I shared the post from February 22nd with a friend who is an economist, and tends to see things in ways that is similar to, but different from, me. He had some interesting commentary that focused on justice, truth, and progress. I thought I would just paste his response here. His name is Robert L. Lloyd. Read the original blog first. We are discussing civil liberties, social justice, truth, and America’s social problems.
“Good article, very complicated issue to tackle. You are correct in all counts but curiously have a lot of omissions. Jason, I believe there is a gross lack of oversight and “public” supervision of police departments, policies, laws, regulations and even of individual policemen. But . . . you should take the time to go speak with a few cops; not all are bad; not all do it to be bullies. There are quite a few (most) that do it for the right reasons. There are bad cops, and bad plumbers, and bad authors, and bad store clerks, etc. There probably always will be. I just don’t think it right to excoriate all. I spoke to a few good ones that I know personally about these issues and they are even more upset than you are about the bad copes. They are another victim of bad systems, laws, cops etc. The bad cops, systems, etc. have put them at risk for their lives as well. We need to solve this problem from both sides. I’ve been told that good cops are laying off of good policing. Just look at Chicago and Boston – cops are afraid to police, and criminals/gangs are becoming empowered; murder rates are through the roof. Complex problem! Both sides need to come together to solve this. Not a top-down solution either; top down and bottom up to both meet in the middle for best solution.
I stand by my position that the biggest issue facing African Americans is the destruction of their family units. Fatherless homes (disproportionally high in black communities) have left young men seeking gangs for cohesiveness in their lives. Recent Pew research bears this out: recent African immigrants have the highest level of degree attainment of all immigrants – even more than Asians, who are often seen as the “model minority.” African immigrants from all countries earn on average $10,000 per year more than African Americans, and regarding immigrants’ degree attainment vs. African Americans, it is 27% to 16%.
Additional contrary info: Read The Known World by Edward P. Jones a black author, historian. It has been shown that the first slave owner in the U.S. was a black tobacco farmer named Anthony Johnson. And in the 1830 census, 3,775 freed blacks owned 12,740 slaves!
Humans are humans; they are good and bad because of their character, not their level of melanin. I see a huge cultural problem in black communities because of a failure of schools to teach character. There are many causes for this: fatherless homes, lack of a family unit, prejudices, economic bias, poor education systems, and because victimhood is easier than addressing the above difficult issues. There is no easy answer, but I feel we should start with a good foundation of family, community, education, and character building. The result will be that people of ALL colors will knock off the other issues facing us in pretty short order. It will be a process, not an event. We had damn well better get started doing positive things because decades of bitching about the negative ones has gotten us nowhere.”
In the above response by Bob Lloyd, I think he hit on some of the issues I raised, and added some, and missed some. It was a pretty solid response to my blog about civil liberties. I replied: “While at the same time I note racism had a pernicious effect on blacks, and still does, I do not deny that certain black people (for example, farmer Anthony Johnson) are bad actors. And that many white people are not directly part of the problem today. I get that a lot of black youth behave badly, and that a lot of white cops would, if the situation were different, behave satisfactorily (or admirably). The situations that repeatedly, historically, get formed, reinforced, and evolve play a huge role in human behavior. That’s a social-psychology hallmark. Think of the Stanford Prison Experiment. I certainly am intrigued by what it is in humans that keeps creating and recreating eventualities such as slavery – and it is shown to be florid in the 8-day experiment in the Stanford psychology building basement in 1975.”
He replied: “Could it be our evolutionary past? We could not survive alone. Packs were safety, and the roots of our tribalism still perpetuates it today. Be it racism, cultural, economic, or political. It will be a hard, long road to change genetic predispositions toward what has kept us safe and able to thrive for millions of years. We think we are more evolved intellectually than we really are (well, some are, but the masses are not). That’s where cultivating good leaders becomes so important.”
I replied: “Yeah, tribalism makes sense… Also, a person’s overweening sense of individualism, I hate to tell ya. In a very competitive society, winner take all, where the strong survive and the weak perish (e.g., have no health insurance and die of diabetes, or eat themselves into a state of obesity), and where one can accumulate as many slaves (Jefferson) or dollars (Mark Cuban) as you can, and money buys you serotonin-flushing good stuff (boats and ringside seats and drinks and vacations), people want to ‘look out for #1.’ It’s the dark side of Ayn Rand’s and Nietzsche’s individual. It’s part of why true collectivism has a hard time working among primates and humans. Ants and bees seem to master it, but human beings want to become Pharaohs, robber barons, and movie stars if they don’t attain much wisdom in time.”
I urge you to look up quotations relevant to civil liberties, social justice, freedom, and social criticism here, in the Wisdom Archive.