I participated in and am still unable to write about the 400+ comment thread on the small protest regarding police brutality and race this past weekend on Lost Coast Outpost. One thing is certain, if LoCO needs to up their readership to meet advertiser’s demands, writing about local race issues is always a sure winner.
Charles Blow, columnist for the NYT has another must-read opinion column on the subject of race and racism in America. Reading this post helps to put into perspective much of the comment section of that post
“Biases are pervasive, but can also be spectral: moving in and out of consideration with little or no notice, without leaving a trace, even without our own awareness. Sometimes the only way to see bias is in the aggregate, to stop staring so hard at a data point and step back so that you can see the data set. Only then can you detect the trails in the dust. Only then can the data do battle with denial.”
He ends with this…
“In this most trying of moments, black men, supported by the people who understand their plight and feel their pain, are saying to the police culture of America, “We can’t breathe!””
What is so meaningful to us locally, especially those on the left, the poor and working class is that many of us understand that there is something wrong with the police culture of America. We also understand this culture, and our apparent inability to account for law enforcement’s mistakes in judgments and action can be color blind. In most parts of the country, race overlaps with poverty. That is much less evident in Humboldt as, by force, law and design we have excluded other races. (Btw, less evident, but still evident.)
To me, that LoCO thread is another reminder in how pervasively race and “other” overlaps our thoughts and prevents us from working together to solve problems we may otherwise agree on. Somehow we on the left have to find a way to ask people to find commonalities and brother (or sister) hood even with those who may look different than they do. In the end, the reason this is so hard to do is we default to our own tribes when resources (ie in our case – living wage jobs) are scarce.
Therefore, often, the poor and the working classes put their trust in those able to supply jobs and willing to silently confirm their instinct to distrust and segregate from those unlike ourselves.
“Give me enough for my labor to put food on my table and give me someone we can blame and we’ll call it good.”