AS257: Andrew Torrez on Christian Mingle

Today I’ve got Andrew Torrez to talk about the Christian Mingle settlement and hi quite awful interaction with David Smalley. After that I offer some commentary on the shootings and related events. The next 2 shows are the promised amazing lesson on the 2nd Amendment, with Andrew. Patrons can listen to that entire recording on the bonus feed and on Patreon.

3 thoughts on “AS257: Andrew Torrez on Christian Mingle”

  1. Here is my only issue with supporting BLM on these police shootings ( I personally don’t support BLM but that’s just because I’ve been following their movement and there is a virulent racist strain throughout that’s NOT being checked).

    It’s true that blacks are being killed at a disproportionate rate than white people but it’s it’s also true that whites are being killed twice as much.

    I don’t like the idea that we boil people down to their race and then weigh the value of their lives based on their overall percentage of their population.

    There are times when we should look at people relatively and other times when we should look at them as individuals. When I see black lives matter protesters creating hashtags for individuals and chanting “say their names” they’re viewing them as individuals. When people bring up the twice as many cops killed, they say “well, it’s at a smaller proportion to blacks” which is viewing the worth – to me – in relative terms.

    OK…are we being proportionate in our response to these shootings? I’ve not seen a single black lives matter rally for any of the whites killed by cops.

    To this I’m usually told that Black Lives Matter is interested in fighting racial injustice against blacks.

    OK…then why admonish people for saying all lives matter or bringing up whites killed by cops?

    Ultimately, my issue with just blanket supporting BLM after these shootings – without being skeptical – is that I see so many supporters saying that it’s a racist issue when blacks are killed by cops. When I bring up whites being killed at twice the number (but not at the same rates which I’ll get to) I’m told it’s not because of racism.

    That’s my issue. If you say “BLM is correct in this” then you’re accepting a narrative they’re pushing that the deaths of the blacks are racist – due to the higher proportional rate – than the deaths of whites which, obviously, couldn’t be racist.

    Just recently a 6 year old white boy was killed by a black cop. We know that Philando Castile was killed by a Hispanic.

    Is there racism in the police force? Sure. Name me any group of people, ANY, and I promise you there will be racists in it.

    Do we know that the difference in rates between blacks killed and whites can be summed up entirely by racism?

    I see that argument OFTEN and it feels like people with an agenda leaping to conclusions. I think this is way more nuanced than this (and racism IS a factor) but I don’t see BLM entertaining that nuance and that worries me because they CLEARLY have an agenda and they’re clearly going to push back at any idea that the higher proportional rate of blacks killed is due to issues that can only be fixed BY the black community (from within the community and not by just changing the way police do their jobs, which is necessary for sure).

    Ugh…….

    I’ve spent all weekend being called a racist arguing with BLM supporters about this. I understand why you’d want to abstain.

    1. I had a few thoughts reading your comment. I’m not sure if I’ll have any helpful insight, but if you’re interested, here goes.

      I’m not sure if this was mentioned in today’s episode (I listened to a few podcasts while doing other things, so I forget who said what), but researchers who conducted a recent study of police shootings in 2015 and 2016 found evidence to conclude, among other findings, that there is a racial disparity in the amount of danger/threat posed by individuals shot by police. When shooting incidents were analyzed by researchers blinded to race, based on the actions reported, white individuals shot by police, on average, posed much more immediate danger (e.g., pointed a gun at police) than black people who were shot (e.g., had a gun on their person).

      If you take issue comparing rates and population sizes, here is at least some empirical evidence that suggests on an individual basis, a person’s race determines how much benefit of the doubt a police officer is going to give them before using lethal force.

      Here’s some links to two relevant Washington Post articles:

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2016/07/11/arent-more-white-people-than-black-people-killed-by-police-yes-but-no/?utm_term=.a11c6cc4d795

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/study-finds-police-fatally-shoot-unarmed-black-men-at-disproportionate-rates/2016/04/06/e494563e-fa74-11e5-80e4-c381214de1a3_story.html

      You don’t like the idea that we boil people down to their race while discussing cultural issues. Unfortunately, as long as race is a salient issue in terms of determining how people are treated by police, it is a relevant issue when discussing how police violence affects that group.

      I’m not sure I understand what your objection is when you criticize BLM for not responding to white people unjustly killed by police. As you note, BLM is a specific movement with a specific aim (i.e., to raise awareness of the ways our society devalues black lives). They are not an oversight committee charged with determining the optimal measures for reducing police violence across the board. They are not offended on principle that police aren’t doing their job correctly, they’re offended by the fact that police are killing black people and not being held accountable.

      Criticizing BLM for not responding to what you perceive to be “the larger issue” ignores the fact that your larger issue is not the issue they care about.

      I have to challenge your assertion that agreeing with BLM means we have to accept that racism motivates the police in black shootings. A key distinction I would make is that institutionalized racism can lead to deaths without requiring a particular actor to be motivated by racist thoughts. Essentially, a police officer in a culture that has normalized responding to black individuals with more aggression/authoritarianism doesn’t have to be “a racist” to perceive black individuals as more dangerous than white individuals. As such, police officers (even black or hispanic officers) can act based on their training, procedures, and best judgement to protect themselves or a partner by responding to an assumed threat with a level of force that is not warranted. As noted above, the issue is not that this is only a problem if the officer kills a black person, it’s that black people are more likely to be presumed as a threat, either by the officer in the moment, or by others reviewing the situation (e.g., supervisors, grand juries, review boards).

      An important issue I want to address from your post though is the implicit assumption you seem to be making that BLM has identified racism as the only cause of police violence against black individuals. I don’t believe this is the case. I think a more accurate description is that “the way police violence manifests and the ways that it affects black people is racist”. Their argument isn’t that we can solve police violence against black people by solving “racism,” but that the system will stop being racist when we address the ways it responds to black people unequally.

      As you note, every group of people is going to have members who hold racist views. BLM isn’t upset that some police are racist on the inside. BLM is concerned when actions by police (racist or non-racist) affect black people in ways they don’t affect white people.

      For instance, I read that Philando Castile had been pulled over by police over 52 times in recent years. Is there an explanation for this that isn’t based on race?

      Ultimately, I believe the evidence is suggesting that a black individual is more likely to be stopped, confronted, and/or killed by police for doing less than a white individual. Following a police shooting, news reports on black victims are more likely to include criminal histories, even when those histories are not relevant to the incident in which they were killed. And if charges are brought against someone who has killed a black person, they are less likely to be found guilty and held accountable than if their victim were white. I believe these are the issues BLM speaks to.

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