A Small Footnote to the Abby Johnson Debacle

Published July 2, 2020

For those unaware, Abby Johnson, a big fish in a small pond of “prolife” MAGA Catholic celebs and conservative folk heroes, decided deliver herself of some views on race and so forth. It didn’t go well, as Simcha Fisher reports:

Wearing sweatpants and a T-shirt printed with lyrics by Vanilla Ice,  Johnson said in the video that her son is now an “adorable, perpetually tan-looking little brown boy [but] one day he’s gonna grow up and he’s going to be a tall, probably sort of large, intimidating-looking, maybe, brown man.”

 Johnson said that while her four other sons “are probably gonna look like nerdy white guys,” her biracial son will likely be racially profiled by police when he grows up. 

“That doesn’t make me angry,” Johnson said. 

“I realized I’m gonna have to have a different conversation with [my son] than I do with my nerdy white kids,” she said.  

With the voices of her children audible in the background, Johnson explained that she knows black men are more likely to be incarcerated for crimes than white men, and because of this, a “smart” police officer will be more careful around her “brown” son than around her white ones.  

“I look at our prison population and I see that there is a disproportionately high number of African-American males in our prison population for crimes, particularly for violent crimes; so statistically, when a police officer sees a brown man like my [child’s name] walking down the road, as opposed to my white nerdy kids … these police officers know in their head … that statistically my brown son is more likely to commit a violent offense over my white sons. Okay. So the fact that, in his head, he would be more careful around my brown son than my white son, that doesn’t actually make me angry. That makes that police officer smart, because of statistics,” she said. 

“I’m a researcher by nature,” Johnson said.  

But although black men are incarcerated at a much higher rate than white men, it’s not clear, as Johnson suggests, that they are more criminally inclined.

Although black and white men use drugs at about the same rate, black men are incarcerated almost six times more often for drug charges.
Black men are also more likely to be given longer sentences than white men who commit the same crime. 

Johnson did not cite these statistics in her video. Johnson said that, according to her research, high rates of incarceration of black men is caused by black fatherlessness. She then claimed that, according to her research, there is a push to make black fatherlessness culturally acceptable. 

“There are studies out there that are trying to redefine black fatherhood. They are essentially saying that the seventy percent number is a lie because black fatherhood looks different than white fatherhood; that black fatherhood actually does look like a black man coming in and out of the home and not being a consistent presence in the home, and that version of fatherhood is equivalent to a white father being consistently in the home,” she said. 

“Okay, I don’t want to cuss on here, but that is B.S., and that is racist,” Johnson continued.  

“[B]lack fathers do not get a pass. Just because it is culturally different, just because black fathers don’t want to be in the home, and culturally it has been acceptable for them to be with multiple women,” she said. 

Johnson did not specify which studies she read that attempt to redefine black fatherhood.  

Apparently referring to the ongoing racial unrest following the killing of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd, Johnson said, “Yeah, we’ve got big issues right now in the black community, but at the root of it the root is not with bad cops. The root starts in the home.” 

“It’s not because of bad cops, [but] because of bad dads,” she said.

This is not the first, second, or third time she has offered dubious views on matters of race. And as Simcha Fisher’s interview shows here, she seems to have trouble learning from her experience.

Apparently referring to the ongoing racial unrest following the killing of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd, Johnson said, “Yeah, we’ve got big issues right now in the black community, but at the root of it the root is not with bad cops. The root starts in the home.” “It’s not because of bad cops, [but] because of bad dads,” she said. The video’s settings were changed to “private” a few hours after it was published.  

In 2018, Johnson repeatedly defended a self-described “ethno nationalist” friend, Kristen Hatten, claiming Hatten was not racist, even though Hatten herself said she did not mind being called racist.  

In 2019, she called a black minister, Bishop Talbert Swan, “Tyrone,” a “thug,” and “a stain on the black community,” and told him she would educate him on “real racism.” In the same thread, she called a black woman “LaFonda.”

In the course of the interview, Johnson decided that when you hit bottom, keep digging:

SF: What study were you referring to, when you said you read that black men aren’t expected to be monogamous or raise their children?

AJ: I’ve seen several of them. There’s quite a few out there that show basically redefining black fatherhood, sort of showing that black fatherhood expectations are different. The expectation is different in black homes than in white homes. That was surprising to me. For me, fatherhood is fatherhood. It was just interesting to see that people were trying to differentiate fatherhood based on race.  I talked about that with some of my black friends, and they were really appalled by that. They were really outraged. I’ve had several discussions with one of my friends in particular about that. We both said this is something that needs to be addressed, by not just the black community but by everyone.  

SF: Do you think black people might see your video and start to think differently about fatherhood?  

AJ: I don’t know. Right now, tensions are very high, and I think in general, if you’re a white person and you’re not part of the Black Lives Matter movement, which I’m not, then your opinion is not valued. You’re seen as a racist. You’ve done a good job to paint me as that, anyway. I’m sure this article will do the same.  I think if you’re not on this “social justice warrior woke” train of thought, you’re considered a racist. I don’t think that’s fair. I can’t remember a time in my life where I’ve ever discriminated against someone because of their race. I can’t remember a time when ever in my life I have acted on any sort of prejudice. Of course we all have fleeting prejudiced thoughts that we all have to check. That’s something we all have. I just can’t ever recall a time in my life when I’ve actually been racist toward someone. But I think we’re living in times where it is the popular thing to call someone a racist. If your views don’t align with someone, you call them a racist, and if you disagree with what they say, you call them a racist. 

Fisher followed this up by doing what Johnson, for all her claims of “research” never seems to have bothered to do: talk to some black Catholics. I urge you to go to Simcha’s site for the interviews. It’s fascinating.

Meanwhile, I just want to make a small footnote to all this. It has to do with a favorite tactic of the Pious Reactionary whenever they get caught swallowing camels like racism. Namely, they strain at aesthetic gnats. To wit: here is a lovely piece of art:

Not super hard to understand. “Inasmuch as you did it to the least of these, you did it to me.”

So, naturally, Johnson managed to respond this way:

Image may contain: 1 person, text that says 'Abby Johnson @AbbyJohnson The Catholic Church is burning And everyday, liberal Catholics continue to throw matches on Her with sacrilegious nonsense like this. I'm done watching liberation theology take hold once again. It's time to separate the wheat from the chaff. Laity, it's time to stand up. kellylatimoreicons @KLICONS-4h "Mama" Many voices and prayers have gone into this image. We will be donating 100% of this icon local St. Louis BLM organizations. #blacklivesmatter profits of'

Somehow or other she was able to decide that the artist was declaring George Floyd to be God and not (as any sane person understands) that the artist was urging Christ’s identification with all those unjustly killed, as for instance, this monument to Our Lady of Katyn does for Polish troops murdered by Stalin:

Image

This is so extremely not hard to understand that it takes a tremendous amount of will power not to see it, but that is just the sort of thing the Greatest Catholics of All Time excel at when they put their backs into it. So much energy was expended by the Defenders of Abby Johnson to transfer their rage away from, you know, innocent people murdered by cops for being black and into the extreme nitnoid details of a piece of art.

“Is it okay to substitute a human creature for God? Is it okay to effectively label a human creature as God the Creator?” they cried in fake outrage.

Here’s the deal. As a general rule, artists operating within the tradition of eastern Christianity would not use the halo on the black victim’s head (or on any saint’s head including Mary’s) since it designates the figure as Jesus Christ himself. But guess what? Not every artist operates within that tradition and, as I have said before, images are polyvalent and can have lots of meanings. There is no Bureau of Weights and Measures for art. Very clearly, the point of this image is not the monumentally stupid claim (made only by Johnson and her monumentally stupid defenders) that “George Floyd is the incarnate Son of the Living God and Second Person of the Trinity” which would indeed be blasphemous. Very obviously, the point is that in murdering George Floyd, Christ was suffocated in one of his little brothers.

And just as clearly, all the fake outrage about “blasphemy” was intended to distract from Johnson bizarre views on race and gin up an attack on those who are critical of racism and the murder of black people. Make a note of that strategy: straining at aesthetic gnats while swallowing moral camels is a fave with the Greatest Catholics of All Time.

And now back to the gigantic camel of racism:

If you are looking for one concrete way to help, start here.

43 Responses

  1. My reactions:
    1. Is it me, or did anyone else think that, when Johnson was describing her biracial son, she made him sound like an exotic pet, like a tiger cub?
    2. Interesting that Johnson didn’t name the studies regarding Black fatherhood.
    3. I’ve heard studies about fatherlessness being a problem (regardless of race), but how is being unfairly targeted by cops caused by fatherlessness?

    1. I saw some other research that said black fathers were more likely to be part of the actual physical care of their children even if they did not live with them. National Center for Health Statistics “There was a significant difference by Hispanic origin and race among fathers with co-residential children: Black fathers (70%) were most likely to have bathed, dressed, diapered, or helped their children use the toilet everyday compared with white (60%) and Hispanic fathers (45%).Study is dated December 2013.

    2. Seems like her logic is pretty clear: Black fatherlessness leads black boys to be statistically more likely to get involved in crime, especially violent crime, which makes it perfectly reasonable for cops to expect black men to be more likely to be violent criminals than other demographics.

      Please pay no attention to:
      1. The lack of evidence cited for black fatherlessness being a particularly worse problem than white fatherlessness,
      2. the equivocation between black people being more frequently incarcerated for violent crimes and black people actually committing more violent crimes,
      3. the lack of evidence cited for a causal link between the fatherlessness and the crime statistics.

      It’s not reasonable by any stretch, but it’s at least clear what she’s shooting for.

      On the other hand, even granting that racial profiling is warranted, none of this actually justifies disproportionately violent police responses relative to the actual threat level of suspects, nor disparate treatment of similarly violent/threatening suspects of different races.

      I don’t know Ms. Johnson and can’t begin to tell you what’s in her heart, but looking at her words quoted here, they resemble nothing so much as a distraction.

      1. I seem to have overlooked that Johnson was only talking about profiling, not the use of force issues at the center of the current wave of protests. So the last bit of my comment is, like much of what I say, irrelevant. Mea culpa.

  2. For a person who purports to be “pro-life” I am appalled by her apparent I ability to see The inability dignity of all people. Her use of “statistics”, if indeed they exist and adhere to basic statistical standards, demonstrates a lack of ability to understand. I am reasonably sure that her comments about Black Fathers being absent is at best a correlation and correlation does not mean causation. This misuse of statistics is so typical of folks who pretend to be non-racist, but feel the need to explain problems in the Black community- “whitesplaining” at its best.
    The fact that she says her son will be adorable, perpetually tan-looking little brown boy [but] one day he’s gonna grow up and he’s going to be a tall, probably sort of large, intimidating-looking, maybe, brown man.” as opposed to her nerdy white kids,” demonstrates racism at its core. Big shock I know many “nerdy” Blacks and in terms of intimidating – I would suggest that me at 6’5” and when I played college basketball at 240 lbs. that I was pretty intimidating as is my son who is 6’5” and weighs 215 lbs. but who works in addition to being a policeman also trains folks for the world strongest man competition. Her comment about the police is interesting as my son told me that cops font look at size, they look at behaviors – they don’t do it well, and frequently see Black men acting more suspicious acting,but it’s not size.
    Her claim that the laity gave to stand up is true – it is true we have to with gentleness (or not, depending on response) and call out the hypocrites who claim to be the only true Catholics. We have to call out the need to embrace the entirety of Catholic teaching. We have demand that those who purport to be “pro-life” actually become pro-life and support and value all lives from conception to natural death.

  3. Mark, you linked us to the Simcha’s interview with four African American Catholics on being black and Catholic, and I have to say that it is excellent! I really encourage other readers to hit that link and read that interview. It is worth your time!

    Since Floyd George’s death, I have been trying to see if there is any bias and bigotry in my own heart, and I am sad to say that there is, but happy to say that I am having my eyes opened and my heart hopefully readjusted which is exactly what is supposed to happen when something terrible like this happens. Up here in Canada, we don’t have the same type of racism because we don’t have a large African-American population, but we definitely have had and still do have a racist attitude towards our Native population and towards our immigrant population. Both these people groups can be labeled depending upon their background.

    I have found a wide range of biases in my thinking, including things like those Asian immigrants are smart, most Natives have a drinking problem and live off welfare, you have to be careful with Jamaican males because they do drugs and are dishonest, you can’t necessarily trust males who speak Arabic because some might be terrorists, people from northern Ontario are simpletons, you have to watch out for Italians because some of them might be in the mob, and I can probably think of a few others unfortunately.

    Some of these biases come from how I was raised in the 60s and early 70s, some come from my former evangelical Protestant background which was highly influenced by American traditions, some come from how these groups are reported in the news, and some come from friends and neighbours. All of them need to be picked through, sorted through, understood, and discarded by me. I have my work cut out for me.

    1. You are now properly woke. Congratulations. All you have left to do is provide written apologies to 3 black people for any crimes committed by your ancestors, shine the shoes of 1 black Canadian, and you will receive your membership card for the White People are Guilty Club in the mail. Warning: This card will not hold any influence should you be caught owning a business in a riot zone. Your store will be burned as if you were not woke and you may be beaten or worse. When you feel down about that, cheer yourself up with the mantra “reparations”.

      1. @Kate…

        Interesting use of the word “woke”. The context that you use it in seems to mean, “becoming conscious”. I failed to see anything wrong with becoming conscious, as opposed to wandering around believing everything you think.

        Now, I’m a white man. My ancestors came here from czarist Russia, Imperial Germany, and the hinterlands of the Austro Hungarian empire, escaping religious persecution and a lack of opportunity for Jews in their own lands. Among other things, my family stories “woke” me to injustice as perpetrated against whole groups of people Through fault of their own. So again, I don’t see being “woke“ as a bad thing.

        I wonder why you do?

        We don’t need to apologize to three random Black people. That you put it in such terms pretty much indicates your attitude towards three random Black people, But more importantly, towards the obligations of individuals and societies which they have to each other. However, As a society, the United States was built upon and prospered by the labor, oppression, and deaths of Native Americans, Black people, brown people, yellow and a good number of white people, as well. Sometimes it was slavery, sometimes it was indentured servitude, sometimes it was willing to work for anything rather than starve. So being “woke“ implies to me the willingness to create a society which does it’s best not to put people into any of those positions, but offer opportunity to all.

        As I have often said, and as you illustrate in spades, not all bigotry is hate. So much of it is what you present without even a hint of shame: a holy unwarranted faith and in an entirely imaginary superiority, in your case, as a white person and a human being.

        An Inwoke human being.

      2. That first reply of mine was @Kate.

        The second is @Mark. Isn’t all racism narcissistic either as individuals or as a collective (systemic racism)? It implies that I/we are better than you/they, does it not? It presumes entitlement or condescension both of which are sins. My examination of conscience these days has been very much a result of what I am seeing and hearing out there in terms of racism. I always presumed I was not a racist, but I am coming to understand – and Simcha’s interview helped – that perhaps I am a racist in some of my thinking. Isn’t that a good thing to know so that thinking can be changed?

        You guys are confusing me (although you wouldn’t be the first to do so, lol).

  4. Father-absence as the cause for higher incarceration is strange. Obviously the cause of higher incarceration is higher crime rates.

    1. the cause of higher incarceration has been demonstrated to be higher *policing* rates, higher *sentencing* rates and stiffer *prosecution* rates. It has been disproven that black men commit crimes at a higher rate than white men.

      1. Oh is that why black neighborhoods are just as safe as white neighborhoods? Or is it a vast conspiracy of white men sneaking into black areas and doing drive by shootings and escaping prosecution? You know how these rural white farmers are.

    2. Not that statistical truth matters to you, but you may want to consult the findings of the 2017 Demographic Differences in Sentencing Report From the United States Sentencing Commission before you assert misrepresentations of Black People’s criminality:

      “1. Black male offenders continued to receive longer sentences than similarly situated White male offenders. Black male offenders received sentences on average 19.1 percent longer than similarly situated White male offenders during the Post-Report period (fiscal years 2012-2016), as they had for the prior four periods studied. The differences in sentence length remained relatively unchanged compared to the Post-Gall period.

      2. Non-government sponsored departures and variances appear to contribute significantly to the difference in sentence length between Black male and White male offenders. Black male offenders were 21.2 percent less likely than White male offenders to receive a non-government sponsored downward departure or variance during the Post-Report period. Furthermore, when Black male offenders did receive a non-government sponsored departure or variance, they received sentences 16.8 percent longer than White male offenders who received a non-government sponsored departure or variance. In contrast, there was a 7.9 percent difference in sentence length between Black male and White male offenders who received sentences within the applicable sentencing guidelines range, and there was no statistically significant difference in sentence length between Black male and White male offenders who received a substantial assistance departure.

      3. Violence in an offender’s criminal history does not appear to account for any of the demographic differences in sentencing. Black male offenders received sentences on average 20.4 percent longer than similarly situated White male offenders, accounting for violence in an offender’s past in fiscal year 2016, the only year for which such data is available. This figure is almost the same as the 20.7 percent difference without accounting for past violence. Thus, violence in an offender’s criminal history does not appear to contribute to the sentence imposed to any extent beyond its contribution to the offender’s criminal history score determined under the sentencing guidelines.

      4. Female offenders of all races received shorter sentences than White male offenders during the Post-Report period, as they had for the prior four periods. The differences in sentence length decreased slightly during the five-year period after the 2012 Booker Report for most offenders. The differences in sentence length fluctuated across all time periods studied for White females, Black females, Hispanic females, and Other Race female offenders.”

      https://www.ussc.gov/research/research-reports/demographic-differences-sentencing

  5. She says, “It’s time to separate the wheat from the chaff.” Excuse me? As anyone with even the slightest Biblical literacy knows, that is God’s job. She appropriates to herself and her culture-war supporters a role reserved for God, and has the gall to accuse others of blasphemy and sacrilege?

    1. Also, the exasperation of “returning” to liberation theology. Wasn’t Ms Johnson in diapers?

      Do you remember when that was the hot topic? I can still hear my Dad’s friends ranting about Oscar Romero “the commie”.

      Everything is a communist plot for these people.

      I remember being at my wits end and in need of help, but I’d been gravely warned that childcare was a “communist plot to weaken the ties of parents to their children so others could subvert them”. What I needed was a break. To add insult to injury, the people who warned me about all that communism NEVER helped out with childcare. That was beneath them.

      Typical.

      But oh, no! We’re throwing matches on Catholicism! –So putting the foot down and asking (demanding!) people to stop all kinds of racist and violent behavior towards brown/black people is hurting Catholicism?

      Here’s another term from back in the day when Ms. Johnson wasn’t alive:

      “Bassackwards”. Accuse your culture war enemy of your own crimes.

  6. Frankly, I can’t stand all this wokeness, it’s just too intelligent for me. There is so much hypocrisy and frankly, lies, built into this whole conversation, it’s sickening. Please see the website, Statista, to see some truth bombs. Black americans are over-represented in violent crime. Undeniable statistic. We can argue about why that is all day long, and never get anywhere, it’s been argued forever. You might want to look at the continent Africa, to get a hint as to why this might be. After all, black Americans once preferred to be called “African American”, so it’s fair.

    The Statista website tells us some inconvenient truths. When police, in violent circumstances, which they face often, shoot and kill American suspects, they kill almost twice, TWICE, as many white Americans as black Americans. Go look at the numbers for yourselves. This means the entire assumption, put out there and swallowed whole by so many people, is a total misrepresentation about reality. But let’s not let facts get in the way. If people can’t understand by now, this is all a ruse to accomplish what these Marxists really want, a total transformation of society into a Marxist utopia sans police (so they can do whatever they want), then perhaps we really are now too stupid to keep this Republic going.
    See the big picture, people. Support your local police, who are the people who stand between you and me and the bedlam we see playing out day after day, while Democrat “leaders” stand back and let it happen.

  7. And as far as I can see, Abby Johnson’s worst crime here is she spoke publicly about a private situation. She used her black son to demonstrate her vast charity and open-mindedness toward black folks, she competed in the Woke Olympics, and used her kids as topics in public forums. Worse, she disrespected her kids, although I’m sure that was not her intention. She put them all up for public debate, and as white people so often do, she embarrassed herself with her wokeness, and demonstrated once again, that white people are completely in over their head on this topic because they fear black people so much. In point of fact, black culture is the dominant culture in America today. But it is also true that we are segregated and don’t have much to do with each other, except for that “black friend” we have at work. There are a lot of reasons for this, not all of them sinister, it’s just human nature. But we should not be apologizing for things we had nothing to do with, and we have every right to keep our historical heroes intact. The Marxists wish to detach them from history, but don’t let them. Columbus, for whatever faults he had since he was not Christ, brought Christianity to the New World and changed the world! These people wish to take away any vestige of Europeans as founding America, and they will replace them with gods of their own making, all fabrication, but who cares. They do.
    Abby Johnson owes her kids an apology, the rest is totally insignificant, although the white woke police may be out in force and destroy this woman who works hard for unborn babies. Which makes the white woke mob just as bad as the black woke mob.
    She made unfortunate predictions about her own kids, and fell into the trap of thinking (or caring deeply) that she have a black “cool” kid and white “nerds”. She stereotyped her own kids. If she comes out with an apology, we’ll know she got properly “woke” and “educated”. This is all nauseating, all of it. White people need to just stop.

    1. Only a true racist can complain that Johnson’s *real* crime was attempting to be a little less racist and then recommends super-duper racism as the cure. Love that you imagine that you “bring Christ” along with Columbus, to your victims. I do agree that “this is all nauseating”, at least with respect to your comment.

      1. Have you ever actually spent more than a fleeting moment in the black urban core? ‘cus your rhetoric sounds like you are nothing more than a “woke” cracker feigning righteous indignation over something that -you- personally do not have a clue about…….all based on what you read on your iPad in the comfort of your white suburban home.

        You do not learn about the plight of the black community by sitting in your Lazy Boy recliner reading HuffPo articles on your laptop. You learn about the plight of the black community by working and worshipping them side by side. If you have actually done this, then I am HAPPY to be wrong about you. . If you have not, then you are are a rank hypocrite. Which is it?

      2. @ ken W

        How about NEITHER. But thank you for demonstrating yet again the… contempt? … of the ideologues of either Political extreme. Your “experiences” in the “urban core”, worshipping and working beside those people who are not YOUR community, whose lives you can observe, but only peripherally, and never actually experience, have clearly affected you. You sound so very, very… WOKE?

        Is that the word I’m looking for?

        We all of us have our knowledge, responsibility, experiences, understanding, cares, concerns, and ability to act. I’m not responsible for slavery, segregation, or the systemic racism which still, after 70 years, still perverts our country and society. Nor were my immediate ancestors who came here to escape the systemic anti-semitism pogroms Of Europe 140 years ago, courtesy of loving Christians over centuries. I’m responsible for ME. I’m responsible for what I do now. As the recipient of at least TWO kinds of systemic oppression Growing up, both as Jew and gay man, as a moral and empathetic person, in fact, AS AN ATHEIST, I’m responsible for what I do to make the world a better place than I found it, within the limits of my abilities and resources. I wear a mask not out of politics, not even as a contrary statement to the idiotic conspiracy theories and political posturing off the WOKE right wing, but as a simple act of self preservation, Protection for those I love, and concern for Others,

        Whatever I do doesn’t need to meet your standards. Whatever I do needs to meet MINE. What I see of the far right, there sensitivities over being called out for racism and turning epidemiology and public health into a political battle, is that if you didn’t have double standards, WOKE double standards at that, you would t have any standards at all.

  8. Very interesting stuff here. Maybe I’ll have more time later. I have to go get a long stick shoved up my nose. But two things stood out.

    1) SF: What study were you referring to, when you said you read that black men aren’t expected to be monogamous or raise their children? AJ: I’ve seen several of them. There’s quite a few out there that show basically redefining black fatherhood, sort of showing that black fatherhood expectations are different. The expectation is different in black homes than in white homes.

    Interesting that she NEVER cites which studies she has read, the questions they ask, the answers given. By including the word “expected”, she totally redefines what she is talking about. Expected by whom? Black women? Black men? What percentage? The community? society? The people doing the study? The “studies” which she never cited may well have described things as they are, rather than miscellaneous “expectations” by unknown, miscellaneous people. But using the word “expected” changes the whole emotional tone and intellectual basis for what she is claiming to be true. What it shows to me is a racist bias that “colors” (sorry, but I couldn’t resist) her conclusions.

    2) The sociologist in me remembers (I think– it’s been 50 years) the Flint Michigan studies which exactly examined the claim that black people are more prone to commit crimes. What those excellent studies showed was that the tendency to crime-i-ness was in fact VERY highly correlated to social class and economic status, and nowhere near as correlated to race. In short, lower class whites and lower class blacks were committing crimes at pretty much the same rate. Other studies, as other posters have noted, show that black people suffer far worse consequences far more often than do white people for exactly the same crimes. The very statement that criminality correlates with race is a good indication of the systemic racism built into not only the criminal justice system, but the people who wish to use it for political purposes.

    If I am recalling properly– and I don’t have the time to do the research right now– it should be noted that rates of church attendance in the AA communities is higher than for other communities, and that the church is a much more central institution in AA communities than others. That means there is a positive and quite possibly high correlation between church attendance and criminality, which means that church doesn’t make you more moral…

    If you are talking about correlation, and not causation.

      1. Thank you very much, Dan. I appreciate it. I’m not really worried about it. Because I know a bit about public health,politics, psychology and sociology, I’ve been staying home and following all don’t-spread-this-crap protocols. My husband works in a hospital, and is extra careful.

        Since I’m goin in for a colonoscopy, getting through Sunday will be the hard part. 😬😬😬😬😬😮😬😬

  9. For all of us that have been around for a while, we can see in Johnson’s words, a parroting of the official handbook. I was raised with the handbook, and am intimately familiar with it. The reason why the handbook is so frightening is that it has been crafted so well. If evil could ever be considered exquisite in its perfection, the conservative handbook, –a kind of anti-bible –has been crafted to fool even the most discerning soul. How? It appeals to what is *good*-seemingly *exalting* that good to disarm the one who would invite it in. Advocates of the playbook *always* rely on partial truths (“statistics”) to prove their talking points.

    At the end of the day, the playbook has always been about a desperate need for superiority, and jealously guarding what is considered a “birthright”.

  10. What bugs me about this, aside from literally all of it, is that “statistically my brown son is more likely to commit a violent offense” bit. That’s not true, and it wouldn’t be true even if the statistics did show black men committing more crimes than others. That’s not how statistics work. Statistics deal in aggregates and generalities.

    I could see someone saying “my daughter is statistically more likely than my son to be sexually assaulted,” because that’s something happening to her, out of her control, and from her perspective effectively random. I’m still not sure it’s correct, but it’s significantly less insane.

    Committing a crime is not like that. What Johnson is effectively saying here is that her son—an individual, a person, a rational animal, a moral agent, a being endowed by his creator with an intellect and a will, and a specific someone existing in a specific set of circumstances—is “more likely to commit a violent offense” just because (assuming that all arrests are 100% justified and no white person has ever gotten away with anything) the statistics say lots of other not-entirely-white people did so.

  11. I want to add one last idea on my part here. Many years ago my husband, who was waiting tables at night talked a Mexican sous chef ( and his wife) out of an abortion. She’d gotten a positive reading from an AFP test. Her son did not in fact have Downs. He was a gorgeous little boy. She named him “Jesus”.

    Years later he, as a member of a gang, was an accessory to a violent crime.

    Here’s the thing. BOTH his parents have worked full time in restaurants for the last 40 years. His Mom makes tortillas by hand over a hot griddle at a Zagat rated restaurant. Her husband worked in another top rated restaurant, and in the the same four-walled, windowless kitchen ALSO for 40 years.

    There are so many different versions of this story, but latch-key kids become gang kids when their parents aren’t free to parent them. Survival mode is a terrible setting for any family. What is blasphemous is when the wages earned by two parents who work diligently in good faith, isn’t enough for them to take care of the children in their care. The gangs become the families.

    When the Boomers (and lazy entitled white people of all ages) say “but the Marxists!” It’s just a diversion for their consciences because they want cheap (tacos), and the brown people who supply them with their goods and services to shut the F up, and keep providing them with their cheap goods and services.

    If we can solve the abusive behavior *here* we will be ready to address how we are accessories to the crime of slave labor *everywhere*.

    1. Exactly. I’m Latino and live in a predominantly Latino community. I know so many parents who want to do well by their kids, with both parents working because they have to, perhaps taking night classes so they can get better jobs in the future, their kids cared for by relatives as often as not, or perhaps left alone at home. It was especially bad toward the end of the school year, when kids were “going to school” through tablets and cell phones.

      1. Terrible. Even the wealthy school districts fell apart with instruction time here. As we speak, the virus is exploding in “The Canal” where the Hispanic front-line workers live. They can’t afford not to work. They don’t have the luxury.

  12. Ive heard the statistics for many many years.
    But, I never fit the pattern.
    For example, my father was ALWAYS present while I was growing up. Along with my mother.
    I have excellent language skills and now have FOUR advanced degrees.
    I don’t recall ever being approached to join a gang, et cetera.
    I have never committed a crime, but I still get stopped by the police, often for no reason.
    I recall once being stopped for questioning. Turned out there was a rapist on the loose.
    However, the only thing I had in common with the suspect was I was black and the right height and hair color.
    Eye color was different. I wore a full beard, suspect was clean shaven. That one ALONE should have been enough. Had it been the other way around, then maybe. But, you can’t grow a full beard in 4 days.
    I firmly believe that a lot of officers, too many anyway, don’t do their due diligence.

  13. This image is so incredibly moving. I might get one, even though I’m poor and it’s big enough that I’m not sure where I’d put it. Thank you for sharing it.

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