Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Facts matter

Black lives matter because lives matter.  It seems self evident, yet the dignity of life is always under attack and probably always has been as long as social animals such as we are have been able to exclude, ostracize, demonize and otherwise put others into categories that exclude that basic dignity, that basic respect and minimum level of equality the nobler of us call basic and even God given.

When it comes to remedies, when it comes to deciding who is being unfairly treated, oppressed, transgressed against, scorned and swept aside by those able to do so -- when it comes to deciding what to do and whether to do it, we seem somewhat unable to find that nobility or even decency, or so I think.  Just look at the results of polls showing how willing Americans are to tolerate torture and cruel punishment. That such things are unpleasant and morally difficult may be the major reason we won't deal with them commensurate with the ideas we pretend are central to our enlightened life. That we don't think much at all until we're provoked or until we're lead around by the people who lead people around may be another. If that weren't so we would long since have gone from "black lives matter" to Life matters.  We haven't. That's a fact.  Facts matter. Facts often damage or even nullify our most passionate arguments. Facts often make fools of us and our foolishness often causes suffering to others.

It's a fact that Black people suffer less from police violence than Native American people do and perhaps more from government policy and historical precedent. It's not all black and white and it's not all about black and white.  Minorities have had it hard -- always.  Concentration camps for American citizens of Japanese decent, forced deportations and exclusion laws for citizens of Chinese descent, burning down of communities, violence and riots and exploitation. Reservations for those who have been here longest; dispossession, deportation, wanton slaughter of innocents. Children deported to countries where they don't know the language, families broken up.  Lives matter.
 
None of the fury in the street is about facts. None of it is about equality of access to the benefits of mainstream culture: opportunity, safety, health care, education -- and one is tempted to see the turmoil and pain as an end in itself that benefits only a small selection of smug hypocrites, who can make nasty racist jokes and comments about any ethnicity and get away with calling detractors racists. 

 Facts matter and the fact is that those who feel marginalized now feel more so, those who like to loot, pillage, rob, steal and murder minority policemen feel more justified. Lives matter and those who don't give a fleeting damn if a man is shot simply for holding a BB gun in Walmart and his wife grilled for hours because he wasn't the right race to care about don't deserve a following. He wasn't holding up stores and didn't grab a policeman's pistol.  He just wasn't black. A Chinese cop, a Hispanic cop, shot in cold blood in the name of fighting racism - who cares? Mah-hi-vist Goodblanket was far more innocent than the "unarmed child" Michael Brown and no one rioted anywhere and no news network obsessed about it for weeks and no mobs called for killing policemen. We didn't get pictures of him in gown and mortarboard or any pictures at all because it's all about black and white and facts mean nothing.

 


4 comments:

Uncle Mark & Lynn said...

Is this a self imposed hiatus? I can understand why one would need a break, it can be a little off putting to say the least. Hopefully, you will be back and if you are not well, get better soon.

Capt. Fogg said...

Pretty much, but thanks for noticing! I've had some problems, but watch this space!

Uncle Mark & Lynn said...

I do with regularity, you're in my bookmarks and I dutifully go through them every day. Glad to have you back!

Camryn Farmer said...

Precisely, there are some discrimination happening on this world nowadays. Like judging LGBT community.
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