Racism and Justice

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Discuss racism and justice, particularly in America.

-- Dave Van (davevan01@hotmail.com), July 24, 2001


So, here is my post that mysteriously led to my being asked to leave the xeney forum:

Beth wrote: "I do think there are some pretty fucked-up charging decisions made in cases of parental negligence, and I think a lot of it comes down to racism and classism."


"It was assumed that the upper middle class family was devastated by the loss of their baby, and it was assumed that the black single mom had killed hers on purpose."

Why make this about race? If it had been a black family that accidentally left their baby in the car and a white single mom involved in the scalding incident I have no reason to believe both cases wouldn't have been handled in precisely the same manner as they were.

Now, the only possible source of confusion I can spot here is my use of the phrase "I have no reason to believe." This is a commonly used phrase. It doesn't mean it isn't possible, it just means there are other, more likely explanations.

Like, perhaps the prosecutor involved in the case with the black parent believed she had probable cause. Isn't that generally why charges are laid? Somehow, I doubt that skin color is part of that probable cause. Without a complete knowledge of the facts of the case it is rather ridiculous to blame it on race.

An excellent example of this would be the Amadou Diallo case. Four white cops gunned down a black man who was standing in his doorway. His crime was nothing more than reaching for his wallet to show them some ID. This incident, along with this rather ridiculous version of the events served to fuel racial tensions in NYC.

Except that's not how it happened at all. Amadou was acting suspicously, initially ran from the police, and then stopped and pulled out his wallet while turning toward them. They thought it was a gun and shot him.

It is absolutely ridiculous to claim Amadou was shot because he was black. He was shot because he:
1. Ran away from police.
2. He did not keep his hands where they could see them.
3. He pulled a dark object from his pocket that could be mistaken for a gun.
Had he not done those things he would not have been shot. See the correlation here? Do those things and you get shot. Don't do those things and you don't get shot. White or black.

-- Dave Van (davevan01@hotmail.com), July 24, 2001.

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