If blacks make up 12% of the student population, then blacks ought to make up 12% of school expulsions. Fair is fair. Discrimination on the basis of skin color is wrong. But in Clark County, Nevada, in 2009-2010 black student expulsions were at 43% of the student population. So Clark County is racist. Blacks are being targeted just because of their skin color.
How could anyone resist such cogent reasoning?
It is shocking but true: minority students are overrepresented in expulsions and suspensions.
Any morally decent person should be able to appreciate that justice demands that minority students be represented proportionately.
One of Dylan's great 'finger-pointing' songs. Live version.
Today Medgar Evers was buried from the bullet he caught They lowered him down as a king But when the shadowy sun sets on the one that fired the gun He'll see by his grave on the stone that remains Carved next to his name his epitaph plain "Only a pawn in their game."
Imagine a German restaurant so named. "Best blood sausage in the East Valley!" Or MOM's Diner of Mesa. "Fine Aryan cuisine served up right by members of the militia of Montana." Would you be offended? I just made up those examples.
But this is a real example: La Raza Steak and Ribs, a Mexican joint in Apache Junction, Arizona. When I mentioned this to a friend, he replied, "That would be like naming a German restaurant Die Rasse, The Race."
We are asked to believe that a multimillionaire African-American woman, who boasts that those who “mess” with her end up badly, is a victim of racism for not being welcomed as a nominee for secretary of state — a position that has not been held by a white male in 15 years — after she went on five television shows the Sunday after the Benghazi attack in an effort to convince Americans of the absurd myth that their ambassador had been killed in the course of a demonstration gone bad, rather than being murdered in a preplanned al-Qaedist hit.
One of my darker thoughts is that in the end tribal allegiances trump whatever people piously imagine unites us. For a time the great American experiment worked. People assimilated under the aegis of e pluribus unum. People valued liberty over material equality. But now talk of these ideals seems quaint to a growing number. Books like Dennis Prager's latest that celebrate them may have come too late. We may have passed the tipping point toward the descent into tribalism. We shall see.
Blut und Boden shouldn't matter but it does to leftists. Here is an excerpt from my The Hyphenated American (link below):
The liberal-left emphasis on blood and ethnicity and origins and social class is dangerous and divisive. Suppose you come from Croatia. Is that something to be proud of? You had to be born somewhere of some set of parents. It wasn't your doing. It is an element of your facticity. Be proud of the accomplishments that individuate you, that make you an individual, as opposed to a member of a tribe. Celebrate your freedom, not your facticity.
If you must celebrate diversity, celebrate a diversity of ideas and a diversity of individuals, not a diversity of races and ethnicities and groups. Celebrate individual thinking, not 'group-think.' The Left in its perversity has it backwards. They emphasize the wrong sort of diversity while ignoring the right kind. They go to crazy lengths to promote the wrong kind while squelching diversity of thought and expression with their speech codes and political correctness.
Coincidentally, I'm currently a TA for a class in which significant portions of this book have been assigned (a philosophy of law class, focusing on legal punishment). Alexander's main focus in the book is not incarceration (and related phenomena) in general, but the War on Drugs in particular. An important part of her case for the racially discriminatory nature of "mass incarceration" (a phrase by which she means (a) the entire system of state-control over offenders, whether prison, parole, probation, etc., as well as (b) the post-punishment effects on offenders such as barriers to voting, employment, public housing) in the U.S. is the claim that black Americans are no more likely to use/deal illegal drugs than are white Americans, and yet law enforcement have disproportionally targeted black Americans. She thinks that this discrimination largely results from the great procedural discretion which law enforcement have in prosecuting this War (both at the level of police forces and individual officers in deciding where/whom to search, and at the level of prosecutors in deciding what kind of sentences to seek). This discretion, along with the need to be proactive in order to bust people for drug offenses, creates the opportunity for racial biases, whether conscious or unconscious, to shape how the War is prosecuted.
When I read the bit you did, my first thought was that it was ridiculous to compare Cotton's political "disenfranchisement" to his KKK-killed great-grandfather's political disenfranchisement. I still think that about this case (homicide/robbery...), but I did become more sympathetic to the idea that there were interesting connections between Jim Crow and "mass incarceration." The main difference is that the "New Jim Crow" is officially "colorblind," not a result of overt racism (at least by and large). The official aim is to maintain "law and order," not to sweep black Americans into the state's control. The alleged parallel is that you have a class of people largely characterized along racial lines who are shut out of mainstream society in various ways (voting, public housing,employment). The new reason, having a felony on your record, is very different - and, one might think, much more justified than the old reasons. But I was struck by (a) the claim that black Americans are not more likely to be guilty of drug crimes and yet are more likely to be targeted by law enforcement for them, and (b.) the severity of punitive measures attached to drug offences (including the felony label for many such offences, with all the ensuing ramifications).
Thank you for that, Dan. A few brief remarks:
1. Are black Americans no more likely to use/deal illegal drugs than are white Americans? I rather doubt that. We know that blacks commit proportionately more crimes than whites in general, so one would expect that to be true for drug dealing in particular. This is of course an empirical question, but it is exceedingly difficult to get to the truth of the matter because of the 'hot button' nature of the question and because fields such as sociology and criminology are heavily infected with ideology. For example, how many conservative sociologists are there in universities as compared to leftists? A very small number. What does that say about universities and about sociology? Given the leftist bias of most sociologists, it is reasonable to be skeptical about anything they claim is a result of 'research.'
2. Leftists conflate the world with the world as they wish it to be. And they wish to believe that we are all equal. And so they cannot accept the notion that blacks have a greater natural propensity to commit crimes than whites. This leads them to think that blacks are disproportionately 'targeted' and 'labeled' felons. The truth, I suspect, is that blacks commit more crimes proportionately, which is why their rates of incarceration are proportionately higher.
3. This is consistent with a frank admission that there is plenty of injustice in the criminal justice system. There are corrupt judges, vicious cops, and ambitious prosecutors willing to sacrifice human lives to their careers. Needless to say, I am against all that.
4. Why would anyone want to single out blacks for especially harsh treatment? This is a question that needs answering, and 'racism' is no answer to it. That word is well-nigh meaningless: it is is used by leftists as an all-purpose semantic bludgeon to beat down conservatives. It means anything leftists want it to mean. What is racism? If I argue against ObamaCare, leftists call me a racist. But ObamaCare is a policy, and policies, last time I checked, have no race. So for leftists 'racism' and cognates mean everything and nothing. Do people dislike blacks because of their skin color? Perhaps a few do. But dislike of blacks is not for most people based on skin color but on black behavior. This brings us back to the empirical question whether blacks as a group behave worse than whites as a group. If they do, then this would explain why they are incarcerated in greater numbers.
5. Should felons have the right to vote? First of all, how many criminals want to vote? The typical criminal is someone whose only concern is himself and the immediate gratification of his basest desires. Such people have contempt for civil society. They are not interested in participating in it. For them it's a joke. These are not people who think about the common good. If you mentioned civic duties to them they would laugh their heads off.
So we need to ask: who is it that wants felons to vote? Not felons for the most part. But leftists! Leftists want felons to vote to expand their base. Leftists have a an exceedingly casual attitude toward criminal behavior. They are by nature lenient and forgiving. So if criminals are allowed to vote, they will of course vote for leftists, in the USA, for the Democrats.
That is why leftists want to extend the franchise to felons.
Whether or not they want to vote, should criminals have the right to vote? Of course not. Criminals can't even order their own lives, why should have a say in how society is ordered? Furthermore, removal of the right to vote is part of the punishment that they deserve for raping and drunk driving and drug dealing and murdering and for being the generally worthless individuals that they are.
6. Finally, I am open to the idea that drug laws need to be carefully examined. I am opposed to draconian 'zero tolerance' laws that make a felon of some harmless hippy who grows marijuana for his own use. But if he drives while stoned, or sells the stuff to school kids, then I want the law to come down on his shggy head like a ton of bricks.
I have been a fan of your blog for a long time. In fact you helped to establish my first wary steps into the discipline of philosophy. I struggled through your entries, persistent and confused, ultimately rewarded for my efforts. Your scathing, surly, incisive political commentary is a great alternative to my usual news consumption habits. Now, I admit that I am left-leaning, and so your perspective is refreshing. I understand that you have a particular interest, but your motto, "Study everything, join nothing," as led me to believe that you might approach my book suggestion with an open mind: "The New Jim Crow: Mass incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness." Alas, the title is sensational but the information and research seems solid. I suggest the work in hopes that you might begin a running critique or dialogue upon the subject.
I thank the reader for his kind words and I find it gratifying that letters like his roll in at regular intervals, suggesting to me that my pro bono efforts are of some value.
If I were to find the book the reader suggests at the local library I would check it out and read at least portions of it. But I am not inclined to go out of my way to acquire it based on the following description from the Amazon page which I quote verbatim:
"Jarvious Cotton's great-great-grandfather could not vote as a slave. His great-grandfather was beaten to death by the Klu Klux Klan for attempting to vote. His grandfather was prevented from voting by Klan intimidation; his father was barred by poll taxes and literacy tests. Today, Cotton cannot vote because he, like many black men in the United States, has been labeled a felon and is currently on parole."
As the United States celebrates the nation's "triumph over race" with the election of Barack Obama, the majority of young black men in major American cities are locked behind bars or have been labeled felons for life. Although Jim Crow laws have been wiped off the books, an astounding percentage of the African American community remains trapped in a subordinate status--much like their grandparents before them.
In this incisive critique, former litigator-turned-legal-scholar Michelle Alexander provocatively argues that we have not ended racial caste in America: we have simply redesigned it. Alexander shows that, by targeting black men and decimating communities of color, the U.S. criminal justice system functions as a contemporary system of racial control, even as it formally adheres to the principle of color blindness. The New Jim Crow challenges the civil rights community--and all of us--to place mass incarceration at the forefront of a new movement for racial justice in America.
Before commenting on the above description, let me say that, first of all, like many conservatives, I didn't start out as one. My background is working class, my parents were Democrats and so was I until the age of 41. I came of age in the '60s. One of my heroes was JFK, "the intrepid skipper of the PT 109" as I destribed him in a school essay. I was all for the Civil Rights movement. Musically my heroes were Bob Dylan and Joan Baez. I thrilled to "Blowin' in the Wind" and other Civil Rights anthems. As I see it, those civil rights battles were fought and they were won. But then the rot set in as the the party of JFK liberals became the extremists and the leftists that they are today. For example, Affirmative Action in its original sense gave way to reverse discrimination, race-norming, minority set-asides, identity politics and the betrayal of Martin Luther King's dream that people be judged "not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." As liberals have become extremists, people with moderate views such as myself have become conservatives. These days I am a registered Independent.
Now let's consider the first paragraph of the above description. Mention is made of one Jarvious Cotton. His mugshot is to the left. This dude was convicted of two offenses, homicide/murder and armed robbery. According to Michelle Alexander, author of the book in question, Cotton "has been labeled a felon."
So he was merely labeled a felon but is not a felon? Or was the label properly applied? Alexander is suggesting the former. The suggestion, from the context of the first paragraph, is that blacks get 'labeled' felons to prevent them from voting.
But that is absurd. Apart from the occasional wrongful conviction, blacks who are labeled felons are correctly so-labeled because they have committed felonies. Now should felons have the right to vote? Of course not. First of all, if you commit a felony, that shows you are pretty stupid: you don't know your own long-term best self-interest. It shows that you have terrible judgment. Murder and armed robbery are not elements in a life well-lived. A person like that should not be given a say on matters of public concern. That should be obvious. Second, part of the punishment for being a felon is removal of the right to vote.
No one is interested in disenfranchising blacks by 'labeling' them felons, but some blacks disenfranchise themselves by committing felonies.
There is also the misuse of language in the title of the book. The New Jim Crow? Nonsense. Jim Crow is a thing of the past.
Does the U. S. criminal justice system "target black men" and "decimate communities of color"? Is Atty Gen'l Eric Holder -- who is black -- in on this too? What motive could they have? The antecedent likelihood of this claim is so low that I cannot take it seriously. It is on a level with the wild claims of the 9/11 'truthers' and the allegation that the CIA in the '80s dumped cocaine into South Central Los Angeles.
Does Mathews really believe what he says here? If he does then he is mentally unhinged. I'll assume he's unhinged just to be charitable. If he doesn't believe what he says, then he is a scumbag. But he seems like a nice guy!
Note also the psychological projection. Unwilling or unable to face the hatred that animates him, he projects it into his opponents. It is also projection when he claims, absurdly, that conservatives are more political than liberals. That's delusional. For libs and lefties politics is their religion, which is certainly not the case for conservatives. Conservatives don't seek their meaning in the political sphere; they enter it mainly to counteract and undo the mischief of liberals.
In fact, we conservatives are at a considerable disadvantage because we are not 24/7 political activists. 'Conservative activist' borders on an oxymoron. There are a few, though, David Horowitz being one. But don't forget that he was a red diaper baby who imbibed activism with his mother's milk.
Derb calls it a six month anniversary, but how can there be a six month anniversary? (L. annus, anni, year.) Call me a pedant and a quibbler. So while I'm just being myself, I'll also point out that he uses the pleonastic 'true fact.' What, as opposed to a false fact?
Much more importantly, the man spoke the truth about race and has paid a price for so doing.
I seem to recall a rant of mine against the simultaneous crudification and wussification of American culture. Ugly words for ugly things. Derb in his Anniversary of a Defenestration laments "the pathetic pussification of the official right." Here is Part II.
Here are her recent additions to the list. By the logic of the Left, cosmologists are racists because they study, among other things, black holes.
The willful stupidity of liberals is evidenced by the umbrage they take at the apt description of Obama as the food stamp president:
At the dawn of the modern federal food stamp program, one in 50 Americans was enrolled. This year, one in seven Americans is on the food stamp rolls. The majority of them are white. Obama’s loosening of eligibility requirements combined with the stagnant economy fueled the rise in dependency. “Food stamp president” is pithy shorthand for the very real entitlement explosion.
Democrats fumed when former GOP candidate Newt Gingrich bestowed the title on Obama and decried its purportedly racist implications. But who are the racists? As Gingrich scolded the aforementioned race troll Chris Matthews last week: “Why do you assume food stamp refers to blacks? What kind of racist thinking do you have? You’re being a racist because you assume they’re black!” Time to find a new code word.
You have to ask yourself whether you want a culture of dependency or a culture of self-reliance. What is so offensive about Obama and his ilk is their undermining of such traditional American values as self-reliance.
And as I said yesterday, many of these same liberals such as the "race troll' Chris Mathews got where they did in life precisely because of such virtues as self-reliance. And yet they refuse to promote them and pass them on. It shows the contempt they have for their clients such as blacks who keep them in power.
If it hasn't happened already, some liberal will now besmirch the beautiful word 'self-reliance' as racial code. There is just no level of scumbaggery to which a leftist will not descend.
I don't think much of Richard Cohen as a commentator on the passing scene, but his A Difference Beyond Question is right on target in his defense of Mitt Romney for pointing out the obvious:
The cultural difference between Israel and its Arab neighbors is so striking that you would think it beyond question. But when Mitt Romney attributed the gap between Israel's economic performance and the Palestinians' -- "Culture makes all the difference," he said in Israel -- the roof came down on him. PC police the world over raised a red card, giving him demerits for having the temerity to notice the obvious. Predictably, Saeb Erekat, chief Palestinian negotiator and a member of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, denounced the statement as "racist." It was, of course, just the opposite.
But I want to take issue with the following sentence: "I do know, though, that if you eliminate what would certainly be condemned as a racist explanation -- Jews as inherently smarter than non-Jews -- then you are left with culture . . . ." What I object to is Cohen's apparent acquiescence in the false notion that a racial explanation must be a racist explanation. I take no position on whether Jewish superiority is best explained racially or culturally. I am objecting to the conflation of the racial with the racist.
There are two distinctions operative here and they ought not be conflated. There is a distinction between the racial and the cultural, and a distinction between the racial and the racist. The distinctions cut perpendicular to one another. If some phenomenon has a racial explanation, as opposed to a cultural explantion, it doesn't follow that the explanation is racist or that the people advancing it are racist.
Suppose that Jews as a group are smarter than non-Jews. If that is true, then it is true. (And what I just wrote is a tautology, hence logically true: it doesn't get any better than that.) Now if a statement is true, how can it be racist? This is what I don't understand. Truth is truth. Facts are facts. There are racial facts, facts about race, but no racist facts. If blacks are 12-14% of the U. S. population, then that is a racial fact. But it is not a racist fact. Nor is someone who states it, just in virtue of his stating it, a racist. A person who states it may be, accidentally, a racist; but he is not, just in virtue of stating it, a racist. Similaarly, there are facts about sex, but such facts are not sexist facts, and there are the sorts of facts that gerontologists study, but they are not ageist facts.
There are racial explanations, explanations in terms of race, but a racial explanation is not a racist explanation. Facts, propositions, explanations -- these are not the sorts of item that could be racist or nonracist. To think otherwise would appear to be a Rylean category mistake. People are racist or not.
President Barack Obama is backing a controversial campaign by progressives to regulate schools’ disciplinary actions so that members of major racial and ethnic groups are penalized at equal rates, regardless of individuals’ behavior.
"Regardless of individuals' behavior." Think about that.
That article about political correctness in the universities you linked to reminded me of David Conway's comments in A Defence of the Realm about the 'systematic deracination' of the citizens of western liberal democracies since World War Two:
Through changes in educational curricula, plus other cultural changes, most notably in public broadcasting, the cultural majorities in these societies have been made increasingly unfamiliar with their national histories and traditions. Without adequate historical knowledge of their national histories and without encouragement and opportunity to participate in national traditions, the members of a society cannot be expected to have much understanding of or affection for them.
Solzhenitsyn put this chillingly: 'to destroy a people, you must first sever their roots'.Nothing is more important to remedying this than reclaiming education. Blogs like yours help. I teach English, and I try to do my bit by enunciating the following politically incorrect truths to all my classes. Like the author of the article you linked to, I'm frustrated by 'engagement with political presuppositions often quite peripheral at best — and more often directly opposed — to one’s own scholarly purposes', but the fact that it is necessary is a reminder that the spiritual reality that the scholar defends is vaster, richer and more profound than the narrow intellectual lists where he fights. The advantage of this list is that it frees one up to get on with the more important matter of showing why, for example, Shakespearean tragedy is worth reading. And it prevents one from assenting to falsehoods - to do which is to be complicit in evil.
I doubt you'll learn anything from it, but you might find it interesting anyway; the ones in red are, I think, the most politically incorrect.
The slave trade
The British weren’t the first to practise slavery, but they were the first to abolish it, first at home, then in the colonies, then throughout the world. Be proud of that.
More than three quarters of the captives sold to Europeans were provided by the Africans themselves from raids and war. The African powers remained in control of the slaves as long as the slave trade lasted. They entered into the slave trade entirely of their own accord. There was no opposition to slavery even in principle in black Africa. Western-style abolitionism had no impact: African chiefs sent delegations to the West to protest the abolition of the slave trade because they found it so profitable.
Muslims were the greatest slave traders, enslaving seventeen-million people. There was never a Muslim abolitionist movement. The Koran assumes and accepts slavery.
Communists murdered over one-hundred million people in the twentieth century.
Note how the Western intellectuals who criticise capitalist democracies vote with their feet by living in them, tellingly opting not to emigrate to North Korea or a Cuban prison state.
Historically, nowhere in the world have women been better treated than in Christian nations. In his Confessions, St. Augustine wrote the first tribute in history to an ordinary woman, his mother, Monica. The Divine Comedy is highest praise of a woman ever. According to Christianity, the Virgin Mary is the greatest human being ever to have lived. Be proud of that.
The accusers during the witch hunts were overwhelmingly women.
One-hundred and fifty years ago, ninety-five percent of men didn't have the vote.
In nineteenth-century England, more novels were published by women than by men. And they wrote under their own names, contrary to the feminist myth that women were obliged to take male names.
Western literature starts with an account of men fighting over a woman. Listen to Achilles: ‘Why must we battle Trojans, men of Argos? Why, why in the world if not for Helen with her loose and lustrous hair?’And Odysseus endures all perils and resists all temptations – even immortality – to get back home to his wife. Medieval chivalric literature also testifies to the fact that women were highly esteemed.
Plato made sodomy illegal in his Laws.
Poets and orators did not express longings to return to their catamites.
Adult Athenians who acted as catamites were excluded from all offices in public life, not even being permitted to address the assembly.
Dead White Males
Most great literature is written by dead white males. Postmodernists think that’s explained by ‘oppression’ and ‘privilege’, but there are good reasons for it:
Whites have the highest IQ of any race (see the cold-climate theory of IQ).
Men are disproportionately represented at the extremes of intelligence (morons and geniuses): above the IQ level of 170, the genius level, there are thirty timesas many men as women. (Again, there are evolutionary reasons for this.)
Before writers are acknowledged to be great, their work must be subjected to the test of time, which outlasts any individual's lifespan.
William E. Lecky, an atheist, makes the following point in his History of European Morals: ‘The vast change in the status of women must be manifest to all after Christianity had superseded the unlimited license of the pagan Empire.’ He mentions:
Christianity's absolute prohibition of sexual indulgence outside marriage
The security of wives by the prohibition of divorce
The legal rights of guardianship of children hitherto reserved to men
The inheritance of widows
"There can be little doubt that reverence for the Virgin Mary has done much to elevate and purify the ideal of woman and soften the manners of men."
The "redeeming and ennobling features of the age of chivalry which no succeeding change of habit or belief has wholly destroyed."
Christians preached that there was no separate baptism for men and women. All were one in Christ.
Christians did not expose baby girls at birth.
Christians honoured women who defied emperors, centurions and soldiers to witness to the Faith.
Christians were the first to educate women.
Christians were the first to have separate prison cells for men and women.
Contemporary liberals hunt for racists the way McCarthyites in the '50s and early '60s hunted for commies, and they use their terms of opprobrium with the same sort of irresponsible semantic latitude. You could say that they are extreme semantic latitudinarians when it comes to their verbal bludgeons of choice. But a witch hunt by any other name is still a witch hunt.
Let's assume the 1894 document is accurate. That makes Warren one-thirty-second Native American. George Zimmerman, the Florida accused murderer, had a black grandmother. That makes him a quarter black, four times as black as Warren is Indian, though The New York Times describes him as a "white Hispanic."
In the upside-down world of the liberal, the 'white Hispanic' George Zimmerman is transmogrified into a redneck and the lily-white Elizabeth Warren into a redskin.
The Left's diversity fetishism is so preternaturally boneheaded that one has to wonder whether calm critique has any place at all in responses to it. But being somewhat naive, I have been known to try rational persuasion. See Diversity and the Quota Mentality for one example.
John Fund in Censoring Naomi Riley comments on the latter's dismissal by the The Chronicle of Higher Education:
Earlier this week, the Chronicle of Higher Education, the trade paper for faculty members and administrators in universities, fired Naomi Schaefer Riley, a paid blogger for its website. Her crime? She had the courage to respond to a Chronicle story called “Black Studies: ‘Swaggering Into the Future,’” which stated that “young black-studies scholars . . . are less consumed than their predecessors with the need to validate the field or explain why they are pursuing doctorates in their discipline.” The article used five Ph.D. candidates as examples of those “rewriting the history of race.” Riley looked at the subject areas of the five proposed dissertations and concluded that they were “obscure at best . . . a collection of left-wing victimization claptrap at worst.”
John Fund goes on to make a number of obvious points in protest of the illiberalism of contemporary liberals.
But Fund neglects to comment on the irony of publishing his piece in National Review Online, which recently defenestrated John Derbyshire. (My posts on Derbyshire are in the Race category.) What makes it worse is that NRO is supposedly a conservative publication. We have a supposedly conservative publication publishing a piece that criticizes The Chronicle for dumping a blogger who bravely spoke her mind and expressed some unpleasant truths that many acknowledge but few have the courage to express. But this same publication did exactly the same thing to John Derbyshire. We expect craven acquiescence to race-baiters from politically correct liberals, but not from so-called conservatives such as Rich Lowry and Andrew McCarthy.
Why doesn't Fund stick up for Derbyshire? (Perhaps he has in some other venue.) I could be wrong, but Derbyshire is a more substantial commentator on the passing scene than the blogger Riley.
Here: "POLICE chiefs have banned IT staff from using the word blacklist over fears it is RACIST." (Via VFR)
This sort of thing is insane, of course. And so I suspect that to argue against it is foolish: it only lends credibility to a view that ought to be mocked and derided.
But I do argue it out here. One late-night comic lampooned the 'crispy critter' tanning lady (who brought her child into the tanning booth with her) by saying that the she is so dark it's racist! That's the way to go. You PeeCee liberals are so stupid it's racist! What is the antecedent of the last two occurrences of 'it'? Don't worry, we be in PeeCee land now. We don't need to talk no sense.
Cosmologists are going to have to be careful what with their talk of black holes. Someone might take that as 'code' for 'black ho' a phrase that in PeeCee logic (and no, I'm not talking about the propositional calculus) implies that all black females are whores.
• People ascribe a stereotype to everybody in the subject group. "All Germans are efficient." "All English people have bad teeth." In fact, these researchers were not able to locate anybody who believes that a stereotype is true of all members of the stereotyped group. Stereotypes are probabilistic tools, and even the most dull-witted human beings seem to know this. People who believe that Mexicans are lazy or that the French don't wash, understand perfectly well that there are lots of industrious Mexicans and fragrant Frenchmen.
• Stereotypes exaggerate group characteristics. No, they don't. Much more often, the opposite is true. For example, the racial stereotypes that white Americans hold of black Americans are generally accurate; and where they are inaccurate, they always under-estimate a negative characteristic. The percentage of black American families headed by a female, for example, was 21 at the time of one survey (1978): the whites whose stereotypes were being investigated offered estimates of from 8 to 12 per cent. It is not true that stereotypes generally exaggerate group differences. As in this example, they are much more likely to downplay them.
• Stereotypes blind us to individual characteristics. Nope. It is not the case that when we pass from a situation where we have nothing to go on but a stereotype (cab driver being hailed by young black male) to one where a person's individuality comes into play (interviewing a black job applicant), our stereotypes blind us to "individuating traits." On the contrary, researchers have found that the individuating traits are seized on for attention, and stereotypes discarded, with rather more enthusiasm than the accuracy of stereotypes would justify. Teachers' judgments about their students, for example, rest almost entirely on student differences in performance, hardly at all on race, class or gender stereotypes. This is as one would wish, but not as one would expect if the denigrators of stereotyping were to be believed.
• The real function of stereotypes is to bolster our own self-esteem. Wrong again. This is not a factor in most stereotyping. The scientific evidence is that the primary function of stereotypes is what researchers very prettily call "the reality function." That is, stereotypes are useful tools for dealing with the world. Confronted with a snake or a faun, our immediate behavior is determined by generalized beliefs — stereotypes — about snakes and fauns. Stereotypes are, in fact, merely one aspect of the mind's ability to make generalizations, without which science and mathematics, not to mention much of everyday life, would be impossible. Researcher Clark R. McCauley:
Standing next to the bus driver, we are more likely to ask about traffic patterns than about the latest foreign film. On the highway, we try to squeeze into the exit lane in front of the man driving a 10-year-old station wagon rather than trying to pull in on the man driving a new Corvette. Looking for the school janitor, we are more likely to approach a young man in overalls than a young woman in overalls. This kind of discrimination on the basis of group differences can go wrong, but most of us probably feel that we are doing ourselves and others a favor when we respond to whatever cues and regularities our social environment affords us.
'Racism' and 'racist' are words used by liberals as all-purpose semantic bludgeons. Proof of this is that the terms are never defined, and so can be used in wider or narrower senses depending on the polemical and ideological purposes at hand. In common parlance 'racism' and 'racist' are pejoratives, indeed, terms of abuse. This is why it is foolish for conservatives such as John Derbyshire to describe themselves as racists while attempting to attach some non-pejorative connotation to the term. It can't be done. It would be a bit like describing oneself as as an asshole, 'but in the very best sense of the term.' 'Yeah, I'm an asshole and proud of it; we need more assholes; it's a good thing to be.' The word has no good senses, at least when applied to an entire human as opposed to an orifice thereof. For words like 'asshole,' 'child molester,' and 'racist' semantic rehabilitation is simply not in the cards. A conservative must never call himself a racist. (And I don't see how calling himself a racialist is any better.) What he must do is attack ridiculous definitions of the term, defend reasonable ones, and show how he is not a racist when the term is reasonably defined.
Let's run through some candidate definientia of 'racism':
1. The view that there are genetic or cultural differences between racial groups and that these differences have behavioral consequences.
Since this is indeed the case, (1) cannot be used to define 'racism.' The term, as I said, is pejorative: it is morally bad to be a racist. But it is not morally bad to be a truth-teller. The underlying principle here is that it can't racism if it is true. Is that not obvious?
Suppose I state that blacks are 11-13% of the U.S. population. That cannot be a racist statement for the simple reason that it is true. Nor can someone who makes such a statement be called a racist for making it. A statement whose subject matter is racial is not a racist statement. Or I inform you that blacks are more likely than whites to contract sickle-cell anemia. That too is true. But in this second example there is reference to an unpleasant truth. Even more unpleasant are those truths about the differential rates of crime as between blacks and whites. But pleasant or not, truth is truth, and there are no racist truths. (I apologize for hammering away at these platitudes, but in a Pee Cee world in which people have lost their minds, repetition of the obvious is necessary.)
2. The feeling of affinity for those of one's own racial and ethnic background.
It is entirely natural to feel more comfortable around people of one's own kind than around strangers. And of course there is nothing morally objectionable in this. No racism here.
3. The view that it is morally justifiable to put the interests of one's own race or ethnic group above those of another in situations of conflict or limited resources. This is to be understood as the analog of the view that it it morally justifiable to put the interests of oneself and one's own family, friends, and neighbors above the interests of strangers in a situation of conflict or limited resources.
There is nothing morally objectionable in his, and nothing that could be legitimately called racism.
4. The view that the genetic and cultural differences between races or ethnic groups justifies genocide or slavery or the denial of political rights.
Now we arrive at an appropriate definiens of 'racism.' This is one among several legitimate ways of defining 'racism.' Racism thus defined is morally offensive in the extreme. I condemn it and you should to. I condemn all who hold this.
It is well known by now that NRO has cut its ties with John Derbyshire ('Derb') over the latter's publication in another venue of The Talk: Nonblack Version. Both Rich Lowry and Andrew McCarthy have commented on this severing of ties and both sets of comments are unbelievably lame. Here is the substance (or rather 'substance') of McCarthy's response (numerals added):
 We believe in the equal dignity and presumption of equal decency toward every person — no matter what race, no matter what science tells us about comparative intelligence, and no matter what is to be gleaned from crime statistics.  It is important that research be done, that conclusions not be rigged, and that we are at liberty to speak frankly about what it tells us.  But that is not an argument for a priori conclusions about how individual persons ought to be treated in various situations — or for calculating fear or friendship based on race alone.  To hold or teach otherwise is to prescribe the disintegration of a pluralistic society, to undermine the aspiration of e pluribus unum.
Ad . Well, don't we all (including Derb) believe in the equal dignity of human persons regardless of race, creed, national origin, sex, age? Is McCarthy suggesting that Derb rejects this principle? But of course equality of rights is not the same as empirical equality. That people are not empirically equal is a factual claim in two senses of 'factual': it is a non-normative claim, and it is a true claim. That people have equal rights is a normative claim. The non-normative and normative claims are logically independent. One cannot infer empirical equality from normative equality. More importantly, one cannot infer normative inequality from empirical inequality. For example, human infants are pretty much helpless, but this fact does not detract from their equal right to life. Women are on average shorter than men, and less muscular, but these facts do not detract from their status as persons, as rights-possessors. 90 year-olds tend to be more frail than 60 year-olds, but this fact does not entail that a 90 year-old is less of a person, has a lesser normative status, than a 60 year-old.
Ad . Who could disagree with this bromide?
Ad . It is in his third sentence where McCarthy ascends into Cloud Cuckoo Land. Suppose it is a fact that "Blacks are seven times more likely than people of other races to commit murder, and eight times more likely to commit robbery." A fact is a fact. There are no false facts, and there are no racist facts. There are racial facts (facts about race), but a racial fact is not a racist fact. Now suppose I encounter at night, in a bad part of town, an "individual person" in McCarthy's phrase whom I do not know, a person who is young, male, black, and dressed gangsta-style. His dark glasses prevent me from seeing his eyes and judging his sobriety. His deep pockets might conceal a pistol. Would I be justified in using statistical common sense and avoiding said individual? Of course. The guy might be harmless, but I do not know that. I do know that he fits the profile of an individual who could cause me some serious trouble. Common sense dictates that I give him a wide berth just as I would with a drunken Hells (no apostrophe) Angel exiting a strip joint. There are no black Hells Angels, by the way.
Does that mean that I don't consider the black man or the biker to have rights equal to mine? No. It means that I understand that we are not mere rights-possessors or Kantian noumenal agents, but also possessors of animal bodies and socially formed (and mal-formed) psyches and that these latter facts induce empirical inequalities of various sorts.
Am I drawing an a priori conclusion when I avoid the black guy? Of course not. My reasoning is a posteriori and inductive. I am reasoning from certain perceived facts: race (not skin color!), behavior, dress, location, time of day, etc. to a conclusion that is rendered probable (not certain) by these facts. And note that in a situation like this one does not consider "race alone" in McCarthy's phrase. If I considered "race alone" then there would be no difference between the dude I have just described and Condoleeza Rice.
Is my inductive reasoning and consequent avoidance behavior morally censurable? Of course not. After all, I have a moral duty to attend to my own welfare. (See Kant on duties to oneself.) If anything, my reasoning and behavior are morally obligatory. And I am quite sure that Andrew McCarthy would reason and behave in the same way in the same circumstances.
Ad . What McCarthy is saying here is nonsense and beneath commentary. But I will point out the tension between calling for a "pluralistic society" while invoking the phrase e pluribus unum, "out of many, one." One wonders how long before McCarthy cries for more "diversity."
The Pee Cee conservative is an interesting breed of cat. We shall have to study him more carefully.
The liberal narrative about the [Trayvon Martin] case is now destroyed; it had nothing to do with finding out the truth, whether a trigger-happy vigilante murdered Trayvon Martin, or a desperate neighborhood watchman saved his head from being pounded to smithereens by pulling out a gun and shooting his assailant, or something in between. The narrative instead was solely concerned with taking a tragic shooting case and turning it into more fuel for a fossilized civil rights industry (since the case broke, dozens of violent crime cases of blacks against whites and Asians are splashed over the news, enraging readers and escaping liberal commentary). All we know now is that the “narrative”—a preteen shot “like a dog” while eating candy by a white “assassin” who uttered racial epithets and was never even touched by the victim, only to be let go by a wink-and-nod police force—is false.
I think it will be very hard to get a second-degree murder conviction, given the absence of racial malice on the tape (the narrative’s “coons” and NBC’s version of Zimmerman on his own volunteering “he’s black” are now inoperative), eyewitness accounts of the fray, and the clear injuries to Zimmerman. Instead, the authorities will hope that by inflating the indictment, by airing the facts, and by making Zimmerman testify, tensions will ease–and so when he is acquitted or a judge throws out the case, or a lesser count is pressed, riots will fizzle.
[. . .]
Perhaps before the second-degree-murder charge is thrown out, the prosecution can so entangle Zimmerman in testimony that they can recharge him with perjury or conspiracy and then plea bargain him down to a year or two. The case is now not concerned with justice, but with politics, defusing threats of violence, and salvaging the careers of so many who so foolishly rushed to judgment.
Even Jesse Jackson does it! This following is excerpted from the NYT piece, The Color of Suspicion (emphasis added)
Why a Cop Profiles
This is what a cop might tell you in a moment of reckless candor: in crime fighting, race matters. When asked, most cops will declare themselves color blind. But watch them on the job for several months, and get them talking about the way policing is really done, and the truth will emerge, the truth being that cops, white and black, profile. Here's why, they say. African-Americans commit a disproportionate percentage of the types of crimes that draw the attention of the police. Blacks make up 12 percent of the population, but accounted for 58 percent of all carjackers between 1992 and 1996. (Whites accounted for 19 percent.) Victim surveys -- and most victims of black criminals are black -- indicate that blacks commit almost 50 percent of all robberies. Blacks and Hispanics are widely believed to be the blue-collar backbone of the country's heroin- and cocaine-distribution networks. Black males between the ages of 14 and 24 make up 1.1 percent of the country's population, yet commit more than 28 percent of its homicides. Reason, not racism, cops say, directs their attention.
Cops, white and black, know one other thing: they're not the only ones who profile. Civilians profile all the time -- when they buy a house, or pick a school district, or walk down the street. Even civil rights leaders profile. ''There is nothing more painful for me at this stage in my life,'' Jesse Jackson said several years ago, ''than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery -- and then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved.'' Jackson now says his quotation was ''taken out of context.'' The context, he said, is that violence is the inevitable byproduct of poor education and health care. But no amount of ''context'' matters when you fear that you are about to be mugged.
At a closed-door summit in Washington between police chiefs and black community leaders recently, the black chief of police of Charleston, S.C., Reuben Greenberg, argued that the problem facing black America is not racial profiling, but precisely the sort of black-on-black crime Jackson was talking about. ''I told them that the greatest problem in the black community is the tolerance for high levels of criminality,'' he recalled. ''Fifty percent of homicide victims are African-Americans. I asked what this meant about the value of life in this community.''
The police chief in Los Angeles, Bernard Parks, who is black, argues that racial profiling is rooted in statistical reality, not racism. ''It's not the fault of the police when they stop minority males or put them in jail,'' Parks told me. ''It's the fault of the minority males for committing the crime. In my mind it is not a great revelation that if officers are looking for criminal activity, they're going to look at the kind of people who are listed on crime reports.''
Chief Parks defends vigorously the idea that police can legitimately factor in race when building a profile of a criminal suspect.
''We have an issue of violent crime against jewelry salespeople,'' Parks says. ''The predominant suspects are Colombians. We don't find Mexican-Americans, or blacks or other immigrants. It's a collection of several hundred Colombians who commit this crime. If you see six in a car in front of the Jewelry Mart, and they're waiting and watching people with briefcases, should we play the percentages and follow them? It's common sense.''
I got wind of Derb's defenestration, and the concomitant crapstorm of Internet commentary, a little late, but I've been making up for lost time. I found this curious passage over at RedState, a self-professedly conservative website (emphasis added):
Derbyshire likes to pepper his racist rants with “facts” that generally consist of social studies that are subject to numerous interpretational biases. To me, the question as to whether these studies are accurate or correct is uninteresting and irrelevant – a central tenet of decency demands that every human being is entitled to be evaluated on his or her own merits regardless of what social science may say about any group (racial, cultural, religious or otherwise) to which he or she might belong. It is this very basis which Derbyshire rejects, and that is what makes him (and has always made him) a racist. He is not, as his defenders at the execrable Taki mag say, confronting the world with uncomfortable truths, he is proudly declaring himself to be a racist and arguing that it is correct to be racist. This, I submit, is something that all decent people should reject.
This is exceedingly curious because the author seems to be saying that Derb is a racist whether or not the facts he adduces in support of the advice he gives to his children are indeed facts. But surely there are no racist facts. A racial fact is not a racist fact. So if the facts Derb adduces are facts, then his adducing them cannot be racist. It therefore cannot be irrelevant whether what Derb calls facts are indeed facts: that is rather the nub of issue.
Here is one of the facts he adduces: Blacks are seven times more likely than people of other races to commit murder, and eight times more likely to commit robbery. Here is another: Blacks are an estimated 39 times more likely to commit a violent crime against a white than vice versa, and 136 times more likely to commit robbery.
Now suppose that these are indeed facts. Do they justify the advice he gives his kids? Part of the advice is:
(10) Thus, while always attentive to the particular qualities of individuals, on the many occasions where you have nothing to guide you but knowledge of those mean differences, use statistical common sense:
(10a) Avoid concentrations of blacks not all known to you personally.
It should be obvious that the facts do justify the advice. Derb is a father and he is talking to his children. Being children, they lack experience of the world and the degree of good judgment that comes from protracted encounter with the world and its ways. Caring about his children, he advises: If all you have to go on is knowledge of the mean differences, then avoid situations where there is a large number of blacks unknown to you.
There is nothing racist about this. It is excellent paternal advice. To be racist, the facts Derb adduces would have to be non-facts. It silly in excelsis to suppose that it is irrelevant whther the sociological facts Derb cites are indeed facts. (Please avoid the pleonastic 'true facts.')
The author above speaks of a "central tenet of decency" according to which every human being is entitled to be evaluated on his own merits regardless of group affiliation and regardless of what we know about the group. That too is silly. Consider the Hells [no apostrophe!] Angels. We know quite a lot about this motorcycle gang. If we were to follow the "central tenet of decency" we would have to leave out of consideration this knowledge in our encounters with members of the gang. But this would be very foolish indeed. For example, suppose all I know about Tiny is that he is a Hells Angel and what I can know by observing him at the end of the bar. (E.g., he is covered with tattoos, muscular, about 220 lbs, 6' 2" in height, and about 35 years of age.) Knowing just this, I know enough to avoid (eye or other) contact with him. For I know that if an altercation should ensue, his fellow Angels would join in the fight (that's part of their code) and I would be lucky to escape with my life.
Now unless you are a very stupid liberal you will not misunderstand what I am saying. I am not saying that blacks as a group are as criminally prone as Hells Angels as a group. I'm showing that the above decency principle is incoherent. One cannot abstract from group characteristics when all you have to go on are group characteristics and immediate sensory data.
Racism? What racism? And what do you mean by 'racist' anyway? Derb adduces some facts that bear upon race and you call him a racist? Then please tell us what you mean by the term.
In case you are not familiar with the word, 'defenestration' is from the Latin fenestra, window. Defenestration is thus the act of literally or figuratively throwing something or someone out of a window, or the state of having been ejected through such an aperture. In plain English, John Derbyshire, 'Derb,' got the boot from NRO's Rich Lowry. Derb's free-lance contributions are no longer wanted there. And all because of Derb's The Talk: Nonblack Version.
Go ahead, click on the link and read the piece. If nothing else, it will hold your interest. It is also a good litmus test of your political affiliation. If it enrages you and strikes you as a racist screed, then you are a (contemporary) liberal. If you accept its advice as sound, though perhaps in need of minor qualification or correction here and there, then you are a person as sane and reasonable and moderate as your humble correspondent. If you think Derb didn't go far enough, then chances are you are an extreme right-wing crazy.
I have just read Derb's talk, very carefully, a second time. What is so offensive about it? Facts are facts. What's true is true. The criterion of truth is not agreement with liberal ideology. Consider this piece of advice:
(10h) Do not act the Good Samaritan to blacks in apparent distress, e.g., on the highway.
That could use some qualification. If a well-dressed black, alone, were in automotive distress, I might stop to render aid. But if it were a carload of teenaged gangsta rapper types, I'd accelerate. I wouldn't want to catch a stray round in what could be termed an inverse drive-by shooting. But if you are giving advice to your kids, you might say something like the above sans qualification, in the same way you would advise them to avoid biker bars at midnight in bad parts of town wihout feeling the need to point out the obvious, e.g., that not every biker is a brute out to rape and pillage.
Millions of so-called whites are now adults who grew up in the age of affirmative action, and have no memory of systemic discrimination. To the degree some avoid certain schools, neighborhoods, or environments, they do so only on the basis of statistics, not profiling, that suggest a higher incidence of inner-city violence and crime.
My quibble concerns Hanson's use of 'profiling.' He is suggesting a distinction between avoidant behavior based on statistics and such behavior based on profiling. But there is no difference. To profile is to predict the likelihood of a person's behavior based on statistical information. A fiftyish Mormon matron from Salt Lake City does not fit the terrorist profile, but a twenty-something Egyptian Muslim from Cairo does. To screen the two equally at an airport is therefore unreasonable, and to take a more careful look at the Egyptian is entirely reasonable.
Who fits the heart attack profile? Is it the obese and sedentary fiftyish smoker who has bacon and eggs for breakfast every morning, or the nonsmoking, vegetarian, twenty-something marathoner? The former, obviously. Of course, it doesn't follow that the marathoner will not have a heart attack in the near future or that the fat man will. It is a question of likelihood. Similarly with the Mormon matron. She may have a bomb secreted in her 1950's skirt, but I wouldn't bet on it. If the Muslim is stripped-searched this is not because of some irrational hatred of Muslims but because of the FACT that twenty-something Muslim males are more likely to be terrorists than fiftyish Mormon matrons.
What I am objecting to is the use of 'profiling' to refer to blind, unreasonable, hateful characterizing on the basis of skin color or ethnicity. All decent people are opposed to the latter. But that is not what profiling is. Profiling is neither blind, nor unreasonable, nor hateful.
What Mr. Hanson is doing is acquiescing in the liberal misuse of 'profiling.' It is not a pejorative term. Liberals want to make it a pejorative term, but we must resist them.
Liberals love the phrase, 'institutionalized racism.' A racist society it is in which so many blacks achieve high political office despite the fact that blacks are a small minority of the population. Indeed, we have a black president. What better proof that racism is inscribed into our institutional structure? But then again, Obama is only half black. If George Zimmerman of Trayvon Martin fame is a 'white Hispanic' as maintained in the Solomonic pages of the New York Times, then, by parity of reasoning, Barack Obama is a 'white black.' Is that perhaps the proof of institutional racism? You see, if the USA were not institutionally racist, then we would have a black-black president by now.
Of course I am being sarcastic. In dealing with notions as preternaturally idiotic as those of liberals, mockery, derision, sarcasm and the like are more effective than patient argument. Reason and argument are effective only with those who inhabit the plane of reason. There is no point in talking sense to the denizens of the planet Unsinn. Or if you are not in the mood to mock and deride them, if you are feeling charitable, then offer your help and therapy. Those who are beneath reason do not need refutation; they need therapy. They need care. And we conservatives do care. We want you liberals to be happy and successful and less stupid. Of course we are honest enough to admit that our motive is partially selfish: the less stupid and unsuccessful and unhappy you are, the better it will be for us.
Actually, what we need is a 'proctology' of the liberal. We need to understand how so many heads can inhabit that region where the sun doesn't shine. But understanding is not enough: we need practical methods of extraction. My fear, however, is that even an army of proctologists, each member of which enjoys the life span of a Methuselah, would not be able to bring the shrunken pate of even one liberal into the light of day.
And that's a pity. (I have successfully resisted the temptation to engage in scatological alliteration.)
For an example of the sort of idiocy I am excoriating, see here; for an antidote, go here.
One may gather from my surname that I am of Italian extraction. Indeed, that is the case in both paternal and maternal lines: my mother was born near Rome in a place called San Vito Romano, and my paternal grandfather near Verona in the wine region whence comes Valpollicella. Given these facts, some will refer to me as Italian-American.
I myself, however, refer to myself as an American, and I reject the hyphenated phrase as a coinage born of confusion and contributing to division. Suppose we reflect on this for a moment. What does it mean to be an Italian-American as the phrase is currently used ? Does it imply dual citizenship? No. Does it imply being bilingual? No. Does it entail being bicultural? No again. As the phrase is currently used it does not imply any of these things. And the same goes for 'Polish-American' and related coinages. My mother was both bilingual and bicultural, but I’m not. To refer to her as Italian-American makes some sense, but not me. I am not Italian culturally, linguistically or by citizenship. I am Italian only by extraction.
And that doesn’t make a difference, or at least should not make a difference to a rational person. Indeed, I identify myself as a rational being first and foremost, which implies nothing about ‘blood.’ The liberal-left emphasis on blood and ethnicity and origins and social class is dangerous and divisive. Suppose you come from Croatia. Is that something to be proud of? You had to be born somewhere of some set of parents. It wasn't your doing. It is an element of your facticity. Be proud of the accomplishments that individuate you, that make you an individual, as opposed to a member of a tribe. Celebrate your freedom, not your facticity.
If you must celebrate diversity, celebrate a diversity of ideas and a diversity of individuals, not a diversity of races and ethnicities and groups. Celebrate individual thinking, not 'group-think.' The Left in its perversity has it backwards. They emphasize the wrong sort of diversity while ignoring the right kind. They go to crazy lengths to promote the wrong kind while squelching diversity of thought and expression with their speech codes and political correctness.
So I am an American. Note that that word does not pick out a language or a race; it picks out a set of ideas and values. Even before I am an American, I am animal metaphysicum and zoon logikon. Of course, I mean this to apply to everyone, especially those most in need of this message, namely blacks and Hispanics. For a black dude born in Philly to refer to himself as African-American borders on the absurd. Does he know Swahili? Is he culturally African? Does he enjoy dual citzenship?
If he wants me to treat him as an individual, as a unique person with all the rights and privileges pertaining thereunto, and to judge him by the content of his character rather than by the color of his skin, why does he identify himself with a group? Why does he try to secure advantages in virtue of this group membership? Is he so devoid of self-esteem and self-reliance that he cannot stand on his own two feet? Why does he need a Black caucus? Do Poles need a Polish caucus? Jim Crow is dead. There is no 'institutional racism.' There may be a few racists out there, but they are few and far between except in the febrile imaginations of race-baiting and race-card dealing liberals. Man up and move forward. Don't blame others for your problems. That's the mark of a loser. Take responsibility. We honkies want you to do well. The better you do, the happier you will be and the less trouble you will cause.
In Being and Nothingness, Sartre distinguishes between transcendence and facticity and identifies one form of bad faith as a person’s attempted identification of himself with an element of his facticity, such as race. But that is what the hyphenators and the Balkanizers and the identity-politicians and the race-baiters and the Marxist class warfare instigators want us to do: to identify ourselves in terms extraneous to our true being. Yet another reason never to vote for a liberal.
I watched The O'Reilly Factor last night. In one segment Bill O'Reilly and Brit Hume were discussing some word once used by locals as the name of a hunting venue that is connected with some trouble Rick Perry is in. But they were so gingerly tip-toeing around the topic that I couldn't figure out what the offensive word was. Was it perhaps 'Coon's Hollow'? I ran through various possibilities, trying to guess what they were too chicken and pee-cee to plainly state. Turns out the word is 'Niggerhead.' This was a name that long before Perry's visit to the site had been painted over.
Philosophers make a distinction between use and mention. It is one thing to use a word to refer to someone or something, and quite another to talk about, or mention, the word. Boston is a city; 'Boston' is not: no word is a city. 'Boston' is disyllabic; Boston is not: no city is composed of two syllables. Same with 'nigger.' It's a disyllabic word, an offensive word, a word that a decent person does not use. I am not using it; I am mentioning it, talking about it. Same with 'Niggerhead.' That was the name that certain locals used for the hunting venue in question. I am talking about that name, not using it.
The 'reasoning' of the race-baiters is apparently that since Perry visited a place that once bore the unofficial name 'Niggerhead,' that he is either a racist or 'racially insensitive' or something.
What I would like to point out to these nasty liberal dumbasses is that reasoning is not association of ideas. Almost any idea can be associated with any other. In the febrile and mushy mind of many liberals 'niggardly' suggests 'nigger' so that anyone who uses the former must be a racist. That's pretty stupid, don't you think? But it's par for the course for a liberal. Or how about 'denigrate'? Does the use of that word embody a racial slur?
This is important. A man lost his job because he used the perfectly legitimate English word 'niggardly.' This is insane. If you are decent person, you will do your bit to oppose the scurrilous insanity of the race-baiting Left.
When they lie about us we must tell the truth about them. We must expose them for the moral scum that they are. The examples of their hate-driven mendacity are legion, but here is a particularly egregious instance of race-baiting slander. Representative Andre Carson, D-Indiana, a leading member of the Congressional Black Caucus, said the following:
Some of these folks in Congress would love to see us as second-class citizens. Some of them in Congress right now of this tea party movement would love to see you and me ... hanging on a tree . . .
SIEGEL: Some people read into the Tea Party's almost neuralgic reaction to government spending, a sense that white people figure black people benefit disproportionately from federal programs. Do you suspect a racial subtext to that whole argument?
BOND: Absolutely. And I'm not saying that all of the Tea Party members are racist. Not at all. I don't think anybody says that. But I think there's an element of racial animus there and the feeling that some white people have that these black people are now getting something that I'm not getting and I should be getting it, too.
Yet another reason to defund NPR. Neuralgic reaction to government spending? How obtuse can an obtuse liberal be? Companion posts:
Say it ain't so, Bill. This from the The Wall Street Journal:
The last time Bill Clinton tried to play the race card, it blew up his wife's primary campaign in South Carolina. Well, the Voice is back, this time portraying the nationwide movement to pass voter ID laws as the return of Jim Crow.
"There has never been in my lifetime, since we got rid of the poll tax and all the other Jim Crow burdens on voting, the determined effort to limit the franchise that we see today," the former President warned a student group last month.
I find this simply astonishing. How can any reasonable person find the Voter ID question worthy of debate?
Anyone with common sense must be able to appreciate that voting must be conducted in an orderly manner, and that only citizens who have registered to vote and have satisfied the minimal requirements of age, etc. are to be allowed into the voting booth. Given the propensity to fraud, it is therefore necessary to verify the identities of those who present themselves at the polling place. To do this, voters must be required to present a government-issued photo ID card, a driver's license being only one example of such. It is a reasonable requirement and any reasonable person should be able to see it as such.
Why are liberals so stupid? The darker surmise, of course, is that they are not stupid but cunning and unprincipled: they want voter fraud. They want to win at all costs, fraud or no fraud.
And please notice how leftists like Clinton will not hesitate to commit a tort on the English language if it serves their purpose. Clinton implies that an identity check would limit the franchise of blacks. Preposterous. There is also the slam against blacks. Those of my acquaintance don't live under bridges and they do manage to do things like cash checks.
Clinton famously stumbled over the meaning of 'is.' Apparently he is equally challenged by the meaning of 'franchise.'
(Here is a fine rant from the old blog. Originally appeared 23 August 2007.)
Is common sense dead? Apparently, given the large number of incidents like the one reported in this story of a boy who was suspended from school for merely drawing a picture of a gun. And this occurred in Arizona of all places, where one might expect some old-fashioned common sense to still exist, as opposed to some such haven of effete liberal idiocy as the People's Republic of Taxachusetts.
How does one deal with idiots? With those impervious to reason? For example, how deal with the sort of liberal idiot who thinks that the use of the perfectly good English word 'niggardly' involves a racial slur? You may recall that some poor guy lost his job over this a few years back.
Is there any connection between these two cases? The mind of a liberal is like a bowl of mush in which anything can transmogrify into anything else. Nothing is well-defined, nothing is what it is. Anything can be associated with anything else. So a mere drawing of gun, by a strange associational 'logic' becomes a gun. The prohibition of guns on campus becomes a prohibition of doodles of guns. The harmless teenage doodler becomes a deadly threat to his classmates. A paper 'gun' assumes the dangerousness of a loaded gun. Other distinctions go by the board, as when liberals talk, as they constantly do, of guns killing people, when no gun has ever killed anyone.
Similarly, the sound of 'niggardly' reminds someone of the sound of 'nigger' and so 'niggardly' is taken to mean nigger-like so that the property of being a racial slur get tranferred back upon the innocent word.
Is it the inability to think straight that defines the politically correct? Or the unwillingess? Or both?
Liberals love the 'disease model.' Perhaps they should apply it to themselves. Treatment is what they need, not refutation. Some notions are beneath refutation.
I read your post titled, On Black Reparations after having spent a fair amount of time recently at one of my favorite places, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. In the museum, there are signs next to some pieces indicating that their provenance may include Nazi-era acquisitions in World War II Germany. If it's determined that any piece was acquired as a result of theft, illegal sales, etc. then every attempt is made to return it to the rightful owner or to the owner's heir, and this is judged to be a moral obligation. This made me think about how your argument against reparations would apply to such cases. But to make the case analogous in terms of the time that has elapsed between the crime and the proposed method of restitution, suppose the following argument is being made in 2091:
1. All of the perpetrators of the crimes associated with Nazi-era thefts of art in World War II Germany (and areas occupied by Germany at the time) are dead.
2. All of the victims of the crimes associated with Nazi-era thefts of art in World War II Germany are dead.
3. Only those who are victims of a crime are entitled to reparations for the crime, and only those who are the perpetrators of a crime are obliged to pay reparations for it.
4. No one now living is entitled to receive reparations for the crimes associated with Nazi-era thefts of art in World War ii Germany, and no one now living is obliged to pay reparations. (Assume anyone owning such a piece was not aware, when he purchased it, of its Nazi-era provenance).
I wonder if such an argument could be run to refute the notion that such works should be returned to any living heirs, or to museums from which they might have been looted. It seems to me that counter this possibility, we might point out that one relevant disanalogy may be the fact that here we're dealing with concrete items -- with property -- and not with difficult (impossible?) to calculate contemporary harms caused by past wrongs. After all, it's easier to argue that Jones has been harmed by not owning a painting he would have plausibly (probably?) inherited were it not stolen than it is to argue that Smith has been harmed by the fact that his great-great-great grandfather was enslaved. But I'm not sure if this works, for the force of your argument doesn't come from pragmatic concerns like that, but from the moral issues involved, and they seem to apply with similar force to cases concerning whether one is obligated to return art of Nazi-era provenance to identifiable heirs. Do you think that the argument you've formulated would imply that, at least in 2091, Museums would not be obligated to return items acquired by Nazis and Nazi collaborators during World War II to identifiable heirs, and would you agree that if this is so, the conclusion minimally conflicts with our moral intuitions? Sorry for the length of the post, and thanks for taking the time to read it.
An interesting response.
I think the cases are disanalogous for reasons different from the one the reader mentions. Suppose a piece was stolen by the Nazis from the Louvre in Paris and it ends up in the MFA in Boston. Said piece is the property of the Louvre and ought to be returned there despite the fact that the Nazi thieves and the Louvre curators are all dead. The wrong was committed against the Louvre which continues to exist. And therein lies one point of disanalogy. The blacks who were enslaved and maltreated no longer exist. A second point of disanalogy is that when restitution is made nothing is taken from the MFA that it has a right to possess. But when a present-day non-black is forced to pay reparations to blacks he is having something taken from him that he has a right to possess.
Warning to liberals: clear thinking, moral clarity, and political incorrectness up ahead! If you consider any part of the following to be 'racist' or 'hateful' then you are in dire need, not of refutation, but of psychotherapy. Please seek it for your own good.
There is no question but that slavery is a great moral evil. But are American blacks owed reparations for the slavery that was officially ended by the ratification of the 13th Amendment of the U. S. Constitution over 145 years ago on 6 December 1865? I cannot see that any rational case for black reparations can be made. Indeed, it seems to me that a very strong rational case can be made against black reparations. The following argument seems to me decisive:
1. All of the perpetrators of the crimes associated with slavery in the U.S. are dead. 2. All of the victims of the crimes associated with slavery in the U.S. are dead. 3. Only those who are victims of a crime are entitled to reparations for the crime, and only those who are the perpetrators of a crime are obliged to pay reparations for it. Therefore 4. No one now living is entitled to receive reparations for the crimes associated with slavery in the U.S., and no one now living is obliged to pay reparations.
Another example of why calls for civility are silly. You must not be civil to moral scum. You must denounce them and their lies. When they lie about us we must tell the truth about them. Every time. For they believe in the Communist principle of the Big Lie: tell a big enough lie, repeat it enough times, and people will believe it.
Michelle Malkin: "The race card is not the last refuge of liberal scoundrels but the first refuge."
Latest example here. And we are supposed to be civil to these scumbags? Civility has limits, just like credit cards do, the only exception being the race card whose credit line is unlimited. Accepted by liberals everywhere. Don't leave home without it.