Our Inevitable, Everlasting ‘Racial Divide’

The flurry of polls released last week revealed that sharp disagreements exist between Black and White Americans about the killing of Michael Brown by a White police officer in Ferguson, Mo. on August 9, about the street protests that have followed, and about several issues of how police interact with civilians.

In surveys conducted by, among others, the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, by the New York Times and CBS, by the Huffington Post and YouGov, by the Washington Post, and by the Gallup Organization, Blacks were much more likely than Whites to: declare that the shooting of Michael Brown was unjustified; support President Obama's response to the killing and the protests; believe that the incident raises important racial issues; be sharply critical of the conduct of the Ferguson police since the shooting; and have little confidence in the subsequent local and state investigations.

All of which, of course, recalls the racial divides of similar or greater dimensions over the Trayvon Martin killing, trial and verdict; over the Jordan Davis killing, trial and verdict, and on and on all the way back down the well of America's tangled racial history.



Do’s and Don’ts of Charge-Off Debts

With 19 of the nation's banks annually selling $37 billion in charged-off debts, the absence of clear guidelines for banks and debt collectors has led to many consumers facing lawsuits, harassing telephone calls and threats over debts that they may not even owe. Even worse, debt collectors have coerced or sued the wrong people, overstated the amount, or even collected illegitimate debts.

Now, thanks in part to the efforts of advocates, a federal regulator has taken an important first-step towards holding banks accountable for the businesses they sell debts to and the threshold information that must now accompany those sales.

On August 4, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) issued guidelines that 1,729 national banks and federal savings associations must now observe. As of June 30, these institutions collectively held $7.76 trillion in assets.



Policing the Police

julianne malveauxExcept for the Good Lord, everybody has someone or something to "check" him or her. Unfortunately, President Obama has an unresponsive Congress to check him, and Supreme Court to do the same. Elected officials are checked by voters (when they vote), and the Securities and Exchange Commission usually checks corporate crooks. Reputable media sources correct their errors and plagiarists lose their jobs. Everybody has to answer to somebody. There are consequences for everyone – except the police.

At least that's part of the story Sunil Dutta tells in an article he wrote for the Washington Post:

"If you don't want to get shot, tased, pepper-sprayed, struck with a baton or thrown to the ground, just do what I tell you. Don't argue with me, don't call me names, don't tell me that I can't stop you, don't say I'm a racist pig. Don't threaten that you'll sue me and take away my badge. Don't scream at me that you pay my salary, and don't even think of walking aggressively towards me. Most field stops are complete in minutes. How difficult is it cooperate for that long?"'

This is the police mentality — I have the power and you don't so just shut the hell up and submit to any outrage. I have a badge and you don't, so I have the right to stop you while driving because you are too black and too young to have this new car. I have a right to stop you while you are running for the bus because you might, just might, have been running from a robbery. I have the right to harass you while you are standing still, just because. I have a right to talk to you rudely and belligerently. My badge gives me the ability to violate your rights.



Differences in Black and White

george e curry 2011Public opinion polls confirm a fact that has been documented in instances ranging from the O.J. Simpson verdict to recent events in Ferguson: When it comes to race, Blacks and Whites largely view events through a different set of lenses.

Several recent polls provided yet more proof of this disheartening trend.

According to a recent New York Times/CBS News poll, more than half of Black Americans polled – 57 percent – said the killing of the unarmed, 18-year-old Michael Brown by Ferguson, Mo. Police Officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9 was "not justified". Among Whites, 25 percent said the shooting death was unjustified.

In addition, 31 percent of White Americans, and 71 percent of Blacks, said they think police are generally more likely to use deadly force against a person of color than a White person.



Which Way to Progress

joeA look at the local daily newspapers reveals the troubles in foreign places like China, Kenya, Iraq, Ukraine, Russia, and Israel. However, the stories reported about Blacks in America are of the death of Mike Brown, an unarmed young Black man in Ferguson, Missouri at the hands of a trigger happy Policeman and another dead Black man, Eric Garner, in New York, killed by an illegal choke hold by police.



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