Posts Tagged ‘Freddie Gray’

Background on the Freddie Gray riots

August 24, 2018

Hat tip to Alex Page.

This video contains a lot of good information and clear thinking, presented in an engaging way.

Police killings and no-account black people

May 8, 2015

Conservatives such as David Brooks claim that the real problem of poor black people in cities such as Baltimore is not poverty, unemployment or police abuse, but bad moral character.

Freddie Gray

Freddie Gray

It is too bad that Freddie Gray died in custody of Baltimore police, but he would have been a loser no matter what, Brooks argued in a recent New York Times column.

Now it is true that there are Americans who are so completely demoralized that they couldn’t thrive even in a high-wage, full-employment economy.  I don’t know how many such people there are.  The way to find out is to create a high-wage, full-employment economy and see what happens.

My concern is with the obstacles faced by poor people who are doing everything humanly possible to get out of poverty.

I’m thinking of people who work full-time at minimum wage, some at multiple jobs, and still are in poverty.  I’m thinking of working people who don’t get paid sick days, can’t afford child care and have no transportation to work.

Not all are black and not all are in big cities, although black people in poor city neighborhoods are targets of abuse by virtue of living where they do.


Black-on-black police brutality

May 8, 2015

Six Officers Charged in Freddie Gray's Death

Source: KTLA | CNN Wire

Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, the mayor of Baltimore is black.  Anthony W. Botts, Baltimore’s police commissioner is black.  Three of the six police officers involved in the death of Freddie Gray are black, including Caesar Goodson, the driver of the van in which Gray suffered his fatal injuries.

How, then, is it possible to say that Freddie Gray’s death was a result of racism?

I think the issue is not whether we white people have more malice in our hearts than black people.  I think the issue is that whenever there is a group of people that it is safe to abuse, that group of people is going to be abused—by somebody.

Recall the Stanford prison experiment.  Experimental psychologists assigned a group of randomly-selected students to role-play prison guards and prison inmates.  Within a few days, the prison guard role-players had become so abusive that the experiment had to be shut down.  It is a dramatic example of the results of power without accountability.

Until the recent protests, this has been the situation in regard to police and poor black people who live in slum neighborhoods.  Police (of whatever race) could get away with doing things to such people that you might not get away with doing to people who were middle class or white or both.

Another factor is that many local governments have started to use fines for petty crimes as a source of revenue.  I don’t say this is the case in Baltimore, but it most certainly is true in many places, including  poor communities in St. Louis County such as Ferguson.