I am slowly updating and expanding the resources on Ethics Alarms, including adding some of the tools that I have initiated on the blog but never put on the home page to accompany the much-used Rationalization List and the Apology Scale. I thought one of these was a race-baiting scale, as I referred to one, dubbed “The Knight Scale,” here and here. I discovered, however, that I had just given numbers to a few examples of race-baiting along least bad-to-worst spectrum without specifying specific varieties of race-baiting for each.
This was a major failing, and I apologize. Race-baiting has been one of the primary features of public discourse embedded in our culture by having a black President, was well as one with so many unscrupulous race-obsessed supporters and so much evidence of incompetence and dishonesty to try to defend. Its widespread use, tacitly approved if not orchestrated by the White House, has also contributed to the vastly deteriorating race-relations in the U.S., along with the racial distrust and anger fueling it. I have stated, and strongly believe, that this will be, above all else, Barack Obama’s legacy. The tragedy this represents cannot be over-stated.
I am offering now and belatedly a revised Race-Baiting Scale, running from 1, the least offensive and significant form of race baiting, to 11, the worst and most unethical. Two notes: 1) All entries are based on the assumption that no actual racist or bigoted conduct has occurred, and 2) It is stipulated that all actual racist conduct or bias is unethical and should be called out and condemned.
The Race-Baiting Scale
1. The Race “Gotcha!”: An accusation of racial bias based on an innocent, ambiguous but arguably insensitive remark that may not have had any intentional racial connotations.
2. The Double Standard: Protests against comic or satiric performances or jokes by white performers or others involving African-Americans as racist, when in form and substance they are indistinguishable from similar performances of jokes regarding whites.
3. Dog Whistles: An accusation of racismbsed on the accurate use terms like “urban” are coded racial “dog-whistles”
4. Taboo Facts: The position that stating facts or statistics that accurately reflect pathologies or persistent problems in the black community is racist.
5. Blame Game: The attribution of disparities between the black and white populations primarily or entirely to racial bigotry and discrimination.
6. Discrimination Gamesmanship: Accusations that a black individual has been fired from a job or otherwise penalized for documented and objectively measured poor performance or misconduct due to racial bias.
7. The With Us or Against Us Ploy: The argument that a white individual opposing policy measures widely favored by or advantageous to African-Americans is proof of racial animus.
8. The Lesser Paranoia Validation: Assertions that when a white individual doesn’t support or approve of a black individual’s performance or conduct, it is based on race, and not the conduct or the performance.
9. The Greater Paranoia Validation : The defense to a fact-based accusation of crime or wrongdoing against a black individual that it is based on race.
10. Manufactured Outrage: Accusations of racism based on criticism of a black public figure for conduct that a white public figure would be and has been criticized for in exactly the same manner.
11. Presumed Racism: Accusations of racism based on no other factors but the races of the individuals involved.