The Week In Quotes: George Floyd

New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees in 2017
New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees in 2017
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

(EDITOR'S NOTE: The most important story in the United States in the past week was the death of George Floyd and the ensuing violence that broke out across the country. We have decided to run a separate Week in Quotes column dedicated to that issue. Obviously, due to the nature of the topic being discussed, we must bend our typical "no politics" rule in the comments on this article, but we ask our readers to please be civil with each other. You can find our normal column looking back at the other quotes of May here.)


"The NFL family is greatly saddened by the tragic events across our country. The protesters' reactions to these incidents reflect the pain, anger and frustration that so many of us feel.

"Our deepest condolences go out to the family of Mr. George Floyd and to those who have lost loved ones, including the families of Ms. Breonna Taylor in Louisville, and Mr. Ahmaud Arbery, the cousin of Tracy Walker of the Detroit Lions.

"As current events dramatically underscore, there remains much more to do as a country and as a league. These tragedies inform the NFL's commitment and our ongoing efforts. There remains an urgent need for action. We recognize the power of our platform in communities and as part of the fabric of the American society. We embrace that responsibility and are committed to continuing the important work to address these systemic issues together with our players, clubs and partners."

-- The statement released by commissioner Roger Goodell via NFL social media channels. (NFL via Twitter)

"Save the bullsh*t."

-- Houston Texans wide receiver Kenny Stills responded directly to the NFL's Twitter account. (Kenny Stills via Twitter)

"I'm looking forward to 'Songs of the Season 2.0.'"

-- Safety Eric Reid's comment is in reference to a 2019 NFL initiative where the NFL would "highlight superstars and emerging artists of all genres and will showcase musicians whose songs will be released each month during the season," (according to the NFL's announcement). The songs would be released on streaming platforms, and all proceeds would go to Inspire Change. (Eric Reid via Twitter)

"Your statement said nothing. Your league is built on black athletes. Vague answers do nothing. Let the players know what you're ACTUALLY doing. And we know what silence means."

-- Minnesota Vikings linebackers Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks, members of their team's social justice committee, sent out identical Tweets in response to the NFL's statement. They followed up this joint statement by each tweeting a picture of the NFL logo with the words: "WE WANT ANSWERS." (New York Post)


"I've had the privilege of being a part of many different circles that have included some very powerful and influential people of all different races and genders. The events of the last few weeks have brought some of the memories of those conversations back to light. I vividly remember the Colin Kaepernick conversations. 'Don't ever disrespect the flag' was the phrase that I heard over and over again. This idea that players were kneeling in support of social justice was something some people couldn't wrap their head around. The outrage that I saw in the media and the anger I felt in some of my own private conversations caused me to sever a few long-standing friendships.

"Most recently, I've had conversations about incentivizing teams for hiring minorities. Again, there was some outrage in the media and talks that this would cause division amongst coaches, executives, and ownership. I bring these situations up because I haven't seen the same OUTRAGE from people of influence when the conversation turns to Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and most recently George Floyd. Many people who broadcast their opinions on kneeling or on the hiring of minorities don't seem to have an opinion on the recent murders of these young black men and women. I think many of them QUIETLY say that watching George Floyd plead for help is one of the more horrible things they have seen, but it's said amongst themselves where no one can hear. Broadcasting THAT opinion clearly is not important enough.

"I lead a group of young men who have the potential to make a real impact in this world. My message to them and anyone else who wants to listen is that honesty, transparency, and empathy go a long way in bringing people together and making change. I hope that the tragedies of the last few weeks will open our hearts and minds to a better way of communicating and hopefully create that change."

-- Brian Flores of the Miami Dolphins is currently one of three black head coaches in the NFL, a league where 70% of the players are black. (ESPN)


"I feel like I've been censored my whole life. So for me to feel like I have to keep people at ease, to make sure there's a calm while I'm in the room, those are natural things to me. And these things were taught to me in a way. Because at an early age, not just being a larger kid, but a larger black kid, I was seen as the antagonist in a lot of situations. I was seen as the bully. I was seen as a person, you know, just not in the best light.

"Developing my mindset going forward, I understood always that I had to make other people feel comfortable before myself. I'm going to continue to do that. I'm going to continue to make sure people feel comfortable around me. Is it unfortunate that I have to live that way? Call it what you want. But I do it because that's how I'm able to move through society and have people be OK with me.

"I don't put any extra weight on anyone. I'd rather carry it myself, personally. I'm not going to push anybody in any direction. I want your path to take you there naturally. Whatever course you're on, let it take you there. Whatever you feel, whatever you hear, whatever touches you in a way, I'll let that be your moment.

"What I will say about our team [is] we do a good job, I think, of stopping separation, keeping guys together. I'll give you an example. We'd come into the cafeteria, and let's talk about a position group like the tight ends, who have mainly been Caucasian. They'll be sitting at a table and there will be three guys of the same ethnicity and they're having lunch together, and you're not thinking anything of it.

"But we have guys on the team that will break those barriers. I'll go sit with them. Danny Trevathan will go sit with them. Now this table isn't just one [race]. We're all together in this. That's something that I noticed Kyle Long do. He didn't care who was sitting at the table, he was coming in there and having a conversation with whatever ethnicity was at the table and that it something that is part of our organization that starts at the top."

-- Chicago Bears defensive tackle Akiem Hicks discusses his lived experience growing up black and the racial dynamics of the Bears locker room. (Chicago Sun-Times)

"We signed Mike Glennon."

-- Hicks also argued that quarterback Colin Kaepernick was refused a chance in the NFL because he protested police brutality. The biggest evidence of that, Hicks argued, was in the Bears' quarterback signing that offseason. When pressed on it, Hicks doubled down, saying "You heard that, huh? Yeah, I said that. It as a feeling." (Chicago Sun-Times)


"I've read some good statements. I read Brian Flores' from the Dolphins and I agree 100% with him. I read Doc Rivers' statement and those guys spoke from the heart. I think statements are needed to bring awareness to the situation. But I want to do something too. I don't want to just put [a statement] out there because it's the right thing to do. I want change. … So I guess it starts with having this conversation and talking things out. In 1992 I remember watching L.A. burn and here we are in 2020 and I'm watching it again and it just hit me, nothing has changed.

"I haven't done anything to make this a better place for my son. I remember having the talk with him when he was 16 about how to handle police and then at age 30 I called him up and just had the talk with him again because I'm so scared. I want to do something but to be honest with you, I don't know what that is."

-- Los Angeles Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn participated in a lengthy interview with LZ Granderson of the Los Angeles Times, beginning with an explanation as to why he didn't just simply make a statement.

"People completely misunderstood Colin [Kaepernick] and what he was trying to do. People talked about disrespecting the flag … the flag covers a lot -- patriotism and civil rights and other things. And Colin was speaking out against the injustice and a lot of people didn't catch on to that because it was happening during the national anthem. They thought it was disrespectful to the flag. I was surprised by the number of people who didn't know why he was protesting. I got letters from people. I had people walk up to me and ask, 'Coach, what are you going to do if someone on your team protests?' And I had to explain to them that Colin is taking a knee for criminal justice [reform] and police brutality and once you broke it down, they were like, 'Oh, we didn't know that. We thought he was protesting the flag.' And that was the case for a lot of people I came across.

"A lot of people for their own political reasons pushed out the wrong narrative. A lot of people didn't catch on as to why he took a knee. I understood and applauded him for it. At the same time, I'm never going to take a knee during the national anthem because I have an uncle that was a Marine and a father that is a vet. When I stand for the national anthem, I think of them. I think of the people who died for the rights and liberties I have right now and I give them that respect. That's how I think toward the national anthem. Now some people may look at that and think of social justice and how jacked up that is. I'll take a knee before and after the national anthem all day long, but I'm not going to tell someone else how they should protest. I thought it was a shame that Colin's message got lost because people kept bringing up patriotism. It was brave for him to do that. I have a lot of respect for that young man standing up for something outside of the 'Big 3' -- God, family, football -- and I have to say social justice right now is challenging my priorities. Right now I can't think of anything besides social justice."

-- Lynn, the child of a veteran, explains the impact that Colin Kaepernick has had on the league and the discussion surrounding peaceful protest. (Los Angeles Times)


"I think everyone has to admit their mistakes along the way. We all have to stand up and understand that what is going on in this country right now is wrong. It's wrong. Relative to many, many things. It's not just police brutality, although that's what we're talking about right now. It's corporate America. It's professional sports. It's the medical area. It's the legal area. We all have to do our part. We all have to do it now. It's 400 years ago [when Africans were brought to the colonies as slaves]. It's segregation. It's police brutality. It's not equal opportunities. It's so much deeper. ... And we have to stand with the black community, and we have to heed the call to action and challenge each other to live out the change that we want to see. I'm emotional. ... I'm sad. I'm frustrated because I'm questioning, 'What can I do?' I've got to do more.

"Listening to their life stories, and many others, like I said, has helped me cement my belief that we all must do what it takes to improve our country, especially as it relates to race relations. It is horrendous what we are seeing and what we saw eight or nine days ago. What is great about our country right now is, to me, the protests, the peaceful protests. The peaceful protests that we see on TV every night [have] just been an amazing example of what our country is all about."

-- Houston Texans head coach Bill O'Brien speaks candidly on what he has learned through conversations with his players over the last few days. O'Brien also cancelled all virtual football operations for June 9, offering players the chance to attend George Floyd's funeral in Houston. (ESPN)


"The black community needs our help. They have been unheard for far too long. Open your ears, listen, and speak. This isn't politics. This is human rights."

-- Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow offers his support. (Joe Burrow via Twitter)

"First, I send prayers to the family and friends of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmad Aubrey. As I have watched everything that has happened over the last week and even before then, I have tried to put my feelings into words.

"As a kid who was born with a black dad and white mom, I have been blessed to be accepted for who I am my entire life, but that isn't the case for everyone. The senseless murders that we have witnessed are wrong and cannot continue in our country. All I can think about is how I grew up in a locker room where people from every race, every background, and every community came together and became brothers to accomplish a single goal. I hope that our country can learn from the injustices that we have witnessed to become more like the locker room where everyone is accepted. We all need to treat each other like brothers and sisters, and become something better. Let's be the world where my little sister, generations to come, and even my future kids will grow up never having to experience these tragedies and instead love each other unconditionally!

"Love and unite!"

-- Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes' statement, touching on his experience growing up biracial. (Patrick Mahomes via Twitter)

"BLACK LIVES MATTER! We must commit to hold ourselves and our communities accountable! We must teach one another about our differences. We must embrace the different colors, cultures, and ways of life. To be multi-racial is beautiful and that is what this country is! To the men and women that police our streets, I have the utmost respect for those of you with a passion for protecting and serving your communities. When you choose to wear the badge of a police officer, you pledged to PROTECT life and property through the enforcement of our laws and regulations. How can you claim to uphold the law when those within your own ranks don't abide by it? You need to hold your own accountable! Each of you are as guilty as the men who stood beside Derek Chauvin if you do not stand up against the systemic racism plaguing our police forces nationwide. TAKE ACTION! As long as cops continue to profile blacks as a threat, cops will continue to be perceived as untrustworthy. You have to CHANGE YOURSELF before you can ask anyone else to change!"

-- An excerpt from Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott's statement via Instagram. Prescott has also pledged $1 million to "improve our police training and address systematic racism through education and advocacy in our country." (Dak Prescott via Instagram)

"A few years ago we were criticized for locking arms in solidarity before the game. It has NEVER been about an anthem or a flag. Not then. Not now. Listen with an open heart, let's educate ourselves, and then turn word and thought into action"

-- Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers shared an image of he and his teammates with their arms interlocked during the National Anthem. (Aaron Rodgers via Instagram)


"We can't bring justice to these families. Justice would be bringing those people back and we can't bring them back. The first thing we can do is try to honor those families. The way we honor those families, specifically the Floyd family, is making sure that all four of those officers are not just charged and arrested but convicted. Three of the officers haven't been arrested but 1,600 people have been arrested since the protests began. That's a problem and that continues to sweep the issue that exists under the rug.

"Then we have to change the way policing is done in our country. We know how to respond to crisis, we know how to respond to tragedies. Just think back to 9/11. 9/11 changed the way that we do airports. You'll never walk into an airport and it'll be the same. It was changed as a form of protection. We would never allow that situation to happen again in our country and that's what we need to do around policing. We need to change the way that that we police so we won't have these incidents come up again. Because every time it does it tears at the threads of America. It tears us apart.

"We can't allow bad apples in this specific situation in this specific occupation. It would be the same if we were to say it's OK to have a few bad apples as pilots. Most of our pilots do well, but a few crash planes, we can't have that. Some occupations can't afford to have a few bad apples and police officers is one of them."

-- New Orleans Saints linebacker Demario Davis believes that the American police system is in need of a systematic re-evaluation. (


"I think our problems in the NFL along those lines are minimal. We're a league of meritocracy. You earn what you get, you get what you earn. I don't see racism at all in the NFL, I don't see discrimination in the NFL. We all live together, joined as one, for one common goal, and we all intermingle and mix tremendously. If society reflected an NFL team, we'd all be great."

-- Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio referred to George Floyd's death as a "societal issue that we all have to join in to correct," but expressed that he did not believe the NFL had a problem with racial discrimination. (

"After reflecting on my comments yesterday and listening to the players this morning, I realize what I said regarding racism and discrimination in the NFL was wrong. While I have never personally experienced those terrible things first-hand during my 39 years in the NFL, I understand that many players, coaches, and staff have different perspectives. I should have been more clear and I am sorry. I wanted to make the point yesterday that there is no color within the locker rooms that I have been in or on the playing fields I have coached on. Unfortunately, we don't live or work only within those confines. Outside of those lines -- both in the NFL and society -- there is a lot of work to be done in the areas of diversity and providing opportunities across the board for minorities. As the head coach, I look forward to listening to the players -- both individually and collectively -- to support them and work hand-in-hand to create meaningful change."

-- Fangio followed up his comments the following day after having spoken to his players about the issue. (Denver Broncos via Twitter)


"I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country. Let me just tell what I see or what I feel when the national anthem is played and when I look at the flag of the United States. I envision my two grandfathers, who fought for this country during World War II, one in the Army and one in the Marine Corps. Both risking their lives to protect our country and to try to make our country and this world a better place. So every time I stand with my hand over my heart looking at that flag and singing the national anthem, that's what I think about. And in many cases, that brings me to tears, thinking about all that has been sacrificed. Not just those in the military, but for that matter, those throughout the civil rights movements of the '60s, and all that has been endured by so many people up until this point. And is everything right with our country right now? No, it is not. We still have a long way to go. But I think what you do by standing there and showing respect to the flag with your hand over your heart, is it shows unity. It shows that we are all in this together, we can all do better and that we are all part of the solution."

-- When asked his thoughts on the possibility of protests of the anthem resurrecting this upcoming season, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees made this statement. (Yahoo! Sports)

"He don't know no better."

"We don't care if you don't agree and whoever else how about that."

-- New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas made these comments via Twitter in reference to the Brees interview. (Buckeyes Wire)

"He's beyond lost. Guarantee you there were black men fighting alongside your grandfather but this doesn't seem to be about that. That uncomfortable conversation you are trying to avoid by injecting military into a conversation about brutality and equality is part of the problem."

-- San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman offered his thoughts in direct response to the original clip on Twitter. (Richard Sherman via Twitter)

"This is a disgrace! To speak about your grandfathers as if there weren't black men fighting next to them. Those men later returned to a country that hated them. Don't avoid the issue and try to make it about a flag or the military. Fight like your grandfathers for what's right!"

-- New England Patriots defensive backs Jason and Devin McCourty, who share a Twitter account, echoed a similar sentiment to Sherman. (Devin & Jason McCourty via Twitter)

"Our communities are under siege and we need help. And what you're telling us is 'Don't ask for help that way. Ask for it a different way. I can't listen to it when you ask that way.' We're done asking, Drew. And people who share your sentiments, who express those, and push them throughout the world, through the airwaves, are the problem. It's unfortunate because I considered you a friend. I looked up to you. You're somebody who I had a great deal of respect for, but sometimes you should shut the f*ck up."

-- New Orleans Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins addresses Brees directly in a video. (Dov Kleiman via Twitter)

"I would like to apologize to my friends, teammates, the City of New Orleans, the black community, NFL community and anyone I hurt with my comments yesterday. In speaking with some of you, it breaks my heart to know the pain I have caused.

"In an attempt to talk about respect, unity, and solidarity centered around the American flag and the national anthem, I made comments that were insensitive and completely missed the mark on the issues we are facing right now as a country. They lacked awareness and any type of compassion or empathy. Instead, those words have become divisive and hurtful and have misled people into believing that somehow I am an enemy. This could not be further from the truth, and is not an accurate reflection of my heart or my character. … I am sick about the way my comments were perceived yesterday, but I take full responsibility and accountability. I recognize that I should do less talking and more listening ... and when the black community is talking about their pain, we all need to listen. For that, I am very sorry and I ask your forgiveness."

-- Brees issued an apology for his comments on Instagram this morning. (Drew Brees via Instagram)

"I think that is a form of true leadership. That's taking ownership. What we had hoped the first time was that Drew would elaborate more on racism and the sentiments of the black community. He admitted he missed the mark. For him to come out and say 'I missed the mark, I've been insensitive but what I'm going to start doing is listening and learning from the black community and finding ways that I can help them.' I think that's a model for all of America. … For him to admit that he was wrong and say 'I can do better and I will do better.' I think that is leadership at its finest."

-- Davis in response to Brees' apology. (CNN)


-- Malcolm Jenkins' original statement regarding the death of George Floyd, embedded in full for you to hear.

-- Malcolm Jenkins then led by example through engaging in peaceful protest in Center City, Philadelphia.

-- A number of players currently in the Tampa area helped lead clean up efforts on Fowler Avenue following riots in the area the night before.



119 comments, Last at 12 Jun 2020, 7:11pm

1 Let me first start by saying…

Let me first start by saying the most important issue coming out of this tragedy is that a black man was killed senselessly and that it rightfully touched a nerve in the country. 

However, there were two other issues the cropped up from this terrible event. First - I don't think the media at large is being as vociferous in their condemnation of the riots as they should be. First of all, rioting and looting has nothing to do with George Floyd. Some people like Steven A Smith suggested we at least understand why. I don't agree. Looting a television or smashing a restaurants windows has absolutely nothing at all with being outraged. 


The second issue is what I saw with Brees and to the Sacramento color commentator who was fired. In both cases, they expressed personal views that some may disagree with, but they weren't so outlandish as to receive the terrible vitriol that came their way. I may disagree with both, but they have a right to express their views without being severely punished for it. Brees' is getting uniformly torn apart as an insensitive white man. The Sacramento reporter was called a closet racist and fired.


This stuff bothers me because its down the road to censorship. A personal story - I have libertarian leaning views. I get called a trump supporter, which is really just racist, misogynist, bigot, and rich billionaire sympathizer wrapped into one term. This is becoming all too common and I find it exceedingly disturbing. Not to make a straw man out of this, but there is a reason dictatorships use censorship as a powerful weapon. 


2 How was Brees "severely…

How was Brees "severely punished" for expressing his views? He used his enormous platform to make an insensitive statement, and he was called out for it... and that was the end of it. (And good for Brees for listening to that feedback!) Check out some of the footage of police aggression from the past week (or the past century) for examples of people being severely punished for expressing their views.

As for the Sacramento color commentator: he has a history of expressing racially insensitive views (e.g., stating that he didn't see how Donald Sterling could be called a racist because he hired Elgin Baylor and Doc Rivers). Considering that his job puts him in a position of literally being a voice of the team, I'm OK with him losing the job for repeating that type of mistake, particularly at a time like this.

3 I guess in the literal sense…

I guess in the literal sense, Brees didn't suffer financially. But he was uniformly ripped by everyone for having the views he has. Btw, your latter comment is the kind of point I am making. What does pointing out the history of police brutality have anything to do with Brees thinking that people should be standing for the national anthem? Is it because I said severely punished? Clearly an extreme comment though if you want to play that game, then victims of police brutality are getting off light compared with the violence thats happened in during slavery, the holocaust, Mao's great famine etc etc. 



I don't know anything about the Sacramento reporter, but he was promptly fired after making this comment, suggesting it was mostly about all lives mattering.  i don't find the statement - all lives matter every single one racist in the least. Its tone deaf considering whats going on and misguided, but its not racist. Racist implies only certain people's lives matter. Is that really a fireable offense?

4 Yes, I was questioning your…

You're correct that I was questioning your statement that Brees was "severely punished." In my view, having lots of people express disagreement with you is not being severely punished, it's the natural outcome of expressing an unpopular opinion. What outcome would you have liked to have seen instead? And I don't understand how you can raise concern about people getting severely punished for expressing their views, while making no mention of the fact that over the past week, people across the country have been tear gassed, shot with rubber bullets, beaten, etc. for expressing their views. That seems equally timely/relevant, and much more worrisome, than a bunch of people on Twitter telling Drew Brees that they disagree with something he said.

And sure, those abuses of power by police during this week's protests are not on par with some of the worst crimes against humanity. But if you're worried about freedom of expression, those incidents seem many orders of magnitude more worrisome than Drew Brees being told by a bunch of people that he said something insensitive. And given that Brees was discussing his views on how to "properly" protest the very thing that the people on the receiving end of those abuses are protesting about, those abuses of power seem on-topic to me.

If you don't know anything about the Sacramento play-by-play announcer, then I don't understand why you would express concern about his firing. You're right about the content of the statement he made, but there's more context to it than what you've mentioned:

1. If you have a history of making tone deaf or outright ignorant (again, see Sterling comments among others) statements about race, and are employed literally as a public voice of an NBA team, and continue to make tone deaf statements at a time when this issue is in the spotlight nationwide, then you are are not competent at your job. If we were discussing someone from their accounting team, or someone who made an ignorant remark once and then learned and grew from it, then I think I'd be more receptive to your concerns.

2. I think I (and many others) find the statement "All Lives Matter" more problematic than you do. It sounds like you do see why it's insensitive when the focus right now is on some lives being treated as less valuable, but I would also point out that it's also a phrase that has, for years, been used to minimize the message of people who have expressed outrage over our justice system's institutional racism. As a result, even though its literal sentiment is absolutely wonderful, it's become a coded phrase. Maybe he wasn't aware of that (which is what he claimed), but again, given prior incidents and the nature of his job, I don't think there's a compelling argument that he should be given the benefit of the doubt. Heck, right afterward, he trotted out the "I have black friends!" defense, which doesn't make the firing look too bad in hindsight, either.

7 Ok let me unpack a few…

Ok let me unpack a few things.

Yes I do disagree with what both said for the reasons you brought up(though I did not know ALL LIVES MATTER was intended to minimize BLM.

My broader point is, I just think we as a country are approaching a dangerous territory where we cannot speak out because our words might get misconstrued as racist, insensitive, or in that vein. Benefit of the doubt is being lost here. I think that's why Trump carries a lot of support in spite of the content of the things he says.


9 The thing is, we can speak…

The thing is, we can speak out.  We're hearing about these things because people spoke out.  Their words were construed as racist and insensitive because, well, they were racist and insensitive.  I will agree to the point where someone shouldn't get tarred forever because of an ill-thought-out belief or opinion, but it is a good thing that more people are calling that out, not a bad thing.

And people can move beyond these things, at least in the public eye.  Nick Bosa's social media was a disaster fire leading up to the 2019 draft -- I personally was hurt most by the homophobic shit there, because hey, personal attacks do tend to land more than conceptual ones.  I can acknowledge, however, that a lot of the stuff there was being posted by a 15 or 16 year old kid in a bubble where those kinds of statements were acceptable, and note that he has both apologized and at least altered his public behavior in a way that he's no longer hurting people.  Is he a better person now than he was 24 months ago?  I don't know.  You would think if he was still a problem that some of his teammates would say something -- Richard Sherman is not known to keep his opinions in check, shall we say -- but winning does kind of smooth things over.  But if you're saying the right things and not doing the wrong things, then you do get, as you put it, the benefit of the doubt.

21 Context Matters

So, your father just died. Dude, all parents die. <-- This is a true statement, but saying it makes you an asshole.

Black lives matter, you say. Well, I think all lives matter. <-- This is a true statement, but saying it also makes you an asshole.

The context in which you make a statement is critically important to what it means and whether you should say it (unless you don't care about being an asshole).

The context right now means that if you focus on famous white men being treated unfairly, you're being an asshole (even if you are right about them being treated unfairly).

43 Do you think assholes should…

In reply to by SeaRhino

Do you think assholes should get fired / ostracized at large? What if they aren't assholes but happened to get caught in a foot in mouth moment, do they still deserve that? If I don't like what they are saying, I don't have to listen to them. I don't think its fair to impose a societal shunning and loss of livelihood. Doing so not only shuts up the assholes, it causes other forms of disagreement to cower in fear. 

53 I expect people to be…

I expect people to be accountable for their actions and speech. You can say what you want. That includes accepting responsibility for your words. I applaud Brees for recognizing his insensitivity, especially as a veteran who sees cowards who never served avoid taking action to stop injustice and instead hide behind the flag using words much like those Brees used in his earlier post. I will accept his apology as sincere. People grow. 

I don't believe in ostracizing people. I can easily make an argument that the person who has been most ostracized is Colin Kaepernick. His loss of career caused a whole lot of football players to no longer exercise their right to free speech until George Floyd was killed. His killing was a tipping point for problems that have simmered far too long. Black people have suffered too long from these seemingly isolated killings. It needs to end. Now. 

5 I used to be on the "All…

I used to be on the "All Lives Matter isn't racist" bandwagon, back when BLM first became a thing in the public consciousness -- of course all lives matter, it's ridiculous to think otherwise.

And then I had time to reflect on it, and to take myself out of my comfortable world where the value of my life isn't in question.  And the reason "black lives matter" is important to say is because that's the statement in question.  It is not a universally accepted belief at this point in time, or else we wouldn't see the horrors that happened to George Floyd, or Breonna Taylor, or Sean Reed, or Botham Jean, or Michael Brown, or Eric Garner...  The slogan does not mean that other lives do not matter.  It's drawing attention to the fact that large elements of our society believe black and brown lives don't.

You're right in that the literal words "all lives matter" is not a racist sentiment.  But words exist in context; their meaning and implications affected and changed by the world in which they are spoken.  "All Lives Matter", as used in this day an age, is an attempt to minimize and counter "Black Lives Matter" -- it's dismissing and rejecting a very real problem for a made up one.  It is, at best, a reflexive response; an attempt to deny and evade having to think about the privilege that someone like me gets to have in their everyday interactions with the state.  And, frequently, it's used as an intentional ploy to dismiss the issues that the African-American population face every day -- that they're somehow bringing this upon themselves by...speaking up?  By drawing attention to the problems they face?  By kneeling for the anthem?

There's no excuse in 2020 for anyone to use the phrase "all lives matter" and then pretend that they just meant literally what the words mean.  It's too ingrained in the culture to hide behind that.  And that's what got Grant Napear fired.

It's worth noting that several ex-Kings players (DeMarcus Cousins, Chris Webber, Matt Barnes...) have indicated that Napear has a history here; it's not one statement that exists in a vacuum.  And Napear's "I'm sorry if you were offended" non-apology is eyeroll worthy.  It's probably to be expected from someone who made a career out of culling controversy on the radio -- he has a documented history of calling black players rude, crude and vile; he defended Donald Sterling and has argued that he should not have been removed as head of the Clippers, etc.  This wasn't an isolated incident -- you have to look at the whole context of Napear's career to get the entire picture. 


And speaking of looking at the whole context...

This is not the first time Drew Brees has said something stupid, and it will not be the last.  To pretend like kneeling for the anthem is in any way about disrespecting the troops or the flag was ill-informed in 2016; it's asinine in 2020.   And he was not punished, in any way, for his comments -- he said them, other people said other things.  The first amendment doesn't give someone a right to not be called an idiot.  It's not about his political views differing from those of his teammates -- or, in full disclosure, from my own.  It's his dismissal and rejection of the issues his teammates face, that their families face, that their friends and neighbors face, that stuck in everyone's proverbial craw.  And I'm not fully satisfied with his apology.  "I'm sick of the way my comments were perceived..." is not taking full responsibility.  It comes across as a PR-written, pseudo "oh shit please stop" sort of thing, instead of actually learning about why what he said was wrong in the first place.  Now, I'm saying that from the outside; I have no idea what kind of conversations Brees has had with his teammates, or whether anything that's happened over the past 48 hours have hit home for him.  Maybe he has seen the light, and understand the points of the protest.  Maybe instead of just saying he'll stand with his black teammates, he'll kneel with them.  I don't know!  I can't judge someone on actions they've yet to take.  But contrast his statement with the things that Russell Wilson has been saying, or Aaron Rodgers, and there's a huge gulf in understanding and, frankly, empathy there.


I live just outside Chicago -- like, I cross the road and I'm in South Austin.  So the protests and the looting are very, very close; we've been under curfew for the last few nights because of it.  I can agree with you that the looting has nothing to do with George Floyd; the racism inherent in our police system won't be broken because someone has gotten a new color TV.  But the rioting itself?

I can't approve of the riots, per se, but at a certain point, when peaceful protests are falling on deaf ears, there's only so much more you can do.  I hate to be the white guy quoting MLK, but riots are the language of the unheard.  When a society goes so long without even acknowledging the concerns and fears of a huge section of it's populace,  much less taking steps to fix them, there's nothing else to do but get louder.  People are paying attention now.  I don't want the riots to continue; I value peace and order.  But I also value justice, and if I have to choose between justice and order, I'll side with the former.

11 I’d love to read that, but…

I’d love to read that, but the NY Daily News is one of the sites that won’t let people from Europe read their pages because they (presumably) have no idea what their data-partners are doing with whatever they are gleaning from visitors... don’t suppose you can ask Charles for permission to repost here, or if there is a link readable from the UK somewhere? (I tried google caching searching with no luck).

On the subject of protests turning into riots, there is an interesting (and research based, so seems especially fitting to share here) article on 538 about how de-escalation reduces violence and if you want to start a riot sending in riot police is a good way to do it.

Hoping that the protests don’t lead to a huge spike in Covid-19 cases amongst communities that are already heavily hit. Stay safe, everyone.


8 I don't think MLK would have…

I don't think MLK would have found the riots appropriate. Gandhi, his intellectual idol, preached non-violence for a reason. And both were able to topple terrible regimes who had much greater latitude dolling out violence than what we are facing today. 

Look I get it, sometimes a peaceful protest is going to have limits. No amount of marching in the streets was going to unseat Stalin or Hitler or Mao. But, we don't live in that kind of world and I just don't think the solution to invoking change is to riot and destroy people's livelihoods. A tv from target may sound like a trivial loss, but there are store owners and restaurants already struggling with Covid that now have to deal with this(to say nothing of the man that was beaten near death in Dallas). 

10 The quote isn't about the…

The quote isn't about the appropriateness of riots.  It's about understanding where they come from, and how the conditions that black people have had to endure need to be condemned just as much.

22 What you are basically…

What you are basically saying is that police killing innocent unarmed black men is bad, but what we really need to do it stop the rioting/looting.

Try saying that rioting/looting is bad, but what we really need to do is stop police from killing innocent unarmed black men.

33 When the left rioted in…

When the left rioted in Germany after WWI, it led to the Nazis.

When the left rioted in the US in the late 60s, it led to Nixon.

(Interestingly, during the moon landing, the US was going through simultaneous race riots and a pandemic)

The problem with punching someone in their nose is that no matter how sympathetic they are to your argument, doing so tends to make you their enemy.

49 What is right?

"Try saying that rioting/looting is bad, but what we really need to do is stop police from killing innocent unarmed black men."

>>What we really need to do is stop police from killing  innocent, unarmed black men."

And stop killing guilty black men. Using counterfite money is not a capitol offense. Jogging away from a building site is not a capital offense. Lying on th ground in a back yard is not a capitol offense. Telling a police office with a drawn gun that you are taking your licensed concelled carry gun out of you pocket while sitting in a car with one hand raised, with a wife and children in the car is not a capitol offense. Selling loose cigarets is not a capitol offense. Holding your own cell phone up in the air while your hands are raised is not a capitol offense. Running away from the police is not a capitol offense. Resisting arrest is not a capitol offense. 


If 4 or 5 white policemen can not subdue a person they are arresting, and so they kill him while he is sitting under 3 of them NOT MOVING, maybe they should be fired for incompetence, and then jailed for murder, too. 

The right of the people to peacefully assemble shall not be abbriged. Mr Barr. 

Sorry for the lousing spelling. Dyslexic and appoplexit.

Bill Z. Hawaii


32 Both MLK (Malcolm X) and…

Both MLK (Malcolm X) and Gandhi (Jinnah) needed a bad cop to their good cop in order to be effective.

The Nazis got started as anti-riot shock troops used against the communists.

The moral? Sometimes a riot has its place, but it can easily go very, very wrong. The mob is indiscriminate. 

16 Having a writer for the site…

Having a writer for the site coming out five posts - FIVE POSTS - into a thread that started with "we ask our readers to please be civil with each other" and calling disagreement with his position "asinine" is an incredibly bad look; I've been reading and occasionally posting since '04 and this is most disappointed I've ever been with this site.

I'll not be returning to this thread.

23 Multiple very, very long…

Multiple very, very long replies and you get called out for using the word "asinine" once.  That's crazy. I had to do a search to even find it because it in no way stood out as problematic.

Keep commenting Bryan - your posts show that you've thought about this stuff carefully and with deeper thought.  I, for one, found your comments thought-provoking in a positive way.

39 the flag

I disagree that the flag and/or anthem ought to be treated as sacred objects. So I disagree with those who think I and others ought to see them that way. I really, really, really disagree with the perspective that those people who do see them that way are being asinine. You folks who do project that perspective of their asininity are simply being on the one side of the problem rather than the other. You don't want to unite, you want OUR! side to Win! Win! Win! because flag wavers are EVIL!


Oh, and man, does Dak use too many !

31 And the reason "black lives…

And the reason "black lives matter" is important to say is because that's the statement in question.  It is not a universally accepted belief at this point in time, or else we wouldn't see the horrors that happened to George Floyd, or Breonna Taylor, or Sean Reed, or Botham Jean, or Michael Brown, or Eric Garner...  The slogan does not mean that other lives do not matter. 


Everything has a context, and exclusionary statements often are. You're arguing that Black Lives Matter is an inclusive-or, rather than the exclusive-or some take it is.

Contrast Black/White Power, which absolutely are exclusionary statements.

14 "Let me first start by…

"Let me first start by saying the most important issue coming out of this tragedy is that a black man was killed senselessly and that it rightfully touched a nerve in the country."

If that's what you think the issue is, I'd sincerely suggest you stop for a moment, clear that narrative from your head, and listen to what people are saying.  The events of the past few days do not, to me, seem to be about a black man being killed senselessly.  It's a much deeper and more systemic problem.  It's about a society that allows black men to be killed, senselessly, at a frequency that is out of scale with the rate at which any other segment of society is killed.


"However, there were two other issues the cropped up from this terrible event."

And this may be part of the reason why it keeps happening.  Again, I sincerely suggest you go back and read how quickly you moved on from the death of George Floyd to two topics that are more important to you.


For the next little while, I think it would be nice if the rest of us try and put our insecurities and fears and issues that are important for us aside and listen to what the black community has to tell us about their insecurities and fears and issues that are important them.  Let's try and be selfless for a little while, and see if we can help address their needs.  There'll be plenty of time for other issues, later.  This one has been starved of attention for too long.


17 Look this is a hot-button…

Look this is a hot-button topic that I don't want to spin out of control. 

But your first paragraph kind of proved my point. In my opinion it takes an incredible leap of logic or forced narrative to spin my words as missing the bigger picture. Would it have taken an entire paragraph of descriptions and caveats to assuage you of the fact that I'm aware that police brutality against blacks is a serious issue that has been insufficiently stressed? 


Also abhorring riots is why this might keep happening again???? Think of opposite...if we tolerate riots then this won't happen again. Is that a position worth taking?

You are reading into my words far more than you should and it's not fair.



20 Absolutely nobody is…

Absolutely nobody is minimalizing the riots. You may have noticed a lot of people who protested peacefully elsewhere helped clean up some of those looted areas; they were appalled too. The looting was rarely done where peaceful protests happened. Most of those protesting realize that the looting only damages their cause. They also know it wasn't just TV sets and jewelry; MIGIZI Communications, an important Native American organization, lost their center when it was destroyed in the Minneapolis firestorm. Many protests are now being planned away from business areas to discourage looting. 

However, hundreds of thousands have peacefully protested for change across this land in hundreds of marches and rallies. This is happening daily, not just for a big rally in DC. That makes it news and a far more important story, because what the people think matters. The change needed is stopping the killing of black people by white people - especially white police officers - at no or minimal consequence for the killer, something that has been going on since long before I was born. I turn 64 this month. It's time this practice stops. If there is anyone who thinks property is more important than the systemic killing of Americans, I'm sorry. And if anyone is using loss of property - admittedly horrible - as an excuse to change the conversation because they are having a difficult time accepting that police officers get away with killing black people on a regular basis, I'm very sorry. 

42 It was my perception that…

It was my perception that not enough emphasis was being put on the rioters. Stephen A Smith, a very popular and influential sports columnist said we don't condone riots but black folks are angry. I don't condemn his answer, I just disagreed. Hence the point I was making. 

Colin Cowherd, a sportscaster I don't particularly like very much,  didn't say a word about the rioters in his video posts. What a contrast when the Baltimore riots were going on and he was outspoken against them.

As Rev said below, one can hold the outrage at police violence and also hold outrage about rioters. Holding both views does in no way diminish the other. They aren't contradictions at all.

The rest of your paragraph, maybe you are speaking more broadly, but if you are in inferring those are my views based on my post above, I am sorry, you are mistaken. I never said rioting should change the conversation away from George Floyds death. I am certainly never saying loss of property >= loss of life. 


27 "In my opinion it takes an…

"In my opinion it takes an incredible leap of logic or forced narrative to spin my words as missing the bigger picture."

This article is about George Floyd, and in the very first post on this article you tried to direct the conversation into being about two other topics.  And I think that is very much a root cause of why this issue never holds the attention of the white community long enough to be properly addressed.

You may not have intended to do so, but you immediately moved the conversation from being about the concerns of the black community to being about your own concerns.  

I respect that you're worried about property rights.  I respect that you're worried about threats to free speech.  What I'm suggesting is that right now, before we interject our concerns and worries into the conversation, we need to listen to what the black community is worried about, and talk about those things, first and foremost.

41 "This article is about…

"This article is about George Floyd, and in the very first post on this article you tried to direct the conversation into being about two other topics."


I just don't agree with this at all. My comment being the first was not intended at all to divert anyone else's comments, it was just my thoughts at the time. Will certainly didn't feel obligated to respond to my post when he posted his view. 


Let me once more try to say what I was thinking. Everyone should be outraged about Floyd's death and express their horror so that change can be brought about. If this outrage causes the next officer to rethink his or her actions in a similar situation, then a real victory was achieved. And if its long lasting, then a tremendous victory for humanity will have been achieved. 

I posted two tangentially related topics, not because I thought they were more important or as important or in an effort to divert, they were just thoughts I had that I wondered if others shared. Writing a post affirming what everyone else already knows doesn't serve much purpose to me. And yet, I knew if I didn't write the first heading, people would accuse me of exactly what you have accused me of. And it still happened!


Again, this is my point exactly. In the wake of this horror, can we please not search for coded language or infer intentions from someone who writes something we disagree with? That is the entire point I was trying to make in the first place. 

12 Sad week for me. The murder…

Sad week for me. The murder of Mr. Floyd too place not to far from where I lived once and a lot of arson took place in parts of Mpls. that I have very fond memories of. 

I'm a little tired of generalities, so I'm going to get quite specific. If you want fewer wrongful deaths and general violence by police, you need to A)Hire police from a deeper talent pool than is now the case B) police officers need to train much, much, much, harder than is currently the case C) bad police officers need to told to find new careers at a much, much, faster pace. All of that probably means that police unions need to be broken, period. I'm not wild about public employee unions generally, due to the principal/agent problems, but for people who are given much wider latitude to instigate violence against other people, it's nuts. A union for police makes about as much sense as a union for the Marine Corps.

Yeah, anti-racism training can have some utility, but if you thinks that will get at the frozen bolts and nuts that are poorly performing police departments, you're kidding yourself. I've seen a Minneapolis cop unholster his weapon, 35 years ago, when my friend didn't pour out his beer on the street fast enough for the cop's liking.  Minneapolis is like a lot major police departments; they have way too many people who just aren't very good at their jobs, and they don't train hard enough to even have a chance of getting better. It's a hard goddamned job, and our personnel policies suck in the light of that reality. Removing racism from the mind of a human being is a very long term project. In the much shorter term we can work people's asses off, until they become disciplined enough to do the goddamned job right. Sound expensive? Compared to what?


13 I would really like to know…

I would really like to know why those police officers did what they did. I live in a bubble so it's hard for me to understand why racism continues to exist at least how it's commonly defined. Didn't the eugenics movement die with the Nazi regime? 


I'm also trying to be sympathetic between a police officer having a very difficult dangerous job and the disgusting video that was very hard to watch. 

That being said, as you allude to, solving this problem is complicated and involves a lot of hard decisions. That I think is the point we should be focusing on. 


15 They did what they did for a…

They did what they did for a myriad of reasons. The shortest path to significantly lessening the odds of such outcomes occurring again is to get more talented, much more disciplined, much, much, better trained people doing the job.

36 I would really like to know…

I would really like to know why those police officers did what they did. I live in a bubble so it's hard for me to understand why racism continues to exist at least how it's commonly defined.

People are tribal. Simians in general are. 

This gets expressed in a lot of ways. Self before Family. Family before neighbors. Neighbors before village. Village before nation. Nation before foreign. Foreign before alien.

But it's not entirely clear even this was truly racially motivated. For instance, when black Somali-American Mohamed Noor shot white Australian immigrant Justine Damond, the primary motivator there was blue vs not-blue, despite differences in nation of origin, religion, and race/skin-color.

An added wrinkle w/ George Floyd -- the two knew each other!

45 I should've asked it in a…

I should've asked it in a different way. Did this crime happen because:


A) They were racist. Ie - these officers said we are better than black people and black people are inherently evil so we are morally justified to do this( some version of the slave owner whipping his slaves).

B) They were vile people that wanted to hurt someone and or kill someone and the victim being black is ok because society doesn't care about black people.

C) They were horribly incompetent people who got caught up in the moment and let things get way out of hand(something a damn police officer should be trained not succumb to). 

I suspect it's a flavor of B and C, so not exactly motivated by racism as it might have been in the 50s and 60s. 


47 I'm just some asshole on the…

I'm just some asshole on the internet, but I don't think in this specific case it really mattered that George Floyd was black. That he was black and the cop was white, here, I think is just coincidental.

The problem was the cop was blue and Floyd wasn't.

I think the cop thought there wouldn't be any consequences, because there almost never is.

They were caught so off-guard because this one time, there were.


80 It's clearly racism, because…

It's clearly racism, because of what you say. This doesn't happen to white people. For reference, imagine a protest of armed black men, like what happened in Michigan. It would have ended badly without question.

There is also the getting away with it mentality, which in part speaks of institutionalized racism (institutions protecting the aggressors of black men). And also, in part, of the fact that we're not only talking of black people, but (I assume) of poor black people. Money buys justice in the US.

That's three serious problems, right there.

And then there's the whole thing about proper police training Will mentions. But I don't know about that. The US seems like a pretty violent country. Guns everywhere. And little respect for the police. I imagine police officers feel continually in danger for their lives. And as they grow more "assertive", they grow more unjust and violence escalates. It's a vicious circle.

I'd focus on the first three issues first: racism, poverty, privilege. Which in turn, if we go more deeply, have to do with fear, anger and that very American notion that wealthier people are "winners" and better than everyone else (and poor people, therefore, are "nobody").

81 If The Almightly removed…

If The Almightly removed racism from every police officer's mind tonight, we'd not reduce even by half of the wrongful killings by police in this country, and while I can't think of any white victim, off the top of my head, who has been choked to death by an officer, I can think of plenty who have received severe wrongful beatings. In the medium-sized city in which I live, a police officer a few years ago beat a white college student so badly he had to have a testicle removed. The offense? He didn't sit on the curb fast enough, when asked to during a traffic stop. A black Minneapolis cop for years was severely beating victims, white and black  before he was fired; it was just luck that nobody died.  White people wrongly get shot to death by police all the time. Again, in my current city, about 15 million has been paid out in damages for wrongful deaths at the hands of police, in the past dozen years. About 70% of the victims were white.

Yes, there are some great cops. However, based on decades of observation, I taught my children that, when having an encounter with a police officer, assume you are dealing with an undertrained idiot with a.deadly weapon, and to take great care not to do anything that might set the idiot off. If my family had more melanin, I'd have said it more forcefully.

Policing in the United States sucks for the most part.

82 The more I think of it, the…

The more I think of it, the more I believe that if I got a shot at fixing this with one wish, the wish would be to eliminate inequality. The less inequality, the less anger and frustration and bad neighborhoods (full of guns). The less a neighborhood is bad, the less tough cops are going to be sent there (let's face it, the relatively friendly cops are sent to the friendly neighborhoods). The less bad neighborhoods in general, the less the police in general is going to want to train tough cops.

And clearly inequality is associated with race, somehow, even though it's just as clearly not exclusive to a certain race. Also, I'm not from the US, so maybe I'm way off base here.

24 Will - good thoughts. Tanier…

Will - good thoughts. Tanier and some of his retweets were commenting that a higher qualification for policing would weed out the ones who go into it to wield power.

Reading your comments I want to add D) Ongoing psychological evaluations and counselling.  I'm guessing there are cops who get worn down by the crimes they handle week-in, week-out to the point where they become desensitised to the people they're dealing with.

26 Ongoing counseling is…

Ongoing counseling is properly thoight of as part of training hard. The physical danger of the job tends to be overstated, but the psychological dangers very understated. That's why a compesation paradigm that leans heavily on defined benefit pensions is such a bad idea for this profession. Frankly, somebody can be quite good at policing for a decade, but after a decade they are mentally burnt out. Talented people need to be attracted to the job with compensation paid today, not a pension 25 years from now. Also, as someone else mentioned, getting did of the doctrine of qualified immunity is critical. Police need to know that they can be held personally liable for engaging in wrongful violence.

28 Lots of interesting ideas…

Lots of interesting ideas here.  They raise some questions for me:

  • How much of this is about getting the right people in the door, and how much of it is the system they work in once they're there?
  • Is there any evidence to suggest that allowing officers to have more flexible careers would reduce their stress and improve job performance?
  • Are there any laws or doctrines, just as limited immunity, that could be changed that would have a positive impact on both police work conditions and performance?  
  • How much extra money are we, as a society, willing to put into better hiring practices and better on-going support for police?
  • What are police officers saying?  What changes would they recommend?  We need to listen to them as well as to the black community.
  • What non-police things should we be changing that would help? 

35 It seems like most of it is…

It seems like most of it is a dysfunctional police culture that needs to be changed and has been changed somewhat in some places.

37 Tanier and some of his…

Tanier and some of his retweets were commenting that a higher qualification for policing would weed out the ones who go into it to wield power.

I wonder if that would actually be the case.

46 Four years at college to…

In reply to by BigRichie

Four years at college to qualify instead of six months at the academy.

You don't think the cost and the effort of studying and passing all those classes will weed anyone out?

48 I'll give you an example…

I'll give you an example.

Psychology had a great deal of success treating autism by teaching autistic kids how to cope, and to get by; to normalize and largely pass as normal. They didn't make autism better, they made better autists.

They attempted to perform the same treatment on psychopaths. They taught psychopathic kids how to cope, and to get by; to normalize and largely pass as normal. Conversely, they didn't make psychopathy better, they made better psychopaths. The result was people just as monstrous as uncontrolled psychopaths, except these kids could pass as normal until it was much too late.

You see this sort of thing in surgeons. It's a job that requires a graduate degree, years of interning and residency, and hundreds of thousands of dollars. Despite that, surgeons express sadism at rates far in excess of societal norms. After all, the job requires cutting people open. You just end up with really qualified sadists.

Raising the bar for entry will lower the number of psychos who become cops. But it will result in the psychos who do being much better at it, and there's not evidence that the rate of psychos will raise or lower. The job still features disproportionate power and authority relative to the general population, so demand pressures remain the same.

Whether or not that is better is still an open question.

18 There are two undeniable,…

There are two undeniable, and unrelated, takeaways from this fiasco:

1. Police violence is very bad- and police killings are even worse.

Will came up with some good suggestions for addressing the problem, but I would add to it: make cops personally liable for violence inflicted against citizens, beyond the minimum needed to detain arrestees. The doctrine of qualified immunity gives them license to harm people beyond any reasonable measure, based on my limited knowledge, at least- legal experts, please chime in. That this cop is being charged is a very good sign, though cops have gotten off the hook for equally egregious killings in the past. The point of the rule of law is that no one is above it. Obviously, police have more leeway than laymen, because apprehending violent people oftentimes requires some amount of force. But once you have a guy on the ground, in cuffs... if you kneel on his neck for 9 minutes, and he dies, you're a murderer, and should be charged accordingly.

2. Destroying people's property and looting their stores is also bad.

It's especially sickening in Minneapolis, where many businesses on Lake Street, one of the most ethnically diverse stretches of the city, filled with first-generation nonwhite immigrants, have been attacked. Peacefully protesting criminal police practices is great. Protesting police abuse, of minorities, by physically endangering, and financially ruining, other (completely innocent) minorities is vile and nonsensical. I know that 99+% of these protesters are nonviolent, and the rioters and looters are not representative of said 99+%, but still, the refusal of commentators on the left to unequivocally condemn destructive rioting and looting makes me wonder whether their brains haven't been seized by coronaviruses. 

I don't understand the false dichotomy of refusing to acknowledge both of these points. Both concern clear violations of individual rights. It's unfathomable that so many intelligent people fail to recognize this. I'm sick to death of being told "you shouldn't be focused on the riots, it's the protests that matter!", that daring to condemn rioting is somehow disrespectful of (100% legitimate) police brutality protesters. It's logically incoherent. I sense they'd change their tunes if the mobs ever reached their neighborhoods...

Also, on a far less important note, I'm disappointed that Brees backtracked and apologized. People need to stick to their guns and stop acquiescing to the progressive Twitter mob, which lashes out at anyone who dares to express a thought that falls outside the 3"x5" index card of allowable politically-correct opinion (to paraphrase a favorite commentator of mine). But that's why they keep doing browbeating people, because it works. Though I roll my eyes at conservative flag-waving as much as progressives, he has every right to voice his opinion. Of course, others have an equally valid right to respond as they see fit... but this is exactly why the term "snowflake" gets floated around so much. If you're genuinely upset at someone for expressing an opposing viewpoint, grow up, and get outside of your bubble.


25 When someone says "you…

When someone says "you shouldn't say that" (even rudely), that doesn't mean they are saying you don't have the right to say that. It usually means "saying that makes you seem like an asshole". If you don't care about that, well, carry on.

You're sick to death of being told "you shouldn't be focused on the riots", and I don't doubt that's true. But when people tell you that, they are saying it makes you sound like an asshole (because of the context in which you are doing it, not because riots aren't bad). You can think that other people shouldn't think you are an asshole for doing that, but that's not really your call.

Look, clearly you don't like police brutality and you don't like rioting/looting. Just like me! But you just spent one paragraph on the first thing and two on the second and then another being disappointed that Brees at least attempted to process why his black teammates called him out.

I imagine you are a decent guy, but one of my brothers (adopted) is black and he's had to deal with shit his whole life due to his skin color, so this week has made me a little touchy about this. If you lived as a black man for just one week, your perspective on things would change, including when and how you talked about things like this. I'm sure of this because I do think you are a decent person, you just may not be aware of how the way you talk about this is such a big problem for many people (just like Brees).

50 Actually, you’re wrong- I’m…

Actually, you’re wrong- I’m wholly indecent! 😉 I appreciate your ability to recognize that people who see things differently than you are still human beings. Many people fail to do so!

Frankly, the ubiquity of rioting is another condemnation of the police- isn’t it their job to protect people and their property from harm? If they can’t do that, then what the hell are we paying them for?

I question the productivity of the protests. They seem to be mainly a cathartic outpouring of frustration for African-Americans and activists, with people saying the same things, over and over again. That process is healthy, but it has limited utility. Every time an African-American is unjustly slain by cops, Americans have protests and a “national conversation about race”; yet the slayings keep happening. Dialog and introspection are great, but in the end, laws and policies change, or else all the marching is in vain.

However, cops aren’t the only ones at fault in this issue…

Yes, there is plenty of evidence that shows that police racial bias exists. Unfortunately, yet indisputably, African-Americans have significantly higher crime rates than Hispanics, Caucasians, Asians, etc. with regards to robberies, assaults and homicides ( This is mainly due to higher rates of poverty, which is largely a result of historical (i.e. institutional) racism. But part of the reason why blacks are disproportionally assaulted by cops is because they disproportionally break the law. It’s frustrating that activists never mention this elephant in the room.

In addition to the police reforms mention in this thread, I have one more suggestion: encourage people to cooperate with the police. There is nothing to gain, and everything to lose, by resisting arrest. You’re not going to escape, and the more belligerent you are, the higher the chance that a cop will rough you up, or even kill you. In most of the infamous police killings of African-Americans, the victims resisted arrest. Even if you’re completely innocent, the best thing to do is be respectful and cooperative, for the purely practical reason that such behavior will minimize the chance of personal harm, and thus maximize your odds of survival. That way, you’ll live to fight another day.

Yes, the police are absolutely the main culprits in the issue of police brutality, but both sides have room for improvement. As long as activists refuse to take any sort of responsibility, we won’t have “dialog”, but one-way preaching.

52 I am going to get a ton…

I am going to get a ton angry reactions to this, but I don't see the heavy concentrated poverty of African Americans as the result of the legacy of slavery.  To be sure, there is racism out there. Don't think for a second that I believe we have achieved a racial Harmony.  But...

Thomas Sowell has been loudly producing facts on this for decades, comparing the poverty rates among blacks over time along with rates of single parenthood. They were trending down during the first half of the 1900s before exploding ever since.

Also, look at the cross section of blacks who escape poverty and you see that many are poor African immigrants who did not inherit the existing African American culture, but are no less black.

Did this happen for mysterious social reasons or did racism just ramp up in the latter half, specifically for African Americans.

This paired w another sad observation. There are in fact pockets of the US that look like third world countries. They are in Native American reservations. Blighted regions with endemic drug use, crime and violence.


I am a full believer that the welfare state created this. I am not anti welfare in the literal sense, the way it's been designed and implemented today I believe has brought a terrible sickness on to a group of people it was intending to help. The reasons why are not mysterious, economics explains them quite well. 

Someone a lot smarter than me made this comment... If you want to destroy an enemy and ensure his generations are corrupted and mired in depression, get the government to give them free stuff. 


55 Sowell's the man. Here are…

Sowell's the man. Here are some crazy stats of his:

I agree with you, and the case of Native American reservations is a great point.

Native Americans & African Americans are the two groups that have been most mistreated by the federal government over the years, so it's probably not a coincidence that they're the two least prosperous groups in the country. Historical mistreatment is certainly to blame, at least partly. But I think the main culprit is a social decline, as exemplified by the collapse of the nuclear family in the inner city and the overall dysfunction of reservation life, which may be due to welfare policies. Most immigrants arrive in poverty (e.g. "my grandfather came to Ellis Island with 50 cents in his pocket"), yet ascend within a generation. So the decline of the aforementioned groups is due to nonmaterial factors.

56 These two comments are…

These two comments are infuriating, but since they appear to be argued in good faith, I will temper my response and say it is worth reading and digesting all of Ta-Nehisi Coates' "A Case for Reparations":

A vast majority of Americans' net worth is in their homes.  For years, the FHA made it possible for white families to afford a homes that would build equity.  African-Americans were not only shut out of the process through redlining and covenants, but often also left with absurd predatory contracts that were about as fair as carnival games as their only options if they wanted to be homeowners.  Miss one payment, lose your house.  

That's just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the myriad ways that society has shortchanged African-Americans.  Yet here we are, still talking about how it's such a darn mystery why the nuclear family collapsed.  Gosh - could it be that for years we've been locking up black fathers and mothers disproportionately for things like holding marijuana?  Could it be that having to make a mortgage payment on time so you don't lose your house requires one or both parents to be out working constantly with 2 or more jobs?  Having to take public transportation for miles just to get to a grocery store?  Having your children witness over and over that the people who play by the rules in the neighborhood have to struggle just to make ends meet while the people who break the rules ride around in the nicest cars?  

Nah, don't feel any guilt about it, white America.  The culprit MUST be the nominal amount of assistance that SNAP gives out.  

I'm sorry I got sardonic.  Please examine your assertions regularly.  Read different opinions.  Sowell is not the only economist who looks at this data and comes up with different conclusions. 

57 First the tone: There is no…

First the tone: There is no reason to get sardonic when engaging in debate. No one said anything patently absurd or demeaning. 

Lets discuss a few different ways the economics plays into why poverty traps are more common these days:

1) Minimum wage laws hurt poor people because they raise the cost of hiring a worker. See Jacob Vigdor and Jonathan Meer.

2) Marginal tax rates. Would it surprise you to know that the highest marginal tax rates hit poor people? We are talking over 100 percent marginal tax rates. How is it that poor people end up with extreme marginal tax rates? Well, if you factor in phase out benefits, then earning a $1 of income means you lose $1.50 worth of benefits. Is that something non welfare workers deal with? Your SNAP comment is ridiculous. Read the last paragraph of this post, it will really illuminate just how bad the disincentives are for the working poor.

3) Dutch Disease: Whenever someone receives a rent from some exogenous factor, like say diamonds or oil, it leads to a lack of innovation or lack of an incentive to innovate because the prize keeps giving. In effect, you are paying them to be quiet. Think of UK's doll, the Saudi Arabian government, the plight of native american's today.  I don't think generous welfare states end up producing a lovely working class, but instead breeds a permanent underclass.

FHA, like unions, are a good example of racism being wrapped in economics. Guess what? Progressives love unions. They are fighting to close the success academies in NYC so that poor people get even fewer choices when it comes to school. The war on drugs is supported by the right and the left, leaving the annoying libertarian frustrated. 

Getting back to poverty, the wide body of literature suggests family structure explains a lot of the variation in expected life outcomes. A fatherless child has a worse set of expectations for life outcomes. A child born from parents out of wedlock, same thing. Education of the parents is a big predictor. As is the lifestyle of eating, exercise, etc etc. Marriage inequality is a real thing. These are all culturally assisted norms that have been shattered through the welfare state because of the economics of point 1, 2, and 3. And by the way they now extend to a lot more than black people, who really were ground zero for this. White illegitimacy has exploded since the 1960s. Prime age male labor participation is at an all time low. So is the rampant abuse of opoids. And despite spending a gazillion dollars subsidizing education, the college graduation rate has been flat for decades. 

Also our profoundly screwed up healthcare system is another disincentive to hiring poor people. 


So sure, the economic landscape is all hunky dorry and an active cabal of racists are the primary driver for black poverty(sorry, I couldn't help the snark). 




By the way, I have read papers on poverty traps and economic growth that go way beyond Sowell, including Roland Fryer, Eric Hurst, Chad Jones, Daron Acemoglu etc etc. 


61 The way many welfare…

The way many welfare programs in the US have been implemented (especially in the 70s and 80s) look like they were practically designed to trap people in poverty. I'm well aware of all the things you mentioned and agree with a number of them (I'm a free-market libertarian politically). But it is a seriously bad look for you to be saying "You know what I should use a forum about the murder of black people by police to do? I should explain to people their flaws in thinking and analysis about economics issues, welfare, and poverty. That's what's really needed here." Imagine this parallel: you are at the funeral of a man who died from lung cancer, and you keep bring up that he would probably still be alive if he hadn't started smoking and keep trying to debate people about how statistics show that people can stop smoking if they just have some willpower to do so. You would be correct, but you would also likely be kicked out and would be lucky not to get punched. And the vast majority of people would say "dude, what did you expect to happen"?

60 As a separate post - the…

As a separate post - the point of reparations as a serious policy is terribly misguided. Leaving aside the moralistic arguments that justify it, I just couldn't see it work. Why? Well, only a small minority of Americans today trace their family lineages to slave owning families. This is especially true considering that the biggest population surge came during the early 1900s by poor European families. Do we think its fair to ask those families(And the subsequent immigrants from Asia, Australia, and other locations) to be paying those reparations? 


93 reparations

I doubt reparations are a good policy.  But I do know that all white Americans have benefitted from the brutal oppression of others.  The reason all those poor Europeans immigrated here in the early 1900s is because of the immense wealth created by the previous white Americans, but that wealth was largely based on exterminating Indians and forcing Africans into slave labor.

Cotton was one of the major contributors to America's growth into the richest country ever. After the Civil War, ex-slaves and their descendants were a plentiful supply of cheap labor (kept deliberately cheap by government policies) that let the midwest become the industrial capital of the world.  The fact that we are all well off today is directly related to the fact that white farmers had black slaves.

This is not about hating America.  I'm sure every country was built on brutality if you go back far enough (many countries still are).  And many, many great white people made huge contributions to America's greatness.  But I think we need to be honest about how we got here, if we want to find the right way forward.

94 I don't agree with this, but…

In reply to by rich006

I don't agree with this, but I've already made an ass of myself discussing economics on a thread that should be about discussing police brutality(I know that sounds sarcastic, but it's not). 

98 I doubt reparations are a…

In reply to by rich006

I doubt reparations are a good policy.  But I do know that all white Americans have benefitted from the brutal oppression of others.

But reparations don't work that way.

Would you have had Obama pay reparations? A man born in a state that was an independent nation of polynesians at the time of the Civil War, whose population was plurality Japanese at the time of his birth, and whose father was a black African, merely because his mother was white (and who herself may have been descended from slaves)?


105 I think we agree

My main point was not about reparations but about collective responsibility.  I was arguing against the idea that if your ancestors weren't slave owners, then you're not part of the problem.  That wasn't stated but I thought it was implicit in the suggestion that it matters which modern-day Americans benefitted from slavery.  I don't know if any of my ancestors owned slaves, but I do know that my privileges are in large part a legacy of slavery.  Thus I need to be part of making America better.

64 "I am going to say something…

"I am going to say something that I know will make a ton of people angry at a very fraught and tense moment. But since I think I'm correct, screw it, why not?" Mind you, I'm not even personally angry at you about this. This type of thing has been going on all my life, so if I got angry at stuff like this, I would always be angry. But I'm a wealthy white guy, so I can just look at it from a distance and just sigh. Unlike, say, a black man or woman who has to swim in this every day of their lives. They might get a little angry...

102 Perhaps it's not just…

Perhaps it's not just slavery but it definitely is the institutionalized racism rooted in slavery and prejudice that has continued since then. Read about the Black Wall Street and the history of redlining by banks for starters and you should begin to understand how it's not welfare that has caused the poverty in the African American community. 

Native Americans was systemic genocide. They didn't just get free stuff from the government, they were forced to give up their historical way of life and languages, move away, sometimes far away, from their homeland, and made to depend on corrupt government officials that had the military backing them up when any of the Natives got out of line. 

I recommend you read White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo for a better understanding.

29 "I don't understand the…

"I don't understand the false dichotomy of refusing to acknowledge both of these points."

With respect, you're not the person who needs to be validated and heard right now.  You say you want to address both things, but as a society, we have a long, long history of not addressing the violence against black people.  And we will never, ever get there if everytime we do try to address it, we let people throw other topics on the table and dilute the conversation.  

We do not have a decades-long history of random, spontaneous rioting in the streets.  We do have a long history of unjustified violence against black people, and the few riots that have occured in recent memory have been spurred by that violence.  

It's time to listen and focus on this problem, instead of interjecting with "yeah, but this is also really bad! let's talk about this, too".


"I'm disappointed that Brees backtracked and apologized"

Mr. Brees seems to have done what all of us should be trying to do right now:  listen and empathize and understand how he may have inadvertently caused pain.   We can't move forward with closed minds.  We need to be willing to hear the perspective of others to understand that some topics that may seem cut-and-dried to us are, in reality, more nuanced.  Bonus points to Mr. Brees for going from being a public example of what we shouldn't do, to a public example of what we should do. 

30 The most important story in…

The most important story in the United States in the past week was the death of George Floyd and the ensuing violence that broke out across the country.

Good to know that pandemic that has killed 100,000 people in this calendar year is over.

34 People can hold multiple…

People can hold multiple thoughts in their heads at one time. From both my personal experience and videos of other protests around the country, the pandemic is still a huge concern (note how many people are wearing masks during these protests). True, media coverage has shifted almost entirely to focusing on protests, but that doesn't mean that life has gone back to normal for the vast majority of people. Most people seem to recognize both that a) social distancing is important and large gatherings are dangerous during this time, but also that b) collectively taking action against systemic injustice isn't something that can just be rescheduled.

66 I was addressing the…

I was addressing the implication of your comment. There's no objective measure of importance in media narratives, so I'm not sure what point you're trying to make. But sure, you're technically correct; I hope you're going around to every media outlet that has called this the most important ongoing story to pedantically correct the author in the comments.

54 I'm surprised that FO was…

I'm surprised that FO was willing to leave the comments open on this post given how quickly the comments of the "Sean Peyton has COVID-19" post went bad.  Good on FO for doing so (and I fully understand if you have to shut down these comments at some point.)

62 Hasta la vista, baby

I will not be coming back to this thread. It's too upsetting to read all the coded racism when people are dying. I've already lost all respect for one long-time poster. The one positive is I now realize I must attend a peaceful protest tomorrow in a local park. I've stayed on the sidelines far too long. 

65 SeaRhino has convinced me…

SeaRhino has convinced me that I should not have gone down this road. I apologize to you and all reading this if my words offended anyone. I certainly didn't mean to detract from the main topic at hand, but I guess I couldn't help myself. Again I am sorry, though I do take offense if you think my words are coded racism. I am not a racist

67 I personally never thought…

I personally never thought for a moment that you were a racist or didn't care about what happened to George Floyd.  

It's just a really tough time right now.  I've been listening and reading about stories about what my local police has been doing to people in my community, some of which I'd heard before, too many of which were new to me, and too many of those were dated 2020.

I'm frustrated and I'm angry and I'm heartbroken.  I thought I knew how bad the relations were between the police and the black community here, but I knew nothing.  I don't understand how the people my tax dollars pay to protect the lives and property of everyone, can behave so differently towards others than they behave with me.  I don't understand how our police oversight bodies can receive report after report after report from the black community and approve pay raises year after year.

I think a lot of us are trying to talk about these issues in our own way, and it's tough when everyone's nerves are raw.

Peace and love, all.


113 <em>I am not a racist</em>I…

I am not a racist

I'm coming into this thread way late, and I've felt moved by a lot of what I've read here, but this is the first comment that makes me want to reply, long after anyone is likely to read it or to reply.

I've never believed this statement, "I am not a racist," not once in my life, whenever anyone has said it. 

If you want to prove to yourself that you're racist, try taking the Implicit Association Test.  Very, very few people "pass" that test.  We're all racist.  (Cue "Everyone's a Little Bit Racist" from Avenue Q.)  The only question is, what are you doing to fight that in yourself?  What are you doing to become a better person?  The people most likely to be the worst at this are the people who say "I'm not a racist." 

115 I mean...I took the test. I…

I mean...I took the test. I am not a sociologist or psychologist so I cannot speak to its validity but I am pretty skeptical of such tests to begin with.

On the subject of racist; here I find that the definition is forever co-mingled with lots and lots of things. Starting from its pure form - do I believe I am intellectually, genetically superior to another race. If we are being honest, there are some genetic factors favoring some groups of humans for reasons completely unrelated to skin color. David Epstein details a lot of these things like living in altitude helping runners. But aside from that pedantry, I think most sane mature adults do not believe deep down that someone is genetically inferior to them. 

Now what about racial preferences? I think its naive to the point of unrealistic to assume everyone has homogenous racial preferences. Study after study shows dating habits among ethnic groups. There is a bias towards one's own ethnic group. We can also think about it colloquially. Who are my parents friends with? Who was I friends with? Which people do I feel most comfortable around. It's usually people who share a lot of the same preferences/backgrounds and so I will be naturally inclined to favor such people.

My own tone deafness in this thread is not an accident. Its not motivated by racism per se as much as it is a lack of perspective of what an African American goes through on a regular basis. Does that make me a racist? I don't think it does. Is this something we can ever get rid of? Maybe.

Full circle - if I were hiring for a role, undoubtedly, there will be some candidates that I favor for a variety of reasons that I shouldn't and thats because we've been hard wired that way. But I certainly would never consciously reject someone because of skin or height(unless this was the nba). So in that regard, I am not a racist. 

117 Ah.  That's interesting.  I…

Ah.  That's interesting.  I would have thought it was common knowledge that most of racism was unconscious.  If that's what people mean when they say "I'm not racist," then they're missing 90% of the iceberg. 

It's unconscious, which means that if you don't go looking for it, you'll never find it. 

And what do you mean, "such tests?"  You may not be a psychologist, but you can certainly find out what the general consensus among psychologists is about "such tests," whatever that means.  In short, it's highly regarded. 

How did you do?

119 It suggested I was mildly…

It suggested I was mildly favoring European's ancestry over African ancestry. 

Look, we need a better definition of racism because its meaning way too many things. Does it mean I think so and so is inferior because of the color of their skin? 

Does it mean I show conscious and or unconscious bias against someone because of their skin/ethnicity/cultural background?

If its the former, I think very few normal educated people have that view. If its the latter, I would argue everyone including African Americans have that view. Its just especially pernicious that African Americans are not in a position to impose their biases the way other ethnic groups can.

As far as psychologists go, its been an open secret in psychology about the replication crisis. That's why I am leery about some of these kinds of tests that are attempting to measure deep psychological motivations through really abstract means.  Do I really think the test is reflecting my conscious or unconscious views?

69 Trying to decide what to…

Trying to decide what to write sometimes is difficult. I do know that this and any other comments made by me in this thread will not be in my typical FO writing style as this is not a time to be silly. 

I like hearing and reading about people's experiences. I would like to read that type of stuff in this thread. Writing about some of our experiences will help. If you are white, how did you feel the first time you were outnumbered by black people in some public setting? Did you ever blast rap music with your windows down in some tony white town but lower the volume, raise your windows and lock your doors the same day when you drove through a black neighborhood? If you ever had to hire someone for a job, did race play a role? Write about that type of stuff here and be honest. Somebody, if not everybody, will gain some type of understanding or knowledge as a result. 

I'll write some stuff about me here but first will note that we all should listen to black people right now. For far too long people have not done this. If you are white, then try to make your circle of friends darker. A true friendship has to come organically, so maybe that is for down the road. For now, though, find a black pen pal. Maybe write to a student from some other town far away. If you are on Twitter and you mostly converse with white people, then maybe start following some random black people. Any of this would be a start.

I am white. My wife is black. She spent her childhood in Trinidad & Tobago. My son is mixed. Many of you know I have a Twitter account. It mostly contains nonsense. I am rarely ever serious there. If you do follow me, and don't have me muted, then at some point you likely saw a photo of my son. A few photos of my wife have appeared as well.

I fear the police less than I believe the average black man fears the police based on popular culture and my own chats with black people. I have never personally known a police officer other than my father-in-law who was a police officer in Trinidad & Tobago. I generally do not like police officers. However, due to my skin color, I don't fear them too much. My concern is not about me. My concern is what could happen if my wife gets pulled over and she is alone. Will she say something that will not be heard correctly by the police officer due to her accent and also due to her likely being nervous? What could happen? Later, I will have to worry about my son driving alone.      

This past autumn I left my office for lunch one early afternoon. I prefer eating alone. I drove to a parking lot by a movie theater and parked in a remote spot. As I was eating, I noticed a police car driving very slowly behind me. I immediately got nervous because I knew I was going to be bothered. The cop parked his car and approached my vehicle. This was a warm autumn day so my windows had been down. He approached on the passenger side. He wanted to know what I was doing and why I was parked in such an odd parking spot as he looked inside my vehicle at the seats and floor. I answered those questions and then I had to answer questions about whose vehicle it was and where I work. I again answered the questions. The cop then told me to have a nice day. Go back two paragraphs and read the opening sentence. What if that third word was different?

One of the most valuable experiences in my life was being a member of a business fraternity at Seton Hall University. It was not a typical fraternity because it was not considered "Greek" and it contained guys and ladies. Due to my membership, a photo of me is actually on the wall in the business building at that school. My wife, son, and I get a kick out of seeing it there when we visit. Anyway, it was a valuable experience for me because the fraternity was very racially diverse. My high school had less racial diversity than Seton Hall. I had more fun talking to people in college because the school was more diverse. If you are white, try to make your circle darker. When you were in elementary school and you didn't press firmly enough with your pencil, your teacher likely said to go back and make it darker. You can see it better when it is darker. It pops a little more on the paper. It shines more.

The problem right now is not just police murdering black people. Our problem is bigger than that. It is about the type of evil perpetrated by dimwits like the dog lady in Central Park. She used her race as a weapon to try to cause harm to another person. If we all start conversing more with people from other races and we keep doing this and keep doing this and keep doing this, things will get better. The problems will never fully go away because racists will always exist. Things will get better, though. As Joe Namath once said, "I guarantee it."  












71 That's a great comment, and…

That's a great comment, and I hope you and your family are holding up okay.

But--MY WORLD HAS BEEN SHATTERED! I thought it was real! For years and years I thought you just had trouble typing or were severely dyslexic or something. I feel like Neo in the Matrix. What even is reality any more... :-)

72 Thank you and sorry to upset…

Thank you and sorry to upset you with the good typing. Believe me it took me a while to write that earlier post. I typically do type fast here and on Twitter but if I have something important to write such as a statistic I always slow down and make sure it is right. This topic is too important and doesn't deserve rampant typos. 

My family is fine. My son is a little too young to grasp this whole situation and he is cool anyway about race. I have never heard him refer to himself as any type of color or race. There has also been no preference at all as to who he talks to in school. One time he was talking about something his grandmother said or did for him. I asked which one and he said, "The black one." 


74 That's good to hear. I have…

That's good to hear. I have a lot of hope that things will just get better each generation until this is all just history. But I also think about my dad who helped force the integration of a popular swimming pool while he was a teenager in the late 50s. He certainly did not think there would be problems like this in 2020.

73 On the more serious side: I…

On the more serious side: I grew up with a brother who is black. We are less than a year apart in age and I was too young to remember life without him (I was maybe two years old, if that). He is handsome, charismatic, tall (6'5"), and a great guy. I remember times when racial remarks were used against him (middle school and high school, in the 80s, in Texas) and he outwardly shrugged it off, and even "playfully" insulted others back. He would defend me if anyone picked on me (I was a scrawny socially awkward super-nerd). When we lived in a small town for a while he was the only black kid at the high school (about 100 students total). Him being the only one I think actually helped, because I think it just made him seem exotic (and he is charming as hell). But when he dated white girls, there was always this edge of rebellion about it (the girls rebelling, that is). It wasn't overtly disapproved of, but that was lurking in the background (I think because our mom was the beloved doctor of the town, no-one would dare say anything).

He always wanted to be a fighter pilot, but he quickly got too tall for it, so then he wanted to be a military helicopter pilot until he got too tall for that. His best friend (white) was/is a marine, who then became a cop, and is now a digital security expert. My brother joined the Marines as well because of him to some degree, despite the fact that he had bad knees (not good for the Marines), so he couldn't make it through boot camp. In his 20s, he worked a variety of jobs, including as a bouncer for bars. He would tell me about the difficulty of doing that while being a 6'5" black guy. It helped in some ways when he needed to intimidate someone, but it also made him a target for every idiot redneck who wanted to take on the big black guy to show how tough he was. Mind you, if you couldn't see his skin color or facial morphology, you would just think he was a nice, charming, Texas good-old boy. Social speaking, he is really a Texas cowboy at heart. So a lot of the shit he got was pure racial animus from people who would have though he was great if it weren't for his skin color. He eventually went into sales (computers, often high-end many millions of dollars systems) and was great at it (won some national awards even). But in his late 20s, he got in a fight in Dallas with two rich white boys. He was only there because his ex-girlfriend (drunk) was calling him begging him to come help her and wasn't clear about what was going on. So he shows up, because if someone needs his help, he won't say no. The two white guys are pissed at his arrival, she's freaking out and not being coherent, and they seem to be spoiling for a fight (telling him to get the hell out, etc.). His bouncer instincts kick in and he's on edge as well, so he grabs a nearby bottle because it's two against one. In the fight that breaks out (they claim he started it--bullshit), he injures one (moderate injury to the head, nothing life-threatening) and gets the other to back off, then gets the girl out of there.

So, of course, he is arrested and charged with felony assault. The guys are not arrested and are charged with nothing (their families have city government and police connections). He's offered a deal. Plea-bargain for the felony charge, but no jail time, just probation. So what do you do? Walk away, but be marked as a felon for life for a crime you did not actually commit, or roll the dice with a trial and possibly go to prison? A trial in Dallas, where the one potential witness in your favor can't remember what happened. He's a 6'5" black guy. Of course he takes the plea deal. Every job he applies to, he has to say he was convicted of a felony. He cannot own a gun. He tried to take a trip to Canada a few years back (several decades after this incident) and was turned back at the border because of this. None of this is anywhere near as bad as what has happened to many black people (and quite a few white people as well). But he grew up in a very privileged environment (we weren't rich, but mom's a doctor, dad's an engineer/physicist, so we were in at least the top 5%, and getting close to the top 1%). He did not need to "act white" to fit in with anyone for whom race wasn't an issue (and most of his friends are not black); he's a charming Texas cowboy. Didn't help when he was screwed by the judicial system.

He did finally end up getting a civilian pilot's license last year and his Facebook page was filled with in-flight photos. I've never seen him happier than when he's flying. There's a metaphor in here about freedom and flying, but it's hard to type through the tears...

76 Thank you for sharing,…

Thank you for sharing, SeaRhino.  As a Canadian, I'm beyond p*ssed that your brother would be turned away at our border, but I'm not the least surprised.

Our border agents have a lot of discretion.  Dollars-to-donuts if your brother had been white, they'd have given him a pass on a single, decades-old charge.


116 Sort of.  This article's a…

Sort of.  This article's a little long-winded but captures the situation reasonably well, as I understand it:

Bottom line is border agents have a lot of discretion.  A single offense for which no prison time was sentenced, more than 10 years ago, with no subsequent convictions, coming to Canada on a vacation - I'd have expected them to be allowed entry.

75 RaiderJoe, Thanks for that…

RaiderJoe, Thanks for that. I was almost not going to come back to this FO story/comments section. I am glad I did.

I had pretty much asked elsewhere for a place here to discuss this issue, but when this story appeared here I was at a loss. I know I lose my patience too quickly over issues like this. And my experience here is that the FO commenters skew conservative. 

I am a white man who was raised in two racist households (one overtly so, the other the more typical middle-class silent kind) and it drives me nuts when the people of this country cannot acknowledge not only the unfortunately enduring legacy of the share brutality and cruelty that was slavery, but also the not-so-distant Jim Crow era and the post-slavery domestic terrorism (no, there is no better word for what a sizable portion of our nation's population has had to endure), the tentacles of which we are dealing with today. 

On the other side of things, our gotcha/cancel culture is really out of control. When someone like Drew Brees issues an apology—you don't have to buy it, but give the man a chance to back it up. The protests are about getting justice for sure, but they should also be about changing hearts and minds. So when someone exhibits that change and people continue to pounce on him that also bothers me (though obviously it's an entirely lesser order of "bother" than the systemic racism).

I keep typing more and then deleting it. I think best to just stop here.

77 My son, and our entire…

My son, and our entire family, are white.  My wife and I grew up in small, white communities where the only people of colour were Indian immigrant teachers and doctors.  We each moved to a larger, racially diverse city when we went to university, and have lived in it's downtown ever since.

My son played on playgrounds with kids of every colour as a pre-schooler.  The year before he started school, we took a trip to South Africa, and he ran around on fields playing with local black kids while we were there.  He didn't really have close friends of any colour, no cousins his age, and so what contact he had with other children was mostly from casual play and a few organized sports which, again, included children of many different ethnic backgrounds.

Two weeks after he started school, we got a call from his teacher to come pick him up.  My son had told his classmate - a very dark-skinned boy - that he didn't like the colour of his skin. 

The other boy's mother was understandably upset.  She and her husband are white, and their son (and his sister) are adopted (most of the rest of the black kids in their school have black parents, so that in itself was also unusual).  She told us it was the first time her son had been called out on his looks, and he was confused and upset.  

When we got home, my wife and I talked with our son about what had happened.  He didn't have anything against his classmate, they'd never been in an altercation or anything.  My son even said he liked him, but also told us "I don't like the way he looks".  When we asked him why he would share that with his classmate, our son told us "I thought he would want to know."

I don't really know what the point of my story is, but the reason my son didn't like the way his classmate looked was mostly because of his hair (very tight, curly and black) and also because of his skin tone (a deep, rich black tone).  My son was five years old, and had never been exposed to any concepts other than that people are people and come in lots of different sizes and colours, the same way our three cats were all cats despite their different fur colours.

85 I couldn't write what I feel…

I couldn't write what I feel even if I wanted to.

I want to know how bad it is. How bad are white cops killing black guys. How off is it.

The officers in that video where George Loyd got killed were so completely incompetent that I couldn't believe that people with seemingly no training were given a badge and a gun. How can you be so un-trained that you kill a guy in a power trip?

But I want to know the numbers, I want to know the stats. I want to know how bad it is.




79 In reading some of these…

In reading some of these personal stories, it now strikes me why these were not my initial reactions; I never experienced anything like this first hand.

I grew up in the bay area in a community that was ethnically diverse, but ethnically diverse with hardly any black people.(if you know the bay area, you can probably guess where). I went to a high school with literally 3 black people in a student body around 1000. 

My parents are Indians who immigrated in the late 70s. They shared details of discrimination they faced. They were likely not alone among Indians. And yet, as a sad fact and one not lost on one of my black friends, our culture doesn't like black people. The skin color is part of it, light skin is considered a virtue in the culture; but blacks are associated with poverty, violence, and ignorance. I don't quite know where this view came from as there aren't any black people in India, but its roots go all the way to my grandparents who were always leery on the rare occasion they saw a black man. 

There is a word in the language used for black people. Its literal translation is black, much like the original root word for the N word. But it carries the same connotation. I have asked Indians back in India what they would think of seeing a black man on the streets walking towards them. In surprisingly candid fashion, they said they would feel very uncomfortable. Curiously, I asked what if the person was latino and they merely shrugged their shoulders; having no idea about latinos. But blacks they knew.

You throw all of this together and I guess I shouldn't be surprised that it takes ridiculous events like this to shake the other minorities in this country from apathy. It's not enough to be left leaning(my family is), but to really see the solidarity of it, it just hasn't happened yet and this may be why. It's been ingrained in the culture(mine anyways). 


A brief word about me. I didn't succumb to this line of thinking; probably because I am an economist by training. We see the world through a specific lens. Growth, poverty, even racism is modeled with supply and demand graphs and if you are indoctrinated into the science, race becomes merely a human artifact and not one that you carry with you. Of course I am a human and I was outraged by what I saw, but I just didn't understand the sensitivity of it the way others did. That is a product of my upbringing. 


100 I don't quite know where…

I don't quite know where this view came from as there aren't any black people in India

There should be. More slaves left east Africa bound for India than left west Africa bound for the Americas.

104 My family comes mostly from…

My family comes mostly from Mumbai and neighboring Pune. I have visited Dehli. I would travel to India every 2 years as a kid starting from as far back as I can remember till my adulthood today. I saw almost no black people whatsoever. I've seen Asians whites and maybe a few other ethnic minorities but never any black people.

83 This supposed to be an analytics site

The police are the 2007 Patriots, up 72-3 and arguing with the refs because their 3rd string linebacker got ejected for roughing the kicker. 

84 I was struck by the mass…

I was struck by the mass resignation of all 52 officers of the Buffalo tactical squad, as a protest for 2 of their members being suspended over knocking down the elderly (white) protester.

That seems fairly telling, doesn't it?  that those officers would care more for protecting their fellow officers than protecting the rest of the community?

Starting with the fact that they lied about how he was injured - reporting that he slipped, until the video evidence came out to show he was pushed.  Then all of them marching past him as he lay on the ground, bleeding from his head, without any apparent attempt to verify if he needed medical assistance.

And when two of them get threatened with consequences for their behaviour, they close ranks and walk out.

I came into this thinking that the primary problem here was systemic racism, in some combination of conscious or unconscious form.  And I still think that's a big reason why the black community is disproportionately affected.

But I'm starting to lean towards comments that the biggest issue may be police culture.  And I don't want to blame the officers necessarily for that culture, because I'm not sure how much they're the cause of it versus the product of it.  I don't know how much of it is unrealistic expectations we place on them versus how much is bad apples allowed to infect the whole lot versus a ton of other possible factors.

In other words, I still know absolutely nothing about how to help fix any of this, but I'm beyond perplexed at what could be going through the heads of those now-former Buffalo cops, to act like their colleagues were the victims.

107 The mass resignation from…

The mass resignation from the unit was related to a demand by their union to do it.  I am a huge union backer, and a current union worker.  That said, police unions are frequently a relic of the past.  In that past, unions were often a tool of racists.  Today, we still see less educated white folks lashing out at their fellow workers by self-destructive political choices.  The past wasn't that different, and political choices within unions weren't that different either.  Again, that is a relic of the past, and not representative of people who work for worker rights every day now.  It's presented a dilemma to progressive unionists, like SEIU, in relation to their fellow unionist at, say, the Fraternal Order of Police, or the local equivalent.  

109 As a grandchild of coal…

As a grandchild of coal miners, I'm instinctively pro-union.  My wife (a nurse) is also in a union - although her particular union's useless, and her dues serve mainly to pay for photo ops for her union boss.

At the end of the day, unions are just organizations of people.  Depending on the culture, they can be a force for good (which I believe the union which fought for my grandfathers was), a waste of money (like my wife's union), or something else.

I hesitate to blame a union for standing up for its' members.  On the other hand, I think the culture of the union can be a telling statement of the culture of the members.  Encouraging people to quit sounds like a culture of entitlement and "taking my ball and going home", and seems very different to me than launching a grievance that argues the suspended members were following established procedures, etc.   

86 While working we implemented…

I agree it's hard to respond to this. But as a European person living in Taiwan I'll do my best staying objective. I have no bone with the police, the black, white, or whatever community.

Looking from the outside can only shake my head on one side and shrug my shoulders from the other.

While developing medicine we wanted to control mistakes and prevent human inaccuracies, so we implemented a system called "root cause analysis". I heard 'Samsung' and 'Nasa' flowing round, but I'm sure these were not the first companies to implement these kind of quality control. Another thing was 'near misses'. Which didn't do the same harm, but potentially would do, so they would require the same attention as a 'fail'. And therefore they would go through the same process.

Yes it's kinda elaborate, and it's just typed up in a football comment thing, so bare with me.

It has a 5-steps plan of asking "why?"

For example, Joe sent the wrong file.

Instead of just blaming Joe for sending the wrong file and go on with your day, you would instead find our why Joe would send the wrong file.

Joe had written down the wrong file name in his notebook.

Instead of telling letting Joe write down the correct file name in his notebook, you find out why Joe wrote it down incorrectly in the first place.

Then you find out that Joe had a 10 minute training about sending files to South East Asia about sending files to Taiwan, Singapore, Cambodia and Thailand. He ended up mixing Thailand and Taiwan because they pretty much look the same and what the hell does Joe know about these places.

And instead of underlining the difference between Thailand and Taiwan, you have someone else check any email going out to any of the 2 places before sending it.


What does this have to do with racism?

Why did the officer put a knee on Floyd?

Why didn't the colleague stop him?

Why was this in the protocol?

Why wasn't the protocol different?

Why wasn't the protocol amended?

Are officers sufficiently trained in protocol and are they punished enough when they break it?

The worst thing that can happen from this is that the officer would go to jail and that would be it.


Lessons should be learned from this. Protocols should be changed. Training programs should be changed. I could go on.

87 I agree, this type of…

I agree, this type of process needs to be followed.  And we need to hear and listen to the police officers on the ground about what they think needs to be changed so that these incidents don't happen again.  We need to apply that process, however, to more than just the George Floyd incident. 

A few weeks ago, locally, just before the Covid-crisis started, a black mother with a toddler and an infant in a stroller was confronted in the same Wal-Mart that I shop in by two police officers, because she had put a head of lettuce and two lemons in the bottom of the baby's stroller.  She hadn't even made it to the check out lines yet, she was still completing her shopping.  One of the officers got between her and the toddler so that she couldn't see her child.  She got upset and was thrown to the ground, breaking her wrist, in front of her two children.  She was charged with assault (there's no evidence she touched the officer), disorderly conduct, and resisting arrest.  She wasn't charged with shoplifting, because she hadn't shoplifted.  

I've shopped in that same store, with my baby in a stroller, and tossed items into the bottom of the stroller.  When you're lugging a baby bag and corralling children and trying to get the groceries done, you throw things wherever you need to to get them to the cashier and then pay and get home as quick as you can.  But I'm a white man, and nobody has ever assumed that I'm not going to pay for those items before I leave.

This woman's court date is coming up, and you can be darn sure that without the Floyd tragedy, the local press wouldn't have been giving this woman or what happened to her the time of day.  I'd have continued to shop at this Wal-Mart without knowing anything about how black people are treated there.

So, applying your questions:

Why do we need two men with guns for a situation involving a head of lettuce and two lemons?

Why is a shopper who hasn't yet left the store without paying assumed to be trying to shoplift?

Why was this particular woman singled out when I've done the same thing and not been confronted?  Was I just not "caught" daring to carry the food to the checkout line in my baby's stroller, or was this woman treated differently, and if so, by whom? and why?

Why is it acceptable for a police officer to stand between a parent and their 2-year old child?

Why do two men with guns need to throw a woman to the ground in order to arrest her?

Why are they allowed to charge someone with resisting arrest when there's insufficient evidence to bring a charge of any other crime, i.e. there was no justification for arresting her in the first place?

89 Yes, but anecdotical…

Yes, but anecdotical evidence is the flimsiest of evidence.

That's why I want numbers. Stats. I want to know, do these things really happen more than appropriate?

I don't know. I want to know before ringing a bell. I want to know if it's bad. I want to know how bad it is.

We can not make a policy based on 'well this one time'... 


90 With all due respect, that's…

With all due respect, that's exactly the type of response that has allowed this issue to be shrugged off for decades.  "Well, it was just this one time …"

For starters, once should be enough.  I disagree firmly with the idea that we don't need to change police procedures that went wrong because maybe it only happened this once or a few times?  It went wrong, badly wrong, and that by itself warrants a full investigation of what could have been changed to reduce the potential it happens again.

For seconds, I don't know what sort of stats would show that "these things happen more than appropriate."  Like, what are you even trying to say here??  Have you not seen the lists of black people who have been wrongly killed by police in recent years?  Are you suggesting that maybe that's an appropriate number of dead black people and so no need to start taking this seriously until we've confirmed that?

Third, there are enough academic studies to demonstrate the disproportionate treatment of blacks versus others [edit: by the police an the criminal justice system - clarification I missed before hitting 'save'] to sink a dozen oil tankers.  If you're asking if those stats exist, you haven't spent very much time looking for them.  Those studies been coming out for years, and nobody cares.  They don't change social behaviour, stories change social behaviour.  Stats don't help people relate to what the black community has been going through.  If they did, this issue would have gone away in the 70s.

Finally, they'll be plenty of time to figure out what and how needs to be changed, and academic studies and stats can be part of that process.  But they're part of the process of fixing it, they're not a prerequisite to starting the process.  If you've spent any time at all over the past few weeks listening to the stories black people have been telling, and your response is "well, I'm not sure if this is statistically significant enough to ring a bell", I just don't know how many times you'd have to hear the same story repeated by different people in encounters with different police officers, before that stops being anecdotal to you and starts to resonate as something that cries out for change.

95 I have chosen my words…

I have chosen my words carefully.

I don't agree with your false virtue signaling "that's exactly the type of response that has allowed this issue to be shrugged off for decades".

None of my comment is shrugging off anything. If you read my comments you will understand that I wish to dig deep into the underlying problem that made this tragedy happen. Of course, I think this one tragedy is one too many and I want it investigated thoroughly. I also want to know how bad it actually is. I want it investigated, because I don't think "give this officer jail time and everyone will be ok" is a solution to a deep rooted problem.

"For seconds, I don't know what sort of stats would show that "these things happen more than appropriate."  Like, what are you even trying to say here??"

I'm glad you asked the question. I'll clarify.

I want to know how much of the police violence hits what race the most, against what kind of crime rate. Honestly. No, I have not seen the list of black people being killed by police violence as I don't live in the USA. Yes, I agree, one is too many. 

But to study the problem you have to know in what rate black people are being killed / prisoned / arrested / stopped more than white people (and other ethnicities). And you have to calculate that against population build up and crime rate. You have to study why and who is being pulled over.

If it's true that studies show that blacks are disproportionately harassed, stopped and killed, then I profoundly support a complete overhaul of police training. I already do actually only by looking at how George Floyd was killed - that seemed completely untrained and ... I have no words for how incompetent that looked.

Don't accuse me of anything, I just want to solve the problem. There's a reason I really hesitated to even comment on this subject. I wish for a deep investigation and a thorough overhaul of how things are done.

Someone might see that as a  "that's exactly the type of response" response.

And that's ok. 

103 "But to study the problem…

"But to study the problem you have to know in what rate black people are being killed / prisoned / arrested / stopped more than white people (and other ethnicities). And you have to calculate that against population build up and crime rate. You have to study why and who is being pulled over."

I understand, you don't live in North America.  You can't be an adult living in North America and not be aware that this topic is heavily studied.  These reports come out all the times.  This has to be one of the most heavily studied social topics on the planet.  To the point that people are simply numb to the studies.  They all conclude the same thing:  poverty and education are a factor, but even controlling for poverty and education, being black is a statistically significant factor.

All the data you're asking for has been assembled and analyzed ad nauseum.  Academia has been producing those deep investigations for 50+ years now.  If you're not aware of that, then I understand you calling for it, but I can assure you that it exists, that it covers every geographic zone in North America, and has been consistent decade-by-decade.  In other words, it's not getting better, and it doesn't matter which North American city you select at random: you get the same conclusions from every study - don't be black if you have to deal with the police. 

If you're really interesting in the topic, you won't find it hard to find peer-reviewed studies from reputable journals.  Some subsets you can look for:  chance of being pulled over when driving by race, chance of being carded by race (this deals with streets checks, i.e. pedestrians), chance of being convicted by jury by race, chance of being convicted by judge by race, chance of being killed in police custody by race.  I have to warn you, though.  This is a rabbit hole and you'll feel sicker and sicker the more you learn.


96 Yes. I agree. Settlements…

Yes. I agree. Settlements don't solve a problem.

That's the entire point I'm making. You have to dig deep into the problem that is making these mistakes in the first place.

It seems that the management of the police departments in the US are as incompetent as their officers.

Then again, I don't know. I bet there's a whole bunch that does a good job. 

97 Some places train and hire…

Some places train and hire better than others, but on the whole it is simply awful. Since the '92 riots, L.A. improved a lot, but it was coming from such a ridiculously bad starting point, that I can't call it good. Minneapolis City Council voted yesterday to defund the police department, details to follow. I suspect this is code, because an urban Democrat can't openly speak of busting a public employee union. Make no mistake, you can't really address this problem usefully as long as police unions act as an impediment to removing officers who fail at their job. Public employees who are given wide latitude to instigate violence simply must be subject to termination/discipline by an elected official, without appeal to or mitigation by another entity.

This is one element in having a much better paradigm for law enforcement, but it is a critical one.



108 You have never experienced…

You have never experienced American policing, from the perspective of anyone.  If I were to authoritatively comment on the policing in Taiwan, as an American, how would you view my comments?  As persuasive?  As informed?  As a good reason to think or act differently in relation to policing in Taiwan?

Further, neither you nor I have experienced policing in the US from the perspective of an African-American.  Though I've spent thousand of hours working on civil rights and related legal issues in the US, I wouldn't presume to know that perspective.  I can only know it secondhand at best.  

In other words, FFS, stay in your lane, man.


110 I'd like to defend Theo here…

I'd like to defend Theo here.  I don't think he's trying to tell others what to do on this topic, I think he was - in good faith - setting out a possible procedure to follow that is intellectually valid.

I personally regret the way I worded some of my earlier posts.  I was too absolute, too hyperbolic, too emotional, both over-stating my case and purposefully ignoring nuance - mostly because I was afraid.  Afraid that taking a nuanced, intellectual approach at this stage would kill what current momentum we have on this issue.  

You're absolutely right that I have no way to understand the relationship of a black person and the police in my community.  I would like both of those groups - the only two viewpoints that can close their circle - to solve the problem and tell the rest of us what changes should be made, and I'll support their solution. 

On the other hand, I also think this isn't just a police-black issue.  It's also a general police-competency/accountability issue, and a police-expectations issue.  It's entirely possible that we ask the police to do too much and that keeps them from doing well the things we should be asking them to do.  It's entirely possible that we hire for the wrong characteristics, provide an inappropriate support system for police, fail to allow the best police to thrive and the worst to be pushed out, etc.  I think Theo is right that we need experts in these areas, ideally backed with good data, to provide recommendations here on what we should do.