Category Archives: News and Notes

Race Points

Happy Juneteenth Holiday.  In honor of Juneteenth, I have penned a piece on race relations.  If you are not familiar with the holiday, I encourage you to find out more about it and celebrate what it represents.

You Don’t Like Me Cause I’m White? Really?

Holdin’ Out for a (Nonwhite) (Funny) (Fictional) Hero

White Rage, the Hunger Games, and the Lack of Justice

WHAT MY BIKE HAS TAUGHT ME ABOUT WHITE PRIVILEGE

In the wake of Ferguson…

The above titles represent links that are just a (recommended) sampling of articles written on race in recent months. Some have influenced me to weigh in on the topic. Certainly there is room for one more opinion.

The question I want to address is can we make things better? In short, yes. We should make things better because lives depend on it. I will assert that segregation is the barrier that prevents progress. It is a regret of history that close to 70% of the majority population has separated itself almost completely from little more than a 10% minority, abandoning the great urban Americana to ruin in the process. Whole cities and major regions of many large metropolitan communities exist in a state of blight and despair due to the economic discrimination perpetrated by this phenomenon and the poverty that inflicts them.

But economic, social and educational disparity are not the products of segregation that I want to address in this commentary. What segregation breeds, above all else, is fear. Fear breeds, among other things, distrust. The shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson involved many things, including the fact that the officer saw him as a threat (unarmed). The investigation into the shooting of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman has shown very clearly that from the very first moment Zimmerman saw Martin he was suspicious of him. Need I go on? Any poll will confirm the undeniable divide between the perceptions of large groups of whites and blacks in America. Ferguson. Obama. O.J. Simpson. Martin Luther King Jr. Why? In a word, segregation.

I want to share two examples from my experience as a police officer in Los Angeles. I think they provide a micro perspective that supports a macro consensus. For much of my life I lived as a black in the white community. One byproduct of that experience I believe is that I have a familiarity with white culture and mores to the extent that I feel comfortable (translate unafraid) in most areas of white society. With that said, I offer to you example #1.

When working with many white officers I discovered that there was a lack of ability on their part to distinguish between blacks we came in contact with. Because most of the areas we patrolled were in segregated neighborhoods, the officers seemed to treat all blacks in those places as threats. I did notice that some officers would be able to make minor distinctions after questioning people we spoke to. I formed the premise that the white officers did not have a frame of reference, because they didn’t have personal experience with blacks, to see them as anything but a threat until proven otherwise. We worked in high crime areas with high levels of violence. Most of the residents were black.

Did I have the same perception? No. Why not? I will not attempt to give you the long answer. The short answer is that I have lived in segregated black neighborhoods. Is it a science? Can I prove it? Does that make it any less true? It is too obvious to me that most people in black neighborhoods are like most people in any other neighborhood. I have lived in both. This is my firsthand experience. If only it were that simple. There is something else that I learned. White officers that I worked with, in general, were much better than I was at ferreting out white criminals we ran across. More often than not I did not see what they saw. I would have sent these subjects on their way none the wiser. So much for my culturalization.

Example #2 involves covert racism. My training took place in an area of Los Angeles uniquely segregated into predominantly hispanic and white neighborhoods, where small patches were densely populated with blacks. One of my white training officers worked exclusively in the hispanic area, never working in the white area. His reason given was so he could be where the crime was. I found out much later that his true reason for working that beat was so that he would never have to enforce the law on a white person.

I never suspected that he had a problem with blacks in general or me specifically. And that almost cost me my job. One night we went on a domestic violence call which he handled. This was a surprise to me because as a rookie I was supposed to write all reports. I watched as he spent close to an hour telling the family to use mediation to workout their marital issues. We cleared the call. I would have spent 15 minutes on the same call and taken a report. I had thought that he spent too much time trying to (kiss off) get out of work that would have taken less time to actually do. I also thought that since he was the training officer that I had something to learn from him. He passed me on to another training officer who worked in the white neighborhood.

The next domestic violence call was with the new training officer, and I handled it. After I advised the couple on mediation, which had been explained to us during briefing training, my training officer took over the call and wrote a report. That night he wrote me a scathing evaluation that essentially accused me of neglecting my duty. I never made that mistake again. I do not remember how I found out but it was revealed to me later that the two training officers were very close. I had been set up.

To me what was important was the reason why those men would have thoughts and opinions about me, about anyone who looked like me for that matter, which would motivate them to create elaborate schemes to get me fired from LAPD. Having fewer black officers is not the solution. I know that I didn’t have adverse thoughts about them or about anybody who looked different from me. I still don’t. Nor do I think that segregation is the root cause of what motivated them. But those men cannot be the majority. I refuse to believe that. My experience tells me otherwise. And it is segregation that stands between us and the majority, whose opinion and influence will protect against the actions of those like my two training officers.

Don’t you agree?

what “there is a reaper” reminds us of

FOREWORD
I don’t know why I am writing this; it likely will never be read by any other person. I am doing it entirely for myself, in memoriam
of a life well lived, a son sorely missed and greatly mourned.
Some would say his life was too short, or that he never had a imagechance. . .oh what might have been. . . .
I say he lived his life as fully as any man woman or child on this Earth. It was his life, and it was complete, and it was perfect.

The excerpt above taken from Michael Lynes’ book talks about inspiration as frankly as one might depict it.  However  it doesn’t tell us what to do.  It isn’t about self help.  And while it doesn’t preach to us it also makes no attempt to tell us how to think.  Yet think you will when you read about the life of a child taken so pitilessly from a loving home.

So how can the experience effect you, reading about the great triumph and tragedy of  strangers?  It reminds some of us that life’s precious moments are not to be wasted.  It teaches others to act before it’s too late.  Why do so many people seem to fret away infinite numbers of hours accomplishing nothing?  For each such soul how many others can we point to who never get the chance, their total existence not extended beyond childhood?

I’m struck with the thought of a person who chooses to do the absolute least for everyone and everything thing they encounter, and you know who I’m thinking about, because you’ve met ’em.

Is it okay, do you think? What must we say to them?

I will say this to myself.  Do not forget, not for a moment.  Redeem the time.

A Blatant? Plug for BLOGLOVIN’

blog

After my initial experience with this new (to me) iPhone/iPad App, I thought I would share what I’ve learned.

First of all if you are unfamiliar with the Bloglovin’ service I would describe it as website that helps you find and follow great blogs.  With the Apps, I am an Apple lover so please forgive my bias, I found it to be very convenient and fun way to get caught up inside the blogosphere.  My caveat to this is a certain reticence to use Apps over my preference for Safari or Google Chrome on the web.  I just feel that too many Apps are lacking to such a degree that it isn’t worth the bother.  Know what I mean?

Anyway, here’s what I found:  There are four master pages titled My Feed, Popular, Search and Me

PLUSSES

A+, this really doesn’t seem like an App, it has a web-like feel to it.

A+, even better – there is a web option that allows you to view the blogs on the web!

B+, there is a handy menu button which drops down to reveal all your favorite blogs in My Feed.

B+, I like the handy share tab there too.

B+, the popular posts offer a terrific way of finding good blogs when you are pressed for time.

B+, great images.

C+, searching for blogs is clean, without advertisements and extraneous distractions from what you really want, to read blog articles.

C+, as an added plus the ‘Me’ page allows you to create your own blog.

NOT SO PLUSSES

C-, there is a feedback link to get input from users, though the response to users seems to be less than ideal

C-, some of ‘features’ are a little tricky to use and the instructions are not as ‘simple’ as I’d like.

As an avid supporter of WordPress for all the reasons you might imagine, I would say Bloglovin’ Apps are in the category of the “next best thing” and rate them as “recommended”.

Happy Blogging!