy a psychopath. However, when a large group of people exhibit a similar depraved behavior, especially when that large group of people happen to be white, they are not considered psychopaths at all, just "curious" onlookers caught up in a "mob mentality".

      Let it be known that hanging around gay people will not make a straight person gay. Let it also be known that a sane person who finds himself in the midst of a group of psychopaths will not temporarily become a psychopath. It just doesn't happen folks. Yes, we can understand that there were most likely some individuals at these events who wanted no part of it, and would have preferred to put a stop to it. But let's face it, if 9,000 people out of 10,000 would have been against these acts of brutality, then they would have never happened. But this was not the case. Both lynchings were treated by the majority as a festive occasion, with many people smiling, selling concessions, and some even taking body parts of the black victims as souvenirs!

      These people were not exhibiting a "mob mentality", but only being what they truly were: psychopaths. I would never go out of my way to witness such a spectacle, unless I were there to stop it. You have tried to peddle a fiction about black people, but the truth is that at no time in the history of the United States have over 20,000 African or Indigenous people, on two separate occasions, gathered together to witness the torture, the dismemberment, the lynching, and the murder of a white European American. No this has never happened, and so for those of us who are educated, and who have at least a semblance of humanity, your words and your fiction are all too familiar.

    18. SOBF profile image60
      SOBFposted 9 years ago

      One of my favorite things white people do.

      Complain about black people who complain about racism as though all white people are racist, by complaining about all black people lacking, eduction, drive, desire, employment, paycheck, cell phone contract, a home, a father, etc, etc...

    19. profile image0
      ahorsebackposted 9 years ago

      Oh please SOBF sir , you are the quintessential  reverse -racist .  Welcome to the forums ,   now show us some real statistical  info on  truth ,  and respectfully .........there is only one truth !    If all you have to  offer is  rhetoric  , please refrain , we've heard it all before .   

      I WOULD  like you though to look at one statistic  please , its [ they }} are easy to find ..   The major cities in America  with higher than average percentages of African American  populations ..  And the crime , the arrest records , the  hard drug use , the amounts of " on the system "  welfare recipients  ,   Those same cities are generally the hotbeds of  riots  and visitations of  the "Al Sharpton's "  of   liberally invoked,   media represented ,  politically correct   highly verbal racially motivated  discourse .

      1. SOBF profile image60
        SOBFposted 9 years agoin reply to this

        ahorseback you must have spent a great deal of time on the forum spewing your made up statistics, hoping that no one would ever question rather they are based in fact or just something you've made up in order to reinforce your biased opinions. Sorry but as a researcher I will not fall for your dubious claims. Whites hold the record for hard drug use, something that is generally known by most. Whites suck up much more safety net money than blacks, Sorry ahorseback but your so called facts are nothing more than stormfront reading points that you have come to believe as truth. That my friend is actually your loss...enjoy your white Vermont world.

    20. profile image0
      ahorsebackposted 9 years ago

      You see , there you go !  My statistics are the first ones I take away from what look like neutral sources .  I don't go about seeking those that please an agenda  nor do I  create real facts .  I also don't live in a world of hate filled denial !    Look to the truth my friend , there is only one there . And Vermont  is but one small source of truth , whether I ,  In spite of the fact that I don't enjoy the extreme  liberal  bias here, agree with its statistics  or not ..

      1. Kathryn L Hill profile image77
        Kathryn L Hillposted 9 years agoin reply to this

        Good holding on, a horseback!

      2. SOBF profile image60
        SOBFposted 9 years agoin reply to this

        ahorseback....then supply me a link that says 49% of black boys drop out of school?

    21. profile image0
      ahorsebackposted 9 years ago

      I cannot figure out the whole "linking " thing , to show you statistical info , Do me a favor , google  graduation rates for all  ALL  high school kids . Read them all , Which I do , !        You will see a great disparity in racial  results , Why ?

      I am not here  to answer why , ....... or to inflame racism by any means , BUT , if  each  and almost every  statistical result chart says there is a problem based on race ,who am I to question  these results .

      I'm sure that if I  wish to  be  racially slanted to one side [ one race }or the other , , I would find one or two sights to verify MY wishes , But , , if almost all sights show a  problem in  statistics  based on race tell me , where DO we go with this ? Seriously ?

      1. SOBF profile image60
        SOBFposted 9 years agoin reply to this

        And there is your problem. Graduation rates are different than drop out rates. I suggest you continue your research and maybe you will come across the difference. The percentage of black males of graduation age without a high school diploma or GED is 8.9%. Graduation rates are tracked by when a group of kids enter high school and how many of those that started graduate in four years. Because blacks are far more likely to change schools do the the fact that they tend to rent living quarters at a higher rate, the high rate of graduation that you are talking about has been proven to be completely skewed.

    22. profile image0
      ahorsebackposted 9 years ago

      First of all , I  truly wish there were  no racial  problems in America , I believe  America is the most socially mature and  advanced nation in the world , Okay , so I love my country ! ....Forgive me .   But lets all  not be in fear of searching and seeking real and hard truths in the answers we ALL seek .to our social problems .       Do you remember " Problems of Democracy " in high school ?

      That is where my  search for the answers to America's social upheavals comes from , If you will call me racist ........then you may very well not understand my  position here , whether  due to inequities in maturity or  the  political correctness of  playing your hand in  our present media , my point , .............I'm simply seeking real and truthful answers !

      1. SOBF profile image60
        SOBFposted 9 years agoin reply to this

        ahorseback I have never called you racist, I have said that you view society through white supremacist lens. That is based more on the need to feel as though you belong to a superior race, therefore requiring you to demonize other races.

      2. wrenchBiscuit profile image68
        wrenchBiscuitposted 9 years agoin reply to this
        Yes, I remember "Problems of Democracy" real well. I remember the genocide of 100 million human beings. I remember nearly 500 years of slavery. I remember over 60 years of Jim Crow. And I remember a struggle for civil rights that left many dead and wounded in body, mind, and spirit; a struggle that fell far short of what many hoped it would accomplish. I also remember a labor movement, and a women's rights movement.

        Yes, I remember movement's for social, racial, and economic equality that were co-opted by the same oppressive system they hoped to abolish; a system that now rewards "Cousin Tom Stepford" with a chance for second class citizenship, and even a chance to become President, as long as he bleaches the blackness from his mind and replaces it with the European model of the good "African American".

        Yes, there are many who say they love their country. And this is no surprise. When the Jews were being herded into cattle cars, many Germans loved a ruling party that had greatly reduced  the unemployment rate, and who had put money back into their pockets. The destabilization of the German economy following WWI had reduced many former middle-class Germans to a state of abject poverty. But a civilized society cannot base it's morality on the state of the economy, or how much money they have in their bank accounts!

        As long as a majority in the United States are prosperous, or at least "making ends meet", the occasional unwarranted killing of a black citizen is not going to start a social revolution. But what I find particularly disgusting, and hypocritical, is that  just like during the reign of the  Nazi's, many Americans will publicly proclaim that they "love their country" without giving a second thought to the past and current evils perpetrated by said country.

        I would be ashamed to say I love the killing of women and children. I would be ashamed to say that I loved the polluting of the land, the air, and the water. I would be ashamed to say I love a for-profit prison system that is by design, self-perpetuating. I would be ashamed to say that I loved a government that continues in it's attempts to create unrest, and destabilize other countries, such as Bolivia, for profit and control. The German people did not try to work within the Nazi party in order to make Nazism more "user friendly", and less morally corrupt. They simply kicked the Nazi's to the curb. Adios Amigos! Hafa Adai!  It appears that Americans have a difficult time letting go of a bad idea; a system that simply doesn't work for the majority. Apparently the German people were able to move on and put the mistakes of the past behind them.


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