Black Lives Matter, The Police, etc.

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WHS
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Re: Black Lives Matter, The Police, etc.

Postby WHS » December 15th, 2015, 3:23 pm

Chef wrote:Tevlin is actually pretty liberal, it is just that he is to the right of this board. You all know it is ok to criticize BLM, right? Lots of black people don't agree with elements of BLM. The central thrust of their goals are laudable, but a lot of what they do is poorly thought out, and their Minneapolis incarnation seem more interested in radical theater than practical problem solving. One of the problems with white, upper middle class progressivism in general is that it assigns special protective status to opinions that come from black and brown voices. This in turn makes honest discourse impossible, and just adds fodder to the right.
I missed this comment the first time around, but holy moly did you hit the nail on the head. I personally work with a fair number of low-income people of color who disagree vehemently with aspects of BLM. It can't and doesn't speak for the entire collected nonwhite community of the Twin Cities, it's just a political faction vying for that mantle.

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Re: Black Lives Matter, The Police, etc.

Postby Didier » December 15th, 2015, 4:07 pm

Questioning BLM tactics doesn't necessarily mean asking the BLM protestors to be "polite."

There's nothing wrong with a good old fashioned protest as long as people understand what you're protesting about. But with BLM in too many cases — Mall of America, State Fair, Twin Cities Marathon — the stated goals are either so vague or so anecdotal to the overarching issue that the protests end up being little more than distractions.

More effective PR and messaging could make a world of difference, but right now there's a level of naivety within the movement that's holding it back. David's assertion that the press shouldn't scrutinize a protest movement because it has a noble end goal is a perfect example.

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Re: Black Lives Matter, The Police, etc.

Postby David Greene » December 15th, 2015, 5:09 pm

Didier wrote:More effective PR and messaging could make a world of difference, but right now there's a level of naivety within the movement that's holding it back.
Do you actually know some BLM leaders? I do. They are not naive.
Didier wrote:David's assertion that the press shouldn't scrutinize a protest movement because it has a noble end goal is a perfect example.
Except that's not what I said at all. I said that Tevlin's column falls back on old white rhetoric. And yes, I dismiss that out of hand.

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Re: Black Lives Matter, The Police, etc.

Postby Didier » December 15th, 2015, 6:09 pm

David Greene wrote:I dismiss that out of hand.
This illustrates my point.

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Re: Black Lives Matter, The Police, etc.

Postby amiller92 » December 16th, 2015, 11:09 am

Didier wrote:Questioning BLM tactics doesn't necessarily mean asking the BLM protestors to be "polite."

There's nothing wrong with a good old fashioned protest as long as people understand what you're protesting about. But with BLM in too many cases — Mall of America, State Fair, Twin Cities Marathon — the stated goals are either so vague or so anecdotal to the overarching issue that the protests end up being little more than distractions.

More effective PR and messaging could make a world of difference, but right now there's a level of naivety within the movement that's holding it back. David's assertion that the press shouldn't scrutinize a protest movement because it has a noble end goal is a perfect example.
Clearly the problem must be them and not you.

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Re: Black Lives Matter, The Police, etc.

Postby Sacrelicio » December 16th, 2015, 11:18 am

amiller92 wrote:
Didier wrote:Questioning BLM tactics doesn't necessarily mean asking the BLM protestors to be "polite."

There's nothing wrong with a good old fashioned protest as long as people understand what you're protesting about. But with BLM in too many cases — Mall of America, State Fair, Twin Cities Marathon — the stated goals are either so vague or so anecdotal to the overarching issue that the protests end up being little more than distractions.

More effective PR and messaging could make a world of difference, but right now there's a level of naivety within the movement that's holding it back. David's assertion that the press shouldn't scrutinize a protest movement because it has a noble end goal is a perfect example.
Clearly the problem must be them and not you.
I was mad about the marathon, as someone who lives with a runner and who has done a couple races, but now I get that you can't just use tactics that are "nice." Somewhat torn on this, I see both sides.

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Re: Black Lives Matter, The Police, etc.

Postby Didier » December 16th, 2015, 12:13 pm

amiller92 wrote:Clearly the problem must be them and not you.
Sure, maybe I'm the outlier and most people think BLM is doing a great job of getting their message out. That'd be great if so. I'd certainly like to see their efforts lead to the breakdown of structural racism and dramatic improvements to inequality.

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Re: Black Lives Matter, The Police, etc.

Postby Nathan » December 16th, 2015, 12:47 pm

Based on my completely anecdotal experience of having lots and lots of white family and friends in the suburbs, and being a fairly engaged white person, who sympathizes with their movement, and encourages their goals... I think they're doing a poor job of getting their end goals and general message across. Just MY opinion from my experience... When I ask my parents and other people (in the burbs) what they think the goal is... They're clueless and it's definitely not in sync with what BLM is projecting. They may be getting their message across to local and state government and officials, but in terms of getting the greater population of the state on their side, I'm not sure that's happening. Only so much can happen at a policy level. I'd like to see a more grass roots mobilized effort, protests sure, but really engaging the population of the state would be more important. As I've said before, they have our attention, and awareness, now use that to build a positive campaign against racism. People (white and otherwise) are afraid of what they don't know, and it's not justified, but until they are educated on a more personal level they'll continue to be afraid. I'd like to say it's the white populations responsibility to get to know BLM, but that's not how it works. Just like the effort it took to get Minnesotans more comfortable with the gay community, it took gay people and gay allies having conversations all over the state engaging and using a lot of positive energy to familiarize people who were unsure and afraid of the movement to accomplish the goals. Just my two cents.

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Re: Black Lives Matter, The Police, etc.

Postby David Greene » December 16th, 2015, 1:16 pm

I mostly agree with that but want to point out the key phrase: "gay allies."

I don't think BLM has to be the group that organizes these conversations for white people. Plenty of white-majority allied organizations are and have been doing that. IME, BLM leaders are quite approachable. They don't tolerate bullshit but they are willing to have conversations. White people do need to have the necessary amount of humility, the ability to close their mouths and listen and the ability for serious and honest self-examination. That latter, I think, is the hardest part because we are just not taught to do that in today's white culture.

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Re: Black Lives Matter, The Police, etc.

Postby Nathan » December 16th, 2015, 1:28 pm

But where are those leaders? They're in the core cities, and I don't think they can rely on the media to get the appropriate conversation out to the rest of the population. Why are they rejecting calm options to engage with the public, like a booth at the state fair, where are they creating the opportunities to have calm informative conversations with people in the suburbs and mid sized cities across the state? I KNOW people in the movements are willing to have conversations, but the major difference (and I understand resources are a major issue) is that gay allies had campaign offices in small towns and held positively themed opportunities for conversation. I know that agitation is crucial, but so is engagement and non threatening opportunities to have conversation. I do my best to talk to all the people I hear bad talk the movement... but there just isn't enough of that going on to change minds. A lot of white people think that instead of protesting BLM should be working, or getting an education... improving themselves and blah blah all that bullshit, but until these people with extremely wrong preconceived notions are engaged with and shown the reality of how hard these people are working and how the cards actually are stacked against them, there won't be change in the general state population, so policy change will really only be a band aid. We suffer from having a relatively small ethnic population in this state but that doesn't mean those people can't show the state what they're really about, the same way gay people have. (I understand the issues aren't 100% parallel.)

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Re: Black Lives Matter, The Police, etc.

Postby David Greene » December 16th, 2015, 1:36 pm

Totally understand where you're coming from.

The State Fair thing was really a rejection by BLM St. Paul (not affiliated in any way with the national BLM or BLM Minneapolis) of being offered a breadcrumb.

Resources is definitely a big issue. This is a social-media based movement and certainly there is still a lot of experimenting going on.

The marriage amendment provided the opportunities for gay leaders and their allies to have those conversations. Before that point my sense was that gay people had the same problem of general ignorance among the population. I agree that a time will come when BLM will need to construct a similar opportunity. I'm not sure they're at that point yet. That opportunity may very well not be branded "Black Lives Matter," or maybe it will be. I trust that those leading the movement are doing what they need to do.

I think policy is the focus right now because right now BLM is literally fighting for lives. They need to get past that emergency first.

I say all this at a 10,000 foot level because I'm not integrated on the ground level like a lot of other people. So it all might be total BS as far as BLM is concerned. And that's ok. They need to set the direction, not me or anyone else.

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Re: Black Lives Matter, The Police, etc.

Postby amiller92 » December 16th, 2015, 1:41 pm

In addition to the things that David said, I think it's import for those who sympathize with the movement but are not directly involved (i.e., me and, apparently, everyone here) to avoid substituting our judgment or reframing the question to focus on white surburban people.

We don't have the facts. We don't know the strategy. And doing those things is kind of dismissive.

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Re: Black Lives Matter, The Police, etc.

Postby Nathan » December 16th, 2015, 1:49 pm

A lot of fair points. And I know we don't have the answers or solutions. I just know that if I'm frustrated and confused and I'm pro BLM I can't even imagine how much farther away populations who aren't sympathetic to their cause are being pushed, and that has to do with what is being communicated as their goals and end game. (which I know is clear to the movement and those engaged) The media is definitely not helping. LOL

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Re: Black Lives Matter, The Police, etc.

Postby Tiller » December 16th, 2015, 9:45 pm

Something that should be mentioned is that BLM doesn't have access to the levers they would need to reach the uninformed people we're talking about. The degree of self-segregation in all aspects of life, whether it be in education and housing, or social circles and media consumption, is a difficult barrier to surmount.

While a limited degree of exposure can be won on tv news channels, as an example, through agitation, the way media is structured doesn't allow for the kind of explanation that would be required.

One cannot explain the cycle of poverty in a 10 second soundbite in an impactful way, and the dominance of punditry doesn't allow for much substantive debate. Social media, even, is usually focused on short-form content, and allows the individual a greater degree of self-segregation, so despite the greater degree of freedom the medium allows, its impact is limited.

So yeah, directly influencing policy and politicians is generally more practical than influencing tens of millions of people, though they are both ultimately needed, being intertwined. Even our current progress in policy and awareness wouldn't have happened if CNN didn't find covering things like the Zimmerman case and Ferguson lucrative. The Emmett Till case was crucial for the 60s civil rights movement; the Media is crucial. I'd say BLM has done a pretty good job thus far. BLM, OWS, and the tea party have defined/are defining today's politics.

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Re: Black Lives Matter, The Police, etc.

Postby WHS » December 17th, 2015, 1:00 am

Tiller wrote: The degree of self-segregation in all aspects of life, whether it be in education and housing, or social circles and media consumption, is a difficult barrier to surmount.

...

One cannot explain the cycle of poverty in a 10 second soundbite in an impactful way, and the dominance of punditry doesn't allow for much substantive debate.
I largely agree. In some ways, though, I think you may be imputing views to BLM that much of BLM does not actually hold. I've never heard BLM address segregation in housing or education in anything but the most minimalistic fashion -- and believe me, I'd notice if they did. Like I said earlier, I've even heard BLM leaders explicitly call for more segregation as a solution.

And while poverty is a much broader topic, I haven't heard much from BLM addressing the cycle of poverty or proposing programs to arrest that cycle, either. I have a guess as to why: it's hard to talk about intergenerational poverty without painting a complicated picture of life in distressed, segregated neighborhoods. That picture would, in turn, severely complicate BLM's preferred frame for racial injustice, which, frankly, often boils down to bad guys versus good guys.

Finally, I'd point out that BLM may not have ways to reach, say, Joe Schmoe of Carver County. But they've certainly got the ear of local and state officials in the Twin Cities. And it seems as if they have almost proactively worked to alienate those officials, which is all the more remarkable when you think how sympathetic many of them are to the organization's broad aims. My concerns about BLM's tactics are less that they've failed to win over the average Minnesotan and more that they seem to be quickly becoming very unwelcome at City Hall and the statehouse.

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Re: Black Lives Matter, The Police, etc.

Postby Tiller » December 17th, 2015, 2:18 am

WHS wrote:I think you may be imputing views to BLM that much of BLM does not actually hold.
What I was saying wasn't that they hold X or Y views, but that they can't (easily) spread their message(s) to everyone, and generally why that is. It's the mechanism through which the spread of that message is impeded, which is widespread societal segregation (which is not just racial in nature. We also self segregate by ideology, whether it just means unfriending someone on facebook/blocking them on twitter because you disagree on something, or the fact that liberals and conservatives tend to prefer living in certain areas and eating at certain restaraunts.), not their actual views, that I was commenting on.
WHS wrote:Finally, I'd point out that BLM may not have ways to reach, say, Joe Schmoe of Carver County.
This is generally what I'm talking about, though this example is closer to the periphery that what I've had in mind.
WHS wrote:But they've certainly got the ear of local and state officials in the Twin Cities. And it seems as if they have almost proactively worked to alienate those officials
This is probably the best point for contention, as I'm not entirely sure what my views on this are, but given the fact that BLM is trying to change the status quo, the alienation of some in power is inevitable. Heck, personally, I think it will be generally necessary, as even (some) politicians that may generally take our side will need to be thrown out, to claim some levers of power.

One example I could give would be Rahm Emanuel. Even if he did nothing wrong, and there were no concerns about a cover up, getting him to resign would damage/remove a prominent cog from the Democratic Establishment's machine. The potential of electing a mayor that is more liberal and/or less establishment would only be a secondary bonus, relative to damaging the centrist power structure.

*Note that my musings are generally my own, not necessarily meant to represent the views of BLM or other liberal groups*

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Re: Black Lives Matter, The Police, etc.

Postby David Greene » December 17th, 2015, 10:19 am

WHS wrote:And while poverty is a much broader topic, I haven't heard much from BLM addressing the cycle of poverty or proposing programs to arrest that cycle, either. I have a guess as to why: it's hard to talk about intergenerational poverty without painting a complicated picture of life in distressed, segregated neighborhoods. That picture would, in turn, severely complicate BLM's preferred frame for racial injustice, which, frankly, often boils down to bad guys versus good guys.
BLM is focused on issues around criminal justice and enforcement. At least for now. To go beyond that would muddy the message. I don't think it's a matter of "good guys vs. bad guys," it's simply true that a focused message is more effective than a diffuse "everything's interconnected" frame. The latter is certainly true and where we want to move people but in the here and now of saving Black lives, focus is important.

BLM leadership certainly understands the broader picture as many of them have worked on other campaigns.

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Re: Black Lives Matter, The Police, etc.

Postby WHS » December 17th, 2015, 10:55 am

So, to me, stuff like this sounds like BLM advocating for... something... beyond criminal justice and enforcement reform.

Image

But I can't figure out what that something is, specifically. And I'd very much like to know, not just because it's an important subject, but because this is directly related to my work.

ETA: And I really may be wrong here! But I don't think I'm wrong to be curious or wary, at the least.
Last edited by WHS on December 17th, 2015, 11:02 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Black Lives Matter, The Police, etc.

Postby David Greene » December 17th, 2015, 11:01 am

Talk to NOC. Anthony Newby wrote something about it in the Strib the other day.

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Re: Black Lives Matter, The Police, etc.

Postby WHS » December 17th, 2015, 11:09 am

Okay, just read the Newby editorial, and I want to say that I found it substantive and wholly persuasive. Thanks for the heads-up, that's precisely the kind of thing I wish BLM Minneapolis did more of (as opposed to NOC, which I think often does excellent work).


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