The US: Police, Ghettos and White Privilege



Dealing with the police in America can be truly difficult sometimes. I remember standing with my head to the wall and my hands up because of a noisy dorm party that would have gone without comment in the Czech Republic. I think of a roommate who spent two days in a group holding cell with criminals of the worst kind because a girl recalled that he had given her an unwanted kiss. (Yes, it was actually over a kiss, not sex.) I remember a friend who was driving around the States in an old clunker that had a push-button starter. He got into a very unpleasant situation when a police officer stopped him and, with hand on pistol, told him to toss his car keys out of the window. (He resolved the situation by tossing out his apartment keys in order to placate the officer.) In America, the police can stop you simply because you are on foot. (It is rather suspicious … and, by the way, it is no fantasy that this is how the action starts in “Rambo I.”) These are trivial anecdotes, to be sure, but they show a pattern which, in tense situations, can (and does) lead to excessive use of force, resulting needlessly in death.

All the same, there is no situation in which the police will not help you. You will not hear, “The damages are less than 5,000 Czech crowns. Don’t bother us with it.” These guys are strict, that’s all. Everyone knows not to mess around with them, and to do what they say without talking back. Sometimes this can be maddening, and in the case of a minor infraction, the inability to work out some kind of common sense resolution can be frustrating. At the same time, you know that this is a country where violent crime is much more common than among Czechs, and police practices reflect this. Moreover, it is not necessarily this way everywhere. The United States is vast. Law enforcement is the responsibility of each state, town and county, and may be administered differently in each place. Often sheriffs—rural keepers of the peace, most often elected—are more personable than big city police or state police. Even within the limits of a single city, an officer in one district may stop you simply because he does not like how you look (or God forbid, if you are drinking beer), while a mile and a half away in the ghetto, people are shooting each other at such a rate that U.S. Army medics come to hospitals there for training because gunshot wounds are an everyday occurrence. Still, just as ticket inspectors in Prague would rather nab a confused tourist than argue with homeless people, it is sometimes easier to nab a boy smoking weed in the park than a gang member who has just shot someone (usually another gang member).

Golden Chanov

Those ghettos are absolutely fascinating, and let us be glad that we have nothing of the sort here in the Czech Republic. In comparison, even a place like Chanov* is like a walk in the park. In all seriousness, there are places in the U.S. in which a respectable person would never in their life set foot, and would normally prefer not to even drive through. The quality of public services—transportation, schools and medicine, etc.—is abysmal. The usual social pattern is a single mother with a number of children, each by a different father, who, in any case, they do not know. It is nearly impossible to escape by climbing the social ladder. Here, one makes a living by selling drugs, and dies from drugs (or bullets). Hip hop’s glorification of the cult of violence, drugs and total promiscuity only deepens the pervasive despair. There is a complete lack of positive social patterns, such as family, work and education. Here, there is total nihilism. These are places where, on certain days, students do not go to school because it is the local gang’s “initiation day” when new members have to kill someone, anyone, so it is better that children stay home. In reality, the destructive subculture of violence, drugs and lack of family, and not police brutality, is the basic problem of the black ghettos.

Oddly enough, those ghettos flourish mainly in big cities which Democrats have dominated for decades, usually at least 50 years. Oddly enough, it is those Democrats who have for decades restricted or completely prohibited gun ownership, and even so, their cities still lead in crime statistics. Oddly enough, those are the cities where Democrats offer sanctuary to illegal immigrants with criminal backgrounds. Those are the cities where Democrats rely on the black vote—in Minneapolis, Democrats have held power continuously for 60 years—and all the while, conditions in black neighborhoods only get increasingly worse. Instead of elevating positive role models, Democrats are constantly stroking egos, saying that black people are not responsible for the current situation. Someone else now or in the past is to blame.

Oddly enough, those are the very Democrats who like to talk about poor people and black people, but will not venture into the areas where they live. I recall how once the vice dean of the University of Kansas drove my girlfriend and me to the bus station.

Here a digression is necessary. In America, intercity buses are used only by the lower classes of society. On a trip from Nebraska to Minneapolis, I was the only white person. At the bus station, a security guard armed with a shotgun stood by while we disembarked. So then, the vice dean was a respectable liberal Democrat, full of understanding for minorities, but it was evident that he had not seen any lower class minorities for a long time. His anxiety first began to show when we rolled into the inner city, and by the time we reached the bus station, you could cut the tension with a knife. There was no danger at any time, only people of a somewhat different sort than he was used to. Although he had previously promised to join us for coffee, he dropped us off and bolted back to the safety of the suburbs.

Side by Side, Not Together

Here, you see different elements of society live side by side. The overwhelming majority of crimes in the U.S. are committed in large cities, and in several districts within these cities. In 2014, 54% of murders were committed in 2% of the counties and in several small areas within these counties. By the way, the vast majority of these murders are limited to a single race; a black gunman is most likely to shoot another black man. Now, however, violence has even spilled over into better neighborhoods, and lower class black people are by no means the only participants. Bored and politically radicalized white youths are also joining in. We are seeing how fragile the shell of the social contract truly is. The moment an inflammatory event occurs—at this moment, it is the killing of George Floyd, a black man arrested by Minneapolis police—the state is suddenly helpless. The police simply do not have the capacity to deal with the situation, unless they are willing to begin shooting into a crowd. Even that might not help, and could lead to an escalation of violence. There are not enough riot police, and the regular city police are not trained in street fighting and dispersing crowds. Even the National Guard and the U.S. Army lack this training; moreover, it always takes a couple of days before they arrive on the scene. In the first moments, you must defend yourself, if you have a gun, courage and a big dose of luck, or simply sacrifice your business.

What we are seeing is not merely an uncontrolled mob of looters. The theory of inherited white guilt for slavery and discrimination, invented by white liberals, makes primitive roughnecks and thieves drunk with the feeling that what they are doing is just and right. Pulitzer Prize winner Nikole Hannah-Jones of The New York Times wrote that the destruction of property is not violence. (This echoes the fight against “the fetishizing of private property rights” by our own clinic squatters.) In Minneapolis, city council members consider disbanding the local police. An opinion piece appears in The New York Times advising white people to avoid speaking to their relatives if they do not support the protests in person or financially. When the Times prints a piece by Republican Sen. Tom Cotton in which he calls for the U.S. Army to be sent in, there is a scandal and an editor is forced to resign. An MSNBC news anchor stands in front of a burning building, and with a straight face, insists that what is going on is basically a peaceful protest. But wait, something is on fire.

Without much resistance, white people let themselves be convinced to kneel in the street in front of a camera and apologize for their white privilege. It is only the private initiative of a young boy in New York, not an official action. Still, this does not diminish the staggering fact that a young black boy comes to you on the street, tells you to kneel and apologize on camera for the guilt of the past, and you simply do it.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is also kneeling. CNN gives airtime to an activist who says that white children should not have an innocent childhood as long as black children do not have an innocent childhood. People in the streets hold “religious services” in which they ask for forgiveness of white guilt. In other places, they wash the feet of black demonstrators.

Who Will Profit from This?

What should we make of all this? Has America lost its mind? No. People will have even less trust in the mainstream media. Ghettos will get worse, since they are always last when it comes to repairing ruined infrastructure. Numbskulls are doing penance in the streets for the sins of an era 200 years removed. In spite of this, one thing is true everywhere around the world. What everyone fears more than anything else is anarchy. “Better a thousand years of tyranny than three days of anarchy,” says a Middle East proverb. Put in American terms, most people do not want looted stores, chaos in the streets and burning cities. They will support anyone who is able to create at least the impression that he can handle the situation, whether it is Donald Trump or Joe Biden.

*Translator’s note: Chanov is a Roma ghetto in the town of Most in the Czech Republic.

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