19 votes

'I was wrong': Officer who shot 911 caller gets 12½ years

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46 comments

  1. [43]
    Algernon_Asimov Link
    As I've followed this story over the past year or so, I've seen a lot of remarks about how this is a race-based case. White police officers don't get charged when they kill innocent people, so...

    As I've followed this story over the past year or so, I've seen a lot of remarks about how this is a race-based case. White police officers don't get charged when they kill innocent people, so charging this brown Muslim police officer is somehow racist. My perspective is that the white police officers should also be charged and prosecuted.

    Police officers, no matter their colour or religion, should be held accountable when they kill any person. They should be held to a higher standard than civilians because it is police officers' duty to protect people, so it's worse when they not only fail to protect people but when they end up being the ones who inflict the harm.

    14 votes
    1. [38]
      kfwyre (edited ) Link Parent
      I agree wholeheartedly with your point, but I think it's important to point out why you've heard people calling this "racist." Many people assume "racist" simply means acting with animus based on...

      I agree wholeheartedly with your point, but I think it's important to point out why you've heard people calling this "racist."

      Many people assume "racist" simply means acting with animus based on someone's perceived race. This is a limited definition, and one that doesn't particularly have a lot of utility anymore, particularly in the United States. Before our civil rights movement, racism took the form of overt hostility, as it was socially acceptable to espouse openly racist beliefs.

      Since the movement, however, our society has shifted to the point that open racial hatred is no longer acceptable. That doesn't mean the animus is gone, nor does it mean that all of the issues of centuries of race-based inequity in our country were suddenly solved. Instead, racism took a different form to adapt to the spotlight. It moved backstage.

      Our Republican Party famously used the "southern strategy" after the civil rights movement to shift racism in politics into benign, neutral-sounding policies. President Richard Nixon's Chief of Staff summarized Nixon's position as "the whole problem is really the blacks. The key is to devise a system that recognized this while not appearing to." New forms of racism now rely on plausible deniability, which has the intended effect of immunizing them against accusations of being exactly what they are. The standard accusation of "racist" won't hold because intention cannot be proven.

      Thus, the term "racist" has shifted as well, though not for everyone. Now it often is used to mean "something that upholds racial hierarchy." This allows people to focus on impact rather than intention, and thereby address acts and beliefs that would otherwise go unchallenged.

      This is not an uncommon definition for "racist", but there are a lot of people who have never had its old meaning challenged. There are also a lot of people who tacitly hide behind the protections the old meaning offers, knowing that it permits them to continue to be racist provided they never show it. Sadly, the old definition has traction not just because of these cases, but also because many people, particularly in the US, tend to bristle and get defensive the moment the word is brought up and then refuse to consider anything further.

      If we reconsider this particular case and look at it through that lens, it's clear that his prosecution does contribute to our racial hierarchy because so many of his white counterparts have gone free for similar acts. It doesn't mean he shouldn't be charged, because while exonerating him would remove the racial element, it would also go against other paradigms of fairness and law. Instead, calling this "racist" is calling attention to the continued racial disparity we face, and the correct solution is exactly the one that you identified.

      25 votes
      1. [37]
        imperialismus Link Parent
        The word racism is a rhetorical nuke. Once it's been dropped, it becomes impossible to defend a position without first clearing it of the radioactive taint of racism. Even outright neo-nazis are...

        The word racism is a rhetorical nuke. Once it's been dropped, it becomes impossible to defend a position without first clearing it of the radioactive taint of racism. Even outright neo-nazis are reluctant to come right out and say "this is racist, and it's the right thing to do."

        Wishful thinking about what a word ought to mean doesn't erase the actual connotations of the word. If you know that the majority of people will understand your words to mean something different and more offensive than you intended, and you persist anyway, you're just being deliberately provocative. If you want to start a conversation, not shut one down, better employ subtler language that clarifies what you actually mean.

        5 votes
        1. [27]
          kfwyre (edited ) Link Parent
          This definition of racism isn't a new thing that I coined and am hoping will catch on. It has been in wide use for a long time now--decades at least. I feel like I first started hearing about it...

          This definition of racism isn't a new thing that I coined and am hoping will catch on. It has been in wide use for a long time now--decades at least. I feel like I first started hearing about it in the early 2000s, and it probably goes back further. I fully agree with the idea that you get more flies with honey, but I also don't think we should hold back our understanding of something so complex as racism to its simplest, weakest definition.

          Also, I'm not sure I follow your first point. Isn't it also a form of rhetorical shutdown to declare an entire term off-limits? It then leaves us in an untenable position: how can we meaningfully address issues if we cannot even name them?

          13 votes
          1. [26]
            imperialismus Link Parent
            There are some terms that are so inflammatory, so laden with historical baggage, that they stand in the way of good discussion. They carry an implicit but very real taint of some of the worst...

            There are some terms that are so inflammatory, so laden with historical baggage, that they stand in the way of good discussion. They carry an implicit but very real taint of some of the worst crimes in history. When you use the a term to refer to the situation "judge pronounces correct verdict on person of color in a situation where many white counterparts got off unfairly lightly" that also recalls the Holocaust, the KKK, and the Rape of Nanking, you are tainting the former with the connotations of the latter. And no matter how much you insist that you really are just talking about the former, those associations are still there, and people will take offense at them. You can't ignore the fact that words have dictionary definitions (some of which may apply, others may not), but also a big set of unspoken associations and assumptions.

            That doesn't mean you can't talk about things. In fact, when you wrote this:

            If we reconsider this particular case and look at it through that lens, it's clear that his prosecution does contribute to our racial hierarchy because so many of his white counterparts have gone free for similar acts. It doesn't mean he shouldn't be charged, because while exonerating him would remove the racial element, it would also go against other paradigms of fairness and law.

            You're talking about it. You're clarifying what you actually mean. But if you think it's a good idea to lump this in with literally Hitler, I fundamentally disagree that you're "calling attention to the continued racial disparity we face." I think you're unnecessarily antagonizing people who actually agree with you in substance, but whose tempers run hot because of the extremely offensive associations your rhetoric recalls.

            2 votes
            1. [25]
              vivaria (edited ) Link Parent
              Maybe I'm too much in my own bubble with how the word 'racist' is used, but are those events really what you think of when you hear the word racist? Genuine curiosity, here, because I don't have...

              that also recalls the Holocaust, the KKK, and the Rape of Nanking, you are tainting the former with the connotations of the latter.

              to lump this in with literally Hitler

              Maybe I'm too much in my own bubble with how the word 'racist' is used, but are those events really what you think of when you hear the word racist? Genuine curiosity, here, because I don't have that association. To me, 'racist' isn't nearly sufficient to describe those atrocities -- that's when I start thinking in terms of much, much heavier words.

              I mean, if 'racist' could only be used to describe massacres and genocides, then we'd be excluding a lot more under the "showing or feeling discrimination or prejudice against people of other races" umbrella than just this story.

              9 votes
              1. [24]
                imperialismus Link Parent
                To be sure, I chose the extreme end of the continuum there. It's not necessarily what the average everyday racist looks like - but the word does bring to mind the kind of attitudes which, if left...

                Maybe I'm too much in my own bubble with how the word 'racist' is used, but are those events really what you think of when you hear the word racist? Genuine curiosity, here, because I don't have that association. To me, 'racist' isn't nearly sufficient to describe those atrocities -- that's when I start thinking in terms of much, much heavier words.

                To be sure, I chose the extreme end of the continuum there. It's not necessarily what the average everyday racist looks like - but the word does bring to mind the kind of attitudes which, if left unchecked, enable such atrocities to happen. To me, it definitely calls to mind an image of active malice more than passive ignorance, even if there is a wide gap between everyday prejudice and actual genocide.

                2 votes
                1. [3]
                  vivaria Link Parent
                  Yeah, that's mainly what I wanted to clear up. Your response to kfwyre was strong and accusatory, with statements like: If there is such a "wide gap between everyday prejudice and actual genocide"...

                  Yeah, that's mainly what I wanted to clear up. Your response to kfwyre was strong and accusatory, with statements like:

                  But if you think it's a good idea to lump this in with literally Hitler

                  If there is such a "wide gap between everyday prejudice and actual genocide" (i.e. a wide spectrum of behaviors that could be classified as racist, all with varying severity) I'm not sure it was very fair to suggest they were making the association between this story and genocide. If anything, that association came from you! :v

                  6 votes
                  1. [2]
                    imperialismus Link Parent
                    In retrospect, the tone was sharper than necessary. Mea culpa. Nevertheless, I stand by my point, if not the exact wording I originally used, which was this: when you use that term, you're...

                    In retrospect, the tone was sharper than necessary. Mea culpa. Nevertheless, I stand by my point, if not the exact wording I originally used, which was this: when you use that term, you're invoking a lot of associations across the spectrum, and for many people, those associations tend more towards the violent and actively dehumanizing end.

                    I'm not sure it was very fair to suggest they were making the association between this story and genocide. If anything, that association came from you!

                    I should be careful about commenting late at night when my head is too tired for subtlety. But I didn't invent the association between racism and violence, even if I took it a bit too far. And my point is that it would be naive to ignore the fact that when you're making a rather subtle point, yet using the same term we also use for blunt violence, you might be pushing away people who should really be allies. See, I don't think kwfyre and I really disagree much in substance, it's more so a meta-disagreement about how to best foster productive debate about difficult issues.

                    This accidentally serves to underline my point, which is that racism is a very explosive topic, and it's very easy for it to descend into uncivil name-calling. Even with people you actually agree with! We should all be careful not to throw more gasoline on the fire than absolutely necessary. And that goes for myself as well.

                    5 votes
                    1. kfwyre Link Parent
                      Thank you for clarifying your points here. It wasn't until this last post that I now understand where you were coming from and, correspondingly, where my comment could have been better worded. In...

                      Thank you for clarifying your points here. It wasn't until this last post that I now understand where you were coming from and, correspondingly, where my comment could have been better worded.

                      In hindsight, my post makes it look like racism has been neatly repackaged for modern audiences, separate from all its ugly associations. That is an error in my conveyance, as you noted, and not in modern models of racism. I should have better qualified that racial hatred and violence have not been eliminated from our understanding of racism but that the definition has expanded to include different aspects in addition to those, many of which get their own specific terms. Wikipedia has a nice rundown of these many aspects.

                      In the interest of simplicity and readability I limited myself to simply using the umbrella term of "racism," but this came at the cost of precision, and I could have used the more specific term of "systemic racism" to avoid that. My framing of it also made a point I wasn't intending to but, from your perspective, clearly did. Thank you for clarifying your response and helping me better identify the issues in mine.

                      2 votes
                2. [20]
                  vivaria Link Parent
                  Ah, okay, so. I want to respond to this idea again. @culturedleftfoot shared a really great article with points I didn't have the perspective to make when I first responded to you. I'm not really...

                  To me, it definitely calls to mind an image of active malice more than passive ignorance, even if there is a wide gap between everyday prejudice and actual genocide.

                  Ah, okay, so. I want to respond to this idea again. @culturedleftfoot shared a really great article with points I didn't have the perspective to make when I first responded to you. I'm not really in a position to explain it better, so I'll just quote a particularly important part (emphasis mine):

                  In DiAngelo’s almost epidemiological vision of white racism, our minds and bodies play host to a pathogen that seeks to replicate itself, sickening us in the process. Like a mutating virus, racism shape-shifts in order to stay alive; when its explicit expression becomes taboo, it hides in coded language. Nor does prejudice disappear when people decide that they will no longer tolerate it. It just looks for ways to avoid detection. “The most effective adaptation of racism over time,” DiAngelo claims, “is the idea that racism is conscious bias held by mean people.” This “good/bad binary,” positing a world of evil racists and compassionate non-racists, is itself a racist construct, eliding systemic injustice and imbuing racism with such shattering moral meaning that white people, especially progressives, cannot bear to face their collusion in it. (Pause on that, white reader. You may have subconsciously developed your strong negative feelings about racism in order to escape having to help dismantle it.) As an ethical thinker, DiAngelo belongs to the utilitarian school, which places less importance on attitudes than on the ways in which attitudes cause harm. Unpacking the fantasy of black men as dangerous and violent, she does not simply fact-check it; she shows the myth’s usefulness to white people—to obscure the historical brutality against African-Americans, and to justify continued abuse.

                  4 votes
                  1. [19]
                    Hypersapien Link Parent
                    Couldn't the same be said of one's determination to find racism in others? That it shifts the definition of racism to achieve its goal?

                    Like a mutating virus, racism shape-shifts in order to stay alive

                    Couldn't the same be said of one's determination to find racism in others? That it shifts the definition of racism to achieve its goal?

                    1. [15]
                      vivaria Link Parent
                      These look like well-meaning questions, but... no, hard no, and I have no tolerance for the logic they're based off of. tl;dr, the goals of people fighting against prejudice are very different...

                      These look like well-meaning questions, but... no, hard no, and I have no tolerance for the logic they're based off of.

                      tl;dr, the goals of people fighting against prejudice are very different than the goals of prejudice itself. Anti-prejudice doesn't shift its definitions to stay alive. If anything, it would love to die, to not have a reason to fight back. Trying to equate the two is an awful idea.

                      5 votes
                      1. [5]
                        mike10010100 Link Parent
                        This is the rhetorical tactic of removing context and nuance in order to make a false equivalence comparison. It's very common among conservatives. Shortened to: "DAE the anti-racists are the real...

                        This is the rhetorical tactic of removing context and nuance in order to make a false equivalence comparison. It's very common among conservatives.

                        Shortened to: "DAE the anti-racists are the real racists?" or "Aren't the tolerant so intolerant?"

                        To which I usually refer to them the Paradox of Tolerance.

                        2 votes
                        1. [4]
                          Hypersapien (edited ) Link Parent
                          I'm nowhere close to being a conservative, and I'm familiar with the Paradox of Tolerance. In fact I've had to explain it to people on occasion. This isn't about "tolerating intolerance". This is...

                          I'm nowhere close to being a conservative, and I'm familiar with the Paradox of Tolerance. In fact I've had to explain it to people on occasion.

                          This isn't about "tolerating intolerance". This is about being so eager to wipe out every apparent shred of racism from society that people who aren't racists get caught up in your wrath as well.

                          This is about how Zero-Tolerance Policies always make things worse.

                          1 vote
                          1. [2]
                            vivaria (edited ) Link Parent
                            Funny you mention that, because the "people who are racist/people who aren't racist" binary is exactly what the quote I linked a few comments up was trying to call out. By getting more and more...

                            people who aren't racists

                            Funny you mention that, because the "people who are racist/people who aren't racist" binary is exactly what the quote I linked a few comments up was trying to call out.

                            “The most effective adaptation of racism over time,” DiAngelo claims, “is the idea that racism is conscious bias held by mean people.” This “good/bad binary,” positing a world of evil racists and compassionate non-racists, is itself a racist construct, eliding systemic injustice and imbuing racism with such shattering moral meaning that white people, especially progressives, cannot bear to face their collusion in it.

                            By getting more and more granular with racism, the goal isn't to call out individual people as being 'racists'. That would be an oversimplification of how complex people (and the systems they live in) are. Instead, the point of the granularity is to move past that binary of "racist/not racist" and explore the more nuanced ways that racism influences our lives. It's about shining a light on how discrimination can perpetuate in subtle ways that are different than the ways we're typically taught. (e.g. you can say that a system has racist aspects that disproportionately benefit/harm specific groups without necessarily pillorying everyone in that system as a capital-R racist.) It's also about looking inwards and asking ourselves how these systems have impacted our growth, seeing as we were raised (and now live) in them. "Are we turning a blind eye to systemic injustice? Are we acting as though racism is over and in the past, when in reality its tendrils are much deeper and harder to uproot?"

                            This is about how Zero-Tolerance Policies always make things worse.

                            I don't know the best way to share these ideas. There are other people who could speak to this part. I'm just an ally, and I don't really have the understanding to say which form of 'speaking up' gets the word out best.

                            I do want to say, though, that this is a pretty broad, sweeping statement and I can't imagine it accurately reflects how change has occurred in the past.

                            1 vote
                            1. Hypersapien Link Parent
                              I care far less about any stated goals than I do about the effects of the left's actions. Goals and effects are two entirely different things. You can't expect people to act in accordance with...

                              the goal isn't to call out individual people as being 'racists'

                              I care far less about any stated goals than I do about the effects of the left's actions. Goals and effects are two entirely different things. You can't expect people to act in accordance with your goals. You have to tailor your interactions with them in order to achieve your desired effects on them. If you want to make any change, you have to understand where the individual you are dealing with is coming from.

                              The simple fact is that the word "racist" so emotionally loaded that you can not have a civil conversation once any one person aims it at another. It doesn't matter how it's intended. It only matters how it's perceived. I understand that you're trying to change the definition to refer to institutional trends that people might follow without realizing, but that's simply not going to happen. The word "racist" should be reserved for people who have active contempt and prejudice for other races. As long as you keep using the word for people who don't fall into that category you will receive backlash after backlash after backlash.

                              2 votes
                          2. mike10010100 Link Parent
                            Please detail a time when this has occurred. I'd love to see what the general public's response was and the outcome of it. Except the only person who thinks that this is a zero tolerance policy...

                            This is about being so eager to wipe out every apparent shred of racism from society that people who aren't racists get caught up in your wrath as well.

                            Please detail a time when this has occurred. I'd love to see what the general public's response was and the outcome of it.

                            This is about how Zero-Tolerance Policies always make things worse.

                            Except the only person who thinks that this is a zero tolerance policy other than a discussion is you.

                            1 vote
                      2. [9]
                        Hypersapien Link Parent
                        Just because your goals are noble doesn't mean you're doing the right thing to achieve those goals, or that you aren't doing something entirely counterproductive to achieving them.

                        Just because your goals are noble doesn't mean you're doing the right thing to achieve those goals, or that you aren't doing something entirely counterproductive to achieving them.

                        1 vote
                        1. [8]
                          mike10010100 Link Parent
                          Do tell, what do you believe the "right things" are to achieve those goals, or which things are counterproductive to achieving them? Be specific please.

                          Do tell, what do you believe the "right things" are to achieve those goals, or which things are counterproductive to achieving them? Be specific please.

                          2 votes
                          1. [7]
                            Hypersapien Link Parent
                            Creating instant animosity by accusing people of being racist even if they've never actively done or said anything racist. Do you honestly expect people who try to treat everyone fairly to not...

                            Creating instant animosity by accusing people of being racist even if they've never actively done or said anything racist.

                            Do you honestly expect people who try to treat everyone fairly to not react negatively to the left then that happens?

                            1 vote
                            1. [6]
                              mike10010100 Link Parent
                              By what definition of racism? If they've been misinformed on the subject, then I can understand how they would take offense. I expect them to be able to listen when people say that they're...

                              even if they've never actively done or said anything racist.

                              By what definition of racism? If they've been misinformed on the subject, then I can understand how they would take offense.

                              Do you honestly expect people who try to treat everyone fairly to not react negatively to the left then that happens?

                              I expect them to be able to listen when people say that they're reinforcing racial hierarchies without resorting to knee-jerk feels-based reactions.

                              And, again, I notice that you didn't actually describe what the "right things" are to achieve those goals, and merely focused on the "wrong things". If you can only criticize without a constructive attempt at a solution or improvement, it feels very "I don't like it, don't ask me to change" and less "I think there's a better way".

                              2 votes
                              1. [5]
                                Hypersapien Link Parent
                                No, that's what you want. If you base your expectations on what you want, you're going to be disappointed every single time. Expecting someone to calmly listen to you when you're calling them a...

                                I expect them to be able to listen when people say that they're reinforcing racial hierarchies without resorting to knee-jerk feels-based reactions.

                                No, that's what you want. If you base your expectations on what you want, you're going to be disappointed every single time.

                                Expecting someone to calmly listen to you when you're calling them a racist is like a fundamentalist Christian expecting someone to calmly listen to their conversion attempts after calling them a "sinner".

                                1. [4]
                                  mike10010100 Link Parent
                                  Wait, expecting people to listen to a statement and change their behavior once they realize it's hurting others is wrong? So, again, what words should we be using to describe someone who, through...

                                  No, that's what you want. If you base your expectations on what you want, you're going to be disappointed every single time.

                                  Wait, expecting people to listen to a statement and change their behavior once they realize it's hurting others is wrong?

                                  So, again, what words should we be using to describe someone who, through their own inaction, passivity, or unconscious bias, reinforces racial hierarchy?

                                  Also, I find it ironic that those people who would be upset at people calling them racist or saying that their behavior is racist are often the ones calling others "snowflakes".

                                  1 vote
                                  1. [3]
                                    Hypersapien Link Parent
                                    Don't use labels. Explain the effects of their actions without using the word "racist" or any other emotionally explosive terms. In other words, treat them like an individual.

                                    again, what words should we be using

                                    Don't use labels. Explain the effects of their actions without using the word "racist" or any other emotionally explosive terms.

                                    In other words, treat them like an individual.

                                    1. [2]
                                      mike10010100 Link Parent
                                      So you believe that if we start the conversation with "you're reinforcing a racial hierarchy" instead of "you're being racist", they'll be more likely to listen? I guess I understand that. But it...

                                      So you believe that if we start the conversation with "you're reinforcing a racial hierarchy" instead of "you're being racist", they'll be more likely to listen?

                                      I guess I understand that. But it seems like we shouldn't be treating this topic with kid gloves any more considering there are people literally marching in the streets with Nazi flags and open racists being elected to public office. And it seems like pointing to an emotional, knee-jerk response as a reason to not use a commonly accepted term is jumping through hoops.

                                      3 votes
                                      1. Hypersapien Link Parent
                                        No. I believe I specified "other emotionally explosive terms". There is nothing that you can use with every person. There are no one-liners or trite phrases that you can use universally. I said...

                                        So you believe that if we start the conversation with "you're reinforcing a racial hierarchy"

                                        No. I believe I specified "other emotionally explosive terms".

                                        There is nothing that you can use with every person. There are no one-liners or trite phrases that you can use universally.

                                        I said "Explain what they are doing". Saying "you're reinforcing a racial hierarchy" explains NOTHING.

                    2. [3]
                      kfwyre Link Parent
                      Isn't that a tautology though? If what you're identifying changes, then you have to change what you're identifying, right? I'm not sure I understand.

                      Isn't that a tautology though? If what you're identifying changes, then you have to change what you're identifying, right? I'm not sure I understand.

                      2 votes
                      1. [2]
                        Hypersapien Link Parent
                        Is you're changing what you're identifying, why are you referring to it by the same name?

                        Is you're changing what you're identifying, why are you referring to it by the same name?

                        1 vote
                        1. mike10010100 Link Parent
                          Because it results in the same outcome: marginalization and subjugation of a specific population of people based solely on their racial makeup.

                          Because it results in the same outcome: marginalization and subjugation of a specific population of people based solely on their racial makeup.

                          1 vote
        2. [3]
          culturedleftfoot Link Parent
          I have found that it's primarily people who are more or less sheltered from the nuances of contemporary racism that cling to this viewpoint. I would suggest that just about anyone who engages with...

          The word racism is a rhetorical nuke. Once it's been dropped, it becomes impossible to defend a position without first clearing it of the radioactive taint of racism.

          I have found that it's primarily people who are more or less sheltered from the nuances of contemporary racism that cling to this viewpoint. I would suggest that just about anyone who engages with the question of race on a more-than-occasional basis has enough perspective to keep in mind being called racist is nowhere near as bad as actually being racist, and can debate accordingly.

          If you know that the majority of people will understand your words to mean something different and more offensive than you intended, and you persist anyway, you're just being deliberately provocative.

          That's not necessarily the intent. Consider this: the conversation around race occurs primarily outside the view of the pearl-clutchers. Remember, they're mostly sheltered from it. So, the conversation moves forward without them and common understanding is achieved among the regular participants. It would behoove the 'guests' to the conversation, so to speak, to listen and learn the current state of discourse before proffering their viewpoints if they want to be taken seriously. Otherwise, you can hardly blame folks for talking past them. Stopping to explain context and paradigms for every person who joins, especially when they show no awareness of or desire to overcome their own ignorance, simply slows down and derails the convo. That's the case in sports arguments just as much as discussions about racism.

          8 votes
          1. [2]
            imperialismus Link Parent
            Perhaps I have a more pessimistic view of (especially online) discourse on racism than you. In my experience, you can say substantially the exact same things and keep a civil conversation, but the...

            Perhaps I have a more pessimistic view of (especially online) discourse on racism than you. In my experience, you can say substantially the exact same things and keep a civil conversation, but the moment you attach a label to it, the conversation immediately becomes much more polarized and heated. Perhaps that's not how things ought to be, but it's how things are in my experience.

            1. culturedleftfoot Link Parent
              I don't doubt that at all, but again, consider why. Particularly in the US, someone's lack of racial stamina has an almost direct relationship to their finding most examination of racism uncivil.

              I don't doubt that at all, but again, consider why. Particularly in the US, someone's lack of racial stamina has an almost direct relationship to their finding most examination of racism uncivil.

              3 votes
        3. [6]
          mike10010100 Link Parent
          So what word should we use when people make judgements based solely off of race or act in a way that reinforces racial hierarchy?

          So what word should we use when people make judgements based solely off of race or act in a way that reinforces racial hierarchy?

          3 votes
          1. [5]
            Greg Link Parent
            I find this question particularly interesting because it seems to cut to the heart of a lot of the debate in this thread. From one viewpoint, "mak[ing] judgements based solely off of race or...

            I find this question particularly interesting because it seems to cut to the heart of a lot of the debate in this thread.

            From one viewpoint, "mak[ing] judgements based solely off of race or act[ing] in a way that reinforces racial hierarchy" is a single compound statement: the outcome is harmful, therefore the actions causing that harm are all related and referred to by a single term. From your phrasing, it sounds like this is your view, although I would be interested to hear if I'm mistaken.

            From another viewpoint, those are two separate actions that need separate terms: to make a judgement is active, but to reinforce a hierarchy can be passive or even unknowing. Others in this thread seem to take this view - that the word "racism" implies active participation (and, by extension, malice).

            2 votes
            1. [4]
              mike10010100 (edited ) Link Parent
              It's also that the outcomes are effectively the same, but yes, you're correct. But you reinforce heirarchy by making judgements. Just because they're subconscious, passive, or unknowing doesn't...

              the outcome is harmful, therefore the actions causing that harm are all related and referred to by a single term.

              It's also that the outcomes are effectively the same, but yes, you're correct.

              From another viewpoint, those are two separate actions that need separate terms: to make a judgement is active, but to reinforce a hierarchy can be passive or even unknowing.

              But you reinforce heirarchy by making judgements. Just because they're subconscious, passive, or unknowing doesn't mean that judgements weren't made. If judgements weren't made, then it wouldn't have any effect on reinforcing racial hierarchy.

              That's why people focus on the outcome in the modern definition of racism: it's born of both an active participation and a passive reinforcement. A good way to think about it is: "bad people succeed when good people do nothing."

              1 vote
              1. [3]
                Greg Link Parent
                Fair - how would you feel if that second point were rephrased as: "to make a judgement based on race is active, but to reinforce a hierarchy can be passive or even unknowing by making judgements...

                Fair - how would you feel if that second point were rephrased as: "to make a judgement based on race is active, but to reinforce a hierarchy can be passive or even unknowing by making judgements that do not consider race"? Not as a description of your own opinion, but as a description of how other people see the language.

                We're down in the weeds of semantics here, I know, but what I see in this thread (and in similar threads elsewhere) is disagreement between people nominally on the same "side" that seems rooted more in the language used than in any fundamental difference of opinion on the issues.

                1 vote
                1. [2]
                  mike10010100 Link Parent
                  See, it's the "by making judgements that do not consider race" bit that I'm confused about. Perhaps if you gave an example, it would be easier to conceive. Because, from my viewpoint, even if...

                  See, it's the "by making judgements that do not consider race" bit that I'm confused about. Perhaps if you gave an example, it would be easier to conceive. Because, from my viewpoint, even if someone doesn't think they make judgements that consider race, the point of discussing racism is that their unconscious biases or secondary opinions are effectively making judgements based on race.

                  For example: "I don't hate black people, I just think 'urban culture' is a blight on America".

                  1 vote
                  1. Greg Link Parent
                    So that example, to me, would very much fall into the "active judgement" side of things - it's just using coded phrases in an attempt to retain a veneer of social acceptability. The speaker is...

                    So that example, to me, would very much fall into the "active judgement" side of things - it's just using coded phrases in an attempt to retain a veneer of social acceptability. The speaker is well aware that race is a predominant part of the issue, and is choosing to cast negative judgement on a specific group of people.

                    A passive or unknowing example might be "school funding should remain tied to local property taxes". It's quite possible to hold this belief as an apparently positive view on local engagement, community self-sufficiency, and fairness. The speaker thinks they are just being a good neighbour, but they are neglecting to consider the American history of segregated neighbourhoods, the interplay of class and race, and the way that educational inequality can perpetuate these issues.

                    1 vote
    2. [3]
      vivaria Link Parent
      I'm not sure how this perspective of yours on how things should be addresses the aforementioned remarks on how things are.

      My perspective is that the white police officers should also be charged and prosecuted.

      Police officers, no matter their colour or religion, should be held accountable when they kill any person. They should be held to a higher standard than civilians because it is police officers' duty to protect people, so it's worse when they not only fail to protect people but when they end up being the ones who inflict the harm.

      I'm not sure how this perspective of yours on how things should be addresses the aforementioned remarks on how things are.

      10 votes
      1. [2]
        Algernon_Asimov Link Parent
        I think the perspective is reversed. People are complaining because a brown police officer was charged. I'm complaining because the white police officers are not charged.

        I think the perspective is reversed. People are complaining because a brown police officer was charged. I'm complaining because the white police officers are not charged.

        4 votes
        1. vivaria Link Parent
          Ah, alright, gotcha. I interpreted it as a bit as dismissive/invalidating, sort of a "why are you all complaining about race? That isn't the problem, this is the actual problem." Combined with the...

          Ah, alright, gotcha. I interpreted it as a bit as dismissive/invalidating, sort of a "why are you all complaining about race? That isn't the problem, this is the actual problem." Combined with the wording of the "somehow racist" bit, it came off a bit like you were minimizing the issue of racism in law enforcement. Struck me as the kind of wording that people use when they say "why are we focusing so much on marginalized groups, can't we just make sure all people are treated equally?" It sweeps the systemic reasons for why this is happening under the rug a bit. (Not to suggest you hold that stance, but I reacted strongly to the sort of perspective that I interpreted.)

          Sorry about that.

          6 votes
    3. aphoenix Link Parent
      If the ruling for police officers is generally that they don't get time for shooting people, then it's disingenuous to suggest that this case is not racist. It's certainly wrapped up in a...

      If the ruling for police officers is generally that they don't get time for shooting people, then it's disingenuous to suggest that this case is not racist. It's certainly wrapped up in a different problem, which is the lack of accountability for American police officers. The sentence for this officer isn't a step towards fixing that unless they actually start doing the same thing when a white cop murders a black kid.

      If this is the case where accountability starts for all police, including the white ones, then I'll happily retract this comment, but I'm not going to hold my breath.

      5 votes
  2. [2]
    Nivlak Link
    This story is interesting if you look at it in conjunction with the other case happening in Florida where the officer is being charged with neglect and other pretty serious charges for not...

    This story is interesting if you look at it in conjunction with the other case happening in Florida where the officer is being charged with neglect and other pretty serious charges for not entering the school to confront the shooter. He is facing up to 97 years. This officer gets 12 for actually killing an innocent person. What to make of this ?

    8 votes
    1. gabelanglais (edited ) Link Parent
      I'm not going to comment on whether the officer should get 12 years for killing an innocent person. I believe this would lead into an unproductive debate on what is the right amount of retribution...

      I'm not going to comment on whether the officer should get 12 years for killing an innocent person. I believe this would lead into an unproductive debate on what is the right amount of retribution for taking a life, everyone has their own opinion.

      On the other hand, I believe that the officer who neglected the Parkland students should face up to 97 years. If the officer went in and looked for him, and was unsuccessful in stopping the shooting, no one would be against him. Yet the man did not even go into the building when he heard the gunshots. Now I'm not saying that everyone should charge into a gunfight. I can't blame the man for being scared. But at the end of the day, he was an on duty law enforcement officer who sat back and watched the tragedy play out.

      4 votes
  3. Deimos Link
    This thread is just pedantry about the meaning of the word "racism" now.

    This thread is just pedantry about the meaning of the word "racism" now.

    3 votes