The original PragerU clip can be found in full here:
However, I show all of the clip throughout my response video.
Below I have posted the script for my video. I didn’t upload captions, but you can follow along with my argument here:
NOTE BEFORE READING
This is the script to the YouTube video linked at the top and does not (right now) denote the timestamps the words are specifically responding to.
This will not make sense without watching the video.
So, this video starts with an interview between Don Lemon and Sherrif David Clarke from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and I need to provide some context to their conversation.
While Clarke is angry at the killings of police, he is conflating the actions of separatists as the actions of Black Lives Matter. This is dangerous rhetoric. BLM is an organization founded to highlight the inequalities in the American system and absolutely does not call for the killing of police.
So who is Clarke talking about?
This interview is from July 2016. The first two weeks of July were deadly for American police and proved to be the most tragic week for policing since 9/11.
The first case Lemon and Clarke get into is the reason Clarke was on the show. Gavin Long, an associate of Black Separatism and the Sovereign Citizen Movement, opened fire on police in Baton Rouge, Missouri.
Long killed three officers and injured three more. It’s worth noting that Long was a separatist, and the Black Separatist movement is equally as radical, if not more-so, than the KKK. He is not noted to have used Black Lives Matter as a calling card or to have been involved with the organization, but he was Black, so it’s easy for people to label him as an associate.
The Baton Rouge shooting followed a very legitimate protest that was led by members of some Black Lives Matter organizers following the death of Alton Sterling.
Sterling was from Baton Rouge. He had a side-business selling bootleg CDs outside of a local convenience store. While that sounds a bit shifty, he wasn’t alone. There were a number of people who ran this racket in Baton Rouge in this same plaza.
About a week before Sterling was killed, he had defended a fellow seller from a thief. According to the convenience store owner who called the cops the day Sterling was killed, Sterling had used the weapon the previous week to defend a fellow seller from a wanna-be robber.
When the police were called to handle a disturbance in the plaza that Sterling was not involved in, they were informed erroneously that he may have a gun.
To note, Missouri allows open carry without a permit, so long as the firearm is not displayed in an angry or threatening manner.
Now, as terrible a job as selling bootleg CDs is, how many of us have streamed an illegal movie or ten? His job, his place, and his gun weren’t crimes.
The police who were called to the area were concerned that he “might” have a dangerous firearm (which, again, is legal in the state) so they shot him without question.
No, I don’t think Long was right to go shoot a bunch of cops, but my issue here comes from Clarke (and Prager) using Long to justify anger towards the BLM movement. (The caption on this whole video is “The Main Stream Media Will Not Tell You The Truth About Black Lives Matter,” but what is their counter narrative, that Black people aren’t often killed without reason? Clarke talks himself into a hole in a minute).
Saying that, about a minute into this interview with Don Lemon, Clarke says something about “black on black crime.”
There’s a recent passage (June 14th) from the local news-sire Cleveland.com, that addresses the issue of black on black crime very succinctly. Essentially, it’s a red herring, or strawman argument that doesn’t mean much of anything.
From Cleveland.com writer Troy Smith: “There are answers to the question, “Why aren’t we talking about black on black crime?” But critics of Black Lives Matter don’t want to hear them.
If they cared, they’d be asking about crime within the African American community year-round, as many black activists and neighborhood leaders do. But as Doughboy told Tre in 1991’s “Boyz N the Hood” (and it’s still true today), “Either they don’t know, don’t show, or don’t care about what’s going on in the hood.”
When an opponent of Black Lives Matters talks about “blacks killing blacks” it’s almost always to deflect attention away from police brutality. As if one issue makes the other more acceptable.
When someone commits an act of terrorism against in the United States, which rightfully leads to anger and sadness, no one asks, “Well what about how many Americans kill other Americans each year?” Because that would crazy, now wouldn’t it?
But, by all means, let’s talk about “black on black crime.” You’ve probably heard a statistic like this before – The majority of black people murdered are killed by other black people. That’s true, but also misleading. The overwhelming majority of white murder victims each year are killed by white assailants. So, when’s the last time you heard the term “white on white crime?”
As shocking as it may be for some to hear, people generally commit crimes against people they know or live near. If you want to have a real discussion about crime, let’s talk about the factors that contribute to it happening in the first place.”
This is important, because it means Clarke’s argument is not necessarily rooted in honest truth, and is more of a diversion than an actual talking point. But he doesn’t elaborate.
Clarke then mentions the three dead officers killed by Long and the five killed in Dallas ten days before the interview by Micah Johnson.
On July 7th, 2016, Dallas citizens were protesting the wrongful killing of Sterling (from above), and Philando Castile (killed on June 6th, 2016) a Minnesota man who was shot in front of his 4-year-old and girlfriend because he reached for his gun license (not his gun) after he was stopped.
One summary of the situation is as follows: “Castile told Officer Yanez that he had a firearm (Castile was licensed to carry) to which Yanez replied, “Don’t reach for it then”, and Castile said “I’m, I, I was reaching for…” Yanez said “Don’t pull it out”, Castile replied “I’m not pulling it out”, and Reynolds (Castile’s girlfriend) said “He’s not…” Yanez repeated “Don’t pull it out” and then shot at Castile at close range seven times, hitting him five times. Castile died at 9:37 p.m. at Hennepin County Medical Center, about 20 minutes after being shot.”
It was a horrible scenario to be sure, and Reynolds had livestreamed the incident, and the world watched, just like George Floyd, as Castile was killed over and over and over.
Just over a year later, on July 16th, officer Yanez was acquitted of all charges.
Back to Dallas.
Johnson, the Dallas shooter, was an ex-military man who had been discharged in 2014 following accusations of sexual assault.
He was a reportedly angry man, angry at the world.
He is known to have been a member of known/registered hate groups in the U.S. like the New Black Panther Party (NBPP).
There needs to be a distinction made here between the NBPP and the original Black Panthers.
The Black Panthers were an instrumental part of the civil rights movement in states like California and New York. While they are mainly remembered for carrying guns around as Black bodies, their work was primarily focused on community organization and support. They ran breakfast programs for poor youth, and community fundraisers, but were demonized in the 60s because they were a Black organization and were eventually shutdown by violent intervention from the FBI. (The Black Panthers are the reason New York and California passed laws that prevented open carry in their respective states. Those laws were specifically to prevent unlicensed open-carry, the likes of which Missouri has, but was still the reason Alton Sterling died).
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, “The New Black Panther Party is a virulently racist and antisemitic organization whose leaders have encouraged violence against whites, Jews and law enforcement officers.” Something the original Black Panthers did not do. And the NBPP is where we find Micah Johnson.
Again, the fact he killed, and maimed police officers was not a good thing, but he was not a member of BLM and he was an identified radical and abuser, an outlier if any exist.
Then the video we’re watching hits 1:37 and Don Lemon goes to commercial… which is where Dennis Prager has determined to cut off the interview.
This year at Sheridan, I learned how commercials on TV work (yay journalism). There are pretty much two main reasons to go to commercial like this.
- It’s scheduled. Lemon has an ear-piece in his right-ear and is hearing the show director call commercial breaks. Likely, he was hoping Clarke would speak to his statement to the American people before the break and then the show would cut and come back to continue the conversation, but Clarke refuses to answer Lemon’s question and counter-asks, derailing the show. What this Prager video doesn’t show is that the Clarke-Lemon interview is actually almost 10 minutes long. This was the very beginning and the likelihood the program was scheduled to go to commercial at this point is very good (because they talk for another 8 1/2 minutes). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QRen8nI8_aM
- Something is wrong. It’s possible Lemon called this break to try to ease some tension, but it’s very unlikely. Ads only come up periodically on news shows like this. So unless he was sensing some kind of violent tension (or the producer was), this ad call was probably a scheduled break.
After all this.
I realized this video leads into an actual Prager U “course”.
Working from the premises and background we’ve already talked about let’s discuss some of Clarke’s points in his video.
But first, I need to point out that Prager U is a YouTube channel produced and run by radio host and right-wing antagonist, Dennis Prager. Prager edits all of the scripts that get published by the channel and makes sure that the messaging aligns with his personal worldview.
Also, Prager U is not an accredited “university” even though they refer to each video as a “course.”
So, what is Clarke’s argument in this video?
Well, the original video from 2018 that was reposted to Facebook on June 8th with the constant caption “What the Main Stream Media Deosn’t Want You To Know About Black Lives Matter” is titled “Cops Are The Good Guys.”
In the video Clarke makes points that constantly jump around. So, I’d suggest you watch the video first (it’s only five minutes) just to make sure I don’t misrepresent Clarke’s quotes (again, as edited by Dennis Prager).
Link FB video
2:22 This graphic of “excellence” shows a cop in a shootout… okay…
Why is the premise that all cops are demanded perfection a counter argument to cops shouldn’t kill people who don’t deserve to die. If this video is counter to Black Lives Matter (which is the context provided), it should be a defense of cops not taking Black lives, not an excuse for why police keep messing up.
“You can mark social progress by the improvements made by police departments over the last 50 years”
This quote from Clarke is highly disingenuous. I’d remind you that this video is from 2018, but that puts 50 years in the past back to 1968. So what happened in 1968?
First, an easy out here, as a counterpoint, would be to make fun of the fact he’s saying police have only been changing for the last 50 years, but surely that’s wrong, so how did police affect change in the 60s?
1968 was the year MLK was assassinated. It was the year the US passed the fair housing act denying landlords the right to discriminate based on race.
I could expand, but it doesn’t feel worth it. Policing didn’t start changing at the tail-end of the 60sbecause a bunch of officers decided to be inclusive. It changed because of direct action, violent protests, and legislative measures requiring them to do so. This is true for the 70s, 80s, 90s, and 2000s.
Sure, you can trace social change through policing, but not because police are the “good guys,” it’s because they enforce the law, and the law has been getting SLOWLY less racist as time goes on. For the most part.
It’s a tough conversation to have if you support the police because policing absolutely has a long, very obviously racist history, but societal change is brought on by community engagement, not by willing policy fluxuations from the police force.
Exactly like BLM
This isn’t the point where I will fully explain what “defund the police” means but a large part of that campaign is based, not on the idea that policing should be abolished, but the role of police in society need to change on a fundamental level to reflect the needs of the communities they purport to represent.
Instead of spending millions wildly on military vehicles, body camersa, and building upgrades, many communities would be better served by more robust social services focused on prevention of things like addiction and poverty rather than a reactionary force criminalizing the side effects that addiction and poverty are likely to produce.
But… back to David Clarke.
Oh… so… he immediately addresses police training.
Cops in the US have the shortes amount of training required to be an officer in the Western world.
When you break it down by hours, Finland requires 4500 hours of training, Germany requires 4000 hours of training, Australia requires 3500 hours of training, England requires 2250 hours of training, Canada 2100 hours, and the USA? Just 672 hours to become a fully fledged police officer.
The worst part is, for many US precincts, their officers aren’t trained in de-escalation techniques, but are instead trained in Killology. A real thing that is used to train police officers.
SOME MORE NEWS KILLOLOGY CLIP
3:00 – Clarke says “self serving politicians” are to blame for not making cops look like supermen, but … that’s ridiculous. People have phones. Police violence doesn’t go viral because of politicians, it’s people taking video in the streets.
I mean, look:
INSERT SOME MORE NEWS POLICE VIOLENCE MONTAGE
That was a lot, yes, but that was only from about a week and a half. Imagine what could happen if people weren’t taking videos.
Okay, now at 3:20, Clarke makes a good point finally. However, it’s obviously maligned.
No, police didn’t put people into abject poverty, or fatherless homes, or failing schools, or force them to make bad lifestyle choices. No one is saying they did. And positioning this asrgument as a win for the police (somehow) is downright goofy.
Almost all of the issues Clarke mentions fall on libertarian republican policy makers or influceners (like, idk… Dennis Prager?) They have rewritten textbooks, segregated education, criminalized Black neighbourhoods, and disenfranchised Black voters.
On top of all that, the systemic racism that Black people face IS enforced by biased laws. These are primarily targeted at Black people by.. wait for it…. The police.
Police don’t write the laws, but they sure as hell enforce them which, a difference which, to many people, may as well be the difference between a rabbit and a hare. ( I don’t know what the difference is there… do you? Come on. Don’t google it. It’s, like, the same thing, right?)
At 3:42 Clarke startrs into a diatribe accusing murdered Black men of “not cooperating”
But if you were being arrested unjustly, would you cooperate? If you said “yes,” a good follow up question is “why?”
Would you feel comfortable being arrested by a cop? Do you feel like your life would be the same afterwards?
If your answers are “yes” you’ve stumbled into “white privilege.” A thing that exists.
It’s not a bad thing or a problem, but it means that you’re able to recognize the bias police have innately and you won’t have the same view of policing as someone who isafraid for their life at the very presense of the police, no matter the circumstance.
Here are a list of people from the US who have died by police violence in the past couple of years:
This is a horrible point to have to make, on Clarke’s part. He is blaming the victims of police violence for police violence. An officer who cannot judge when a CD salesman or special ed teacher with a legal license isn’t threatening them is not a good officer.
The cops Clarke is defending here are the “bad apples” he later implies he would have fired.
At 4:18 – If you’re not committing a crime, a cop arresting you should be an unlawful act. Just a quick hot-take. Carry on/
At 4:43 – If this si a lie, you need to explain the deaths of:
LIST FROM DEFUND THE POLICE PAGE>
Comparing statistics of police deaths and medical deaths are unrelated statistical comparisons. He doesn’t say what type of surgery, the associated risks with the surgeries, or list what the various procedures were. This is a strawman argument, and not one initiated in good faith.
In regards to the 990 in 2014, do you think he wants to try justifying all of those deaths by saying the people should have complied? Is that fair?
When you go into surgery, it’s not because the surgeon pulled you over, saw your skin colour and decided to perform an emergency surgery. Surgueries are voluntary, and often a last resort, or lifesaving possibilities. THisis just nuts.
5:16 Who are the “bad guys?”
I guess here would be a good time to talk about what defunding the police could means:
Clarke calling BLM BLiesM is a mischaracterization of the movement in a borderline racist way. And shows absolute animosity towards people who simply don’t want to die.
Black Lives Matter isn’t saying that exclusively to police, they’re saying it to a society, and country (s) that was built on slavery and anti-Black racism. While the police enforce the laws that defend the system, that doesn’t stop people like Amy Cooper from central park from calling the police on Black people across America. We all saw that video, she called the cops because she knew that if she said she was being harassed by a “Black man” the cops might harm him and he would fear for his life. It was thinly veiled subtext, but plain for anyone who wanted to see it.
5:40 Clarke uses the term “lawful aggressive policing” to describe something he things the US is losing as cops become afraid of being filmed.
And, like, huh?
Time and time again we’ve seen that community improvemenmt and betterment does not come from mass arrests (regardless of how “legal” they are)
Incarcerating community members is a quick way to criminalizing people and whole communities for life.
I mean, think about the impact a jail or prison sentence has on peple who are put in the system.
They’re barred from volunteering, from jobs, from VOTING, and from a bunch of other opportunities you might take for granted. And these people are arrested for legal firearms, for weed possession, looking black, stealing cigarettes, accidentally paying with a forged $20 bill, birdwatching, jaywalking, and the list goes on.
Also, if police aren’t policing black people specifically, why does the graphic show only black people as being policed?
HEATHER MACDONALD BIG JOEL?
HM works at the Manhattan Institute.
You might initially think this is a school, but no.
It’s a think tank that funds and researches for right-wing policies.
Anyway, MacDonald coined (apparently) the term “the Ferguson Effect”
Which, according to Clarke, is when cops are afraid to do their jobs because the might be recorded.
Here’s the blip, If they were doing their jobs lawfully, they should have nothing to be afraid of. If they were not using excessive violence, tasering people unnecessarily, reducing the use of pepper spray, or any other no-violent thing, they wouldn’t have to worry.
Also the past cople weeks completely disprove the idea of the Ferguson Effect so wholeheartledly that it’s just nuts to even be still discussing it. It’s honestly a bit hard to understand how Prager could even report this video.
If police are worried about being labelled “trigger happy racists” the wouldn’t keep killing unarmed black men on camera. Clarke is defending himself as much as anyone else in this video.
6:43 Look, I’m not saying, and won’t say. That police are the enemy, but their inflated budgets and often out-of-date or harmful training procedures need to be viewed critically and without bias. We need to rethink cops as the “good guys” because for a lot of reasons, they’re the “grey area” guys and sometimes, depending on your skin colour, they’re the “bad guys”
Also,please stop watching Prager U
POST-SCRIPT: THIS VIDEO IS FOR WHITE PEOPLE OR NON-BLACK PEOPLE OF COLOUR.
IF YOU ARE BLACK THIS VIDEO WILL SOUND REDUCTIVE.