Empty Protest

The “black lives matter” protests in Richmond continued yesterday as about 50 demonstrators laid down on the street at the intersection of West Broad and North Harrison Streets, blocking traffic at a major intersection near Virginia Commonwealth University. What is remarkable about participants in this group is their inability to articulate grievances beyond poster-board slogans like “Don’t Shoot” and “I Can’t Breathe.”

Richmond Police Major Steve Drew took the protesters by surprise by offering to discuss their grievances in a public forum and talk about police brutality and what Richmond police can do “to make things better,” according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Several protesters responded positively to the suggestion. But it’s not clear if they even have grievances with Richmond police specifically.

“Protesters chanted ‘black lives matter,’ calling for action and threatening to ‘shut it down.’ Several sang a song about “the violence of the racist police,'” writes reporter Brandon Shulleeta. But…

Reporters pressed protesters on what they were asking for. Some gave broad answers about inequality, some said they couldn’t speak for others, and several simply said the protests would continue.

Demonstrators can’t point to any cause celebre of unjustified police violence here in Richmond. Indeed, their protests are tuned entirely to national news, not local events. It’s not even clear how many of the protesters were local. At least one citizen told the TV cameras, “I’m not a Richmond citizen, and I can’t speak for the Richmond community….”

Here’s a news flash: In Richmond, the African-American mayor is working with the African-American sheriff and the African-American commonwealth attorney to reform the criminal justice system to reduce the number of inmates (overwhelmingly African-American) incarcerated in the city jail without jeopardizing public safety. I wrote about that initiative about a year or so ago, and I’m not sure how it’s going. But that’s where the action is. If the protesters (a group comprised of whites and blacks) want to dialogue about something meaningful, they need to stop blocking traffic and start boning up on the real issues.

Meanwhile, here are some follow-up questions for local media: Who organizes these events? Where are the organizers from? How do they make a living? Who, if anyone, is funding them? Is this a genuine, local grass roots movement or the work of outside agitators with zero knowledge of local issues?

— JAB

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36 responses to “Empty Protest

  1. I think the essential message is “there is still a big problem” even if not well articulated by all participants.

    poverty – breeds unemployment – which breeds finding ways to make money that is not legal which ends up with arrest and jail – and then back on the streets with not only no education but a criminal record – which makes you even more unemployable.

    then you get arrested again and go to prison – for years and your family ends up in even worse financial circumstances.. dependent on entitlements and the kids not having a well-educated mom to help them succeed in school.

    and as an aside –

    Jim gripes about economically disadvantaged kids whose parents don’t help their kids but the parents themselves often have terrible “educations”

    and my question is – why do so many blacks have bad educations to start with such that they are not capable of instilling in their kids a culture of education?

    at any rate – this is what the black folks are talking about.

    It don’t matter if it is Richmond or Ferguson the fundamental problem is the same – poverty and a lack of a good education.

    just because Richmond has no riots or has a black sheriff or other black leadership does not change the metrics.. you can’t fix poverty and crappy educations in citizens by having a black Police Chief.

  2. “It don’t matter if it is Richmond or Ferguson the fundamental problem is the same – poverty and a lack of a good education.”

    Will $10.00/hour minimum wage and free college education solve the problem?

    • Probably what would help most – would be to NOT incarcerate people dealing street drugs and yes – get as many young folks as possible – educated so they are capable of going to Community College and getting a vocational/occupational certificate that will land them a job.

      As the country gets older – health care offers opportunities.

      I go to a couple of specialists – and all the doctors in both practices are from places like India and Pakistan.. The same is true of software companies.

      these are jobs that USA kids are NOT getting because they lack a sufficient education.

      the number 1 economic development and entitlement-killing tool is education.

  3. “Education” is a pretty broad concept.
    What, specifically, do you propose-
    We have subsidized Day Care, Head Start, pre-K and all the rest.
    Why have the advocates of the impoverished not designed a system of education that produces literate, skilled youth to date?
    Free college (community college) for illiterate, unskilled, unmotivated youth? Waste of their time and the taxpayers money.
    What do you propose?

    • in K-5, the economically disadvantaged do poorly unless they receive head-start -type education.

      It works when it is done right and it produces kids that score high in core academic english, math and science.

      I do not advocate community college for any kid who does not have the grades necessary to get in.

      Once they do get in – we need to determine if they are on a legitimate 4-yr path or they are better off getting a 2yr degree and a certificate for a trade or law enforcement, medical technologists, etc..

      but even this modest goal is not attainable if they fail K-3 math and reading.

      there are no guarantees. some kids will not make it – but others will and over time the numbers in the cycle of poverty will lessen and they’ll grow up with a better education than their parents and their kids will get a better education than their parents.

      public schools is what changed our agrarian society of ignorant people with little or not education into a nation where virtually everyone got a decent high school educatio – except for blacks.

      and we are still reaping that failure.. it cycles generationally and your choice is to fix it or make excuses and continue the cycle of poverty.

      Making blacks the Chief of Police or even the Superintendent of schools won’t change this.

      we have to have k-3 education specifically tailored to kids whose parents are poor and uneducated. It’s a different kind of kid to teach than the kids who have college-educated parents.

  4. “we have to have k-3 education specifically tailored to kids whose parents are poor and uneducated. It’s a different kind of kid to teach than the kids who have college-educated parents”.

    The above is so obvious a high school educated person would understand that.

    You are making a statement- Where is your specific solution?

    • the specific solution is head-start style education techniques carried through to 5th grade.

      It spends more time on basic language and math concepts that many kids of college-educated already know when they enter school but the economically disadvantaged are weak on.

      it requires more frequent and more granular assessments like PALS to determine the specific sub-areas of deficits – and specialized help to remediate.

      There are schools in Va right now that do this. Most of them are smaller districts that do not have multiple neighborhood schools that align more or less with the economic demographics of the neighborhoods.

      in school districts with multiple schools and boundary-defined poor neighborhoods – it matters if the teachers are experienced and skilled veterans or brand-new-out-of-college types basically thrown in the maw of a seriously underperforming neighborhood school.

      Basically -you have to understand that economically-disadvantaged do not learn the same way that kids of educated parents do – and you have to provide the higher level Title 1 services to get them up and on grade level.

      Many of these poor neighborhood schools overwhelm their Title 1 resources that are provided by the Feds and they are not supplemented with State or local resources.. and the kids that are behind – never catch up and go on to end up much like their parents – functional illiterates incapable of anything but the most menial of work.

  5. “Basically -you have to understand that economically-disadvantaged do not learn the same way that kids of educated parents do – and you have to provide the higher level Title 1 services to get them up and on grade level”.

    Now, had a conservative made such a statement, he/she would be labeled as a racist, bigot, etc., etc.

    Many parents, who care about their children’s education, look towards charter schools in many cities with minority school-aged populations as an alternative to regular public schools.
    Charter school are NOT supported by this Administration.

    So Larry, how do you explain the dismal state of early education?
    How would you fix it, specifically?

    • re: ” “Basically -you have to understand that economically-disadvantaged do not learn the same way that kids of educated parents do – and you have to provide the higher level Title 1 services to get them up and on grade level”.

      Now, had a conservative made such a statement, he/she would be labeled as a racist, bigot, etc., etc.”

      Nope. Most conservatives talk about lazy parents or “genes”.. or other overt racist verbiage.

      speaking about economically disadvantaged by the way – about 1/2 of kids in Va that are white – fall into that same category – and they exhibit the same learning issues.

      “Many parents, who care about their children’s education, look towards charter schools in many cities with minority school-aged populations as an alternative to regular public schools.
      Charter school are NOT supported by this Administration.”

      When Charter Schools have to accept ALL the same demographics that public schools have to AND they have to meet the same academic standards – you’ll find me agreeing. Until then – it’s a dishonest backdoor way to harm public schools and disadvantaged kids.

      “So Larry, how do you explain the dismal state of early education?
      How would you fix it, specifically?”

      you know – I’ve told you already – chapter and verse.

      kids of parents who are not well educated are behind and do not learn the same as kids of parents who are well-educated.

      Now I have to ask you if you are listening and comprehending or are you yet another ideological zealot not truly interested in real solutions?

      got that?

  6. El Sidd – I have no problem with other schools competing with public schools in teaching the economically disadvantaged as long as they produce results that meet or exceed what public schools are doing – and I include “bad” neighborhood schools – especially.

    but the reality is that a school that has 70-80% disadvantaged kids is not going to be an easy challenge for Charter or Voucher or other types of schools including public. I doubt seriously that they’ll perform without the talent that is needed to teach the tougher-to-teach kids. And that talent is not going to come without serious financial incentives beyond pension and healthcare.

    So you have to ask yourself what exactly you are advocating when you advocate Charter or similar. I’m from the trust but verify school myself. I’m not going to turn over money to Charters or anyone else without significant accountability.

    we already have a ton of fly-by-night diploma mills defrauding returning GIs of their education benefits. We’re not going to replicate that with Charter preying on the poor.

  7. “kids of parents who are not well educated are behind and do not learn the same as kids of parents who are well-educated.”

    I told you it was in their genes!

    • “Our results, thus, indicate that despite the adversities related to parental criminality, having a father who has been convicted of crime is unlikely to influence cognitive development in the offspring when the effects of other factors associated with parental antisocial behaviour, including genetic risks, are taken into account,” the authors said.”

      ” Conclusion. Despite having found no evidence in support of a genetic basis for violent crime, the Mednick group typically emphasizes the theme of alleged genetic influences on criminality in general. The investigators could have given their papers titles such as, “No Genetic Basis for Violent Crime,” or “Environmental Causes of Violence Must be Identified,” but instead used potentially misleading titles such as “Genetic Influences in Criminal Convictions: Evidence from an Adoption Cohort,” “Genetic Correlates of Criminal Behavior,” and “Predisposition to Violence.”

      I’m of the view that your submission of the above says as much about you as the subject you want to point at especially when there is ample evidence in the US of disparities in school resources for poor neighborhood schools – black and white.

      If you were REALLY interested in the issue – you’d not be concerned at all about the color of the students.

      shame on you – again.

  8. “The research, conducted by scientists in Sweden and Finland, indicates that the link is not directly caused by fathers’ behaviour but is instead explained by genetic factors that are shared by father and son.”

    Shame on me?????

    You are not smart enough to understand, nor able to cast shame!

  9. HCJ – how many homicidal killers in prison are black?

    How many serial killers or mass killers are black? got that data and a view as to what it means with regard to whites?

    According to Wikipedia, 75% of the rampage killings on US record were perpetrated by white males, as were 71% of massacres in schools, and 60% of workplace rampages –

    Now – how many kids of these homicidal killers have themselves become homicidal killers? so how does that work out in Virginia or the USA?

    Did you see the points made between violent and nonviolent criminal behavior?

    do you consider selling penny ante street drugs to be “violent” behavior like serial or mass killings?

    black on black killings which are admittedly high, are largely gang wars .. not that different from the organized (often Italian) crime we have seen in New York and Chicago nor the Hispanic gang wars in California.

    This kind dialogue – primarily pointed at one race – while ignoring all the other data about whites, – is nothing short of – .. what walks, talks, and acts – like racism.

    so yes -I can read – AND UNDERSTAND the CONCLUSIONS of these studies AND put them in a context that is not racial.

    your attitude here is shameful. you are making a racist argument.

  10. http://news.sciencemag.org/biology/2014/10/genes-dont-just-influence-your-iq-they-determine-how-well-you-do-school

    There you go with the race baiting again.

    I didn’t realize the Swedes were racist.

    Soon you will understand your genes are who and what you are. I thought maybe you came to that realization earlier;
    ““kids of parents who are not well educated are behind and do not learn the same as kids of parents who are well-educated.”

    • these studies you cite – conclude that there is no connection between violent crime and genes.. and yet you attempt to use it to portray blacks as intellectually inferior because of crime.

      but your problem is that you’re not applying it without regard to race.

      you’re purposely making it about race – as you have in past BR dialogue.

      so you’re taking studies that have nothing to do with race – and you’re making it about race.

      wrong.

  11. I think you missed the boat here OR you have attempted to corrupt the meaning.

    ” ““kids of parents who are not well educated are behind and do not learn the same as kids of parents who are well-educated.”

    so let me make it crystal clear to you. Nothing I said is about genes and everything I said is about how people learn relative to their basic education.

    Kids of well-educated parents are “educated” by their parents in the years prior to the kids going to school. Kids of less-educated parents suffer in comparison especially if Mom is mired in poverty .. herself and not a very good parent.

    you think that is genes apparently. I think it’s not and I think it applies across the board no matter if Mom is white, black, hispanic or whatever.

    it has nothing to do with genes and everything to do with the parent, whether or not they live in poverty and their level of literacy.

    you keep wanting to make this about race – look back over your postings to BR on theses threads involving education and it’s pretty clear you think that genes affect kids performance in schools – in ways related to race.

    that’s been your point through many of the posts you have commented on.

    and I think it’s a sad reflection on you as a human and your role in how these issues are attempted to be resolved.

    In a word – you are not about helping to find solutions.

    you want to blame and wash your hands and walk away as if – even if you were right -it solves anything.

    you don’t believe these kids can be educated.

    that’s essentially your entire point – right?

  12. Jim’s questions:
    Meanwhile, here are some follow-up questions for local media: Who organizes these events? Where are the organizers from? How do they make a living? Who, if anyone, is funding them? Is this a genuine, local grass roots movement or the work of outside agitators with zero knowledge of local issues?

    Need follow-up…
    Police Major Steve Drew’s offer to hold a public forum to discuss the protestors’ grievances should be well publicized and attended by as many citizens as possible.
    The threat to “Shut Down” if they don’t get the demanded “Justice” should not be ignored.

    • We may not like the demonstrations. We may think some of the players like Jim has captured here in the video are ignorant, poorly informed and unable to articulate even a logical message and led by rabble rousers.

      but we’d be just as ignorant to not take seriously the underlying message which is a complaint about what they feel is inequitable treatment in terms of education and the legal system, i.e. we don’t like being poor and cheated on education by being sent to bad schools and get put in prison for trying to make a living selling street drugs.

      this is a complaint.. and we can ignore it if we want -but it’s not going to go away and if we keep poking the hornets nest – it’s going to turn out badly for everyone – like it has before in our history.

      you have clear warnings of this in Ferguson, New York, and many other places including, now, Richmond – and it won’t take much to re-ignite it because fundamentally they feel that they’ve been victimized by a system that is biased against them.

  13. And just who are the “rabble rousers”?
    Their, the Al Sharptons’, message, wherever they operate, is to stoke the resentments caused by being “victimized by a system that is biased against them”.

    • if you think this is caused by a few Al Sharpton types – you’ve been listening too much to FAUX News and it will be to your harm to not understand the width and breadth of the underlying sentiment that are being “stoked”.

      if you ignore what is going on – you’d part of the problem. We cannot have great swathes of people who fail to receive an adequate education and live in poverty for generations.. it’s going to bite us.. if we do not address it.

  14. Lyndon B. Johnson declared the War on Poverty in his State of the Union Address on January 8, 1964.
    51 years ago- 1/2 a century.

    “if you ignore what is going on – you’d part of the problem. We cannot have great swathes of people who fail to receive an adequate education and live in poverty for generations.. it’s going to bite us.. if we do not address it”.

    If one substitute the word “avail” instead of ” receive” we may start moving in the right direction.

    • re: ” Lyndon B. Johnson declared the War on Poverty in his State of the Union Address on January 8, 1964.
      51 years ago- 1/2 a century.

      you’re trading in right wing propaganda from the echo chamber.

      He no more fixed that problem than any other politician did what they promised – like Bush with Mission Accomplished..

      what the dooda does that have to do with the price of tea in china other than to once again trot out right wing tropes that have no relevance to the real world?

      “if you ignore what is going on – you’d part of the problem. We cannot have great swathes of people who fail to receive an adequate education and live in poverty for generations.. it’s going to bite us.. if we do not address it”.

      If one substitute the word “avail” instead of ” receive” we may start moving in the right direction.”

      you cannot “avail” yourself of a good education if you are 8 years old and they’re not providing the resources needed for you to learn.

      Our schools have been turned into College Prep for those who are not poor in in many places.

      The “good schools” in the “good neighborhoods” don’t look nothing like the schools in the poor neighborhoods and that’s an equity issue – and it is more than noticed by the folks getting the crappy education resources.

      continue to pretend otherwise – and Al Sharpton will be the least of your worries.

  15. “Our schools have been turned into College Prep for those who are not poor in in many places”.

    What is wrong with that?

    Your only solution so far is that Head-Start type education should be extended thru k-5. If a child does not have the basics -reading, writing and arithmetic by grade 2-3, he/she will not acquire that knowledge magically by 5th grade.

    So, how would YOU improve public schools and early education? I know, you mentioned that you indicated chapter ands verse earlier, but did not mention the content of either.

    • re: ” What is wrong with that?”

      you’re not producing workers for the non-college jobs and we’re not producing taxpayers but rather entitlement burdens.

      “Your only solution so far is that Head-Start type education should be extended thru k-5. If a child does not have the basics -reading, writing and arithmetic by grade 2-3, he/she will not acquire that knowledge magically by 5th grade.”

      are you familiar with Title 1? If not , go educate yourself and come back.

      “So, how would YOU improve public schools and early education? I know, you mentioned that you indicated chapter ands verse earlier, but did not mention the content of either.”

      I would provide MORE TITLE 1 resources to economically disadvantaged kids and to track those kids on a more frequent assessment basis and deliver additional help to address their specific deficits.

      I’ve told you this before.. do you not listen?

      go educated yourself on Title 1…

  16. “I would provide MORE TITLE 1 resources to economically disadvantaged kids and to track those kids on a more frequent assessment basis and deliver additional help to address their specific deficits.”

    So, more money– simple. A program enacted in 1965 as part of War on Poverty-just needs money to succeed after 1/2 century of effort…

    Larry,
    why are you so —angry??

    • “I would provide MORE TITLE 1 resources to economically disadvantaged kids and to track those kids on a more frequent assessment basis and deliver additional help to address their specific deficits.”

      So, more money– simple. A program enacted in 1965 as part of War on Poverty-just needs money to succeed after 1/2 century of effort…”

      what costs more money ? Title 1 or a lifetime of entitlements and incarceration?

      “Larry,
      why are you so —angry??”

      I’m not.. I just see the right wing echo chamber and it’s gullible adherents and resident racists as unfit to deal with real issues that we must deal with.

      I say that most “pleasantly”.

      😉

  17. from the National Center for Policy Analysis:

    The War on Poverty Has Cost $22 Trillion

    January 23, 2015
    Since the War on Poverty began under President Lyndon Johnson, welfare spending has exploded to sixteen times its original size. In a new report from the Heritage Foundation, Robert Rector and Rachel Sheffield tackle the welfare system, explaining how spending has skyrocketed since the 1960s.
    •America has spent more on welfare than defense since 1993.
    •The War on Poverty has cost $22 trillion — three times more than what the government has spent on all wars in American history.
    •Federal and state governments spend $1 trillion in taxpayer dollars on America’s 80 means-tested welfare programs annually.
    •One-third of all Americans receive benefits from at least one welfare program.

    What has the United States gotten in return for all of this spending? It hasn’t led to a drop in the poverty rate, which remains close to the same level it was when the War on Poverty began. However, Rector and Sheffield point out that it’s misleading to think that Americans are not better off today — the poverty rate is measured based on income that does not include welfare transfers. They offer this example: a household receiving $50,000 in welfare benefits would still be classified as poor if its pre-welfare income fell below the poverty line.

    So, how are poor households today doing? Rector and Sheffield offer a few statistics: eighty percent of America’s poor households have air conditioning, two-thirds have cable or satellite television, half have a personal computer and 43 percent have access to the internet.

    Source: “Opportunity for All, Favoritism to None,” Heritage Foundation, 2015.

    • War on Poverty After 50 Years – Heritage Foundation
      http://www.heritage.org/…/the-war-on-poverty-after-...
      The Heritage Foundation

      more right wing wacko bird disinformation, misinformation and propaganda for the gullible and addle-brained.

      try some real data from a credible website:

      https://www.cbo.gov/publication/45281

      • Larry, referring to Heritage research as “right wing whacko bird disinformation” does not constitute a rational argument of any kind. Name calling is a pathetic substitute for rational discourse. If you want to explain why you disagree with Heritage’s findings, be my guest, that’s what Bacon’s Rebellion is for. But don’t think you’re persuading anyone with name calling.

        • Heritage has pattern and practice of deception and misinformation.

          it’s not credible.

          the “war on poverty” is a good example.

          the points made do not have factual references and some are demonstrably false.

          the fact that SOME of the points MIGHT be true does not offset the fact that others are patently false and once an organization does that – they have no credibility – and that’s Heritage.

          Either you are scrupulous with your “facts” or you are not and they are not.

          prove these points:

          •America has spent more on welfare than defense since 1993.
          •The War on Poverty has cost $22 trillion — three times more than what the government has spent on all wars in American history.
          •Federal and state governments spend $1 trillion in taxpayer dollars on America’s 80 means-tested welfare programs annually.
          •One-third of all Americans receive benefits from at least one welfare program.

          but FIRST – DEFINE “welfare”. I bet it includes Medicare – is THAT a legitimate part of Johnson’s War on Poverty?

          nope.

          this is how Heritage works.. they shade the truth.. they are deceptive and not honest.

        • Jim – you have “wars on ____ ” everything from drugs to crime to terrorism to cock roaches…

          what does the premise of the right-wing think tanks truly deal with?

          here’s their schtick:

          ” A right wing think tank with programs devoted to privatization in the following issue areas: taxes, Social Security and Medicare, health care, criminal justice, environment, education, and welfare.

          Now I yield to their right to advocate for their beliefs but to put any stock in their talking points – is only for the gullible and those who want to confirm their own biases.

          their argument is like saying – despite the fact that we have spent TRILLIONs on education that we still have vast numbers of under-educated.

          what does that add to any rational discussion of the issue?

          is the answer to get rid of all govt-funded education including local K-12?

          this is why I call them whacko-birds. They’re off in the ozone on these issues.

          they have no realistic and rational suggestions – they’re advocating something that would turn us into a 3rd world country -and virtually no one is buying what they are selling except those far to the political right – far to the right of people like Romney and Jeb Bush.

          again -I support advocacy – the right to advocate – for whatever – but I reserve the right to characterize them and if what they are advocating is dishonest – and it is and has no merit in 80-90% of the citizenry – then it’s the talk of loons. And I say the very same thing about the left and the enviro-weenies.

          We’ve had quite enough of the nut jobs – and we need to get on to doing the things we can do – and to not destroy and vandalize what we already have that does work.

          We are not going to turn the USA into a giant version of Mogadishu and folks like Heritage and NCPA essentially are advocating that in my view.

    • and Jim – El Sidd said the points came from the from the National Center for Policy Analysis. Did they?

  18. http://www.ncpa.org/sub/dpd/index.php?

    National Center for Policy Analysis
    30 mins ago – Since the War on Poverty began under President Lyndon Johnson, welfare spending has exploded to sixteen times its original size.

    • what about the war on crime or drugs?

      16 times it’s original size? got some credible data and not more propaganda?

      you guys are not interested in facts nor solutions.. you’ve got a hard right agenda that no sane person supports. you’d turn the country into a 3rd world zone. You’ve forgotten what the term Advanced Economy means

      and that’s fine – you’re entitled to your view but it’s a whacko-bird view of about 10% of citizens.. you’re so far right that in your world most folks are
      liberals including many Republicans.

      we have these kinds of folks in every country.. there is always a hard right group but they only have power in failed 3rd world countries.

      OECD are the most advanced – literate countries on the planet and not a one of them works according to the way the whacko-groups advocate. Only 3rd world countries work the way the whackos advocate.

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