Arrest Based on Race? | INFJ Forum

Arrest Based on Race?

Discussion in 'News and Politics' started by IndigoSensor, Jul 27, 2009.

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  1. IndigoSensor

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    http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/07/27/gates.arrest/index.html

    If you pay attention to the news, you have likely seen this story developing over time. I want to see what peoples reactions to it have been, and to discuss the details of it. I might piss some people off here, but honestly, that is the nature of a touchy subject like this, so if I do, sorry.

    When I first saw this story posted my reaction was "oh here we go again, another person pulling the racist card." when I did read the story I did start to feel bad for the man who was arrested, it did seem unfair, and I was glad the charges were dropped. I also got mad becase I have a major problem with the police abusing power and causes this really strong anger to well up within me when I see that. Any kind of abuse of power does that to me, it being an injustice. However, I read later on that he was a scholar on black issues and rights. That right there threw up a read flag and I thought "oh, no wonder he is blowing the whistle like this. He would be expected to and clearly has at least some kind of inflated heiarchy opinion on race.".

    Later, another story came out on the man who did the arresting. When I saw his picture, I imeadiatly knew race wasn't a factor in this for him. Which he was clamining. He simply said he arrested the man following a call and was just doing his job. I completely agree with him and believe that he is being honest and truthful with what is going on with this, and really wanted to stay out of the media spotlight and let this die. However, the arrested man said he may have dropped the charges, but was not about to let this story 'die'. That is when I got mad, this guy who got arrested is just being pissy, and because he deals with black issues, he is taking it as far as he can.

    When Obama said something about this, is when I got really mad. This should have stayed as a local issue, and is completly blown out of proportion now just because one man was offended by something. Peoples egos are causing this whole thing to fly off the handle, and truly I think the man who got arrested should be applogized to for the police in making a wrong judgement (even though it really wasn't their fault), but smacked for pulling the race card when it wasn't based off of that.

    So what is everyone elses take on this, how did you react? discuss.
     
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  2. Satya

    Satya C'est la vie
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    It sounds like a scholar and a cop who overreacted to a situation. The scholar by pulling out the race card to what sounds like a routine disturbance call by the police and the cop for arresting a man that wasn't giving him the respect he felt he deserved. This probably has little to do with race, and a lot to do with each man's pride.
     
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  3. arbygil

    arbygil Passing through

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    I'm a bit of two minds here, Indigo. One, I'm furious. Think about it: If someone gave you grief in your own home, would you react normally? Probably not. But on the other hand, it's become a huge deal, a lot bigger than it needs to be.

    The truth is this: Race is still an issue, no matter what people say. "We're all one" doesn't hold much water when someone does or says something stupid every week to disprove it. And yes, if you're a minority you'll feel the hurt a different way because you've been in this place and it hurts. And you're tired of seeing it again and again and again without recourse.

    The situation could've been rectified with an apology from the police department with a move towards remedying the situation. But by saying "it's not our fault" it's causing more and more tension.

    Why would the neighbor call, anyway? Seriously. I'm serious. This is how criminals get into rich places: They're people who look like they belong there. This is how people of color get excluded: They look like they don't.

    How can you remedy such a situation that's so deeply ingrained in our culture and others' minds? I'm sick of the same story, repeatedly. I'm just as tired of it as everyone else.

    One reason I didn't want to bring up this topic was because I have little to no objectivity in it.
     
  4. OP
    IndigoSensor

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    Oh believe me, I know race is still an issue. It sadly always will be. There are just people who always have some kind of prejustice to things. Of course I would give greif if someone tried to do that to me in my own home. Heck, I would likely raise hell. However, I wouldn't push it beyond what happened even if someone was judging me off some preconcieved notion.

    I am part of a minority as well; I'm gay. While I know that is quite different then being black, it is nevertheless a minority, and I have been judged based off this before. However, when I see a gay person freak out because they were judged or treated unfairly and they push the issue beyond what it needs to be, I get mad. Regardless of anything, I get mad when someone uses something about their personal identity to raise issues beyond what they need to be.

    Believe me I am tired of all of this stuff to.
     
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  5. TheLastMohican

    TheLastMohican Captain Obvious
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    I don't see why this case has anything to do with racism. Even if the report had been racially motivated (which it clearly was not, given that the woman was Portuguese and, having only seen the men from the back, was unsure of their races and said they might be Hispanic), that would not have carried over to the police who handled it from there on. Considering the background of the police who arrested Gates, racism seems a very unlikely factor there as well.
    Gates' behavior did not justify an arrest, of course. He was loud and belligerent for no good reason, but that was not illegal. Crowley should have turned and left without hesitation once he knew that Gates owned the house, but instead he abused his power and arrested Gates simply for annoying him.

    It's not all that complicated. I was rather disgusted to hear that Obama had spent time in his presidential press conference to talk about the case, as if it was an issue deserving of executive attention. His comment about the police "acting stupidly" was absolutely correct in context (he was talking specifically about the fact that Gates was arrested after it was confirmed that he was on his own property), but he only added fuel to the fire of misconceptions when he started commenting on racial issues as if they were connected to the case beyond Gates' own rantings. If he wanted to comment on the case on his own time (not alongside national legislation and such) that would have been fine, but his uninformed and overall harmful input during the press conference was inappropriate, unhelpful and served to trivialize the office.

    Fortunately the charges were dropped. I hope Gates and Crowley put it behind them now (though the latter deserves severe penalties for his crime).
     
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  6. Indie.J

    Indie.J Community Member

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    Why did the neighbours call in the first place? I mean you'd think you'd know who lived next door to you a bit better wouldn't you?

    Also Obama getting involved wasn't necessary. I agree with TheLastMohican that the racist aspect of this was only brought about by Gates himself and that the arrest was more over the fact that Crowley was annoyed.
    I suspect that either Obama didn't take this into consideration and jumped to conclusions and/or may have been a bit focussed on building on his self image and moral standings. (not meaning to offend anyone who likes Obama, I don't really have anything against him)
    So yeah, I think it was blown out of proportion.

    I completely understand the reaction of Gates thinking he'd been a victim of racism though and who knows he may have been. But from what I've heard I think emotions were more at play.
     
    #6 Indie.J, Jul 27, 2009
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2009
  7. Hinsoog

    Hinsoog Community Member

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    EDIT: I understand that I am preaching to the choir here, and I feel like this is an inappropriate time for this because you guys already established that this seemed more about two emotional reactions and two people's pride. But, I feel like this is an important perspective to be aware of when thinking about this sort of thing, so I resisted deleting this, which I almost did three times already. Feel free to tell me if these preachy blasts of mine ever seem obnoxious.

    So I'm going to offer up an important perspective on this that will sound racist, but is most definately not and I'll show you why if you'll stick with me.

    First, an idea to set-up the connection I'm trying to make. Recently I took a class called Personnel Psychology(not to be confused with the word "personal"), and in it, the professor showed that there are very strong numbers that show that black people perform an entire standard deviation lower than white people on IQ tests that employers use. Is it because that black skin equals lower IQ? Of course it doesn't! It's for a pile of complicated reasons that have to do with a history of oppression! IMPORTANT EDIT: Do NOT misunderstand this: The BIG risk is if people start wondering if there is some real difference between black and white people's physical intelligence, as though their physical brains were actually quite a bit different and that maybe that could be the problem... That is dangerous territory, and wrong. I can't think of what it's called, but supposedly there is an effect these tests have on downtrodden minorities where they actually have some kind of negative reaction to it in some way because they may actually feel like the test is against them, for lack of better words. It could be that the language on the tests is much different than that the minority is accustomed to, or any number of other things. Anyway, a lot of it is probably environment. Somebody surrounded with better resources for learning in their household are just at an advantage. The point I'm trying to make for the purposes of the connection I'm going to make is that it is A GIVEN that the physical IQ of black and white people is NOT different. But the numbers are still there, and it isn't because black skin equals less IQ! It means that many black people are in a disadvantaged situation due to past oppression giving them the bad numbers, and ALSO that they have an unforseen negative reaction to the actual tests based on their disadvantaged situation and likely other factors like language and a perception that the test is somehow malevolent. I bring that up to show why other numbers, like how black men are more likely to go to prison than to go to college, are not because black skin means that you are a criminal, it's because we aren't fully grown past the downtrodden position black people have because of past oppression!

    So a lot of this is about probability. I am part of management at a videogame store, and we have been robbed several times, and other videogame stores in town have been robbed as well. Every one of these robberies was a black male. Most recently I got to be the one with the gun to my face just a few months ago, and it was a black male. I am still not racist, but, I am now much quicker to feel anxiety/suspicious when black men approach my store in a fast manner wearing dew rags and so forth with some kind of tough look on their face. The numbers are just there, and me and my coworkers cannot ignore them, and they are the source of our anxiety. It doesn't make me and my coworkers who have also been robbed racist, it just means we can't ignore probability.

    Is it because they are black that they are the ones who are consistently robbing us at gunpoint? Is it really the fact that we use their skin as probability information that is racist? It isn't, because black skin doesn't inherently mean "criminal"; there's history that has provoked this situation. It's because there is probability that shows that there is a high percentage of downtrodden black people in our city compared to a what that percentage looks like with white people. They aren't even downtrodden mostly for their own fault, again, a lot it of comes from their unfortunate history and oppression that our society is trying to grow past. People who are more downtrodden for whatever reason, could be a history of oppression or not, are more likely to committ crimes, and that is just logical.

    Police aren't fools, and they aren't just going to throw away probability in their field just for the sake of consistency. They are using "probably"s, and those "probably"s are probably usually right and they know it. In my city, it's just obvious that the greater portion of black people just aren't in as healthy a situation as the white people. I'm sure it'll take time for our society to sort of grow past past oppression so it won't look like it does now, but the fact is, the next person to rob my store at gunpoint is PROBABLY going to be a black male, and that is not racist. Black skin doesn't mean there is some inherent flaw or genetic trait that is producing these very very unfortunate numbers, it is simply where we are at in growing past our very very unfornate history...
     
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    #7 Hinsoog, Jul 27, 2009
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2009
  8. TheLastMohican

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    It is fallacious to start with the assumption that all other factors being equal, black people and white people will have the same average scores on IQ tests, and it indeed does prompt weird explanations for no good reason. But there is a very simple reason why the differing IQ scores can be ignored: those black people with lower scores were able to function just as well in society. If a white person scores 75, se usually finds independent living quite challenging. But the black people do not exhibit such difficulties, and seem normal despite an IQ range shifted down a standard deviation. This more or less proves that either the IQ tests were flawed, or that IQ in general measures too small an area of intelligence, one which does not matter much in the real world. (The lack of strong positive correlations between IQ and success implies the second hypothesis.)
     
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  9. sedna

    sedna Community Member

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    It's impossible for me to have this conversation with you now, Indigo. But let me begin by saying this...

    I don't have a deck of race cards I play to upset the status quo.

    Please refrain from reducing racism to a 'card.' It's very insulting and it makes it harder for me to take anyone seriously who believes it is a valid way to have a discussion on racism. Ironic, given the 'RACE CARD' CARDS pulled out to shut black people up about racism and prejudice. Very annoying.
     
  10. arbygil

    arbygil Passing through

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    Rant mode on:

    Do not. I repeat. Do not make this an issue of IQ versus "race." Let's be perfectly clear: Race is a human concept with very little scientific fact. It exists because we as humans make it exist. And so lies perpetuate.

    I will put my got-damn foot down here and now: IQ is arbitrary. It cannot be successfully proven because it fluctuates depending on situations. And it has NO BASIS for any "justification" on how people act.

    I won't deign to answer that useless tripe. Your professor is a racist idiot. Don't fall into his trap.

    Some light reading - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Race_and_intelligence
     
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  11. Hinsoog

    Hinsoog Community Member

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    Great information, but, the BIG risk though is if people start wondering if there is some real difference between black and white people's physical intelligence, as though their physical brains were actually quite a bit different and that maybe that could be the problem... That is dangerous territory, and really, it just has to be history and their environment as a result. I can't think of what it's called, but supposedly there is an effect these tests have on downtrodden minorities where they actually have some kind of negative reaction to it in some way because they may actually feel like the test is against them, for lack of better words. It could be the language on the tests is much different than that the minority is accustomed to, or any number of other things. Anyway, a lot of it is probably environment. Somebody surrounded with better resources for learning in their household are just at an advantage.
     
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    #11 Hinsoog, Jul 28, 2009
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2009
  12. OP
    IndigoSensor

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    Why would it be insulting when people do use race as a card to get out of situations? Mind you, a very small portion of people do that, but there are those who do.

    I am a gay man, and subsequently, I know many gays and lesbines who use the fact that they are homosexual as a way to get out of things, to belittle people, and put them down so they feel better about themselves. There are people that are part of minorities that use it as a unfair "tool".
     
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  13. Hinsoog

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    Oh no! Please no Arbygil, I can't let you misunderstand what I meant by presenting that! I am saying that it is A GIVEN that the physical IQ of black and white people is NOT different. But the numbers are still there, and it isn't because black skin equals less IQ! It means that many black people are in a disadvantaged situation due to past oppresion giving them the bad numbers, and ALSO that they have an unforseen negative reaction to the actual tests based on their disadvantaged situation and likely other factors like language and a perception that the test is somehow malevolent. I bring that up to show why other numbers like how black men are more likely to go to prison than to go to college are not because black skin means that you are a criminal, it's because we aren't fully grown past the downtrodden position black people have because of past oppression!
     
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  14. Billy

    Billy Contents Under Pressure
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    Hinsoog, a friendly bit of advice, this thread has become a train wreck, just let it die... I cant speak for black people but I grew up with a lot of them, and I can tell you they don't love being called down trodden or oppressed, especially when they are educated and successful. Something to think about. Imagine if someone started coming up with reasons for you completely out of your control if you had a few personal issues growing up... it would probably feel like people were patting you on the head, and thats not a good feeling.
     
  15. Faye

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    I wasn't there and don't trust the various media versions of the story. It does seem to have been blown way out of proportion though, thanks to the stupid media.
     
  16. arbygil

    arbygil Passing through

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    Indigo, TLM, this is where it gets tricky, and I don't have the statistics for this, but I'd love to see the data. How often do people call the police regarding a robbery if the robber looks White? Is it a different curve? The person who called (and it doesn't matter if they're Portuguese if they're used to seeing a "certain type" in the neighborhood) said they believed Gates "might be Hispanic" - but not White.

    But let's turn this around.

    If a robber is White, how often will the police get called for a robbery in progress?

    There's a pretty good show on TV: It Takes a Thief. It shows actual thieves who consistently and successfully break into homes, then it shows how home owners they can prevent themselves for getting robbed. Interestingly enough, it's rare that anyone calls the police in the neighborhoods. The two guys actually rob these homes and hidden cameras show the damage they do. I say they get away with it because they act like they belong there...but I think it's that truth combined with the fact that they're handsome dudes, and...truth, now (no way around it): They're White. I think, unfortunately, when crime is mentioned that race comes into play time and time again. It's not fair. It's not right. But it's the default in many people's minds.

    And Billy is pretty on point, in a roundabout way. I don't want anyone's pity for me or my race saying "it's not your fault you're this way - it's your genes! It's your upbringing!" How belittling is that? If I'm not held up to my standard for who I am as an individual, and if I commit a crime as an individual, I want to be seen as an individual and not a statistic.

    To be honest: I think environment is the main factor. You steal because it's what everyone around you is doing. You don't steal because you're Black or White. Same as any other crime. You imitate what you see.
     
    #16 arbygil, Jul 28, 2009
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2009
  17. TheLastMohican

    TheLastMohican Captain Obvious
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    I mentioned her being Portuguese because she said the men might be Hispanic (of her own general ethnicity), so it seems unlikely that she could have had racist motivations of any kind. That's not to say that if the neighborhood was predominately white, she wouldn't be made more suspicious even by Hispanics; but that would have been a simple demographic perspective, not one that is based on racial value judgments or prejudices. And again, possible racism ends with her anyway, since she had nothing to do with the occurrences beyond her report. It's not really relevant to the case.

    I understand Gates might have assumed that the police would not have bothered if not for reports of black people (or non-white people), but was that a reason to get upset? More frequent reports about black people are not necessarily bad: instead of over-reporting blacks and other minorities, you could see it as under-reporting whites. I would like to know that at least some unfamiliar people (including myself, if it so happened) breaking into my house would be reported, even if I knew that, for example, a female would be less likely to draw suspicion.
     
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  18. Hinsoog

    Hinsoog Community Member

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    Is is NOT genes..... If someone even tries to think that and use that it can be horribly horribly destructive... That was even a way to legitimize racism in the past...
     
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    #18 Hinsoog, Jul 28, 2009
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2009
  19. arbygil

    arbygil Passing through

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    Fair enough; I'd agree with that - and you're right, her telephoning wouldn't change what happened once the police were dispatched. I can't assume that she wouldn't have called the police if the person at the door was a distinguished college professor age 65+ who happened to be White. That could've happened.

    EXACTLY. I wonder if beautiful Caucasian women have the highest rates of getting away with crimes. Or maybe young Caucasian mothers. Although...it might depend on the degree of the crime. Susan Smith and Andrea Yates certainly received long-term prison sentences for their crimes (although, it might be said that they received lesser sentences than they deserved or lesser sentences compared to other people).
     
  20. arbygil

    arbygil Passing through

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    Trust me. I don't believe that tripe for a second. It's been said, but I certainly don't believe it.
     
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