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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Baltimore, "Black culture" and satire as a tool of enlightenment (Page 2)

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Author Topic: Baltimore, "Black culture" and satire as a tool of enlightenment
Mucus
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There are a few nuances in there that I think you're glossing over.

1) There's a big difference between protesters and rioters although you've grouped them together as "protesters/rioters/uprisingers/black Baltimoreans." Protesters demand, rioters destroy. I totally support protesters but when things descend into violence, that's entirely too far. Hell, if what I've pointed toward on Sakeriver is correct, the rioters aren't even only concerned about civil rights, there are supposedly plenty of white anarchists and opportunists joining in.

2) How long is long enough? Let's not pretend that these kind of riots started today. Korean and Chinese shopkeepers got targeted this time as per that NPR piece linked above. Korean shopkeepers were abandoned by the white authorities in LA and were targeted by rioters. Chinese shopkeepers were targeted during the Memphis riots.

So this kind of thing hasn't been going on for days or even twenty years, we're talking almost fifty years that violence has been committed against vulnerable groups in order to enlighten white people.

Chaos like this isn't equitable, it's not the well-connected, those that are well protected by insurance, or those who are in a position of authority to make decisions who suffer. Instead, as particularly shown in LA, the well-connected are perfectly happy to protect their own while leaving Korean shopkeepers unprotected, even criticizing them for protecting their livelihoods.

So yeah, maybe some charges get laid against low-ranking personnel. Maybe that's "worth it." But not in my book, because I fully anticipate that police brutality and racial inequity will continue in the US. The benefits aren't worth the costs. Like you said, the situation has been deteriorating for a good forty years and this kind of violence has been going on for fifty years or more.

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Lyrhawn
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While I would agree that all protesters are not rioters, I would put forth that most rioters are protesters. Your delineation is PEACEFUL protesters, and that's fine, but to suggest they are completely separate removes the agency from rioting, which I disagree with.

Look, I personally think that rioting is a bad idea. The media is never going to give them the kind of advantageous coverage that could really uncover the roots of a riot, educate the viewers, and help usher in real change. They'll only cover violence because violence drives ratings and that's all they care about. Furthermore, politicians think that addressing these systemic issues rewards rioters, so they'd rather dig their heels in and do nothing rather than look like appeasers. So I don't think rioting is effective.

But I get it. I get why it happens. And we shouldn't be surprised when it does.

I don't think looking at it from a cost-benefit analysis as you do, though, really makes much sense. Rioting isn't rational in that way, though it tended to make more sense back in the 60s. Plenty of reports from the 60s showed that the businesses targeted in riots weren't because of racial animus, but because of the role those places played in the community. It's why a lot of PayDay type lenders and check cashing locations were attacked in Baltimore, because they're viewed as symbols of economic oppression. Yet I can see how once a riot starts, it takes on a life of its own, and there's really not much sense that goes into what gets attacked.

I think if you're going to riot at all, your biggest mistake is stopping. A three day riot every decade is a novelty. A 300 day riot is a historic event that can't be ignored.

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Mucus
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I'm not sure how you square "removes the agency from rioting, which I disagree with" with "once a riot starts, it takes on a life of its own, and there's really not much sense that goes into what gets attacked."

For my part, I don't think that there is no sense in what gets attacked. That NPR piece indicates that Asian American businesses were targeted while black-owned businesses were protected, which is understandable although not forgivable. Targeting government institutions, law-enforcement, or white-owned businesses in richer areas would probably lead to a stronger response.

There is some sense there in that it makes sense for the bigger, stronger minority group to target a weaker, smaller minority group to get the attention of the majority while evading a more serious response.

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Lyrhawn
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A riot can be about more than one thing to different rioters at different times and in different places.

If any white people actually lived near any black people, Im sure the would have been targeted instead

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Elison R. Salazar
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Peaceful protesting is useless and is called for just to be convenient to The Powers That Be.

Just ask Occupy.

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Samprimary
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occupy was not called for by the 'powers that be,' but the way it was structured under a hopelessly idealistic and hyperinclusive progressive stack guaranteed its paralysis and stagnation into irrelevance
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theamazeeaz
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quote:
Originally posted by JanitorBlade:
Police officers are being charged with murder and manslaughter.

I must admit that there is a very good chance these charges wouldn't have been filed if people hadn't been out in the streets.

I don't know about that. I read somewhere that the state attorney ran for office on the platform of prosecuting police brutality.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/who-is-baltimore-states-attorney-marilyn-j-mosby/2015/05/01/12be80e2-f013-11e4-8abc-d6aa3bad79dd_story.html

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Samprimary
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most people i've talked to in the know about the folks who got put into office on a wave of de-o'malleying the city's brutal legacy say that the national attention and flashpoint attitude on baltimore created by the riots probably drove the opportunity to press past FOP protections and impediments and go large on a second degree murder charge
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Elison R. Salazar
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
occupy was not called for by the 'powers that be,' but the way it was structured under a hopelessly idealistic and hyperinclusive progressive stack guaranteed its paralysis and stagnation into irrelevance

I'm referring mainly to people who insist that the only legitimate peaceful protest is one that "doesn't break any laws, doesn't bother anyone, and goes away as soon as a single cop shows up." This sort of protest is advocated for, for example, pundits, purely because it is what the PTB want.
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theamazeeaz
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So, I googled FOP. It's fraternal order of police. Never heard of 'em before. Tell me more about FOP rules.
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Samprimary
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FOP is to the police as the NRA is to guns - there to strenuously defend police beyond the point of absurdity, prevent any regulation on police that they can, and throw up obstruction and lobby purely in defense of the police in a so far quite successful history of preserving various status quos. Already in the Baltimore issue they have tried getting mosby to recuse herself.
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King of Men
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Peaceful protesting is useful because it demonstrates that manpower exists for a riot. Protest signs have two parts: There's the sign, on which you write a slogan; and there's the stick that holds it up. The stick has a slogan too, an unwritten one. It says "Look at all these people, with big heavy sticks. Wouldn't it be a pity if they decided not to be peaceful anymore?"

Occupy didn't understand that, and so they were roundly ignored; there was no chance a bunch of middle-class trust-fund babies were going to start a riot, so their protest wasn't credible.

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Samprimary
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i think that is neither an accurate demographic assessment of occupy protesters, nor an accurate analysis of its failures. occupy was definitely not roundly ignored, either by media or police.
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JanitorBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
i think that is neither an accurate demographic assessment of occupy protesters, nor an accurate analysis of its failures. occupy was definitely not roundly ignored, either by media or police.

Or by the parents of the protestors as this picketer found out. [Smile]
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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by King of Men:
Peaceful protesting is useful because it demonstrates that manpower exists for a riot. Protest signs have two parts: There's the sign, on which you write a slogan; and there's the stick that holds it up. The stick has a slogan too, an unwritten one. It says "Look at all these people, with big heavy sticks. Wouldn't it be a pity if they decided not to be peaceful anymore?"

Occupy didn't understand that, and so they were roundly ignored; there was no chance a bunch of middle-class trust-fund babies were going to start a riot, so their protest wasn't credible.

I don't think almost any of that is true.

Peaceful protesting is abundant. Rioting is not.

For that to work, their would have to be more riots to be used as a stick so that peaceful protests could carry an implicit threat. In reality, that doesn't happen. It's also not. 1:1 ratio. It only takes a handful of rioters to really cause a ruckus. But it can take thousands of protesters to really get the media or officials to pay attention. No one takes a protest with a couple dozen people seriously.

Occupy's problem wasn't a lack of attention. Their problem was an inability to articulate a unified platform. There refusal to elect leaders and choose something specific to ask for squandersed a golden opportunity when everyone really was watching and the media was their ally. Once it became clear they were dysfunctional, the narrative turned against them and could never be revived.

And despite the incredible lack of threat of a riot, the police still horribly mismanage the situation in a way that gave the protesters a lot of political capital. The same kind civil rights protesters got after major protests were broken up with violence. But Occupy wasted theirs.

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King of Men
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quote:
For that to work, there would have to be more riots to be used as a stick so that peaceful protests could carry an implicit threat.
Yes. This is why peaceful protests no longer work. Quite possibly this pendulum will swing back a bit.

I wonder if you're aware of the origin of the phrase, "reading the Riot Act"? It is not a metaphor; it refers to a literal Act of the English Parliament, which provided that, after a peace officer had read the text of the Act three times, and rioters had not dispersed, deadly force could be used. That's not because anyone cared about shops getting looted; it's because they took riots seriously as a means of toppling dynasties and smashing established orders. The English Civil War started with king James getting the heck out of London because he was afraid the mob would storm the palace and kill him. (Which, incidentally, would be an actually effective use of a riot. If the idiots in Baltimore had managed to burn City Hall to the ground and lynch the mayor, they would have gotten their point across in a much more pointed manner.) The French Revolution, of course, started when the mob of Paris decided they'd had enough, and rioted. (And ended when Napoleon found some troops who would stand and shoot at the mob.)

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kmbboots
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There were actually millions of people protesting the invasion of Iraq - some estimate 36 million in over 3000 events, Something like 10 million in just one day. Hundreds of thousands repeatedly in protests and peaceful civil disobedience actions all that winter and spring in the US.

Given our success in stopping the invasion, I would have to agree that peaceful protests are almost entirely futile. We had exactly zero impact on anything.

Sometimes you have to protest anyway.

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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by King of Men:
(Which, incidentally, would be an actually effective use of a riot. If the idiots in Baltimore had managed to burn City Hall to the ground and lynch the mayor, they would have gotten their point across in a much more pointed manner.)

what
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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by JanitorBlade:
quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
i think that is neither an accurate demographic assessment of occupy protesters, nor an accurate analysis of its failures. occupy was definitely not roundly ignored, either by media or police.

Or by the parents of the protestors as this picketer found out. [Smile]
? Your parents objected to you picketing?
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JanitorBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
quote:
Originally posted by JanitorBlade:
quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
i think that is neither an accurate demographic assessment of occupy protesters, nor an accurate analysis of its failures. occupy was definitely not roundly ignored, either by media or police.

Or by the parents of the protestors as this picketer found out. [Smile]
? Your parents objected to you picketing?
Sure did. And appearing on TV to talk about it.
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kmbboots
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Interesting. I'm sorry. My folks were worried - especially about the arrest - but even though they disagreed with me*, they were very supportive.

*Then. They changed their minds once they knew more about it. I like to think I helped. [Wink]

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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
quote:
Originally posted by King of Men:
(Which, incidentally, would be an actually effective use of a riot. If the idiots in Baltimore had managed to burn City Hall to the ground and lynch the mayor, they would have gotten their point across in a much more pointed manner.)

what
I actually agree with KoM on this.
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Mucus
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At least it would have made more sense, affecting the people in power to make decisions rather than bystanders that just live nearby.
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kmbboots
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Long but important.

White America's Greatest Delusion: "They Do Not Know It and They Do Not Want to Know It"
quote:
We are here because of blood, and mostly that of others; here because of our insatiable and rapacious desire to take by force the land and labor of those others. We are the last people on Earth with a right to ruminate upon the superior morality of peaceful protest. We have never believed in it and rarely practiced it. Rather, we have always taken what we desire, and when denied it we have turned to means utterly genocidal to make it so.

Which is why it always strikes me as precious the way so many white Americans insist (as if preening for a morality contest of some sorts) that "we don't burn down our own neighborhoods when we get angry." This, in supposed contrast to black and brown folks who engage in such presumptively self-destructive irrationality as this. On the one hand, it simply isn't true. We do burn our own communities, we do riot, and for far less valid reasons than any for which persons of color have ever hoisted a brick, a rock, or a bottle.We do so when our teams lose the big game or win the big game; or because of something called Pumpkin Festival; or because veggie burritos cost $10 at Woodstock '99 and there weren't enough Porta-Potties by the time of the Limp Bizkit set; or because folks couldn't get enough beer at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake; or because surfers (natch); or St. Paddy's Day in Albany; or because Penn State fired Joe Paterno; or because it's a Sunday afternoon in Ames, Iowa; and we do it over and over and over again.


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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
quote:
Originally posted by King of Men:
(Which, incidentally, would be an actually effective use of a riot. If the idiots in Baltimore had managed to burn City Hall to the ground and lynch the mayor, they would have gotten their point across in a much more pointed manner.)

what
I actually agree with KoM on this.
lynching the black mayor who is on their side though
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Risuena
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I'm not sure the Mayor is on their side.
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Samprimary
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tonight on action hatrack news: baltimore rioters literally lynch a black woman, conspicuously barbaric act hands conservatives unexpected legitimacy in social issue for years to come

"we really just, uh, thought this would get our point across better," one rioter was quoted as saying. "looking back i really don't know what kind of message that was especially when Stephanie Rawlings-Blake was one of the ones pushing for an investigation of the police department, but oh well"

internet explodes with righteous indignation, and plenty of "we told you so's" from conservatives who had been calling for greater enforcement of order against "animals" and "thugs" before things came to this point. Police unions hold spontaneous parties over how this implosive action immediately took a serious load of heat off of their asses at the eleventh hour. "I literally can't believe it," said a staff sergeant. "they honestly went and murdered stephanie and legitimized us right before our asses were gonna be under some serious federal scrutiny. now we get to put the black parts of the city on indefinite curfew aw yiss"

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JanitorBlade
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President Obama attempted to strike a conciliatory tone, calling the lynching of Rawlings-Blake "mob justice" and "a terrible tragedy" conservative commenters called the remarks "grossly insufficient" and "outrageous".

TheBlaze in an opinion piece lambasted the President saying,

"The President is directly responsible for this atrocity having fanned the flames of racial discontent until they have burned hotly out of his control. I'd ask for an apology since Pres. Obama has proven quite willing to apologize to our enemies, but ironically he never apologizes to the American people for his base failures."

As expected nobody actually changes their minds about anything after reading their respective news outlet's coverage of the affair.

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King of Men
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Fine, fine, /s/City Hall/police station/, s/mayor/Chief of Police/. The point stands, go after the decisionmakers, not random bystanders.
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Risuena
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Do you really think no one tried to do that? The first night with any violence, they predominantly went after police cars. Then on Monday, when the majority of violence occurred, the police herded everyone away from city hall and the police stations and kept it to confined to a few small areas.

And that continued throughout the duration of the curfew - with the curfew only really being enforced in poor areas of the city. There were restaurants in Hampden and people in Federal Hill and other areas that were breaking the curfew because all the police presence was concentrated on making sure the people in Sandtown-Winchester and similar neighbors stayed there.

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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by King of Men:
Fine, fine, /s/City Hall/police station/, s/mayor/Chief of Police/. The point stands, go after the decisionmakers, not random bystanders.

breaking news update: baltimore rioters follow up their previous act by lynching another black person, the baltimore police chief who had been brought in as part of a concerted reform slate after the brutal reign of O'Malley

"Police chief Anthony had been holding press conferences where he was publicly acknowledging that his department was a part of the problem and that change needed to occur in his department," said one of the lynching rioters. "And I guess that fits with his m.o. or whatever, but for some ****ing reason I guess we decided it would be a great idea to go literally kill him in front of TV cameras or whatever. we really need to, uh, stop taking advice from hatrack"

American conservatives were unavailable for comment as they were busy airlifting in cristal and blow to joyously celebrate all this unexpected ammunition for their cultural war delivered to them free of charge

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King of Men
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quote:
Do you really think no one tried to do that?
Good for them. Too bad they didn't have the organisation to make an actual fight of it, as your next couple of sentences indicate.

quote:
Police chief Anthony had been holding press conferences
Fat lot of good that did Freddie Grey. There's a time for working within the system and a time for smashing the whole rotten edifice. If you've decided that violence is the answer, then targeting collaborators and running dogs is perfectly sensible even if they do happen to belong to your own ethnic group.
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Lyrhawn
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I think this is where civil disobedience can actually do some good to draw attention to the issue.

Fill the jails. Force the police to reveal their true nature. Make sure cameras are on hand when the POLICE are the ones who instigate the violence.

Look, I think rioting is incredibly unhelpful. If you're going to do it, you might as well, as KoM says, attack the institutions that matter. But a far better tactic is to overwhelm them with a sea of humanity. Fill the jails. Refuse to move. Force them to force you off the position you've staked out. Break the law, but don't break any bones. Let them do the bone breaking.

It gets at the basic problem at the heart of the status quo; that black people are all too easily ignored. So, don't let them ignore you.

Go to downtown Baltimore and fill the streets. Block traffic. Don't hurt people, per se, but make their lives a little more difficult and force them to see you and confront your issues.

I don't think torching an innocent shop owner's business is a good idea, but that doesn't mean I think a protest should be totally convenient for "bystanders." I think almost any scholar of protest history and race relations would say when it comes to the continued crimes visited on minorities, NO ONE is a bystander, both because you benefit from the crimes committed against them, and because your indifference perpetuates their plight. So if that means you can't get to work one day because the roads are being blocked, tough. No one said effecting mass socioeconomic change was going to be a cakewalk for everyone.

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Samprimary
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quote:
If you've decided that violence is the answer, then targeting collaborators and running dogs is perfectly sensible even if they do happen to belong to your own ethnic group.
No group decided that violence was the answer. The rioting wasn't some organized intent on the part of a movement, it was a natural byproduct of the opportunity to loot stores and break shit in Baltimore while the protests were in full swing.

The vast majority of the protests were peaceful, it's just that when these kinds of protests reach a certain point you cannot meaningfully just 'elect' as a movement to not have the property destruction. When there is inevitably property destruction, it's not because they have 'decided that violence is the answer,' it's that violence is going to happen as a result of a certain threshold of protests.

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King of Men
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quote:
because you benefit from the crimes committed against them
I'll give you that I'm indifferent, but I have to say I really don't see how I benefit from black men being arrested for walking down the street. If anything it hurts me, in that it uses tax money that could go to better purposes, plus people in jail are not working and producing stuff for me to consume.
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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by King of Men:
quote:
because you benefit from the crimes committed against them
I'll give you that I'm indifferent, but I have to say I really don't see how I benefit from black men being arrested for walking down the street. If anything it hurts me, in that it uses tax money that could go to better purposes, plus people in jail are not working and producing stuff for me to consume.
I guess I was referring more to the past crimes committed against them. This country still is what is is in large part to the massive wealth gotten from slavery. And from the massive protections put in place in the first half of the twentieth century that kept resources and wealth concentrated in white America and out of the reach of black America.
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scifibum
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quote:
Originally posted by King of Men:
quote:
because you benefit from the crimes committed against them
I'll give you that I'm indifferent, but I have to say I really don't see how I benefit from black men being arrested for walking down the street. If anything it hurts me, in that it uses tax money that could go to better purposes, plus people in jail are not working and producing stuff for me to consume.
In many cities, one of the main functions of police is to generate revenue for the city. This may be a bit removed from you personally, but in those places everyone except the people who get targeted for bs citations benefits from the fine revenue.

Plus, some people in jail are producing things you consume.

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King of Men
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quote:
This country still is what is is in large part to the massive wealth gotten from slavery.
This is not in fact true.

quote:
And from the massive protections put in place in the first half of the twentieth century that kept resources and wealth concentrated in white America and out of the reach of black America.
Ok firstly, this probably made America as a whole poorer, not richer. Secondly, even if we assume wealth is zero-sum, giving that one-tenth of the population access to an even share could not have changed things drastically.

quote:
In many cities, one of the main functions of police is to generate revenue for the city. This may be a bit removed from you personally, but in those places everyone except the people who get targeted for bs citations benefits from the fine revenue.
So the thing about chiseling nickel-and-dime citations is that they produce nickels and dimes. There's only so much blood you can squeeze from a stone. I somewhat strongly suspect that the revenue thus generated is basically enough to run the occupation forces - excuse me, police departments - and the courts, with a bit left over for City Hall. It doesn't benefit a large number of people.

When you squeeze the bottom 10 or 15%, the amount you produce cannot be enough to benefit the remaining 90% a whole lot, if it's remotely evenly divided. Dividing it among a relatively small bureaucracy is another question.

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Mucus
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
quote:
Originally posted by King of Men:
quote:
because you benefit from the crimes committed against them
I'll give you that I'm indifferent, but I have to say I really don't see how I benefit from black men being arrested for walking down the street. If anything it hurts me, in that it uses tax money that could go to better purposes, plus people in jail are not working and producing stuff for me to consume.
I guess I was referring more to the past crimes committed against them. This country still is what is is in large part to the massive wealth gotten from slavery. And from the massive protections put in place in the first half of the twentieth century that kept resources and wealth concentrated in white America and out of the reach of black America.
Of course it should be noted in the case of the Asian shopkeepers who were looted, they likely arrived after the first half of the twentieth century due to the Chinese Exclusion Act or similar policies for other ethnic groups.
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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by King of Men:
quote:
This country still is what is is in large part to the massive wealth gotten from slavery.
This is not in fact true.


If anything, the opposite. Slavery generated very little wealth, and caused the southern economy to stagnate for over a century- which was the cause of the civil war to begin with, a small oligarchy trying to maintain itself against a rising tide of technology and a market based economy.

People often look at slavery as if it's just like work for wages, minus the wages. The problem is that in an economy where the majority of workers are not paid, there is very little incentive to diversify, and very little actual liquidity to work with or invest. You can be "rich" in comparison with your neighbors, but you can't a) borrow money b) start a new business or c) change jobs, because there is no money to a) lend, b) buy anything with, or c) pay salaries. And since the cost of labor is so artificially low, that means that the funneling of money to the land owners is a perpetual cycle that never lets up. Eventually in the south, very few people were wealthy, and even their wealth was as nothing compared to the new industrialists in the north.

Thus you got the social construct that persisted for over a century in the south, that certain families had "family money," even when they had no money at all, because they were from families that had been at the top of that zero-liquidity pyramid- they owned land they couldn't sell or leverage, and relied on a lowest-possible margin crop to survive, and cheap labor to produce it.

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Samprimary
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the primary means by which oppression of blacks up into the current day has benefitted white americans has to do with a legacy of preference and inclusive cycles in wealth creation opportunities and real estate, honestly
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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
quote:
Originally posted by King of Men:
quote:
This country still is what is is in large part to the massive wealth gotten from slavery.
This is not in fact true.


If anything, the opposite. Slavery generated very little wealth, and caused the southern economy to stagnate for over a century- which was the cause of the civil war to begin with, a small oligarchy trying to maintain itself against a rising tide of technology and a market based economy.

People often look at slavery as if it's just like work for wages, minus the wages. The problem is that in an economy where the majority of workers are not paid, there is very little incentive to diversify, and very little actual liquidity to work with or invest. You can be "rich" in comparison with your neighbors, but you can't a) borrow money b) start a new business or c) change jobs, because there is no money to a) lend, b) buy anything with, or c) pay salaries. And since the cost of labor is so artificially low, that means that the funneling of money to the land owners is a perpetual cycle that never lets up. Eventually in the south, very few people were wealthy, and even their wealth was as nothing compared to the new industrialists in the north.

Thus you got the social construct that persisted for over a century in the south, that certain families had "family money," even when they had no money at all, because they were from families that had been at the top of that zero-liquidity pyramid- they owned land they couldn't sell or leverage, and relied on a lowest-possible margin crop to survive, and cheap labor to produce it.

I'd have to see numbers before I could buy into this. The idea that slavery generated little wealth is basically the opposite of every 19th century American history book I've ever read.
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Lyrhawn
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I'd also argue that, even if you want to argue over the wealth gained from how we've treated black people, it's difficult to argue that you don't benefit from the lack of resources spend that are owed to them to correct for the crimes committed against them.
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JanitorBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
quote:
Originally posted by King of Men:
quote:
This country still is what is is in large part to the massive wealth gotten from slavery.
This is not in fact true.


If anything, the opposite. Slavery generated very little wealth, and caused the southern economy to stagnate for over a century- which was the cause of the civil war to begin with, a small oligarchy trying to maintain itself against a rising tide of technology and a market based economy.

People often look at slavery as if it's just like work for wages, minus the wages. The problem is that in an economy where the majority of workers are not paid, there is very little incentive to diversify, and very little actual liquidity to work with or invest. You can be "rich" in comparison with your neighbors, but you can't a) borrow money b) start a new business or c) change jobs, because there is no money to a) lend, b) buy anything with, or c) pay salaries. And since the cost of labor is so artificially low, that means that the funneling of money to the land owners is a perpetual cycle that never lets up. Eventually in the south, very few people were wealthy, and even their wealth was as nothing compared to the new industrialists in the north.

Thus you got the social construct that persisted for over a century in the south, that certain families had "family money," even when they had no money at all, because they were from families that had been at the top of that zero-liquidity pyramid- they owned land they couldn't sell or leverage, and relied on a lowest-possible margin crop to survive, and cheap labor to produce it.

I'd have to see numbers before I could buy into this. The idea that slavery generated little wealth is basically the opposite of every 19th century American history book I've ever read.
I think wealth generation is the wrong way of looking at it. Did people get rich off slavery, absolutely. But we are generating the same sort of rich folks in our society now. You can't even make the trickle down argument for slavery in the South because the slave owners weren't paying wages to most of their workers. If they opened up a new plantation, few if any paying jobs were created. Since wages weren't going to slaves, they weren't spending virtually any money.

I think the correct way of looking at money is "flows". Slavery restricted flows to just a few people, who could not possibly spend that money in such a way as to distribute it to wider society, much like our uber rich cannot possibly buy enough yachts to get that money to other people. If you aren't spending your dollar, I'm not earning a dollar.

So the South stagnated because flows were restricted. America in the early 20th Century as a whole had this same problem, and we're going through it all over again today.

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Wingracer
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It's interesting, I was just listening to a podcast that talked about some of these same topics. It was basically making the point that yes, the US was built on slavery but that wasn't a good thing in the economic sense (since it's obviously bad morally) because it could have been built even faster and better without it. Slavery can help some people make some money but seriously retards economic growth of the state on average.
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King of Men
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quote:
The idea that slavery generated little wealth
There's a difference between making a small elite class rich, and creating a wealthy society. Money earned from slaves was, by and large, not reinvested in capital assets; owning ships, machinery, mills and what-have-you was "trade" and declasse. A factory owner in the North, making a profit, would build another factory, or invest in a railroad or canal, or otherwise participate in the economic growth that made the North so rich. A slave owner would buy his wife the latest dresses from Paris, because what was there to invest in?
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Rakeesh
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Well just as an example the people who owned those ships, capital investments all, sometimes used them in the transportation of human slaves and were well paid for the work.

Your stance seems to be a bit of rhetorical judo: slavery is not the best way or even second or third best as an economic model to generate wealth for a society, and therefore slavery generated little wealth.

Lyrhawn can tell it better, but for example a number of those factories which were built from industrial profits went to build or were themselves textiles. Which weren't whether they were in England or the North fed by the millions of acres of cotton fields worked by paid citizen labor.

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King of Men
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quote:
those ships, capital investments all, sometimes used them in the transportation of human slaves and were well paid for the work.
Again, individual wealth is not the same as wealth for a society. What would those ships have been used for, if the slave trade hadn't existed? It would probably have been better for economic growth. Observe the Royal Africa Company, which for a while had an actual monopoly on transporting slaves to the Spanish colonies, managed to lose money on the deal and go bankrupt! And when the Royal Navy was intercepting slave traders, then sure, a ship that made it through could make its owner a rich man, but the traders as a whole lost money.

quote:
for example a number of those factories which were built from industrial profits went to build or were themselves textiles. Which weren't whether they were in England or the North fed by the millions of acres of cotton fields worked by paid citizen labor.
They would have been, however, if the slaves hadn't been there - as was demonstrated during the Civil War. The blockade prevented England from getting American cotton; so in the space of two years they got Indian and Egyptian cotton instead. You're trying to compare Southern fields full of slaves to the South as an uninhabited wasteland, and call that difference the wealth created by slaves. But the correct comparison is to think what would actually have happened if slavery had been abolished much earlier; that is to say, the Southern fields would have been worked by freemen (and probably not as a monoculture), and the US as a whole would likely have been wealthier. But some rich planters, of course, would have lost out.

It's similar with India: The British Raj was likely a losing proposition for Britain as a whole. But it made money for the decision-making class.

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Rakeesh
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You're pivoting again to rebutting the notion that slavery was the best moneymaking option at the time. No one is saying that.
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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
quote:
Originally posted by King of Men:
quote:
This country still is what is is in large part to the massive wealth gotten from slavery.
This is not in fact true.


If anything, the opposite. Slavery generated very little wealth, and caused the southern economy to stagnate for over a century- which was the cause of the civil war to begin with, a small oligarchy trying to maintain itself against a rising tide of technology and a market based economy.

People often look at slavery as if it's just like work for wages, minus the wages. The problem is that in an economy where the majority of workers are not paid, there is very little incentive to diversify, and very little actual liquidity to work with or invest. You can be "rich" in comparison with your neighbors, but you can't a) borrow money b) start a new business or c) change jobs, because there is no money to a) lend, b) buy anything with, or c) pay salaries. And since the cost of labor is so artificially low, that means that the funneling of money to the land owners is a perpetual cycle that never lets up. Eventually in the south, very few people were wealthy, and even their wealth was as nothing compared to the new industrialists in the north.

Thus you got the social construct that persisted for over a century in the south, that certain families had "family money," even when they had no money at all, because they were from families that had been at the top of that zero-liquidity pyramid- they owned land they couldn't sell or leverage, and relied on a lowest-possible margin crop to survive, and cheap labor to produce it.

I'd have to see numbers before I could buy into this. The idea that slavery generated little wealth is basically the opposite of every 19th century American history book I've ever read.
I doubt that sincerely. Slavery generated a high degree of wealth disparity. But if you're talking about gross purchasing power, slavery tamped down economic diversity and depressed the economy as a whole. The wealth it generated in the hands of a few was, compared to the expected output of a free market economy, pretty paltry. There's a good reason the south lost the war and never recovered economically.

Look, I'm not saying that in a purely objective sense, slavering didn't generate wealth. It did of course. Every pound of cotton has a price on the market. What I am saying is that in a relative sense, if you let the southern economy play out in two alternate universes, one in which a supply of slaves didn't exist, and one in which it did, the one in which there were no slaves would have seen economic growth and total wealth generation (per capita, as the population would have also been smaller), many times what slavery produced.

We have a very good test case for that: the northern states and the southern ones. While their economies were fundamentally different in many regards, slavery is owed a great portion of the blame for the south's stagnant economy, not to mention its moral perfidiousness. This was observed by De Tocqueville half a century before the war.

And this was not a new thing in history. The demographic and economic impacts of a saturated slave economy and wealth/land disparities was what toppled the Roman republic. Once the economic interests of the landed class reached far enough in the opposite direction from the majority of actual citizens, let alone the population, conflict is inevitable.

[ May 16, 2015, 11:50 AM: Message edited by: Orincoro ]

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