Chris Rock Rocks Bad Apple Idea
Recently a friend told me they didn’t like Trump but they’ll vote for him anyway because they don’t trust Biden to manage the protests.
I didn’t say anything then but many words came to mind. None of them say it all: inane, illogical, ridiculous, shallow.
I’ll show the evidence just now but Trump is causing the problem. How can he be the solution?
Worse than all of the above, though, thinking Trump is somehow a solution is also an expression of ingrained racism.
You can’t believe in or side with Trump unless you share in his racism at least on some level.
Let me say quickly that very few admit to being racist and if you implied they were, you would probably get a full-throated response. Furthermore, many people who admit racism is bad, also refuse to admit that it really exists.
Following Kaepernick’s taking a knee, Mike Ditka, the famous coach of the Chicago Bears said “there’s been no oppression in the U.S. for the last 100 years!”
Ditka’s really good with X’s and O’s (kudos from me on that) but he obviously never met Jim Crow, brown v the board of education and a few other pertinent historical issues in the cause for racial justice.
Let me tell you, in this environment, if you aren’t vocalizing disgust for racism and reacting to the data that proves it, you’re a racist.
Maybe you nor Mike nor anyone else chose to be racist. Few people do but if you haven’t made and vocalized your choice to end racism, you’re a racist.
Before you balk, think about it.
Racism is like accents. You listen to people from other parts of the country and you immediately hear their accent. They don’t hear it but you and every other outsider do. They aren’t aware of it. They just speak and out it comes. To them, it all sounds natural.
Just like accents, people adopt a racist mindset slowly, over time. It isn’t born out of ill will but absorbed from a social structure ingrained with it. People don’t think about it. They don’t make a conscious effort to be racist. They don’t even realize it till someone points it out. They just take on and recycle the mindset without thinking.
Everyone in today’s white communities grew up in a racist environment. We saw it, we heard it, we implied it. Even the terminology of racism was used quite freely until it was criminalized. Maybe we wish it wasn’t but it is.
Let me ask a question. Do you know any black folks? Of course, you do.
Another question. How many do you have as friends? Close friends. The kind you call, visit, share meals, and celebrate with.
We’ve all met a few blacks and occasionally crossed paths with them in non-social settings but, whether we said the words or not, we developed the underlying sense that African Americans were always those other people.
I know this because I grew up in the south. Racism was the landscape. I didn’t cause it but I didn’t address it either. I didn’t even acknowledge it until much later but I eventually realized there are really only two reactions. You either eyeball it head-on or you look the other way.
Looking the other way, choosing not to talk about it, or acting like it isn’t really there, is the easy choice, but that in no way means you’re not a racist.
I’ve chosen to talk about it and I’m not alone. The number of those speaking up is growing, but there are still too many people in power who either look the other way or provoke it.
I’m thinking of the President. You probably picked up on that.
Bad Apple Syndrome
The problem causing protests at the moment – and for the last few years – is police brutality, as in the form of lethal force. Not police doing their jobs. Many police are doing great work and we applaud the work they do and thank them.
The good ones should be paid more.
But police are human too. They can make mistakes and like any other profession, can occasionally be bad. We all know this is true.
So, when it happens that a black person is randomly killed by police on the street, and there is no way to explain it other than the unnecessary application of lethal force (or someone catches it on camera), we call the guilty party a bad apple.
Let’s go with that for a moment. A few questions are in order.
Like, how many bad apples are we willing to accept? How often should we expect the phenomenon to occur? It’s a good question. Like Chris Rock says, there are some industries where you just can’t have bad apples. Take the airline industry for example.
Most pilots like to land safely, but a few bad apples prefer crashing into mountains!!
Police aren’t screened near as thoroughly as airline pilots but maybe we should consider it. If too many bad apples happen, something needs to change. We need to get a handle on the numbers.
Another good question is what shall we do with bad apples when they emerge?
When I was growing up the rule was to throw out the bad apple, all the apples laying up next to it, and then clean the entire area where they were sitting when they went bad. Problem solved.
We got rid of bad apples. We never put them back on the shelf to be resold.
I mentioned before that it’s illogical to think the provocateur, in this case, Trump, can also be the peacemaker. That’s the logical understanding. The good cop can’t be the bad cop and the bad cop can’t be the good cop. It wouldn’t work.
The problem is Trump supporters don’t think he’s provoking the trouble. They actually think he’s innocent or at least neutral.
The facts suggest otherwise. Following are just some of the executive orders or directives or sentiments signed, expressed or motivated by the President all of which target racial issues. This is only a few and they all happened in the first year of his presidency:
- On March 20, 2017, at a rally in Louisville, KY, Trump publicly ridiculed Colin Kaepernick for taking a knee in protest of police brutality and racial oppression.
Kaepernick first took a knee in September 2016 and Trump had often ridiculed him during his campaign but at the Louisville rally, Trump took great pleasure in the fact that Kaepernick had not been re-signed and was a free agent who, as we all know, hasn’t been signed since.
It amounted to a public lynching and Trump took credit for it. He even claimed that NFL owners feared his backlash and would therefore not sign Kaepernick.
Later, in September 2017, when NFL players continued to take a knee Trump fumed they should fire the SOB’s but by this time owners realized his bark was worse than his bite.
It got worse. In May 2018 Trump said players who take a knee “maybe shouldn’t be in the country,” implying deportation.
He’s criticized NFL owners and businesses who support Colin and all of that adds up to a president interfering in the commerce of a healthy economy, all of it driven by his racism. It’s also fascism, pure and simple, but I won’t go there for now.
The issue, rather than abate, has intensified and realizing he isn’t winning, Trump actually conceded he thinks Kaepernick should get another chance in the NFL with the qualification, if he has the ability.
Sorry, Mr. President. Too little. Too late.
All of this, by the way, harks back to the Vietnam days when hippies protested the war by wearing the flag like a patch on the seat of their pants. Now, flags on clothes, even the seat of your pants, is a fashion statement.
Maybe the President and all of his cronies should try to listen. This is America. The land of the free. Protest is the driving force of progress.
As John F. Kennedy said, those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.
On a side note, Trump has long wanted to be a franchise owner in the NFL. His attempts to buy in have always been thwarted and, being the vindictive guy he is, there’s no doubt some of the vitriol is his way of saying take that to an elite group who rejected him. You can read about it here.
But it doesn’t stop there.
- In a March 31 (2017) memo, Sessions ordered a sweeping review of consent decrees with law enforcement agencies relating to police conduct – a crucial tool in the Justice Department’s efforts to ensure constitutional and accountable policing. The department also tried, unsuccessfully, to block a federal court in Baltimore from approving a consent decree between the city and the Baltimore Police Department to rein in discriminatory police practices that the department itself had negotiated over a multi-year period.
This happened very early in Trump’s Presidency and it was a clear indication of his intent. He did not support police reforms or negotiations. It’s as if he is suggesting the police should be independent of all regulation and accountability.
I don’t even think the police want that.
The order was for a “sweeping” review of consent decrees which means the whole country was being monitored and it singled out the case in Baltimore, a case that involved the needless death of an African American, Freddie Gray, arrested for possession of a knife.
The Baltimore decree had been negotiated over several years following Gray’s death and Trump’s interference was a statement. It let everyone know what he thought and where he stood.
Trump’s actions were racist and typical of the heavy-handed, bare-knuckle, non-deliberative approach he would take to governance.
- On August 28, 2017, Sessions lifted the Obama administration’s ban on the transfer of some military surplus items to domestic law enforcement – rescinding guidelines that were created in the wake of Ferguson to protect the public from law enforcement misuse of military-grade weapons.
This, by the way, is part of what people mean by “defunding” the police. It doesn’t mean their budgets are cut off and they will do their jobs with less. It means they won’t have access to the kinds of weaponry that is overkill.
The defunding had already begun under the Obama administration and true to Trump’s reverse-everything-Obama-did mentality, this ban was lifted too.
- On August 29, 2017, the administration halted an EEOC rule that required large companies to disclose what they pay employees by sex, race, and ethnicity – a rule that was intended to remedy the unequal pay that remains rampant in the American workplace.
This needs no comment.
- On September 15, 2017, the Department of Justice ended the Community Oriented Policing Services’ Collaborative Reform Initiative, a Justice Department program that aimed to help build trust between police officers and the communities they serve.
Why take such action? Whatever the program costs will be recovered by the positive results it engenders.
If you favor this approach, vote for Trump and expect more of the same. If you are concerned about the protests, then vote for Biden. He listens and thinks before he acts.