The economic side of racial discrimination.

This year has been filled with examples of racial discrimination and police brutality. From Ferguson to Cleveland to McKinney, Texas, we've seen tons of coverage about these often-tragic events, but rarely do we see real discussion about the conditions that lead up to such violence.

Despite what many on the Right claim, our nation has not yet repaired the damage of 250 years of slavery and another 100 years of Jim Crow. And, the fact that we have an African American president does not erase the institutional racism that persists in much of our country.

In a recent op-ed in the Guardian Newspaper, Congressman Keith Ellison explained how “the systematic economic abandonment of black neighborhoods” and “the failed war on drugs” created the violent police tactics that spawned the Black Lives Matter movement.

Congressman Ellison pointed out that in the last 30 years, Republicans enacted policies that left communities of color without jobs or resources, and then criminalized the resulting conditions and sent millions of black men to prison. But, Ellison said, the results of those tactics, “are inevitable, not unstoppable.”

The fact is, we can create economic opportunity in communities of color by investing in those neighborhoods. And, we can stop police brutality with better training, more resources, and an end to Nixon's failed drug war.

These aren't radical ideas, they're common sense, and they benefit our nation as a whole as much as they benefit minorities.

Congressman Ellison wrote, “We can't wait another 30 years and just hope that the systematic poverty upheld by Republican policies goes away on its own.”

In order to be a stronger, more equal nation, we must lift up all our communities and put an end to institutional racism once and for all.


Kilosqrd's picture
Kilosqrd 7 years 41 weeks ago

This is a joke right? Ferguson? We've known for a long time now that "hands up, don't shoot" was a lie. A Cleveland child was shot by police in a public park as he was pointing a pellet gun (kinda looked like a Colt 1911) at passers by. I still don't know what caused the Mckinney, Tx. episode. I only saw what happened after the cops showed up.

A real discussion is what you are looking for, Thom? Why don't we begin with our ex-AG who said we are "a nation of cowards" when it comes to discussing race. I don't see it that way at all. Many of us on the conservative side of the fence have been talking about it for decades. It is those on the left that don't want to talk about it in order to avoid all the liberal policies that have damaged/destroyed the black family structure. Let's talk about how people were saying that the election of a black man was proof that the U.S. was finally beyond race. Let's talk about one radio show host said that the election of Obama would only make matters worse when it came to race relations. And he has been proven correct as any critisism of Obama's policies are only seen through race. Let's talk about Travon Martin, who the POTUS said, if he had a son, he would look like Travon, who was killed while assaulting GZ. Let's talk about Pres. BO saying "the cops acted stupidly" before even knowing the facts surrounding the Skip Gates episode. Let's talk about people like Condi Rice, Clarence Thomas, Ben Carson, Walter Williams, Shelby Steele et. al. who are impugned and berated by the left for having a different viewpoint.

As regards to Keith Ellison, well he is an idiot. 30 years of Republican policies? That is the reason for black unemployment? Do you really stand behind such drivel, Thom?

7 years of Obama's economic policies and the black unemployment stands at what? Black teen unemployment is what? And Rep. Ellison has nothing but "blame the Republicans."

"Black Lives matter" movement? How many black children never make it out of the womb due to abortion? Black Lives matter is an oxymoron, Thom.

So, before Rep. Ellison, you, or any other liberal points the finger at Republicans. I say clean up your own house first.

RaleighMom's picture
RaleighMom 7 years 41 weeks ago

Excellent, right to the point analysis as usual, Thom!! Wanted to make a suggestion. It's not fair for taxpayers to pay the price for rogue cops. One possible solution: require every police officer to pay for, and carry an "excessive force" personal liability poilcy. First incident, premium goes up but not excessively. Second, third, fourth, fifth--it's a different story. This makes the police officer put skin into the game and gives him/her an incentive to avoid excessive force to the fullest extent possible.

flyguy8650's picture
flyguy8650 7 years 41 weeks ago

Well said, well written. Lets look at the family structure....72% increase of babies born to single mothers....More babies - More welfare $$ - more dysfunctional members of society. White, Black, Brown or Purple. The failure of the traditional or even non traditional familes is why we have the this underclass. Over 3 trillion dollars spent on poverty???? Why not just write a large check to each poor person for 1 million? That would be less than what the Feds and States spend now per person.

We created a welfare state and borrowed from our children and grand children. The end will come. It wont be pretty and frankly I believe it is too late!!!

flyguy8650's picture
flyguy8650 7 years 41 weeks ago

Not a bad idea except would need to limit criminal prosecution. Liability could also be carried by Police Unions for each officer instead of political donations. Frankly, this is not the problem. The problem is the culture and socialization breakdown in the US. We created this mess by trying to spend money on the wrong things and letting the Feds and States control or steal, the money. Less than 1% of police interactions are violent. There is more black on black murders and crime than the police. The Race Pimps - (Sharpton, Jackson, Left Wing Media) are very culpable as well. Main stream media too - they never cover when a black cop shoots a white guy do they???

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 7 years 41 weeks ago

kilosqrd -- Which Obama policy are you talking about? The infrastructure bill he tried to pass in 2009 that the repugs blocked? The policy to penalize China's currency manipulation that the repugs blocked? The policy to give a tax credit for keeping business in the US which the repugs blocked? The stimulus package without tax breaks for the rich (supply side support when the unemployment rate was > 8% and inflation was hanging around 2%) which the repugs blocked? The employee free choice act which the repugs blocked? ACA with a public option that the repugs blocked (they did need Joe L assistance).?

Blacks say this police killing of totally innocent blacks has been going on forever. With the advent of IPhone like devices, we are verifying what they have been saying. Yet, Kilosqrd you say this is due to statements from an AG.

RFord's picture
RFord 7 years 41 weeks ago

Racism is still widespread in this country. I see it every day. I know racism. I was raised to be a racist by racist parents who were raised by racist parents. I didn't know there was any other term for a black person besides the N-word until I was 7 and was reading the newspaper and asked my mother "What does negro mean?". She of course said it means the N-word. There are many millions that were raised like me in the '50s & '60s. Many of us have been enlightened and many of us have not been enlightened.

What African-Americans want is what others want, educational and training opportunities, more job opportunities where they can support a family on one paycheck per week and to not be scrutenized by the police or anyone else if they're not doing anything wrong. With American Industry leaving our shores there are fewer of those family supporting jobs. Without those jobs, not much is going to change in the African-American commumity. But those types of jobs are not just what African-Americans need but Americans of all types need.

Racism ruins rampant in our political system today. It used to be in the democratic party but now it has infected the republican party like the plage..

I bet if a network TV newsperson was interviewing one of the republican presidential candidates and ask " What all have you done to help African-Americans to be able to get out and vote?", the question would first be met with a blank stare before the lying started.

I said I know racism but no one knows racism like like an African-American that grew up in th '30s, '40s, '50s, or '60s

DHBranski's picture
DHBranski 7 years 41 weeks ago

Want to know what 'marginalized" means? The great majority of our poor are white, and live in those vast spaces between cities. Many live in abject poverty, some die, all struggle. There are virtually no resources for them, no options. There's no way to move forward. Black people think they don't exist. White people pretend they don't. Funny thing about this generation: The US shipped out a massive number of jobs since the 1980s, ended actual poverty relief in the 1990s, and insists that "there is no excuse" for being jobless, poor.

In the cities, the majority of homeless poor are white. It has been "open season" on our homeless for years, as they've been beaten, even killed, by citizens and police alike. This doesn't result in liberal outrage, or people marching in the streets. After all, the victim was "just some homeless guy."

DHBranski's picture
DHBranski 7 years 41 weeks ago

What I don't get is why Americans think poverty is a black issue alone, when the great majority of poor are white. We created a poverty crisis by the policies we chose. The US shipped out a huge number of jobs since the 1980s, ended actual poverty relief in the 1990s.

Why would black people need someone to come and help them vote??? Even those who are low-wage workers are able to register, and take a bus to go vote. If anyone needs help getting to a voting site, it's the elderly, disabled and very poor, esp. those outside of the cities. But let's take this voting thing a step in another direction: For whom would you vote if you were poor? Republicans represent the rich, Democrats represent the middle class and rich, and there are no viable third parties at this time.

Craig Ziegler's picture
Craig Ziegler 7 years 41 weeks ago

I don't know.........I grew up in a city, grew up in the areas where there were always black kids, lots of black kids, lots of asian kids, not many mexican kids in those days. Went to high schook in what would have to be called a black ghetto.......I think they said the high school was half black. Went in the service where there were tons of black dudes. Most people claimed the black race was more than amply represented in the military.......I know one thing the black cadre were definitely good at what they did. I was always fascinated with the black race, trying to get to know them. It wasn't easy to do actually. If you were white, and I was. I am still white, and black people are still black. What I took away from it..........for the most part white people are terrified of black people, and for good people are very good at winning..........and I am pretty sure if the deck wasn't so heavily stacked against thme, well they would have taken over a long time ago. My grandmother had a black lady work for her..........she was without doubt the best cook ever.........I am 68 now and I have seen nothing come close to her. I remember trying to get to know black dudes in the service.......they couldn't get away from me, and I couldn't get away from them........the service was more of a level playing field seemed to me, you were in you were in black and white.........but even then the black dudes stayed separate and the white dudes stayed separate. Because I had grown up with black people always around, played everything you can think of with them, but mostly raised hell with em, I was always alright with black people. But I knew white people were afraid of them. They should be I suppose. I know as I learned more and more about the history, but more important, how things actually was easy enough to see why black people might have an ax to grind, as grandpa might say. But they really didn't. I don't think the black people ever really understood just how much they terrified white people. Its like walking around with grizzly bears, which I did a lot of, the bears, and you wonder how come the bears don't know they could have my lunch anytime they want it, but they don't. Same for black people. When we all got done with Viet Nam, we all came back, white and black..........and many of the white guys wondered, what are they waiting for, why don't they just take it, they can. I am beginning to understand why now. Life is more important to black people. Black people are not willing to sacrifice their daily life just to deal with white people. And besides that they can cook, that they can do music, that they absolutely rule sports, all that............and much more, but all that, it may turn out that compared to that the black mans intrinsic sense of moral and ethical reality, if that reality exists at all, well it might just be the case that black people are more intune with it somehow, they order their lives in a more fundamental moral and ethical kind of illumination, at a much more meaningful level, thus that which is life, for black people, has a natural order to it, a balance, a way........that black people understand easier, have more confience in, so they are not afriad, well they are afraid, but not the irrational fear white people have of blacks. As for why the white cops shoot black people well I hate to say it, but they are terrified of that unknowable nature a black man has and understands, and white dudes, well it is like the compass dropped out of the control panel...........and the gyro still is spinning away, but no guidance control.........but the black dude, he knows, he has no doubt what to do.........if he cares about it.........and that is where life comes in, life is just so vital to a black man, he can't leave it alone, maybe, I don't know, I ain't black. But I think it might very well turn out that black people have a more well established familiarity with that compass, that moral and ethical bearing, no big deal to the black man, it just is that way............kind of like a dog knows how to be a dog, a black dude just knows how to be a black dude. White guys, man are they confused on life. So, I spent a lot of time trying to get at the crux of the matter, why the big deal black and white, I spent a lot of time talking about it with black men, I waited I watched.........I tried to suppose that I would engage with the black guys that had two things going on, one, the other black dudes respected them and treated them with a kind of even tempered ordinary balanced respect, and, two, the black guy they respected and behaved well around was himself not all that concerned about anything..........he seemed to naturally know his way, had stature, because something about his fundamental self telegraphed that he was solid, in every way. I would find them, and just come right out with it, what is the deal, what is the trip about black and white. We never really nailed it, never could actually find that connecting people were black and white people were white, they are different somehow, and the black people are okay with it..............the white people well I am not so sure.........I think that at some molecular level white people are just afraid of black people, and the white people do the damedest things trying to hide it maybe, deal with it somehow, so weirdly this makes white people very dangerous to black people, and black people might do well to realize that.........they scare the shit out of white people, and so maybe they should go easier on them, just sayin'..............So after all the conversation with the main black dude, one fine day, this particularly straight black guy, and I, ended the conversation, he said, "so what do you call a black guy when you and your white friends are up late, on a weekend, drinking a little, smokin and playing poker?"...........I said, I can't remember if I was disturbed by the question or not, but it disturbs me now, but I remember being suddenly not finding words so easy, maybe because it was so obvious what the answer would be at least a large part of the would be some derogatory term, but then it was a derogatory term for everyone........well anyhow he worked me through it, let it slide for a minute, and he went on to explain that was the problem.........there was this consistent barrier, a block, that in fact the black guy didn't want to let is slide, he did because he was civilized and understood. But what did he understand.........that white people just didn't know how to act, that white people were not ready to be real human beings just yet............I don't know, we went on smokin, thinking about it wandering around the hall ways of earnest consideration, and nothing come of it right then and there, but I parted last thing I asked was, "so when I am at that poker game, what can I call a black man"........he told me, and I make a point of it when the time comes, a black man is fine. There were a lot of derogatory terms for white dudes that black dudes use, and we went over that too.........which I found weird because they all seemed so ridiculous, how could anyone really think a word was somehow going to have the everylasting power, it was just a word, had no power. Oh well, people are strange. But now looking back I remember one word I like to use to declare the individual I was talking about was a black dude, was the exprssion he was a "blood".........I never knew where that came from and I never actually understood why anyone knew what I meant, but they seemed to well enough........somehow that word seemed like a "cool" alternative to other words. Maybe someday I will find out where the term comes from and what it is suppose to mean. My sense of it was the term was originally a black term for a black person, and you had to be black to use it. But there was always lots of that, and I will never be black..........same for Russians, they try to be patient, understanding, but in the end your just not Russian, nothing perosnel, but your maybe the white guys need to get over it, your white, you are never going to be black, you can't have that, it's okay, yes the black guys can do everything better than you, its just how it is, embrace it, you don't need to prove it wrong or right, it just is, some are black, some are not. But there is one thing that is crystal clear at this tolerate injustice to your fellow man, black or white, you don't stand up and call for the correction............guess who is next, you is.........catch ya later Craig

jflum 7 years 41 weeks ago

Not to detract from the tremendous black struggle, but similiar occurances are taking place in poor America.
The poor in Houghton County Michigan have been oppressed by the mining companies, the Mafia, and now Michigan Tach.
The cops do what they want to create fear in the people. No business will come to this area because of the massive corruption. ( Michigan Tech needs a climate of lawlessness because Michgan Tach is rotten to the core.0 So the people srtuggle with part time jobs and stealing from the "king" whenever possible. They also deal in drugs to feed their kids. Inevitably they get caught and have felony convictions and 25 years jail terms. The judges are corrupt, the couny workers are corrupt and if you are an outsider, they will try to kill you.
The solution? Close Michigan all the cops, put the judges in jail.....start over...Mother Nature has bleddes this area nd enlightened Americans can make it a paradise

Kend's picture
Kend 7 years 41 weeks ago

Very well said kilo. What I don't understand is why is racial discrimination only a black problem. There are many other minority's that all seem to get along just fine.

Fanchon88's picture
Fanchon88 7 years 41 weeks ago

You are so right! We poor and elderly are struggling simply, as I like to joke, "to pass for middle class"! That means timely haircuts, decent shoes, dental care, a decent vehicle. I sell on eBay and have tried etsy. It makes me sick all the "trending" -- the preoccupation with unwalkable shoes, ridiculous fingernails, animal skin handbags with other people's names. All this when a man in my HUD housing is neglecting his grooming, defecating in dribbles down the hallway carpet. He has owned restaurants, was a fine chef, also an artist, and veteran. I have to add, however, that he is a real cuss! The younger people who bring food, and whose jobs are to administer programs -- they have a difficult job. At the same time, it is all about them! The self-centered apartment manager is trying to look good to her bosses; she chooses the most needy of us to satisfy her power trip because the educated and vigorous among us are too intimidating for her little brain. Now the VA has "Veterans Choice" for medical care. It needs some fixing. The insurance folks who administer it don't understand the stress of driving over a mountain, undergoing some procedure and needing a place to stay before we drive back. Many parts of this country don't have public transit -- and the upscale folks with nice cars don't care to make sure the poor have such mobility. So an overworked bus driver has to deal with a dozen retarded adults in one early morning trip going to their day school. To me, God is like the Mandelbrot Set -- constantly growing, expanding, seeing ways to do things. I also believe in reincarnation with lessons to learn and a chance to come back and do better. God bless! Yes we can!

KaraGirl's picture
KaraGirl 7 years 41 weeks ago

I think thom is right, there truly is still a race war going on. And it's not as easy as saying that it's Democrat or Republican against race one way or another. It is simply the elliete waging war on the poor, and because we as a society still agknowledge race as an issue, they feed off of it to cause dissention in the ranks of the majority of the American people. They purposely cause and incurage dissection amongst us to hide their true agenda. We still see race as an issue so they still use it.

I don't care what color you are, economically their is only one black and white, it's the rich, against everyone else. And they are winning, because of our stupid failings like racism, and prejudice. That's what we need to stop first. I can point to men and women of all races I have met and I can show you good people and I can show you shitty people, it doesn't matter what color you are guys, we are all in the shit together. Let's look to ourselves first and end this racist, pregudist bullshit before we Fuck around and hand the elliete what they truly want.

To give them both the power and justification to Take the world back to feudalism, so that they can be the lords, and we, the pessents......

I kill you with truth!!!!!

human's picture
human 7 years 41 weeks ago

Short story, part 1:

I arrived in USA during 2nd grade, with no notion of indigenous prejudice, from a country where the richest skin tones were those of Romani without tans.

Once here, Angela and I together daily walked home from school, at first because her home was on the way to mine. We became friends.

One evening I heard on the radio that "negroes would rather be called blacks."

So the next day I innocently and ignorantly hailed Angela with "hello, Black!"

Day after that as we reached her home she invited me to step inside and meet her family. Angela said that her sister's name is [I don't remember], her mother's name is [again, drawing a blank] and her father's name is [likewise]. "None of our names is Black."

Life lesson and a half!

(Parts 2 through 4, involving other individuals, are less inspiring.)

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 7 years 41 weeks ago

Kilo -- Are you using the testimony of the witness that wasn't there? You need to quit watching Faux news.

Legend 7 years 41 weeks ago

A lot of this has to do with letting good manufacturing jobs leave the country and replacing them with nothing. All for the benefit of a corporate few. No jobs = poverty and poverty = unrest.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 7 years 41 weeks ago

Seems to me that many white people remain content with the false notion that blacks have problems to face and challenges that are identical to everyone else's. I beg to differ. Legend, you are right about job outsourcing; but having black skin in America carries extra burdens with it whether you guys want to acknowledge that or not.

Yes there are white folks suffering from poverty, joblessness, homelessness, etc. Being black and poor is still worse.

Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 7 years 41 weeks ago

The lack of investment in black communities and discrimination in hiring and housing, literally for many generations, has precipitated many social problems for that community.
I was born in 1960 and even I remember when blacks could work only menial, manual labor and absolutely no more. They could NOT go any higher, there was a plexiglass ceiling. It was, in effect, slavery only the slaves were rented rather than owned.
As a result blacks not only, very naturally, had trouble generating any enthusiasm for their work and acquired, in effect, the work ethic of a slave but a second thing that couldn't but happen was that they resorted to criminal enterprise for their advancement. So much so that criminality and the criminal professions and occupations came to be admired in the black community much like abiding by the law and the "legitimate" professions and occupations were admired and respected in white society. Pimps, pushers, burglars and thieves in black society came to be admired and respected in black society much like doctors, lawyers, carpenters and plumbers in white society.
This is also true in all poor communities, black, white and otherwise although it's more the case for black folks as the discrimination they faced was much more than of any of the others. Whenever you see a prominent criminal or exceptionally corrupt, exceptionally successful businessperson or other type you can bet they grew up poor and came up the hard way.
It's always a great fallacy to try to hold different kinds of people to one, uniformed standard like holding blacks to the white standard or the poor to the middle or upper class standard, at least without making allowances for differences in experiences and challenges. It can be kind of like holding a disabled person to the same standard as an Olympic athlete.

Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 7 years 41 weeks ago

Clarence Thomas, Condoleeza Rice and, to some extent, Barack Obama were able to rise, in large part. precisely BECAUSE they publicly endorsed the dominant, white definition of the race problem in America and denounced their fellows. The Republicans elevated Rice and Thomas for that reason and Obama, in order to get elected President, had to denounce his pastor, Rev. Wright, and morally reproach black society in general, imitating the white, know nothing condemnations of mainstream society.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 7 years 41 weeks ago

Mark J Saulys -- It seems that Jamie Dimon did not come up the hard way. I guess he was born a sociopath.

Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 7 years 41 weeks ago

Most welfare supplements the working poor families, families of the working poor - usually full time, minimum wage workers.

Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 7 years 41 weeks ago

Chuckle8, Jamie Dimon is an entitled spoiled brat. That's another phenomenon.

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