I'm glad people are protesting the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, because it shows there are some decent people left in the world, but - real talk now - nothing is going to improve as a result of all this. The media will run these stories for as long as they hold interest or something else happens that takes the focus away, and that will be it.
Politically, these cases just entrench the status quo, not challenge it. This is a good, forceful presentation of that view:
Policing in America is not broken. The judicial system is not broken. American society is not broken. All are functioning perfectly, doing exactly what they have done since before some of this nation's most prosperous slave-murdering robber-barons came together to consecrate into statehood the mechanisms of their barbarism. Democracy functions. Politicians, deriving their legitimacy from the public, have discerned the will of the people and used it to design and enact policies that carry it out, among them those that govern the allowable levels of violence which state can visit upon citizen. Taken together with the myriad other indignities, thefts, and cruelties it visits upon black and brown people, and the work common white Americans do on its behalf by telling themselves bald fictions of some deep and true America of apple pies, Jesus, and people being neighborly to each other and betrayed by those few and nonrepresentative bad apples with their isolated acts of meanness, the public will demands and enables a whirring and efficient machine that does what it does for the benefit of those who own it. It processes black and brown bodies into white power.
Right. White conservatives want black and brown people either cowed or dead and white liberals want to think this is something aberrant that can be prevented if we just talk, think, and work together. Black and brown people just want to get to and from work or school without getting pulled over, detained, frisked, beaten, or shot. So who is the constituency for change?
Let's take particular cases. The Ferguson prosecutor, Bob McCulloch, tanked the grand jury so that they'd return a no-bill. Is this going to have negative consequences for him? In 2014, he ran unopposed as a Dem. He got 220,000 votes. In the biggest contested election that year, for county executive, the Rep and the Dem both got around 140,000 votes. Pretty much the same story last time he ran in 2010: That was the race when in St. Louis County Jean Carnahan got 195,000 votes and Roy Blount got 167,000, and McCulloch ran unopposed and got 293,000. That is, McCulloch is almost as popular with Republicans as he is with Democrats. Safe to say that McCulloch is going to have the police union on his side in 2018 and there will be no challengers to his right. Maybe the people who control the Democratic party there will be so outraged over this that they will promote a challenger against McCulloch in the primary? No, because the county is only 23% black and white Dems in St. Louis are on the cops' side.
The Eric Garner prosecutor, Daniel Donovon, also tanked the grand jury. He's a Republican, Staten Island is a swing district which leans R, and it's only 10% black. So blessing the killing of Garner will get him pats on the back, not arrows. He could run for Congress and win pretty easily with this on his resume. He'd win more easily because of it. The more people come out to protest against him, the faster his base will rally around him. Letting a white cop skate for killing a black person just helps your name recognition if you're a Republican politician.
What will change things? Really, I have no fucking idea, but I like this thing Chris Rock said:
Chris Rock: Here’s the thing. When we talk about race relations in America or racial progress, it’s all nonsense. There are no race relations. White people were crazy. Now they’re not as crazy. To say that black people have made progress would be to say they deserve what happened to them before.
Q: Right. It’s ridiculous.
Rock: So, to say Obama is progress is saying that he’s the first black person that is qualified to be president. That’s not black progress. That’s white progress. There’s been black people qualified to be president for hundreds of years. If you saw Tina Turner and Ike having a lovely breakfast over there, would you say their relationship’s improved? Some people would. But a smart person would go, “Oh, he stopped punching her in the face.” It’s not up to her. Ike and Tina Turner’s relationship has nothing to do with Tina Turner. Nothing. It just doesn’t. The question is, you know, my kids are smart, educated, beautiful, polite children. There have been smart, educated, beautiful, polite black children for hundreds of years. The advantage that my children have is that my children are encountering the nicest white people that America has ever produced. Let’s hope America keeps producing nicer white people.
Q: It’s about white people adjusting to a new reality?
Rock: Owning their actions. Not even their actions. The actions of your dad. Yeah, it’s unfair that you can get judged by something you didn’t do, but it’s also unfair that you can inherit money that you didn’t work for.
I'd say that's right; I remember how it was, I was there, I was white, and it was pretty awful. White people are nicer today than they were 40 years ago. But that took 40 years, and they're not all that nice yet. So in another 4o years, they'll be a little bit nicer, we hope, and it will go on like that until in 400 years or so things actually will be good. We hope. Maybe.