I’m kind of torn about “Black Lives Matter”.
On the one hand, our criminal justice system has 99 problems, and racism is one. Militarization, abuse of qualified immunity, the erosion of the Fourth Amendment, a drug war that’s been a complete failure, a mass of county and federal prosecutors driven by poiltics rather than justice, and on and on.
And “BLM”‘s stated national goals are, largely, on target in my opinion. Not all of them – “broken windows” policing is a fine way of lowering crime, as long as it doesn’t get abused, yadda yadda – and is largely supported by the black communities on whose behalf BLM purports to protest.
On the other, to say racism is a pervasive force in American life, compared to 50 or 100 years ago, is madness. Alternatively; “we-ism” is a problem everywhere on earth; it’s part of human nature.
Which isn’t to say I think BLM
But so as long as BLM focuses on our criminal justice system? They may have a good point. And I’m all behind people’s right to protest (while noting correctly that their claims of “institutional racism” kinda fall flat when you see how Official Minnesota has bent over backward to accomodate their protests; had the Tea Party or GOCRA blocked a freeway during rush hour, there’d have been tear gas and dogs).
Problem is, there’s some scope creep going on.
How’s That?: The organizer of tomorrow’s planned State Fair protest, Rashad Turner, is either talking a lot of big talk, or playing peek-a-boo with the Twin Cities media, hinting at violence being possible.
Is he basically saying “Hey, media! Being cameras! You never know what’s gonna happen!”?
Or is he hoping to draw a few extra testosterone-jacked adolescents to the event with visions of mixing it up with cops dancing through their heads, to an area that’ll have more video cameras than Charlie Sheen’s boudoir?
Or is Rashad Turner himself one of those adolescents?
I suspect we’ll find out tomorrow. Either way, it’s either a dumb manipulation (that’ll probably work), or a lot of really stupid talk.
Scope Creep: And let me emphasize – I support protest, and limiting the power of government. The police exist for a reason – but the idea that they work for us seems to be eroding over time.
So as far as that goes? I’ll give BLM a listen.
But behind the criminal justice talk is all sorts of politics:
“Although there are elements of racism and white supremacy that are there, a simple policy change would be to start tracking [ethnicity] so we can be more intentional about representing the community,” he says. “I don’t think that anybody likes to check a box, but that would be a simple step to create an affirmative action process.”…BLM also wants the fair to be more transparent about its vetting of applications, and to make sure its top organizers include black, Asian and Latino people, says Nekima Levy-Pounds, president of the Minneapolis NAACP.
“Certain businesses are almost going to be guaranteed a spot if they’ve been there at the fair for a long time, and that’s obviously going to work to the disadvantage of minority-owned businesses and new businesses who weren’t given access to be vendors back when the fair began,” Levy-Pounds says. “This is a majority-white state that’s becoming more racially and ethnically diverse, and a colorblind policy is no longer effective at ensuring equal access to opportunity.”
But a free market that includes lots of minority businesspeople that know how to write a business plan and sell an idea is effective at ensuring that access.
But I don’t think that’s what they’re after. Because…:
New Wrapper, Same Old Candy Bar: But here’s a fearless prediction: once the talk turns past policing and justice to government economic policy, BLM will be all about promoting “progressive” politics; they’ve already protested in favor of raising the minimum wage, and Levy-Pounds has just thrown in on affirmative action.
One of the questions I’ve heard asked of BLM is “why are you protesting in places like South Minneapolis and the Midway? Why aren’t you protesting in front of the Governor’s mansion, or in Kenwood, or Maple Grove or Lakeville, where the actual power is?”
One possible answer; because BLM isn’t about who’s in power. It’s about whipping up the black vote in 2016, in a race where all the candidates will be old and white and in dire need of some of that Obama coalition to drag their sagging carcasses over the finish line.
And you’re not going to find those voters on Summit, or in Kenwood, or in Maple Grove.
Too cynical? Perhaps. But experience tells me that “too cynical” is just about right, most of the time.