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The Petty Barbecue Tyrant: A Story Of Our Time

Did you see the video of the white woman in Oakland who called the cops on some black people who were cooking in a public park with a charcoal grill [1]? My view is this: unless they’ve set up the grill in your house or in the ICU, you leave people with charcoal grills alone, because they are contributing to the sum total of human happiness. Meats grilled over a charcoal fire are one of life’s great pleasures. It takes an especially petty busybody to call the police on people who set up their charcoal grill in a public park. The woman, who is white, said that the black people were setting up their charcoal grill in an area reserved for gas grills, and that if they didn’t move, she was going to call the police.

They refused. She called the police. A friend of the black party video’d her on the phone with the cops, and called her racist. When the cops arrived, they didn’t arrest anybody, but they did determine that the busybody was, um, correct. So reports the San Francisco Chronicle. [2]

That Chronicle report was the only neutral report I could find about this incident. The whole thing has blown up bigtime as an example of white racism. The reports on it have focused heavily on the fact that the busybody was white, and how this is obviously an example of anti-black racism.

Again: I believe the white woman may have been technically correct, but was morally wrong, and besides which, she’s a pill. But look: if you watch the 24-minute video until towards the end [1] (say, starting at the 22 minute point), a different picture starts to emerge. Michelle Snider, the white woman taking the video of the anti-grilling white woman chases her with the camera, and harasses her to the point of tears. I went from disliking the barbecue griper as a pain in the butt to feeling very sorry for her, because she was bullied by Snider.

change_me

Neither the barbecue griper nor Snider comes off well in this video. At all. Two things come to mind:

1. Why the assumption that calling the cops on black people barbecuing is by definition an act of racism?
2. Even if so, why does that give one of the supposed victims (the woman with the camera) the right to harass the busybody by chasing her through the area?

Maybe the Barbecue Griper is a racist. But we have no reason to assume that. Maybe she’s just a petty person who sees a violation of the law — the grillers were in violation of the law — and went all nanny state. There’s a certain type of person who feels compelled to police public order to a ridiculous degree. Most of us, whatever our race, have had run-ins with that sort. They’re annoying as can be, but that’s just how some people are. It’s especially annoying when they happen to be right about the law.

Still, most of us learn how to get along together. Here’s a story: We lived in an apartment complex not too long ago. There were three young unmarried guys living in the flat above ours. They would get loud on the weekend. We decided that being good neighbors meant that we should put up with the banging and hooting until 10pm, but not after that, because that was bedtime. The first few occasions we went up to ask them to knock it off, they were nice about it. But then they got obnoxious, usually after they had been drinking. Finally one night, after multiple attempts to ask them to stop, we had to call the apartment security people. We didn’t want to be those neighbors, but they left us no choice.

The difference is that those bad neighbors were causing actual harm, yelling and banging on the floor and playing loud music until late in the night. The people grilling in the park were not harming Barbecue Griper one bit. Still, had the jerks upstairs been three young black guys, not white guys, I wonder if I would have said anything to them at all, for fear of them turning it into a racial confrontation. If I had called apartment security on them, like I eventually did with the white guys, after they ignored our repeated requests to stop banging on the floor, etc., would they have confronted me in the parking lot with a smartphone camera, calling me a racist, and distributing it to social media, and turning me into a racist pariah? (That griping white woman’s life must be miserable today, now that she’s become a meme.)

Who wants that? I notice that the many places on the Internet celebrating the public shaming of the white woman never stop to ask whether or not this is proportionate to her offense. They’ve taken a petty tyrant and, through social media amplification, made her into a monster. At the beginning of the video, I did not expect to get to the end pitying the woman, who ought to have left the grillers alone. But it’s easy to imagine yourself tormented by a harridan like Michelle Snider, the woman with the camera phone — and knowing what came next for her (national infamy, thanks to social media), it’s pretty horrifying.

If you read Ta-Nehisi Coates’s big book, you’ll recall an incident in which he was riding an escalator in a Manhattan movie theater with his little boy, and an elderly white woman gave the kid a shove, telling him to move along. TNC — who is quite tall — went ballistic on the old lady, and was so threatening that someone else in the crowd said he was going to call the police. What’s so bizarre about the incident was that Coates frames it entirely as an example of white racism threatening blacks, and believes that his reaction was entirely appropriate.  Here’s the passage from the book:

You were almost five years old. The theater was crowded, and when we came out we rode a set of escalators down to the ground floor. As we came off, you were moving at the dawdling speed of a small child. A white woman pushed you and said, “Come on!” Many things now happened at once. There was the reaction of any parent when a stranger lays a hand on the body of his or her child. And there was my own insecurity in my ability to protect your black body. And more: There was my sense that this woman was pulling rank. I knew, for instance, that she would not have pushed a black child out on my part of Flatbush, because she would be afraid there and would sense, if not know, that there would be a penalty for such an action. But I was not out on my part of Flatbush. And I was not in West Baltimore. And I was far from the Mecca. I forgot all of that. I was only aware that someone had invoked their right over the body of my son. I turned and spoke to this woman, and my words were hot with all of the moment and all of my history. She shrunk back, shocked. A white man standing nearby spoke up in her defense. I experienced this as his attempt to rescue the damsel from the beast. He had made no such attempt on behalf of my son. And he was now supported by other white people in the assembling crowd. The man came closer. He grew louder. I pushed him away. He said, “I could have you arrested!” I did not care. I told him this, and the desire to do much more was hot in my throat.

In my review of the book [3], I commented on this passage:

TNC says that the only thing that stopped him from getting violent was knowing that his little boy was watching him. He says he tells this story out of shame that his actions that day put his child in danger of watching the NYPD “cuff, club, tase, and break” his father.

This is such a revealing anecdote. Living in New York means having to deal with crotchety, pushy old people. We lived in Manhattan and Brooklyn for five years. This was a fact of daily life. It is not at all shocking that a pushy old lady on the Upper West Side overstepped her bounds with a child. The woman was wrong to do so, but Ta-Nehisi Coates made her bear the weight of 400 years of white supremacy, or at least the anger of a grown man who had been raised in the ghetto. No wonder she shrunk back, shocked. And if I saw a young man speaking with hot anger to an old lady in a public place, I would likely step forward to defend her too. But TNC interprets that as a white man exercising racial solidarity, and choosing the old woman over his son. Maybe the white man did not see what the old lady had done to TNC’s son. TNC does not tell us. TNC concedes that he reacted with rage, and that he shoved the white man back. In what world is this an acceptable response to a minor incident? For TNC, the penny-ante rudeness of an old woman in the lobby of a Manhattan movie theater is the showdown at the Edmund Pettus Bridge. He connects that grumpy woman’s action to Jim Crow and slavery.

More darkly, TNC openly fantasizes about how the old woman’s pushiness would have been kept in check had she been in a black neighborhood, because of fear. Well. For one thing, does TNC imagine that white children in New York are immune from the rudeness of crotchety old folks? Does he think that the worldview Eddie Murphy parodied in this 1984 short film on SNL is real? And what would he have seen done to the old white lady had she laid her hands on his son in Flatbush, knowing as we do that he has a tendency to see those he associates with the white world and its institutions as inhuman?

The old white lady on the escalator was a scapegoat. So too is the busybody white woman in the Oakland park. I thought the black community’s response to this — lots of families coming to that same park with their charcoal grills for a massive party [4]— was inspired. More grilled meats for more people! But it’s hard to see this whole thing as anything but a defeat for civility, all the way around. Escalating every unpleasant run-in between blacks and whites — ordinary things that happen as people rub up against each other with sharp edges — into a civil rights showdown is a good way to keep people fearful and suspicious of each other across racial lines.

UPDATE: I should have emphasized more strongly that Michelle Snider, with her camera and access to social media, is also a tyrant. The unnamed white woman who tried to ruin a barbecue is guilty of only that: trying to ruin a barbecue. Vengeful Michelle Snider may have all but ruined a life.

UPDATE.2: Reader Done writes:

[Note to Rod: This is gonna be a rant, so feel free to edit or even toss. I’ll understand.]

Ok, I’ve read most of the comments. Clearly, none of you live in Oakland. If you did, I’m certain your reactions to this incident would be different – if you were sane, that is. I know because I lived there for over 20 years, including near Lake Merritt – the location of this incident.

First, let’s dispense with the notion that this was a racially motivated incident between a white woman and some black folks. This lady is NOT white. Repeat after me: This lady is NOT white. It is clear to me from her facial features and body type that her racial and ethnic background is mixed – possibly white and Pacific Islander – which would not be uncommon in the Bay Area. When you live in a racially and ethnically diverse area for a long time, you begin to detect and distinguish ethnic and racial differences (and any combinations thereof) that often go unnoticed by people who have not been exposed to such racial and ethnic diversity. Plus, she’s not old. She’s in her 30s. As if that even matters – yeesh!

Second, I’m gonna play the sex card here – even though I don’t normally do this but whoa, the comments here are pretty, well, sexist. Nosy? Busybody? Killjoy? Petty? Grouchy? Old? Oh sure, she’s a regular Mrs. Kravitz (Google the reference if you don’t get it)! Yeah, I’m fairly certain most of you wouldn’t have used those words to describe her if she were man. Why don’t you just toss in “frigid” for good measure. Just saying…

Next. Let me explain to everyone how things work in Oakland – they don’t. Nobody and I mean nobody respects common courtesy and the rule of law, not to mention bothers to comport themselves appropriately in public spaces. The area around Lake Merritt is in complete chaos. All. The. Time. Why was this “petty” “nosy” “busybody” so-called “white” woman calling the police over such a seemingly innocuous incident as people wanting to barbecue using charcoal? Um, maybe because the City of Oakland is located in a severe, high fire danger area and it’s against the law! Oakland Hills fire of 1991 anyone? Google images. I survived it.

And why does a citizen have to report someone breaking the law? Because people regularly, openly and brazenly break the law in Oakland and asking them “nicely” to desist DOES NOT WORK. And what does the Oakland PD do? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. That’s why she was waiting over 2 hours for the police to respond. I’m surprised they came at all! My car was stolen and did the police come when I reported it? No. A woman was being attacked in front of my house and her attacker was also threatening me and it took the Oakland PD over 45 minutes to respond as I begged the 911 operator for help. On a separate occasion, I awoke one morning to find a man lying face down in my front yard. I thought he was dead. I called Oakland PD. They told me to take his pulse (!) to see if he was alive and that they’d come when they could – priorities you know! They arrived about 40 minutes later. He was still alive, but who knows what would have happened if it took them another 40 minutes. Another time, I came home early and interrupted some miscreants burgling my neighbor’s house and they threatened to kill me. Oakland PD did respond to that – I guess because I was almost killed. Oh there’s more: My other neighbor was carjacked with her baby in the car. Another elderly neighbor was robbed at gunpoint. My co-worker was also mugged – in broad daylight by three young thugs not more than two blocks from Lake Merritt, the location of the barbecue incident and did the police come? No. Did anyone intervene and help my co-worker? No. Oakland, especially the area around Lake Merritt, is in a state of complete lawlessness. And no one cares. In fact, the lawlessness is celebrated as a kind of teenage, immature, passive aggressive rebelliousness. You can’t tell me what to do! Especially if you’re white – because that’s, you know, intrinsically racist. Their sad battle cry…..

What I see from this video is a relatively reserved woman reporting illegal behavior and being absolutely HARANGUED by the woman filming the incident who assumed (1) that the first woman was white and (2) that she was motivated by racial animus and not genuine concern for safety and the rule of law. O. M. G. Are you kidding me? The woman who filmed the incident and browbeat the other woman to tears should be ashamed of herself. I think her behavior even meets the requirements of menacing. But this is where we are now. Everything’s a racial incident which is then quickly followed by SJW virtue signaling. PC BS run amok. And now this poor woman is being viciously attacked on social media. Have you seen the memes? They’re brutal. She’s bullied and dehumanized in a thousand different ways as only the merciless internet can do. And why? Because everyone’s decided she’s an entitled white busybody b*@%h. And what’s Oakland’s response? Classic identity politics. Protests and parties in support of the supposed aggrieved folks who, btw, were actually breaking the law. And that’s exactly why I left Oakland. It’s hell on earth. God help us because as the saying goes, so goes California, so goes the rest of the nation. Civility and decency are dead in Oakland. They’re dead in California and they’re soon to be dead in the entire United States.

Postscript: Since I have many friends who still live in Oakland, I just recently returned from a visit. While there, a young Latino man was murdered in cold blood in broad daylight on my friends’ street while we were all home. The shots just missed his pregnant sister. I couldn’t look outside but my friend did – she saw the body in the street. And guess where this happened? Just a few blocks from Lake Merritt – the site of this infamous barbecue incident.

Keep it up Oakland! Pretty soon, there won’t be one decent, law abiding citizen left because lawlessness and incivility are rewarded and responsible citizenship is vilified.

Any Oakland or former Oakland readers want to challenge this?

188 Comments (Open | Close)

188 Comments To "The Petty Barbecue Tyrant: A Story Of Our Time"

#1 Comment By One Guy On May 16, 2018 @ 12:43 pm

Or, as the Jewish family said in 1938, “We don’t know for sure that those storm troopers banging on the door want to abduct us and kill us in gas chambers. I don’t know those particular men, perhaps they just want to sing Hannukah Carols. Just because it’s happened hundreds of times before, that doesn’t mean it’s about to happen again.”

#2 Comment By C. L. H. Daniels On May 16, 2018 @ 2:08 pm

So I guess I should be viewed with immediate suspicion until men stop committing so many crimes. Deal?

Well, yeah. I mean, that’s elementary. You do not respond to an unknown man on the street the same way you would respond to an unknown woman in the same circumstances, for exactly the reason that an unknown man is far more likely to be dangerous than an unknown woman. That’s not to say that danger is likely in an absolute sense (it’s not), but you and I and everyone understands on an instinctual level that strange males can be dangerous.

#3 Comment By JanP On May 16, 2018 @ 2:16 pm

I understand the point of the article and yes I am black. My issue is this – it’s like using a gun to kill a mosquito. While a “Rule” was broken, no criminal act occurred. Why didn’t she call the Park Ranger or her City’s Park and Rec? Why call the Police? The Police have real crimes to attend to. In this day of filming everything, people are afraid to lose an opportunity to gain evidence in order to prove no crime occurred, so they film. I have seen many people break many rules in many places – both public and private – and never once did I consider calling the police. I don’t know if race had anything to do with her actions, I just feel that a call to the Parks Dept. should have been her first step, and let them handle it.

#4 Comment By JonF On May 16, 2018 @ 2:54 pm

One Guy, I have no idea what your comment above means. But its seems rather extreme that we leap from barbecues (or grilling) and real estate agents to the Holocaust. You could trace the curve of that hyperbole past the Oort Cloud and halfway to the nearest star.

#5 Comment By Terry Benoit On May 16, 2018 @ 3:11 pm

Everyone needs to shut up. No one has full context here. As for Reader Done, ignore her/him too. “…SJW virtue signaling. PC BS run amok…” is kind of a giveaway. Even if s/he lived in Oakland.

#6 Comment By Raskolnik On May 16, 2018 @ 3:16 pm

We don’t know for sure that those storm troopers banging on the door want to abduct us and kill us in gas chambers. I don’t know those particular men, perhaps they just want to sing Hannukah Carols. Just because it’s happened hundreds of times before, that doesn’t mean it’s about to happen again.

So generalizing about white people based on anecdotes and biased interpretations of complex human interactions is fine, and we can immediately jump to muh Holocaust in order to cow badthinking whites into submission.

But correctly inferring that black people are more likely to be a threat to you and your loved ones, based on FBI crime statistics and hard data, is raaaaaaycist.

Got it.

#7 Comment By Eddie Mack On May 16, 2018 @ 4:18 pm

Go have a conversation with your black neighbors, Rod. Ask them about their experiences with the police.

#8 Comment By yeahright On May 16, 2018 @ 4:22 pm

I hope this gives us more Trump.

#9 Comment By Douggie On May 16, 2018 @ 5:37 pm

I’m not really understanding the point that Michelle Snider is equally tyrannical for doing what she did. It’s not like Snider has a huge media presence, and the reason this video took off in the way it did is because it demonstrates how an agitator, an aggressor, and a bully will completely shift tactics when confronted with their poisonous behaviour. The unnamed woman in the video is that person.

You ask me as a reader to imagine a situation where you would be called a racist for reporting loud, destructive people to the police, but that’s not what’s being demonstrated or discussed here. That’s intangible to the situation at hand. The woman allegedly used the n-word, and went out of her way to target a group of black people. That’s why she’s being called a racist, and there’s a transparent trend happening where black people minding their own business are having the police called on them for the most minor grievances possible. She disrupted a completely calm and peaceful set-up by calling the police, which is why people are ridiculing her.

I pity her too, but the reason I pity her is purely as a result of her actions, and not of Snider’s. Snider simply pushed back against a person bullying and harassing a group of people, and when she makes it clear that she’s not going to stand for intimidation she’s labeled a tyrant too? How does that work? To suggest that Snider is the bully here is thoughtless. She responded to a bully by standing her ground and letting that person know that her bullying tactics weren’t going to work. Just to be clear: responding to bullying be being aggressive and confrontational is NOT bullying.

Like, you don’t take a stand by calling the police and then shut down when questioned about your decision-making. That displays cowardice. It displays a complete lack of communication and reason. She was completely willing to ruin people’s day, and I’m asked to feel sorry for her that her day was ruined as a result. I don’t.

And all of this is to say nothing of the Ta-Nehisi Coates aside whereby you diminish the reality of racial dynamics at play in everyday conflicts like the one he detailed in his book. It isn’t merely a divide of the old and young when the old have had it imprinted in their heads that black people are “others” and more violent prone. This is yet another trend that makes analysing this situation under a racial lens important.

#10 Comment By One Guy On May 16, 2018 @ 6:43 pm

Raskolnik, there’s a huge difference between inferring that black people are marginally more likely to be a threat, and calling the police on them whenever you see them doing something you don’t like.

Racism exists, and spelling it funny doesn’t change that. White privilege is a real thing.

JonF, I have no idea what your Oort Cloud comment means. Is it |337speak?

#11 Comment By LFM On May 16, 2018 @ 7:41 pm

Brock says: “Grouchy old white ladies are not restricted to Brooklyn.”

Exactly! I was once knocked down while climbing the stairs in the DC metro, so that I yelled “ouch!” as I tumbled forward and bashed my knee. Of course, I assumed it was an accident. The man who knocked me down, though, responded “You were in my way!” in a very offended voice.

I wondered, then, if it really had been an accident, or some self-important ass giving way to a moment of temper and purposely shoving me hard enough to make me fall.

#12 Comment By JonF On May 16, 2018 @ 7:43 pm

Re: JonF, I have no idea what your Oort Cloud comment means.

It’s a play on words: hyperbola (a double geometric curve) and hyperbole (exaggeration). As I said, I have no idea why anyone would bring Nazis into a discussion like this one concerning some fairly minor social sins.

#13 Comment By Raskolnik On May 16, 2018 @ 8:35 pm

Raskolnik, there’s a huge difference between inferring that black people are marginally more likely to be a threat

Most crimes are intra-racial (in other words, most white victims of crime are victimized by white criminals, mutatis mutandis for blacks). However, among inter-racial crimes, black people are 25 times more likely to commit violence against whites than the reverse. That is not “marginal.”

White privilege is a real thing.

No, majority privilege is a real thing. Yet nobody complains about “Chinese privilege” in China, or “Muslim privilege” in the Ummah. Why is that?

Beyond that, there is indeed IQ privilege. But whites are, famously, more intelligent than average on whites. However, East Asians are again more intelligent on average than whites. So it is unclear (to say the least) that “white privilege” exists independently of majority “privilege” and IQ “privilege.”

#14 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On May 16, 2018 @ 9:49 pm

Well, yeah. I mean, that’s elementary. You do not respond to an unknown man on the street the same way you would respond to an unknown woman in the same circumstances, for exactly the reason that an unknown man is far more likely to be dangerous than an unknown woman.

However, you generally don’t call a cop because “I saw a man walking down the street, he shouldn’t be there.”

inferring that black people are more likely to be a threat to you and your loved ones, based on FBI crime statistics and hard data, is raaaaaaycist.

Of course it is. You are attributing to a given unique individual the alleged characteristics of the group. That is the essence of racism.

But whites are, famously, more intelligent than average on whites.

A great Freudian typo. And undeniably true.

God help us because as the saying goes, so goes California, so goes the rest of the nation.

There used to be a saying, “As Maine goes, so goes the nation.” Eventually it became “As Maine goes, so goes Vermont.” And neither state votes now the way it did at either of the aforementioned times.

#15 Comment By Brendan from Oz On May 16, 2018 @ 10:43 pm

In Australia during bush-fire season we often have a Total Fire Ban which means no open BBQs – gas or electric only. Eucalyptus forests are highly combustible and it is a serious crime to light a fire.

Call the cops immediately. It’s a year in Gaol or $25000 here.

From [5]:

“At very high temperatures, eucalypt species release a flammable gas that mixes with air to send fireballs exploding out in front of the fire. With eucalyptus, you see these ember attacks, with huge bursts of sparks shooting out of the forests, Bowman says. “It’s just an extraordinary idea for a plant.””

#16 Comment By Raskolnik On May 16, 2018 @ 10:45 pm

You are attributing to a given unique individual the alleged characteristics of the group. That is the essence of racism.

“Reality and mathematics and official government statistics are all racist” isn’t the hill I personally would want to die on, but you do you

#17 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On May 17, 2018 @ 9:57 am

Rakolnik… now you’re just plain lying. I distinguish between treating each individual as a unique person, and relying on statistics to define a given individual… and you tell me I said the statistics were racist. Figures don’t lie, but liars figure.

#18 Comment By Raskolnik On May 17, 2018 @ 11:49 am

I distinguish between treating each individual as a unique person, and relying on statistics to define a given individual

An LD50 dose of arsenic, by definition, only kills half of the population exposed to it. So there’s a 50/50 chance that, for ingesting a given amount of arsenic, you personally won’t die. By your logic, this means that arsenic is safe to eat, since we have to treat each individual dose of arsenic as a unique snowflake.

Here’s what you’re not getting: the fact that a given population group is more prone to violence does not mean that any given individual within that population is going to act violently. What it does mean is that, at the level of public policy, and in personal interactions in the absence of any further information, it is right, proper, and justified to treat a member of that population as though they are more dangerous than a statistically less dangerous group–in the same way, and for the same reasons, that it is right, proper, and justified to treat arsenic as more deadly than table salt, even though both can kill you in the right concentration, and any given dose of arsenic won’t necessarily kill you.

#19 Comment By JeffK On May 17, 2018 @ 12:18 pm

And then we have this…

[6]

#20 Comment By Franklin Evans On May 17, 2018 @ 1:04 pm

Raskolnik, my friend, you might want to step back and take a few deep breaths. It really looks like you are posting in anger.

Your logic fails: automatically fearing a person of color is on a spectrum from outright racism to simple cowardice. Violence happens everywhere, and the skin color of a perpetrator has no bearing on the “probability” of it happening. Not eating something that has a 50% chance of killing me is simple, common sense.

#21 Comment By Stuart MacNee On May 17, 2018 @ 3:11 pm

Comment on Done
I lived near the Oakland Lake Merrit area for 15 years and have friends there now. Lake Merritt (more like Pond Merritt) is an urban park. You can walk around the entire thing in under 30 minutes. I lived in Downtown Oakland, which is the other side of the Lake Merritt District. I also attended Merritt Community College which is next to the Lake and the district in question.

Oakland is like any other major urban city: The politics are questionable, the police are overworked, and lots of things don’t work right. While I have to agree with a lot of what Done says, I take exception to Lake Merritt is lawless.

Lake Merritt is hardly lawless. The Lake Merritt District is Hipster City. More derisively, it’s called East San Francisco. Sure crime happens. It’s a Big City with Big City problems.I lived in West Oakland, which is much rougher and worked parts of East Oakland, called Deep East. That’s closer to lawless.

Me (calling 911)
911: Thanks for calling. Please hold.
Me: waiting some random amount of time
911: Oakland PD. Is there an immediate threat to life?
Me: What?
911: Does somebody have a gun?
Me: Uh, No. I was just-
911: Call the non emergency line.

We don’t have context here. Perhaps the woman was there first and had family members with asthma or something when the other guy shows up. Like any city, some people are more polite and accommodating than others. Some are more disrespectful and dismissive of others. As I said, Lake Merritt is an urban, downtown park. So its typically lots of people in a small space. You have 2 people claiming space and it escalates. By Oakland standards, this is handled in a most civil way. No threats of physical violence or guns involved.

I don’t like that the race card is played, especially by people not actually there. I have not watched the clip myself. However, in the San Francisco Bay Area, more people are mixed races than single race. And many of the mixed races can appear to be more of one than their heritages than expected. There is no “white” majority. In fact, there is barely a “white” plurality there. The reality is you have way more minority/minority friction there. So yeah, ease up internet.

My Take:
We are all now de facto news reporters. Everyone has a camera and a website and can publish anything we want. With that comes responsibility. Unfortunately, with the rise of propaganda sites like Breitbart, Drudge Report, and the like, we no longer have a reasonable standard to aspire to in our own reporting.

Thanks for reading.

[7]

AKA Stumac

#22 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On May 17, 2018 @ 3:36 pm

Franklin has made such an excellent and insightful observation, I will only add that a human being is not a cup of poison.

#23 Comment By Raskolnik On May 17, 2018 @ 5:31 pm

What is an analogy, and why do people use them?

The world may never know.

#24 Comment By Raskolnik On May 17, 2018 @ 5:34 pm

automatically fearing a person of color is on a spectrum from outright racism to simple cowardice.

Okay, I’m a “racist” because I use sound judgment and common sense in conjunction with reliable evidence to make heuristic determinations, such as that arsenic is less likely to kill me than table salt, and black people are more likely to kill me than whites or Asians.

However, I don’t care whether you think I’m a “racist” or not, in fact I think your Boomerific definition of “racism” is stupid, illogical, and liable to get anyone dumb enough to take it seriously very badly hurt.

Now what?

#25 Comment By Franklin Evans On May 17, 2018 @ 7:54 pm

Now what? Well, first is I did not give you permission to put words in my mouth… and I continue to see you posting in anger. I don’t expect a direct response to that.

Are you a racist? Honestly and bluntly, based on our all-to-brief encounters in person, I would trust you to tell me if that were true. I would take you at your word.

What’s missing so far from your posts is any sort of qualification of your heuristic assertion. Do you apply it equally and arbitrarily regardless of where you are or the circumstances of where you are? I can give you a personal example.

I lived in West Philly for a while, not far from the U. Penn campus. At the time, mid-70s, there had been spotty gentrification. One could describe the area as a checkerboard: white squares, black squares, direct description based on the skin color of the residents thereof. It was simple common sense for anyone, of any skin color, to avoid the black squares especially at night. The reason had nothing to do with the skin color of the inhabitants, and everything to do with the general conditions of the streets and the high incidence of violent crimes. One could talk to anyone living there in a neutral setting, and they’d agree that they live there only because the rents were low, and would leave in a heartbeat if they could afford higher rent.

The qualifiers you need to see behind my example: white squares had police patrol cars drive through 2 to 3 times per hour. Black squares 2 or 3 times per day. That fact was the subject of a lawsuit in later years, by the way. Frank Rizzo was police commissioner at the time. The police force had a handful of non-white officers, none of command level, and that includes Asian and Hispanic.

I hate the knee-jerk cry of “bigot!” as much as you or Rod do. Until you offer similar qualifiers to your argument — or confirm that you have none — I assert that your asserted attitude is prejudicial, willfully biased, and unworthy of someone of your intellectual level.

On a personal note: I had a very jaundiced view of some of my peers while growing up in Upper Darby, a lily-white, working-class community during that time. I was mugged twice by boys whose names I knew (something which didn’t stop them), including one who lived right next-door to our house. In Upper Darby, very close to 100% of all crimes were committed by whites.

#26 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On May 17, 2018 @ 10:00 pm

Now that Raskolnik has abandoned broad sweeping claims for public policy, and affirmed his own personal attitude toward those around him and how he personally chooses to live his life, why, there is really nothing that need concern the rest of us at all.

#27 Comment By Mia On May 17, 2018 @ 10:14 pm

“No, majority privilege is a real thing. Yet nobody complains about “Chinese privilege” in China, or “Muslim privilege” in the Ummah. Why is that?”

Oh, they do, but very quietly or else they go to jail or get a beat down at the very least.

#28 Comment By James On May 18, 2018 @ 12:53 am

The “busybody” has apparently been identified by the internet. I won’t mention her name, but apparently she is an air quality expert for a consulting company with an engineering doctorate from Stanford.

#29 Comment By Mark On May 18, 2018 @ 12:52 pm

It breaks my heart to see what is happening in the USA, and this episode is a microcosm of all that has gone awry in American society.

I’m a European who regularly travels to the US, West Coast, East Coats, and in-between. I grew up in Europe in the 1970s during the Cold War. At that time, Americans guarded our freedom, and we all looked up to the USA and were inspired by all the great things it stood for.

As an objective outsider, I have seen, during the past two decades, a coarsening of civil discourse and an ever increasing atomisation and fragmentation of American society. At the same time, it is obvious to me that Black people in the USA have, and continue to, suffer a horrific level of casual and systemic racism, a racism so entrenched that it has become normalised.

My fear is that these two trends will worsen and do irreparable harm, at a time when the world is in need of the abiding American values of the defence of freedom, equality, and democracy. My hope is that the optimism and hope which has always coursed through America, will win out.

#30 Comment By Raskolnik On May 18, 2018 @ 2:25 pm

I did not give you permission to put words in my mouth

What words did I put in your mouth? You said:

the skin color of a perpetrator has no bearing on the “probability” of it happening

But this is completely and demonstrably false, which is why I invoked FBI crime statistics. The simple fact of the matter is that you are more likely to be violently attacked by black people than by people of any other race. Fact. It is unclear why you are putting “probability” in quotes because that is exactly what we are talking about: probability. It is obviously true, and completely beside the point here–which, again, is a discussion about the social and ethical acceptability of calling the police when black people violate the law–that not every black person is a violent criminal.

Are you a racist? Honestly and bluntly, based on our all-to-brief encounters in person, I would trust you to tell me if that were true.

What I am saying is that “racism” is a meaningless construct, if “recognizing that more likely things are more likely, and less likely things are less likely” makes one a “racist.”

One could describe the area as a checkerboard: white squares, black squares, direct description based on the skin color of the residents thereof. It was simple common sense for anyone, of any skin color, to avoid the black squares especially at night. The reason had nothing to do with the skin color of the inhabitants, and everything to do with the general conditions of the streets and the high incidence of violent crimes.

This is grade A Boomer doublethink in action:

1) black neighborhoods are violent and dangerous
2) everybody knows that black neighborhoods are violent and dangerous, and avoids them
3) but their violence and danger have nothing to do with the people that live there

Why is it, do you think, that Hiroshima and Detroit took such completely different paths after 1945? Why is it, do you think, that cities like Seattle and Portland are no less run by Democrats than Atlanta and New Orleans, but see a tiny fraction of the violence?

Why is it, do you think, that the per capita murder rate for blacks in the USA, approximately 19.4 per 100,000, is smack dab in the middle of the per capita murder rate for Nigeria and Botswana, while the per capita murder rate for whites in the USA, approximately 2.5, is in between Latvia and Finland?

We can’t have an honest conversation about “racism” until and unless we’re able to have an honest conversation about the facts. And those are the facts.

#31 Comment By Franklin Evans On May 18, 2018 @ 3:02 pm

I’ll concede that I misread you, and you were not putting words in my mouth.

Where do you want to begin? Jim Crow era? The Great Depression? FDR’s New Deal? At some point, we need to put a stake in the ground and proceed from there.

In Philadelphia, the demographic and economic facts are well documented. Discrimination against blacks in housing and jobs was easy to see and ubiquitous. The ghettos didn’t spring up out of thin air, they were created. Go back enough decades, and you’ll see a chameleon-like change in demographics in many neighborhoods, and when it comes to crime statistics, it would be a requirement in my view to include statistics on white violence against blacks.

It’s simply not enough to note the facts. It is imperative to see what went before. I don’t presume to make a cause-and-effect argument out of it, but it informs the argument we are having: what prompts the violence?

By the way, take your Boomer insults and stuff them. While you fret over avoiding blacks because “they are violent, look at the numbers!”, I’ve personally experienced and witnessed it. I’ve lived with them, talked to them, talked to the police who “serve” their neighborhoods, and to the whites who not just believe they deserve their fates, but go about fulfilling them.

You can refuse to acknowledge your anger. I have an endless supply of it, and seen the blood on the street that causes it. If all we have is a p*ssing contest, we have nothing.

#32 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On May 18, 2018 @ 4:28 pm

No matter how many times a flipped penny comes up heads, the chances of the next flip being either heads or tails remains 50:50.

Why is it, do you think, that the per capita murder rate for blacks in the USA, approximately 19.4 per 100,000, is smack dab in the middle of the per capita murder rate for Nigeria and Botswana

Disruption of traditional cultural and social institutions that provide the basis for lower murder rates. I note that the disruptions were quite different. Being an oppressed minority brought across an ocean to provide free labor is very different from being an oppressed majority in a homeland invaded by a foreign minority. Facile comparisons of South Africa to the American south fail on this distinction, although there are SOME obvious similarities.

I know a few people who are looking to move, perhaps buy their first home. They get advice from friends and co-workers about which neighborhoods are safe to live in, which are to be avoided, etc. And everyone in the conversation is of African descent. They really don’t look at it any differently than those who think of themselves as “white.”

#33 Comment By Raskolnik On May 18, 2018 @ 11:22 pm

Where do you want to begin? Jim Crow era? The Great Depression? FDR’s New Deal? At some point, we need to put a stake in the ground and proceed from there.

Yeah what I’m saying is that it is the height of folly to expect people that never built a structure more than two stories tall or invented the wheel in however many tens (hundreds?) of thousands of years they’ve been where they are, to be able to live to the standards of the people who invented gunpowder and the printing press, or the people who put a man on the Moon.

At a certain point, “racism” loses its explanatory power. Given the advances in population genetics and evolutionary biology that we have made in the past few decades, we are well past that point. The black-white IQ gap isn’t pretty and it isn’t nice, but it is real, and in concert with the negative correlation between IQ and impulsiveness it explains the relationship between race and crime a lot better than your “magic dirt” theory that everything would be fine if FDR hadn’t artificially reduced the property values of black people by, at most, about 15%–nearly a hundred years ago.

No matter how many times a flipped penny comes up heads, the chances of the next flip being either heads or tails remains 50:50.

This is an absolutely perfect comment and cannot be improved upon in any way whatsoever. It’s like, I want to link to the Probability section of a 7th grade math textbook, but it would serve no purpose. This comment is just absolute gold. Well done.

#34 Comment By Esther On May 19, 2018 @ 12:59 pm

I could have written this article myself because is exactly how I feel about this situation. So many people play judge and juror without knowing the facts. I really think this woman’s safety and life are in danger thanks to social media.

#35 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On May 19, 2018 @ 10:36 pm

This comment is just absolute gold. Well done.

Thank you. Glad we’ve found some common ground. Go and sin no more.

Yeah what I’m saying is that it is the height of folly to expect people that never built a structure more than two stories tall or invented the wheel in however many tens (hundreds?) of thousands of years they’ve been where they are, to be able to live to the standards of the people who invented gunpowder and the printing press, or the people who put a man on the Moon.

You missed that black women plotted John Glenn’s re-entry orbit? You may also have missed that iron smelting was independently developed in Africa, unlike in the Americas, or that the process for continuous lubrication of moving machinery was invented by a man of African descent. So was the toggle harpoon.

My point being, not that Africa had technology in every respect equal to Europe, but that in the context of any given technology, people with African genes could make essential contributions and handle higher mathematics better than most “white” people are actually motivated to bother with. The wheel was invented in the middle east because that is where horses were first domesticated, and without horses, there wasn’t sufficient incentive to persevere in the trial and error of figuring it out.

The black-white IQ gap isn’t pretty and it isn’t nice, but it is real, and in concert with the negative correlation between IQ and impulsiveness it explains the relationship between race and crime

Your claims for population genetics and evolutionary biology are wishful thinking, quite as valid as the “Intelligent Design” mechanistic nonsense. As I’ve mentioned before, my own IQ has tested on a broad range from 70 to 140, which gives me a certain skepticism that it measures much of anything. I had to read Murray and Hernstein’s The Bell Curve because the editors of a reference entry I was writing on racism wanted me to comment on it, and perforce, I had to read the book to have anything to say. Their work directly refutes your attempts to generalize. They posit a slightly different curve for aggregate IQ scores, but they are quite open and honest about the fact that there are black geniuses and white morons.

A difference in aggregates and averages tells you nothing about any given individual. Arthur Jensen, a psychologist who took more flak than Murray and Hernstein for some early papers you might approve of, did some later research in which he identified that growing up black in northern Georgia tends to depress whatever IQ a child is born with.

Raskolnik, there are far too many variables in play to reduce reality to the pat little answers your little heart desires. SOME modest difference in average intelligence or motivation or sexual appetite may well be part of the picture. But these factors vary too much between individuals within any racial category, to be applied meaningful as a valid basis for discrimination.

If you had stuck with the position ‘This is how I, Raskolnik, feel about, and this is how I choose to live my life,’ I would have remained silent. I believe Barry Goldwater had a valid point when he said “You can’t legislate the human mind and heart.” He was wrong, however, to deny that it is possible and appropriate to regulate interstate commerce. You just had to go back to pronouncing that This Is The Way It Is and make broad public policy pronouncements. And you’re dead wrong.

#36 Comment By Raskolnik On May 20, 2018 @ 11:48 am

You missed that black women plotted John Glenn’s re-entry orbit?

Self-parody

#37 Comment By bibby On May 21, 2018 @ 3:05 am

@Erin M

>-The provision against charcoal grilling is a >recent provision. While we don’t know for sure, >it is entirely reasonable to imagine that the >grillers did not know about the rule change, >particularly since it isn’t generally enfored.

It was instituted in July 2015.

[8]

>-Technically this is heresay, but according to >the grillers and others, the woman used racial >epithets, and also taunted the grillers saying >that they were going to go to jail, that they >didn’t belong there, and that this was HER park.

I’ve read this but I find it hard to believe since it’s never referred to in the video. In the video, when the caller says, “This isn’t about race”, I’d think the group she’s antagonizing would respond with something like, “GTFO, you called us…” Or when the male griller is interviewed after the incident(wish I had a link to it) and lead by the reporter with the question, “Do you think this was about race?” he simply responded that he felt it was. Don’t you think at this point he would have mentioned the racial slurs she supposedly used?

Instead, the only proof of racial slurs are by the grillers and photographer. They refer to her as a “Trumpster Dumpster” and tell her to, “go home and eat potato salad”. But against all the evidence, the white lady is racist because… she’s white?

#38 Comment By Dude On May 22, 2018 @ 1:28 pm

It’s sad that people who help enforce the law are victims of those who don’t. Barbecuing at the park is illegal. Seriously. Read the city’s park rules.