American Racism: From the Hood to the Precinct » VSB

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American Racism: From the Hood to the Precinct

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Depending on whom you ask, 2 a.m. is counted among the small hours of the day—when the world’s respectable are tucked into the sleepy fold where night meets morning.

But for others, 2 a.m. is when the air falls heaviest on the shoulders, thick with the threat of chaos. A threat known to anyone who’s stood in the ‘hood past dusk: these are the hours when black children disappear into the unmerciful night, at the risk of never seeing morning again.

It was in these restless hours on Tuesday, July 5, when a block still humming with life on Detroit’s lower eastside saw another of its sons lost to eternity. His name—a name now carved into a stadium’s worth of hearts swollen with grief—goes unpublished at the request of his mother. Here, I’ll refer to him, my beloved friend, as Red.

Red’s final moments were spent in an agonizingly familiar way: locked in a standoff with a man who looked like him. A man who, in all likelihood, had also known something of what it meant to be black, poor and terrified of the world beyond one’s door.  And had learned what everyone in that perilous condition at some point must: that the way you outlived the vulnerability was to prove yourself more lethal than all that sought to destroy you. With his final gesture, Red reached out for that man’s hands—hands that cradled his entire life between the thumb and index.

By day’s end, another black man, Alton Sterling, would have his mortality offered as further evidence that black bodies aren’t forged from Kevlar. With the close of the next, Philando Castile would also be forced into those heartbreaking ranks. But unlike Red, these men found themselves not at the mercy of others caught in the unsleeping storm of black fragility, but of officers oath-bound to protect them from it.

By now, even the gods of irony must be tired of this shitty joke. Including its second act: a large chorus of well-credentialed bigots reciting the same corny ass sermon about black-on-black crime. It’s what pundits call misdirection, but more honorable conmen know as the old bait and switch—changing the subject just long enough for the uniformed bandits of black life to slink away unnoticed.

No doubt many still take them at their sacred word. But for black America at least, the jig is up. This stunt would get you laughed out of any black barbershop or hair salon and can never be taken seriously. American racism is durable as hell. Black life perilously less so.

But while we’re here, let’s explore the strange distance drawn between these two genres of violence. It’s something the peddlers of black-on-black crime miraculously manage to confuse—that in America, the violent loss of black life is a genre unto itself.

Consider the days after emancipation, when police stretched out across the old Confederacy to guard the spoils of the world’s most infamous slave empire. For the next century, police served as the state arm of a domestic terrorism campaign, laying waste to black political life across the South and much of the North.

It’s a story as old as America itself. Black freedom then, as now, came with an asterisk and a jackboot to the throat. And modern policing, as a matter of observable reality, is hopelessly bound to that legacy. A legacy that stains the concrete of every black metropolis with more blood than a million lives vanquished at the hands of their neighbors.

Remember that long before he took his last breath, Red lived and breathed on Detroit’s lower eastside. Where neighborhood joints ache from the wounds of history, and every salve is an inevitable reminder of the carnage. Here, life is standing in the eye of a hurricane, stealing joy where possible, but always waiting for one’s turn in the maw.

The origins of such a place are not mysterious. Racist housing policy forged our strife-torn ghettos, leaving black communities to suffer the fallout—recession-level unemployment, grinding and enforced poverty, lower life expectancy, and yes, higher rates of violence among neighbors. All old news to anyone familiar with the skullduggery of American racism—a kind of inferno that’s kindled at every level of government and torches everything in its path. In response, we’ve merely thrown the police at every social ill, fanning more flames than we extinguish along the way. This too ends, with horrific regularity, in the plunder of black life.

But to be clear: one of these is not on par with the other. Officers granted “the lethal power of gods and the meager responsibilities of mere mortals” as Ta-Nehisi Coates writes, is in a class all its own. And a community clobbered by the law for a half millennium will never make peace with it, and will act outside of it. But they spring from the same tradition: one, as I’ve written elsewhere, of sacrificing other people’s flesh at the altar of power.

There are those who’d see Red—along with all the sons and daughters of America’s despised minority—offered as tribute to preserve their way of life. And there are those of us who know the hurricane, and the awesome fragility of not only mortals, but of the worlds they build.

Eli Day

Eli Day is a Detroit-bred writer of policy and plunder, giving you “the news, with a twist—it’s just his ghetto point of view.” He’s contributed to the Huffington Post, TruthOut, and the Detroit News, among others. Eli thinks it a sacred responsibility that James Baldwin never knew a writer who didn’t drink. Reach him at elihday@gmail.com.

  • After President Obama got elected and before he took office I saw him on a talks show talking about gallows humor and It perfectly summed up Black America. We know there is a disaster coming and we laugh in its face. I’m not sure if it’s a good thing or a bad thing but I know it is a real thing.

    • Kas

      Laugh to keep from crying. If you are Richard Pryor’s ex-girlfriend, screaming to keep from laughing.

      • Marycherron

        <<o. ?????????????????????????????????????????????????????:::::::!!br150p:….,….

  • Brass Tacks

    Yawn Nig ga Yawn

    • Kas

      What am I missing?

      • Brooklyn_Bruin

        An elegantly stated solution to the baroquely described problem.

        Baldwin, Coates, Dyson, West and plenty others have said essentially the same.

      • Brass Tacks

        No disrespect intended to Eli or his post. I’m having a debate on another site and didn’t even notice I posted incorrectly until just now.

        • Kas

          Regardless, that is now my new response to everything

          • Brass Tacks

            Yeah. I was thinking of keeping it up cuz shI t was funny when I read it. But vsb is family and even when I don’t agree, I can usually articulate the reasons why better than that.

            Also, Im trying not to get banned.

    • Proverbs31WIFE!

      You hungry? I can feed you.

  • DBoySlim

    Detroit is in the building!

  • The sad thing is that we all know this but we keep perpetuating the bullshyt. It’s the reason why I left the D. Born and raised on the West Side and it kills to me go home. Places where I used to hang are war zones… I can’t even take my baby on an in depth tourbof anything that’s not a tourist attraction because of people who look just like me…Before I left, I rode with my gun on my dayum lap just to get gas at a station where I used to buy Jolly Ranchers… *sigh*

    Something has got to give.

    • Val

      “Something has to give.”

      Three to five thousand living wage jobs there is all it would take to turn the community around. Within 5 years after those jobs appeared the crime rate would drop to almost nothing.

      The solutions is and always has been economic. That’s why those that like things the way they are are constantly trying to make it seem like those communities have some sort of pathology that makes them so different from other communities that nothing will cure its ills.

      The only difference between these communities now and when they were safe communities is jobs.

      • Kas

        What would be your idea(s) for getting viable living wage jobs there? There is quite a bit of capital (grants and loans) being targeted to Detroit right now. I was there early last year for a work off site (downtown for the most part), and it was weirdly vacant.

        • Let’s be clear..those are NOT targeted to actual Detroiters.. they are given to hipsters and implants..

          • Val

            I’ve been reading about how the Whites that left Detroit decades ago and have been sitting on the sidelines talking ish about Black Detroiters are coming back and taking all the new jobs.

            • There’s a group of young Detroiters who never left that are using the system to their advantage….

              • Kas

                Are you considering that a negative or positive?

          • Kas

            I can’t speak to all the funds coming in. But certainly the grant funds that the firm I work for are going to entities that have historically focused on Detroit. Not sure how you are defining actual Detroiters.

            • Actual Detroiters are from Detroit… not the suburbs or out of state.

              • Kas

                My guess is most of the loans are being taken by suburb based organizations. When I was there, I ran into quite a few folks that had relocated from elsewhere for all of the potential opportunities. So while I would like to disagree with you to be contrary, I cant

            • Negro Libre

              There’s been a lot of foreign investment coming in from Dubai, India, Saudi Arabia etc. The prices for real estate are so low, plus the dollar is relatively stable and has low inflation rates that it makes sense.

              There’s a decent article here: http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/20151129/NEWS/311299980/high-returns-bring-foreign-investors-to-detroit-real-estate-market

              • Kas

                My guess EB5 plays a role as well;.

              • Not to mention the Illitch’s were buying up everything that wasn’t nailed down.

        • Val

          It’s always piecemeal, there needs to be a massive influx of jobs. When it’s done with a few jobs here and a few jobs there it doesn’t have an overall positive effect on the local economy.

          I’m talking about an effort that would bring in thousands of living wage jobs all at once. It would take Federal and local governments along with the private sector to make it happen.

          In other words, the same people who took the jobs away need to get together to bring them back.

        • TheCollinB

          Black people banking black
          Black banks being able to give small business loans
          Black business offering the basic services to their communities that other groups currently offer
          Black communities vetting their own political reps

          Basically all black everything.

          • Val

            I hear you, Collin, but if that was going to work it already would have. The reason that it hasn’t is because there are powerful economic forces working to maintain a dysfunctional economic climate in those communities.

            That’s why we have to engage the government and larger private sector to help. Those entities helping serves two purposes. One, it forces them to help fix the mess they made. And two, if they are helping to turn things around that means they are not actively working to keep these communities broken economically.

            • TheCollinB

              Your engagement is spot on. I feel like the turn inward first (as far as all black everything) serves a purpose in building the belief amongst ourselves that we can do what we are setting out to do. Unfortunately we are a culture that was built on faith….but we still wanna see it to believe. Building a strong economic base is a key component I feel. And the buy in has to be legit.

          • Kas

            What would your first step be?

            • Hugh Akston

              we don’t want to plan things for the long term, a lot of sacrifices are needed, but too many of us are thinking “imma do me now, and worry about others later”…rather than having a concrete plan to push forward

              • Kas

                Not going to lie, I fall into the get my own house in order first. However, I am sincerely interested in the thoughts that others have on building a strong Black community.

                • Hugh Akston

                  i think we all should do that…i think we need to get our finances together, and influence political policies…i think what too many of us fail to do is to go beyond our own home…laying out actual foundations for future generations..

                  like in my town right there is a big business being built, when i look at the board of directors, the owners, the investors, i could not even find one token…

                  3000 jobs, billions are being invested, renovations, etc…that’s the kind of collaboration we need…concrete physical infrastructure for the future…

                • MsSula

                  I watched a TEDx recently of this lady who wrote about her year of consuming black. The TEDx was sent to me… because reasons (only miss t-lee might understand why it was sent to me. Loll.).

                  The speech is pretty insightful and she gives great pointers on how they were able to accomplish this. The talk was given in Grand Rapids.

                  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nFBEoIQutSc

            • TheCollinB

              Probably trying to locate a good local minority run bank. Speak with them about my intentions to direct a possible high volume of accounts with the hope that the monies placed in there would potentially able them to offer more business/home loans to POC. IF they’re down then my next step would be talking to local churches about the plan to move monies our monies out of big banks and with the local bank that’s down for the cause. IF they’re down then I’m speaking to the people and having information readily available. And I’m doing this constantly.

            • PriceIsRightHorns

              On a local level, I’m seeking/utilizing doctors, attorneys, restaurant owners, Sky caps, shea butter experts and spa owners (my feet are like we’re good and tired of these 5 inch heels. Whatchu gonna do for us, lol).

              It may not be much, but I feel better. I’m also looking into moving my dollars to a black owned bank. It’s been time.

            • Brooklyn_Bruin

              If we’re talking Detroit, I’d organize a demolition company as a worker’s/producers cooperative.

              The flat organizational structure should allow very competitive bidding. As owners, all of us doing the work aren’t going to be made wealthy by our salaries. But similar co-ops, pay their people well, and invest a portion of their salary into shares held for retirement.

              From there, you obviously do the work, but you also create a formal learning environment for every aspect of the business. Every work day is a teaching day. And every woman on the job will learn how to drive a bulldozer and work a jack hammer. Every man will become an expert on 19th century residential architecture and know what mantles need to be saved. Every teenager should be able to identify copper versus lead piping. Every old person will understand the value of rfid tagging.

              I want to spin offs from the main company in complementary industries. Our demolition experts can now move into restoration and then construction. Because our first cooperative is profitable, we’ll be able to bankroll these independent collectives.

              And everyone that works at the cooperative sees how we get the business, how the money is spent, where the profit goes, the value of reinvesting, etc.

              Most workers are purposefully specialized and then the jobs are deskilled. Great for short term profit, horrible for long term social stability.

              So to recap, a bulldozer and a few folks that will sacrifice short term gain for long term gains. The real key will always being aligning the interests of the individual with the collective. After that it’s not falling into the typical greed traps that most businesses fall into.

      • CheGueverraWitBlingOn

        This this this. Call me woke, call me hotep call me whatever it’s gonna be…It’s call the ghetto for a reason. This is intentional and the solutions are there.

      • CheGueverraWitBlingOn

        Jobs, education and healthcare. But the first lends to the next which will require the third….

  • QueenRaven23

    “one, as I’ve written elsewhere, of sacrificing other people’s flesh at the altar of power.”

    Un huh.

  • Negro Libre

    If we as black people are to rise and have the communities we think we deserve, we have to rethink about our views of economics, finance and entrepreneurship. We also have to pay more attention to the economic innovations and investment opportunities in other nations, especially the emerging markets in Africa and the Caribbean.

    • TheCollinB

      We won’t win the battle through violence (although we should take a stronger stance on our second amendment rights as well) but we can win the battle through economics. Even as a minority group the black dollar is still powerful and its lasting absence in North American economics can guarantee change. But will we do it? Will we endure the inconvenience that change brings or just stay pacified with the bullschit?

      • Negro Libre

        I think part of the issue, is we really need to rethink even this kind of view when it comes to economics. It’s somewhat short-range thinking.

        We should invest in ourselves, because we believe we will get a better ROI, financially first, politically second. The U.S. is the center of the world for lobbying, not just from domestic/multinational corporations and unions, but internationally as well (even Russia, China, Iran etc lobby us for favorable legislation), not even talking about treasury bonds and the rest. Once we have it, and we’ve built it, we can leverage it to get favorable policy and if we can’t get what we want here, we can liquidate our assets and use it to build it in places that will respect out demands, and not only that but build our own blaxit communities.

        We have generally thought too small, looking to the chinatowns, indiatowns, jewish-towns etc, which is a product of thinking small and thinking almost on a sustainability level. Thinking big, competitive and wide in scope is not something we have given much thought or investment too, but we have that kind of capital. The more we invest in ourselves and develop leverage, the more people are going to want to invest of us, if not out of love, at least due to greed and respect. That’s how we grow, expand our influence, and flex our political muscles.

        • Kas

          Greed is the proper approach in a capitalistic society.

          • Katherinefdarden2

            <<o. ?????????????????????????????????????????????????????:::::::!!br739p:….,

        • Hugh Akston

          i think to get to that point it will require a lot of sacrifices that some of us are not ready to do

          Re: Dr Umar on the breakfast club

          • QueenRaven23

            Do you agree with Dr. Umar?

            • Hugh Akston

              certain points, yes definitely

              especially his points about us not wanting to sacrifice now for a better future…the same way how previous generations put their bodies on the create a better future…re: bus boycott and walking

              the show was long so a lot of points were raised-some i agree with, others, i don’t..you would to have to be specific if there is a certain point you disagree, or agree with

            • Sahel

              Just looked him up,the Dr part is under dispute.

          • Negro Libre

            I actually don’t agree with Dr. Umar in general when it comes to economics. To be fair, revolutionary and militant people generally lack the one skill to excel in business, and generally have an utter sense of contempt for it: sales or just selling.

            When you end up going to a third world country and you hit up the flea markets, there is an inherent understanding that no matter where you are in life, no matter how bad things are, these market vendors, many of them men and women who live on a fraction of what a poor person in this country has, that if you don’t go out and seize customers no one will buy what you’re selling. They yell; hype up everything; do whatever they can; to prove and show that whatever it is they are selling is worth it, and will benefit you, no matter what.

            Only a revolutionary/militant has the short-term view that economics based on fear and survial is a lasting proposition that will stand the test of time (thru out African history since the 60’s it has produced nothing but cycles of totalitarianism). No, black entrepreneurs, business-owners, merchants, bankers, investors etc, should appeal to us by making the best product and delivering. Sell to us, appeal to our needs, desires and ambitions, like every gaddam merchant has done since man started traveling the seas for the sake of commerce and gain. This racial solidarity ideal, doesn’t incentivize black business owners to be competitive and ensures that they will rely on the wrong things to keep up with the demands of black consumers and even producers.

            I think if Umar had understood such things, he probably would have had the money he needed for that school. But when the selling point is, “If you don’t invest in me, it’s your own fault that your children get caught up in the system”, we shouldn’t be surprised that people simply don’t come through.

            • MysteryMeat

              I get what your saying and thats all and well in the long run, but in the short, we gooooottttta practice cooperative economics.

              Because bartering with the big powers is one of the reasons on what got got us here and thats even if “they” decide to do buisness with us in the first place. The “system” has had a way of neglecting the black community off drib and legally at that. Our moral is shattered because of this. What better way to change that than to build and progress from dirt to tree then spread the seeds?

              Umar can suck my johnson BTW

              • Negro Libre

                But there really isn’t such a thing as cooperative economics. This is kind of what happens when people develop grand ideas and forget about how actual real people operate in the world.

                A.G. Gaston was once asked for advice about how to get rich in the world of business, and he gave a simple answer, “Find a need and then fulfill it.” All economics is in a nutshell, is people finding solutions to other people’s problems and then others purchasing the goods or services from them because they value the solution more than they value the money they have in hand.

                The “system” maybe powerful, but it is not powerful enough to subjugate the universal laws of supply and demand. Anyone who goes into business, goes into business to make more than they put as in profit. People who invest in businesses, invest in them for profits. People who buy goods and services, get them for gains as well. And the people who do these things do them for the long term, not the short term. For many businesses it can anywhere from 2-5 years to start being profitable…how does collaborative economics change that basic fact?

                I mean commerce is commerce, economics is economics. Change the politics to whatever you like, but the nature of those two terms have and will always be the same. And yeah, Dr. Umar has all the makings of an African dictator…seen to many in my lifetime and studies, not to see the traits there. Watch some of these people’s speeches and see it for yourself.

                • Brooklyn_Bruin

                  There are plenty of economically viable cooperatives all over the world.

                  http://dept.kent.edu/oeoc/oeoclibrary/emiliaromagnalong.htm

                  And Google the Basques and Mondragon.

                  But small business and big business American style aren’t the only options. You’ve got public private partnerships, as well as incubators like y combinator that change incentives and management structures.

                  • Negro Libre

                    I am familiar with cooperatives, most especially with Mondragon, and no the solution doesn’t have to be Americentric. Like I said in my previous comment the fundamentals of commerce and economics are and have always been the same. People are entitled to their own kind of business models that fit the industries they are working in. I’m a part of an incubator myself. However, it’s profits that enable everything else outside of a business to occur (even in most non-profits).

                    The fact is that there’s no guarantee that a business will succeed, regardless of it’s management style or type. The local Amish community, prior to the great recession had an 80% success rate in start-up businesses after 5 years. But yeah, as long as the fundamentals are in mind, it up to whoever takes the venture to determine what they think is needed for it to be successful. There are no universal ways for dealing with the problems of risk.

                    • Brooklyn_Bruin

                      Maybe I misread you

                      ” But there really isn’t such a thing as cooperative economics. ”

                      I just took the plain English meaning

                    • Negro Libre

                      Please re-read.

                    • Brooklyn_Bruin

                      Upon reread, I read it right the first time.

                      There are plenty of economic cooperatives operating in the global economy with all of the rules of supply and demand.

                      Your argument is against the utopian “afrikan” vision that so many unemployed Hoteps have, but not cooperative economics.

                      The only difference between my regular job and a co-op structure is that the decision making and bulk of the profit is for those at the top of the pyramid. Everything else is the same

                    • Negro Libre

                      I see such things as business models, not economies, but I guess that’s just semantics. Like I said before, it’s the fundamentals that ultimately matter.

              • Brooklyn_Bruin

                Planting seeds from the food you eat is a good first move. It makes you a producer and saves on your own consumption. And if you handle your watering needs properly, it can turn a profit.

                Most gardeners end up with more food than they can eat. And since food spoils, that’s a problem.

                Africa and a lot of the developing world has this distribution/infrastructure issue.

                But you could get a lot of informal sharing of fruits and vegetables to those that need. (I’m assuming a whole lot about the soil and lack of contaminants)

                This is all stuff we used to do.

                We have plenty of living black folks that could teach younger generations about gardening/urban farming, canning, storing, and cooking. Aunt Beulah who’s stingy with her potato salad recipe is hurting the race by hoarding her intellectual capital.

                But all of this is uncool and hard work. The immediate rewards are not great enough to get rank and file black folks involved.

                I smoked a brisket month. Had to trim off a few pounds of fat. Turned that fat into beef tallow by letting it render on the grill.

                My neighbors had never seen a regular person smoke a brisket, much less use “waste” to make something that was useful and saved money. I’m not even a country boy!

                Somebody somewhere killed all the native curiosity in these folks. They just consume, and never produce.

                Black zombies are real.

            • Hugh Akston

              you made some valid points, however, there are some things that are a bit problematic

              my reference to Umar was not about his business skills-rather that while he was on breakfast club he alluded to the fact that the sacrifices the early generation made to create changes the current would not do so as there is more* at stake for them…i.e bus boycotting and walk..instead of using public transportation

              i lived in the third* world countries, both in Africa and the Caribbeans…i worked alongside with the merchants that you are speaking of…sat next to them and observed how they operate..and you’re right, they do try their best to sell you whatever it is that they have…with all of their might…the reason? because if they do not they will not eat that night…or for that week…if cousin Abodou does not send that 200 dollars

              they are not working together to create something more productive that could be produce for the mass…what they see is the here and now…and i cannot fault them for that, however, they are not making any real* progress

              one of the things that i learned while working abroad in an unnamed country is how real group economics is…for your merchants to produce something that is highly valuable they need a product…to get you that finish product a good amount of investment is needed…the behind closed door deals are not seen by the public…for instance the yahoo deal that just happened, that was not done in public…we all heard about it, but the meetings that happened day in day out we were not apart of it..the collusion that happened between different companies are seldom spoken upon, and yet it is one of the driving forces in economics…crony capitalism…how many billions have been paid out due to fraud? loan companies?

              you and i can admit that redlining was real…finding loans is harder for blacks than it is for whites…i worked with the Chamber of Commerce in my town and worked with minority companies…even though there are a bunch of programs, grants, available–they are hard to get…they are less likely to be given to them…and now go to the angels…they wouldn’t even look at them…hence why it is important to practice group economics…

              look at a show like Shark Tank..you can definitely see the disparity when it comes to the presentations…once in a while you’ll see a black entrepreneur on the show….there are plenty out there, but the opportunities are lacking to say the least…

              no one is going to take the spoon out of their kids’ mouths to give it to another person…

              there should be a black shark tank…take this blog for example…on a weekly basis, or even monthly…there should be some black business review, or some black products…etc…just an idea..of what it would look like…the same way when i turn on the TV (that i don’t have) i would see a bunch of commercials of products…created mostly by white Americans…if we don’t do that ourselves on a massive scale in this country…it isn’t going to change

              well people take out the goods from, and leave out the rest where it belongs…hence why people didn’t come through…pretty simple really

              • Negro Libre

                moderation

          • Brooklyn_Bruin

            Why did I Google that dude? Smh

            • Hugh Akston

              …………..

        • NomadaNare

          The long range view is to set ourselves up to ride out climate change as it will lead to global geopolitical and social change

          If we anticipate the wave we can ride it If we ignore the issue in hopes that it will just go away or in favor of the trappings of money and wealth like the rest of the country any cohesive action will be obliterated as conflict becomes more erratic and violent

          • Negro Libre

            I remain somewhat skeptical about this.

            I’ve read some about some really disturbing policies in regards to sustainability measure across the globe that makes me side-eye people who use the threat of global warming to basically say people have to be sacrificed in the name of nature. I mean there have been villagers all over Africa who are getting forced into cities because trees need to be maintained. I’ve always been more bothered by the politics of global warming than the science behind it.

            I by no means doubt the existence of climate change, I just wonder why when some scientists and engineers of trying to maintain or improve a standard of living through innovation and commerce, that some people are lowkey saying, that it a necessity that the standard of living of people, all over the world needs to come down (practically speaking) for health us to survive.

            But then again, this is just me.

            • NomadaNare

              If this is how you feel it is because you dont understand the science of climate change

              The truth is that without certain compromises that we also seem unwilling to make and may also make in vain the current Western way of life is unsustainable

              A smart populace takes the hard road ahead of time We as a country and a racially homogeneous population within a country are in a unique position to simultaneously pioneer the engineering necessary for a sustainable future while reducing the costs of that future by voluntarily reducing the costs of our standard of living Why not just do both

              • Negro Libre

                The science behind climate change is not a problem.

                This is an issue about the “who” than about climate change as a scientific problems…and like I said, I’m not just talking about the Western way of life, after all. It’s not just the Western standard of living that is being affected, other countries have been industrializing, especially over the last two decades with the rise of China’s economy and their hunger for natural resources. In countries where people haven’t had strong and developed political systems, especially in the realm of property rights, the execution of sustainability has been pretty fierce and in many cases, undemocratic.

                Developing policy and demanding sacrifices of people without explaining, gaining consensus or coming up with replacements has long term social consequences.

                • NomadaNare

                  Industrialization is the Western way of life

                  And I doubt those long term social consequences are worse than wiping half of us off the map along with half the worlds biodiversity

                  • Negro Libre

                    So with such a mentality, what is to prevent the entire wiping of half the world’s biodiversity through policy? Furthermore can a non-industrialized world support a world of over 7 billion people people? Do you not see the necessity of having these questions answered and the flaws in initiating policies without having them already answered?

                    • NomadaNare

                      There is nothing that would stop this from happening but if that was truly the goal why spend the effort or the money when it would happen anyway The point is it would have been cool to wax philosophical as well as consider the number of angels that could fit on the head of pin two decades ago but the time for that has passed

                      We need action to survive this Not only is climate change in itself a major negative event for humanity but it leads to increased conflict between desperate resource starved populations What happens when some country with nuclear arms can no longer feed it citizens ie when I have to choose between my children or yours How valuable are your considerations of policy implementation then

      • Brooklyn_Bruin

        Like we won with Black Wall Street?

        They have centuries long history of destroying black economic success as well as black bodies.

        Unless that money buys land, clean air and water, and a means to defend it…

        • Sigma_Since 93

          We don’t necessarily need the land if we leverage the old saying the pen is mightier than the sword.

          • Brooklyn_Bruin

            If by pen, you mean laptop, then I agree.

            In this new economy, black folks are in a prime position to mitigate the effects of offline economic racism.

            “American” goods and services can be offered to the globe, or just the nation.

            • Sigma_Since 93

              the laptop but also legal protections for your innovations. I’d like to see Tristan use the Trump method of pimping the system,meld that with pimping some municipality for sweet water, sewer, and electric rates on a old factory, hire a bunch of talented brothas and sistas, and build a dynasty.

        • TheCollinB

          Like we initially won with BWS, yeah. I know what they did to us but it shouldn’t be seen as a deterrent now. We as POC are in a position to re-establish that type of economic system like BWS but on a broader scale. And while they may try to put us in our collective a$$es again they can’t go about it the same way and we should be better equipped to defend ourselves against it, by court room and by arms.

          • Brooklyn_Bruin

            Are we though? We tried mass wealth building 10 years ago by lots of us buying houses. When them other folks house of cards fell down – that wiped a lot of black wealth.

            I’m a realistic optimist though.

            Acquiring wealth and securing it for future generations is pretty straight forward proposition, even though it’s difficult to do. The overall problem that’s plaguing our people, not having gainful employment for all of us. We’re basically tied into their economic system, the same thing that oppresses them to a large degree.

            How do you opt out?

            Even heading back to the motherland, you’ll still at the mercy of their system. Nigeria just floated the Naira (their currency) and it lost 1/3 of it’s value before it stabilized. In a global economy where your citizens, elites, and government have a taste for what them folks are offering – I often see impoverishment.

            China, factory the world, is slowing down. Western Powers are suggesting that their economy switch to services and more domestic consumption. But that’s what advanced economies have done – and everywhere you see that happening money trickles up to the top.

            So it’s bigger picture than the Umar’s of the world are contemplating.

            I’m just writing to to hear myself talk on this though.

    • Sahel

      There has to be an end to consumerism.Once we create to sell,the rest fall in line.At the moment we just purchase,entire rap verses are adverts.smh.

      • Negro Libre

        Exactly. One of the fundamental laws of economics, is you have to produce more than you consume. Once we start doing that, we can vastly change our situation.

  • TheCollinB

    Bro bodied this. Lemme collect more thoughts but this was well put together.

  • CheGueverraWitBlingOn

    This is the most powerful thing that I have read on VSB. I need a few moments to reflect and pull myself together because of power of this truth and how it speaks to our lives.

  • In related news, the final 3 officers are cleared of charges in the Freddie Gray case. Go Team America.

    • Val

      Business as usual in their justice system.

      • I did think the Black woman was going to fall on the sword eventually. At least that didn’t happen.

        • Epsilonicus

          They are already gearing up to run someone against Mosby. Actually two candidates, a white and a black candidate.

          • Ridiculous.

            • Epsilonicus

              Bruh they been planning this. Mosby was not suppose to win. She beat an incumbent.

              They want the person who placed 3rd in the mayoral race to become prosecutor. They already hosting fundraisers. They are getting another black person to run to split the vote.

              • Val

                Payback time. Smh.

              • QueenRaven23

                Smh. I miss Bmore but happy I’m not in that place. I would not be able deal with the crap and what’s going on and what’s about to happen.

      • The man that shot President Regan to Impress Jodie Foster is getting out of jail… we should just take ‘justice’ out of the name.

      • Sigma_Since 93

        Clarification

        Blue Line Business as usual

    • Brooklyn_Bruin

      Burden of proof for the state crime was set too high at the state legislature level.

      The state laws that they were prosecuted under probably required a hard to prove element of intent. And even if proved, there are always statutory defenses given to agents of the state doing state business.

      You can see that black lives matter people haven’t suggested state law changes in their policy.

      http://www.joincampaignzero.org/investigations

      Changes to Federal law and procedure is what BLM advocates.

      I’d be very surprised if they talked to anyone who’s actually in this area of policy.

      • Val

        Isn’t more efficient to try to change Federal law than to go state by state trying to change state laws?

        • States fight tooth and nail to keep things in house. It would probably be better to change at the state level.

          • Val

            So, it’s better to take the resources and the time to try to change the laws in 50 states rather than one push to change Federal law? That doesn’t make sense, Cog.

            • No point in getting a federal law that won’t be used/enforced.

              • Val

                Why wouldn’t it be used or enforced?

                • It’s too difficult to get a federal prosecutor because the states need to turn the case over. Also, you might need to create a whole agency to handle that much caseload.

                  • Val

                    The caseload wouldn’t be that high. We’re only talking about a couple of hundred cases a year in each state. And of those most wouldn’t even need to go to trial.

                    And the point is to make Federal prosecutors the overseers of any and all investigations of police misconduct.

                    • You don’t think municipal over watch committees might be better and more engaged?

                    • Val

                      Police and their unions fight local civilian oversight constantly. And if those boards manage to exist they usually have little power other than to write reports.

                    • We can fix that.

                    • -h.h.h.-

                      depends. at least in NY, there is Civil Rights Law 50-a, which makes confidential most law enforcement and correctional officer “personnel records used to evaluate performance toward continued employment or promotion.” so if you have this into play, how would an civilian oversight board be able to adequately review cases reported?

            • Brooklyn_Bruin

              It’s better to multiply those resources by 50, than focus everything on Washington.

              That’s been the overall problem of liberal/progressive circles, faith in central government.

              • Val

                So, it makes more sense to you to take the next 25 years trying to change state laws than to possibly change fed law over the next four years?

                • Brooklyn_Bruin

                  It’s how a numerical minority has taken control over a huge number of local governments. Aka the republicans. This is the new Bernie Sanders strategy. This was also the old Howard Dean strategy.

                  If you think the both houses of Congress would be easier to convince, i guess we’ll have to agree to disagree.

          • QueenRaven23

            Isn’t this one of main things/points with the bill that was passed in NC. Isn’t it harder to change/get justice on a federal level than state? Everyone was up in arms about the bathroom debate, but the state removed the ability for employees to sue at a state level for possible termination based on discrimination. Which meant that they’d have to fight it on a federal level. Which is a lot harder than state.

            Or at least I think…

        • Brooklyn_Bruin

          Without getting too into federalism, in this case the local state prosecutor couldn’t meet the state burden.

          If you bring in the U.S. Attorney’s office, smarter and better funded, you still need the laws in place and the mandate from the top. For example, Drugs lost importance when terrorism took the prime spot.

          Politically what would be easier to pass? Convince a state legislature or both the House and the Senate?

          • Val

            Man, you will never convince a Republican controlled State legislature to pass any laws to hold police accountable. Ever.

            • Brooklyn_Bruin

              And you won’t convince the Fed either.

              • Val

                We have a much better chance of convincing Congress, who are more apt to be swayed by public pressure. Plus, the Republicans are likely to lose lots of seats in Congress this fall.

        • Epsilonicus

          Meh. Oftentimes states hold more jurisdiction than the feds over police.

          • Val

            That’s the point of changing the law so the Federal gov oversees police investigations.

            • Epsilonicus

              It is probably not constitutional.

              • Val

                Why?

                • Epsilonicus

                  Possible tenth amendment argument.

                  • -h.h.h.-

                    oh yeah Eps, before i forget – http://conf2016.iamempowered.com/

                    next week

                    • Epsilonicus

                      I am out in Pittsburgh for a conference that week. Booooooo!!!

                    • Sigma_Since 93

                      Say whaaaa. Where will you be? I can show you how winners live.

                    • Epsilonicus

                      Hotel Monaco in Pittsburgh

                    • MALynn

                      The monaco chains are noooiiiiiccceeeee! I stayed at the one in Baltimore back in April…my eyes have seen the glory.

                    • Epsilonicus

                      I try to stay in Kimptons as much as possible.

                    • MALynn

                      I aint known man…My superior put me on and now I’m hooked! Your tax dollars at work lol!

                    • Epsilonicus

                      I love the bath robes lol. I also use the bikes when I stay

                    • Sigma_Since 93

                      Gotta link up, have a drink, and talk pure ish about the Ravens

                    • Epsilonicus

                      Hit me on FB

                    • QueenRaven23

                      Um, who’s the ravens fan?

                    • Sigma_Since 93

                      Eps

                    • -h.h.h.-

                      daahhh well…

                      well if you’re going to be in pittsburgh, go get Champ some grits or something lol

                • Brooklyn_Bruin

                  The technical answer is that The U.S. Constitution doesn’t grant the Federal government police powers.

                  Army, yes
                  Regulate commerce, yes
                  Establish post office, yes

                  Run the police in individual states, no.

                  • Val

                    This has nothing to do with the fed running local/ state police.

                    • Brooklyn_Bruin

                      If the state cops have to answer to the Fed, that’s effective control.

                      There is a reason why all the police departments don’t report crime stats to the FBI.

                    • Val

                      So local prosecutors control police?

                    • Brooklyn_Bruin

                      Always have, this is civics 101.

                    • Val

                      I need receipts showing that local prosecutors control police.

                    • Brooklyn_Bruin

                      *looks at camera*

                    • Epsilonicus

                      I would say local control. Whether prosecutors, direct mayoral control, etc it depends on the jurisdiction.

                    • Val

                      Mayors barely have any control other than to fire chiefs. DA’s certainly don’t. We just saw that play out in Baltimore.

                    • Epsilonicus

                      You are looking for blanket rules when it all depends on the jurisdiction. So Baltimore looks different than LA which looks different than Gary Indiana which looks different than Bogolusa Louisiana. Each city, county, state has different rules. Hence why a local approach is necessary. You cant create mandates that cover every jurisdiction.

                    • Val

                      You just made the case for fighting this on a federal level. Otherwise we’d be fighting state and local jurisdictions all over the country for the next 25 years or more.

                      Anyway, y’all, I have a meeting. To be continued.

                    • Epsilonicus

                      It makes sense what you are saying but since it is not constitutional, what you want done can’t be done.

            • -h.h.h.-

              so you want a constitutional amendment making all law enforcement accountable/responsible to the executive branch?

              • Val

                Exec branch? No. Congress would pass a law making police misconduct fall under federal law instead of state law. Just like how the fed is in charge of prosecuting the mafia even when the crimes they commit are local.

                • Epsilonicus

                  The reason that works is because of the money movement across state lines.

                  • Val

                    Not always. Murders by the mafia fall under fed jurisdiction. That’s local.

                    • Brooklyn_Bruin

                      The murders are state crimes, the Fed gets Rico jurisdiction

                    • Val

                      We’ve already seen after 9/11 that if the feds want jurisdiction they can get it.

                    • Brooklyn_Bruin

                      They have jurisdiction over attacks on the country. They didn’t take it from local NYC cops or local Virginia cops.

                    • Val

                      After 9/11 feds passed the Patriot Act. That gives the feds jurisdiction over whatever they want in the name of national security.

                      If that can be done then the feds can pass legislation giving federal prosecutors the power to indict cops.

                • -h.h.h.-

                  i just responded but it’s in moderation…what you’re asking goes against the bill of rights, no?

                  Under the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, the powers not delegated to the Federal Government are reserved to the states or to the people. This implies that the Federal Government does not possess all possible powers, because most of these are reserved to the State governments, and others are reserved to the people.

                  • Val

                    There are exceptions.

                    • Negro Libre

                      In politics and in law, those end up being loopholes, and opportunities for guaranteed corruption and subjectivity…which is mostly what we have today in the legal system.

                    • Val

                      Well, why shouldn’t we take advantage for once.

                    • Bah Debo

                      It’s not a matter of should we take advantage, it’s a matter of can we. It took a national tragedy for the Patriot Act to be passed. I can’t imagine what would need to occur for Congress to work together on an Act that would require federal oversight of all police jurisdictions.
                      It makes sense, but this is America and our politicians ain’t ish.

      • NomadaNare

        I have had my criticisms of campaign zero but this is a new one

        • Brooklyn_Bruin

          They mean well, like the Nation of Islam and Kanye West – but a few trips to the university library, a day of Google searching, a chat with someone in the field should have gotten much better policy.

          Either technocratic or idealistic but thorough – just not what I see.

          Police reform (all rules, all laws, really) is two things

          1) prevention of harm
          2) punishment of wrongdoers

          Where they lack muscle is in punishment.

          The Fed maybe could, and the State probably can’t.

          Body cams and additional training will make some consultants rich, but the footage doesn’t seem to matter in the end, and the training that’s been going on for decades since Rodney King isn’t effective.

          It’s amazing to me personally how many black folks aren’t up on criminal justice issues. If anybody should know, it’s us

      • RewindingtonMaximus

        Once again, the buddy system prevails. The law is in their favor, and so are all the backdoor deals that contribute to keeping the law in their favor.

        • Brooklyn_Bruin

          Yup its by design.

          “These crackas think they slick” (c) Cee Lo Green

          The scary part is that they apply these things to their “own”. Plenty of 2520’s get caught up because their system is so willing ready and able to sacrifice.

          • QueenRaven23

            It’s sad because people applaud it. A life is gone forever. With no punishment.

            • grownandsexy2

              I don’t know how the families cope. I can’t imagine that happening to my love one and people applauding like something great just happened.

          • RewindingtonMaximus

            Well you can always sacrifice pawns when their contributions are no different than anyone else’s. But if they were of importance, it would never happen so quickly.

      • Charles Johnson

        They have no pull except on tv media, they’re not organized into a PAC but a purposefully decentralized force. I feel their goals will be realized with more time than would try to change legislation. Having a talk with the pres does nothing.

  • Other_guy13

    Great post sir! Too busy to really comment but I look forward to more.

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