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Monday, August 10, 2015

Race and Acceptance

For John, BLUFWe need a conversation on race but it can't be just a lecture.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

While checking out a different article I stumbled across this OpEd from The International New York Times.  The headline is "‘Black Lives Matter’ and the G.O.P.".  The writer is NYT staff opinionator Charles M. Blow.

The writer focuses on the Republicans and passes over the incident with Candidate Bernie Sanders.  That was fine.  You can only cover so much of the waterfront within the word limit of the OpEd Page.  That said, I think he should go back and look at that issue at some point.  Why Senator Bernie Sanders?  Less security?  More news benefit?  Something else?

Back to what Mr Blow did write, here is what I take to be the two key paragraphs (in the first of them he is referencing Governor Scott Walker's response to a question):

Both the question and the answer focused an inordinate amount of attention on police conduct and not enough on revealing that they are simply the agents of policy instituted by officials at the behest of the body politic.

This deficit of examining systems exists all across this debate.  It fails to indict society as a whole, as I firmly believe it should.  It puts all the focus on the tip of the spear rather than on the spear itself.

I like the idea of examining the overall system and not just this or that part.  This isn't just taking the car in for an oil change.  This is asking about how the car as a whole, as an overall system, as part of a larger system of roads and parking and traffic controls, works.

We need to ask what is going on in our nation.  A friend of mine, whose Parents are from China, says he sees racism in some circumstances.  On the other hand, the quotas at Harvard didn't keep him out.  I wonder about it in Lowell, with our 20% of the population from Southeast Asia.  I don't see it in the trenches, but then I don't live in the trenches.  I am on the License Commission, but I am thinking we are working hard to help minorities, especially those who are recent immigrants.  On the other hand, we as a nation obviously have problems, as the one year anniversary of the Furguson Incident shows.

Mr Blow calls for us "to indict society as a whole".  I agree, but that is going to be hard.  Part of that examination needs to be to see if underclass culture is compatible with the rest of society.  This touches on what Daniel Patrick Moynihan discussed way back in the Johnson Administration.  That phase of the indictment would look like blaming the victim, something that is currently very unpopular.  But, it is an issue to be faced.  When I drive through Washington NE I am not concerned about safety.  When I drive through Washington SE, or parts of it, I am.  I see Black culture in both, but different Black cultures.  Why has one prospered and one not?  Or am I missing something?  This problem is too important to not ask questions and to not speak up.

Remember, a systems approach.  Examine the whole system.

Regards  —  Cliff

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