Freddie Gray

Joan Walsh Says Dangerous Things About Race That Help Perpetuate Police Brutality

Perhaps her white privilege is showing and she should take her ideological fellow travelers' advice on it

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MSNBC screencap

Since the news came out that three of the officers involved in Freddie Gray's death were black—this fact is mostly pretty irrelevant to the case. A person isn't any more or less violated depending on his race or the race of his violator. But it means a lot when some have vigorously pushed the narrative of "black men killed by white cops" as if it were only those instances of state-sponsored violence that were problematic.  That narrative helps dangerous myths flourish—like the myth that black cops might be less brutal than white cops. Here's Joan Walsh arguing that there was "no debate" black cops "absorb" the attitudes of their colleagues. It's a bizarre idea that's totally unnecessary if you live in the world but becomes a must-have when your understanding of the problem is based on the fantasy constructed in your head. And it's a more than slightly racist one because it seeks to diminish the agency of the black adults who make up the black police population.

It gets worse. Walsh also argued that the indictment of the three black cops shows that "black leadership doesn't protect wrongdoers like white leaders too often do," this based on just the one Freddie Gray case. This is not only easily disprovable, it too helps perpetuate a dangerous myth. If the black leadership in Baltimore (and how much can be said about "black leadership" or "white leadership" before you're just resorting to intuitions drawn from racial stereotypes?) were more interested in rooting out police brutality in the police department, why did it take Freddie Gray's death for Baltimore's black leadership to say it'll invite the Department of Justice to probe the Baltimore Police Department for a pattern and practice of police abuse? Stephanie Rawlings Blake has been mayor for four years and Anthony Batts has been police commissioner since 2012. The problem of police brutality in Baltimore, and as any black (or really, any) leader in Baltimore should know (right?), didn't start with Freddie Gray. So why would it take Freddie Gray (and the attention brought to his case) to get the city government to ask the DOJ to investigate its police department, other than some kind of interest in "protecting wrongdoers"? Black political leaders, and white ones, in places like Newark, Philly, and Seattle, have voluntarily asked the DOJ to investigate their police departments over the last four years.

Oversimplifying the issue of police violence by racializing it is a useful shortcut to constructing commentary that some readers might feel is giving them insights, but it's not useful for drilling down some of the things we can actually do to prevent police violence. 

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118 responses to “Joan Walsh Says Dangerous Things About Race That Help Perpetuate Police Brutality

  1. Alt-text: “Never stick it in crazy”

    1. She does have that Pelosi wind tunnel look.

      1. Of course there is a wind tunnel – her mouth is open.

    2. Alt-text: “Never stick it in crazy”

      Alt-alt-text: “Especially if it’s ugly too”

      1. I disagree.

        I would.

        1. You’d fuck a crack in the sidewalk. NTTAWWT!

    3. If she weren’t so dried out and stringy by now, she’d be one of the first eaten when the revolution comes.

      1. She’ll keep well in the pantry, though. Sort of like jerky.

        1. I believe, like her cock roach cousins, she’d survive a nuclear bomb blast.

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  2. I’ve heard very similar things by leftist friends when I try to make the point that it’s not so much about institutional racism as it is unchecked police (and government in general) authority. I try to keep the debate on things like the rise of militarization, the War on Drugs, overcriminalization, and use of force procedures. But they always want to bring race into the forefront of the discussion.

    But somehow I’m the racist for pointing out that Baltimore has had “black leaders” who could’ve solved these problems for years.

    1. Leftists see the solution to every problem as more government authority. How could the solution also be the problem?

      1. Because finding a solution to the problem is less important than constructing a political narrative that’s helpful to the Left.

    2. I would sure like them to answer this question: why are Asians so successful in American society? I get the deer-in-the-headlights stare.

      1. Racism.

      2. Pointing out that many Asian-Americans do well is microaggressing!

        1. And yet, the facts are the facts.

      3. You’d think they might want to be nicer to our new overlords. It’s also my kids first excuse when they don’t perform well in school. “Dad, we’re not Asian, you know.”

        I’ve seen tier 1 graduating medical classes: ~80% Asian.

        1. I’ve seen neighborhoods filled with Asian scumbags. Gangbangers, welfare queens, mentally ill homeless zombies. In fact, from the Cambodians, to the Koreans, the Japanese, Filipinos, and all the other Asians I interact with on a daily basis, they are mostly an unimpressive lot. Some of them are bright and graduate from tier 1 med schools. But the average Asian is a dude working at McDonalds, or tending bar at a dive bar, or an auto mechanic, or a CPA. But I know just as many whites, blacks, and Hispanics who do those things too. Bottom line, Asians are pretty unremarkable.

          They are terrible drivers, though.

          1. CPA – yes. Terrible drivers – source?

    3. It’s the same reaction that they had to Rand’s comments about Garner’s death. Maybe if we didn’t make 90% of every goddamn thing illegal and then tax the shit out of the remainder we wouldn’t have so many encounters with the armed enforcers of our betters.

      Nope, nope, it’s clearly just an innate desire to attack anything with more melanin.

    4. But they always want to bring race into the forefront of the discussion.

      Because government power and accountability isn’t the problem. Especially if government power and accountability is the solution!

      No, it’s just a few guys lurking around the water cooler using the n-word. Get rid of them, and Leviathan will be just fine.

  3. I think most people who see this as a race problem, see it as blue on black violence as opposed to white on black.

    But the idea that black leadership is any more or less responsive to their constituency than any other politician is ridiculous. These people become leaders not to help people but to gain power and make money. I doubt very many black leaders actually want to change a system that has allowed them to achieve based on the illusion that they’re working to address the grievances of their voting base. If there are no more victims to pretend to save, what else would they have to offer?

  4. Our yearly reminder that Joan Walsh is a horrible human being.

    Some highlights:
    2009’s reminder
    2013’s reminder

    1. Thanks for reminding that my visceral hatred of her is rational. She is, indeed, an horrible human being.

    2. Comparing a black man to another black man is racist? And who is cooler than Snoop D?

      1. Jadakiss.

        1. I don’t think so. You’ll have to do better than that.

    3. Ah, that was 2013, when I still acknowledged Tony existed. A simpler time…

    4. “Snoopy Snoopy Poop Dogg” is, advertent or not, one of the greatest things ever uttered by a human being.

      Also, Joan Walsh is scary crazy.

    5. This vile woman is just dumb. Michael Lind is just as bad.

      Whatever happened to him? He hasn’t written his semi-annual anti-libertarian rant in, well . . . a year? Did he bite the dust?

    6. Yes HM – I think it’s important to point out that she and her ilk are not stupid or ignorant. They are willfully evil.

  5. there was “no debate” black cops “absorb” the attitudes of their colleagues.

    Those darkies have been in massa’s house so long they done turned white.

    OT: My father passed away peacefully Thursday so thanks again for all the kind sentiments expressed here.

    1. I’m not around in the AM much, so I did not know.

      My condolences.

    2. Sorry for your loss, Slammer.

    3. I’m so sorry for your loss, but glad it was peaceful.

    4. Sorry to hear about that man. Stay strong.

    5. So sorry for your loss, but glad that his passing was peaceful.

    6. Shit, sorry Slammer.

    7. Condolences. Glad it was peaceful.

    8. Sorry Slammer.

    9. Better days. my brother, better days…

  6. Here’s Joan Walsh arguing that there was “no debate” black cops “absorb” the attitudes of their colleagues.

    She’s right that black cops absorb the attitudes of their colleagues. Of course, so do white cops, Asian cops, Hispanic cops, Aborigine cops, etc.

    1. Here Joan, maybe this will help? Oh, who am I kidding, nothing could penetrate that armored bubble of stupidity.

    2. This.

      It isn’t a “thin black line” or a “thin white line,” it’s a “thin blue line.”

  7. Of course Joan Walsh must see this as a race problem. If this is an issue of government being out of control it harms the progressive project. If it is a problem of white racism she can argue for a larger government to fix that problem which is beneficial to the progressive project.

    Cliff note version: Joan Walsh is evil.

  8. RE: Joan Walsh : Ignorance can be cured,but,stupid is forever.

  9. Nice crazy eye there, Joan.

  10. Salon writers are best understood as funnier versions of the headline writers at The Onion.

    1. Their sincerity being an extra helping of irony.

  11. Good piece, Ed.

  12. Race baiters gotta bait.

      1. Go away, batin’!

  13. Instead of black vs. white the more accurate description is poor vs. agents of the state.

    But, Joan is an agent of the state herself – a sycophant to state power.

    1. But, Joan is an agent of the state herself – a sycophant to state power.

      I believe the preferred term is “fellatrix”.

      1. She’s definitely a sub.

  14. “no debate” black cops “absorb” the attitudes of their colleagues.

    So her claim is that “white privilege” is transmitted like a virus across melanin boundaries and that the attitudes and actions of cops have nothing to do with the types of assholes who choose to become cops because it gives them the tools and position to abuse their authority over non-members of the cop tribe?

    Sounds plausible and could be worth at least 1 million in government grant money to study the phenomenon.

    1. Its a white thing. You wouldn’t understand.

    2. Clearly, the solution is to quarantine the white population until thoroughly sterilized of WPV (White Privilege Virus).

  15. Is she saying that black cops are the house niggers?

    1. More like overseers.

      1. or Uncle Tom’s

    2. Benedict Arnolds

      1. *narrows eyes*

        What’chu talkin’ ’bout, Willis Bodica?

  16. But it means a lot when some have vigorously pushed the narrative of “black men killed by white cops” as if it were only those instances of state-sponsored violence that were problematic.

    By reading the back page, talking to peers and watching videos on YouTube and such it’s apparent that those are the only places you’ll ever learn that blacks aren’t the only victims of state violence, just the only victims worth mentioning via traditional media.

    We just keep digging our hole deeper and deeper.

  17. Hey, it’s not worth talking about if it doesn’t further the racialist’s agenda.

  18. FYI: The cop charged with 2nd degree manslaughter – the most serious charge – is black.

    1. Maybe Goodson is a white-black like a white-hispanic, so not really black.

      http://www.baltimoresun.com/ne…..story.html

    2. Look, haven’t you been listening? That’s only because he’s been absorbing whitey.

      I think that’s something like robbing them of their precious bodily fluids.

      1. Privilege osmosis.

  19. There are plenty of vile and repugnant prog scribes, but, at this moment, I can’t think of one who’s more unhinged or boiling in their own stupidity. It’s almost as if I don’t like her.

    1. Salon’s most entertaining quality is the seriousness with which these white, upper-middle-class, elite liberals-arts-educated hack journalists will insist that they’re the ones who most-intimately understand the motivations and underlying concerns of poor, uneducated, urban black America.

      See, they *get it*. They really do. And are going to tell you all about it.

      1. I believe she lives in a ritzy and very non-black SF neighborhood.

        1. Having been around these types a lot (living on university campuses), an interesting thing about them is, they don’t see that as something to be ashamed of. They actually revel in their own hypocrisy. They love to call themselves racist because they think they are engaging in self-criticism (‘Oh, if only those Tea Baggers would do the same’) and makes them even ore justified in shitting on other.

          Seriously, they’re true masochist, not just sadists. Tell one of these ‘elites’ what a hypocrite they are and you can practically see the boner forming in their pants.

        2. She lives in the Bay Area? Damn! Now, I gotta move (I should have taken that Toyota transfer)

        3. Color me shocked.

  20. I have a hard time getting too worked up about her. She’s been so irredeemingly fucking stupid for so long that anyone who takes her seriously has to be brain dead.

  21. Joan Walsh is so detached from reality that Yahoo commenters – Yahoo commenters! – overwhelmingly believe that she’s a dolt. I mean, when you’ve lost the Yahoo comment threads… it’s really time to reassess your life, ya know?

  22. Oversimplifying the issue of police violence by racializing it is a useful shortcut to constructing commentary that some readers might feel is giving them insights, but it’s not useful for drilling down some of the things we can actually do to prevent police violence.

    Progressives aren’t actually interested in helping the people they claim to care about. If they were, they’d support school choice, rolling back the regulatory state, eliminating sin taxes and a whole host of other policy positions that would lead to positive change for less fortunate communities.

    Their habit of talking about policies on the macro level allows them to get away with this. They’re against school choice (ostensibly) because they want the whole “system” to get better. But really they just want more money for union jobs.

    It’s not good to attribute bad intent to your political opponents, but with progressives it’s getting more and more difficult to pretend they actually care about helping the folks they claim to care about.

    1. Oversimplifying the issue of police violence by racializing it is a useful shortcut

      The Narrative, rationalized, in the light of day. The rarely admit that they are more concerned with promulgating “useful shortcuts” rather than actual facts or insight.

    2. It’s not good to attribute bad intent to your political opponents

      I see your point, as it is a trait of Americans to be “nice” to each other, while talking straight rubs a lot of people the wrong way. But dammit this is wrong. American politics could use a lot more spittle and vitriol.

  23. Speaking of the “I learned it from watching you”-osmosis between Blacks and whites…

    West Coasters, Feeling Left out of Baltimore Riots, Take Advantage of ‘May Day’ Events to Be Gigantic Assholes Too

    the modified S.O.P. seems to be ‘rush up to cops, try and provoke reaction, then cower while surrounded by peers with video cameras’

    iow – “are you getting this!?”

    a minor detail – the reuters article cites the “White Dominated” police-forces in the US.

    Are there demographic data available for police departments? because i’d like to see how true (if at all) that claim really is. On a few occasions i’ve seen claims saying otherwise – that PDs in large cities tend to actually be more diverse than the general pop, while in rural or smaller towns its the opposite.

    1. Oakland is well on its way to becoming the shittiest city in America.

      Anecdotal, but when I think of the LADP, I think of tiny little Latina women. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve pulled up next to an LAPD cruiser at a stoplight, and the driver can barely see over the steering wheel.

      1. On its way? I spent time on Oakland in the early 90s during the time of Crack. It was bad then. Bad bad bad. Surely it’s gotten better since then?

        1. It got better, and then much much worse. I spent a lot of time there in college, and saw at least 3 armed robberies in a period of 6 months. Never seen that here.

      2. Oakland and Berkeley both are a strange patchwork of awful (especially Oakland), middling, and great neighborhoods.

        1. North of campus, very wealthy. In the hills above campus, very wealthy.
          South of campus for about 8 blocks, shitty student housing. Further south, ghetto as fuck. Same with the west towards Emoryville.

          Berkeley may as well be 2 different cities.

          1. So, a perfect microcosm of the Prog utopia.

            1. Actually, yes. And then they practically invite the homeless into town, and wonder why there are so many of them.

              Well, I’m off to visit my girlfriend, who lives in the Berkeley hills. She’s a Democrat but not insane about it. She appreciates that she can say things to me that she can’t say to her more politically-correct friends.

    2. a minor detail – the reuters article cites the “White Dominated” police-forces in the US.

      Are there demographic data available for police departments? because i’d like to see how true (if at all) that claim really is. On a few occasions i’ve seen claims saying otherwise – that PDs in large cities tend to actually be more diverse than the general pop, while in rural or smaller towns its the opposite.

      See upthread about “privilege osmosis” and unka Toms.

      1. I don’t see what you’re referring to.

        the NYT recently ran a piece about the “Racial Gap” in police forces…

        …but, at first glance, it strikes me as being a little desperate to illustrate a ‘problem’

        Particularly in how many of their flagged examples of ‘largest gaps’ between PD ‘whiteness’ and locals tend to be forces of 100 or fewer officers. when they look at the major urban PDs, if 1000+, the gaps drop significantly. But the way they present the data gives you “50 examples of disparity”, and 3 or 4 examples of ‘equity’ ; never mind that those more-equitable examples 15X the size….

        while there does seem to be a consistent bias towards over-representation of whites in PDs, i’m not sure the “race gap” in policing is itself something far more insidious than the same “race gap” among newspaper journalists, school teachers, or garbarge-collectors. The way the question is framed *presumes* that equal representation is ‘normal’, but doesn’t actually show that.

        1. I didn’t RTFA but just based on personal observation living mostly in Buffalo and NYC, yes I would say that whites are “overrepresented”. But I think that’s misdirection. The main reason whites are overrepresented is that a lot of the cops live in mostly white suburbs and many of them behave more like an occupying force than “peacekeepers”. None of this is meant to downplay the role of police culture istelf which is the overwhelming problem.

  24. So, another PERFECTLY good narrative, completely ruined. Do you guys have any idea how long it takes to build these?

    1. Eh, they’ve got replacement narratives pre-assembled and waiting in the wings.

    1. She name dropped throughout that whole interview. She seems insufferable.

    2. Intellectually, she was a penknife versus a howitzer. Always great to hear Hitch.

      1. I think patting Susan Rice on the back (as comparatively superior to Clinton in foreign policy credibility) – even in passing – probably wasn’t Hitchen’s greatest moment.

        Susan Rice’s career, even in 2008, wasn’t exactly ‘foreshadowing great things’ =

        “At the time of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide, Rice reportedly said, “If we use the word ‘genocide’ and are seen as doing nothing, what will be the effect on the November election?”” …. She would later say of the experience: “I swore to myself that if I ever faced such a crisis again, I would come down on the side of dramatic action, going down in flames if that was required.”[22]

        She then stumbled from downplaying one genocide, to enabling another one….

        “Rice supported the Rwandan, Ugandan, AFDL and Angolan invasion of Zaire (later known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo) from Rwanda in 1996 and overthrew dictator Mobutu Sese Seko, saying privately that “Anything’s better than Mobutu.”[26] …. It should be noted the Congo Wars spearheaded by Rwanda led to over five million deaths. “

        TOP. PEOPLE.

        this is what Joan referred to as a “supremely qualified” foreign policy team = the person in charge of the Africa-desk in the 1990s, who failed her way to the top – and the wife of the philandering president.

        1. Oh no doubt, Rice is a humanatarian neocon. Hitchens had those same sentiments concerning Iraq. There are a lot of things I disagree with him on but I respect his intellect, his way with words, and especially his refusal to be a partisan or ideological hack just to impress the right people like Walsh and Krugman and the like. I could say the same things about Buckley Jr. and I can imagine Hitch and Buckley disagreeing on much.

          1. “Rice is a humanatarian neocon. Hitchens had those same sentiments concerning Iraq.”

            On the former, no = not at all. there was no particular humanitarian bent to her desire to play chess with African regimes.

            ‘neocon’ isn’t right either. there is a difference between Machiavellian attempts to engineer results between foreign powers, and the idea that US military power is the supreme foreign policy tool on earth that can achieve any desired ends.

            Hitchens was more of a realist than you give him credit for. He like others kept pointing out that Saddam was at war with the US, whether we were or not. dealing with saddam was in his view an inevitability.

            1. Well, Rice always claims humanitarian reasons for her pushes for U.S. Interventions . Certainly would not surprise me if they are no more than political calculations. Yeah, certainly not a PNAC neocon, I was really pointing out her desire to use U.S. Miliraty power to solve everyone else problems for them. Same method. Different reasons. Hitch himself had pointed out the cruelty and psychopathic nature of the Husseins. Our policy at the time which was to force Sadaam to abide by the treaty when it was clear ge was never going to certainly seemed to make war inevitable especially as long as we had troops in the area.

              1. Given the lack of support by the supposed coalition in enforcing the treay we could have just left though. Of course then you leave the kurds who supported us left to be massacred. More importantly to the powers that be there is still the oil problem.

        2. Rwanda can hardly be blamed for going after the Hutu thugs who spearheaded its genocide. Seko was a horrible person who made Zaire completely awful and that country would have fallen apart no matter what its neighbors did, although the interference made it worse.

    3. Hilariously = this same clip is on youtube, posted by Talking Points memo, describing it as “Joan Walsh Administers ‘Smackdown’ on Chris Hitchens

      Ponder the self-delusion necessary to see Joan as the victor in that particular exchange

  25. It’s highly dubious that all white-on-black violence is racist until proven otherwise (and even then, they’d probably just borrow a page from the playbook of “campus rape” crusaders and say, “well it’s not this individual case that’s important, but rather the awareness of the bigger problem”)

    It’s even more dubious that blacks somehow “absorb” the racism that all whites are supposedly harboring deep in their souls. Hell, if this “racist-by-association” principle holds true, why do progressives push so hard to get black people into office? Why was Obama’s election such a huge deal? After all, he may have been infected by the racist bacteria that is festering in the brains of every white person!

  26. Police Departments in the USA are derived from the pre-Civil War fugitive slave patrols.

    We’re all slaves now.

    It’s not about black vs white. It’s about blue vs the rest of us.

    1. Police Departments in the USA are derived from the pre-Civil War fugitive slave patrols.

      That strikes me as an exaggeration.

      1. Agreed. You can plausibly say police lack accountability, but everyone who isn’t police is a slave? Come on.

        1. I think the ‘Reductio ad Slavery‘ is maybe a marginal improvement on the ‘Argumentum ad Hitlerum

  27. That dude jsut looks corrupt as the day is long

    http://www.AnonGO.tk

    1. You’re right, Joan could pass for a dude! Joan Walsh sucks so bad even the spambot is taking shots at her!

  28. Question for Joan Walsh: how do you disprove her ‘it’s all racism’ hypothesis? What evidence could negate it? There’s no possible way to negate it just like rape culture and that’s why it’s bullshit. This is a great weakness of many proggie arguments: they are impossible to disprove.

    1. It’s racism all the way down.

    2. It’s equally impossible to prove. Think about it: when a cop kills a citizen, what evidence is there that it’s racist? Unless there are numerous documented instances of this cop acting differently towards white suspects in nearly identical circumstances, or unless the cop is known to have made a bunch of blatantly racist statements, any accusations of racism are speculation. Nobody can read the cop’s mind and say that he did or didn’t act that way because he hates black people. It’s something that cannot be known for sure unless one of those pieces of evidence are present.

      The “racist-until-proven-otherwise” crowd basically wants to implement government “solutions” based on an assumption of racism. And that’s unacceptable.

      Fun fact: 9 out of 10 people killed by police are males… Does that mean there’s a sexist conspiracy to murder males and get away with it?

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