The Straw Man Cometh: Confronted With The Inevitable Results Of Their Race-Baiting, The “Hands-Up!” Crowd Claims It Was All A Misunderstanding


Don’t let them get away with this.

The Straw Man logical fallacy occurs when a person ignores the actual issue being debated and substitutes a distorted, exaggerated or misrepresented version of the opposing position that is easier to rebut. For years, there has been an organized effort in the Obama Administration, the progressive movement, the civil rights movement and among black activists to represent American society as racist, along with the American law enforcement system and justice systems, and to maintain  the false narrative that racism was responsible for several high-profile deaths of black men, and that specific police officers, such as Darren Wilson, were guilty of racist executions and exonerated by a racist system.

The strategy has been richly fertilized by relentless accusations that white voters and the Republican party hold racial animus against Barack Obama because of his race. The deliberately divisive effort has resulted in a level of fear, anger and distrust of white Americans in the African American community not seen in over half a century, with white police officers serving as the immediate targets. Predictably, two New York City cops were assassinated by a deranged black man after posting social media messages referencing the deaths of Mike Brown and Eric Garner, and critics have correctly stated that the reckless race-baiters have “blood on their hands.” Sensing that a looming tipping point may be going against their divide and conquer agenda, they are ducking and weaving like Muhammad Ali in his prime.

The news media’s main defense is to condemn such accusations as “the blame game.” ‘This is a time to come together, not to start pointing fingers!’ is the theme. How convenient for those who have been making this moment inevitable for six years or more, and the lazy, complicit press that followed their lead. This isn’t blame, this is accountability. What we are reading and hearing is #46 on the Ethics Alarms Rationalizations List,  Zola’s Rejection, or “Don’t point fingers!”

The rest of the race-baiting team meanwhile, are resorting to two tactics: denial, and most of all, the Straw Man diversion. The denials are ridiculous and embarrassing: I have read them in comments on Ethics Alarms threads with astonishment. Oh no! We’re not suggesting, when we hold our hands up and shout “don’t shoot!,” that a white cop executed an “unarmed black teen” in the street because of his race, even though “Hands up! Don’t shoot!” is the false narrative begun by Mike Brown’s companion when he was shot, formed the basis of the original protests, and is immediately associated with Ferguson…even though Mike Brown’s parents and lawyer have insisted that he was executed, and because of his race…even though they have so accused the police officer before a United Nations agency…even though the suggestion that Brown was executed means that a white police officer is a racist murderer and that he was freed by a system that refuses to give justice to blacks. No! This gesture doesn’t mean what gives it meaning, or refer to what everyone knows it refers to!  It’s just a powerful symbol that calls for reform! It’s just a coincidence that it happens to suggest that an innocent cop is a racist killer.”

The Straw Man argument is now being used to bolster the denial. In this case, the Straw Man is that protesters and public officials were never anti-police—they just were trying to point the way toward reforms. The poet laureate of this dishonest effort is resident Slate race-baiter Jamelle Bouie, who has authored an essay titled Battered and Blue: Police departments shouldn’t feel under siege. The public just wants better policing.

Incredibly, given the topic, Bouie manages to avoid using the words “race,” “black,” “white,” or “African American” anywhere in his piece. “Race? Race is an issue here? Nahhh!!” Instead, he pretends that the issue is all about “better policing.” This is all constructive! Why is everyone so upset?

Better policing! That’s all Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) meant when he wrote this month in The Atlantic,

What has happened to the soul of America that makes citizens more interested in justifying these murders than stopping them?Dr. King declared in his 1967 speech, “Racism is evil because its ultimate logic leads to genocide …. It is an affirmation,” he said, “that the very being of a people is inferior,” and therefore unworthy of the same regard as other human life. Do Americans accept the deaths of hundreds and thousands of young men and boys simply because they are black? Ignorance of their day-to-day lives is no excuse for what is done in society’s name.

In the presence of injustice, no one has the right to be silent. Members of government and the business, faith, and even law-enforcement communities must stand up and say enough is enough. Let the young lives of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Sean Bell, John Crawford, and Trayvon Martin serve a higher purpose to shine the light of truth on our democracy and challenge us to meet the demand for equal justice in America.

If this isn’t about race, why are the only police shooting victims mentioned by Louis black? Why isn’t he equally concerned, for example, about John Geer?

Well, we know why, and so does Bouie.

Sometimes Bouie strays from his “let’s change the subject” course into outright lies, as when he writes,

“Police officers aren’t under siege from hostile elected officials. At no point, for example, has de Blasio attacked the New York City Police Department.”

Really? What does the Mayor’s statement, “Is my child safe, and not just from some of the painful realities of crime and violence in some of our neighborhoods,” said de Blasio, “but safe from the very people they want to have faith in as their protectors? That’s the reality” mean? Police seem to think it means that De Blasio’s child, who is black, may not be safe because “the very people they want to have faith in as their protectors”—that is, the police—are into killing black kids. So do I.

“Likewise, neither President Obama nor Attorney General Eric Holder has substantively criticized police,” continues Bouie. Nice word, “substantively.” Nice word, “police.” No, they both just made it clear that certain white men had profiled young men that “looked like they could be [Obama’s ] son” or even the young future President himself, and killed them. But this wasn’t a general criticism of police, so see?

It’s all a big misunderstanding!


Sources: Slate, The Atlantic

8 thoughts on “The Straw Man Cometh: Confronted With The Inevitable Results Of Their Race-Baiting, The “Hands-Up!” Crowd Claims It Was All A Misunderstanding

  1. I’ve heard twice now “well, the two police officers were minorities, so clearly there’s no connection to the white cops killing black kids problem.”

    To be honest, I’m kind of astonished to learn that so many of the faithful race wolf-criers are actually capable of seeing things in a non racial light. I thought everything was race. Well, at least everything that wasn’t already sexism, ageism, ableism…

  2. For years, there has been an organized effort in the Obama Administration, the progressive movement, the civil rights movement and among black activists to represent American society as racist, along with the American law enforcement system and justice systems…

    Yes, they go out of their way to *portray* that. It simply beggars the mind that in fact, given history, given COINTELPRO, given very recent recordings made in NYC that police were in fact ordered to single out and target minorities, given sentencing disparities, given the Rampart Scandal where police were shown to deliberately frame minority suspects, that American society, law enforcement, and the American justice system can be very racist at times. I guess those poor foolish minorities are deluded.

    People are out there protesting for greater accountability from the police. When it comes to marginalized groups, the feeling is that all too often the police are given far greater leeway to run ramshod in a way that would not, if say, Eric Garner was a upper-middle class white person suspected of committing a civil violation.

    As far de Blasio’s son, perhaps he does have something to fear from the police. Were you aware of this recording: , one of the few known recordings of a stop and frisk in progress? They threaten to break the detainee’s arm and punch him in the face, all without giving him a reason as to why he was stopped in the first place. When the boy asks why, they tell him it is because “he is a f****** mutt.” I think those same officers would call de Blasio’s kid the same thing.

    As I’ve said in the previous thread, nutjobs in America often try to get famous by inserting themselves into whatever current stories are out there. It looks like Brinsley succeeded, though unlike the two Jugaloos from the Bundy ranch who killed and beheaded police officers, he didn’t seem to be in any way actually associated with any of the protest groups.

    If people feel that they are being singled out/discriminated against/the police have overreached (and people can believe any and all of these things, as they there is room for overlap), what do you suggest they do? People are out there protesting giving legitimate voices to these feelings. People did not make up the stop and frisk policies in NYC, which shows that 90% of the people stopped were minorities, and 90% of those people were stopped for no reason. Even if you disregard Brown, people did not make up Tamir Rice, John Crawford, Akai Gurley, Andy Lopez, and countless others that do not receive national press coverage, but stories that people may know personally. People have a right to protest, and ask for greater accountability. If some crazy person decides to take it upon himself to kill someone because of the protest, that does not in any way de-legitimize what people were originally asking for. To try to do so is just a distraction.

    • Deery, The video you referenced was a very well made professional video which captured a recording of an event. Obviously, the producer went to great lengths to edit the video to make it compelling. I am surprised that this young man had the presence of mind to turn on an audio recorder when the police approached him. Why didn’t he get a video recording which would have been far superior and shown images of the harassing officers?

      While I am no fan of stop and frisk what I don’t understand is why the other young man in the video who claimed to experience similar events and knew the officers name never mentions any complaint filed by him. What is not shown is what action if any was brought against the officers in question and the outcome. The well made video leads one to conclude that nothing happened – but disciplinary action could have taken place. I guess that did not make it past the editing room floor. I guess editing is determined by the message you want to send.

      Finally, the obscured images of the officers making the charges to support the accusations seems a bit unnecessary. They should have had the fortitude to show themselves to the public. Are they more concerned about themselves than the people of the community? Anyone can be videoed as a silhouetted person in a police uniform. It takes a special officer or person to go public on an issue they feel is wrong. Maybe, obscuring their faces was by design to create a sense of fear and not real personal fear to get maximum impact.

      Given the NYPD is the most racially diverse force in the nation why would these officers feel threatened by superiors that demand they enforce a protocol that they felt was wrong. I would expect theta the black sergeants, lieutenants and captains would have supported them. The force is unionized so they would have had protection by the union rep if management retaliated. More to the point, had they made a stand they would have probably have been able to actually stop the process.

      I guess my question to you is why the community did not bring these issues to the police department’s community relations department early on to discontinue the practice when they initially felt they were being harassed? Why do they wait until frustration boils over.

      • Some good questions Chris. You may want to read this from the Village Voice that details one officer’s attempts to whistleblow on his precincts illegal practices, such as refusing to file complaints and ramping up the number of racially targeted stop and frisks. The result? Once they were able to figure out who the whistleblower was, they had him illegally involuntarily committed, and suspended him from the force.

        For more than two years, Adrian Schoolcraft secretly recorded every roll call at the 81st Precinct in Brooklyn and captured his superiors urging police officers to do two things in order to manipulate the “stats” that the department is under pressure to produce: Officers were told to arrest people who were doing little more than standing on the street, but they were also encouraged to disregard actual victims of serious crimes who wanted to file reports.

        Arresting bystanders made it look like the department was efficient, while artificially reducing the amount of serious crime made the commander look good.

        In October 2009, Schoolcraft met with NYPD investigators for three hours and detailed more than a dozen cases of crime reports being manipulated in the district. Three weeks after that meeting—which was supposed to have been kept secret from Schoolcraft’s superiors—his precinct commander and a deputy chief ordered Schoolcraft to be dragged from his apartment and forced into the Jamaica Hospital psychiatric ward for six days.

        I guess my question to you is why the community did not bring these issues to the police department’s community relations department early on to discontinue the practice when they initially felt they were being harassed? Why do they wait until frustration boils over.

        You are assuming that these issues have not been brought up, again and again. They have. The frustration boiling over is these concerns being discounted and ignored.

  3. “The unconscionable, politically-driven, factually and legally ignorant onslaught against a police officer defending himself will result in dead officers, defiant perps, and a recruitment crisis.”

    – Jack Marshall, prophesying in his December 7 post, “The Perils of Over-Regulating the Police: A Case Study”

  4. Y’know, mr deblasio, boiue, et al, that maybe if the original calls were for something, I don’t know, like an actual policy recommendation say “cops should try to de-escalate first”, instead of just more rhetoric… maybe solutions would be more forthcoming, and you wuldn’t have to backtrack so hard. Being ethical as a first impression matters. .

    Maybe saying instead, “‘you know, maybe the pendulum has swung a bit far..400 or so police related deaths a year seems high. What can we do to reduce it to 350, whether they are black or white deaths”. I mean, we are all vulnerable to accidents that can happen with the police.

    Just throwing away actual opportunities for social changes because it seems impossible for people to understand that all of our lives improving is not a bad thing.

    • Agreed, instead of making poster boys before the evidence is in and then ignoring contrary proof, address specific issues. Changes that should be doable. Statistics and patterns don’t make for drama, but we’ve already wasted at least six months where we could have done something effective.
      This isn’t just straw men to divert any kind of responsibility, but a tendency to want to make martyrs and be able to lead the storming of the Bastille. The Terror was not an improvement for anyone but the Corsican. They are making their opponents look better in comparison.

  5. Two notes:

    — A possible result of Zola’s Rejection: “Whenever you point accusingly at another person, three of your fingers point at yourself” (Chinese saying)

    — Re the description of John Geer’s physical position vis a vis the policeman who shot him: Aha! Another source of a “hands up” myth!

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