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


As you say David Brooks wrote:

"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."

>From the known facts (12 shots fired) I don't see the shooting of Michael
Brown as an illustration of "ambiguity", unclear or "complex" as Brooks
argues. His general thesis, of a shift from race hatred to class / race
hatred, is one I have some sympathy for but in this particular case the
known facts get in the way of a nice narrative.

On Thu, Dec 11, 2014 at 11:23 AM, Annalisa Aguilar <annalisa@unm.edu> wrote:

> 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."
> Then:
> "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,
> Annalisa
> ________________________________________
> 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
> http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/michael-brown-shooting-ten-things-we-know--or-know-better-now-the-ferguson-grand-jurys-work-is-over-9881046.html
> 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
> >
> >