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Black lives matter

Written By: - Date published: 1:09 am, June 6th, 2020 - 106 comments
Categories: crime, human rights, law, law and "order", police, racism, us politics - Tags: , , , , ,

“African slavery lacked two elements that made American slavery the most cruel form of slavery in history: the frenzy for limitless profit that comes from capitalistic agriculture; the reduction of the slave to less than human status by the use of racial hatred, with that relentless clarity based on colour, where white was master, black was slave.” Howard Zinn, A People’s History of the United States.

This week race has yet again dominated American politics and society. Over 150 years after the civil war and the end of slavery, 56 years after the passing of Civil Rights legislation, racial conflict and hatred remain an ugly scar on the country.

On 25 May 2020, George Floyd was murdered in custody by the Minneapolis Police. The cause of death was four police officers restraining Floyd for eight minutes and forty-six seconds, kneeling on him to restrain him and eventually suffocating him to death. Floyd’s last words to the police restraining him were “I can’t breathe“, which has now become the rallying cry for protest movements throughout the world.

Decision made on possible charges against cops in Floyd case - New ...
Police officers in Minneapolis kneeling on George Floyd moments before he died.

From 2013 to present US police have killed 7,666 people. Despite making up only 13% of the US population, black people are two and a half times more likely than white Americans to be killed by the police. This map published by Aljazeera shows the states where Black people are most disproportionately killed by police in the United States.

The Black Lives Matter campaign was founded after the 2013 death of Trayvon Martin in police custody. Months later the officer responsible for Martin’s death was acquitted, as so often is the case with black deaths in custody in the US. Over the last 6 years, this campaign has done much to highlight the police killing of black people in the US and has fought for those officers responsible to be brought to justice. This movement has continued to grow and raise awareness of this serious issue.

Large scale protests against black deaths in custody and more broadly against the way black people are treated by law enforcement in the US have been happening for years. In 1992 the city of Los Angeles erupted into riots after officers who had brutally beaten Rodney King were acquitted. During these riots, the US Marines were sent into LA to try and restore law and order.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, large protests have turned out both in the US and throughout the world to condemn the Murder of George Floyd and the racism that fuelled this act of hate. Many of these protests have turned violent resulted in mass arrests and destruction of property, including police precincts. This violence has been condemned, and many have bemoaned the fact that people haven’t engaged in peaceful protesting. The below meme highlights why things have turned violent:

Why don't they protest peacefully?" : The_Mueller

President Trump has taken a strong stance against protesters. In a tweet, in response to the protest Trump quoted 1960’s Miami Police Chief Walter E. Headley who in response to the civil rights movement said: “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.” Twitter placed a warning on Trump’s Tweet claiming it was hate speech, to which Trump has hit back saying his free speech has been stifled.

Trump has threatened to use the military to stop riots throughout the US. This week Trump used tear gas, rubber bullets and flashbangs to move protesters in Washington DC. Having cleared the protesters out of the way, he posed outside a church in DC holding a bible while talking to media. This act has been widely condemned by Christians and other faith leaders as opportunistic and disrespectful.

Trump has been consistently appalling on race relations. When running for President in 2016 he refused to condemn the Klu Klux Klan whose leaders had endorsed him for president. In August 2017, President Trump infamously said there was “fault on both sides” in Charlottesville when a woman was killed protesting against white supremacists. It would be easy to turn the heat on Trump, and he has certainly fanned the flames of racial division as President. But this problem goes much deeper.

Since European settlement of the Americas, racial violence and white supremacy has been a common feature. From the clearing of indigenous people of their lands to taking African slaves to America to work the fields for white farmers, The United States has been built on the idea that White Europeans are superior and that their lives matter more. The civil war may have ended slavery, the civil rights movement may have changed the legal framework ending segregation in the Southern States, but the idea that White people’s lives matter more has survived into the 21st century.

The United States claims to be a democracy. In a democracy, all citizens who pay taxes should be given the right to vote. Yet despite this in recent years there has been a trend of voter suppression in the US, and this has been targeted at America’s African American Community. One state that is now moving towards greater voter suppression, is the state of Minnesota in which the city of Minneapolis is situated. This is another example of how black people, and in particular working-class black people are not given the same rights as white people in the United States. When black peoples voices are silenced in the democratic system, inevitably white privilege and white supremacy will go unchecked within the justice system.

Racism is not inevitable, and people are not born to hate others due to their skin colour or ethnic origin. White supremacy is a disease that has infected the United States since the European colonisation of the region since the 15th century. It is a disease that sadly is not isolated to the United States, but has taken a particularly strong hold since Spanish and later British colonisation of the continent. Columnist for The Guardian Afua Hirsch has this week written an insightful article on the origins of this racist thinking which is well worth reading. The mistaken and dangerous idea that certain people are more intelligent or superior based on their racial origins has been long since disproven, yet this thinking persists. When a country has in the very bedrock of its foundations the ingrained idea of white supremacy, change has proved to be slow and difficult. But it doesn’t need to be.

One crucial way of challenging racism, both in the US and throughout the world, is to listen to the voices of those who have suffered at the hands of racism. We need to listen to the leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement and understand the systematic racial prejudice that exists within the US police and justice systems. We also need to listen to those who have experienced racism, prejudice or have suffered from the actions or inactions of those who are ignorant of how white privileged works. And finally, we need to stand with those whose voices and votes are being suppressed by white supremacists within the US political system. Black lives matter and we need to stand with those who are fighting for this. We all will be better off when the scourge of racial violence and institutional white supremacy is gone forever.

106 comments on “Black lives matter”

  1. Ad 1

    We can’t breathe.

    Pretty much word for word re Eric Garner whose death by US Police was covered on The Daily Show six years ago:

  2. I Feel Love 2

    Thank you Nick, a very thoughtful piece. I grew up in Huntly West, at Huntly West Primary I was one of the few Pākeha, yet I had no idea until years later looking at my old school photos. In my 20s I listened to a Māori friend tell me of his experiences during high school, the racist shit he had to put up with, I had no idea, I never saw it, or experienced it, but I listened, and learned, and believed him.

    What astounds me about the American civil rights movement, is it's within living memory, like the women's movement and gay rights, but interestingly those 2 movements have been more accepted than the Black Lives Matter.

    And, I saw someone tried an experiment, they made a Twitter account and tweeted similar content to Trump, they were suspended after 3 days.

  3. Gabby 3

    It's baffling how the fascist Bob Kroll head of the cops union in minneapolis keeps his job.

  4. Macro 4

    Excellent article Nick.

    BTW. Mayor Muriel Bowser just renamed the section of 16th Street in front of the White House "Black Lives Matter Plaza"


  5. Adrian 5

    The numbers are hard to make sense of but the US number is about 4.8 killed by police per million people ours is about 1.1 per million.

    While NZ is only about 25% of the US total what would it be if the police and the population were as armed here as there?

    The US figures also include car crashes but it is not specific as to whether that involves the fleeing car crashing or a police car hitting the victim.

    • Climaction 5.1

      The police killed 5 people in New Zealand in the last 12 months?

      seems a bit off. Can you justify this stat or is it wishful thinking?

      new Zealand police, while far from blameless, simply don’t mow down citizens

  6. joe90 6



    • RedLogix 6.1

      Then again other black people have gotten past the victimology:

      But what we are seeing now is ridiculous. If this was just a comedy show I would be laughing. But the antics of activists, social justice warriors, and their rent-a-crowds only move Australia backwards.

      These professional protesters are latching onto the Aboriginal deaths in custody issue to enable them to justify their confected outrage and go out marching with their protest signs that say: ‘Black lives matter’.

      For them, an Aboriginal death in custody is proof positive of racism.

      For Aboriginal deaths in custody, let’s provide some context here.

      Aboriginal Australians in custody are less likely to die than non-Aboriginal Australians in custody.

      An Australian Government publication, The Health of Australia’s Prisoners: 2015, states: “Indigenous Australians were no more likely to die in custody than non-Indigenous Australians” and “With just over one-quarter (27 per cent) of prisoners in custody being Indigenous, and 17 per cent of deaths in custody being Indigenous, Indigenous prisoners were under-represented.”

      More succinctly, Goethe said “people find what they look for, and they look for what they believe.” Maybe it’s time we band together and start looking for the good in each other? There are no winners with the race riots and protests.

      • joe90 6.1.1

        Because the real victims of all this victimology are white men of a certain age.

        • RedLogix

          Where do you want this to go Joe? Cos all I see is you gloating in people at their worst.

          • joe90

            Your peeps gotta get over themselves response to the detailing of the institutional sabotage of the education of black kids, and the not unexpected outcomes is up there with that goober's violent reaction to kids putting up fliers.

              • McFlock

                What a load of rambling bullshit.

                Oh, and as for the nobody is doing the work excuse to throw up one's hands in epistemic frustration:

                from where (or at least when) the bricks came.

                • RedLogix

                  That's precisely Eric's point, the truth is complicated. And frankly why should anyone trust buzzfeed, a source that was just days ago giving out handy hints to rioters.

                  • McFlock

                    Well then, I'm unsure he even exists, so I'll ignore that jargon-filled bullshit. Problem solved.

                    • RedLogix

                      More succinctly, Goethe said “people find what they look for, and they look for what they believe.”

                    • RedLogix

                      Yes, riots will of course bring out the fearful worst in everyone. And it becomes a self-fulfilling circle of hatred.

                      Seeing as how you are so quick to produce the links I can deduce you are spending hours reveling in it. Dark thrills indeed.

                    • McFlock

                      They're not exactly difficult to find, dude. These aren't rare occurrences, although no doubt they are all one-off instances with no systemic cause whatsoever.

                      After all, facing peaceful protestors with nothing but helmets, armour, shields, pepper spray, steel clubs, and whatever military surplus equipment was supplied to your department by homeland security must have been terrifying. 75 year old men scared the shit out of me when I was doing crowd control with no more authority than a pub tshirt, I must say. 🙄

                    • RedLogix

                      On the other hand if you number maybe a few dozen, no matter how well armoured you may be, facing off an angry crowd of thousands is a very different picture to the one you paint.

                      Cops are not some demons ascended from a hellish plane, they're ordinary working class men as a rule, often equally diverse as the communities most strive to serve faithfully.

                    • McFlock

                      Oh, piss off. I have faced off against angry crowds with worse odds than the e.g. buffalo p.d. had, and without the fucking gear. And that includes them throwing bottles and glasses at us. It wasn't fun, but if you don't have the mentality to deal with it you shouldn't be in the fucking job. If you take random abuse personally, you shouldn't be there.

                      You think I'm just some fucking weak liberal monday-morning coach. You try working when the manager fucked up and put only two on for a 300pax punk night. You can moderate and control a crowd, or you can provoke it. The cops are not working to moderate the crowd – their tactics are designed to provoke confrontation and a stampede. Kettling, sudden rushes with excessive force against people using their words, all of that Red Squad shit – that's not crowd control. That's counter-protesting.

                      Yes, cops are people. They're acting like fucking dicks.

                    • solkta

                      What's more those Buffalo cops were part of the Emergency Response Team (ERT). They chose to join this team presumably because they think they have the skills to manage such situations, or perhaps because they enjoy it.

                      57 cops resigned from this squad in protest at the two officers being charged, but still get to keep their jobs as cops. The president of the Buffalo Police Benevolent Association (PBA) said:

                      Fifty-seven resigned in disgust because of the treatment of two of their members, who were simply executing orders,

                      So certainly this was not a case of "some ordinary working class men" being put in a situation they were not able to handle but rather a group of thugs working for what would seem to be a thuggish institution.


                    • RedLogix

                      ERT teams (presumably similar to our Armed Offenders Squad) are specialist cops who have to deal with situations of extreme violence all the time. Anyone who knows how to fight understands that the safest way to end a confrontation is quickly. Specialised forces like this train to reflexively disable opponents with targeted force. Get it over and done.

                      I recall standing in Cuba Mall some years back, and two probably drunk blokes started taking wild swings at each other in the middle of the street. From seemingly nowhere three cops raced in and literally before I could mentally process it, had the drunks on the ground and cuffed. It looked violent, but in reality it stopped the fracas within seconds, and with no serious injury to anyone.

                      People who don't have to face off violence as part of their daily job tend to romantically think you can always reason every offender into a safe state. It is of course a legitimate strategy, especially where the offender offers no immediate threat to anyone else. In that case you have time on your side and you can wait things out until the emotions fueling the confrontation subside. Keeping your response low key and non-confrontational works well …. but only up to a point.

                      But as the live videos show, there is no clear line between an agitated crowd of legitimate protesters, and one that escalates into arson, looting and violence. Operationally it is utterly unrealistic to make nuanced choices between legitimate protesters and press, and others there who are exploiting the moment to commit crimes. And because the difference is not obvious, the order goes out 'clear the square'. That means everyone.

                      The cops training kicks in and they work to achieve that, as cleanly and quickly as possible. The whole idea is to look as intimidating as possible, ideally you want the crowd to retreat and disperse without violence. But it is never an ideal process, nothing about a volatile situation like this will be. Most of the time you get it 95% right, but then mistakes happen. One of the team shoves a protester a bit too hard, who instead of falling safely to the ground as almost anyone else would, topples hard on their head. Shit that wasn't meant to happen. Consequences.

                      It's incredibly childish to demand the police perform their very difficult and demanding task to perfection, while at the same time remaining silent as thugs attack them, and arsonists and looters operate with not just impunity … but with the left tacitly egging them on 'because they were driven to it'.

                      Because the difference is this; the US police forces involved will come under scrutiny. Where they made mistakes they will come under pressure, they will review and adapt. In the 60's and 70's protests like this could easily end up like the Kent State disaster, no-one wants a repeat of that.

                      Because ultimately we give the state a monopoly on the use of force in order to protect the whole community. When the state fails in this task it is always the weakest and most vulnerable minorities who are hurt first. In this respect demands to defund and dismantle the police are asinine insanity.

                      By all means we can demand the police do a better job, we can demand they refine their methods and approach, we could always pay them more and work to instill a more professional ethic among them. We can clean up the toxic 'gypsy cop' effect which makes getting rid of unsuitable individuals very difficult. Already in the USA there are reviews and legal responses underway as a direct result of this past few weeks. That's what will achieve change.

                      In the meantime we will depend on the police to stop looters, arsonists and provocateurs. These are the real thugs and they never change until someone stomps on them.

                    • solkta

                      as thugs attack them

                      Oh piss off. There was nobody attacking them and no other protestor even in the vicinity. There was just one old man trying to talk with them.

                      Operationally it is utterly unrealistic to make nuanced choices between legitimate protesters and press

                      Press carry press cards to identify themselves. It is also very obvious they are press when they are carrying a huge camera worth many thousands of dollars. The law is clear that they have a right to be there. You are just an apologist.

                    • RedLogix

                      Yes I am defending the police. After all it is was a white supremacist shooter involved, who ya gonna call? A fucking social worker?

                      And while the Press do have rights, they are not absolute. The relationship between the role of the police and the press is a balancing act. Here is how it looks from a police perspective:


                      First Amendment freedoms and cases have run the gamut and none have been more liberally applied than those dealing with the press. Other rights protected by the First Amendment include speech, religion, association, assembly, and redress of grievances. All of these have been upheld, but courts have limited them to a certain time and/or place. Protesters can be granted permits to assemble for periods of time and assigned an area to hold their protest. Counter protesters can be granted a permit but assigned an area away from the group they are countering. Provided a compelling interest can be shown where there is no less restrictive means to achieve the interest, that being public safety and order, the restriction should be upheld as Constitutional.

                    • McFlock

                      Again, you're confusing me with someone who thinks violence is never an answer. Part of the skill and the discipline is to not brain a 75 year old just because you are trained to hold down a berserk meth-head. If you can't adapt to the situation, you shouldn't be in the job.

                      The problem isn't chasing down looters. The problem is that someone yelling in their face, or even eyeballing them without due deference, gets responded to with overwhelming violence. They treat koombaya-singing passive groups in the same way they'd treat a bunch of hairy bikers swinging chains at them. This isn't an expectation of perfection, it's what every decent bouncer deals with for probably half the damned paycheque. omagerd, people yelled mean things at you for a few hours? If I'd gone spare with a metal bar every time that happened when I was on near-minimum wage, I'd still be behind bars.

                      But that's a level of "policing" you're prepared to defend.

                    • solkta


                      Talk about incredibly childish. I say you are an apologist for defending the police when their behaviour is blatantly illegal when dealing with peaceful protestors and press, and you come back with white supremacist shooter like i had argued for abolishing the police. You are a dirty rat who always sidesteps when on the back foot.

                    • RedLogix

                      But that's a level of "policing" you're prepared to defend.

                      Maybe it was where I said:

                      By all means we can demand the police do a better job, we can demand they refine their methods and approach, we could always pay them more and work to instill a more professional ethic among them. We can clean up the toxic 'gypsy cop' effect which makes getting rid of unsuitable individuals very difficult. Already in the USA there are reviews and legal responses underway as a direct result of this past few weeks. That's what will achieve change.

                      Was that it?

                      If I'd gone spare with a metal bar every time that happened when I was on near-minimum wage, I'd still be behind bars.

                      Because your job as a bouncer was not to stop looting, arson or disperse an out of control mob. All you had to do was control the door, and if things have gotten too volatile all you had to do was step inside and lock it behind you.

                      I've no doubt you were good at being a bouncer and it gave you good insights into crowd management, but it's not the same job as policing. The objectives are different.

                    • McFlock

                      Because your job as a bouncer was not to stop looting, arson or disperse an out of control mob. All you had to do was control the door, and if things have gotten too volatile all you had to do was step inside and lock it behind you.

                      Ah. You know as much about venue security as you do about crowd control. There's a fucking surprise.

                      What's this WS shooter you keep raising up? Didn't hear any gunshots when the geriatric was given a TBI by the cops.

                      And if “reviews and legal resonses” achieved change by themselves, the change would have been achieved 40 years ago.

                    • solkta

                      And if “reviews and legal resonses” achieved change by themselves, the change would have been achieved 40 years ago.

                      Yes exactly. Things have got to be like they are because nothing fucking changes. That does not fit with RL's world view though so he will not acknowledge the fact.

                    • RedLogix

                      If only we got rid of the cops and put in a handful of bouncers instead.

                      In the United States, civil liability and court costs related to the use of force by bouncers are "the highest preventable loss found within the [bar] industry", as many United States bouncers are often taken to court and other countries have similar problems of excessive force.


                      One of the main ethical issues of the research was the participation of the researcher in violence, and to what degree he would be allowed to participate. The group could not fully resolve this issue, as the undercover researcher would not have been able to gain the trust of his peers while shying away from the use of force. As part of the study it eventually became clear that bouncers themselves were similarly and constantly weighing up the limits and uses of their participation in violence. The research however found that instead of being a part of the occupation, violence itself was the defining characteristic, a "culture created around violence and violent expectation".[29]


                      Oh dear never mind.

                    • McFlock

                      You're funny when you can't actually defend armed and armoured cops giving a 75-year-old a TBI or batoning journalists.

                      Of course, the difference between cops and bouncers is that bouncers get fired and charged even if their excessive force isn't caught on camera.

                    • RedLogix

                      And if “reviews and legal resonses” achieved change by themselves, the change would have been achieved 40 years ago.

                      Actually that was my point about Kent State, things have changed since then, and quite a lot.

                      But seeing as how that is not good enough, and you have explicitly rejected the usual political process for reform, but remain conveniently silent on any alternative, I'm at liberty to assume you are really advocating to achieve change by violence, but you are too cowardly to openly say so.

                      Bouncer culture shows through in the end eh?

                    • McFlock

                      I'm pretty cool with violence against property in this situation, yeah. And I'm on record here as a supporter of punching nazis.

                      And if someone turns up to a peaceful protest dressed for violence, I'm probably not too worried about them getting the job they dress for – provided everyone wanting a tussle keeps the non-violent folk out of it.

                      So I won’t defend people who beat the shit out of defenceless people who are sitting down with their hands up, like you’re defending.

                      But an inability to tell the difference is pretty common in people who have no fucking idea about dealing with crowds of angry people. Knowing fuckall doesn’t stop you mouthing off though, does it.

                      And to be completely clear: I don’t know everything about police work or crowd control. But I can tell the difference between an old nonviolent activist and someone trying to do me harm. Apparently the entire Buffalo ERT could not be trusted to do this or similar basic tasks.

                    • RedLogix

                      Yeah look I'm winding you up on this presumption of yours that just because you ran 'venue security' for a few tough clubs it means you know all about what it takes to run a major police operation in an extremely volatile, unpredictable and dangerous protest/riot in a major US city.

                      Search engines being wonderful things, here is a job description for a bouncer. Note carefully:

                      This begins with controlling the flow of foot traffic into a bar or club and includes removing patrons who get too rowdy, using problem-solving skills to settle disputes in a respectful manner, and contacting the authorities when a situation gets beyond the bouncer’s control.

                      Yup. Call the cops if it gets too hard.

                    • McFlock

                      and contacting the authorities when a situation gets beyond the bouncer’s control.

                      lols. What does "generic career guidance job description" say about your role – how accurate is that, I wonder.

                      All that, and everyone who enters the bar is completely sober lol.

                      Because, like, calling the cops when things get slightly dicey will totally not:

                      • be recorded by the police for the next licensing hearing
                      • result in the manager no longer rostering a staff member because they couldn't control things
                      • bugger the night's takings when the cops clear the bar (helping along the middle bit)

                      So things tend to not "get beyond the bouncer's control", the cops get called to pickup fucko from outside the door if the staff want the punter charged for taking a swing at someone. Otherwise he (usually he) becomes the problem of the bar down the road.

                      tl,dr: If shit gets out of control, first thing to go in the review tends to be the bouncer's job. So it's amazing what doesn't count as "out of control".

                      BTW, even Mitt Romney is marching and saying BLM. I bet the cops don’t beat his arse.

                    • RedLogix

                      provided everyone wanting a tussle keeps the non-violent folk out of it.

                      You make it sound so easy. At some point the police response is going to be very simple and unambiguous, the order will be 'clear this area'. That means everyone. Shut it down.

                      That means legit protesters, press, thugs and innocent bystanders. The right to protest, the First Amendment rights of the press are not absolute; if the police determine that in the 'interests of public safety' that a crowd needs to be shut down, then they will.

                      And if necessary the officers who made the decision gets held accountable afterwards.

                      Because once an agitated crowd senses the police will only back off … it enables the thugs. You can see this in video where mobs pursue retreating police officers, they sense weakness and attack.

                    • McFlock

                      You make it sound so easy. At some point the police response is going to be very simple and unambiguous, the order will be 'clear this area'. That means everyone. Shut it down.

                      And if they're just peacefully protesting, with no thugs, that's likely an illegal order (let alone the violence with which it is enforced).

                      Do you really believe that every protest that was baton-charged had violent elements? Is that another delusion you're clinging to, despite all the video evidence? And why use the same level of force against violent and non-violent people?

                      Can't you tell if someone is trying to fight you vs not resisting at all? Because that's something even bouncers have to know. Reasonable force as a defense – look it up in the Crimes Act. but it's not something you expect of the police.

                    • RedLogix

                      And if they're just peacefully protesting, with no thugs, that's likely an illegal order

                      As I said, if necessary there should be accountability and the decision scrutinised in Court. The test of 'public safety and order' could be a reasonably wide one, and what you see on video and what gets presented as the totality of the story in Court could be quite different.

                      Do you really believe that every protest that was baton-charged had violent elements? Is that another delusion you're clinging to, despite all the video evidence? And why use the same level of force against violent and non-violent people?

                      Yeah ideally in a tidy, well controlled situation you would totally expect the police to respond with the minimum level of force necessary to achieve their public safety objectives. And as I said way above, probably 95% of the time they get that reasonably right.

                      After all in the past two weeks there have probably been thousands of interactions between police and crowds (of one sort or another) and most of them have worked out ok. Evidence is that the volatility levels are decreasing and both police and protesters are responding more carefully with each other. But in those first few days, emotions were all over the place, it made for a very unpredictable policing challenge, and not all of their decisions and actions were justified.

                      And those are the ones you are selectively watching for the outrage effect. Videos of police successfully managing crowds are boring, no-one gets all breathless about them.

                    • McFlock

                      It's so unfair people fixating on the times cops beat and murder people, why not all the times they didn't?

                      And, like Jeffrey Dahmer only killed about seventeen people, what about all the interactions he had with people whom he didn't kill?

                      And why don't they call that guy "Sam the carpenter", when he builds houses for a living? He only fucked one goat, ffs.

                    • Morrissey

                      Red Logix, why the hell are you quoting Goethe? I'm sure you've never read him.

              • joe90

                That one percenter had me right up until his reckons about venture capitalists being as likely to be asphyxiated by police as black people are.

                Apparently pallets of bricks are a fucking mystery to one percenters, too.


                • RedLogix

                  Again you miss Eric's point; he's not saying why the bricks appeared. He saying that something as simple as this becomes entangled.

                  That one percenter had me right up until his reckons about venture capitalists being as likely to be asphyxiated by police as black people are.

                  Again in your enthusiasm to shit on everything, you miss his point. He didn't say the 'one-percenters' are just as likely to be harmed by the police … but that anyone can imagine how with just a small change of circumstance could find themselves in such a predicament.

                  Empathy joe. A lack of it means you don't listen well.

                  • locus

                    Empathy is not something you are exercising in this denigrating response

                  • joe90

                    But every single white person, every single privileged person, every single white person accused of passing bogus bills risks being asphyxiated in the middle of the road by a uniformed thug?

                    Do fuck off.

      • McFlock 6.1.2

        2.8% of the population provide 27% of the prison population?

        • RedLogix

          If racism is the answer is then why do Asian's who compromise about 12% of the NZ population make up only 3% of the prison population?

          • McFlock

            What makes you think there is a single answer, or that systemic inequity based on ethnicity can only work in one way?

            And if racism isn't a significant contribution to the answer, what is?

            • RedLogix

              As I've pointed out before it is inevitable that ethnic minorities will encounter systemic headwinds. So yes it is a factor; but not always in ways that are obvious.

              Yes there is racism, although we should be careful to distinguish it from the perfectly legitimate preferences of the local dominant culture. Yes there are white supremacist's, but again we should be careful to understand the context it arose in, and the reasons why it seemed at the time a reasonable answer to to a difficult question. Only then can it be firmly answered.

              We probably can agree on this; wherever we find differing outcomes there are rarely simple uni-dimensional reasons why. My view has always been this; that we all share far more in common than not, and those that would divide us rarely have our interests in mind.

                • RedLogix

                  It's late; you'll feel better in the morning.

                  • McFlock

                    If you or your youtube homie had a point, the massively-bullshit term "nucleating event" would not be in my brain.

                    The fucking lengths you go to in order to pretend racism can not be attributed to any systemic outcome in any nation, while offering up explicit acknowledgement of its existence as some sort of sallow, clammy concession to reality. Spectacular.

                    • locus

                      The dogged unpleasantness of RL and a few others on TS and their determination to win every discussion as though it was a victory to put down the other person is why I left TS. I come read posts occasionally because good writers.

                    • Incognito []

                      Some commenters (regulars) like, although I’m not sure they always and necessarily like it, to engage in lengthy debates here that usually end up in dialogues.

                      I have to say that they usually (mostly) play the ball, not the man.

                      Others can scroll past if they wish. I do, especially with certain reoccurring topics of discussion.

                      It is not my place to pass judgement on what floats someone’s boat.

                    • RedLogix

                      Supersaturation and nucleation is of course a metaphor.

                      In the week or so since George Floyd was murdered, something like 120 other young black men have also been murdered, but the left ignores this. Not one of these deaths get's a moment's serious attention, nor are the cause of world-wide protests. Very odd.

                      Yet one very dumb cop acts out the original sin of racism in full view, and suddenly events precipitate with a sudden violence.

                      Reading these threads I'm seeing many left wingers all but gloating in this; the prospect of an unconstrained burning down of the system secretly thrills them. Well yes Rome did eventually collapse of it's own internal contradictions, but a Dark Age followed because no-one had anything to offer in it's place.

                    • McFlock

                      The metaphors are an excuse to ignore the fact that this was a homicide of a completely defenceless indivdual documented throughout its course as it was perpetrated by the very people who are supposed to stop or investigate all those other homicides. It was the clearest example of a callous homicide perptrated by people who love to say they "serve and protect". And it was one of many examples.

                      You say it's an act of one very dumb cop. No. It's not. It keeps happening. These aren't the first protests about this issue. Floyd is not the first person ever to be killed by the people supposed to protect him and everyone else.

                      If cops killing unarmed people of colour is not a systemic issue, fucking karens would not be choking their dog on a call to the cops because a goddamned birdwatcher asked her to leash it (apparently she's gotten the dog back, sigh).

                      And quite a few lefties do want the capitalist exploitation system burned down, but cops murdering unarmed people is also a bad thing that needs to stop.

                      I’m off to bed.

                    • RedLogix

                      And if this very dumb (and culpable) cop had been kneeling on the neck of a white trash mofo …. /crickets.

                      I realise it's been lost in the noise, but US cops kill roughly three times as many non-blacks as blacks. But the message is these lives don't matter much.

                    • McFlock

                      Unarmed. On camera.

                      The problem isn't the messaging. The problem is your ears missing important elements of the message.

              • locus

                "perfectly legitimate preferences of the local dominant culture"

                Who defines 'legitimate in this context? But no matter, because this sentence provides the powerplays that define such things as racism.

                Just a systemic headwinds is an euphemism for systemic failure to provide equitable chances in life.

                What divides us in this context is one of us thinks there are legitimate reasons for racism.

              • locus

                "perfectly legitimate preferences"

                Let's be really clear… racism is not a legitimate preference

                • RedLogix

                  Every culture has it's values, it's social habits and preferences; they organise their affairs to suit themselves. It pretty much the definition of culture. And anyone who have lived and worked in other cultures understands that you do things the way the locals want them done. You will face the headwinds of bias, you will be quietly shut out of the inside track, you will have to work harder to win anything.

                  It's the experience of every immigrant, but also the essence of human diversity. Why would we want to erase that?

                  The trap you are clearly making here is thinking that racism is something only white people can do. There is a separate reason for that and it's helpful to separate that out.

                  The root of racism is biological, all high order creatures show a strong genetic loyalty to their immediate kin. You only have to watch bands of chimpanzees fighting over territory to see this in it's grim brutality. It is the human foundation of clan and tribe.

                  But uniquely humans overlaid this with a more sophisticated loyalty, one based on social reciprocity and rules based values. The value of this is that it extends beyond the limits of genetics and enables us to create very large and powerful social structures. Potentially without limit.

                  We live imperfectly in an uneasy balance between these two forces, one biological the other social. The question is, which one is being fed by these protests?

                  • Foreign waka

                    Thank you for a short and precise description of underlying issues.

                    Any culture has on one hand made remarkable strides and on the other has not moved at all. The of biology of race = loyalty vs biology of human family = survival will play out in the next 10-20 years and one can only hope that there are survivors left.

                    Einstein said "I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones."

                  • McFlock

                    Interesting line your running: racism is biologically determined and an unavoidable part of humanity, but we can't attribute it to any individual or systemic inequities in policing. 🙄

                    • RedLogix

                      I can describe four elements of the argument I'm putting forward. In order of appearance:

                      One is the biological element, that by default humans exhibit strong loyalty to those we perceive to be our genetic kin. This is the basis of tribe.

                      The next is the development of loyalty to those we perceive will play the reciprocity game with us and can be trusted. This widens the circle of people we can operate with dramatically. On this we expanded to build culture and ethnicity.

                      The third element is the appearance of diverse cultures, each defining a particular version of the social rules and habits that define insider/outsider. Modern cultures are relatively open in that they encourage and support outsiders to transition into becoming insiders, while making adaptations to the outsider themselves. This is the story of the immigrant experience.

                      The fourth and probably most contentious element to describe is the difficult question of why just two cultures, the British and the Americans are the only ones to have ever dominated the entire planet. In the early days of this globalisation phenomenon there was no obvious answer, and many people confronted by the vast gap in apparent social development between the cultures hit on the idea that somehow white people were genetically superior as an explanation.

                      It was of course wrong from a science point of view (we now understand it was almost entirely due to a fortuitous merge of geography, climate, plant and animal husbandry, disease and technology. It had nothing to do with genetics, and everything to do with the fact that one group of people simply got to industrialisation first.

                      Worse still 'white supremacy' was wrong from a social perspective, shifting the emphasis back onto genetic loyalty, with all of it's brute limitations and injustice. Even more alarmingly it was an idea that was prone to being conflated with the idea of 'purity'. The Nazis showed how the human instinct for disgust at 'unclean' things, which serves to protect us from disease, can be hijacked for political purposes and fairly quickly arrive at genocide.

                      Firmly setting aside 'white supremacy' (or any other identity based supremacy for that matter) as a very wrong turning, the next question is where to next? How do we work toward a global, universal human loyalty, while retaining a diversity of cultures and ethnicity's that have every reason to remain distinct and vibrant? And how to do this in a globalised planet where cultures are no longer geographically separate, but often exist overlapped in the same territory?

                      The solution that I have witnessed working, at global scale, is one that puts at the centre of it's ethical system the innate, inviolate singleness of the human race. It is one that insists we are all equal before creation, all equally entitled to dignity and rights before the law. That very remarkable document The Universal Declaration of Human Rights miraculously captured this perfectly. In essence it demands we expand our loyalty horizon progressively outward from family, community, culture, nation to include all of humanity.

                      Within each of these expanding horizons we learn how to manage diversity. We are all unique, both in temperament and experience. Even within the circle of the family or clan, we encounter diversity of personality and capacity that challenges us. And as our collective horizon grew over the millennia, our capacity to integrate broader social diversity expanded as well. To my mind the destination is clear, our capacity for social loyalty based on group reciprocity, must be expanded to one based on universal morality. A society firmly located in this idea is one that can paradoxically embrace both unity and diversity at the same time, each feeding the other in balance to ensure a healthy, organic society.

                      From this perspective the energy must go toward building trust and erasing fear and suspicion. Because if racial supremacy was the wrong turning that the right took on the question of race, identity politics, with it's divisiveness and guilt ridden power games, is the complementary wrong turn the left has taken.

                      (I’m aware this is a bit abstract and wordy, honest I’ve done my best to be concise and accurate here. Cheers.)

                    • McFlock

                      The fourth and probably most contentious element to describe is the difficult question of why just two cultures, the British and the Americans are the only ones to have ever dominated the entire planet.

                      Except they're not. The British had a quarter of the planet, the yanks and soviets had probably about similar. The French had a hefty chunk, Spanish, Chinese, and Mongols also.

                      And the Chinese are filling much of the dolt45 vacuum.

            • Foreign waka


              Education. Education. Education.

              Not necessary English white education but non the less: education.

              This is the responsibility of the parent and always has been. This is true of every race, gender, language. Universal if you will.

              It might have helped those police officers to read the constitution, civil and human right declaration so that their action can be based on knowledge rather than blind following of slogans.

              It certainly would help rioters to understand that they are burning and tearing down houses, shops and schools of people who have worked all their lives to get their kids to a better place through education.

              And who says that a better place is something that falls into your lap? Or something one can take from another person like the officer took the life of an innocent man and the rioters seem to believe that is theirs to destroy. An eye for an eye I can hear, but 2000 years of it has got us no where. Time for a different solution, one that bears the true label "civilized". The question is whether people are ready for it. Looking at the daily news, I am pessimistic to say the least.

              • McFlock

                Easy way to stop the US burning is to stop the US police murdering people.

                Not that we don't need our own conversations in NZ, either.

          • Descendant Of Smith

            racism equals poverty, poverty equals crime
            racism equals economic violence equals crime
            racism equals loss of land and economic power equals resentment equals crime
            racism equals poor health equals crime
            racism equals loss of culture equals crime
            racism equals self-medication equals crime

            It's not really that difficult and is seen all over the world. For Maori it's racism and….. those ands include a young population. There was a time when borstals etc were full of white kids – kids who had also lost their identity and who were also young by definition. There was a time when most crime was committed by young white kids – they, if they survived, are now baby boomers. Some of it is therefore simply having a young population.

          • locus

            Apples and oranges. Wealthy Asians arriving in a country that doesn't have a history of enslaving Asians vs. Blacks in US

            • RedLogix

              Actually much the same pattern plays out everywhere. This UK based table is a bit messy but shows a similar outcome. Asians tend to do very well despite being immersed in nations allegedly rotten with white supremacy. Not a very good supremacy really. (And of course not all Asians are 'wealthy immigrants', many have been indigenous for generations.)

              As for slavery, well the USA fought a very bloody civil war that ended it over 150 years ago. And 60 years ago eliminated the legal legacy of discrimination from that era. And even managed to elect a black President. And it’s a nation where racism has been openly central to the public discourse for generations. It's not entirely obvious why slavery should remain the perpetual reason for black disadvantage.

      • Drowsy M. Kram 6.1.3

        Interesting article by Dr Anthony Dillon. What might George Floyd's family think about labelling Derek Chauvin "a dumb police officer", guilty of an "act of stupidity"?

        Similarly, Dillon's "rent-a-crowds" and "professional protesters" labels don't ring true to me. And his comparison of the rates of death for different ethnic groups in Australian prisons is not directly relevant to Floyd's death while being 'detained'.

        Dillon may be "sceptical of symbolic reconciliation", and promote the idea that it's "up to individuals to move beyond past injustices and take reconciliation into their own hands", but current protests aim to get justice for Floyd, and perhaps ‘cut down‘ on the number of future 'Floyds'. It's about 'encouraging' US law enforcement to "find a better way". Too much to ask?

        International protests in solidarity with disproportionately victimised dark-skinned populations can contribute to change and (eventually) a degree of reconciliation. Protests may not be perfect, but they’re preferable to a do-nothing 'response', IMHO.

      • locus 6.1.4

        Yep, there are some "fine people" waving the Confederate flag. And all the tens of thousands holding peaceful protests in the US about generations of racism should look for the good in these "fine people"? Do you understand what being subjugated by white folks in one way or another every day means… looking for good in your fast food worker, street cleaner, rubbish collector… is not going to change a thing.

      • Fugitive 6.1.5

        All I can say is that it is amazing that when there is black black on black violence with over a million killed such as in Rwanda in 1994 there were few protests seen as we are seeing now. Did their lives matter less? Tribalism it seems is okay! If Europe and USA so bad then why are so many fleeing Africa and Mexico to get to these racist places? There is such bias…stairs must be toppled because they represent colonialism…must Italy then flatten The Colosseum because many Gladiators were slaves. We should learn from history not destroy it. I am just so tired of the world and the press trying to make me feel guilty just because I happened to be born white. I hate no one and anger will lead to counter anger and many innocents will again be hurt or killed. As Tutu said " No future without forgiveness. He also stated ater xenophobia in South Africa that we cannot blame this barbarism and corruption on apartheid." Just my 2 cents worth

        Go well. Be well.

        • joe90

          Aww, poor wee petal's feelz are hurt..

        • solkta

          Yes it is terrible how many US-arian police officers went to Rwanda to kill blacks. No, wait, what are we talking about again?

          Nobody is trying to make you feel guilty unless you are racist. If you are feeling guilty then good chance there is a reason, but that reason would be within you rather than outside.

          • Incognito

            Oh, come off the grass. Was Cunliffe a sexist when and because he said he was sorry to be a man?

            • solkta

              I don't believe that Cunliffe was meaning that he felt guilty. Embarrassed to be associated with perhaps. And i don't think he was trying to say that others were trying to make him feel guilty.

              • RedLogix

                Nah. Zealots play the manipulative guilt tripping game all the time. And then when called on it, gaslight by making the target feel responsible, proof even further of their sinfulness.

            • solkta

              Also, when i was in my early teens i was racist and homophobic. I have worked through some guilt for that. I have never though felt guilty for the actions or thoughts of another.

              • Incognito

                Understood, thanks. I’m just a little puzzled as to why you felt it necessary to stick a stigmatising label on a commenter. Do you know that person? Do you know his/her history and PoV? The way I saw your comment was as judgemental. If I got that wrong, I will apologise. BTW, what matters is who you are now and what you will do now, IMHO.

                For the record, I don’t think that commenter is commenting in good faith but there are ways to test him/her and to give them enough rope. Suffice to say, the commenter is on my radar and my prediction is that they won’t respond and come back or that they won’t last long here. Until then, I’ll have to reserve final judgement.

                • solkta

                  Are you replying to me as a fellow commenter or as a mod?

                  • Incognito

                    As a fellow commenter but please ignore it and my apologies if I caused you any confusion or upset; I’m having a bad day in the Moderator Office in the back-end 🙁

  7. Incognito 7

    A strong post with an important message. Thank you.

  8. Descendant Of Smith 8

    Sometimes Fox News are so dumb that it is beyond belief. Putting up a story and a graph that shows after black people have been killed the stock market goes up. Some things you look at you you can only wonder why?


  9. Bazza64 9

    An interesting article in the herald yesterday about a girl & her Maori mother in a cafe in Whanganui in 2011. The cafe wouldn’t let the Maori women use their toilet & told her to go to the subway restaurant down the road, which she then did.

    A Pakeha/European women then comes in to the cafe & asks to use the toilet & is allowed to use it. I’m really surprised at this level of blatant racism & hope it is extremely rare, but wonder if anyone else has experienced something similar ?

    • joe90 9.1

      In 2011 there were two public toilets and a ladies rest in the city centre.

      The sole Subway in Whanganui at the time is four blocks up from city centre cafes.

    • Molly 9.2

      Yes. Often. Most recently…

      Called police a couple of days ago after neighbour is heard yelling and screaming, swearing at the partner, and lots of thumping noises, before female partner is heard wailing and saying no. As the neighbour often escalates behaviour if we intervene, called 105 and asked the police to do a welfare check on the partner. We know she will say she is alright. But the arrival of the police, creates a change in demeanour in him, and he calms down enough to talk to them.

      Spoke to police when they arrived and they went to visit. English police officer. Neighbour is still yelling when they arrive. After a short period of time, the officer returns and says she is fine, and that he is upset because his grandmother died. And do we have an issue with him that is going to the Tenancy Tribunal? Yes, I say, he has put in a complaint about us and we are dealing with that. On that confirmation, I can see his sympathy is with the neighbour, and he believes that we are harassing him. Of the many times the police have been called to the property – most of them have been by the neighbour himself – against his partner. Twice, by me. Once when I saw him actually physically assault his partner. And this time, when I heard her call out. I have told her I would call if either of these two things happened.

      After the police leave, there are two more incidents that day that last two hours each and from our close proximity, do involve abusive and controlling behaviour and manipulation.

      I am a middle-aged Maaori women, with no prior dealings with the police. The neighbour is a mid-thirties Pakeha male, who rung his Pakeha mother to come and speak to the police and persuade them of our terrible behaviour in calling them in his time of grief. (Ironically, when his partner’s grandmother died, there was also another very violent incident, culminating in him driving down the road with her hanging on the windscreen wipers, until we intervened and persuaded her off. He had refused her request to take her to her parents.)

      There was no accusation of harassment, but the look the officer gave as he left spoke volumes.

      • greywarshark 9.2.1

        Molly – A help in this matter may be if you have a sound recording of what is going on and also a notebook with dates and brief notes and what partner has said to you. You can start to doubt your own mind when this sort of 'game' playing goes on. It is interesting that police don't believe you because I have found that people in charge usually believe the first person they speak to,

        • Molly

          Thanks, grey.

          Since the police have attended here multiple times, they suggested quite a while ago that I record incidents as the female partner is not interested in pressing charges. So I have, including ones where he is abusive directly at me. I also keep an incident log, just for accuracy. As you say, dealing with someone who lies directly and aggressively, makes you question your own perspective. A couple of examples: Pulling at his partner violently while simultaneously screaming, “Stop hurting me!”, yelling at me for coming over and talking to him, when I am standing on my front porch after his partner has knocked on the door and he has followed her and started being aggressive.

          However, they are really not interested in accepting those recordings when they attend. (Perhaps too much work in transcription).

          " It is interesting that police don't believe you because I have found that people in charge usually believe the first person they speak to, "

          Yes. This last police officer had never been here before, and his default was to believe the neighbour and his mother.

  10. Peter 10

    Racism mightn't be genetic Babies mightn't be born racist but if they, from before they were born, are living in racist environments and learning all the necessary lessons from the moment they are born what are they going to be like as adults?

    America is steeped in slavery and seeing black people as inferior, hardly human and mere property. Slavery was banned 155 years ago after more than that length of time being the way of the world.

    Come back in another 155 years and there will still be residual effects.

  11. Bastables 11

    You do know that the model minority myth is being attacked as such in its country of orgin (USA) right?

    Model Minority Myth Revisited: an Interdisciplinary Approach to Demystifying Asian American Educational Experiences. Information Age Publishing.

    Because it does things like ignore the statistics of Asians on the lower socioeconomic end of USA racism. Note when it was coined in reference to a sociologists paper on Japanese American educational attainment it ignored the experience and stats of the ethnicity that the US practiced colonialism on the like the Philippines .

    You blither on about finding what your looking for yet seemingly use aggerate stats that mask important differences that belie the model minority myth.

    It’s telling that you’re using the model minority story first coined (Success Story: Japanese American Style) at about the same time as the Civil rights movement in the 60s, and was used to undercut Black Americans arguments for having rights.

    It’s also a crock of shit as African immigrants to the USA have the highest educational achievement because they’ve not had to grow up actually in the USA been victim to it’s treatment of African Americans in the USA school system.

    African Immigrants in the United States are the Nation's Most Highly Educated Group". The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education (26): 60–61. 1999

    [Your comment was held in Pre-Moderation because the system had no previous record of you and regarded you as a new user. However, there’s another user with the same user handle as yours and I assume this is actually you. The user handle and the avatar are quite distinct, the difference is the e-mail address used. Custom avatars of their own are based on and associated with their e-mail address. If this comment is indeed from the same user, could you please revert to the previous e-mail address? For your convenience: https://thestandard.org.nz/this-is-who-we-really-are/#comment-1604993. Could you please also acknowledge that you have seen this note and respond? Thanks in advance – Incognito]

    • Ad 11.1

      Your one dated citation is 21 years old.

      Do you have any academic links or facts to share to back yourself up?

      • Bastables 11.1.1

        You ignore the other citation though don’t you.
        And yet go to bat for a concept first mooted (model minority) in 1960 in a mere essay, telling.

    • Incognito 11.2

      See my Moderation note @ 10:26 AM.

    • Bastables 11.3

      It's the same bastables, if my old login is under a orcon address I no longer have access to it

      • Incognito 11.3.1

        No worries and thanks for responding.

        FYI, you can still use your previous e-mail address and keep your avatar, even though you don’t have access to it any longer (unless it is now being used by someone else, in which case it could create a problem in future).

        • bastables

          ok still seems to work, is the old email address tied to this "acct" to the extent I can't swap it for a new email address that I have access to?

          • Incognito

            As I said, the avatar is connected to the e-mail address.

            I will enquire with the SYSOP if the avatar can be transferred easily; he’s very time-poor.

  12. sumsuch 12

    You do know we are one of the worst at treating people of different colour worse than ourselves? What were the benefit cuts other than that?

  13. bastables 13


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  • Speech to Labour Party Congress 2020
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