Race

War on Crime – We All Are Victims

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So after 40 years of “tough on crime,” it’s come to this. In addition to the military-industrial complex, we have the penal system / financial complex as something to worry about. We now have perverse incentives in place to continue the expansion of incarceration as the answer to all of our societal problems. It makes perfect sense to keep building new facilities whose sole purpose is to enrich the corporate investors, who enable governments to pretend they are addressing their crime problems by locking up miscreants for longer sentences. All in the name of being tough on crime, which politicians love to tout to their voters.

In the October 15 issue of Science Magazine, there’s an outstanding summary of current research and trends in the social sciences regarding incarceration in the US. They show how the past 40 years of tough on crime has ignored secular trends on reduced crime rates (yes, homicide rates for the last couple of years have gone up). Instead, the incarceration rate keeps going up, and we are building a class of people who find it impossible to function in society after they are released from prison.

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Racism, Riots, and Our Republic

The tragic death of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, has set into motion a public outcry that will go down in American history. In Mr. Floyd’s case, the officer who was responsible for his safety will be held responsible for his demise. Anyone issued handcuffs should be aware of the fact that handcuffed suspects who are laid on their stomachs cannot breathe because the pressure on the diaphragm restricts their breathing. If the officer charged in the death claims he was never advised of the potential danger, then he should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, under the much-used police phrase: “ignorance of the law is no excuse.” 

The United States is a nation of laws, where those who enforce those laws are the police. Accused of being the hands of unfair laws and enforcers of discriminatory policies, there are now movements to defund and even disband police departments. There have been riots, burned buildings, and destroyed public monuments. There have also been dozens of murders of those of the same race as George Floyd, all presumed just as innocent (certainly the murdered children were innocent) as Mr. Floyd. How the murders of innocent citizens will motivate legislatures remains to be seen. Which moves us to legislation.

Image Credit: NY State Senate
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El Paso, Discrimination, & America – Sam I Am

*I am Sam Martinez, born a U.S. citizen of Mexican descent in El Paso, Texas. My father and mother were born in New Mexico and California, respectively in the 1920s. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, signed in 1848, moved the U.S. border from as far north as Wyoming and Oregon, as far east as a portion of present-day Kansas, down to the Rio Grande, making tens of thousands of Mexicans into U.S. citizens.

Five generations on my father’s side were born in the New Mexico area once Mexico. My DNA indicates I am 70% of the Iberian Peninsula and Native American. The remaining percentage reflects nomadic survival from Africa, Europe, Polynesia, and Asia. The soup de jour resulted in brown skin I wear proudly.
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The ‘N’ Word

*Not so long ago ‘bash’ meant a big party, ‘boss’ meant great and ‘a gas’ was a real fun time!  Calling someone a ‘queer’ was tantamount to uttering other hurtful and hurting terms such as ‘homo’ and ‘fag’.  At some point in time that probably coincides with folk at Gay Pride rallies declaring, “We’re here and we’re queer”, it magically became OK for gay or straight people to use the word ‘queer’ … kinda stylish.

‘Oriental’, on the other hand, is very much not in vogue.  It was taught as both a term of respect and a geographical reference point indicating the easternmost part of Asia, its ancient culture and the people that live there.

the 'n' word

‘Oriental’ is much more specific as an identifier than ’Asian’ as it indicates a specific part of Asia and people with recognizable physical traits, such as almond-shaped eyes, and does not include those from Georgia or Kazakhstan who are as Asian as anyone from China but do not ‘look Asian’.  Why the term ‘Oriental’ offends is baffling – perhaps we take ourselves a bit too seriously?

Baby boomers growing up in the 50s and 60s were often taught that blacks were to be called ‘Negros’ in polite company, or (often in the south) ‘Colored’.  At some point in time that probably coincides with folk at Black Pride rallies declaring “Black Power”, ‘Negro’ gave way to ‘black’ as the new polite term, and things were simple.  Then came the ‘politically correct’ and factually inaccurate do-goodnics who saddled us with the ridiculous ‘African American’, making race about a continent – like ‘Asian’ – and avoiding the issue completely.
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