For a long time I was not a fan of the “white privilege” concept. But years of evidence proved me wrong. Stories like this “Bristol DA drops charges, says protesters were right“, Boston Globe, 8 September 2014 — Excerpt:
Bristol District Attorney C. Samuel Sutter knew the law. He also understood the threats posed by climate change. So for days he grappled with what to do about the two environmental activists facing criminal charges for blocking a 40,000-ton coal shipment last year to the Brayton Point power plant in Somerset.
Just as the trial was about to begin Monday, Sutter decided to drop all charges. Then, in a dramatic appearance at Fall River District Court, he said he empathized with the stance of Ken Ward and Jay O’Hara, who said they were acting to reduce harm to the planet when they used the lobster boat Henry David T. to block the shipment to the coal-burning plant.
“Because of my sympathy with their position, I was in a dilemma,” Sutter said afterward. “I have a duty to go forward to some extent with this case and to follow the applicable case law, but they were looking for a forum to present their very compelling case about climate change.” He added: “I do believe they’re right, that we’re at a crisis point with climate change.”
Protests by Blacks are met by tear gas and tasers. They’re arrested, with no mercy from DA’s. Protests by affluent whites often get respectful treatment by the DA.
This is the equivalent, conceptually, of the police killing a black man holding a gun in a Walmart — while open carry demonstrations by nice white folk get deferential treatment by police. As we saw when the Texas chapter of Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense In America (MDA) was terrorized by “Open Carry Texas”, after which the Open Carry group sent MDA an email:
“We had a great time today walking through San Antonio with our semi-automatic rifles and shotguns. The best part was that the reaction was very positive and supportive. People are “getting used” to seeing and being around guns and police have come to accept it and don’t even question us anymore. What we are doing is working and society is coming to view the sight of “military style rifles” in public as just another normal thing. Isn’t that a good thing?”
The Forbes article describes the legality of this protest.
While Texas permits licensed gun owners to carry concealed weapons, Texas does not permit the open carry of guns
,except for long guns that are not being used in a menacing way (added). Indeed, it is the desire to change this law that the Open Carry Texas group is all about. Accordingly, Open Carry’s chosen method to make its point and preferences known is not only to break the law but to severely frighten unarmed people in the process.
For a richer example, see the deferential response of the Federal agencies to Clive Bundy’s law-breaking. Such things take place on a different planet than the events on the streets of Ferguson.
I wonder if we’re going in the right direction with respect to race relations in America. Social cohesion is a vital strength of nations. It might be essential for us to have if we’re to prosper against the challenges that lie ahead. We have to try harder.
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Posts about racism:
- The pilgrimage of Martin Luther King: an antidote to our amnesia about America’s history, 14 September 2013
- A harsh clear look at the history of the Republican Party, 22 September 2013
- Congress did a great thing 50 years ago, but rot from that day has spread and taken root, 26 June 2014