Follow up on Jonathan’s post on NFL protests

Last week’s VLOG engendered reaction from Jonathan, which I’d like to address at least briefly.  Since the original post is now likely not being read, its only fair to start a new thread.  So here are his questions, and my responses below.

1) Most of the panel expressed concern about the method or strategy to the current NFL protest. Dr. Haymond went so far as to say that protests which intend to cause observers to become uncomfortable or offended are inappropriate. Historically, civil rights protests were also considered inappropriate at the time they occurred. Americans decried as inappropriate sit-ins, freedom rides, marches, and even specific protesting acts by Tommie Smith/John Carlos, Muhammad Ali, and others. Today, all of those protests are viewed almost universally as courageous and honorable. So, are you are susceptible to the same mistakes other critics made in the 50s, 60s, and 70s? Are you concerned that your analysis is subject to the criticism of King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”–which excoriated the “white moderate” for policing the tone, tactics, and timing of civil rights protests? |

First, while I may not have been clear, much of my general commentary on being inappropriate was intended to be more of a “its not likely to lead to the desired results”, i.e., it will be ineffective.  I think the chosen means will only cause further polarization, and indeed, turn people off of sports, with sports being one of the biggest cultural institutions which have led to race relations progress.  It was more in that spirit than “oh how offended am I that these guys hate the country I love” kind of attitude.

Of course there is always the possibility–indeed the probability–that those that disagree with us will say we are willing to turn a blind eye to injustice.   But let’s get to the heart of the issue.   Do you really want to say the level of injustice towards blacks in America today is even remotely like what happened in America, say pre-1960?  No one denies that there are not injustices daily in America (and indeed around the world) to many people.  I would not deny, nor would most people I know, that African-Americans have more systemic injustices as well as general prejudices than others in society.  Yet there is a drastic difference between the strategies of BLM, for example, than the civil rights movement.  See Mika Edmondson’s discussion of this differerence here:

https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/is-black-lives-matter-the-new-civil-rights-movement

I believe the civil rights movement approach is more likely to lead to success.

(2) Dr. Clauson suggested at one point that other protests taking place during the anthem might be appropriate. I am not sure what the rest of the panel thought. Nevertheless, what if Kaepernick explained his protest on different terms? What if he said he protested by “No one protects the flag more than our soldiers, and yet they are treated unfairly when they return from duty. They lack health care, benefits, and job opportunities, so until they get those things, I will not stand for the anthem.” If his protests were for those reasons, would it still be inappropriate to kneel during the anthem?

Again, I don’t think it will lead to correcting injustice.  So no I don’t think so.  And your example illustrates the point.  Protesting that vets don’t have health care (they have VA), they don’t have benefits (not sure what you mean here, but vets are reasonably well taken care of today, especially if injured in service), job opportunities (vets are generally one of the favored classes for employment, and besides the low unemployment rate makes getting a job easier than most times).  And this matters–much of the disagreement over racial issues in our country is precisely over the scope of the problem, and therefore, that leads to disagreement over the most effective ways to deal with it.

I think there are many opportunities for agreement–if we will reach out and take it.  If we don’t insist that Michael Brown’s death, or Trayvon Martin’s death (which like any deaths are tragedies) must be treated as injustices in the same way that John Crawford’s death, or Philando Castile’s, or Tamir Rice’s were.   For example, I’m with you on criminal justice reform.  I’ve suggested before on this blog that we should do that, and we should end the federal drug war that puts felonies on young black males disproportionately, making it almost impossible to get a job.  I’m in favor of body cameras for police.  I don’t like the militarization of our local police forces.  But as to your suggestions for action,  unfortunately I pretty much have to disagree with all of them.  For example, consider how negative this one is:

2. Prioritize Ending Modern Civil Rights Injustices in the GOP’s Platform — The neighbors I have spoken with agree that both parties have failed their community, but they also agree that one party in particular is the most threatening: the Republican party.

Can you see why that isn’t likely to get traction with the other side?  You’re effectively asking Republicans to stop beating their wives–none of them will agree that they are in the first place.  You are assuming what you need to prove.  So the burden is on you to be specific about what these injustices are.  It cannot be simply that Republicans don’t think like you.  The fact that many people you hang around with find the Republican party threatening is not particularly relevant as a basis for true injustice.  Most people that focus on politics in America and have strong preferences believe that the other side’s victory is pretty threatening.

Nevertheless, thanks for your thoughtful response.  Just because I disagree with you on many aspects of this issue doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate your comments.  Anybody that is willing to write as many words on our blog as you do obviously is passionate about making lives better.  I would simply end with my professor Walter William’s quote.  “Truly compassionate policy requires dispassionate analysis.”

124 thoughts on “Follow up on Jonathan’s post on NFL protests”

  1. As far as proving that Republicans have issues in their platform. It’s a common Republican speaking point that systematic racism does not exist. Indeed they hold that basically any racism or sexism doesn’t exist.

    By the way. As far as comparing now to the 1960s, yes things have gotten much much better, however it’s horrible that things were as bad as they were in the 60s, so long after the end of slavery, and it’s horrible that things are as bad as they are today.

    The biggest problem is not strictly speaking a racism problem, that is police brutality and overreach. That is something that we need to solve. The police community at least knows the solutions, they’ve been talked about for a couple dozen years, but the first step is widespread acceptance that a problem exists.

    1. “As far as proving that Republicans have issues in their platform. It’s a common Republican speaking point that systematic racism does not exist. Indeed they hold that basically any racism or sexism doesn’t exist.”
      Darth, I’m sure you can do better than this. I admit I haven’t read the platform, but I suspect you (and most of our readers) haven’t either. As Mark Twain said, the problem isn’t what people don’t know, its what they know that ain’t so. So if you are going to assert that something is in the platform, and then your proof is to assert that its a common Republican speaking point, you need to show the chapter and verse in the platform. Call me skeptical till then, or better yet, call me a Berean! :-)

      1. He did not say that it was in the platform.

        He said, rather, that it is “a common Republican speaking point that systematic racism does not exist.”

        Not all talking points are in the official party platform of either party. Who goes to check out a party platform anyway before voting? Voters listen to talking points of candidates. Indeed, if one watches even thirty minutes of local television during election season, they HAVE to listen to talking points, even if they don’t want to hear them.

        I am sure you can do better than this.

      2. Jeff, I’m shocked, SHOCKED, to hear you say that we should prefer unofficial statements to official ones. I mistook you for a vigorous defender of rigid factuality. Wouldn’t it be much better to turn, as you’ve so often asked us to do, to the official positions? Well, here it is, right out of the ole’ party platform of 2016:

        We reaffirm the Constitution’s fundamental
        principles: limited government, separation of
        powers, individual liberty, and the rule of law. We
        denounce bigotry, racism, anti-Semitism, ethnic
        prejudice, and religious intolerance. Therefore, we
        oppose discrimination based on race, sex, religion,
        creed, disability, or national origin and support
        statutes to end such discrimination. As the Party
        of Abraham Lincoln, we must continue to foster
        solutions to America’s difficult challenges when
        it comes to race relations today. We continue to
        encourage equality for all citizens and access to
        the American Dream. Merit and hard work should
        determine advancement in our society, so we reject
        unfair preferences, quotas, and set-asides as forms
        of discrimination. Our ranks include Americans
        from every faith and tradition, and we respect the
        right of each American to follow his or her deeply
        held beliefs.

        Now, as for the actual post, I think it’s pertinent to point out that the NFL Commissioner himself acknowledges the problem with these anthem protests. This from a statement he made yesterday, “The controversy over the Anthem is a barrier to having honest conversations and making real progress on the underlying issues.” Again, we don’t deny that racism still exists in many places and that solutions are needed. But, as Dr. Haymond says, as the Bereans say, as the NFL Comissioner says, and as most of America’s football watching crowd has said, this is not the right way to do it. We do it by examining the problem, identifying solutions, and implementing them. Ceremonious acts of defiance don’t bring growth to a crumbling society.

      3. Well said Matthew. Thanks for putting the facts out there on the party position. Also agree about the manner of the protests. I think alot more could be accomplished for these people if they pursued a dialogue with the President or whoever they have problems with not being standoffish.

        Just to be sure, which Jeff are you shocked at?

      4. Matthew, I would agree that the platform of the Republican Party takes a stand against bigotry, whatever that means to them.

        I would disagree if you are suggesting that the Republican party, the establishment, or any of the people responsible for that platform are really in control of the GOP’s direction right now. I am not convinced that they know what to do, and whatever they are doing they are not sticking with their traditional stances. President Trump, whatever his virtues or vices, is decidedly not under their control, nor do they seem all that interested in asserting their platform against him. I simply don’t buy that the GOP platform decrying racism is any more of an indication of what they are actually doing than the Code of Hammurabi is an accurate representation of the law in Iraq. Platforms are irrelevant in a party that distrusts its establishment.

        Not that this is a defense of Mr. Adams’ argument. But touting the party line is not convincing, at least to me.

      5. Daniel, Jeff is Adams. Dr. Haymond is Dr. Haymond. 😉

        Theophilus, the party platform quote is more a snippy retort from me because of past incongruencies from the opposing party. However, to your point, I don’t think the establishment’s lack of control necessarily means Republicans don’t believe the things listed in the platform. This was Dr. Haymond’s whole point; people are asking Republicans to stop something they haven’t started.

      6. @ Matthew Beal

        What would you consider to be the best example of the GOP “tak[ing] a stand against bigotry”?

      7. @Jonathan

        Sorry, I missed this comment. Let me answer your question with a question of my own first. Are there examples of bigotry that the Democrats have condemned and Republicans have not? On the national level, I should say? I guess a follow-up is what do you consider to be bigotry?

      8. @Matthew Beal –

        I don’t think the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments are very helpful examples. No modern party can draw meaningful links to century-and-a-half-old versions of themselves, either for criticism or gain. The GOP and the DNC have both morphed considerably, even within the last 20-30 years. Can you provide a more recent example? Say, within the past 50 years?

        Regarding bigotry (and racism), and whether the DNC has behaved in a manner distinguishable from the GOP: I think there are many examples. I gave a few to Professor Haymond. Maybe you can start there?

      9. @Jonathan

        Seems a little sneaky of you to just discount history with such terseness. “Hey, I just proved the GOP isn’t against bigotry!” “Oh, really, how did you do that?” “By removing the best examples of them acting against bigotry!” In all seriousness, though, I would heartily disagree with you that we can’t reach back into the annals of history to gain information about a political party. You must understand that this is an integral part of who the Republican party is. This was a party born partially out of the need to combat racism and slavery. Why would we just dismiss that as if it has no bearing on the current state of affairs? If you don’t believe me, then perhaps you would believe the Supreme Court, which regularly uses British common law practices from the colonial days to help resolve their constitutional dilemmas. Rasul v. Bush and Boumediene v. Bush, two cases dealing with habeas corpus in foreign lands were based heavily on history. The Obergefell case opinions, both concurring and dissenting, made heavy use of history. Several questions about term limits have been decided using history, as have decisions about free speech, religious liberty, privacy rights, abortion rights, states’ rights, and, most applicably here, hate speech. History is a substantive guide to the present, and I just blanch at your willingness to chase it out of the discussion so quickly. What if I turned it around and asked you to name the best example of the Democratic party fighting for free trade issues? Well, one of your best options would be to reach back to James K. Polk and the reduction of the tariff, but, according to your logic, we would just have to throw this out. Yes, parties morph and change over time, but I deign to think we can so quickly dispense with the guide of history. In that regard, I think you are asking the wrong question in trying to point to one good example. That’s a far too narrow reading of this issue, in my opinion, and it would be better to consider the general temor of a party throughout history. When I consider the general temor of the Republican party, I see the following: (1) A party born out anti-racism and willing to fight to free its fellow man, (2) A party that accomplished the great feat of abolition, something the Founders could not do, (3) A party that has adopted economic policies that promote the well-being of racial minorities [economic growth has been proven time and again to be the number one key to lifting a group out of destitution], (4) A party that held men like Dwight D. Eisenhower, the man who protected black students as they went into all-white schools during desegregation, (5) A party that overwhelmingly supported the Civil Rights Act of 1964, (6) A party whose cities and states have lower levels of crime, especially when considering racial minorities, (7) A party that put forward more racial minorities as candidates for President in 2016 than the Democrats, and (8) A party that has consistently reaffirmed its commitment to standing against bigotry and racism in words and actions. But do you know what I really consider the greatest example? I think the daily actions of individual people loving their fellow man without concern for skin color is the greatest example. We can never see it going on, but I do it, Dr. Haymond does it, and I hope you do it. This shouldn’t be a partisan issue. People are people, and there is only one race in the Lord’s eyes. I’ll gladly respond to your questions, but there’s no reason to blow up something to a level that it is wholly undeserving of because it just doesn’t exist. Republicans are not concerned with systematic racism because, yes, we don’t believe in it and we don’t want it. These issues were settled on the battlefields of Gettysburg and Selma. We’re ready to move on and accept humans as humans, but apparently others are not. Certainly, individual acts of racism exist and always will, but systematic racism is dead. For crying out loud, we just had the country’s first black President for 8 years. If the racism is so systematic, then explain Obama. Moreover, in a quippy finale to this section, there 330 million people in this country. Do you honestly expect me to believe all racists are Republicans? Hardly…

        I mentioned economic growth above, and I just want to touch on this for a moment. If you want to lift a group out of its mired condition, the best way economists agree to do that is to provide economic growth. I would submit Thomas Sowell for your approval in this case, an economist who spent time as a Communist before realizing the problems associated with governmental intervention and joined the free-market movement. As a black man himself, he says the most harmful thing ever done to blacks was the Great Society programs under Democratic president Lyndon Johnson. I’ll gladly go get the stats to back this up if you want. Part of the point I am trying to make, and what Dr. Haymond has so diligently tried to say, is that the actions of the Republican party towards solving this issue have far exceeded the hoots and hollers of the Democrat party. You may not find this answer satisfactory, but I would submit that this mode of thinking is more correct, Biblically speaking. That is to say simply — Actions speak louder than words. Words are flashy and get attention, and we certainly should pay attention to them, but real change comes from action. What the NFL protests represent, primarily, is speech, not action. Real action has been undertaken by communities willing to identify the problem and implement solutions like Thomas Sowell has attempted to do. Now, I said this was Biblical, and I’d like to submit the proof of that in the following verses: Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? (James 2: 15-16). James is talking in the context of faith, but he draws this striking analogy that hits home to what we have been talking about. It does us no good to just speak without acting. There are two main problems with what you have been claiming, (1) You are asking Republicans to stop something they never started doing in the first place, and (2) if you are proposing we can just flip a switch and settle this issue through a decree, I must dissent from your view.

        As for the examples you mentioned, I ask that you post them here as I don’t know where they are and can’t respond to them adequately.

      10. @ Matthew Beal

        Somehow, you understood my comment above to mean that history is useless. I’m not arguing against history as a tool for understanding the present. I’m certainly not arguing against stare decisis. My comment was pretty straightforward: I am suspicious of references to century-old historical positions of current political parties, either to support or to denounce modern versions of those same parties. I am suspicious because I know it is easy to cherry-pick examples, from either party’s history, and cast them in a dark or glowing light. I think the examples you gave made my point, and I think I could offer cherry-picked more critical examples which would underscore my point further.

        I agree with you: actions are much, much more important than words. I also agree that policies which accelerate economic growth are beneficial. And yes, I am also familiar with Thomas Sowell. Having established those points of agreement, let’s return to my original question, slightly modified based on our comments here: “Can you point to an example of Republican policy (preferably within the last 50-75 years) that has championed the specific interests and well-being of marginalized Americans?”

        Also, you asserted the following: “There are two main problems with what you have been claiming, (1) You are asking Republicans to stop something they never started doing in the first place, and (2) if you are proposing we can just flip a switch and settle this issue through a decree, I must dissent from your view. “ Can you clarify when I asked “Republicans to stop something they never started” and when I proposed “flip[ping] a switch and settl[ing] this issue through a decree”?

      11. @Jonathan

        We seem to be having a disconnect on the issue of history. I’ve just listed several examples that help to inform our view of the current party, and I’m unwilling to disconnect the two. That stems heavily from my belief that Republicans have been a party set against racism and bigotry over the years past, and that has not changed. I see no evidence to the contrary. If anything has changed, I posit that the coverage of the Republican party has unfairly shifted to the fringe elements and associating all GOP members with them. Quite simply, an honest look at the current GOP does no justice to this idea that they have suddenly developed a curious case of violent racism. I’m equally suspicious of cherry-picking, which is why I suggested we study the “general tenor” of the party throughout the years. Systematic racism doesn’t pop up overnight. It requires years to ingrain itself in the system; therefore, our consideration must also stretch over the years. The situation demands it, I believe.

        As to your persistent question, I don’t know how else to say it. The greatest thing they have done is to craft policy that spurs economic growth and so lifts people out of destitution. That is by far the most effectual thing that has been done. If you want just one specific policy we could go with welfare reform in the ’90s, tax cuts in the ’80s, deregulation going on right now, free trade deals in the ’90s, etc. I’m sorry if this is unsatisfactory, but it’s been the most effective thing I can think of. It’s not flashy, but by golly, it works.

        In your own words from earlier, “2. Prioritize Ending Modern Civil Rights Injustices in the GOP’s Platform — The neighbors I have spoken with agree that both parties have failed their community, but they also agree that one party in particular is the most threatening: the Republican party.” That sounds fairly vituperative against the Republicans right there. That doesn’t hold up to their current platform, though, as I have pointed out. This is where Dr. Haymond pointed out, and I affirm, that you are asking us to stop something we never began. It is wholly unfair to frame us as bigots when we very clearly are not. That may not fit the narrative, but it fits reality.

        As to the “flipping the switch” comment, that seems to be your solution. You say you don’t want to cherry-pick, but your examples are highly focused on small parts — your neighbors, pick just one example, etc. What I infer from this is that your focus is on singular actions (i.e. – flip a switch, just one big thing will solve this). If this isn’t your stance, clarify. It strikes me right now as being very narrow. The art of economics is to consider the seen and the unseen, the long term effects as well as the short term, the effect on all groups and not just one group. Think broader.

        Still waiting on your examples.

      12. @ Matthew Beal

        I think the charge is less that Republicans are violently racist, and more that they are apathetically racist. They don’t go out of their way to hurt black people. They just insist that racism is dealt with, and when you ask them to talk about bigotry they get very broad-brush about it.

        Like in the 2016 GOP platform where they state that they stand against bigotry, which is why they oppose affirmative action. They bring up race specifically so they can advocate a policy that, let’s be honest, benefits white people. They literally mention racism ONCE in their 50 page platform. They, like you (I think? Correct me if I’m wrong), don’t think it’s really a problem anymore. Interestingly, they don’t bring up sexual orientation at all in their list of things you shouldn’t discriminate over.

        I submit that ‘anti-slavery’ is not the same as ‘anti-racism’ and, as you made obvious in your allusion to the Founders, that systemic racism was baked into this country before it even existed. Our nation needs to grapple with the fact that it rose on the backs of oppressed people. We cannot flip a switch to fix our problems now, any more than passing three amendments in the 1800s flipped off our racist history.

        Which would probably go some way towards explaining why minorities feel like the GOP isn’t interested in their situation. They don’t seem to be. They just want the economy to grow (not saying that’s a bad thing, just that it isn’t something they feel addresses them specifically). And, oddly enough, despite, apparently, 150 years of GOP advocacy for economic growth and equality, minority communities remain the poorest, least educated, and overall worst off. Almost as if blanket ‘economic growth’ isn’t adequately addressing they systemic problems that affect them uniquely.

      13. @ Theophilus

        Your points are fair, but allow me to make a brief rebuttal. First, just because we have advocated for economic growth policies for 150 years doesn’t mean we have had those policies for 150 years. That’s a significant distinction in my view. We’ve had the Wilsonian public administration, the New Deal, the Great Society, Keynesian economics, and more which I contend, as others would (but that’s a given for any point I guess), hampered economic growth. I repeat Sowell’s point that the Great Society programs hit racial minorities particularly hard, which would explain why you see the current situation.

        Second, you say that the party platform is partially an excuse to push policies that benefit white people. Well, economic growth does help white people, but it also helps blacks, Asians, Hispanics, gays, straights, lesbians, transgender, etc., when done properly (i.e. – not the New Deal or Great Society). Actually, animals even benefit. Promotion of private property in some African countries has done wonders for the conservation movement. Of course, the tie-in to economic growth is that private property is a necessary first step. The details of how best to do this are for Dr. Haymond to expound because he’s the economist here, and I’ll gladly defer to him. In general, though, a free market yields the best result.

        Third, I don’t know what you want from Republicans at this point. You’re absolutely right to say we can’t just flip a switch and turn off all racism. Well, then, what do you want the Republicans to do, pass a resolution saying they explicitly denounce all these things? It’s a nice statement, but it doesn’t do anything. I want something that works, not just something that looks good. It is utterly unhealthy to consume our every waking moment with fretting over whether or not we are secretly being apathetic racists. I want to live each day by loving fellow humans as humans of one race from Adam. That’s it. What do you want beyond that? If you don’t take my word for it, perhaps you’ll take the words of my good, friend Victor, “It’s 2017, let’s move on.” Victor, by the way, is black, probably votes Democrat based off what I know, and works a simple job at FedEx, but he’s absolutely right in my mind. The best way to combat it is at the individual level by confronting one’s own sinfulness, turning to Christ for help, and then conquering sin. Frankly, I don’t think any government action is going to beat that.

        Look, the number of people, nationwide, concerned about poor race relations in 2008 was ~16%. Today, it’s ~45%. Republicans have not been in control for the past 8 years. Just saying.

      14. All fair points. I never attacked the free market, except to say that it doesn’t seem to be addressing minorities. While Sowell believes this is because all of the productive minorities have been encouraged to spend their time fighting injustice instead of doing something productive, I think his view is too narrow. We are agreed, for the most part, that the market is totally fine.

        My point, however, with pointing out their platform and its weird use of racial language to argue against affirmative action was not to argue that economic growth won’t help the black community: It almost certainly does, albeit less than it benefits white people. My point is that the GOP platform REFUSES to engage with this issue at all. They bring up race exactly once, and they do that to assure white people that unqualified minorities will quit stealing their jobs. That, in our current environment with race relations such as they are, is nothing short of tone-deaf. Which, I submit, is why minority communities feel like the GOP is not engaging with them.

        As to what I want from Republicans, I feel that that’s been brought up a few times already: I want recognition of the problem, much like the kneelers do. If the GOP were more committed to ending failed policies in the criminal justice system I would be more sympathetic. If they were worried AT ALL about police brutality, I would be happy to see that. But at the most basic level all I want is for the GOP to quit obfuscating and pretending like we’ve fixed racism. If we can all acknowledge that basic fact, then we can start having constructive dialogue about what we do about it. As it stands, we spend an awful lot of time trying to argue that racism still exists and needs to be dealt with.

        And again, nothing against economic growth, but I think our history shows that blanket policies don’t help us rectify the specific and ugly injustice of racism. Specific policies aimed at their benefit strike me as more productive on these lines. So I think the GOP needs to get behind some specific ideas that resonate with communities like Jonathan’s and help his neighbors.

        Lastly, race relations are more tense now than when there was a nationwide push to elect an African American as our president? That’s not surprising to me, and I don’t think you can blame Obama for it, as if what he really wants is a race war. I think we weren’t prepared for what we got, and I think our president speaking to race issues that came up during his tenure made us all very uncomfortable. I think a lot of people felt like ‘well, we elected a black guy, now they can’t complain anymore’ and were not pleased when that black man commented, at all, on race relations. He was a powerful and visible black man. That is going to make issues of race more relevant, and more toxic, than they would otherwise be regardless of his aims or intentions.

      15. @ Theophilus

        By far the best rebuttal I’ve heard so far. In all seriousness, I do appreciate this one. Let’s work through it.

        As for economic growth, I’m glad to see you believe in the power of it. We’ll simply have to disagree for the moment on its reach and effect, but this is a good start.

        The primary reason (and I’m speaking mostly from my own thoughts, but I suspect they resonate with others) Republicans generally don’t favor things like affirmative action is because we see the underlying belief as being that racial minorities are unable to get ahead by themselves. To me, that strikes of haughtiness on the part of the majority. I want to treat racial minorities as equals, not as people who need some special leg up just because of their skin color. Your critique of economic growth is equally applicable to affirmative action policies, except in this case, we have had them more consistently implemented over the past 50-60 years. Affirmative action has, rather obviously, not helped. In fact, the places where it has been most aggressively implemented (which happen to usually be large, Democrat-run cities) have the worst problems. Now, I think we can fix this by doing the opposite and giving people equal freedom to choose. Not equality of status, equality of choice. I have done a lot of research on this concept in regards to school choice, and the results overwhelmingly favor its implementation. In fact, racial minorities often benefit the most from this policy of freedom to choose. If you believe in economics, don’t forget its second law. Incentives matter. Treat them as true equals via negative liberty rights, and we will see improvement.

        I would love to make our stance on race more prominent, but I’m afraid that my earlier point stands on this issue. Economic growth isn’t sexy. There, I said it. Dr. Haymond and I think it is, but that’s a side note. It’s not cool, it doesn’t get a lot of media attention, and it doesn’t rile people up to action. But it works. It pays the bills more efficiently, it lifts people out of poverty, it brings new jobs, it transforms society, it betters health, it improves schools, etc. I could go on, but you get the idea. I believe this policy works, but it’s not going to get the attention it deserves, so we are at an impasse here. Every time we try to engage with the issue with real solutions instead of just fanfare, we are shouted down as not caring enough. I don’t think it would have mattered if we put more fierce language in our platform because no one would have covered it. You see Republicans as refusing to engage, I see it as them being blocked from engaging. When you’re already unfairly labeled a racist, bigot, misogynistic homophobe, it’s hard to make any real progress when no one listens to you.

        As for Obama, I’ll simply disagree with your stance. I think he race-baited and dug up old wounds that had already healed. If you have to tell people they are being oppressed, I question whether they are being oppressed. If you think they are too ignorant or stupid to know they are being oppressed, that’s rather unfair to them, I think.

      16. @ Theophilus

        I think we also need to establish our definitions of racism. That may help clarify our positions.

      17. Good idea. Let’s.

        I think racism is fundamentally discrimination on the basis of a person’s race (or percieved race). This can be intentional, as in someone’s racist grandpa talking about how black people are just more violent than other people, or, importantly, unintended as a result of social conditioning, as when black people are stopped for random searches more than they ought to be. It’s not that the police, or the judge, or anyone else is intentionally trying to hurt them. They don’t realize what they are doing, but it nonetheless affects the other person because of their race.

        Now, I’ll ask a few questions about your last post, and then try to break my thoughts down into a few points so that we can better narrow down where we disagree. Sound good?

        1) We disagree on reach and effect of economic growth? Do you think that black people have been equally bettered by the economic growth of the last 160 years? I don’t recall you ever saying that. As far as I’m aware, we agree that it hasn’t helped them as much.

        2) I agree that there is a completely understandable position opposing affirmative action. My point in referencing that policy was merely to point out that this is, apparently, the only part of the platform that references race at all, and it, like everything else, is generalized. I accept that affirmative action has not fixed income inequality. It has, however, helped with representation of minorities in some fields, and interestingly enough the effects seem to continue after the law is lifted: Once you break the barrier, it seems, employers organically change their policies to be more inclusive on their own. So, not totally ineffective, at least if representation of minorities is a good thing. But again, the GOP platform acts as if racism is not something that affects us anymore, which I cannot agree is an accurate assessment, either historically or theologically.

        3) Are you opposed to positive rights? Is the Civil Rights Act of 1964 inappropriate as a result? When would a positive right be a good idea, if you allow them, and if not, what do you think would have been a better alternative to the Civil Rights Act of 1964?

        4) Is extending aid to minorities an opportunity cost to sound economic policy? Could the GOP conceivably support free markets as well as, for example, ending the war on drugs? Could they also support robust regulations that ensure workplace discrimination is limited, or is this opposed to the operation of the market?

        5) Can you give an example of Obama race-baiting? That is a serious accusation. I know Limbaugh, Levin, and Hannity liked to spin everything he did as trying to start a race war, but I think they are not trustworthy observers. When you provide your example, please explain why it would be a useful thing to do, or why he wanted to race-bait in that instance. I legitimately cannot imagine why a president would want a race war in the country he governs.

        Now, to my (hopefully) brief summary of my position. Please explain which part of this argument you disagree with. :)

        1) Racism is an aspect of US history that has lasting implications on our lives today.
        a) Our view of our fellow man has been damaged by mistreatment, and this changes our outlook on them subconsciously.
        b) As a result, we can unintentionally implement policies or laws that unfairly target or hurt minorities.
        c) We have definitely done this, and are still doing this, albeit in less egregious ways than before.

        2) In light of racism’s lasting effects, we need to make specific policies that address these impacts.
        a) Specific injustices created these problems. Generic solutions have not and will not address them, like using a hammer on a screw will be ineffective.
        b) Specific policies directed at correcting injustice have been historically effective (Civil Rights Act, ADA, etc.)
        c) Specific policies like this are, at least in theory, still effective to address modern injustices.

        3) Both parties are, in theory, equally capable of addressing these problems
        a) There is nothing counter to conservative values in criminal justice reform, or robust public transportation, etc.
        b) Correcting injustice via specific policies does not come at the cost of other conservative policy goals, like a strong national defense or tax policies that are friendly to small businesses.

        4) In light of the above, the conscious choice of the GOP to NOT include specific policies directed towards injustice is reflective of their mindset. Either:
        a) They do not actually think racism and its effects are still relevant (disagreeing with point 1), or
        b) They do not think they have credibility, or they think it will hurt their electibility with other parts of their base (disagreeing, somewhat, with point 3), or
        c) They do not think specific policies can work (point 2), or
        d) They are aware, think they could help solve it, do not think it will hurt them, and do not include it anyway for some other reason.

        In summary: I don’t understand why this is an either-or debate. I can easily imagine the GOP embracing policies aimed at combating our historical injustices without compromising their ideals. I don’t understand why they do not, unless they just don’t think it’s really a problem. I am not attacking the GOP. I am wondering why they don’t make what seems to be an obvious move in a positive direction. We agree that growth is a good thing. I don’t understand why that is relevant. It does not conflict with specific policies meant to combat injustice.

      18. @ Theophilus

        This is good, we’re getting somewhere. Sorry for the long response time. Had to collect some data first.

        Your definition of racism is essentially the same as mine. I would add a caveat to your statement about some groups being stopped more for searches simply because we must consider the other side of that coin. If a majority of the crime in an area was committed by whites, it would be perfectly fine to pay more attention to them than to other racial groups. It’s just sensical in my view. Now, of course, we don’t wantonly investigate, but we can certainly use data to proper ends. Other than that, we are fairly well agreed.

        Question responses:
        1) The data shows that, other factors being equal, black people actually do better in some areas of the economy than other groups. From 1936 to 1959, blacks, in various trades, increased their incomes at double the rate of whites. Today, similar groups of people who simply differ in skin color usually have the same economic standing. If we control for other variables, race really doesn’t matter. So, yes, I think economic growth helps quite a bit, BUT, this first requires that it reaches them. I would posit that affirmative action policies have prevented the effects from reaching them, as would others, so I’ll expand on this later. However, consider this as well. Whites do better than black on the whole, but Asian-Americans tend to do better on the whole than whites. Is the system prejudiced against white people too? Obviously, that hasn’t been suggested here, so I think there must be something else at play.

        2) Whatever the initial benefits of affirmative action may have been, I think the costs have far outweighed the benefits. Pre-1960, the poverty rate for blacks was 47%, a fall of 40 points from 87% in 1940. This rate slowed, starting in the ’60s and eventually trickled off to nothing. Pre-1960, black children were generally raised by two-parent families; only about 20% were not. That number today is ~75%. From 1960 to now, the murder rate among black doubled. The simple, brutal facts are that the black family has been destroyed by these policies. If you destroy the family, your economic status follows. Similarly, if you hold it together, you flourish. Two parent families have a poverty level of ~7%; for single head households, that number is ~34%. For blacks, married poverty level is ~7%, unmarried is ~36%; for whites, married poverty level is ~3%, unmarried is ~22%. Some difference, but the distinction is clear. With policies that destroy the family, you cannot have economic success. I am not talking about desegregation policies; I believe those helped quite a bit. It’s affirmative action we are protesting. Perhaps the reason, we seem so tone deaf is because everything the government has done to help only made it worse (prompting Jason Riley to write a book called, “Please Stop Helping Us.”)

        3) I am not a fan of positive rights for the simple fact that it is a dangerous slope that gets abused. Not everything is a right, nor can it be. The beauty of negative rights is that it prevents the government from encroaching on your pursuit of good things (health, wealth, education, the good life). The Civil Rights Act seems to fit better as a negative liberty, so why replace it? It penalizes racial barriers to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” It doesn’t guarantee you get those, but it gives you a shot.

        4) I am also not a fan of subsidizing a racial group because it incentivizes inaction on their part. That’s part of my critique of affirmative action; we treat minorities like they have a disease and are incapable of lifting themselves out of poverty. I say rubbish. The data prior to the Great Society shows the exact opposite; blacks were flying out of poverty and continued to do so until the Great Society was fully implemented after a few years. So, yes, the aid is a pretty big opportunity cost to sound economic policy for that very group (not to mention other taxpayers, lest we forget them). I don’t think the war on drugs has been particularly effective, so we can certainly change our methods there. Now, you mentioned regulations. Most laws already prevent racial discrimination. There isn’t much room to legally improve than, “You may not discriminate based on race.” We already have the laws you seek in place.

        5) Two things. First, I would submit the Trayvon Martin case, his process of implementing of Obamacare (media-wise), and the Henry Louis Gates Jr. cases as examples. The last case is particularly relevant because he called the police “stupid” right off the bat and to bite his lip pretty soon afterwards. He wanted, all too badly, for this to be racially based. Second, I would caution against just eliminating the named people simply because they have a propensity for bombasity. Suppose I refused to listen to any evidence you presented simply because it came from someone I considered a raving loon? Well, I don’t trust Chris Matthews, Paul Krugman, and Anderson Cooper; they just hate Republicans. See how that sounds? It’s not fair to either side to just discount them based on who they are (kind of part of what we’ve been discussing). Consider the evidence, regardless of who’s presenting it. If it’s truly solid waste, that will become apparent pretty quickly.

        Now to your comments:

        1) True
        1a) True, but don’t discount redemption in this area. People change.
        1b) Perfectly feasible
        1c) This is where I disagree more firmly. Legally, I don’t know what you point to, other than maybe police brutality (which I would still debate based on the statistics) to support this claim. We may cover it more often, but I don’t think we necessarily do it more often.

        2) See my previous comments (#2 above)
        2a) Generic actions may not completely solve this problem, but they certainly hurt this problem (affirmative action). Specificity in addressing a problem is fine, but this is done better at the local and state level, hence why a generalized approach from the national level is perfectly palatable (promoting economic growth and freedom).
        2b) When done as negative liberty, yes. When done as positive liberty, no.
        2c) See 2a

        3) True, God works through humans to achieve his ends; both parties contain humans.
        3a) True
        3b) See 2a and 2b

        4) See 2a
        4a) False, but they have a different way of addressing it than some would prefer.
        4b) In some place, perhaps. JD Vance wrote an interesting piece for National Review on race relations that explores this question. Might be worth checking out: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/439431/race-relations-getting-worse-america-why
        On the whole, though, I doubt it. I think the GOP is just more focused on policy than media performance. Looking back on the article, he mistook some things, particularly about Trump, but that’s for later discussion.
        4c) See 2a and previous comments
        4d) See 4b and previous comments

        Summary: Good questions here; I think we’ve made progress. Basically, the GOP recognizes the problem and wants to help in the best they know how, but, as I’ve said, that way is not very sexy or flashy or showy or glamorous or popular with the media. But. It. Works. The data shows, very strongly, that it does. We simply have two very different ways of looking at this.

      19. Okay, I think we’ve just about boiled it down to the intractable disagreements. Which is certainly something.

        I liked the article. It seemed like it was making my earlier argument, about the 2016 platform being a conscious choice NOT to implement more pro-minority stances, mostly out of defensiveness and concern that the base would reject it.

        1 and 2) If you’re getting your statistics from Sowell, I would just say that a fairly prominent criticism of his work is that he does not actually counter the fairly substantial argument against the idea that race is not a factor in economic well being in America. This might be one of those ‘you have your stats, I have mine’ problems that’s very hard to solve. Agreed that Asians do very well. I would say it’s better to say they do comparatively well, with white-America being ‘the norm’ than to say that they are systemically advantaged, but the fact that Jews and Asians do well isn’t an answer to the claim that black people are systematically worse off.

        You say you’ll explain how affirmative action hurt them specifically. I’ll agree that the black family is in a bad situation sociologically. I can’t see how that is because of affirmative action.

        I don’t think it’s safe to say that the decline in economic growth can be blamed on this one policy. I agree wholeheartedly, however, that something should be done about the plight of the dissolving urban family. Whatever that would be, however, would need to be a specific policy, since the things we do to generally encourage family units (tax breaks being the most prominent) are evidently not working for them.

        You can’t say ‘everything the government has done to help only made it worse’ immediately after you admit that government-coerced desegregation made things better. That’s a contradiction. Clearly the government can, and has, made things better.

        3) I don’t understand. The Civil Rights Act is an example of government coercion creating a positive right. Americans were given a positive right to public accommodation.

        Certainly not everything can be a right, but evidently public accommodation can. If it can’t, then really you support the 13th-15th amendments and should resist the Civil Rights Act because it tries to extrapolate a positive right from them.

        4) What aid are you talking about? Are you suggesting that affirmative action disincentivizes black people getting jobs in areas they would otherwise have been excluded from? Are you saying it discourages them from applying to law school?

        I don’t understand how things like robust public transportation or affirmative action prevent us from doing sound economic policy. It hasn’t been explained. It seems like you could easily cut taxes and also build subways. Doing one doesn’t prevent the other. Maybe you don’t agree with specific policies, but surely there are others that could be implemented?

        The fact that laws exist does not mean they are effective. Robust regulation is required to enforce them. Lest we forget Jim Crow.

        5) I don’t understand. Race-baiting is using racially derisive language to coerce or intimidate. That’s very clearly not what he was doing. Unless you mean something else, in which case please explain. And, while you’re at it, tell me why he ‘wanted, all too badly, for this to be racially based.’ I don’t understand that either. I have thought a long time about these two cases, and we most likely disagree quite a bit here. I called that these would be your examples, though. They’re the ones Levin and Limbaugh hated the most.

        Now, to your point about eliminating people because they’re bombastic. I was trying to save space, but I will explain.

        It is not their bombasity that bothers me. I think they are utterly unqualified to speculate on the motivations of the other side. Much like we shouldn’t listen to Piers Morgan talk about guns, or Anderson Cooper on Trump’s sanity, they have certain beliefs that undermine their ability to treat people who disagree with them, on certain issues, with the respect that dialogue deserves.

        Hannity is less this way than Limbaugh and Levin: Anything he does that comes across this way is, I suspect, mostly parroting the other two because it works. He mostly repeats himself, and you can listen to him for an hour and hear him say the same things 7 times.

        Limbaugh and Levin, though, have an entire philosophy they have built about ‘the left.’ They think, for reasons that are never explained, that people who disagree with them HATE the country and WANT it to fail. That Democrats want America weak and debased, and want to kill football, and want to give our enemies weapons, and a hundred other things that are both untrue, and horrendous things to believe about another rational human being, much less 50% of the country. Obama would be irrational to want his country to fall to pieces. But that is what they believe he wants, and if they think that about him I would say they are not anywhere close to accurate about him. I suspect you feel the same way about Jeff Adams when he comments on Dr. Haymond. There is a lack of grace and understanding that makes you suspect they are not bothering to try to understand the other person. That’s why I don’t think they’re good judges of Obama’s motivations.

        Finally, I think I just need a bit more clarification, and your summary is a fine place to point out what I mean:

        You say: ‘Basically, the GOP recognizes the problem and wants to help…’

        I assume “The problem” is systemic racism.

        Elsewhere you say: “(in response to my claim that systemic racism is still a problem) This is where I disagree more firmly. Legally, I don’t know what you point to, other than maybe police brutality (which I would still debate based on the statistics) to support this claim. We may cover it more often, but I don’t think we necessarily do it more often.”

        “Most laws already prevent racial discrimination. There isn’t much room to legally improve than, “You may not discriminate based on race.” We already have the laws you seek in place.”

        “The data shows that, other factors being equal, black people actually do better in some areas of the economy than other groups.”

        “If you have to tell people they are being oppressed, I question whether they are being oppressed.”

        I will ask again: Do you think there is a problem, or not? It sounds like you do, but whatever you think the problem is it is evidently not one of workplace discrimination, unfair economic inqeuality that has endured across generations, police brutality, inequitable application of drug laws, or anything I have suggested. If you think systemic racism exists and is a problem, can you explain a way you think that is evident?

        Those things asked, I think we can safely say:

        -We disagree about whether the Civil Rights Act is an example of a positive right, and consequently whether government intervention in a ‘positive right’ sense can be useful.

        -We disagree about the nature of racism and its long-term effects. I think that the specific humiliation of the Imago Dei requires specific acts of repentence, and that our refusal to acknowledge the depth of our depravity towards our fellow man is one of the key reasons we are not redeeming out historical sin.

        -We disagree about whether the GOP can and should implement policies that are aimed at addressing the specific problems urban, mostly minority, communities are grappling with.

        These, I think, are the core breaking points, with, perhaps, the additional disagreement about whether systemic racism still plagues us. I think it does, obviously. But if you don’t I know for a fact that I am not smart enough to convince you of that.

        To keep things positive:

        -We agree that the free market is a good thing and generally helps people.

        -We agree that God is able to redeem all things, even something as bleak as human slavery.

        -We agree that Anderson Cooper is not a reliable source on Republicans. We probably also agree that Piers Morgan is a veritable Zeppelin’s worth of hot air.

        -We evidently agree that these conversations are worth having, even at some length, and that everyone should be treated respectfully in a dialogue. That’s huge.

        In the future we need an easier way to keep these conversations going. It’s a pain to have my response on one half of the screen and yours on the other. Limitations of the platform, I suppose.

      20. We’ll draw our separate conclusions and disagreements from the article, but we can agree it’s a good article.

        I’ll have to be picky on your point about criticizing Sowell. You say it’s “my stats vs. yours,” but I have yet to hear your stats. He makes a very compelling case, and I have yet to hear a good rebuttal against it, and it’s unfair to just dismiss it only because you think it’s missing something. To me, it sounds like you’re just dismissing it out of hand because it contradicts your position. So far, it’s more like, “my stats vs. your feelings.” Yes, I’m holding your feet to the fire over this. My evidence still stands as of now. Make your case, first.

        1 and 2) I’m glad to see you agree blacks are in a tough spot sociologically, but I don’t understand how this doesn’t strike you more strongly. This is the main critique of affirmative action, and you seem rather underwhelmed by it. If what we are claiming is true (and the data backs this up), affirmative action and Great Society programs ripped the black family apart in the most vicious of ways. Doesn’t this strike you as monstrously concerning? Nearly 8 out of 10 black children have never had both parents in their lives. I would be raging against the programs that caused this. Perhaps, my definition of affirmative action is broader than yours, but that still doesn’t change the facts. The family, together, can overcome a lot, as evidenced by the pre-1960 data. Broken, however, it’s hard for them to do anything. What stronger criticism do you want? Your terse response to this sounds rather cold, honestly.

        Let me clarify my “government help” comment. It goes back to my negative vs. positive liberty comments. If the government policy is focused on negative liberty, it tends to help. If the government policy is focused on positive liberty, it tends to hurt. I was unclear on that, and I apologize. Regardless of my own inadequate explanations, though, the principle remains, and I would stop short of calling it a contradiction. Moreover, my point about generalizability vs. specificity still stands because I did draw the distinction there. Generalizability at the national level is fine if the generalized program is focused on simple prohibitions against discrimination (negative liberty). State and local governments know their own situations much better, and, under a general blanket of negative liberty, are free to pursue their specific programs. Notice, I did not say these would necessarily work, but I did say they are free to pursue them if they prefer to do so.

        3) We have a disagreement, obviously, on the finer points of negative vs. positive liberty. To me, guaranteeing access to a public good (by definition, something that should be accessible by all) is hardly a strong case for positive liberty. It’s a public good, so obviously it should be accessible by the public. This may be due to the extent positive liberty has been pushed nowadays, but I think we are simply disagreeing on terms.

        4) Again, I think we’re partially disagreeing on terms (Jim Crow), but, since you mentioned law school, I’ll bite. The Supreme Court has gone through this issue several times, and it has come down on both sides of the issue in its rulings. Let me just articulate a few things that have been revealed in these rulings.
        – Quantitatively based admissions systems are unconstitutional
        – Affirmative action policies don’t benefit all racial minorities
        – Race can only be considered holistically
        Simply put, not even the Supreme Court is totally convinced on affirmative action.

        I never said robust public transportation prevents sound economic policy. What I did say is that, if these policies are implemented, they need to be done at the state and local level based on specific situations. Reference 1 and 2. An economic discussion on public goods could be had, but Dr. Haymond is better suited to do that one, plus it kind of stretches beyond what we’re discussing right now.

        5) Let’s just drop this point; we’re not going to come to agreement on it, it doesn’t advance either side that much, and my fingers are getting tired.

        Thanks for the clarification on eliminating people. I personally don’t buy it, for reasons I’ve already listed (plus the fact that I’ve heard them talk a lot and disagree with your assessment), but I appreciate your explanation. It helps clarify your reasoning.

        Here’s where I think we stand on “the problem.” I think this might a good place to go on if we so desire. Correct me if I’m wrong.

        My view: The problem is the impoverished state of black people brought on by failed affirmative action and Great Society welfare programs which destroyed the black family and caused their paucity. Systemic racism has passed because of current laws and the turnover of generations.

        Your view: The problem is the lingering effects of systemic racism in America and the consciously or subconsciously racist policies that flow from that. Specific acts of justice are needed to address this, and general economic reforms are not enough.

        On our disagreements:

        1) Agree to disagree (so true, I guess? You’re correct that we disagree)
        2) I actually agree with your comment here, but, those specific acts primarily belong to generations before us. If our generations were not a part of the original problem, I think it’s best to move on instead of constantly opening old wounds up time and again. Side note: I just realized we may have a misunderstanding on our “specificity” comments. When I’m talking about specificity, I’m primarily talking about economic implementation on state and local levels. It seems that you’re more focused on specific acts of social justice, yes?
        3) Maybe. Not convinced we totally do. The GOP can do this, it may just be in a different way from what you’re thinking of (see my side note in 2)

        You’re plenty smart, we just have different views here :)

        As for the agreements, we are of one accord there.

        I feel the pain of halving the screen. Unfortunate, but I do like having the time to read, digest, and respond to these posts. It feels like we’re writing a modern Federalist/Anti-Federalist dialogue.

      21. You don’t think that’s what it said? Reread it. I don’t think I’m wrong.

        1 and 2) There are stats on both sides.

        Sowell ignored the Blinder study, as one example. Came out in the 70s before “Markets and Minorities” and found that, controlling for, among other things, age, father’s income, number of siblings, health, seasonal employment, 70% of the difference in earnings between whites and blacks, economically, was not explained. Never addressed in his book. He had critics from the beginning. This isn’t new.

        A smaller overall growth is proportionally larger when you’re poor, skewing your stats. If I have $1 and I double it, I would, by your stat, be doing far better than Bill Gates getting $500,000,000. Further, it’s not an argument that African Americans were actually okay in this era, as if pre-1960s was some kind of golden age of flourishing for their communities. If that were the case we wouldn’t have had a Civil Rights Movement.

        Your (Sowell’s?) assertion that race ‘really doesn’t matter’ is either meaningless or blatantly false. If you mean, “When you compare people in similar income brackets, their incomes are similar” then that means nothing. If you are somehow arguing that there isn’t an ENORMOUS, IRREFUTABLE disparity between the black and white communities in this nation taken as an aggregate, then you’re misleading yourself.

        Your stats about the dramatic fall in poverty rates, oddly enough, correspond to the Great Society programs you criticize. The rates changed at the same time as the policy was being implemented. That doesn’t mean a 1:1 correlation, but it is at least unclear what it means. You can’t wave your hand and pretend that, because Sowell speaks, there is no debate on this subject. He is not the only voice.

        I am not disagreeing that stable families are good for your overall wellbeing. Your stats clearly show that, and I don’t dispute it. I agreed from the beginning there. I am disagreeing that you’ve shown any connection to the policy you criticize. You say it’s affirmative action that did this. Why? You’ve pointed to your stats and decided they connect to the argument, but you haven’t articulated how. And, somehow, the fact that the rate of poverty in both circumstances is almost double in both married and unmarried groups when you compare across races is not evidence of something else playing in.

        Again. We agree that the urban family has fallen apart. How did affirmative action cause that?

        Meanwhile, other scholars have found that 2/3s of potential black lawyers would not go to law school if you removed affirmative action programs. 90 percent would disappear from places like Yale.

        Pew found that whites saw a hit to their income, on average, 1/10th as severe as what afflicted black communities in the recent 2008 recession. Whites own more than 10 times the wealth of black people on average.

        African Americans are half as likely to rise to the top quartile from the bottom, and 5 times more downwardly mobile.

        Whites get jobs at 3 times the rates of black people with identical qualifications.

        Black unemployment is common knowledge.

        Grodsky and Pager found that there is room for almost 40% of the difference between blacks and whites to be attributable, in some way, to discrimination.

        In short, there are two views on this issue, and both views have plenty of statistics to back them up. Believe it or not, Sowell is not the only scholar to look at race and inequality.

        And, lest I be considered heartless, it does, in fact, strike me very strongly. Especially because I consider much of their sociological problem to be inflicted suffering, something that was DONE to them by racists.

        What I don’t agree with you on is that the situation they currently find themselves in is Lyndon Johnsons’ fault. That is preposterous. And you never once demonstrated that affirmative action dynamited their families. It hasn’t done that to any of the other groups that also benefit from the kinds of programs we’re talking about. Latin American families are cohesive. Asian American families are cohesive.

        3) Your ‘negative/positive’ liberty dichotomy, again, is not helpful. COERCED PUBLIC ACCOMMODATION IS A POSITIVE RIGHT. Going to a restaurant is not a public good. Restaurants are private businesses. But they MUST serve black people now. A negative right would be freedom from some kind of government imposition. The government, in the 1960s, forced white people to let black people into public buildings with them. That is not a negative right by any stretch of the imagination. But as far as disagreements go, it’s not that big a deal.

        For the record, I also support local and state level policies. I just think that racism is an issue on the national level, and something like criminal justice reform requires federal leadership.

        4) I’m not arguing with you here? I never disputed anything you mentioned. Given that affirmative action is a broad idea it’s not surprising that it can be done poorly. And, as I said from the onset, I’m not even that sold on the idea myself. It was just one policy that came to mind.

        5) I really want to know what you meant. This is actually the part of the debate that most interests me.

        You don’t buy what? My explanation? You would have to not be listening to them to conclude that they think anything else. But if you have, in your time, heard them explain why the left wants everything destroyed, I really would like to hear the explanation. I have listened on and off for years and have never heard one offered.

        As to the problem, yes, that’s rather what I figured. I’m not interested in arguing that racism is a thing. I am confident that I will not be able to convince you. Our view of sin and the Image of God must be almost contradictory. You are basically right in describing my view though. Your view, it seems to me, only makes sense if everyone was just about equal in the 1960s, and then everything went downhill. I don’t think any facts support that idea. The fact is we freed black people 150 years ago and then expected them to thrive with nothing, if we weren’t actively trying to hurt them. It took us 100 years to decide we meant what we said about voting and whatnot. Clearly things were not fixed by the Civil Rights Movement. MLK was a great man, but he did not, and could not, undo the damage that has been wrought.

        Yes, we are speaking differently when we talk of specificity. I mean that the policy is consciously made with racism in mind, with the aim of combating it specifically. I don’t particularly care at what level we are working to overturn our sad past. Heaven knows all levels of government have done enough worth repenting of.

        But anyway. I really would like to hear more about the later points. I get it if that’s not what you want to discuss, though. I just think our outlook on the economics is so different that we won’t get much further.

      22. @ Theophilus

        I never said that. You are putting words in my mouth, and I don’t appreciate it at all. I said we will draw different conclusions and disagreements from the article, and that’s it. You do yourself no justice by twisting my position.

        I read the Blinder study, the whole thing. If you read it, you find that the primary difference in aggregated wage earnings was because of education. Perhaps the reason Sowell ignored it was because it didn’t contradict what he was saying, that, pound-for-pound, blacks do as well as whites. You say there’s a difference in education. Well, duh, what did you expect in the ’70s? Desegregation had just begun. My own research, which I have done for years now, shows that the best way to correct this is to allow free choice in schools. Where this has been accepted, minorities benefit the most. This is a correctable problem, but it has to be adopted first.

        1 and 2) I’m not arguing the blacks were living in Disneyland pre-1960. All I’m saying is that they were bettering themselves very quickly, in spite of the policies in place. Apparently, though, Thomas Sowell is anathema to you for some peculiar reason. That’s fine. If you don’t want to listen to him, consider this brief from a source you may find more balanced — Brookings: https://www.brookings.edu/articles/black-progress-how-far-weve-come-and-how-far-we-have-to-go/

        It basically addresses all the points you’ve just brought up and tackles the affirmative action issue, so I’ll let the brief speak for itself. Read and report back.

        3) We’re not coming to an agreement on this, obviously. If I was a black man in the ’60s and all of a sudden I was told that I would no longer be discriminated against just because of race, that would strike me quite strongly as a negative liberty. If anything, I’ll grant a little ground about enjoining business from discrimination being a positive liberty, but that doesn’t translate to a very strong case for the positive liberty we see today.
        It’s very different in my view. In the ’60s, it was, “You must make money by serving this black man.” Today, “You have a right to everything.” You can disagree, but that’s where I stand.

        4) Yay, no argument.

        5) Brevity has been abused by us too much, so I will punt and link this article because it fairly well articulates my thoughts: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/353970/obama-administrations-race-baiting-campaign-andrew-c-mccarthy
        It’s filled with other links, so click away if you want to know more.

        Yes, I don’t buy your explanation. I’ll try to be brief because I’m honestly losing steam, and I think we’re going in circles now. Hannity and Levin both have voice that annoy me, so I don’t listen very much (shallow, I know, but shamelessly true still). Limbaugh I have listened to in the past, and I glean this from what he says. The left hates what America currently is and wants to change it to be more socialist, primarily, and this is important, because the left has become increasingly socialistic. If you don’t buy that premise, you won’t buy what he says, but I think he’s dead on. Observing Hillary Clinton’s own metamorphosis from left-of-center to trying to outdo Bernie Sanders is a classic case study in this. The heroes of the left are now Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, and their policies have moved increasingly hard left over the years. As such, America still being a center-right country is antithetical to the left’s new stance. It has to be changed in their eyes. That’s what Limbaugh sees. Now, if you don’t buy premise, you’ll think he’s crazy. If you buy the premise, he has a point. Moreover, consider the list of news sources he reports on:
        – Washington Post
        – Politico
        – The Hill
        – NBC
        – WND
        – Wall Street Journal
        – Slate
        – New York Times
        – ABC
        – CNN

        This is not a man who just goes on air and says whatever regardless of what the news says. He reads the news and gives his opinion.

        Besides Andrew Klavan is way better than any of them. Listen to him instead.

        Yah, we have fundamental differences. Look, I’m not saying racism is dead. I’m saying the best way to solve its effects is…well, you know. We take very different tacks from there. In all seriousness, do read the Brookings brief.

        OK, let me know if you still have questions after this. I think I know where you’re coming from. Please don’t underestimate my concern for black people. I ache when I see their plight, but I think we are not solving it correctly. Consider what my black friend, Victor, says: “It’s 2017, let’s move on.” I happen to agree.

      23. Okay, let’s calm things down a bit. :)

        I didn’t mean to put words in your mouth. I apologize. I thought you saying we would reach different conclusions was a way of disagreeing without explaining why. That is all.

        The thing that has become clear in your last post, to me, is that I think we’re looking at this with a different template that we’re fitting the information into: I’m seeing these many disparate facts as part of a cohesive ‘systemic race’ argument, and you’re seeing them as more of a cornucopia of bad policy with inadvertent side effects, I think. I see ‘there is a gap in the quality of education that blacks and whites get’ and fit it together with ‘black school districts are, on the whole, poorer and struggle to keep good teachers’ and ‘the black family is disintegrating, which undermines education’ etc. and think, “These can’t possibly be randomly converging. We have systemic problems that are causing this.”

        We agree that school choice is good. I just think that in this, as in many of the other areas we have implemented theoretically sound policy since the 1960s, that there are barriers we don’t see to full utilization. Not that there hasn’t been improvement, but a ‘race neutral’ approach to public policy doesn’t factor in things that undermine our policy goals from the beginning.

        In large measure we agree, and we probably agree on specific policies most of the time. I simply cannot concede that a ‘colorblind’ approach can address abuse that was racially targeted.

        I’m not opposed to Sowell. He’s clearly brilliant. I’m opposed to Sowell being the sole reference point in these discussions. As I believe I illustrated, there are smart people on both sides, and the statistics are complicated enough for both sides to rationally believe their view. It would be arrogant to think that Sowell was somehow the best voice, or the only voice worth listening to.

        I agree with most of the Brookings article, especially because I do not share the more radical pessimism of the fringes of social justice demonstrations. I believe in redemption, so I believe that progress has been made. I am not trying to discount that progress when I say that there are still grave injustices to be fixed. Police brutality is a comparatively ‘nicer’ problem than lynch mobs, but police brutality is still an injustice that is unfairly targeted, largely, at minorities. Can we acknowledge improvement and still hold that gains MUST be made? I think so.

        I would say that the moment the article admits that affirmative action has increased representation of minorities in certain areas, then it NEEDS to discuss why that can’t be considered progress. It doesn’t, it just says, if there hadn’t been affirmative action more black people would still be employed now than in the 1960s, which no one is arguing against. A marginal increase due to a policy meant to increase representation is, in my mind, at least partially successful. Maybe it’s not worth the costs, but that’s a separate discussion.

        Fair enough on 3. Whatever positive right the CRA-1964 gave, it’s definitely not at all like the debates happening now. It’s probably not that important to our actual disagreements anyway. :)

        As to Limbaugh, I think that is one way to interpret him, but I don’t think it accounts for his fascination with the ‘softness’ and ‘weakness’ of the political left. He seems to think that people who do not agree with his brand of conservative politics are weaklings who need government intervention to protect them because they are spineless and incapable. I’ve heard this argument specifically made by him. He likes to bring it up when he discusses ‘milennials.’

        He does use a wide variety of sources. He believes they’re all in cahoots with each other, broad-brushes them as ‘the drive-by media’ and generally discounts almost everything they say, but he does talk about them. I just think that his treatment of alternative views to his own is another demonstration of his refusal to respect the other side. Whatever else the person of Limbaugh believes, he persona he has created cannot grant that there are rational liberals.

        Never heard of Klavan. I’ll have to look him up.

        And here is where things are once again confusing to me: How, in your view, is racism not dead? Because it feels like you’ve been arguing that the discrepancies we see today are the result of failed liberal policy, which would not be racism really, but incompetence. IF racism is not dead, how may we see that today? I think we see it in inequality across the board, from education to the criminal justice system to economics to regular old-fashioned bigotry (Though, gratefully, to a much smaller extent now than in the 60s).

        Maybe I come across too negative. I definitely don’t want to sound pessimistic, and I should change something if that’s how I seem, because I believe strongly in the power of Christ to redeem even this, and see some redemption has already happened.

        Now. To race-baiting.

        The article also does not define it, but I THINK he’s saying that race-baiting is a strategy of invoking race to win political arguments that are indefensible otherwise. I will agree, that can happen. I think some of the university protests we see are good examples of that kind of tactic.

        I don’t think that’s true of Obama, though, and I think a lot of this comes down to identity and its role in politics. I think that, as a black-passing man, Obama COULD NOT comment on racial issues without inciting more outrage than a different politician would. We assume he has personal stakes on the issue, that he isn’t seeing it objectively because of his experiences. So something as utterly uncontroversial, in the wake of a national incident where we all witnessed the unnecessary death of a black teenager, as extending sympathy to the family by saying that his son, if he had one, would look like Trayvon, was taken as race-baiting. No one denies that it is true. But we can’t, for some reason, allow that the president would just come alongside people who are, fundamentally, like him, and empathize.

        As a side note, much like Michael Brown is probably the worst person BLM could be rallying around as an example of unjust use of force, I think conservatives need to leave Zimmerman out of their arguments. He has demonstrated that he is not a stable person, and his exoneration does not make him a good exemplar. Zimmerman was acquitted because the charge brought against him was too strong (he did not commit murder), not because he did not do something obviously wrong.

        Really, I don’t quite follow the overarching argument in the article. Obama didn’t need congressional or popular support to use executive orders to forestall what this author thinks was the inevitable failure of the ACA. He certainly didn’t benefit from the media storm that surrounded his observations on Trayvon. And it is unclear to me how Trayvon’s case helps at all in the legislative goal of protecting the legacy of the ACA… or is it overturning SYG laws? This seems cynical and complicated to me, and I don’t think it accounts for the humanity of our former president. He was a black man. There is something far more basic than his political goals at stake in the death of a teenager who, presumably, had a lot in common with a younger Barack Obama. Occam’s razor makes me skeptical of the idea that all of these people are really just abusing their identities for political gain.

        But I think this is a good place to point out what I find alarming about this article: I don’t think the author is capable of conceding that race would be an appropriate topic in any discussion. Nevermind that there is a statistically demonstrable gap in the experience of blacks and whites in healthcare, if you were to bring that up you would be race-baiting, particularly if you’re a liberal African American with a different political alignment. But the reality is that one of the greatest differentiators of Americans historically is race: It is supremely relevant in many ways what race you are, and it most likely dramatically reshapes your experiences of our country.

        When we look at the beginnings of BLM and other protests, they were massively disappointed in Obama because he did not take a more vocal stand, and did not insert himself in a more visible way in their struggle. I think, if he were interested in race-baiting, that they provided him many opportunities to do so, but he did not.

        The ‘Cambridge police’ incident, in my opinion, is the least-racial and least-controversial of the bunch you mentioned. It is not a controversial thing, in my opinion, to observe that arresting an old man with a cane because he was mad at you for accusing him of breaking into his own house, is a stupid thing to do. It would be a stupid thing to do regardless of what the old man looked like because he’s an old man. You’re a police officer. There are many obvious differences between the two of you that mean he is not a threat, and should not be treated like one. Obama didn’t even say race played a role. He just said that it was clearly not the smartest way the situation could have been handled.

        But anyway, you’re probably right. We’ve just about talked this to death. I do not think you don’t care about black people, to be clear. I just think we need to be more conscious of the real racial roots of our modern problems in order to fix them. Clearly you’re very intelligent, and thanks for indulging me this far. I look forward to more discussions. Sorry again for putting words in your mouth. :)

      24. It’s all good, bro. Late nights got to me.

        Let me just bypass the parts we agree on for a moment and get to the one things that keeps popping up in my mind. You’re absolutely correct to say that I primarily see the racial problems of today as stemming from the “cornucopia,” as you said, of failed policies. Schools, housing, health care — I think it all could have been far better for the black community had we never implemented these Great Society policies. I realize this may have increased representation, but, and this is just my opinion, that seems like a small reward for all the other problems that have come with it. I would much rather be underrepresented in higher-ed fields but stable and well-developed in general socioeconomic characteristics.

        Moreover, there is the question of whether or not equal (or proportionate) representation should be an end goal. Take sports for instance.
        Whites are quite underrepresented in basketball, but blacks are quite underrepresented in hockey. Is this systemic oppression or does it just represent a difference in preferences? I think it’s clearly an indicator of different preferences (and perhaps underlying natural talents). Most (maybe all, but that’s a different debate) jobs are valuable to the economy, and just because blacks are underrepresented in one field that doesn’t automatically correlate to oppression. Just because they are represented in the economy differently doesn’t mean they are somehow less valuable. Now, of course, there have been historic efforts to keep blacks out of some fields, but that has largely passed. Anymore, with the legal framework we currently have, I would attribute differences to preference first, opportunity second, other factors third, fourth, etc.

        So, let’s update the important parts of the agree and disagree list:

        We are agreed that:

        1. Neither one of us has racist tendencies
        2. The free market is a good system for all races to live under
        3. Affirmative action has increased representation of some minorities (we can agree at least that far I think)
        4. Affirmative action has not achieved all its goals
        5. The black family has disintegrated over the past few years, and we are concerned about that.
        6. School choice is a good policy.
        7. There is still work to be done

        We disagree on:

        1. The nature of the root problem
        2. The extent to which affirmative action has affected racial minorities
        3. The exact nature of the solutions to this problem
        4. The extent to which actual racism still plagues our country.

        Let me pose a question to you because this will help me understand your position. What are your specific solutions you want to see? You’ve mentioned specificity a lot; what does that look like in your opinion?

        I’ll briefly touch on Sowell. I don’t doubt that there are other voices to be considered, and, if I gave that impression, I was wrong to do so. The reason he’s such a good source for me is because he is uniquely situated to address these problems in that — he has both the EXPERTISE to objectively evaluate this situation and the EXPERIENCE to understand the problem and personally know its problems. It doesn’t make him the only source, but I think he’s an exceptionally good one. We’re agreed that he’s a good source, but, yes, we should consider other sources. I’ll heartily concur with that.

        I think that mostly covers 1 and 2, so I’ll move on to 3.

        Annnnd, we’re basically through with 3…ok, on to 5 then. :)

        I’ll back this up a little bit. I suspect our evaluations of any media individual will be relevantly colored by our impressions of their character, which is likely causing some of our disagreement here. I see him as definitely falling in the conservative camp but making fair evaluations of the other side. You see him as “broad-brushing” other views. That’s fair, but I will say it’s logical for him to espouse his own view on the air. After all, it is his show at the end of the day. Probably the best advice I can give on this is to listen if you want and don’t if ya don’t. He definitely has a distinct persona, so if it doesn’t mesh with you, no one will blame you for not listening.

        In all seriousness, Klavan is great. It’s 45 minutes well-spent. May I suggest these videos as a nice introduction to him?
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u-592q55xYE
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_uC0aqkv9Y&t=570s

        Here’s my clarification for why racism isn’t dead. Systemically, I think it is simply because there are few, if any, legal barriers to blacks being represented, voting equally, working where they want, buying what they want, eating where they want, doing what they want, etc. We have torn most of that down, and the main barrier right now is policy-oriented. The policies have the best intentions (I hope), but I’ve made clear that I think they are misguided. On the micro level, however, there are plenty of people who are dispositionally racist, which I think is obvious. I simply reject that their influence is still sufficient to have a noticeable effect on others. If it was, we would be living in previous decades. Also, I’ll just restate something I mentioned last time. Pre-1960 America wasn’t a great place for blacks to live in, but they were making huge improvements in spite of that. When the Great Society programs really started to kick in (as the Brooking brief mentions) that progress ground to a halt, and we haven’t seen much improvement since then. In fact, I argue it has a retroactive effect. I believe the family is the core economic, social, and political unit, so if that is destroyed, all other concerns become secondary. We must rebuild the foundation first.

        Ok, race-baiting. First, this is probably a better example of the race-baiting I’m talking about: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/jul/12/obama-defends-black-lives-matter-protests-police-m/
        And, look, it’s not necessarily what he said; it’s how and where he said it. Consider this line: “His speech drew immediate criticism on social media for taking an event that was ready-made for national unity and turning it into a lecture for his agenda items of criminal justice reform and gun control.”
        That’s probably my main issue. He was preachy at times when he needed to be presidential. Again, it’s not what he said, it’s how he said it.

        I’ll give you this much. BLM and the campus protests are far more racially motivated than Obama ever was. That’s fair enough. I particularly recall the rather puzzling story of a college fraternity that lobbed accusations of racism because they saw a banana peel in the tree.

        Here’s my main point, for time’s sake. In the same way that you say we should consider racial factors in economic terms, I say we should consider other factors besides just race in social terms. Not every incident is racially motivated, and this extends to police (who, as I recall from the JD Vance article, don’t show a racial disparity in the use of lethal force, though you could make a case on other grounds). BLM and the college protests think everything is about race. I say rubbish. Obama seemed to more sympathetic to the BLM view in the latter part of his presidency, and that’s what sticks out in my mind.

        The Cambridge police incident I’ll briefly touch on because I remember tracking this story, and I remember Obama coming out with his tail between his legs when more information arose. That may not have been purely racially motivated (could have just been giving an incomplete opinion), but it came off that way.

        Anyway, thanks for the compliment. You are a more than worthy match for me, and I’ve greatly appreciated this. Just as summary, we’re still positioned at:

        You: Specific injustices require specific recompense
        Me: General injustice requires general policy changes.

        I think our biggest lingering divide is the general vs. specific issue. If you give your specific suggestions, I think it will provide a nice balance to my general recommendations. And, again, I’m not against specificity at a local or state level, I’m mostly against it at the national level.

      25. Yup, I think you’ve prettymuch got it. You see it as a coincidence of bad ideas. I see it as more than a coincidence. Our systems, usually unintentionally, disadvantage people who come from minority communities. In fact, I’m sure some Great Society programs were the same way. I think it’s sorta nonsense to say it’d be better to be less represented in better paying fields and also be better off, economically. If we want class and race to be correlated, maybe, but most people have a problem with the idea that, left alone, we’d have stable, mostly racially segregated classes. And I disagree that, just because the formal and legal status of minorities has been settled, we have fixed discrimination. I think the fact that the Civil Rights movement happened 100 years after we freed African slaves is evidence that flat legal action is not enough, necessarily, to solve the problem. Even if our legal framework was completely even-handed (which I’m not convinced of) the accumulated disadvantages of economic deprivation, discrimination, and institutional targeting would NECESSARILY create a durable divide that was largely race-based.

        Agreed on the updated list. :)

        Specific policy solutions? Geez. Let me give it a shot, I guess. Since I don’t think the problem is merely economic my suggestions will go off topic here.

        -I think criminal justice reform is urgent. I don’t think the statistics give us room to argue really: Our law enforcement TARGETS minorities and incarcerates them at a rate that is simply astounding. More black men are in prison now than ever were in human slavery here, and most of them simply do not warrant their sentences. I would abolish most, if not all, mandatory minimum sentencing. I think that we should suspend capital punishment until we have addressed the inequality in our prisons. I think the financial penalties associated with our criminal justice system (bail, court fees, associated fines) should be either removed or dramatically limited, since poor people can be easily manipulated into plea bargains because they cannot afford to fight. If we acknowledge that our criminal justice system is unfairly targeting minorities, than a lot of the employment, housing, and government-assistance exception that exist for people with criminal records need to be reevaluated, at the very least. We should not have privatized prisons. We can argue about healthcare or food or housekeeping or something, but prisons themselves should be a publicly funded operation. Perhaps only tangentially related, I think police departments need to be demilitarized.

        -I would love to see publicly-funded elections. I personally don’t like super-PACs and the amount of control wealthy donors get in our system, but I also think these interests virtually NEVER align with minority communities, especially since we know that they are less able to field these kinds of resources themselves. Politics is often, if not always, a money game, and that being the case minorities cannot realistically compete here. I would also like to see federal-level voting laws that can address the fact that minorities seem to be statistically excluded in some way from our elections: Voter ID laws in particular seem like a good example of an unintended racist policy, when we notice that minority communities are almost always less represented in the wake of these policies. We can argue about how and why, but the fact is that these laws reduce the amount of eligible voters who vote. I think that’s bad.

        – Economically, I think there is a very real possibility that true repentance may entail reparations. I have no idea how we would calculate that, and I’m sure that many people would not be happy in the long run, but factually, these people were systematically defrauded, and had what they worked for stolen from them for generations. I’m not saying we’re guilty, but correcting this is more than just freeing them. In my opinion. I think that we need to recognize that the people in poverty are the most adversely impacted by financial crises (in fact, everyone except for the very well off get hit), and that some level of safety net needs to be in place when these things happen. But a lot of my economic leanings are geared less towards racial policy than towards practical poverty, since I think that poor white people are hurt in many of the same ways. A poor black person faces other, different problems in addition to their poverty, but poor white people, poor Latinos, poor Asian-Americans etc. largely face the same sorts of problems. Besides reparations (which may, of course, be deserved in other cases as well) I think addressing the economic problem of poverty is not so specifically bound up in race.

        I’m okay with local and state solutions as well, but we have a national problem with race in some ways, and I think a national solution is necessary.

        Sowell’s cool. So are other scholars. We’re good here. :)

        I agree that Limbaugh will, of course, give his opinion. My point is merely that his persona does not treat his opponents respectfully, so I don’t believe him when he says WHY Obama did something. I don’t mind listening to him. He’s a pretty important voice, really. I just think that it’s important to acknowledge that part of his appeal is that he is inflammatory, and that affects how objective he is.

        Klavan has a wonderful voice. Goodness. Very articulate as well. Thanks for the recommendation.

        I think our disagreement on race is pretty clear then. I think the nature of the threat has shifted. We’re not necessarily doing it on purpose, we just don’t always realize that our policies make assumptions about us and others that are built on years of discrimination.

        And of course I’ll agree that other factors besides race ALSO matter in outcomes. We all know that. What many people deny categorically is that race matters, which is why I think it is important to point it out. And if it really does have an impact, then when someone takes a knee or insists that black lives matter, then I cannot just dismiss them. They have a point. And now, we’ve gone full circle. In short, yes, acknowledge the other factors, like we consistently do. But also take stock of our history and acknowledge the racial element, and accept that it may be more subtle than we’d expect.

        As to Obama and race-baiting: I agree that he drew criticism. Getting criticism is not the same as race-baiting, though. MLK Jr. got criticism for being too racially sensitive. Criticism, in and of itself, doesn’t prove that they’re wrong. And when it comes to criminal justice, I don’t think the facts support the conclusion that they are wrong.

        Obama was in a tough position. What was he supposed to do, tell people not to protest? They have that right, and clearly he also thinks they have a point. We don’t tell the Westboro folks not to protest soldiers’ funerals. We protect their rights. We should protect everyone’s rights to protest.

        More importantly, your quote illustrates the divide: Criminal justice reform isn’t an agenda item to BLM or Obama. Criminal justice reform is a glaring example of inequality that needs to be addressed to them. The proliferation of guns, in this view, trickles down and makes violence in troubled black communities more deadly. We can argue whether they’re right or not, but it is actually WRONG to treat Obama’s stand on, in his opinion, racially targeted violence, as if it is a cynical political move. It’s a real human issue to them, something at least as important as their right to vote.

        Obama definitely fell back when challenged on the Cambridge incident. I think the ferocity of the response shocked him: He didn’t say something too controversial, in his mind, but people went completely bonkers about it. And I think that incident was a big part of why he was so conflicted in his later responses to race issues: He was clearly a polarizing figure, regardless of his intentions.

        As always, thanks for your civility.

        :) The bereans need to publish more articles. I’m surprised it’s taking so long.

      26. You know, if we keep this up long enough, maybe the Bereans will give us our own section! We’ll be like Hannity and Colmes except neither one of us will be screaming, and we’ll actually have rational debate. 😀

        I’ll just touch on a few things because most of it has already been addressed, so here we go.

        1. Criminal Justice Reform: I’m no expert in this field mostly because I have not devoted a lot of time to it, and I can’t really respond appropriately. As such, it’s probably best to let others do their research. What I can say is that I would disagree with demilitarizing the police.

        First, think of the trade-off. What do we do when police are the first responders to an active shooter? What happens when police get into an altercation with someone who has a gun? What happens if a sniper decides to open up fire on a group of cops? Remember, police are humans too, and they need a way to protect themselves. I can very easily see a decrease in criminal deaths only to see a rise in police deaths. I’d much rather slap a body cam on them before I demilitarize them.

        Second, the U.K. (not a perfect illustration but relevant) is actually starting to militarize their police force because of my first point. The fact is plain that we live in a dangerous world.

        Third, the data shows a monstrous decrease in police shootings throughout the years, all without having to demilitarize. Honestly, I believe sunlight is a better tactic than just ripping away the “force” in “police force.”

        2. Publicly-funded elections: I would recommend reading book called “Freedomnomics” by John Lott. He’s a fairly solid economist, and he presents some compelling data that money is not necessarily the driving force behind elections. Heck, I would posit 2016 and 2017 as great examples of this. Trump won despite being outspent nearly 2 to 1. Roy Moore won despite being outspent and outendorsed. Karen Handel won despite being outspent (though she did spend a lot herself).

        Here are the other problems. What if a conservative Court rules that some use of that public money by the Democrats is an unconstitutional violation, or what if a liberal Court rules that some use of that public money by the Republicans is an unconstitutional violation? Better yet, why should the American taxpayer be forced to participate in the elections? What if they support the Monster-Raving Loony Party, and that lovely entity doesn’t get any money? I know that’s an extreme example, but he’s still paying money to some party he doesn’t support. What if I want to donate? The Supreme Court has seemed to indicate that political monetary expenditures are an extension of free speech. Ergo, public elections would essentially be hampering free speech. The implementation of this idea seems rather unfair and unmanageable to me. Plus, I would dispute that minorities necessarily can’t make their voices heard. I mean…we did have Obama, right?

        I’ll be frank. I’m in favor of some kind of voter identification. It doesn’t have to be nor should it be arduous, but you have got to prove that you are a legitimate voter. If you are born, you should have a social security card or a birth certificate or something. If you can prove that you can vote, you can vote. Again, it shouldn’t be arduous, but we need something. Remember, those laws also keep out illegitimate votes. There’s probably room for improvement, though.

        3. Reparations: I’m going to be a bit cheeky here, but…we’ve been doing reparations for 50 years. We’ve had minimum wage, we had affirmative action, we’ve had child credits, we’ve had WIC, we’ve had food stamps, we’ve had free cell phones (Obamaphones as I remember them), we’ve had free education, we’ve had free health care, we’ve had free meals….if I may be blunt, we’ve even had free sex (birth control). We have spent trillions upon trillions of dollars on poor communities, and what’s to show for it?

        This is the whole point I’ve been trying to make. Specifically trying to spend poverty out of existence isn’t working. It has not worked.

        By contrast, we have mountains of evidence that show GDP growth oriented policies are the number one way to reduce poverty. Marriage, hard work, and monetary common sense. That’s how you reduce poverty.
        https://www.brookings.edu/research/work-and-marriage-the-way-to-end-poverty-and-welfare/

        Look, I would love to just pay one lump sum and be done with it. I just don’t think there’s any good economic way to do that. Incentives matter, and right now, we are incentivizing people to remain poor.

        4. As I’ve been thinking about it, I may give you a concession. Obama did bring the plight of racial minorities back to the limelight. Now, I disagree with just about every way he went about handling it, but he did bring it back into focus.

        So, in summary, it looks like we disagree on the specificity of policy as well, but hey, that’s fine. We’ll just keep hashing it out for as long as we need to.

      27. “We’ll just keep hashing it out for as long as we need to.” Whoa there. Let’s not get too excited.

        I disagree with most of your analyses on principle. I’ll try to explain.

        1) Your examples are what we have SWAT teams for. In special cases, a special group of people can respond to these things. The average department does not need the kind of hardware a SWAT team does. If, for some reason, we think the kind of threat police have to respond to is qualitatively different now than it used to be (I’m not buying it) then we should probably find other ways of correcting these problems. Treating the public as if we are an occupying force is not the answer.

        2) If money is not a controlling interest, then it won’t matter if we cut out an (apparently completely superfluous) waste of billions of dollars. The Koch brothers and Soros can keep more of their money that they are foolishly wasting on nothing, I guess. I am happy to fund a significant party publicly, even the Monster Raving Loons, because public funding gives them a level platform to talk to me. As to parties banning each other, that seems kind of cynical, and I think other countries, which have systems like this in place already, probably have ideas for curbing that behaviour. I’ll admit that the Supreme Court might disagree, but surely there are other ways of political speech less direct than spending it on elections.

        I think voter fraud is a problem that needs to be balanced with voter turnout. Right now fraud is a problem that is astronomically less important than our abysmal turnout. We need to change things to get better turnout, not things that we already know will lead to lower turnout. Fewer people voting is a bad thing.

        3. Reparations. I disagree on principle. I’m not arguing about effectiveness or any such thing. Reparations are also not welfare programs: They would be intentionally racially targeted, and aimed at the descendants of African American slaves. It doesn’t matter if giving them what was taken from their families would be effective. It’s a justice question. Theft deserves punishment and correction. You can disagree there, but that’s the actual argument for reparations.

        4. I guess okay? Not sure what I can say to your non-specific disagreement. I know you don’t like how he did it. :)

        Hopefully I wasn’t trite. But now we’re really at disagreements on principle, and trying to convince me using utility calculus is not going to work very well. Sorry.

      28. The triteness is actually welcome. I think we’re down to closing comments now.

        A brief rebuttal:

        1) I think you’ve overestimated how much SWAT can do. Resources are scarce, and I can’t imagine SWAT responding to every single incident, especially in big cities. Plus, I think it’s perfectly reasonable to keep police armed but try to improve their relation with the public first. Some forces make sure the police live in the area they patrol, and it actually has helped quite a bit. I would much rather take this route first. Plus, by “occupying force” are you referring to police? If so, I think that sounds a bit extreme.

        2) The logic works both ways, though. Why bother with nationalizing elections if money didn’t matter? Moreover, it’ s a principle argument on my part. People should be free to spend their money how they choose in elections. Sometimes it helps, sometimes it doesn’t. Remember, money is not necessarily a controlling factor, but it can be. All I’m saying is that it’s not just a money game; more is at work. People should still be free to make choices. I know my concerns about nationalizing elections may seem far-fetched, but people make pretty fantastical arguments when government money is concerned, and Supreme Court justices make some pretty fantastical holdings when government money is concerned.

        3) I would argue against reparations on a moral basis anyway, but we’re probably gridlocked on this.

      29. :)

        1) I think you misunderstand what SWAT is. They exist because our police are not supposed to ordinarily be armed like a military unit. They use special weapons and tactics. Police are not supposed to ordinarily be armed like them. It takes special and expensive training for them to use these effectively, and they are not for ordinary situations.

        I say ‘occupying force’ rhetorically, because our police do not need to be wearing tactical gear in an American city normally. The fact that they increasingly are doing so is worrying. Agreed on community policing. I just think that it’s hard to tell people to be careful with using force if we also tell them that they apparently need to be armed to the teeth do deal with the public. It makes it feel a lot more like they’re defending themselves from us than stopping crime.

        2) Why take a risk if it’s not necessary? With even-handed publicly funded elections everyone gets a voice. Libertarians won’t be drowned out by their much larger counterparts. I know more is at play, but I think if we concede that there are groups and individuals (again, Soros and the Kochs come to mind) who are literally buying influence, that makes them, functionally, more important than me. Their support is probably more important than entire states in DC. That’s bad.

        3) Not saying it’s the only conclusion anyway. Just a possibility. How do you make something as unjust as systematic deprivation over generations right again? That’s a very big question. Reparations may be an answer, but I’m sure there are others. Being open to the possibility is a step, at any rate. Not sure what I think for sure there.

      30. Well, our comments are getting shorter, and the Bereans posted a new video, so I will give you the final rebuttal with your previous comment. Of course I disagree with it, but we’ll be at this for months if we don’ t stop. :)

        In all seriousness, thank you so much for this debate. You’ve given me food for thought, and, above all, I have had to think deeply and critically about this issue, and I feel far more confident in discussing it now. You have great insight and a respectful tone, and I thank you for that. Moreover, it’s been enlightening to see how our surface dissents evolved into basic agreements and disagreements. It’s been an absolute pleasure.

        Matt out.

  2. We also need to keep biblical doctrine at the center of this, as we should with all things. What does the Bible say about our disregard for governmental leaders. In Romans 13:1-2 we are called to be subject to the governing of those leaders appointed by God. Yes, we have disagreements with these people as a result of two falling human beings coexisting in the world, and more narrowly our country. Kneeling for the national anthem shows a lack of respect for our country, and for our countries leaders, totally disregarding this passage of scripture.

    We also lose a great bit of thankfulness when we support athletes kneeling for the national anthem. We seem to forget all this country does for us, and all these government leaders do for us. I think that if we can incorporate some Godly faithfulness into our train of thought, we might be having a much more tame discussion

    1. I cannot disagree more strongly with your interpretation here. We have no moral obligation to worship the sky-cloth of the state, and it is an abuse of scripture to try and manufacture such an obligation. Ignoring what the people who are protesting have said about their intentions and the message of their protest is disrespectful. Deciding, without knowing what they have said, that they mean it as a slight to our nation, is ignorant. Creating a new sin of unpatriotic behavior is heterodoxy.

    2. Romans 13 is often taken completely out of context, especially by evangelical Christians.

      That is the problem with the man-made concept of “biblical integration”: sloppy scholarship.

    3. Jeff, we all know that your “go to” answer for anything in the Bible you don’t like is “taken out of context”.

      However, in this very specific case, I think I actually… …gasp… …agree with you… …a little, though probably not for the same reasons.

      Shaun,

      While I agree with your basic interpretation of Romans 13 the problem is in your application, What NFL kneelers are doing is not against the law, and in fact, constitutional law, through the 1st Amendment, protects speech that is against the government. In essence, the government, through the 1st Amendment says “it’s okay to disrespect the government”. If disrespecting through speech is not illegal, then then technically, the NFL protests do not apply to Romans 13. No law in existence says that a person must stand for the flag or anthem, and even, according to Jeff, as “one of those evangelicals that takes Romans 13 out of context”, applying Romans 13 to this is much to strict, even for me.

      1. Nate, just to clarify, you disagree because there isn’t a specific law banning disrespectful gestures or whatever during the national anthem? So, if tomorrow they passed a law banning it, it would be wrong to kneel then? We are morally bound to do whatever the government decides?

      2. Okay, for sake of clarity, I will specify which question I am answering with each specific comment…

        “Nate, just to clarify, you disagree because there isn’t a specific law banning disrespectful gestures or whatever during the national anthem?” – Correct, but even more important than the absence of a law banning it, there is a constitutional amendment (the 1st) that protects it.

        “So, if tomorrow they passed a law banning it, it would be wrong to kneel then?” – Unless it was a constitutional amendment (which is extremely unlikely to happen) or a NFL league rule change (possible) in which there would be a contractual obligation on the players’ part to do so, then I would say “no”. If the impossible happened and such a constitutional amendment were passed, then, I would be forced to answer “yes”.

        “We are morally bound to do whatever the government decides?” – Since I believe that God commands submission to government, then not submitting to the government would not be following God’s command. I know there are those who argue rightly that we are to obey God rather than men, but fail to acknowledge that part of obeying God is to obey men in their capacity as agents of government. But this does not equate to “whatever”. Obviously if the government commands a sinful action, the Christian must obey God first. I think a good role model of the Christian’s approach to submission can be found in Daniel and his friends. They submitted to the king of Babylon (and later Persia) and their service was always faithful and they strove to do their utmost as public servants in a foreign land. And notice that they willingly and faithfully served as administrators to pagan kings without fear this would somehow “taint” their testimonies by being associated with said kings. But there were a few incidents in which they refused certain very specific commands of the king that would have required them to break God’s law. In doing so, they were not disrespectful to the king and continued to acknowledge him as their authority, accepting the earthly consequences of their actions.

  3. I completely agree with you about home there are more effective ways to approach pointing out wrong’s in society then how a lot of NFL players are handling it. Especially since standing for the national anthem is a requirement in an NFL player’s contract.

    I’m sure that the NFL is in quite a predicament; their values as an entity are to support these players, but I’m also sure that all this negative press and people boycotting the NFL is ultimately hurting their bottom line. It will be very interesting to see what this eventually leads to.

    1. Actually, there is no actual requirement for standing in NFL rules, otherwise the owners would not currently be discussing whether to change league rules to require standing for the anthem.

  4. Dr. Haymond –

    Thanks for taking the time to respond to my questions.

    The Original Conversation
    I am disappointed with the way you framed the original conversation in this blog post, specifically the way in which you selectively included (and excluded) portions of the original discussion. I would not emphasize these inclusions and exclusions except for the fact that they have the potential to obscure the basis for this dialogue.

    So, let’s start at the beginning

    1. You asked me to explain the purpose of the NFL protests
    Before you answered my two questions to the 9/29/17 VLOG panelists, you asked I explain what NFL protesters wanted you and other observers “to do.” I explained NFL protesters are seeking to spotlight modern civil rights injustices, particularly those suffered by African-Americans. I provided specific examples–included extended commentary from a current NFL player/protester–and I attempted to acknowledge how you refer to contemporary harms as “lingering race issues” while I referred to as modern civil rights injustices.

    I was disappointed to see very little response from you on that specific question. At most, you returned to this subject incidentally:

    “Do you really want to say the level of injustice towards blacks in America today is even remotely like what happened in America, say pre-1960? No one denies that there are not injustices daily in America (and indeed around the world) to many people. I would not deny, nor would most people I know, that African-Americans have more systemic injustices as well as general prejudices than others in society. Yet there is a drastic difference between the strategies of BLM, for example, than the civil rights movement. “

    It is generally true that current conditions for African-Americans have improved since the 1950s. But I fail to see how that claim advances this conversation. After all, conditions for African-Americans in the 1950s improved considerably relative to the 1900s, the 1850s, and before. But that relative improvement did not undermine the legitimacy and/or moral authority African-Americans possessed to protest the injustices of the 1950s. Those 1950s injustices were still deeply wrong, regardless of how “better” they may have been relative to, say, chattel slavery. Likewise, while the overall current conditions for African-Americans have (generally) improved since the 1950s, that improvement has little bearing on the legitimacy and moral authority of current protests against modern civil rights injustices.

    Perhaps even more importantly, I think your comment returns us back to the difference between harms you refer to as “lingering race issues.” I refer to those same harms as modern civil rights injustices. Your phrase, while conceivably neutral, arguably diminishes the severity of the problems affecting marginalized communities. I think it will difficult to advance in this conversation until we can reach some modicum of agreement that contemporary harms are more than mere lingering issues.

    2. You asked me to provide specific, desired responses to the NFL protests
    You also asked for a list of the “top three specific actions” NFL protesters (and NFL protester supporters) would like to see. I spent a considerable amount of time connecting with neighbors to convey some of their ideas. I was disappointed to see your post circumvent almost all my neighbors’ ideas. You did mention that you “pretty much [had] to disagree with all” of my “suggestions for action” and gave the following as an example:

    “Can you see why [Jonathan’s neighbors identifying that the Republican party as the most threatening to them] isn’t likely to get traction with the other side? You’re effectively asking Republicans to stop beating their wives—none of them will agree that they are in the first place. You’re assuming what you need to prove. So, the burden is on you to be specific about what these injustices are.”

    Respectfully, Dr. Haymond, this quote above reads like a rather disingenuous attempt to circumvent the actual substance in my earlier comments, and, the ideas expressed by my neighbors.

    First, you used–as an example–a comment which was in no way an example of suggested actions from my neighbors and me. The comment you highlighted was descriptive. It reflects a belief among my neighbors that the Republican party advances policies which oppose their interests. I then used that descriptive comment to affirm something I believe you and the other Bereans already know: the GOP has little to no success garnering the vote of neighbors like mine. If the party wants that to change, it must correct my neighbor’s perception by advancing specific policies which align both with conservative principles and the interests of my neighbors.

    Second, your comment ignored the many other tangible (and rather wonky!) policy suggestions we offered. What about public school financing? Desegregation? Public-private partnerships? By only acknowledging certain criminal justice reforms you prefer—and then stating you “pretty much [had] to disagree with all” of my “suggestions for action”—you somehow managed both to ignore these suggestions and impliedly dismiss them at the same time. Why not wrestle with the actual policy suggestions? Why highlight a purely descriptive comment over and against the actual sough-after policy suggestions you requested?

    Third, I have read and re-read this comment several times, and I am at a loss as to how the last sentence relates to your overall point. I think you’re arguing my neighbors bear the burden of persuading the GOP that their policies disfavor my neighbors’ interests, and further, that my neighbors bear the burden of persuading the GOP that modern civil rights injustices exist. I guess my point—again, from my original comment—was the Republican party needs to lead and extend policy-olive-branches towards my neighbors if they wish to respond meaningfully to the NFL protests. I certainly wasn’t suggesting that because my neighbors are suspicious of the GOP they therefore suffer modern civil rights injustices. I’m not sure how you could have inferred that from my comment.

    This Blog Post
    By re-orienting some of your blog comments back to and around the original discussion, I think I also responded to many of your substantive points. There are still a few remaining.

    1. What is the proper way to protest?
    This is a difficult question, which is precisely why I was hoping to see you and the other VLOG panelists respond to MLK’s words in Letter. In your blog post above, you essentially reiterated what you said in the VLOG: the NFL protests aren’t effective because they are offensive. That criticism is just about identical to the criticism MLK received from the very moderate white clergy to whom he wrote Letter from a Birmingham Jail. Today, historians \largely agree that MLK’s movement was immensely successful, even as it was considerably unpopular and offensive, and even as it was considered ineffective. Given that, do you think MLK was wrong to criticize the 1950s/60s white clergy for saying essentially the same thing you are saying today, or do you think his criticism is not applicable to what you are saying today?

    2. The TGC/Edmondson article
    Reading your blog, you cite this speech from Edmondson as if it draws some striking contrast between BLM and the 1960s civil rights movement. In fact, Edmondson encourages Christians to engage BLM, and Edmondson shows many similarities as well. Regardless, this discussion is not exclusively about BLM, and drawing attention to such an amorphous movement distracts from the larger conversation.

    3. What if the NFL protests were over the treatment veterans?
    I’m a bit lost by your response. If the NFL players were protesting what you acknowledge to be current mistreatment of military veterans by silently kneeling during the anthem, would you be as outspoken and critical of their protest?

    Conclusion
    I hope re-organizing the conversation is helpful in terms of keeping the entire discussing cohesive and visible, both to us and to any readers. Thanks for engaging.

      1. Agreed. Whether you agree with his conclusions or not, I think we could all learn quite a bit from posts such as Jonathan’s both in tone and substance.

      2. Agreed. I’d love to see Dr. Haymond take Jonathan’s equanimity, clarity, and substance as a model in his response.

        It seems to me this particular issue of systemic racial inequity could be a leading edge for serious dialogue in this space, if the Bereans would simply embrace it. But I imagine this would require a willingness to truly hear (and even seek out) disenfranchised voices, and then sit with, in, and under their uncomfortable critique. Jonathan’s asking you to do just that, Dr. Haymond, with MLK’s voice and his neighbors’ lived experience. As is Mika Edmondson, in a pretty damning analysis of evangelicalism’s tepid response to systemic racism past and present. Somehow you don’t seem willing or able to engage these voices as the penetrating moral/ethical challenge they inescapably are.

        Instead, we get a call to “dispassionate analysis.” Hear me say with all respect, Christian brother, that your comfortable, persistent retreat to abstraction and “dispassion” on questions like this one is an essential part of the problem. Both King and Edmondson are telling you as much—quite dispassionately I might add—but I can’t tell if you know or even care. I actually agree that compassionate policy should involve dispassionate analysis. But I think probably starts in genuine compassion. That’s what I’m persistently missing in your arguments on this topic, including your exchange with Jonathan. And it’s not a policy problem.

      3. At Ben H
        “As is Mika Edmondson, in a pretty damning analysis of evangelicalism’s tepid response to systemic racism past and present. Somehow you don’t seem willing or able to engage these voices as the penetrating moral/ethical challenge they inescapably are.”
        Ben, several weeks ago I posted a link to a sermon I gave several months ago on this issue, I believe in response to you. If you did not listen, please check it out and then see if you want to continue to assert that I’m unwilling to engage these voices. In a 35 min sermon I can obviously engage more thoughtfully than in a blog.
        http://www.centervillechristian.org/podcast/2017/6/14/ephesians-41-16-shaking-the-heavenlies-a-biblical-call-to-unity

        Obviously I think you calling my thought process an “essential part of the problem” is pretty off target. And wrapping it seemingly in concern over my spiritual well-being only minimizes the chances of a serious dialogue. How again are my beliefs responsible for police shootings?

    1. Jonathan,

      I respect your passion for this and you have explained your position well, but I am curious as to why Dr. Haymond’s view of one, single, very specific form of protest is such a big issue to you. While you are correct that MLK’s actions and methods are now are considered good though at the time they happened they were not, this does not mean the same will be true of the anthem protests, nor are the motivations for viewing the kneeling as ineffectual or offensive necessarily the same as the reasons for why it was said about MLK and the civil rights movement. Could it just possibly be that Dr. Haymond does not like anthem kneeling because he actually WANTS the injustices being protested to be addressed but believes that this is the wrong way to do it? That is my thinking when I read his comments.

      I, personally, am critical of the anthem kneeling not because it is offensive (though I do not like it because I personally think it is disrespectful to our veterans and nation, though I do understand the reasoning of those who say it isn’t) but because I believe it is making things worse not better. So I would ask you: Do you actually believe that the NFL protests will one day receive the same praise that MLK and the civil rights movement now enjoy? Do you actually believe that opposition to this form of protest is the equivalent of the “white moderates” opposing MLK’s methods?

      I don’t. Therefore I do not think that Dr. Haymond’s “analysis is subject to the criticism of King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”

      1. “I, personally, am critical of the anthem kneeling not because it is offensive (though I do not like it because I personally think it is disrespectful to our veterans and nation, though I do understand the reasoning of those who say it isn’t) but because I believe it is making things worse not better.”

        Do you have any evidence that the police shootings of unarmed black men have increased since the protests began?

        After all, if you believe that the protests are “making things worse not better,” then you must have some reason for believing that. Considering that the protests were about the killing of unarmed black men by the police, you must have evidence of that, right?

      2. Seriously Jeff? He is saying the manner of the protests is not helping them get the action they are seeking it is only making relations worse and causing added tension that is not necessary and hurts their goals.

      3. @ Nathan –

        Hey, Nathan. I hope you’re doing well!

        I consider the NFL protests “a big issue” insofar as they are a vehicle to discuss the issues which being protested, as well as the confusing and at times contradictory ways the protest is discussed.

        I appreciate you attempting to distinguish MLK’s protests from the NFL protests. I do think there are striking parallels between the two protests, parallels that are pretty uncomfortable when we sit and consider them. King was, for example, routinely criticized as unpatriotic.

        Your speculation about Dr. Haymond’s reason for criticizing the protest seems to be speculation as of now. If he wishes to see modern civil rights injustices against marginalized communities end, then I welcome his energy and enthusiasm behind those efforts. :) I think right now, though, there’s some work to be done on agreeing on the very terminology I just mentioned.

        When you say the NFL protests “are making things worse, not better” I am not sure I understand how to evaluate that analysis in the context of protests. At some level, protests are always inconveniencing and challenging the targets of the protest. While current NFL protests don’t have to be “equivalent” (in whatever way you’re implying) to MLK’s protests, I don’t think they can be evaluated for their effectiveness based on whether the targets of the protests think they are effective in the immediate context. There are few protests that come to mind which would meet that standard. :)

        If you do not think that MLK’s criticism applies today, do you then think that MLK would be urging current NFL protesters to stop what they’re doing?

    2. Jonathan–
      I’m sorry you are disappointed with the way I “framed the original conversation in this blog post, specifically the way in which you selectively included (and excluded) portions of the original discussion.” I can understand that you might not like my response, but you seem to suggest that I have been unfair to your request–I have not. You originally came on asking all Bereans to answer two questions. Before I could, I wanted to understand where you were coming from, so I did ask for you to answer to subsequent ??s before I could answer your original two questions. Upon completion of your response, you state, “Now, I would appreciate hearing your response to my original two questions. :)” That is exactly what I did. How that is unfair is beyond me.

      Regarding my failure to respond to each of the three points you made, your answers strayed very far from what I believe the core issue is–police shooting black men. While I disagreed with Darth Vader’s comment, he was correct on the issue:
      “The biggest problem is not strictly speaking a racism problem, that is police brutality and overreach. That is something that we need to solve. The police community at least knows the solutions, they’ve been talked about for a couple dozen years, but the first step is widespread acceptance that a problem exists.”

      As I stated in my response, I think there is opportunity for dialogue and agreement, but when you suggest that a solution to the police brutality issue requires we embrace your social justice agenda (even when thoughtfully done, as much of your comments were), then we’re not likely to make much headway.

      As far as your comment that I see the “lingering race issues” whereas you see “modern civil rights injustices” I think you have hit the point well in our disagreement. First, let me agree with you that there are modern civil rights injustices. There is a whole range of social conflict vis a vis race, some are clear injustices, others less so. I have no problem calling specific things as injustices when they are. But I want to be very careful as to what is injustice and what is not. It is injustice when a police officer shoots a man talking on a cell phone in a Beavercreek mall within one second of telling him to drop a pellet gun. Or when a twelve year old is playing on the park and dead within a moment of police arriving. I think we can both agree on this. The solution is very hard, and we have to ensure we don’t create a worse problem with our actions. But however much you imply that current injustices are on par with the civil rights marches, I think you’re wrong. We’re just going to have to disagree here. I was alive in the 60s, and I moved to the deep south in the 70s; I’ve seen some of what real systemic injustice looks like. And what I see today just does not compare. Re Mika’s podcast, I was pointing to his description of how the civil rights movement made sure the case was airtight before pressing forward, whereas BLM wants to trumpet every questionable situation as an injustice. So I think the analogy is that the civil rights movement would have never pushed Michael Brown or Trayvon Martin’s death, but would have been all over Tamir Rice and the others I mentioned.
      If you have a moment, I’d love to chat offline if possible.

      1. @ Dr. Haymond –

        I think I have already explained this blog post selectively used (and ignored) portions of both my original questions and the response you requested. I’m not really sure that’s disputable. And your selectivity was my primary concern here. By being so inconsistently selective, you re-frame (and arguably clouded) the original conversational in a way which benefited your position.

        You said above that my ” answers strayed very far from what I believe the core issue is–police shooting black men.” Returning to the original discussion, it was you who asked me to define the goals and aims of the NFL protest. I did so, citing not only the example of a current NFL player (representing nearly a dozen other teammates who protested alongside him), but also the perspective of my neighbors. I think it is a bit disingenuous to now “move the goal posts”–pun fully intended, given this conversation!–and focus the discussion solely on police brutality, especially that focus was neither the focus of the VLOG nor the focus of my comments.

        You said above that I suggested “a solution to the police brutality issue requires we embrace your social justice agenda.” When did I do that? The lack of specificity here obfuscates this discussion.

        Thank you for clarifying your position on the difference between “lingering race issues” and “modern civil rights injustices.” I think one additional distinguishing characteristic which emerged from your explanation is your emphasis on individual incidents contrasted with my emphasis on public institutions and major social patterns. I don’t think these emphases have to be mutually exclusive. If anything, I hope that through continued conversation you will see how the institutional problems are not only the catalyst for those individual instances, but how they perpetuate modern civil rights injustices which have caused (and continue cause) harms at a massive, generational scale. A good starting point would be the examples I mentioned: criminal justice/the war on drugs and public school financing/segregation.

        I look forward to connecting offline.

      2. @ Jonathan
        “I think I have already explained this blog post selectively used (and ignored) portions of both my original questions and the response you requested. I’m not really sure that’s disputable.”

        Jonathan–
        As you can clearly see in the original post I copied your questions verbatim–the charge of selective use is patently false. Ignored is a fair complaint–I chose to address what I felt was appropriate; you are free to feel that I should have been more thorough.

  5. “Daniel, Jeff is Adams. Dr. Haymond is Dr. Haymond. ”

    I have an earned doctorate, like Jeff Haymond. But you can call me Jeff. No need for formalities. :-)

    1. I can call you Dr. Adams, if you want. I just didn’t realize you had a doctorate. More for clarity than anything.

  6. It amazes me how often the actions we take end up giving us opposite results of our desired outcome, as in the case of the NFL protests. The football players are protesting racial injustice, however as stated by Dr. Haymond, “the chosen means will only cause further polarization”. Sports is an area where significant race relations progress has been made, but now is becoming a place where divisions are beginning to form.

  7. I agree that the platform of sports has been used wrongly. Even though we have seen advancements in racial relations in sports it is now declining. When players “take a knee” at games they and those that support them are forgetting why one stands in the first place. Currently it has been made about race, however it is to honor our country and those who serve and have served it.

  8. You do need to give the players some credit. They have actually spurred all of these discussions. As long as we can have a civil discussion that promotes intelligent improvement in the system, you have to consider the protests successfully.

    1. The problem is I don’t think it has spurred civil discussion that promotes intelligent improvement in the system. It’s promoted polarized discussions that make people call one side bigots and the other un-American. The unfortunate reality of American politics is that intelligent discussions (such as the ones taking place on this blog) don’t actually translate to meaningful change by politicians who only care about image.

  9. I’ll probably get a lot heat for saying this, but I honestly believe that any American who does not stand during the National Anthem (no matter what the reason) is wrong. If you are an American you stand when our anthem is played. Period. I don’t care what kind of injustice you think is happening. By not standing in respect you are saying that the sacrifices made by our military are unimportant. You are not making a statement about injustice, you are disrespecting our troops and veterans. Do you think that veterans (even one’s receiving subpar medical care) would have the nerve to sit or “take a knee” during the national anthem? NO! They stand because they respect the flag, the country, and the people are still risking their lives to keep us safe and to protect our freedoms.

    I remember seeing at at least one of the Packers’ game (I don’t like them so I don’t watch them) that the entire team stood during the anthem and locked arms in unity. Some of the crowd shouted negative comments at this during the anthem. The cowboys on the other hand, all took a knee during the anthem. Which is more respectful. NOT taking a knee. NOT shouting rude comments during the anthem. During the anthem, you stand. It’s a sign of respect. I don’t care who you are, what political party you align with, what your skin tone is! Unless it is physically impossible for you to do so, YOU STAND!

    1. I see.

      You want others to respect YOUR views, while not respecting the rights of others who disagree with you.

      Lol, that is NOT how it goes.

      I stand for the flag and never have kneeled, even though kneeling is not necessarily a sign of disrespect. I support freedom of expression. You apparently don’t.

      If you do not respect others’ freedom of expression, you are showing disrespect to the Constitution, and that means that you are not really a true American, even if you stand every single time the National Anthem is played. After all, what makes this country is not the troops or the veterans, but the principles contained in the Constitution.

      1. I am not sure he does expect others to respect his views. He specifically acknowledged he would probably get a lot of heat.

        But I am glad to see that, at least in word, you yourself actually realize that wanting respect while not respecting others is NOT how it goes.

        “After all, what makes this country is not the troops or the veterans, but the principles contained in the Constitution”

        Principles that would have ceased to exist long ago if not for those troops and veterans…

      2. Oh, and just to add… believing that something is absolutely wrong does not automatically mean you do not acknowledge the right of others to do it.

      3. Maybe I was unclear, Jeff. Please allow me to clarify. My problem with NFL players kneeling has nothing to do legality or freedom of speech or any other constitutional right (so long as they remain peaceful). I take issue with the lack respect for the vets, troops, and country that not standing shows. I fully respect people’s right to protest peacefully like they are; I just think that they should consider what this protest is saying to the military men and women who have served and the families of those who have lost their lives defending America.

        “kneeling is not necessarily a sign of disrespect.” Yes it is. Unless you are physically unable to stand, it is. We stand to show respect and to honor people.

  10. I once had a Bible teacher refuse to recite The Pledge of Allegiance because he did not believe in pledging in anything other than the name of Jesus. Although I do not personally agree out of respect for my country, this was a freedom he had and I respected that. I do not fully understand, similar to you, why protesting the anthem in a football game would be effective. I think it is a stretch. As I saw in the comments; if it were a protest for vets being mistreated, I can see the correlation and possibly an outcome. I do not see an outcome for the protesters in this instance.

  11. I do not think that it is ever appropriate not to stand during the national anthem. There are the few exceptions, such as health reasons, that I understand, but if someone can, then they should. There may be something well worth protesting, but not giving the necessary amount of respect during the national anthem should not be one of those ways to protest. Yes, we have freedom of expression, but there should be certain instances like this where standing for the Pledge of Allegiance is a no-brainer.

  12. I believe that not standing during the national anthem is incredibly inappropriate and disrespectful. I wholeheartedly believe in peaceful protest. I think it is right and acceptable to voice your opinion and concerns for our nation. After all, it is a country that accepts and protects the right of free speech. However, the national anthem is a token of symbolism in the United States. It allows Americans to look fondly on the nation they live in, realizing that although it is not perfect, it is still a blessing to live in it. It also harkens back and pays homage to all the man and women who have sacrificed their time and put their lives on the line to protect the values for which America stands. That is why you stand for the anthem.

    1. But we did all of the good things before the national anthem existed. Pledging allegiance is a relatively modern practice. Surely true patriotism does not hinge on these specific symbols.

      1. Its not the symbol itself but the message behind it. The national anthem is a moment where we as Americans can put aside our differences and stand united. It is to honor the patriots who formed the nation. It’s not a tribute to Democrats or Republicans. It’s like being silent at a funeral. You respect the good the person has done, no matter what they thought on certain political issues. If someone stands opposed to Donald Trump, then let him protest in a different way. The anthem is about liberty and freedom and paying homage to those that stand for it. When one kneels, one is standing opposed to praising those things. One is not opposing Donald Trump. Do you kneel before the anthem???

    2. Both the standers and the kneelers are representing American values and are practicing American traditions as good Americans.

      You have good reasons why you stand, and they have good reasons why they don’t.

  13. While I am glad that Dr. Haymond took this opportunity to respond to some of Jonathan’s previous comments, I did feel like some of the conversation was missing. I really appreciate Jonathan’s thoughtful expansion and continuation of the discussion above. I consider respectful discourse like this to be a benefit of protests that may otherwise be “offensive”.

  14. Protesting is something that people have the right to do. While people have the right to kneel during the national anthem it doesn’t make it the right thing to do. Owners of NFL teams also have a right to force players to stand and shouldn’t be discredited for using the same freedoms that the players are using. The main issue I have with players kneeling is the reason behind them kneeling is completely distorted. No one knows what they are protesting anymore. It feels more like a protest against Trump than actual social issues.

  15. I see where the panel was coming from on this argument about the anthem. I understand why they are protesting, and their protest is to help a noble goal. There is a great deal of in-social justice, but more accurately social prejudices. People of color are looked upon differently compared to others, and this automatically starts them at a disadvantage. I do not believe the protesting of the national anthem is the best way to deal with these problems because it only strengthens some peoples built in prejudices to people of color. There are other strong ways to support social change, but I do not believe this is the one.

  16. I hear a lot of people saying that these protests had no effect and the athletes didn’t get anything out of it. I actually think they did get something out of it–a lot of attention and publicity. Although I don’t think that it helped the issue they were trying to address, they did draw a lot of attention to it and themselves. I don’t follow sports at all, but now I know who Colin Kaepernick is because of his protests.

  17. I understand why the NFL players are protesting the national anthem, but these protest may in the long run, hurt the players. The NFL ratings are decreasing, and that is one of the ways the NFL earns revenue. Less revenue means the salary cap decreases, and the players will pay less.It would be interest how the players would react if this situation actually happen.

  18. One commonly overlooked aspect of all of these race arguments is the negative effect such demonstrations can have on the way people view each other in a broader way. The principle I am referring to is that of “otherizing,” which means, “To make or regard (a person, social group, etc.) as alien or different.” If the only people kneeling are blacks, and the issue becomes an “us vs them” one, it will not end quickly if at all. If we continue to let these issues divide us along the race lines then we are perpetuating a serious problem. I am not presuming to have a solution to the issues discussed above, but this is something to consider.

  19. Although I don’t agree with NFL players protesting the anthem, I can’t argue that they aren’t well within their right to do so. I would never kneel for the anthem, but just because others do doesn’t make them “bad Americans”. They are exercising their rights and trying to make a difference, which is respectable, even if I don’t agree with what they’re arguing.

  20. While I am among the group who believes that it is disrespectful and egregious to kneel or stretch during the national anthem I think that the player have the right to protest how they wish to protest. I think Professor Haymond hit it on the head by saying that this type of protest will not do anything but turn people off to sports. These protests are doing nothing, nothing to start a movement or to cause anyone harm but themselves. People who see these protest are not going to stop being racist towards blacks or hispanics. In fact these days blacks are not nearly as segregated against as when the civil rights movement took place. The protests in the civil rights era actually had an impact on society and where not meant to make people mad or take sides but to show a purpose.

  21. Although I do not agree with NFL players exercising their right to kneel for the national anthem, I do not think they should be forced to do so. I do see it as a sign of disrespect to the flag, but it is their right to do so. Although I think it is ultimately doing more harm than good, it has spurred more conversations regarding racial equality.

  22. I think that in regards to the kneeling during the anthem, it is a non violent protest but it has come at a time where the social media is trigger happy about using it to divide the nation. While I think some of the NFL players are trying to use it to make a point, others with bad intentions are warping it to serve their own purposes.

  23. While I agree with your ending statements about the polarization in politics today and that claims that the other parties platform is a threat to the other party need to be proven, I disagree with the main body of this post. In reality, one of the most important parts of a protest is that it captures the attention of not only the people in power, but also the base and support for those people. In America, few organizations have the platform that the NFL and other national sports organizations have. These sports have the ability to reach millions of people in a given week. By protesting in a peaceful manner, that garners the attention and the debate of a large segment of the country, it will begin the conversation. Some may argue that the kneeling itself is getting more attention than the reasons behind it (racial injustice, police brutality, systematic racism ect), but any informed member of the debate is also aware of the reasons for the protest. Whether or not people approve of the kneeling, these topics have been brought to the forefront of American politics by the players and owners who kneel. The conversations that are had about the reasons behind the protests are how the problems will be solved, so in my opinion these protests have been successful.

    I also disagree strongly with the point that brings up how much better the African-American population is off right now than they were in the 1950’s. I am not disagreeing the the claim that they are better off, because that is blatantly obvious. My question would be how is that relevant? Just because things are better now than they were in the past does not at all disallow or diminish the injustices that are still present. Just because things are less bad than they were does not mean they can not still dramatically improve.

    1. Carter,
      Why the scope of the problem matters is to what the solution ought to be. When African Americans are denied the ability to buy a meal at a restaurant, it is relatively easy (but obviously socially very hard) to pass laws to allow access to public accommodations. But in today’s era, what law would you like to see passed that would deal with a police officer shooting a man in a routine traffic stop? There are some things that might help (and I’ve already listed my support for them above) such as body cameras. But we need to ensure we don’t have unintended consequences. So when police were blamed for Freddie Gray’s death in Baltimore (and remember half the officers investigated where African American), the police basically pulled back and black on black homicides soared in Baltimore subsequently. This is not an easy problem, if it were, it would have been solved long ago. And I don’t think it helps to try and make this the same as America in the 1950s. It is not.

    2. Carter,
      Why the scope of the problem matters is to what the solution ought to be. When African Americans are denied the ability to buy a meal at a restaurant, it is relatively easy (but obviously socially very hard) to pass laws to allow access to public accommodations. But in today’s era, what law would you like to see passed that would deal with a police officer shooting a man in a routine traffic stop? There are some things that might help (and I’ve already listed my support for them above) such as body cameras. But we need to ensure we don’t have unintended consequences. So when police were blamed for Freddie Gray’s death in Baltimore (and remember half the officers investigated were African American), the police basically pulled back and black on black homicides soared in Baltimore subsequently. This is not an easy problem, if it were, it would have been solved long ago. And I don’t think it helps to try and make this the same as America in the 1950s. It is not.

  24. No matter what side you fall on regarding these protests, the amount of division created between people is saddening. All of the protests and division is really just taking away from what sports used to be: a neutral thing for people to talk about. Even though I’m glad for this and many other discussions, I hope that sports can soon return to the neutral topics that it once used to be.

    1. Sports were always neutral things to talk about?

      What about Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier?

      What about Hank Aaron–still the true homerun champ–breaking Babe Ruth’s record?

      What about the fight to have women as full participating members in intercollegiate athletics?

      What about the ongoing controversy over the racist nickname used by the NFL team based in Washington, D.C.?

      What about the legacy of Arthur Ashe in tennis?

      The racism Tiger Woods endured when he first joined the pro ranks?

      Sports is rarely never about politics and social change, at least to some degree.

  25. Daniel said, “Seriously Jeff? He is saying the manner of the protests is not helping them get the action they are seeking it is only making relations worse and causing added tension that is not necessary and hurts their goals.”

    That is NOT what he said. I quoted directly from him, and you are paraphrasing. I say I got it right, lol.

    The kneelers are protesting the violence by the police against unarmed African-Americans. The action they are seeking is for that to stop.

    They are not protesting the flag itself or the nation for which it stands. They are protesting injustice.

    1. I know what they are protesting. Nathan said “making THINGS worse”. By ‘things”, does he mean police violence against African Americans or tensions between players (and really more so the media) and fans? It seems clear to me he means the latter not the former. But, if he sees this, I’ll let him answer that for himself.

      The question is the method of protest here and how effective that method is, not the reason for the protest.

    2. Jeff said, “That is NOT what he said. I quoted directly from him, and you are paraphrasing. I say I got it right, lol.”

      Jeff, you did not get it right, lol.

      Daniel said, “I know what they are protesting. Nathan said “making THINGS worse”. By ‘things”, does he mean police violence against African Americans or tensions between players (and really more so the media) and fans? It seems clear to me he means the latter not the former”

      Daniel, you did get it right.

      1. Speaking about sports, your response reminds me of Charles Barkley’s claim that he was misquoted in his own autobiography.

        Indeed.

        Who cares about tensions between players and fans in a GAME whose primary purpose is mindless ENTERTAINMENT when we have real injustices and genuine human suffering to address? If that is what you are worried about, Nathan, then I am afraid that compared to what really counts in this life, you are worried about nothing.

      2. The tension the players are creating is hurting their ability to create change, not helping. Alienating people is not the way to change the status quo. Again, this is method not cause. And their method at this time is not helping anything, it’s only creating more problems.

      3. Daniel,

        I think the common response to your argument that they’re making people turn on them with this protest would be that that is part of the point: someone who is genuinely sympathetic to their view would, perhaps, be bothered by the method, but would still ultimately have to agree with their protest and, presumably, attempt to change things.

        Someone who uses ‘disrespect’, an accusation that they ask deny is true of their protest, as a sufficient reason to ignore their protest is not someone they would get on their side anyway. Frankly, someone who accepts injustice is happening but can’t stomach people kneeling in protest of that has such different priorities that I can’t imagine them actually being useful advocates. They start out looking for reasons to distance themselves.

        The division is part of the point: they want you to evaluate where you actually stand on this question. You have to pick a side, and it is telling that you would own your country’s injustice but silence those who would call it wrong because they did it in a way you don’t like.

        They aren’t attacking people. They aren’t insulting anyone. If this ‘hurts the cause’ it only does so with people who already don’t really agree. If an NFL fan see this and decides: “well, I was going to try to do something about those unjust shootings, but they don’t deserve my help now because they didn’t revere the State-Sky-Cloth properly. Injustice is not my problem now…” … Then how helpful were they really going to be? Did they really think there was a problem? I have my doubts.

      4. Jeff, here’s the deal. In my original comment that you commented on, I said the following which you quoted…

        “I, personally, am critical of the anthem kneeling not because it is offensive (though I do not like it because I personally think it is disrespectful to our veterans and nation, though I do understand the reasoning of those who say it isn’t) but because I believe it is making things worse not better.”

        You responded by saying “Do you have any evidence that the police shootings of unarmed black men have increased since the protests began? After all, if you believe that the protests are “making things worse not better,” then you must have some reason for believing that. Considering that the protests were about the killing of unarmed black men by the police, you must have evidence of that, right?”

        Your error was was of assumption. You assumed that by saying “making things worse” I was claiming that unjustified police shootings have increased because of the protests. And you did assume it because I never said anything about an increase in shootings in my comments.

        There is a substantial difference between misquoting someone and misinterpreting someone. I never claimed you misquoted me. I simply said your interpretation of what I said was wrong and that Daniel’s was right.

        So, what do you do? You start tinkering again with my words in an attempt to make it out like my concern over the issue is because I do not like tension between players and fans. In this, Daniel is once again correct that the true concern is not the existence of tension between players and fans, but the negative impact that tension has on the efforts of the kneelers to bring attention to their chosen cause.

        I believe the NFL kneelers are indeed “making things worse” because, to use Daniel’s words; “…their method at this time is not helping anything, it’s only creating more problems.” And those problems directly impact the effectiveness of what they are trying to achieve.

      5. Theophilus,

        Respectfully, I am not understanding what exactly you are saying, so rather than do as Jeff did with me and start assuming things, I will ask for clarification.

        Are you actually saying that you think that those who are offended or insulted by the kneeling are against dealing with the problem the kneeling is supposed to be highlighting?

        Just to clarify what I, and, I believe, Daniel, are saying, we are not saying the kneelers are turning people against addressing injustice. We are saying that the kneelers’ specific chosen method is not working and it is creating other problems.

        Maybe I am wrong in what you are attempting to say, but you seem to be making a mistake similar to the one being made by those who are turning the kneeling controversy into a referendum on patriotism. One side says that if you kneel, or support the kneelers, you are being disrespectful and offensive to the nation. You appear to be suggesting the opposite, that if you oppose the kneeling, then you must be okay with injustice. Is this correct?

        I understand the need to make people evaluate where they stand on the issue. It is just my opinion that this one, specific method, creates unnecessary, negative side affects.

      6. Nathan,

        The respect is returned.

        Let’s clarify, definitely. The way I’m trying to put it is like this: you and I are external observers. We both, I think, agree there is injustice and something should be done about it.

        We are both observing other people’s reactions. We see the same thing, but we interpret it differently. You point out that these protests are causing divisions and say: “Look, these people are mad now. They might have gone along with the idea of addressing police brutality before, but now they won’t because of how insulting the protest was.” If that is not what you mean, then I guess I don’t understand how the protest “isn’t helping” or is “hurting” the cause. After all, it is only hurting the cause if things are less likely to change than they were before. If you really mean that they are making things worse in some other way, please explain.

        If you mean what I think you mean, then I would still hold that the point I made stands. You aren’t being turned off of the fight for justice. These other NFL fans presumably are. And that’s a result of the protest, but also part of its point. To the hypothetical fan, they have to decide whether they really think there is a problem. The protest is meant to divide. To say: look at our message and decide what you stand for. You either believe there is a justice problem that MUST be addressed, or you think this protest is inappropriate, disproportionate, and uncalled for. But if you think the second thing then you really don’t think the problem is bad in the same way the protester does.

        Is that better? Again, you and I are trying to describe the results of the protest on other people. I’m not talking about you or Daniel specifically. The method vs. cause debate is about how everyone responds.

      7. Yes, that does help. Thank you.

        I see better what you are getting at. Let me see if I can add some exposition to what I mean by “making things worse”.

        I do not think that most fans are being turned off to police brutality by the protests. So in that strict sense, no it is not making things worse. But in a broader sense, the protests are “making things worse” because the method (not the cause) is offending many people. To them, the act of kneeling is not about protesting police brutality, it is about respect for the nation and veterans. In essence, what those who are offended are saying is “you say you are protesting police brutality and are not intending it as disrespectful, but we think that the action you have chosen is indeed disrespectful”.

        To help understand this, I think we need to understand just exactly how this started. Colin Kaepernick began this and claimed it was to protest police brutality. Okay, fine. Good for him. But Kaepernick did not simply stop there. He wore very disgusting socks depicting police as pigs and has also worn shirts with pictures of, and sympathized with, totalitarian rulers such as the Castros. He claimed to be protesting injustice but seemingly aligned himself with some pretty unjust people.

        It is then perfectly understandable, to me at least, how his protest was seen as being more anti-American than it was seen as seeking awareness of police brutality. And since he was the first to introduce kneeling as a form of protest, it is also understandable why many would automatically consider the act of kneeling by others as declaring their agreement with Kaepernick’s ideals.

        So, rather than bring positive change to the issue of police brutality, the protests, while they are not making the issue of police brutality worse, have instead created an entirely new controversy over whether kneeling or standing for the flag is appropriate or not. Was that intended? I don’t think so. I am willing to take many of these players at their word that their intent is not to disrespect. But it is what has happened and I believe that because it happened, things became worse than they needed to be.

        Does that help any? Let me know if more clarification is required. :)

      8. I’m glad we understand each other. Much better. :)

        I would like to know, now, what you think of the recent news that the NFL will be throwing its weight behind criminal justice reform, specifically a bill to reduce mandatory minimums in non-violent and non-felonious drug crime. This would appear to be a direct result of the protests. I have my doubts that any such endorsement would have happened had there been a highly-publicized stand by prominent players and teams to draw attention to the issue of systemic injustice affecting poor and minority communities. In other words, contrary to what dozens of one-off commenters on this thread argued, these protests have accomplished something. Would you agree?

      9. Yeah, I saw that. If some positive comes from it, fine. But that issue I do not think is strictly one of systematic injustice as concerns race. We are having this debate here in WV where the drug epidemic is a major problem. However, simply because of demographics, most of those affected are poor whites. Are NFL players kneeling because poor whites in Appalachia are suffering? I have my doubts.

        I can see where one might argue that the NFL would not do this if were not for the kneeling, but I have a suspicion that the protests’ deleterious side affect on viewership (and the bottom line) was the driving force behind the NFL trying to get the players to stand by throwing them a bone. But sure, I am not going to begrudge any good that comes from it.

      10. Ah, but drug crime is one of the more obvious areas where the systematic problem can be seen: Look at the way we treat heroin and cocaine as opposed to crack. The heroin epidemic which is currently ravaging mostly poor, mostly rural, and mostly white communities (though it is by no means limited to these demographics) is treated as a public health crisis, which we treat. We train emergency responders to help overdosed users. We encourage them to self-report, and are lenient when they do because we want to help them.

        Cocaine is treated more harshly, but still, you need far more of it to face serious jail time than crack. And even though the data suggests that usage rates are not that different between communities (meaning there’s plenty of users from all backgrounds) somehow our prisons are stuffed with black drug offenders. Unlike heroin, their drug is not treated like a health crisis, but like a civic failing that deserves punishment.

        Does any of this mean I am against efforts to help the communities in Appalachia? No, heroin is a horrible drug. But even here you can see obvious differences that split largely on racial lines. Not that anyone is necessarily trying to be a racist, but somehow the result is shockingly unjust.

      11. Fair point about the difference in penalties between cocaine and heroine. Although I’m not sure it is genuinely a racial issue in the sense of “hey, most urban blacks use crack, most poor rural whites use heroine/cocaine, so let’s makes the penalties for crack tougher”. but yes, I can see how it might easily be seen that way.

        I am curious, since the owners are doing this to presumably get the players to stand, do you see any threat of a precedent being set by the NFL in which, down the road, whenever an NFL player wants the league to support a certain issue, they just start kneeling and wait for league to try mollifying them with something else? Do you see any danger of such a precedent morphing from “okay, we’ll do more to help injustice if you will start standing again” into more of an extortionist action in which players will start kneeling until the league gives money or supports whatever pet cause they want? I am not saying that is where it will go, it was just a thought I had. I mean, if the league does this now, what would prevent players from kneeling and then saying “okay, we will stop kneeling if the NFL endorses so-and-so, or opposed such and such a policy, etc”?

        Do you see any limit beyond which you would say “okay, now the kneeling is just outright silly”?

      12. I would agree that it’s not overt, intentional racism. I think racism can be subconscious and unintended. I think when you see a problem that disproportionately afflicts one race, we should be suspicious that something more is at play than, “Whoa, would you look at that? A weird number of black people are hurt by this. What a weird coincidence.”

        Do you think the government just passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to buy off marchers and rioters? Do you think that there is a risk that, having done that, people will just randomly walk across bridges or stage sit-ins over other, completely benign things?

        This is how your question came across to me. Is the NFL buying off the kneelers? I don’t know. I’ve heard Rush Limbaugh say that, but I think he has a vested interest in spinning the narrative such that protests are ineffective. We say these protests are ineffective and don’t accomplish something, and then when something happens as a direct result of them we somehow recast it as if the protest isn’t responsible for the change. If this is not an example of protests causing change, then what would count?

        To answer your question, though, I suppose what would stop it is whatever stopped the Civil Rights movement from spiraling into people demanding the right to be publicly accommodated along with white people. If you fix the problem then the protest isn’t legitimate anymore.

        I would roll my eyes at a protest that I could not find to be based in reality. I would call kneeling silly if I didn’t think they had a point. I hope that doesn’t seem trite, that’s not how I mean it, I just can’t think of a better way to put it.

      13. No, I do not think you are being trite at all. :) And like I said, I was not saying that I think it will go there. And my intention is NOT to try to recast any positive that comes from the protests. If a positive comes from it, good. I am not going to say any positive should be viewed as any less positive because I think the particular means are questionable. It just means I think that the same result could have been accomplished with a less controversial form of protest.

        And no, I would definitely NOT say that the government bought off the Civil Rights Movement with the Civil Rights Act, especially since many of the rights that legislation enforced and strengthened were ones that should have already been in force because of the 14th and 15th Amendments. The Civil Rights Movement, in my opinion, was fighting for rights they should have already had under those amendments. My question about what it might lead to in the future was theoretical in nature, sorry if it came across wrong.

        You do bring up good points and I do appreciate your perspective on these issues. You keep doing what you are doing. Even when we might disagree on something, I can say unreservedly you are a great asset to this blog. :)

      14. Thanks, Nathan! You’re very level-headed, so it’s good to have you here as well. The back-and-forth, I think, is a great thing to have, and the more we can keep things calm and have a rational discussion, the better things will be going forward. What we want, I assume, is a culture of respectful argument. And people like you go a long way towards achieving that.

        For the record, with the Civil Rights Act, I wasn’t saying you were against it. Merely that, the way the question was posed seemed biased.

        I can agree that the protests offended people. And of course, we can always find better ways of doing things. I just think that a protest is GOING to be offensive to some degree. Otherwise it wouldn’t really be a protest. People get upset when someone attacks the status quo. But there is definitely some ‘ships passing in the night’ going on as well, which I think we’ve more or less grappled with.

  26. I think that the most challenging part of this entire discussion is understanding that these athletes do have a really powerful voice in the world we live in today. The hard part is for them to understand how to use their voice. Yes discussion has been on the rise about these topics, however I believe it has divided our nation even more than before. I wish there was a way that we could all move forward together through a protest or some other form of discussion which actually worked. I do believe that athletes are going to be one of the groups which lead the way through this difficult time. Athletics is something everyone can come together through and can be a great place to start discussion. The trick is going to be finding a way to start the discussion that will bring everyone together, not tear everyone apart.

  27. “To help understand this, I think we need to understand just exactly how this started. Colin Kaepernick began this and claimed it was to protest police brutality. Okay, fine. Good for him. But Kaepernick did not simply stop there. He wore very disgusting socks depicting police as pigs and has also worn shirts with pictures of, and sympathized with, totalitarian rulers such as the Castros. He claimed to be protesting injustice but seemingly aligned himself with some pretty unjust people.

    It is then perfectly understandable, to me at least, how his protest was seen as being more anti-American than it was seen as seeking awareness of police brutality. And since he was the first to introduce kneeling as a form of protest, it is also understandable why many would automatically consider the act of kneeling by others as declaring their agreement with Kaepernick’s ideals.

    So, rather than bring positive change to the issue of police brutality, the protests, while they are not making the issue of police brutality worse, have instead created an entirely new controversy over whether kneeling or standing for the flag is appropriate or not.”

    Nathan, with all due respect, this clarification only points out the troublesome aspects of your reaction.

    Why are you making this about Colin Kaepernick’s socks and his apparent support for Castro? It seems that throwing out a red herring by demeaning the man in order to defend not liking his form of protest.

    But CK is history. The man is not even in the NFL any longer. He clearly is not currently protesting during the national anthem. That is what the current hullabaloo is about RIGHT NOW.

    If this were merely about CK, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. Others have joined, obviously, and it was absolutely nothing to do with wearing offensive socks.

    Why are THEY protesting? It has to do with systemic injustice.

    If some Americans are so emotional, so helplessly blind, that they choose to ignore the underlying cause of the protests to focus instead on socks (!), then shame on them for their tacit rejection of some of this country’s ideals. They are sad examples of patriotism.

    1. Okay, Jeff, if you want a current example of a poor choice by the kneelers which I did not like, what about those players in London who knelt for the “Star Spangled Banner” and then stood for “God Save the Queen”. What message do you think optics like that sends? It may not have been their intent, but the optics suggested that they viewed the United Kingdom as more worthy of honor than the United States, as if the UK’s own history on race is so much more pristine than ours.

  28. There is much more at stake here than the initial issue of the NFL players and the National Anthem. While the issue in itself is important, it is also important to look at the history of such issues. While Americans do have the right to speech and the right to do as they please in concordance with Constitutional law, the National Anthem issue goes further into the intentions of each individual and the views of Americans. It would be nice if there was an easy answer to all of this, but unfortunately it does not appear that there is.

  29. Protesting the United States Flag, anthem, etc. is a right protected by the first amendment. We have the liberty to voice our opinions and protest something we believe to be wrong. To argue any differently is to support the restriction of freedom.

    That said, the question can be raised as to whether it is morally wrong to protest the national anthem and/or flag. This is where it gets tricky. My own opinion is that for public figures – those with considerable influence in their industry – are more responsible / obligated to respect the flag and anthem. If a politician was to kneel during the anthem or protest the flag, we’d all be screaming for their heads. An athlete has just as much influence though. As such, I would argue they are obligated to – at the very least – show basic respect for the country that they represent while playing.

    As I’ve said before, this is a very tricky subject to answer. I don’t think there is a right answer; there are only opinions (granted, some opinions are backed up far more logically and factually than others).

  30. This really is a tough issue. While I believe that we all have the right to protest as we wish, as long as it doesn’t harm the well-being of others, I don’t agree with what and how some of these people protest. The issue with the NFL is not as pressing as the issues with BLM members. Many of the protests that members of the BLM movement are dangerous to others around them, while NFL players sitting during the national anthem is not harming others.

  31. I see why these players are protesting, but I don’t really think protesting in this specific way is the best way to deal with the situation. I don’t agree with, and would never condone showing any disrespect to the flag many have died for. However I think this series of events has, somewhat, spurred on conversations of equality that need to be discussed. So I think some good has come from it.

    1. I agree, these social issues have been shoved into the light for our generation to see. I also agree that this was not the ideal way to protest police brutality and social injustices.

  32. I agree with what Shaun said in the comments. We must turn to the Bible to show us how to live our lives. That includes respecting leaders

  33. At the end of the day, all Americans should abide by the Constitution, that being said, the freedom of expression is inherently allowed. Thus, no matter how patriotic a person can be, each person is still allowed to demonstrate how he or she so chooses for the national anthem. Do I agree with it? Absolutely not. Do I have to agree with it? Nope, but I have to respect that they have their own opinions of the problems going on with America. Could I protest the amount of NFL players who have domestic violence or assault charges by not watching the NFL, SURE! That being said, NFL Players have certainly drawn attention to themselves by creating a hated environment with those who stand and those who don’t stand. How pitiful of us as Americans to let us become divided by a stance. Yes, blacks are being killed, so are whites, and asians, hispanics, europeans, and all other races. How many of the NFL players have recently gone out and volunteered through serving the communities in which they play, or even more applicable to us, how have you reached out to those ethnic groups outside of your own. The NFL players are allowed to protest as we are, it is in a controversial form but a form guaranteed by the Constitution nonetheless.

  34. Can anyone actually articulate why you think this is disrespectful?

    Having the flag on clothing or paper plates is actually disrespectful but you never hear about that until all of this controversy.

    Kneeling has long been a sign of respect, in fact it’s in general paying more respect then standing. Sitting is a sign of disrespect, Colin originally protested by sitting, then people got mad at him and he realized how disrespectful that was, so he changed to a kneel as a way to show respect while still showing that he’s doing something different.

  35. While I do not agree with the NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem, I don’t think it should get as much publicity as it does. To me, this is a harmless form of protesting. They aren’t hurting anyone therefore they have the right to do kneel if that is what they desire. I do believe kneeling is disrespectful to our country and many war veterans, but again if they feel the need to do it, I’m not going to spend any time attempting to prevent them.

  36. The athletes have every right to protest the anthem/flag, and frankly I feel as though kneeling or linking arms is an entirely appropriate way to do so. Our society chooses to ignore flag code in a plethora of other ways in order to benefit commercially so that argument does not really apply here. It peacefully calls attention to a seeming pattern in society without being brash or bold. Just as wearing pink does nothing to stop breast cancer but is still a good way to raise awareness, calm and peaceful demonstration.

    That said, their platform is very ineffective. Professional athletes are regarded for their athletic feats and not much else; using their position to call something to light is a good idea but there is no set plan for what they are going to try and expose specifically much less how to effect a lasting change in society. Anquan Boldin, most likely a hall of fame worthy receiver, decided to retire prematurely to try and make an actual change in the violence disproportionately perpetuated against minorities in the wake of his cousin’s death at the gun of a lone police officer. Rather than make statements while collecting millions of dollars (and bringing in even more for the owners), if professional athletes want to make a real change then they should either find a group to support that will actually make a change or retire from sports and make the change themselves.

  37. These protests are certainly a very controversial matter within sports and politics. Ultimately I do find it disturbing that players have chosen kneeling for the anthem as their method of protest. I completely support and commend the protest against police brutality, however the method is what I find bothersome.

    An argument I have heard is that what is being protested is not the military, but instead injustice. I do agree with this and I don’t believe most competent individuals upset with the protests would take them in such a way. The fact remains however, that the method in which players have chosen to protest injustice is in fact disrespectful to a symbol of the military and the United States. There are many other methods that would be far less controversial however the flag and anthem simply are a symbol of such. It truly perplexes me because the issue at hand and the method of protest truly seem to be unrelated. When MLK organized marches or Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat, they made bold stances without disrespecting century old symbols of our nations heroes.

    Above all, it is my prayer that both sides can seek to understand the other side better and be willing to listen. Even further I hope that both sides can move passed the minor issue of “method of protest” and seek to end injustice.

  38. I think that the recent rise in kneeling for the national anthem is a problem, but not for the reasons you may think. With so many kneeling before games, it has become more of a trend than a form of protest. When Colin Kaepernick first kneeled during the anthem, he was doing it to show solidarity with victims of police brutality and not to show disrespect toward America or its troops. Now, as I stated previously, it has become a sort of trend, like dabbing. People need to get back to why this was started in the first place and not let its original meaning be lost in the current wave of these displays. As for the comments about Republicans, I think that it could be a little ignorant to label all members of any party as “dangerous” or any such term. While there certainly are some people who have very harmful beliefs who say that they are affiliated with one party, we should not jump to the conclusion that all followers of that party are like that individual.

  39. I believe you hit the nail right on the head in saying that regardless of if this NFL protest is right or wrong (which I believe is completely based on the individual, and subjective), African American treatment/inequality is completely different, and better, today than in the 1960’s or before. I also completely agree that BLM is miles different and separate from the Civil Rights Movement. Many people regardless of skin color go through injustices every day, regardless of race. While I do not want police brutality or black oppression, I disagree with the method… I believe in time it may just make things worse than they would’ve been before.

  40. I know a lot of people who are huge fans of football, who no longer watch football, because of the players kneeling during the plague of allegiance. These players are making millions of dollars to play football and they are protesting racism, while they are making all of this money? Their protest is very weak, and I can understand why football fans have had enough. I would have to agree with Dr. Haymond that what they are doing is very ineffective.

  41. First of all my opinion is that they have the right to kneel, but I do not believe that it is the must effective or appropriate way to protest injustices. Now, I appreciate your argument of the military and how mistreated they are. No one protects this country and then gets mistreated like they do. I also believe that most injustices in this country are being worked on. Police brutality is becoming less and less, and the military is being treated better and better. It is important to keep these social injustices in mind, but raising such controversy by kneeling is unnecessary.

  42. I would say that the NFL players are giving up some of their rights when they decide to work for the NFL. They are there to make them money, and the protests they are doing are leading to fewer people watching the games and less revenue for the teams they play for.

  43. I am in total support of individuals making a stand for what they believe in and feel to be right. They are exercising their right to do so and I have no doubt that their hearts are obviously in the right place trying to make a positive change; something which many are not. However, as you made note of in your blog post I struggle to see how this is an effective strategy to achieve what they hope to. So while I 100% admire what they are trying to do, I also feel as though there is a time and a place for such activity, during an NFL football match not being one of those times.

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