Chicago Boyz

What Are Chicago Boyz Readers Reading?

  •   Enter your email to be notified of new posts:
  •   Problem? Question?
  •   Contact Authors:

  • Blog Posts (RSS 2.0)
  • Blog Posts (Atom 0.3)
  • Incoming Links
  • Recent Comments

    • Loading...
  • Authors

  • Notable Discussions

  • Recent Posts

  • Blogroll

  • Categories

  • Archives

  • We’re Making Progess! Sort Of.

    Posted by Shannon Love on September 21st, 2007 (All posts by )

    Wont as I am to see the silver lining in every cloud, I can’t help but think that two recent racial episodes represent a sort of progress in racial relations.

    In the Jena-6 case in Louisiana, a group of six black teenagers sucker-punched a white teenager and then kicked the crap out him while he lay unconscious on the ground. They did so after the white teenager made racially derogatory comments.

    In the Duke non-rape case, a white, vote whoring D.A. framed a group of (mostly) upper-class white jocks for the rape of a black women. He appears to have been motivated by a desire to curry favor with local black voters.

    Times have changed. Forty-years ago, black kids in a small deep-south town would never had stood up to white kids in a verbal pissing match and they certainly would not have dared to beat one of them up. Likewise, forty-years ago, a white politician would never have framed a white person in order to get black votes.

    Contemporary touchy-feely culture teaches us to believe that people learn to live with one another through a moral evolution of understanding, acceptance and love. My more jaundiced view holds that people learn to live with one another when no single group holds enough power to dominate the others. People usually learn to live with one another only after beating each other into a bloody stalemate.

    These two cases represent progress because both cases arise from the increase in real black power in our society. Of course, increased power means increased chances for abuse and, like all human being, blacks will fall prey to temptation. On the whole, however, I think we are gaining more than we are losing.


    12 Responses to “We’re Making Progess! Sort Of.”

    1. Ginny Says:

      Well, that’s seeing the glass half full. But, of course, you are right. Unfortunately, such increasing power also explains OJ’s acquittal. The half-empty might be fear of tribalism increasingly affecting our judicial system. That is my idea of a worrisome regression, though we know we can never (and often fortunately) leave that behind, especially in small & poor & divided towns.

    2. Tyouth Says:

      “These two cases represent progress because both cases arise from the increase in real black power in our society. ”

      Ginny has it about right. I can’t see anything positive about the Jena case. First, if justice is inflected by the protesting in that town it would be an evil and dark “power”. I’m surprised at you Shannon for in seeing something possibly positive about this.

      Secondly, the actions of these young men reinforces the very stereotype of African Americans that the old south largely held; namely that colored folks are more animal-like and not capable of living civilly with the rest of us.

      There is no excuse for violence unless one is faced with violence and has to protect oneself. It doesn’t matter if the the flag is being burned or someone calls someone else a “nigger” or whatever – violence is not justified.

      The jerk that teases the junkyard pit bull runs a risk and may get what he deserves if he gets bitten and you can’t blame the dog….the dog is an animal. I for one, won’t call those black kids animals. They need to get the harshest punishment in the law.

    3. Tyouth Says:

      not “inflective” above, should be “affected”

    4. capitano Says:

      There is no excuse for violence unless one is faced with violence and has to protect oneself. It doesn’t matter if the the flag is being burned or someone calls someone else a “nigger” or whatever – violence is not justified.

      I agree, but unfortunately some will point to the provocation and excuse the violence. I remember being flabbergasted that rational people would accept Palestinian suicide bombings as the natural consequence of Palestinian “frustration” with the inconvenience of Israeli security checkpoints. Undoubtedly the Palestinians had legitimate complaints, but the eagerness to excuse terrorism or in the Jena case — thuggery — is very disturbing.

    5. Ginny Says:

      Hell, apparently a jury assumed Mary Winkler killed her husband because he was mean to her – after all, why else would she have shot him? And surely she had no other choices.

      If we see violence, we assume there is provocation. Well, probably in someone’s mind there was. I don’t think modernism & solipsism work well in court – nor as our neighbor’s lifestyle. What they did does – it doesn’t make a hell of a lot of difference what we think happened or why we think it should have happened or how pure we think our motives are. Captain Vere argued that and, well, I’ve come more and more to think he’s right. It isn’t like we’re in a position to determine innocence in someone else’s heart of hearts – or, let’s face it, our own.

    6. Tatyana Says:

      Israeli checkpoints have the word “security” for a reason. First – terrorism, then – checkpoints as a security measure, then – palestinian ‘frustration, more money from arab countries (including Saddam) and Europeans – and US, as a matter of fact – and more terrorism agaist Israelis.

      That’s the sequence.
      Legitimate are Israel’s reasons for security, not palestinian fiction.

    7. capitano Says:


      I understand and agree with your sequence.

      My point was that even if you take the Palestinian argument at face value: “because we feel humiliated and frustrated with Israeli security checkpoints, we are justified in blowing up innocent citizens in pizza parlors and wedding receptions,” what rational person would agree with that justification? Well, the answer is people who are so invested in the identity politics of the terrorists or criminals that they will set aside common sense and logic. To them a thought crime is the equivalent of a violent crime…and that is very disturbing.

    8. Phil Fraering Says:

      I ran across this article at Yahoo/AP via the web site Discarded Lies.

    9. Shannon Love Says:


      I’m surprised at you Shannon for in seeing something possibly positive about this.

      I don’t see something positive in the acts themselves but rather in the accumulation of social power necessary for the perpetuators to feel they could commit the act in the first place. In other words, to abuse power, one must have power in the first place. If any group attains more power, some members of that group will abuse that power. The existence of abuses of power by the few indicates the power of the many.

    10. Tatyana Says:

      Shannon, the blacks had been enjoying untouchable status here in NY for decades already. At least I could remember when arrived as a refugee in 1992, first few months in the city were shocking to me to witness incredibly aggressive and rude behavior of blacks in the subway, on the streets, etc – and how everybody else avert their eyes when some overgrown teenager pushes people around him and spews racial slurs.

      I’m used to it now to the point I filter it out like everybody else – and because of my job I also know who lives on taxpayer’ money in our correctional institution, and in what proportion. And I also know how much it costs, per occupant of the cell per year, to keep it this way.

    11. Shannon Love Says:


      I think you have to see it in the context of the historical rise of various ethnic groups throughout history. Basically, abuse of social and political power seems to be part of the immigrant story.

      For example, most immigrant groups seem to pass through a time in which they dominate crime. In the period of around 1905-1930, Jews were the major figures in organized crime. Before that, it was the Irish. Likewise, Jews dominated sports in the late 20’s and early 30’s.

      While African-Americans are not immigrants, there historically rapid transition from a predominately regional rural surf class to full fledge citizens basically follows the same pattern. When they migrated out of the south and into the urban northeast and coastal West they made a cultural journey at least as significant as those who moved migrated from the poorer parts of Europe.

      All this takes time. We forget that the assimilation of numerous mutually hostile European ethnic groups into a single group we today casually label as “white” took nearly a century. I think African-Americans are within a decade or so of reaching that point.

    12. Tatyana Says:

      That is certainly an interesting theory; however I suspect most of your point are highly debatable.
      I’ll wait for someone more knowledgeable in American history to discuss it.