Race, Racism and the Current American Crisis

What is the nature of the racial crisis in America? What is certain is that there is a crisis and race has something to do with it. On Facebook I have posted so many links on various aspects of the crisis for so many days that I can scarcely remember them all and certainly will not include them here. But there is a Wall Street Journal opinion piece that I want to include.  You may find the link here. It confronts the idea of systemic racism in American policing as a myth. I have also posted links to articles about things occurring on the periphery of the unrest but not separate from it like this article in the New York Daily News about three wounded officers. I have posted this piece about six officer killed in ten days, half of whom were African Americans. I have posted this piece from CBS news in Minnesota by my fellow Acadiana native David Begnaud telling of the arrest of the other three officers involved in the George Floyd killing and their having been charged with crimes. I posted a link to this more liberal source discussing many of the same issues as the Wall Street Journal op-ed on CNBC. I posted links to the stories about the killings of David McAfee a black barbecue chef in Kentucky who fed police for free, Patrick Underwood the African American cop killed by rioters in California, retired African American police captain  David Dorn killed defending a pawn shop from rioters in Kentucjy at about the same time four other officers were shot in the same riots. These posts alone are enough to mark me as not sufficiently penitent and anti-racist. But there is more to come. This post may make my life much harder over time because I am going to discuss some things. They will not mostly be centered around the theme that anything is justifiable in the effort to rid the world of the racism that caused the death of George Floyd. There are no limits almost to the issues to be considered. The piece linked here about a former Obama administration official bailing out a friend who firebombed an empty police cruiser is just one more piece of the seemingly endless puzzle. I can relate to the feelings and some of the analysis of the issues on all sides of this crisis. The long Black struggle. The White guilt, fear  and desire for peace is understandable. The anger and anxiety of other whites over all aspects of this crisis is understandable  The blind faith of so many in the political mantras and formulations they have used all their lives.  The hurt and anguish of many who have tried to avoid being engaged with this crisis and its causes is also easy for me to understand.  The world has seen a good bit of empathy for the throngs rallying to right the perceived wrongs that led to the death of George Floyd. That is documented at this link and is reported in many other outlets as well. But where will all  this energy bring us?

From his own point of view President Donald Trump tried to reach out and address the killing of Floyd when he would have liked to focus on the return of manned spaceflight and the novel aspect of the Spacex launch but felt that he was robbed of that by the rising unrest in the country. His speech, alog with the speeches of Vice President Pence and others are included in the video clip here. But all of these clips and the reading they represent do not amount to any original reporting. I am not in the loop or the action right now except to some small degree online. Lord Norton whose blog still hosts my comments has posted a bit about Trump’s threat to use Federal troops. There is of course an issue of whether he will deploy them beyond military police in the District of Columbia — which is not a state. But here is the link to that post and there in most formats is  I hope is the link to my comment. If a reader is using a phone or other format that does not show it right away one can merely click on the comments and it should appear if a reader cannot find it otherwise. The world is watching but even the best and keenest observers are not getting a complete picture.

There is no chance that Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints, who apologized for his opinion about the flag protest will be considered as a besieged minority in a league where Black players dominate the union and the draft. There is also no chance that the players who feel that Colin Kapernick had a right to peaceful protest by kneeling during the National Anthem can escape his inciting violence in the riots nor that his critics can escape the heartfelt and civil nature of his original protest. In my view the chance of emerging on a better common ground are not good.  Gabrielle Union is denouncing racism in Simon Cowell’s firing her for complaining about perceived racism. But she has never examined publicly the likelihoods that her American character and identity may have made her his target. The well into which we are sinking is potentially endless. We cannot really hope to break the cycle of  division and dysfunction gripping our country without radical change. The odds that radical change will come in a way that I can support are very long odds indeed. But I have not given up, I bought a Mega Millions ticket last night and am not against hoping for long odds to work out well. I understand the mobilizing around answers and misperceptions that we  have suffered through as our framework. We are all stressed by the pandemic. The pandemic is likely to kill more people because of the unrest and also add to the way in which martyrs and dangerous folk define the struggle that is defining our nation.

But from my point of view this does not excuse all actions or even expressions. Nor does excuse answer the need. The need is for the best actions. My own sense of weariness and futility are real enough and yet I am doing what I can to be the voice that I can live with as I tend to this matter of surviving the pandemic and emerging fit for the struggles on the other side.

We may have a tropical storm landing where I live this weekend, I cleaned a set of gutters and began a few more preparations. But the task of preparation may exceed what I can do. I will see how that goes.

But I am sure that the race relations and racial issues that are part of our national struggle have yet to be fully addressed. From my point of view many people are trying but it will not likely be enough for a good result. There is little in the news that gives me hope. These times are very trying ones in my view. Even the fact that the Dow-Jones Industrial Average shows a real rise in the stock market when so much is so bad tends to alarm me more than reassure me,

I am also making it for today. That is not a  thing that I can take for granted. It is not so much that I  am not getting any closer to secure prosperity and a bright future as it is that I am avoiding a number of current crises that could have wrecked my life far more than they have so far. Many other Americans are facing the struggle of these times in the frame of great personal insecurity. That will shape how our country responds to the evolving crisis.

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