September 29, 2009

"I winced when I saw the wooden railroad plank being smacked against Derrion Albert’s head."

"My stomach turned when I saw the five other young black men stomp on Albert. By the end, my eyes welled up with tears when I realized what I saw: A 16-year-old child beat to death. No doubt it was difficult for me to get through the entire 2:27 of footage, even with parts blurred out, and I’m sure it will be difficult for others to watch as well, but the fact remains: We need to watch. We need to watch and not turn away because as history has taught us, it’s the only way we’re going to learn."

I don't believe it’s the only way. Go ahead and look if that's what you think you need to care. But how can you not already understand that other people are real?
Back in the 1960s, we only needed to see footage of black protesters being beaten, hosed down and attacked by police dogs once to understand how bad racism was down South.
That's a different use of "only." It is enough to see pictures sometimes (though pictures, even moving pictures, can deceive).  But that doesn't mean that pictures are the only way to learn what evil is, what suffering is. And we fall short if only pictures work for us. Indeed, we are open to manipulation if that is our sole method of learning.

I'm reminded of words from another context:
"Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."

72 comments:

MrBuddwing said...

In the words of the onetime Librarian of Congress, Daniel Boorstin: "Nothing is really real unless it happens on television." I don't think *he* believed that; I think it's a reflection on the way we've come to rely on television to tell us the "truth."

Methadras said...

I wonder if you winced and asked for the beheadings of Americans like Daniel Pearl or Nick Berg for example and other foreign nationals at the hands of AQ to become must-see TV as well?

Florida said...

"Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."

Yikes! Quoting Rush approvingly? (No, wait, I mean Jesus.)

Crude comment from Alex in ...

3

2

1

Turn away Nancy, turn away! Don't look into the light!

Balfegor said...

Now, in 2009, many of us need to see the video of 16-year-old Derrion Albert being beat to death at least once to understand it’s no longer just the police and white people of whom we need to be afraid. It’s also each other.

Really? He didn't know that? At least for Whites and Blacks, the vast majority of crime is same-race crime -- interracial crime is a tiny subset of all crime with Black and White victims. I suspect the same is true for other races as well.

save_the_rustbelt said...

I still remember vividly the photos in Life magazine, police dogs, fire hoses, night sticks.

And Larry Burrow's photos of Viet Nam.

Ask any good photog, sometimes a still says more than a video.

Skyler said...

I can't believe this happened in Chicago. They have such wonderful community organizers from there.

edutcher said...

It's the picture and 10,000 words principle that can make it effective. Ann says, "It is enough to see pictures sometimes". A good writer can create the same effect as full motion, but how many good writers are there? The same applies to the painter, sculptor, still photographer (Matthew Brady) and sketch artist.

The other problem is there's often a disconnect in film or video for some reason. The lack of immediacy can be an important factor.

There's a much-screened clip of the Normandy landings where you see a few soldiers advancing up the beach; one or two fall. I make a point of reminding myself those are real people, some dying in front of my eyes.

Florida said...

"They have such wonderful community organizers from there."

Not sure what you mean. This video is a tutorial on how they organize.

One group is "organizing"the other group.

Cedarford said...

Part of the theme of this and perhaps the Polanski topic is that certain people only react and care when a picture or video is thrust under their noses...to turn on their Caring! Their empathy.

Otherwise, they could give a crap about 100,000s of thousands of violent inner city crimes or 10,000 'hos aged 13 walking around California pregnant.

It is like their imagination and their sense of reality cannot conceive that which is outside their veiw, or assemble a big picture of a societal problem through critical thinking.

It's sad, and it may be why universal sufferage democratic systems ultimately fail. Too many people are too stupid or too easily manipulated to have any rightful place in a voting booth or on a jury.

===================
Balefagor - Really? He didn't know that? At least for Whites and Blacks, the vast majority of crime is same-race crime -- interracial crime is a tiny subset of all crime with Black and White victims. I suspect the same is true for other races as well.

Not true. Blacks account for the majority of armed robberies and rapes inflicted on whites and Asians.
And stranger on stranger murders of Asians are 70% by blacks.

It is true that the vast majority (96-99%) of murders, rapes, robbery done on blacks are NOT done by whites or Asians.

And the rate of hispanic v. black violence has dropped significantly for both sides as hispanics have sought to discourage schools and neighborhoods with a significant black-hispanic "mix".

The numbers skew even more significantly regarding black on other race crime when you consider the blacks are 13% of the population, and most of the violence comes from 2% of the net American population of young, undeclass black males aged 12-30.

And that much of the population tries to organize their family's activities to AVOID being around those young black underclass males in places where little or no security from them exists.

As is, a kid like Derrion Albert is 8-13 times more likely to be killed, almost always by fellow blacks - than a white or Asian kid. And his killers, young black males, murder at a rate 8-13 times higher than other races.

David said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David said...

What the hell difference does it make that it's videotaped, or that the poor kid was bashed with a stick the size of a barn beam?

Have you only just noticed that young black men (often boys, really) are killing other blacks for no particular reason on a daily basis?

Do you not understand that MURDER is the number one cause of death of young black males? And that this has been going on for some time? For a long time . . . .

Of course he knows this. Unfortunately the opinion leaders of black American have been spending so much time decrying injustice of white Americans, historical and otherwise, that they have ignored what they most could influence--the murderous culture of young black America, and the amazing indifference of many young blacks to the need for making education, not hipness or gang activity or shoes or shades or sex or rap--be the main focus of the "culture."

Obama is nothing unless you make it so. True change for black America can only come in millions of hearts who will reject the gangster cult that has posessed a sadly large portion of their youth, and is tolerated (or feared) by so many adults.

Iapetus said...

Would it be considered gauche if the members of the IOC selection committee in Copenhagen chose to raise this video-tape with the President when he arrives there later this week, or will they choose to say nothing? If any of them are aware of its existence, it would be hard for them to ignore it, wouldn't you think? Their reaction to this horrible incident and their impression of Chicago as a lawless city that's out of control has to be as negative as everyone else's.

bagoh20 said...

"Back in the 1960s, we only needed to see footage of black protesters being beaten, hosed down and attacked by police dogs once to understand how bad racism was down South."

That's the difference; you only saw it once. We have all seen similar or much worse hundreds of times. It's when we decide in our heads that this time it counts that we feel the dread. And let's face it, nobody wants to tell black kids to behave straight up in their face. It's a cultural taboo for some stupid reason. We either feel we have no right to, or we don't care about them. Either way it's wrong and blacks in this country are suffering fatally from it as they did from racism in the 60s.

From the audio, you could get the impression that some of the kids saw it as amusing, but not terrible. Few were saying "stop them" or "call 911". It just seemed like a good thing to watch and be able to talk about later. Not getting involved is deeply entrenched in us. One of our worst tendencies.

It's deeply tragic for the victim and those left behind to share that quaint neighborhood.

Roger J. said...

Last sunday's memphis commercial appeal published a graphic section on a weekend of violence in memphis--very graphic photos that IMO did a lot to drive home the point about crime in memphis and who the perpetrators and victims are.

bagoh20 said...

What David said.

Don said...

One can already know people are real and have empathy for their suffering and yet gain something new from the experience of watching the film. Seeing such a contemporary unflattering portrait of life in America is in itself a unique experience and an indictment of all of us. While photos of ugly Southerners might make us feel morally superior (your police dog and baton reference reminds me of the "Seen at Walmart" web site), the film is among many other things a very real data point about the society we have built. Sure, looking at it may open one to manipulation. It certainly hit me in the gut with feelings of sorrow, guilt and dismay. Looking away and patting yourself on the back for your ability to conjure up that reality in other ways may be a good way to avoid that manipulation. But its also an easy way to shield yourself from emotional responses and might also carry the risk of undeserved complacency.

m00se said...

I've told my wife many times - the black community needs to clean up its own act first, before anyone else can help them.

Black on black violence has always been the problem, and is getting much, much worse now.

Now, if they need to bring back a clone of Malcom X and use me and every other white person as the motivation, so be it. I'll play the bad guy.

Just do it for god's sake. Stop killing each other.

DADvocate said...

Cedarford and David pretty much hit the nail on the head. Black on black violence has killed many more blacks and done much more harm than the KKK in the last 50 years. Nationwide, in 2008 more blacks were arrested for murder than all other races combined. (FBI Uniform Crime Reports)

This is the dirty secret of which you can't speak without being called a racist.

Shanna said...

I'm not really sure why people need to see a video of someone getting killed to realize that that's a bad thing, but if that works for you have at it.

Bruce Hayden said...

Cedarford and David pretty much hit the nail on the head. Black on black violence has killed many more blacks and done much more harm than the KKK in the last 50 years.

Let me suggest that it is at least a 1000 to one ratio, probably much higher, and it would be even higher if you just looked at the last 30 or so years. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was 45 years ago, and laws of that time, along with vigorous enforcement, pretty much put an end to KKK violence.

Of course, the other thing that happened in the 1960s to swing the pendulum was the War on Poverty, which effectively completed the destruction of the Black two parent family. Growing up in fatherless households is probably the #1 reason for this level of violence.

DADvocate said...

Found this. For 2008, 3,024 blacks were murdered, 2,722 of those murders were committed by other blacks. But, fighting racism in Jenna, La. is more important.

Angst said...

As long as the Jeremiah Wright types are preaching victim hood to the inner-city elites, the root causes will go unchecked.

I weep for them.

bearbee said...

Won't watch it.

He was coming home from school.

Only positive is that the killers have been identified and taken into custody.

Obama worked as a community organizer in the Altgeld Gardens housing development area.

wv - dedde

Michael said...

What kind of people are these? What manner of "man" would sire these people and let them become like this? What kind of "community" would permit this?

Pogo said...

The hate that dares not speak its name.

Black on black violence; common and unemotional.
Born with federal assistance, that married women to the State and cut fathers loose,
Now means that boys raise each other, angry and uneducated, violent and unemployable, smug and undisciplined.

It's Lord of the Flies, a return to the barbarian state.
But of this nothing will come; even watching we will see something else, some other cause.

I saw the young minds of a whole generation destroyed by the state;
minds starving brutal bloodied,
dragging themselves through Chicago streets at 3
looking for a skull to crack.

Howl, indeed.

Peter S. said...

Over the past 30 years, almost all murders in the US were intraracial.

86% of white victims were killed by whites
94% of black victims were killed by blacks

Percentages for 2005 homicides:
white-on-white: 44.6%
black-on-white: 8.8%
white-on-black: 3.2%
black-on-black: 42.2%

Source: DOJ

ricpic said...

In the world of the beautiful people it's appropriate to post a story about a black beaten to death by other blacks with references to blacks beaten because they're black. What about what happened in NYC today? A young man exiting the Post Office on 33rd Street bumped into another young man. Seconds later the young man was dead. Knifed in the stomach twice. The young man calmly walking away was black. How do we know? A tourist snapped pictures of him. The young man who was dead happened to be hispanic. Could have been me. Could have been you. Happens daily in every major city in America. Black on non-black crime is an epidemic. But don't expect a posting about that. That's off the chart. Not to be spoken of by all beautiful right thinking people. And the slaughter goes on.

Balfegor said...

Re:

Over the past 30 years, almost all murders in the US were intraracial.

86% of white victims were killed by whites
94% of black victims were killed by blacks
.


Thanks, Peter S. Contra Cedarford and ricpic, these are about the figures I expected.

Balfegor said...

Although reading more carefully (perhaps more charitably?), I guess Cedarford pointedly did not talk about Black on White murder statistics, only Black on Asian:

Not true. Blacks account for the majority of armed robberies and rapes inflicted on whites and Asians.
And stranger on stranger murders of Asians are 70% by blacks
.

kentuckyliz said...

Y'all can have your urban dystopias.

John Lynch said...

The premise of this article is flawed.

The people who are shocked by this aren't perpetuating it.

In places where this violence is common (all over the world) it's not shocking. People are used to it.

traditionalguy said...

The familiarity of living in a violent environment is changing the younger persons on the juries. They don't see murder as any more a serious crime then say shop-lifting. What that means is that killing people is OK in those neighborhoods. I believe that the scriptures state that such universal acceptance of violent killing was God's reason for Noah and the flood, and that when Noah got the "World" re-started he was told to establish the Death Penalty to restrain violent murder and God promised not to re-do the flood (See, rainbows). Are we in the Days of Noah once again?

John Lynch said...

Oh, and I'm waiting for people to blame video games and TV.

MnMark said...

True change for black America can only come in millions of hearts who will reject the gangster cult that has posessed a sadly large portion of their youth, and is tolerated (or feared) by so many adults.

I've heard this palaver for the last 40 years. Year after year after year after year, it's the same stuff: "black people have to stop tolerating this...", "black parents have to stop tolerating this....", "it begins in the home...", "it's a legacy of racism and slavery....", etc, etc. The same stuff year after year. And the black people never stop tolerating it, the black parents never step up, the black homes never change. Meanwhile more and more of our cities go in this direction and we stand around twiddling our thumbs and declaring that it's just a national outrage!!.

Of course in the progressive universe, there IS nothing white people can do about this except keep paying their taxes to fund this nonsense, avoid thinking any racist thoughts, and keep volunteering and donating and contributing and apologizing for slavery while clucking over the sad, sad situation... and hope, hope, hope that black people will somehow, someday, get their act together.

Don wrote: Seeing such a contemporary unflattering portrait of life in America is in itself a unique experience and an indictment of all of us.

No it's not. It's an indictment of liberalism, which destroyed the moral order of society that in the past cracked down on this kind of behavior. It used to be "nipped in the bud". Then the hippies came along to free us from all that victorian square morality. Now young males who never had a father, thanks to a welfare system that makes it possible for women to look to the state for support, are acting just like young males act when they were raised without fathers. Even under the old victorian morality the black illegitimacy rate was 25% - but now it's 70%. Thank you liberalism.

m00se wrote: Now, if they need to bring back a clone of Malcom X and use me and every other white person as the motivation, so be it. I'll play the bad guy.

Speak for yourself. Continuing to blame whites for what is obviously 100% a black problem will never solve anything or help to solve anything.

Pogo said...

I blame video games and TV.

And crackers.

John Lynch said...

And cheetos?

John Lynch said...

The orange peril.

Darcy said...

Brude Hayden and Pogo: So true.

Will we ever learn?

Pogo said...

Hot Pockets, too.

Darcy said...

As long as pizza rolls are safe.

Treacle said...

those kids should hightail it to france and direct some good movies. then they won't need prison and their punishment can be found on the slopes of the swiss alps.

Jeremy said...

Only the assholes here would take a story like this and turn it into political bullshit relating to Obama, community organizers, liberals and how blacks need to take control of themselves...or even trying to make it somehow comical in some way (Cheetos, Hot Pockets, Crackers?)

A kid was murdered by a group of thugs...period.

It had nothing to do with any of the ridiculous crap you people try to make it into.

You're a disgusting sad crew.

Richard Dolan said...

This is an odd post by Anne, and an odder thread of comments.

Anne says: "I don't believe it’s the only way." Nor does the author of the article, from what I can tell. As I read it, the author's statement: "We need to watch and not turn away because as history has taught us, it's the only way we're going to learn," was more a plea to face the reality of the problem than an insistence that watching this particular video is essential. That seems to be the point of invoking what "history has taught us": to solve problems, you have to confront them.

The thread gets off into crime statistics, none of which will come as news to anyone. But it also gets into some pretty weird blame-games. It bears noting that the young man was murdered, not by abstractions, but by thugs who have names and faces. Three were arrested earlier today, and a fourth is being sought.

Jeremy said...

Let's see how "funny" or "political" the assholes here think this is...and be sure to read the last paragraph:

An 18-year-old man is behind bars and a 17-year-old male is wanted in connection with the deadly stabbing of a teenage girl in West Chester.

Police arrested Khrendon Gray of Springfield Township early Friday morning and charged him with one count of murder. He appeared in court on Friday where a judge set his bond at $1 million.

Gray is accused of fatally stabbing 15-year-old Amber Robinson Thursday evening.

On Friday afternoon, West Chester police issued an arrest warrant for 17-year-old Rashon Martin of Forest Park. The warrant is for complicity to commit murder in connection to the death of Robinson.

This case is very similar to the one in Chicago, an innocent teen being in the wrong place at the wrong time, except for the names and locations.

West Chester is where House Minority Leader John Boehner lives. As matter of fact this happened only a couple of miles from his house.

Jeremy said...

Richard - You must be new to this forum.

This is the norm.

Richard Dolan said...

Jeremy: I am not new, having posted comments here for the last four years or so. And you are wrong about what the 'norm' here is.

John Lynch said...

Jeremy needs more cheetos.

David said...

Jeremy said...

". . . .

A kid was murdered by a group of thugs...period."

Agreed.

And I don't think Obama caused this.

But over half the murders in this country are done by African-Americans. With 12% of the population. This does not mean that most African Americans are thugs or murderers. Of course they are not. But the leaders of the African American community are fighting the wrong fight. If the same energy were put into this problem as was put into civil rights in the 1950's and 60's, a lot could be accomplished. It would be harder than hell, but it could be accomplished. But they don't put the energy into it, or at least not enough people do.

Walking home from school safely is an important civil right.

steve said...

"it’s no longer just the police and white people of whom we need to be afraid". In today's America, who should a black man or woman fear more, a white person or a black male? A black in this country is FAR MORE likely to be victimized by one of his own race than by a white person. Have you ever watched the show "The First 48" on A&E? Almost every murder victim on that show is black and the perpetrator black also. Black on black crime is the huge elephant in the room no one ever wants to talk about. And so it goes on

Alex said...

More chow for the Althouse Hillbillies. Yum!

oncoyle said...

There must something society can do to help. What this neighborhood needs is a community center!

Methadras said...

Jeremy said...

West Chester is where House Minority Leader John Boehner lives. As matter of fact this happened only a couple of miles from his house.


Well, there you have it. Appeals to faulty analogies that only our resident lead Althouse Stooge here can provide. Way to go, Moe.

Methadras said...

David said...

Walking home from school safely is an important civil right.


It's those damn racist inter-city buses, I tell you.

Lyle said...

bh.tv comment thread I started. More or less shows that white progressives are too scare to thought of as racist to get serious about black on black violent urban crime in America. absolutely disgusting.

http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?t=4059

John Lynch said...

It seems to me that black Americans are very aware of this problem. Blaming the victims doesn't seem right.

I'm sure most white readers are tired of being condemned as racists because of the actions of others, and I can imagine blacks are pretty fed up with it as well.

And Cheetos, since a lot of people become irrationally angry in their presence, should be controlled.

Oxbay said...

I couldn't watch it.

Lyle said...

John Lynch,

Black Americans are aware of this problem? Really? Not enough to have ended the killings long ago. The violence has been out of control for years in some place.

Sure some people are aware. I know plenty of people who are, but the communities as a whole aren't... not enough to change themselves as individuals and as a community.

Freeman Hunt said...

Whatever happened to law and order. If some neighborhood is that violent, roll the police up there in force. Bring down the gavel and make the neighborhood safe. Why not?

Tibore said...

"We need to watch. We need to watch and not turn away because as history has taught us, it’s the only way we’re going to learn."

Bull. If anything else, seeing blurry, jumpy video almost abstracts it more. You don't see the blood (at least I didn't), you don't feel the suffering. If anything, video almost makes the event feel antiseptic. We've all been exposed to fiction in the form of movies where the violence is far more explicit, far more visually stunning, so seeing it in a real life, non-special effect, non-fictional video has unfortunately shown us that mere visuals, mere video has lost the power to shock.

But to read the reactions... to let our minds to take the abstraction and actively force our conscious self to relate it to what we know about pain, suffering, shock, horror... that allows us to experience and understand the situation. That allows us to know the depth and details that are missing from a video.

A picture has the ability to speak a thousand words, a video the same but at 24 to 36 pictures (frames) per second. The problem is, we've gotten too used to the impact of pure visual stimulation; it no longer shocks us. It takes words to put the taste of disgust in our mouths, to put the odd shiver of shock down our backs, to put the odd receding background of crowd noise in our ears.

Video has become too easy. It's allowed us to see but not experience. Words can remove what video interposes, and that's the distance and impersonality of the act. It's not just some other person out of some billions around; it's Derrion. You don't get his name from a video. But you get that and more from words.

Freeman Hunt said...

Hard-nosed judges, hard-nosed cops, harsh sentences, and big (for a time) prisons. Neighborhood would clean right up. Everyone gets his act together or he gets locked away until he's old and feeble (or forever) where he can't bother anybody else.

Freeman Hunt said...

Violence reigns where there is no law, the the innocent suffer greatly from it. Uphold the law.

Freeman Hunt said...

I don't see the need to even so much as address race on this issue. Nobody of any race wants to get murdered. Justice is supposed to be blind.

William said...

Follow the money. Al Sharpton will not gear up the protest machine for recompense. Who can they sue for millions? There will be no protests, no Springsteen song, no memory of Derrion's passing. Some victims are more victims than other victims.

Issob Morocco said...

Screw Afghanistan, I want to know how many troops Obama is going to deploy to the South Side of Chicago to combat this terorism.

You'd think this would be non-existent in the homeland in which he launched his career as a Community Organizer. Where is the Hope and Change for Chicago?

Copenhagen, perhaps?

Hoosier Daddy said...

Now, in 2009, many of us need to see the video of 16-year-old Derrion Albert being beat to death at least once to understand it’s no longer just the police and white people of whom we need to be afraid. It’s also each other.

Well the 'Reverend' Jackson said a long time ago when he heard someone walking behind him he was ashamed to feel relieved it was a white person.

Evidently the author is 10 years old or has been living in a cocoon for the last, oh, 40 years.

DADvocate said...

Jeremy - the Amber Robinson incident proves the point of black on black violence. Another honor student killed by a thug. A 15 year old girl stabbed in the back by an 18 year old man during a fight involving as many as 50 people. On the radio they said she may have been defending her boyfriend.

In metropolitan areas, two miles can be a different world. I work across the street from Cincinnati City Hall. If I walk less than a mile north, I'm in what was recently ID'd as the most dangerous neighborhood in the U.S.

Of course, you're attempted point about Boehner is idiocy.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Let's see how "funny" or "political" the assholes here think this is...and be sure to read the last paragraph:

That is brilliant Jeremy. I mean it really is.

Hey, I'm going to shatter your racist, political arguments on black on black crime by linking a story about a black man who stabbed a black girl to death.

Oh and it happened down the street from Boehner's house so there.

Jeremy said...

Hoosier - You still interested in dropping my balls into your mouth?

I'm available.

Jason said...

Ok, I watched it. All I could think of was the first 15 minutes of 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Am I going to Hell?

Hoosier Daddy said...

Hoosier - You still interested in dropping my balls into your mouth?

I'm available.


Having a dry spell with the old lady there pal?

Mr. Smarterthanyou said...

Next time they show a picture of the "honor student", look at the eyes that are half-closed in the picture. He isn't so clean.

When I think about demands for reparations, I think that blacks should thank god that white people don't get so disgusted by the constant violent and anti-social displays by blacks that we turn on them en masse. If blacks magically dissapeared from the US, we would lose 12% of the population, and our crime rates would drop by over half. Reparations is putting up with that fact and not going Rwanda on them.

Mr. Smarterthanyou said...

PS When you talk about law enforcement, imagine going into one of the most violent parts of town, and getting attacked by gangs of blacks. If you defend yourself, you are a racist. If you shoot someone robbing a little old lady, you are a racist. Imagine investigating a report of a break-in, if you are a white cop and you happen to question a black home-owner, you are a racist. Oops, that last one was in a rich area.

Needless to say, why would cops go into lose-lose situations? They stay away, where they cannot be called racist, and the area goes to hell, largely through the collective stupidity of the residents themselves and through the stupidity of the media and the Jesse Jackson types.