Thanksgiving weekend open thread

I hope everyone in the Bleeding Heartland community had a good Thanksgiving holiday and is enjoying the weekend, however you prefer to celebrate. For those who still need to use up leftovers, I’ve posted a few ideas for soup here and my favorite thing to do with extra cranberry sauce.

This is an open thread: all topics welcome.

Winter storms and “Black Friday” shopping have dominated newscasts for the past day or two, but the big story of the week was the St. Louis County grand jury declining to indict Officer Darren Wilson in connection with the August 9 shooting death of Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old. I cannot imagine how awful it would be to lose a child in that way, knowing that the person responsible will never even stand trial. Whether or not you believe Wilson acted improperly, there was clearly enough evidence to indict him. Let a jury sort out whether he is guilty beyond reasonable doubt at a criminal trial. Signs point to the prosecutor not even trying to get an indictment. A New York Times graphic I’ve posted below shows “what was different about the Ferguson grand jury.”

Not surprisingly, there was unrest in Ferguson for two nights following the grand jury’s announcement. Most of the protesters there and elsewhere were peaceful, despite feeling intense anger. However, some looting and burning incidents provided fodder for Officer Wilson’s sympathizers to portray those who protested Brown’s death as “thugs” or worse. I mostly avoided social media arguments over the Ferguson case but saw many people talk about blocking or unfriending racists in their feeds. Spectra Speaks wrote this counter-intuitive post: “Dear White Allies: Stop Unfriending Other White People Over Ferguson.” It’s worth a read.

A common thread in many online arguments over Ferguson was someone reacting negatively to the phrases “white privilege” or “check your privilege.” For people who don’t understand what that means, Des Moines-based writer Ben Gran spelled it out:

White privilege exists for all white people, even poor whites.

“White privilege” doesn’t mean you get free stuff for being white. “White privilege” doesn’t mean that life is easy if you’re white. “White privilege” doesn’t mean that you get everything handed to you on a silver platter for being white.

“White privilege” means that there are certain HORRIBLE things that are MUCH LESS LIKELY to ever happen to you because you’re white.

For example, if my son were waving a pellet gun around in public, it is much less likely that anyone would call the police, much less likely that police would open fire on him within seconds of arriving on the scene, and much less likely that police would stand around not administering first aid afterwards. Which is not to say it’s advisable for anyone to wave a pellet gun around–only that doing so while white is much less likely to get you killed.

UPDATE: PBS published an outstanding chart comparing “several key details” of Officer Wilson’s version of events to testimony various witnesses provided during the investigation. The chart “doesn’t reveal who was right or wrong about what happened that day, but it is a clear indication that perceptions and memories can vary dramatically.”

Graphic from the New York Times interactive page on the Ferguson case, including details about Michael Brown’s shooting and the aftermath.

NYT graphic on Ferguson grand jury photo B3YKAX2CAAAYHuw_zps03e09a50.png

  • This was terrible

    It is awful that everything has become so partisan. It is awful that Brown is dead. It’s awful that the media jumped the gun and spun it out of proportion and it’s awful that it continued to spin the other way once the facts were known.  It is awful that there are violent protests.

    This is like an argument between a couple when neither side will admit they are wrong against all evidence because they already committed to their stake and won’t let it go.

    This one keeps spinning because people on the left presume that people on the right ignore or don’t care about police brutality towards minorities.   People on the right assume people on the left have no sense.

    John Crawford IIIs death was a tragedy in Ohio. The young man picked up a pellet gun from a shelf in Wal Mart and walked around calmly talking on a cell phone. Another patron (who just like reactionaries to this story) called 911 and amplified the scenario stating he was walking around threatening people resulting in the cops coming in shooting.   The guy on the phone didn’t want to be wrong after calling the cops so he made it sound worse than it was. Then somebody died.

    Pundits didn’t want to be wrong in Brown’s case so they made it worse than what it was. Now there is rioting.

    The minutia is daunting.  “The prosecutor is biased because his father was a killed cop”. “The prosecutor cant be racist because he’s a Democrat” “Brown was unarmed.” “Brown was a 300lb man who just committed a burglary and assaulted a police officer for his weapon”

    It’s terrible Brown was killed. It’s terrible Wilson has to go through this. It’s terrible that this has so engulfed media that there are protests across the nation and people are getting hurt and robbed.  

    It’s terrible that minorities are not given the same deference as white men and women. Let’s fight that issue instead of pretending Brown was a hero. I don’t think there are any legitimate policy makers that think it’s OK to make decisions with a racial bias.  This case has turned a fight of ending discriminating practices into something else. Let’s stop inflating situations like that jerk who called 911 to falsely make claims about Crawford.  People are getting killed.  

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