[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[Xmca-l] Re: NYT Op-Ed: Class Prejudice Resurgent

Hi Bill,

I do not take the Brooks article as the definitive voice on the aftermath of Ferguson. I would have never guessed I'd be in defense of Brooks, however I don't think he intends to be the voice of authority on this. He opens with this text:

"One of the features of all the Ferguson discussion over the past few months is how tinny the comparisons to the civil-rights era have sounded. People have tried to link Ferguson to Selma and Jim Crow, but something is off.

"That’s, in part, because we’ve moved from simplicity to ambiguity. The civil rights struggle was about as clear a conflict between right and wrong as we get in national life. The debate about Ferguson elicited complex reactions among most sensible people."


"But the other reason that the civil-rights era comparisons were inapt is because the nature of racism has changed. There has been a migration away from prejudice based on genetics to prejudice based on class."

This is why I'm not sure if you are saying that his commentary is a distraction from the "real" issue, or if you are saying that there can only be "real" issues discussed when discussing Fergusen, and Brooks's isn't one of them. Or maybe you are saying something else? 

I'd say that the nature of racism _has_ changed, and not necessarily for the better. There are class elements involved in Ferguson's tragedy. This is not saying that race issues are removed or displaced by class, but that they have combined, and this is what Brooks is pointing out. Or am I wrong?

I'm not sure what the function of reproducing the graphic nature of the violence against the victim is meant to do in the context of this post. It certainly has a drive-by quality. Clearly you are outraged as many of us are. 

What are you saying? I'm just trying to make sense of it. 

Kind regards,


From: xmca-l-bounces+annalisa=unm.edu@mailman.ucsd.edu <xmca-l-bounces+annalisa=unm.edu@mailman.ucsd.edu> on behalf of Bill Kerr <billkerr@gmail.com>
Sent: Wednesday, December 10, 2014 3:02 PM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: NYT Op-Ed: Class Prejudice Resurgent

The David Brooks article doesn't connect very well with the known facts of
the killing of Michael Brown, namely:

It is now clear 12 shots were fired by Officer Wilson, the last of which
struck Mr Brown in the top of the head. He was hit 7 times. The deadly
encounter started while Officer Wilson was seated in his police cruiser.
The first two shots were fired by the officer while still in the car. Most
witnesses said that at that time, Mr Brown was leaning through the driver’s
side window. The victim’s blood was found inside and outside the car and on
the officer’s clothing. A bullet was lodged in the armrest. ...

Ten of the twelve shots were fired after Officer Wilson got out of his
cruiser. Mr Brown’s body was found 153 feet away. All the fatal shots were
fired when Mr Brown was away from the police car. While some witnesses said
he was fleeing the car when they were fired, a greater number of witnesses
said they came as the victim was moving towards the officer, McCulloch said

The claim that there is a shift in our understanding of race and class does
not seem all that relevant to the particularity of this case IMO.

On Tue, Dec 9, 2014 at 12:50 PM, Annalisa Aguilar <annalisa@unm.edu> wrote:

> Hello esteemed discussants,
> I am not normally a fan of David Brooks of the New York Times, but
> sometimes he really surprises me. This is one of those times:
> http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/02/opinion/david-brooks-class-prejudice-resurgent.html
> <
> http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/02/opinion/david-brooks-class-prejudice-resurgent.html?rref=collection%2Fcolumn%2Fdavid-brooks&contentCollection=opinion&action=click&module=NextInCollection&region=Footer&pgtype=article
> >
> It has been my sense that we (as a culture, i.e., my American culture to
> which he refers) are more afraid to discuss class then we are to discuss
> race, and now it has become even harder, apparently.
> I particularly took to this paragraph:
> "Widening class distances produce class prejudice, classism. This is a
> prejudice based on visceral attitudes about competence. People in the
> "respectable" class have meritocratic virtues: executive function, grit, a
> capacity for delayed gratification. The view about those in the untouchable
> world is that they are short on these things. They are disorganized. They
> are violent and scary. This belief has some grains of truth because of
> childhood trauma, the stress of poverty and other things. But this view
> metastasizes into a vicious, intellectually lazy stereotype. Before long,
> animalistic imagery is used to describe these human beings."
> Kind regards,
> Annalisa