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Welcome to another episode of Conversations with Coleman. If you're hearing this, then you're on the public feed, which means you'll get episodes a week after they come out and you'll hear advertisements, you can gain access to the subscriber feed by going to Coleman's use dog and becoming a supporter. This means you'll have access to episodes a week early, you'll never hear ads and you'll get access to bonus Q&A episodes. You can also support me by liking and subscribing on YouTube and sharing the show with friends and family.


As always, thank you so much for your support.


Welcome to another episode of Conversations with Coleman, my guests today are Shelby and Eli Steel. Shelby Steele is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and the author of many books, including The Content of Our Character, which won him the National Book Critics Circle Award. Eli Steel, who's his son, is a documentary filmmaker whose films include How Jack Became Black, What's Bugging Seth and What Killed Michael Brown, which is the subject of today's conversation. The topic, of course, is the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson in 2014 and all the related issues.


One note here, Eli Steel is deaf, but is able to lip read over Zoom, so understanding his speech might take a bit more focus than normal. But it's very worth it. I really enjoyed this conversation, and I hope you do, too. So without further ado, Shelby and Eli Steel.


Shelby and Eli Steel, thank you so much for coming on my show. Thanks for having us. It's a pleasure.


So I just finished about 30 minutes ago watching your documentary, What Killed Michael Brown. And I wanted that to be the focal point of this conversation. The documentary is is excellent and interesting and timely. And I think everyone listening to this podcast should go watch it on Vimeo. It's twenty dollars and I make a very brief appearance, but it's worth watching. And this podcast won't be a substitute for watching it.


And so I want to talk about the themes of the documentary.


And I also want to talk about the the censorship of the documentary from Amazon and the wider problem of virtual tech monopolies, deciding based on political bias what counts as valid material.


But before we get to that, let's just talk about what moved you to make this documentary about Ferguson and the shooting of Michael Brown.


I think we felt that Ferguson and Michael's death and all of the hoopla surrounding it, the major themes of race relations in America were political, cultural and so forth, were in play in this this one isolated incident. I mean, this is a shooting of a teenage black male by a white cop. But again, just one the president, the United States became involved. The attorney general became involved. The FBI became involved. Meanwhile, on the south side of Chicago, thousands of black boys and girls were killed, were shot.


Hundreds killed and very little attention at all. Well, the only real difference is that the injured in Ferguson, if the trigger finger was white. The victim was was black in Chicago, it was black on black, no interest. Well, that seemed to me to be to encapsulate something very unique about race relations in America. And so we we took the film as an opportunity to explore that, try to identify what forces work there, how this happened.


And more broadly, where is the matter of race in American life today?


Yeah, if you keep at the heart of. These terrorists, many of these terrorist between and we were looking for some kind of interesting D.C. to tackle and we were defeated by Furgeson, wish that it had become almost simple in America. Thelma, let people, quote, focus to keep growing American history. But the problem with that is these two very different narratives with film. And nobody disagrees with that. Everybody, unless you really and not everybody embraces that position.


If you buy into that movie. Right, that would be trash talk. Why do you buy? Why is the narrative going into every institution and why are we not allowed to question? Yeah. So to your point, Shelby, about the lack of attention that's paid to victims of to black victims of homicide by black murderers?


Usually the retort to that point is that activists care more about police involved homicides because they have state authority on their side.


That's generally the first clap back. But there's something disingenuous about that argument, I feel, because.


If you look at how many unarmed white people get killed by the cops every year, often in precisely the same circumstances as unarmed black victims, those white names just get memory hold to their lost to history.


Nobody cares. So I was aware of one case that happened in twenty fifteen of a white man in his late 30s named Daniel Elrod. And it stuck out to me because the details of the case were eerily similar to the Michael Brown case. Daniel Elrod had just robbed a store and there was dispute about whether he put his hands up when the police accosted him and he was shot and killed in that case. And nobody knows the name Daniel Elrod. So I think at the end of the day, it really is the case that it's not about people caring more about violence perpetrated by the state.


It's about the colors of the of the victim and the perpetrator. And the I guess the other way to see this is to to ask why the Trayvon Martin case got attention when it wasn't a white cop in that instance, it was a white civilian. So it's really all about the color of the victim and the perpetrator in these cases.


Maybe they made Trayvon of mind to be the kind of me a cop figured like going to remember Zimmerman, you mean?


Yeah. So let's dive into a little bit of background about Ferguson as a place. Can you give people a primer on the history of Ferguson and some of the misconceptions about how Ferguson was portrayed in the media in the aftermath of Michael Brown's death and what the place is actually like when you visit?


Well, I mean, I think the the the the word that comes to mind in terms of describing Ferguson is nondescript. It's a hard little place. It's so utterly ordinary. So ordinariness just seems to be its very essence. It's a suburb of St. Louis. I'd say probably working class suburb with some sections that are there are much better off. Actually, some parts of Ferguson are very beautiful and seem to be well-to-do and so forth. But it's a typical sort of suburbs and not the town I grew up in and sell off the south side of Chicago, somewhat, somewhat similar, easy to overlook, kind of nondescript, was created by the railroads years and years ago that made a stop.


And so the town sort of built up around that that stuff. In recent years, it has been like most of the major cities in America, got a victim of white flight as whites move out of the city and moved to the suburbs. The Ferguson was one of the first ones that they moved to. Time passed and it was rigid segregation and so forth as time passed and come up to contemporary times. And the government has introduced Section eight housing, which apartment buildings.


So people who are on welfare. And so they brought in to Section eight housing this one neighborhood where Michael Brown was shot and killed. They that neighborhood became a kind of ghetto within a little working class city, little little town. Twenty two thousand people. And that's where the focus of the the police often were. And that neighborhood and as time moved this time has moved on and white flight has continued there. And now it's not one hundred percent black, but it's close.


Most of the surrounding suburbs are all black really at this point and have been for a while peaceful little part of the world in working class. But I mean, again, the the stresses of urban renewal and how and handling the growing black underclass sort of pushed Ferguson into this this situation where it had Section eight housing for the first time and. Lower property values in the town began to decline. And in the documentary, it looked like there was some frustration from white residents of Ferguson who felt that in the coverage of the Michael Brown shooting, they were being portrayed as racists when in fact, they felt like being the white people that stayed in Ferguson, that they hadn't participated in the white flight, that many other white people had.


And there was a kind of a sense of extra insult at seeing themselves as people who stayed and then now having the finger pointed at them as racists.


This was the interview, the couple that the move the 20 more years ago live there happily all this time. And there are many other white families. We interviewed another gentleman who was an engineer and pretty much all of his life. And they these people now are. Live under the accusation, of course, just because they're they live within the city limits of Ferguson, that they somehow that this is somehow an enclave of white racism and and so forth, when, in fact the opposite is true.


These are people who are looking for integrated neighborhoods and we're happy and proud to be the fine Ferguson. And they've wanted their lives to have many of them are still there, even though they've they've paid a price and have the values that their homes have gone down and so forth. But they've stayed true to their their feelings about what's really possible for this little town.


Economically significant, because you have people who are you have black coming to New York City. Louis is in the north part of the black. Is that part of why they were coming? You should Perkasie now take the first step, like buying a home you can be arrested for and you have the right to food, many of them who stayed in this community and did the work, if you got it and this happened and then you have to ask today if you have no idea what the history of life and to impose the narrative onto the people over simplification, you are right, you racist, you black, your passion.


And, you know, I mean really hated by the town. And the people despite that are still trying to. Hold on to what they had before they produced and put the excuse that you mentioned earlier about this year, they integrate the phrase keep that integration going on. But it's a huge challenge because we have a forces coming in which billions of people this year. These Asia of you may be doing. To create it, the undercurrent in the community.


Yeah, there are a lot of directions to go in here, but let's let's I guess first go into what what happened remind people what happened with with Michael Brown and the officer Darren Wilson, because I think a lot of people, when they recall the Ferguson event, all they remember is white cop killed a young black man who held his hands up and said, don't shoot. So, you know, the you call this a poetic truth shall be can you explain what you mean by that?


And and then can we remind people what was actually found in the Department of Justice investigation?


The truth is, is the version of an event that you concoct in order to pursue our. And you used poetic license to bend reality. To shape it, so Michael Brown is not just a kid who on a hot afternoon lost his temper, attacked a policeman and ended up being shot. Michael Brown is a black man, representative of blacks all over the country, all throughout American history, who have been lynched, shot and murdered by racist overseers, policemen and so forth.


So poetically, Michael Brown's death is a sort of image of this history and in that sense validates or proves that this history is still with us today. We're still a society that is capable of murdering a black teenager for no other reason other than the fact that he's black. So that is that's what we mean by poetic truth. And so there's in these kind of events, almost instantly, there's a competition between the poetic truth that we start to invent right away.


In reality, what really, in fact, happened. So you see the character Saïd in the film that was close to the family is the one who invented hands up, don't shoot again, an image of victimization at the hands of racism. And he was one of the architects of this poetic truth that why do this? Why go to all the trouble to reinvent in this way? Because the in America today, blacks in any way perceive. Their victimization.


To be their power. Gives them a moral authority in American life to push to demand things, to argue for their own entitlement to to be recognized. So our victimization is, in that sense, precious to us. It steps if it weren't for that, we would be invisible completely. So what this what they're doing and again, the pathetic truth saves our self-esteem. Here we are again, poor boys and shot by a white policeman. And it's like nineteen thirty two in Mississippi and the beat goes on.


America owes us and we have the dynamic that just sort of then stands up. Eric Holder, the attorney general. Barack Obama, the president. Come into Ferguson, President United States sends his envoy, Eric Holder, attorney general, to and to investigate because they want the poetic truth to be the truth that prevails. Because that's where the power is, if blacks have been victimized, then that's power, they can bring it back, use it in a political context, whereas in Chicago, 300 miles up the road again, thousands of blacks shot every year, teenagers by other black teenagers, presidents not interested, never visits the attorney general.


And you can't get his attention because there's no power there. The minute this power there, then the poetry begins.


So am I remembering correctly that Eric Holder did not meet with the white mayor of Ferguson, but met with the black mayors of all the surrounding towns?


Yes, well, I mean. Naked. Yeah, that was it, yeah, so to remind people here, Eric Holder came into Ferguson saying he's coming as the attorney general, but he's, quote, also coming as a black man and combined with not meeting with the white mayor of Ferguson, all of that amounted to a signal that he was significantly biased towards finding the cop to be guilty of something. And even still, when he ended up releasing two different Justice Department reports, the one that pertained specifically to the Michael Brown case exonerated Darren Wilson because on the basis of evidence, even coming into it, biased against him, was unable to corroborate any witness testimony to the effect that Michael Brown had his hands up or was killed execution style.


And the witness testimony overwhelmingly corroborated the cop's account, wherein Michael Brown punched him, tried to reach his gun, overpowered him, initially began to run away, but then turned around and charged the cop through two series of bullets, almost unfazed, and then finally went down. So it corroborated the basic picture of a cop trying to make an arrest and fearing for his life and only shooting because he rationally feared for his life. And many people don't remember the Ferguson incident that way, they remember what it felt like initially to to read Hands Up, Don't Shoot, and it seems like a lot of these cases end up going that way.


There's an initial picture surrounded by uncertainty and it could go either way. But all the incentives in the media, especially outside of Fox News.


All the incentives in the media are to take the racism angle, to look at all the evidence that confirms the racism angle and ignore any evidence that could possibly exonerate the cop.


And it's happened over and over again since then. So let's talk a little bit about we'll talk about the second report that Eric Holder came up with, which was a report that found the Ferguson police to to be engaging in systemic racism and essentially exploitative for profit policing of the black population of Ferguson.


Can you explain how she came to that finding in the report?


A lot of people in Ferguson had very mixed feelings about that report. Apparently. And if, like, you know, I want to finish them, your memory, they apparently do the three officers in focus and they were in charge of this traffic stop. If you look the third guy doing mainly give the ticket. If you're looking if you look at your holiday report, you know, they call the police officer in a database so that you have ability to be involved in the right car.


But the cop here mentioned the race, right? The two of the three are now. Right. So it doesn't quite fit into the narrative. But when you read it and get the cop to write because focusing on his immaturity, the police department has time with almost all white. The reason that particular aspect is not right. So there's a lot of things in that report that kind of fall short of. Will you be required if you if you were a public policy student or two?


I'm a law student at The Weekly Standard. What are you chinning? Actually going to indict the whole police department? Will you kind of step back and look at the how many pieces there are there? Not that many. I mean, just like any any town would have all these things, if you make them remind me to that's that's to be porn is kind of it was a little shoddy. And that's sort of why we made the movie, because we like we have to go beyond what they did, because you're right.


But the truth if we can. Yeah.


And I think I recall someone in the in the film expressing some degree of sympathy for that report on the basis of.


The habit of finding poor people who are almost all black in a particular neighborhood, who almost certainly couldn't meet the fines and then get into a cycle of owing the city money and questioning whether that's actually the wisest policy to pursue or whether that doesn't just engender. Hatred and lack of trust and poor relations between poor people and the cops.


Well, one thing we found one of the people in the film is a woman named Terry, who was a wife and mother of two Ferguson policemen, both of whom were involved in all of this. And she makes some obvious points. One thing is that most of the tickets go to blacks because that's who lives their town. Next door to Ferguson is about 95 percent black. And so in terms of ticketing as a way to create revenue, and it is the way it is often used and it is often misused as a way to create revenue in all these little suburbs of St.


Louis. Chicago is very similar. They don't have many revenue streams. Ticketing is one. And so if you are reading about those those areas, you really have to be you had to be at that point very careful or you'd get a ticket. And if you didn't pay it off, then you'd get a summons. And if you didn't do that, it would just mountain mount and you'd be out of work and that finally would put you in jail.


So it's a draconian and terrible way to read to raise revenue, but it was hard to prove racist. Once again, it affected everybody. Many of the cops who gave out the carpool gave out the most tickets and Ferguson was black and other the municipalities and very close by. Once again, they used ticketing as a revenue, as a source of revenue. So you don't get it. There's no clear black and white. It lets you can we get decide it's the corruption and ticketing whole ticketing situation ought to change the fact that we get into to.


But it's once again. The poetic truth is that it's driven by racism, is it systemic racism against blacks? Once again, there's no evidence of that at all. The bigger problem, I think the bigger problem would be get all the poor people up in D.C., you have the black underclass, you have a Tea Party bill, do you have a population of people they don't have if they were born this environment, we have to have the skill educated properly.


What will you do with them? You should move them around the house. You should kind of try and move the problem down. So in Procaccini to do the right thing, OK, we do our part, do the direct quote. We do our part, we take them, man. We have these how to accomplish the two of them operation and not me and not Michael Brown slept at my grandmother's house. So you take a population in the poor of a middle class and the people that live in the city and the people who live there, people in them can afford to buy, but these people can insure that.


Could the woman carry with staying. But you brought the people in, but you didn't accept your apology to make it fair or make it make the system work better. They either broke it off with a however, the counter argument because we did not put in the documentary. You should you correct me if I'm wrong, was that they actually did implement policy that you should look at it fine. You should do things to get off if you want issue.


But really, to be sure, so they kind of go both ways.


I didn't know that since Michael Brown's death, ticketing is going down because it's now government.


It invites the stigmatization of race, of being racist. And so the government just. Doesn't want to do that anymore. And do you know whether the residents of Ferguson feel that that's a net good?


Oh, I'm sure they probably do feel that. It's on the other hand, there's been this Ferguson effect where the policemen have pulled back generally. The police department shrunk by half. So there's there's just simply fewer policemen around again, because this the fear of the stigmatization of being not only a cop, but a cop in Ferguson. It's sort of a. Take a career risk doing that, so crime is up. Accidents are up. Speeding is way up.


Everybody speeds now comes to Ferguson to speed through. And while police watch it happen, they simply that afraid or intimidated by this fear of being stigmatized as racist. And so the quality of life is declined because crime goes up and the policemen are holding back.


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Yeah, I think a lot of people want to live in a world or want to pretend that we're living in a world where there's no trade off between police presence and crime.


And it just it seems so naive to me to to feel that there's no relationship between those two things that the police can just back off and nothing will change.


And the truth is, I think the media pays more attention to police abuses than to the aftermath of these scenarios when crime can go up and the rioters and the cameras have left and it's just the residents of these locations that have to deal with the long term consequences.


So, for example, in Minneapolis, I've been seeing a few articles in the past two months saying that in the aftermath of George Floyds death in police custody and the police backing off as a result, that a lot of residents are now asking for a greater police presence.


And obviously, those stories don't make it to in general, don't make headlines as as much as the initial stories of police abuse do, so people get the false impression that there's this is just an easy, good versus evil question.


All we have to do is get rid of the cops and there's no hard adult trade offs to even think about. And that's one of the pernicious long term consequences of the way these incidents are talked about in the media, though, that's a negligible policing as long as negligible important.


And we can again show our innocence of racism by cutting back on the on the policemen, making our working citizens vulnerable to crime and a much higher level. So this is where you see. Ideas associated with liberalism, this progressive view of the world next to reality, beginning to fall to pieces wherever you lower the presence of police, then crime goes up. And there may be some exceptions to that, but I'm not aware of a never heard of them.


Are you aware of the the Harvard economist, Roland Fryar? Yes, he he's just come out with a paper that studies every Justice Department investigation of a US police department since the 90s trying to answer the question, do these investigations of police departments lead to an to an upswing in crime? And the basic picture of his investigation is that when there's a Justice Department that's precipitated by a viral video of somebody getting shot by a cop, in those cases, homicides go up substantially in the aftermath to the tune of thousands of mostly black people killed that would not have been killed if not for the investigation and the subsequent backing off.


So there is some empirical reason to believe that this this is a problem, not in every case, but in cases where the police really feel national attention being pointed to them as racists.


You're not getting better. I mean, they report, if I'm correct, on Tuesday when. It's a proactive effort to make a police department better acting shooty, the department will comply and we want to get better because they're not being targeted. They're not being a part of a community. We don't have all the answers. Debating what we do should make us better. I should be defending then and going if somebody's coming to me because you appreciate me getting over that.


Yeah. This is one of the one of the odd things is that most people who are shaming, trying to shame others into changing their opinion, probably can't think of a moment when they themselves were instantly shamed into some new opinion. But they seem to be operating under the assumption that this will work as a tactic for others. So I want to talk a little bit about the riots.


It occurred to me when I came down to Ferguson when you brought me down for the documentary that most people following these incidents from their homes don't see the long run devastation that riots caused the businesses that leave and never come back, the abandoned buildings, the the disinvestment and the poverty and unemployment that riots can cause several years after the riots are over.


I think I came I must have come last year or the year before and yeah, last year. And you pointed out to me, I think it was black owned barbershop, that to this day hasn't returned as a result of the riots in twenty fourteen.


And that that's another blind spot that the media has because it's if it bleeds, it leads when the riots happening, it's it's very sexy to cover it and to put the people that are saying this is how the people feel, the people are angry, so on and so forth. But after the whole thing is over and it's just smoke and the cameras have gone, no one's really paying attention to the long run devastation. So did you how much of that did you do you think is, you know, lingering today in Ferguson?


Well, Ferguson is, as you said, this is a pattern. And folks, you look at the riots of the 60s, Detroit, Los Angeles and so forth, Detroit is never in 50 years recovery. It's just not remotely the city it once was. What's in L.A. is not this is still the struggles. Riots leave. They become territories that human beings want to want, no part they want to abandon, and so they usually intensify and deepen poverty and all the things that that distress these cities.


When I am in Ferguson, I'm in the first time we've landed there, began to drive around the city. What you said a moment ago about not really realizing the damage, I didn't I hadn't really realized this. Perfectly reasonable office buildings and storefronts wiped out. Years at that time, after the riots that happened, the damage was amazing and all the businesses people would point out to is gone. One woman had had a bakery that was very popular and so forth.


She tried to come back. It was a struggle because people are not coming downtown anymore. It's gone now. Well, one business after another certainly hints that in the future, one hopes this will turn around. But but the negative stigma that sits on Ferguson. People have lost half the value or more of their homes. Are you going to really buy a house and Ferguson at this moment in time? So point being, riots do a lot, a lot of collateral damage to the communities that claim to be injured in the first place.


This is what drives us to racism, drives us to drive. And it's this kind of syndrome. Then we really tear up our own cities. Then afterwards, in a sense, again, to sort of validate that poetic truth. But it is painful to see that see crime rates go up, see the police force decline. And yet we met so many tenacious people in Ferguson who were white and black, who are never going to leave, who are determined to stand their ground.


And in fact, the new boys club has been built near the neighborhood where Michael was shot. So there are some good things that have that have come out.


But they've had they've had a difficult struggle, one in the east. And it took a train to protest today and the protest to the deputy boite to see it in mind, the need to keep this philosophy that he would never go into town unless he knew that the people would be protected will remain the same, because he knew that coming into that town by we the keep name, and it might be let to punish him, either kill them or force him out of a shop going to like that.


We don't do that every day. We have instant gratification, quiet. And then we go OK with that and we get famous big name on Twitter. We get the we get the accolades. Everything will be fine to pursue the town or the.


Most of the people who never come back. Yeah, and you point out that a lot of the rioters were not from Ferguson, most of which by far most of the rioters were not from Ferguson. Maybe one in 10 was actually from. We keep hearing that sort of breakdown most from everywhere they were from all across country and even from Europe in some cases, but not Ferguson, if he knew, they knew that immediately.


I think it's just. Bendy knives and Michael Brown were killed on Saturday. Remember correctly, on Thursday night, they burned crucial to Michael Brown's body. Well, if you just go up the street and turn left, turn right and recognising that with the thought that anybody shot anybody in the neighborhood, got the food so that the people in that town were not be that way. So they knew immediately it was done by outsiders who had no idea what that meant.


The local. Into that community would be like, oh, we've got a problem, you've got people coming from outside. So. The other thing that I find really interesting about the Ferguson story. Is the story of the Ferguson market.


And what happened with that in the aftermath of Michael Brown's death, so can you tell that story about the demands that were made and concessions and further demands and to remind people the Ferguson market is the Pakistani owned sort of.


Almost like an Indian Indian, OK? Anybody from India?


OK, yeah, sure. So that so it was it was an Indian market, maybe not quite a deli, almost like a convenience store that Michael Brown had been to the night before and had just robbed before the cops accosted him. And it was the it was the reason why why the cops were called on him. So can you tell the story of what happened to that that market after you tell a story line? We're going to show. You shouldn't mark words, but that's really OK, and that's the reason why they burned the quickest thought.


They thought about the market. They thought about when Michael Brown had gone and talked about the mistake it was that free about. A quarter of a mile down, the other way down the road, so basically the market has always been the timber that the extended other than this part of the microbiome die if it is to spot. So in two twenty eighteen, the fourth anniversary of Michael Brown's death. They need to protect you need to focus on an to point in the film, The Sheep, Tom Jackson, Riggen, all the other play, all the major players from the towers from Boston, including gone, the only main target that with the market.


So the protesters target the market and they basically demand they closed down on the on the on the anniversary of Michael Brown death. Every year you must host a barbecue. You must contribute to Michael Brown's after actually paper and Michael Brown scholarship fund. You must stop down some kind of commercial to take some cough medicine. It's a precursor to another drug is the legal product, but you must stop funding all the demand. And the market met every single demand except for oh, they were paying them to close down for every day on the Michael Brown anniversary of the federal closed down on the day we got money.


So they literally gave them everything every month. They gave him everything. The protesters didn't. We want the store so they could keep the demand as if they wanted to own the store. They give it to them. They become I think that city had become the Michael Brown liquor store or the new name of the Michael Brown market. And it really tells you about the about how the protesters have a desire to keep the protests alive, to keep moving the goal post.


So and I think it got a lot of backlash for that because people said, oh, my God, you might take away what these people had nothing to do with what happened other than they call the police. But that was it. And if you do, then everybody will call the police. If they had been pushing through, I mean, you do. Otherwise, you allow these thugs should be taking your band to show. You live in a neighborhood like that, and then to next year, the mood on to news that if demand is right now, we want a new black city or county attorney to reopen the Michael Brown case.


I guess they felt they had to have that guy in office. You might find the right guy. So anyway, it's just a news story. And they keep the media to keep the Michael Brown being alive. And you kind of feel a little. Back to them in a way, because, you know, they come out next to you.


I mean, I come from those just say one, the pattern that was fascinating to me about the market with the escalating and this. Give me the market. Give us the market is the I think the underlying dynamic is that it's a situation of the victim probing the his presumed oppressor to see how much entitlement am I do. So how much and so though this week is still had nothing to do really with the death of Michael Brown. He had gone there, but the night before and so forth, the father, the the blacks in the community participating in this were probably we were victims.


We want entitlement. We want we want you to literally in a free enterprise society, give us this this business. Just give it to us. Well, that's that's that shows you to me a people looking for power through their victimization. Not their talents, their efforts, but through their happy almost to see victimization, because that seems to be the ticket to ride in the liquor store, it seems to me was was a good example of that tragic of that pattern.


And it's always self-destructive. It always ends up hurting the the people who were probably youths who are trying to manipulate for their entitlement. They end up the first losers. I actually I a lot of empathy for the father, Michael Brown father in a way. I mean, you have to remember, this is a guy who never asked for this to happen to. So that's why I condemn him. I don't know how I would behave if I was in that situation because my father state and I have enormous amount of power that Michael Brown, the father, is grown now and he's famous out of goody goody into this echelon in a way.


And so I don't have a lot I mean, I have a lot of empathy for him because. In a way, he's trapped. Every year he comes back out every year. It's a heavy burden to carry heavy things with more people. If you lose a child, you're on your own. There's no power there. You have to deal with that and move on. And he is not in that same situation. You can get very political a life situation and in a way, that kind of wholesome, I think.


I think because if he was the right guy, right, there would be a black kid, Célestine. You've had to deal with it and move on, move on with your life. Yeah, I mean, there's so many interesting and telling dynamics in this one story. It's almost a parable. And, you know, when I thought in the past year and a half about the issue of reparations and what would constitute enough. I often have trouble convincing people.


That that whole way of framing the question misses something very important about the psychology of demand based activism, the psychology of demand based activism is not that you have a set of requests that you want independent of anything, and it's just a matter of whether people satisfy those demands. It's inherently a goalpost shifting mentality that the moment you get what you asked for yesterday, it will no longer feel like enough. And there will be massive social incentives for anyone who steps up and says, actually, we need more.


That person is going to get boosted to the top of the social hierarchy. And this is what people don't understand about reparations and and any any similar psychological dynamic that's going on. And so I want to point people to this case as just a warning about the fact that you have to draw you have to give compensation where compensation is due based on legal precedents. But you have to draw a red line and you have to leave people unsatisfied. That's what that means.


Or else you will be in a never ending cycle and they will take everything from you.


And the other dynamic I think it highlights is there's this very neat and convenient separation people have in their minds between the victims and oppressors.


And it seems to me the real world does not work like that, you know, to today's victim easily becomes tomorrow's oppressor and today's oppressor easily becomes tomorrow's victim because human beings, you know, contain the potential for good and evil within almost all of us.


Save for, you know, the whatever tiny percentage of people are true psychopaths. Most people can easily find themselves being a victim or an oppressor based on the circumstance. And in this case, these these poor Indian shopkeepers who were initially victims of Michael Brown. Later, we're asked to give up everything they worked for in their lives to atone for something they had absolutely nothing to do with and if anything, were already victims of.


So who is the oppressor in that local circumstance there?


So I encourage people not to just cleave the world into, you know, good and evil in this simplistic way where white people are evil, black people are permanently noble. It's dehumanizing of both parties and it fails to capture the complexity that's involved in society is really moving toward that make.


Then he probably third grade in your charter school in Washington. You're going to have all the wiretaps and so obviously everybody wants to bother you, so high school, the way to handle that is to ban Huckleberry Finn. With England. Taisto. Are you prepared to explore this, you can pretend all of that by banning a book for me. You talking about the complexity or security simplistic approach to family action that does nothing. And the irony is that book, with all its complexity, all the problem with all that, the one everything actually gets a lot more about like.


In this very simple action, apparently, the book Cheese Cookies, but anyway, I mean, just in the history of teaching the consequences to any kid, learned that we never used to run it. Even though I understand that we're doing it to society and Tommy level, we're not really educating people on complexity and we're not teaching them good book not to see them. Crime and Punishment, how you go from a guy low down criminals to somebody who is trying to religion at the end of the book.


I mean, that's a complex figure to be able to achieve redemption. Know what we do if we find it, if we like to maybe find a flaw in them and we bring them down and the law, we ignore the humanity. And that's where we have become as a society, and it's very, very damaging. So I really agree with you on the need. To bring that complexity back back to our roots of our humanity, too few people in history look at people that race color in depict that.


Yeah. So before I let you guys go, I want to talk about what has gone on with your attempt to get the documentary on Amazon. So it's I've read in The Wall Street Journal that they're they're not letting your documentary be sold on Amazon and stonewalling you.


And so can you just tell everyone what's going on with that?


How about I give you I give you what happened if you mean the meaning behind it. Yeah. So we uploaded every day onto the bathroom on September twenty nine I and October 1st, you have to do a review period. And in case you have an issue with somebody you teach two or three weeks to two or three people were released on Friday night in November 15, I will tell you, it's just three components. The film captured by. Then on October 1st, two days later, you get put into call content review.


This is my first time. So I think, oh, I must you up on the or something like that. But actually, days went by and it kept in these trying to answer Neki and the day by and I looked up content review and we like to do it for category and can remember all of them, but it's basically a thing to contain in public domain. Konkan all good work to do really like exploring the place of paedophilia or something like that.


But we met none of the criteria. So then why we put into counting review? Robbie Black, ABC documentary Youth Testing Footage focusing on documentary to share footage, interviews Netgear. So why were you put into that and then on October 13, seven, Thursday night with time, a little bit of time, we get the e-mail up. But what about that email? Is the they do not wish to film. Do not you wish to come back to it and you can now put it thought it over.


It's done. Communication done. I can get in Hollywood many times. Many times. I have never received a letter with a letter with such banality. And so, yeah, we move on and we just go, OK, we move on to a new opportunity. We did and we put the mail in the mail and we've had a lot of success with that. And we put the blame on Vimeo and written all of it and put it back on.


But wait a minute. Should we have we had a three days, the public issue, we had a vote, a couple of things. Obviously it was up in the air and that you often had in New York, in New York Post or the biting things going on.


So all the time you can't do that. Would you reject that? You for free advice to a property? You can have it so you can put the film up without permission, so the image of the mammoth on the built, that will happen. Well, it turned out there's another component to the story behind our backs. Another and they came back to us on Monday, actually already issued a cheesy order, if you reject it, because we know right now you don't want to be on your platform.


And I think it's very important to take a stand like that. Why we get why we be on your platform and turned out the McDonald's for this third party. You owe the email with the mistake. Oh, look at all those S.A.T.. How is that possible? I mean, you have a bet on this sitting there. I mean, if you just generate the email to the claiming that the whole thing with the mistake and misunderstanding, which I really do feel incredible because we know that a story should one quotidien.


I thought you can never buy two or three or four feet, and there's just too many of them in the store. So you look at it from a human point of view, can a human being make all of these choices? Yes. You can have all the destroyed estate, so obviously they rejected the plan because of the partnership with people, you leshin it destroyed a completely. Go against the black line narrative. Black Lives Matter narrative. So, yes.


I should also add that they contributed ten million dollars to Black Lives Matter, as Amazon did.


So what? I didn't hear about that.


Yeah, a black lives matter even when the leaders gather around your brother contrat yesterday East to Hollywood. I know a lot of people in Hollywood that initiate that sort of money completely in the other direction.


So. So is it on Amazon now or just female me? Well, I guess, you know, I don't know what lesson to draw from that other than what we already know about, you know, Amazon and Twitter having a left wing bias. Twitter, as you mentioned, Twitter.


Censoring the totally legitimate Hunter Biden story, whatever ends up being true about that story, when all the facts are in, it's certainly news and it should be read. You know, it should be for the public to decide how legitimate it is. And God knows, if it were about Donald Trump Jr. or Eric Trump, that story would have been allowed to circulate on Twitter. So I'm glad that it's out. The documentary is called What Killed Michael Brown, and you can get it on Vimeo.


And before I let you guys go, is there any anywhere else that the audience should go towards to find your other work, like a website or a Twitter page? We do have a website.


What killed Michael Brown, dot com movie emails and a bunch of things that are. Yeah, sure.


If you to the film and you don't like email, what we're talking to a bunch of other people right now, we should probably be going out on different platforms. So the best thing to do is to try to get killed. Michael Brown dot com and you get all the beach.


OK, thank you so much for coming on my show and I hope everyone listening goes and watches the documentary. Thanks so much, Eli and Shelby.