OMG, the Dems Are All Racist!

Joe Biden is racist because he supported a crime bill that increased mass incarceration of black and brown people. Elizabeth Warren is racist because she claimed Native American ancestry when, in fact, she had only a tiny percentage of DNA from the Americas. Pete Buttigieg is racist because he fired African American heads of the South Bend police and fire departments. 

Bernie, of course, is a saint, so it wouldn’t matter if he were racist. Amy Klobuchar is racist because her record as a prosecutor is suspect. Tom Steyer is racist because he supports renewable energy which would deprive Navaho people of high paying fossil fuel jobs. And, of course, Mike Bloomberg is racist because he was mayor during a time of increasing use of stop and frisk in NYC. 

So, there. Obviously, the implication is that Trump should win re-election because – no, wait, that can’t be right, can it? Maybe I need to think about this some more. 

So, here, my thoughts as of 2/16/2020:
Surely, Tom Steyer is in the clear because supporting green energy is good for people of all races. The crime bill that plagues Joe Biden was thought to be a good thing, even by members of the black community. We’ve all learned that it was flawed, yet Biden still has a lot of support in minority communities. Klobuchar was a prosecutor, and the case could be made that all prosecutors have dubious records on race. But, seriously,  she’s clearly on board with many smart policies that will be good for people of all colors. 

If anyone is still hung up on Elizabeth Warren’s pre-DNA understanding of native ancestry, they just haven’t been listening to all of her other ideas; can anyone doubt her deep understanding of our financial system and how it’s rigged against us all? I’ll confess that I’m troubled about Buttigieg’s track record on race. It’s entirely possible that he had good reasons for terminating the police and fire chiefs, but in two terms I’d like to have seen more progress in winning over the black and brown communities of South Bend. Besides, he’s just too inexperienced; give him some time.

But, Bloomberg. Surely he’s too smart to have believed in the wisdom of stop and frisk. Anyone can see that it’s simply bad public policy to traumatize minority communities and make young people of color fear and resent police. So why? Why continue this policy? Why allow the police department to ramp it up to absurd levels? Why defend it by saying that murderers and murder victims were most often members of black and brown communities? 

Sadly, that last bit was true. Most murders in NYC during Bloomberg’s terms as Mayor were young men of color killing other young men of color. Any mayor would want to put a stop to that. Apologists for stop and frisk even have data to suggest that a disproportionate number of white kids were targeted if you consider the crime data rather than population data. 

Friends, we are all profiled. We all profile others. As humans, we make a host of assumptions about people based on very little evidence. As we spend more time with groups and individuals, we are constantly revising our opinions based on what we learn. I expect police departments to deploy personnel based on information about where and when crimes occur and search for suspects based on witness descriptions. As cases proceed, we want that “presumption of innocence” to operate, and efforts to shift depending on open minds and new information. Yet, we know this hasn’t always happened. 

I wish stop and frisk hadn’t been abused as it was. I wish a better understanding of its effects on minority communities had been obvious much sooner. I wish young black and brown men would quit killing each other with such abandon, because it continues to be a disproportionate problem. 

But I’m going to vote for a Democrat for president in 2020. Racism will be an ongoing concern for all of these candidates. Women’s issues will be a concern for all of them. Health care will be a concern for all of them. Environmental protection will happen again. Financial regulation will happen because Elizabeth Warren is not going to quit. Addressing climate change will be a priority for all. 

Am I wrong? Let me hear it!

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