Vi Hart explains BLM with Sharpie and paper

Vi Hart, famous — and adored –for her YouTube videos explaining complex math, has a point in her latest video. Even with all of the hours of news coverage, and the barrels of ink in newspapers, the surrounding coverage of rising tensions ignores the complex problems behind complex problems. They’re not doing that well with the simple ones, either.

“I know a whole lot of you are still catching up on events, and black organizers of social change don’t have time to give 101 courses to every internet person who is of the opinion that ‘if you just do what police say you’ll be fine’ and ‘All Lives Matter,'” she says in her latest video, posted overnight.

So she got the Sharpie and notebook out and gave it a shot.

“I know there’s a lot of white people out there who are afraid or unsure of whether or how to engage with any of this because they’re afraid of doing it wrong or being called racist when they’re just trying to help, and, I sympathize, but you’ll live,” Hart says.

If you can’t see the video, here’s the transcript.

  • wjc

    Powerful

  • lindblomeagles

    I’d add Philando Castile was doing what police asked, respectfully, but that didn’t matter at all. More to the point, many Americans will drive with a non-working tail light at some point in their lives. It’s in the back of the car and is not all that visible as the front lights are when it does go out. As for those who want BLM to change their name to “All Lives Matter,” most of society already assumed all lives mattered to the police. BLM, however, wanted the country to realize police treated Black Americans differently than all Americans, hence the name. Please take a minute to understand this difference. Example, when the Declaration of Independence said “All men were free” in 1776, Black men were not free in any of the Southern States, and were subsequently made 3/5s of a person in the US Constitution more than a decade later. From 1865 to 1965, the Bill of Rights was not applied to Black people, even though it Americans said it applied to all people. The similar effect is taking place with respect to police brutality. While we assume everyone should be protected from police brutality, in practice, that’s not happening, and for African Americans, it has been a persistent problem throughout US History, not a Johnny-Come Lately problem. That’s why the group chose the name Black Lives Matter.

    • Curmudge

      I’d ask, how do you know that Castile was doing what police asked??? If you don’t have reliable evidence to back that up and are just speculating, you should point that out.

      • crystals

        How do you know that he wasn’t? What reliable evidence do you have to back that up?

        • Curmudge

          I would cite the fact that the cop said on the video that he told him not to reach for it. That would agree with standard police procedures and seems logical and believable. They simply don’t let people with guns reach for them…….they have the person step outside, assume the position and be disarmed.

          • crystals

            Bob, did you see Lucky Rosenbloom’s segment on Almanac last week about how he teaches his gun safety classes and what he advises black permit holders to do if they are stopped? So good.

          • Curmudge

            Lucky said that police get info that you have a carry permit when they run your DL. That was wrong. They don’t. This doesn’t speak well for Lucky’s expertise.

          • CHS

            I have heard from other sources and instructors that if they do an expanded search vs the simple search when they run your DL the permit will show up, and most cops usually do that.

          • Curmudge

            Never heard of it. Nobody is supposed to be able to get into that database because it’s confidential.

          • CHS

            It’s my understanding that LE can access the DB because they need to be able to determine whether or not a permit to carry is valid if presented, and can access this info via expanded search on a person. The DB is kept confidential to all other sources that don’t qualify for meaningful use, such as media, etc.

            It’s irrelevant in this case though because no search was done, the shooting happened prior to even getting his ID and Permit to Carry.

          • Curmudge

            If such a search exists it would hardly ever be used in any cases, much less a stop on an armed robbery suspect. At any rate, the information Lucky gave on Almanac was inaccurate and that’s my point.

          • CHS

            And my point is that Lucky’s information is not unique to him, both my instructors have repeated the same information. One of them was a LE officer, the other worked extensively in training programs with them and consulted them on this question.

          • Curmudge

            Whether unique to him or a common misconception, Lucky’s statement was clearly wrong. He said a cop gets information on your carry permit when he runs your DL. That is simply not true.

          • CHS

            Do you have a source that refutes that a LE officer can access that information? If yes, I’d like to look that up and look into it further.

          • Curmudge

            What I said was that nobody can get that on the normal DL checks that cops run through their radio. That would violate privacy rules. You can’t just blast confidential information over radio channels that are not encrypted.

          • Theoretically possible to run a gun check at the same time you run a DL check:

            Subd. 15.Commissioner; contracts; database. (a) The commissioner must maintain an automated database of persons authorized to carry pistols under this section that is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, only to law enforcement agencies, including prosecutors carrying out their duties under subdivision 8a, to verify the validity of a permit.
            (b) The commissioner may maintain a separate automated database of denied applications for permits to carry and of revoked permits that is available only to sheriffs performing their duties under this section containing the date of, the statutory basis for, and the initiating agency for any permit application denied or permit revoked for a period of six years from the date of the denial or revocation.
            (c) The commissioner may contract with one or more vendors to implement the commissioner’s duties under this section.

          • Curmudge

            We’re not talking theory here, Bob. Obviously, the information is available if there’s a question whether or not a carry permit is valid, but this is not normally a concern in a traffic stop. What I said was that Lucky’s statement on Almanac was
            clearly wrong. He said a cop gets information on your carry permit when
            he runs your DL. That is simply not true.

          • // *Nobody* is supposed to be able to get into that database because it’s confidential.

            See statute above.

            There still seems to be some disagreement on what sort of stop this was. It was either a traffic stop or a suspected armed robbery suspect.

          • Curmudge

            That quote was in the context of a normal traffic stop, Bob. Obviously there has to be access to the database, but that’s a special request. What I said was that Lucky’s statement on Almanac was
            clearly wrong. He said a cop gets information on your carry permit when
            he runs your DL. That is simply not true.
            As to what kind of stop it was, the police audio reveals that it was a stop of an armed robbery suspect.

          • When stopping an armed robbery suspect, would there be a search back at the station (or dispatch or whomever) that would cross reference the car’s registration with the firearms database?

          • Curmudge

            I don’t see why, Bob. When stopping an armed robbery suspect you would expect them to be armed and you would treat them accordingly. You wouldn’t be concerned with a carry permit, you’d just be extra careful in case it turned out to be the actual armed robbery suspect. In this case we don’t know and probably never will know if Castile was the one who robbed the convenience store. The pictures do look a lot like him, but are probably not good enough to positively identify him.

          • Curmudge

            Some instructors tell you that it is better not to reveal that you are a permit holder on a routine traffic stop. It may just complicate everybody’s day for no good reason. If you do reveal it you should never use the word “gun.” It’s an extremely charged three-letter word.

          • crystals

            How do you know what he was reaching for, though? Wasn’t he also told to reach for his identification? And wasn’t the police officer saying this AFTER he fired shots into Castile?

            This is a perfect example to illustrate how different people choose to see different pieces of “evidence” as reliable or accurate. The fact is no one – certainly not you or I – really know what happened in that traffic stop. I’m simply not willing to assume that I do.

          • Curmudge

            The point is that he shouldn’t have reached anywhere because the cop doesn’t know what he’s reaching for either…..thus the cop is forced to shoot. You are taught in the carry permit classes to keep your hands on the steering wheel.

            Evidence is not a matter of opinion…..it’s either credible or not. The statements of the girlfriend will be rejected or at least made highly questionable by the legal system because she admitted on the video that they had been smoking pot. Therefore, her words and the actions of Castile will be considered to have been possibly influenced by drugs.

          • Kassie

            The cop is not “forced to shoot” when someone reaches anywhere. I have multiple friends who have said they were pulled over in that area and have fumbled around looking for their license and insurance cards and didn’t get shot.

            AND no where in the video did she admit to smoking pot. She admitted to there being pot in the car. There is probably pot in the building I’m sitting in right now, but that does not make me high.

          • DavidG

            whether they had been smoking pot at some point in the past has no bearing on her statements in the video about the shooting. It’s highly likely that the alleged pot smoking wouldn’t even be allowed to be introduced.

          • Curmudge

            Of course it has legal bearing. The context of her statement was that they had been smoking pot in the car just before they were stopped. Thus her actions and the actions of Castile could have been influenced by drugs.

          • DavidG

            cops routinely yell “gun”, “stop resisting” even when facts show neither to be the case. Pretty sure that’s taught on the first day of police academy.

  • PaulJ

    The video seemed condescending and one sided so I stopped listening at 4 minutes.

  • Jeff

    The people protesting and shutting down 35W need to understand that preventing people from getting to getting to work on time isn’t going to sway people to your side. Also, their agenda of “disbanding the police” is ridiculous on its face (that’s part of their 4 bullet points on their Facebook page).

    • Jerry

      Anarchists are the primary example of why anarchy would never work as a form of society.

      • Dan

        Anarchists are usually terrible examples of anarchy. Hanging out at the Hard Time Cafe, wearing bandanas over your face and throwing molotov cocktails does not make up a political philosophy.

    • Kassie

      You should go to a BLM meeting and tell them that. I’m sure they would love to hear a white man tell them how they are doing everything wrong and how their protest could be more convenient to you.

      • Jeff

        It wasn’t BLM protesting on 35W…it was another group.

        http://www.startribune.com/protesters-block-i-35w-in-minneapolis/386622281/#1

        A statement issued by Black Lives Matter Minneapolis said the activists on the freeway make up “a coalition of white people and non-Black people of color [acting] in solidarity with the movement for Black lives, condemning the ongoing killings of Black people by police in the Twin Cities and across the country.”

        • Kassie

          So if it wasn’t BLM, why are you posting about it on a discussion of BLM?

          • Jeff

            Did you not see the quote I posted from BLM? Or is this simply your attempt to get Mr. Collins to believe this is off topic so you can have my comments deleted because you disagree with them…so much for the 1st Amendment…

          • Kassie

            People who bring up their 1st Amendment Rights so often don’t understand how it works. Bob is not the government, neither is MPR, so both could chose to ban you or me forever and our 1st Amendment rights would remain intact.

            I commented about why you are wrong, you corrected me saying you weren’t talking about BLM, when I pointed out that if you weren’t talking about BLM, it is irrelevant to the converstaion, so then you started complaining about your 1st Amendment Rights. You are trying to play it both ways and I’m calling you out on it.

          • Jeff

            I’m bringing up a movement that is trying to be associated with BLM, how their actions were inappropriate and would hurt their cause (both BLM and this other group). You made an incorrect ASSUMPTION that this other group was BLM, I corrected you. Because you were proven wrong you didn’t like that so you’re trying to suggest that I was somehow off topic, which I’m not because I clearly proved BLM commented on this other group…not sure how it’s difficult to see that association when I made it so clear. I’m not trying to have it both ways, I’m trying to have an opinion on an action.

            The 1st Amendment applies in this case because MPR accepts government dollars…therefore it is in a sense a government platform, unlike other groups or organizations (like the Star Tribune). I would appreciate if people would stop with the “off topic” labeling when you don’t like inconsistencies pointed out with a counterexample; it’s a logical path of discussion to bring up related and inconsistent stances of those you disagree with. I feel it is quite juvenile and shows a sense of immaturity by trying to get other comments removed when you don’t like the path it went down by trying to challenge that reasoning.

          • I really don’t want to get off on this nonsense today so let’s be clear; there is no First Amendment standing on what you can/can’t say on NewsCut. None.

            The “government dollars” is itself a quid pro quo for government restrictions on what can/can’t be broadcast on public media and how it can raise revenue.

            This isn’t the first time I’ve made this point. So everybody knock it off and refocus on what perspectives you can bring to the topic and hand, and leave the characterizations of other posters out of things.

            I’ll handle the moderation here.

          • The easiest way to get comments deleted is to get into spitball fights rather than a respectful exchange of perspectives.

            They bore me, and I suspect, they bore others.

      • Jerry

        Turning people’s sympathies against them is a very counterproductive tactic.

    • Jay T. Berken

      Rosa Parks prevented people from getting to work on the day she decided to not move to the back of the bus. The difference is the number of people she “preventing people from getting to getting to work on time”. Ms. Parks sparked the Civil Rights movement.

      • Jeff

        I believe that’s a false equivalence since that person could have easily taken another seat…besides that the next step in the movement was a boycott of the transit system, which is a much more appropriate form of protest of the transit system. If the problem is the police or laws…then protest at the police station or legislature or even the governor’s mansion.

        • Jay T. Berken

          How about the Montgomery to Selma march and Bloody Sunday. Maybe that is a true “equivalence”.

        • DavidG

          yes, the people complaining about the freeway protests were certainly quiet and supportive of the protests at the 4th precinct last fall.

          • Jeff

            I spoke up and said that’s the right place to be protesting…but that’s just me. I even compared it to shutting down the interstates and said that protesting at the police station was the right location. I was only in support of removing the protesters once the numbers came out that the police response time was reduced by the protest and the videos of black officers being cruelly insulted surfaced.

          • Kassie

            But you don’t get to choose the right place. This isn’t your fight. Of course you wanted them at the 4th Precinct because it didn’t affect you or your friends. Now that they are protesting in places that inconvenience you, you care what they do. But that’s the point of a protest, to inconvenience people and get attention.

          • Jeff

            No, I thought the 4th Precinct was the right location because that was the origin of the officers who were involved in the Jamar Clark case.

  • Curmudge

    Spock has a real good point. Besides, isn’t the construction annoying enough without people chanting that we should disarm the police??? BlackLivesMatter gets publicity out of blocking highways, but they sure don’t win the hearts and minds of the people.

    • Kassie

      They have won my heart and my mind. And getting attention is the point. It is a protest, not a pledge drive.

      • Curmudge

        I suspect the people stuck in a traffic jam are not quite as happy as you are. 🙂

        • crystals

          I have multiple friends who have been sitting in the traffic, are delayed getting to work, etc. and are posting their support for the protest.

    • The people on the highway today were predominantly white.

      • Veronica

        Kerri Miller had a great segment on the effectiveness of protesting, for anyone wanting some thoughtful discussion based on evidence.

        Spoiler alert: it works.

  • Dan

    “Alton Sterling, having just been tased, is held down, face down lying on the ground by two officers”… “and it’s all on video from multiple angles”

    The second video showed that he was not in fact face down, as many had argued from seeing the first video.

    “Yet the media starts to talk about well he shouldn’t have been selling CDs anyway”

    The “selling CDs” is the pro-BLM focus, e.g. “murdered for selling CDs”. What’s missing from that narrative, and the video, is that the police were there because they were called, with the report that Sterling had threatened someone with a gun. Police are going approach that situation differently than they would someone selling CDs.

    None of which proves the Alton Sterling shooting was a good shooting, nor legal, but when you’re trying to appeal to people as the scholarly voice of reason, avoiding half-truths, distortions and inaccuracies would be a good idea. Thanks for “helping”.

  • Hi there. We’re going to return to full moderation in comments today. We’re going to eliminate the incendiary and irrelevant as well as the trolling.

    As always, if you have a perspective to share, you’re welcome to do so in a respectful manner.

    Let’s work on elevating the discussion today.

    Thank you.

  • BReynolds33

    I appreciated the part about calling for unity. I’m not feeling very united right now, and, to be frank, I have no desire to be united right now. I’m angry, and I want to be angry.

    I think Bob’s favs, the Dixie Chicks may have a song about that.

    • “Not Ready to Make Nice”?

    • Curmudge

      Me, too. (And I sleep like a baby.)