More Oscar Ethics: Ethical Quote (Graham Moore) and Unethical Quote (John Legend) Of The Month

“When I was 16 years old, I tried to kill myself because I felt weird and I felt different, and I felt like I did not belong. And now I’m standing here, and so I would like this moment to be for this kid out there who feels like she’s weird or she’s different or she doesn’t fit in anywhere: Yes, you do. I promise you do. Stay weird, stay different, and then, when it’s your turn, and you are standing on this stage, please pass the same message to the next person who comes along. Thank you so much!”

—-Graham Moore, 2015 Oscar winner for best adapted screenplay for the movie “The Imitation Game,” in his acceptance speech.

“We live in the most incarcerated country in the world. There are more black men under correctional control today than there were under slavery in 1850.”

John Legend, accepting the 2015 Oscar for Best Song for “Glory” from “Selma.”

Legend’s statement is technically accurate, but misleading in many ways, inflammatory, destructive, and irresponsible.

When you heard it, did you make the distinction between “in prison” and “under correctional control”? Most didn’t—I didn’t— and that was intentional. This is deceit. Correctional control  includes those in prisons, but also those in jails awaiting trial or serving short local sentences; those on parole; and others on probation.  Like all the fake and misleading statistics that fly around, this one is inflated to induce a “Wow!”  A person under probation or parole can live a completely normal and free life, if he or she can avoid breaking the law and some extra rules. Slavery it’s not.

That is the other aspect of the statement that is unethical: this is a loaded comparison. Slaves were enslaved due to no fault of their own. Slavery is an abomination and a violation of human rights. Prison, and other forms of “correctional control,” is punishment, and the end result of due process and personal responsibility. The number of Americans  in the justice system is a huge burden on society, the economy and the culture, and needs to be addressed as a serious problem. It is not, however, primarily a racism problem, and the false comparison with slavery is toxic misrepresentation on multiple levels:

1. Blacks are not in prison for being black. You still have to break a law. The threshold remedy to having so many black men in prison is for the black community to stop producing so many criminals.

2. Slavery could be cured by banning slavery. What is Legend advocating to cure the imprisoned population problem? Banning laws? Banning prison? Banning prison just for African-Americans? The comparison is either simple-minded or irresponsible.

3. The juxtaposition suggests that the large proposition of blacks in the criminal justice system is purely a matter of racism, and white oppression…a facile, responsibility-free and hate-inducing fiction.

4. This ploy, increasingly popular in the civil rights movement  as it must always find a way to pretend that progress in racial equality is an illusion in order to justify its existence—that is, income and power—suggests that prison is only a sly and sinister replacement for slavery under the guise of law enforcement.

Naturally the knee-jerk amen chorus in the media, which will always applaud accusations of racism either because they feel it’s their duty, they really do think this lamely, or they are terrified of being called racists, was delighted with Legend’s comment. Washington Post TV critic Hank Stuever called the speech ” a rousing acceptance speech on the subject of racial inequality and black incarceration rates.” I hope he meant “rousing but stupid,” but I doubt it. After all, he thought Patricia Arquette’s passionate proclamation of her own ignorance about gender wage disparities was “moving.”*

Legend could have made a comparison between slavery and black imprisonment that would have generated legitimate and productive debate, and even done some good, rather than his attempt to remove responsibility for the plight of black criminals and place it on “whitey.” He could have said, for example…

“Dr. King’s courageous fight to give African-Americans the rights  other Americans take for granted has still not realized its potential for our people. Two many of our young men, no longer under the cruel burdens of slavery and Jim Crow and the limits to their liberty that these imposed, abuse that liberty and rob themselves of the benefits Dr. King fought for, by breaking laws and by being irresponsible citizens. Yes, we have come a long way thanks to heroes like Martin Luther King, but his dream will remain only that if we merely replace the chains of our cruel slave masters with chains forged by our own recklessness and disrespect for the law, our country and ourselves. There are more black men under correctional control today than there were under slavery in 1850. That is a disgrace, and it is up to us, our communities, parents and Dr. King’s successors to  take the precious rights he died for and make our people, and the United States, proud of what we do with them.”

Naaah.

In sharp contrast were the genuinely moving words of  Graham Moore. Taken together, the two statements from the same podium are fascinating and depressing.  One representative, Moore, of a traditionally ostracized and marginalized group tells others, “Don’t despair! You have the power to succeed and prevail. Take charge of your life, and be everything you can be, and be a positive role model for those who follow you.” Another mistreated and long-suffering group’s representative–Legend–proclaims that his people are still victims, still disadvantaged, and still require rescue and assistance.

If these be the respective groups’ approaches, I am quite certain which one is more likely to succeed.

_______________

* In truth, all political statements by performers are irresponsible and do more damage than good, as the Volokh conspiracy recently noted. Why? Because they generally don’t know what they are talking about.

45 thoughts on “More Oscar Ethics: Ethical Quote (Graham Moore) and Unethical Quote (John Legend) Of The Month

  1. What Moore said is beautiful. In just a few sentences, he put everything that the anger underlying the movie, “Revenge of the Nerds” tried to express, but so much more compellingly than “There are more of us than there are of you.” I wish someone had made Moore’s speech back when I was in school.

  2. 1. Blacks are not in prison for being black. You still have to break a law. The threshold remedy to having so many black men in prison is for the black community to stop producing so many criminals.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/04/us/marijuana-arrests-four-times-as-likely-for-blacks.html?_r=0 It wouldn’t matter if there was selective enforcement of the law upon some groups, and not upon others. Blacks are equally as likely to use drugs as whites. But blacks get arrested for drugs at four to eight times the rates of whites.

    2. Slavery could be cured by banning slavery. What is Legend advocating to cure the imprisoned population problem? Banning laws? Banning prison? Banning prison just for African-Americans? The comparison is either simple-minded or irresponsible.

    Decriminalizing marijuana for example would lead to fewer minorities being in prison. As would getting rid of minimum sentencing laws. Having police not selective target minority communities for enforcement would be another solution, just to get some obvious solutions out of the way.

    3. The juxtaposition suggests that the large proposition of blacks in the criminal justice system is purely a matter of racism, and white oppression…a facile, responsibility-free and hate-inducing fiction.

    Not purely a matter of racism. But as we have seen with the stop and frisk program with the NYPD, where police officials were recorded ordering underlings to specifically target black youth for police enforcement, or the Rampart Scandal, where minorities were specifically targeted by police, and had bogus trumped up charges and planted evidence, systematic racism is definitely a component.

    4. This ploy, increasingly popular in the civil rights movement as it must always find a way to pretend that progress in racial equality is an illusion in order to justify its existence—that is, income and power—suggests that prison is only a sly and sinister replacement for slavery under the guise of law enforcement.

    Have you read the New Jim Crow yet? http://newjimcrow.com/ The author makes a very good case for the how the prison industrial system does work very hard to justify its industry and make a profit by working to ensure that as many Americans as possible (mostly, but not exclusively minority) are imprisoned. She traces through from the end of slavery, the chain gang, “escaped sharecropper” laws, the War on Drugs, and the new “debtor’s prisons” that ensnare poor people who are too poor to pay civil fines, and thus end up in jail. It’s a good read at any rate.

    • That’s all valid and helpful, though evidence planting—you know, like on OJ, is more urban legend than fact. The fact remains that the start of avoiding jail is not breaking laws, whether you agree with them or not. It’s just not that hard.

      • Yes, one can avoid prison by not committing crimes. That does not negate the facts presented by derry to counter your points on why Legend was wrong for what he said.

          • I think this discounts the fact that we have too many laws and have criminalized almost every aspect of our lives. I have no idea how many laws I have broken today. But, when everyone is a criminal, the Government can more easily select whom they will put in jail and whom they will let go. You can blame the black population (and placing some blame on the criminals is appropriate), but I also look at the Government that created the crime.
            -Jut

            • There is some truth to this.

              A lot of things are crimes which should not be crimes. Shaneen Allen had been arrested for possessing a handgun while traveling through New Jersey (a state thart clearly pretends that the Second Amendment does not exist). Jonathon Schoenakase of was arrested because he ran a free service that picked up drunk patrons from bars and drove them to their homes. (It was initially legal due to a loophole, but the Quincy city council closed the loophole at the behest of the cab companies.)

              So the prison population reduction campaign does have a point when they argue that we make too much conduct illegal.

              But we can not trust the leadership of that campaign, because we know the result of the policies that they had preferred during the 1960’s and 1970’s.

              In those decades, the policy was across-the-board leniency on crime, including violent crime. In fact, when the Massachusetts Legislature in 1976 proposed eliminating furloughs for those convicted of first-degree murder, the governor at the time vetoed, arguing that it would ‘cut the heart out of efforts at inmate rehabilitation.

              Think about it. a governor of the state actually thought that it would be politically viable to veto a bill that would eliminate furloughs for those convicted of first-degree murder. That veto completely boggles the mind. A decade later, a Maryland judge, sentencing a man to life imprisonment, refused to turn over the prisoner to Massachusetts, saying that he could not trust that Massachusetts will not release him.

              That is what we got from the leadership of the “America imprisons too many of its people and it has to stop” movement. They want criminals to run loose.

              John Legend is just a “useful” idiot for those people.

          • But he was not “dishonest, misleading, and wrong.” I understood what that statement meant. Now you are criticizing people for not dumbing down language? He only had 22 seconds for the whole speech.

            • You understand that he was making a moral equivilency between blacks being punished for lawbreaking a and slavery,that he intentionally misled by using a vague statistic while encouraging listeners to think he meant prison when that’s not what the stat signified, and that he was representing African American crime as a civil rights problem when it is in fact a cultural pathology problem, and you don’t comprehend how the statement was“dishonest, misleading, and wrong” ? Deceit is not failing to dumb down the language. If he said what was true, he wouldn’t have the same impact.

              • “You understand that he was making a moral equivilency between blacks being punished for lawbreaking a and slavery.” I don’t understand that at all, he was giving an example of howBlack lives are adversely affected by the State. Much like slavery (where you couldn’t leave your plantation, incarcerated people (or people on parole) have obvious severe limits placed on their mobility. Not to mention that being in the system for any reason has long term devastating effects on employment, housing, relationships, etc. beyond that individual’s control — much like slavery. Not everything has to be pure apples to apples.

                “[T]hat he intentionally misled by using a vague statistic while encouraging listeners to think he meant prison when that’s not what the stat signified….” His language was clear and he did pretty good job given that he was given about 22 seconds.

                “[A]nd that he was representing African American crime as a civil rights problem when it is in fact a cultural pathology problem.” It IS a civil rights problem when the police ignore white people breaking the law, and put black people in prison for breaking the very same law. How is that NOT a civil rights problem?

                • There are many more whites in prison than blacks. There were no white slaves at all in 1850. That, of course, is just one obvious area where the slavery comparison is dishonest and absurd:

                  1. Slavery was a crime against human rights. Imprisonment is a necessary tool in maintaining civilization.

                  2. The numbers comparison was dishonest. There were far fewer African Americans in 1850, and the vast majority were slaves. Thus the totals are not just apples and oranges, they are apples and scorpions.

                  3.Slavery was imposed regardless of conduct. Prison is a direct result of personal conduct, and wrongful and irresponsible conduct by the individual arrested.

                  4. Slavery was for life. The vast majority of citizens, black or white, who are in custody do not remain there for life, and most for less than 10 years.

                  5. The logical absurdity of comparing involuntary servitude inflicted because of race alone, in breach of all America values, to punishment executed after a fair trial, before juries, with representation, under constitutional protections, both diminishes the obscenity of slavery and grossly exaggerates the problems of the correctional and criminal justice systems.

                  6. “when the police ignore white people breaking the law, and put black people in prison for breaking the very same law” is obviously a civil rights problem of great seriousness. Legend didn’t say a word about this problem. He spoke of numbers. His words SAID that the problem was the shear numbers of blacks in prison…indeed, nothing he said was inconsistent with 100 times more whites being in prison. His words said that based on sheer numbers alone (the same numbers as slavery, except they aren’t) the “custodial” status of blacks (not that he wanted the audience to reflect on the brutal six month probations of third time drug offenders, with drug classes) proves that there has been no progress, or little, since slavery, and that blacks are being penned rather than being herded into the fields. That’s slander on the nation, the system, and those of us who don’t have the color of our skin to blame for every failure, every crime we commit, every time we have to be accountable for our actions.

                  7. If Legend couldn’t be articulate, fair, responsible and clear in 22 seconds—and be obviously could not–then he was foolish, arrogant and irresponsible to wade into a bundle of complex issues that 1) he isn’t qualified to discus, and 2) he can’t clarify, but only confound, and 3) he serves only to provide more false rationalizations for everything from high black crime levels, dysfunctional families, racial hatred and crime to young African Americans, who, sadly, give his opinions weight.

                  • I think you have shorts tied up in knots over this for little to no reason. There were many political comments that night and all were designed to do one thing only — draw attention to a perceived problem. Hashing out the seriousness (or lack thereof) can be handled after the fact.

                    I did think of you on Oscars night — I thought your head would explode during Patricia Arquette’s speech. Legend’s was tame in comparison I thought.

                    • Lots of people had their heads exploding over PA’s rant—millionairess and all that. It’s probably unfair, but I chalked it up to exuberance and was inclined to giver her a pass, mostly because I was so happy to see her get some recognition as one of my longtime favorite, quirky actresses from my favorit quirky acting family (Cliff–“Charlie Weaver”; Rosanna, Patricia, and David.)

      • That’s all valid and helpful, though evidence planting—you know, like on OJ, is more urban legend than fact.

        The Rampart Scandal was definitely a fact. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rampart_scandal As far as OJ goes, Fuhrman bragged, on tape, about planting evidence on minority suspects, especially those involved in interracial relationships. He took the 5th when asked if he had planted evidence in OJ’s case. Whether he did or not is unknowable at this point. But the evidence is not kind towards him in that matter.

        The fact remains that the start of avoiding jail is not breaking laws, whether you agree with them or not. It’s just not that hard.

        I think you are way too optimistic when it comes to how law enforcement treats minorities and the poor amongst us (being poor and minority is even worse). Take, for example, this case: http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/02/This-american-life-cops-see-it-differently/385874/

        Most of the action takes place at a Quickstop convenience store. Back in 2008, police approached its owner, Alex Saleh. Did he want to make the Quickstop part of “The Zero-Tolerance Zone Trespassing Program”? Saleh said that he was “pro-police, pro-cop,” and agreed. A sign to that effect was posted in the parking lot.

        But soon, he says, cops started harassing his customers, especially the black ones, when they were doing nothing more than standing in line waiting to make a purchase. Set that aside. Our interest is in Earl Sampson, a black employee at the store.

        Here’s what happened to him, according to This American Life producer Miki Meek’s reporting:

        Meek: Before long, it wasn’t just the customers being questioned. The police started including a guy named Earl. Alex paid him to do odd jobs around the store. One night, right before closing, Alex sent Earl out to the parking lot with a broom and a dustpan. When he didn’t come back, Alex want out to check on him.

        Saleh: I see only the dustpan and the broom. And I don’t see Earl.

        Meek: It wasn’t like Earl to walk off the job. The next day when he arrived at the store, Alex asked him about it.

        Saleh: Earl said, I was in jail last night. I said, why? He said, for trespassing.

        Meek: Trespassing at the store—Earl says he was charged with trespassing where he works.

        Saleh: I was upset. I was burning myself inside. I was, like, this is impossible.

        Meek: Alex is more than just a boss to Earl, more like a father figure to him. Earl has some mental health issues, and in general, he has a kid-like quality. He first started coming to the Quickstop years before, when he was 14. He had just moved around the corner, but his family life was rough. And his mom couldn’t really take care of him. So Alex started keeping an eye on him. Here’s Earl.

        Earl: That’s why I started hanging around the store, you know, it’s because Alex treat me like a son, though. Sometimes he let me credit stuff, like milk or something, bread or something. I’d go to the store and get it. I’d holler at him. And then he gave me a job, and I started working. I love my job. I love working at it. We’re like a family, though.

        Meek: That incident with the police, where Alex walked outside to check on Earl at the end of the night and found only a dustpan and broom, that happened two more times that month.

        Earl: They’ll like, come and grab me from, like, outside. Like, they won’t go in the store and ask Alex or nothing, though. They would just grab me, put me in a police car, take me down to jail, you know? I’m like, well, I work here, though. You feel me?

        Meek: So you would say, I work here. And what would they say?

        Earl: Come on. You ain’t supposed to be here. You trespassing here. I’d be like, ask my boss. I would be telling, ask my boss. They’re still, oh, we don’t care. They’ll take me down.

        Meek: Each time the police picked up Earl, they’d book him into the county jail. He’d spend the night there, go to court the next day, and there he’d be given a choice. Plead guilty to trespassing and get out of jail right away, or he could fight the trespassing charge, but it would be a hassle. And it would be expensive. He’d have to hire a lawyer and post bond and wait for a trial date.

        So Earl always pleaded guilty.

        The man was arrested 63 times, and stopped an additional 99 times. He was forced to plead guilty each time, as he had no money to get out of jail on bail. Even after the owner of the store went to police supervisors, the harassment continued, and increased. No officer was punished for their behavior towards this individual. Multiply that scenario a few thousand times, with minor variations, and I think you might get a sense of the problem that many minorities are facing.

        It is not just individual moral failings, but an entire system that needs and feeds off vulnerable classes in the US. Even when they haven’t done anything wrong.

        • 3. How do you get from a mentally deficient man who can’t solve a basic problem being bullied by one set of police to the entire system? When Ronald Reagan used a single vivid anecdote to prove a dubious proposition, the press would go wild, with some justification. Yup, that’s a good one all right, you hit all the points: non-crime, too poor and too dumb to seek redress, doing the same thing with the same results over and over and over. How does this support the general proportion that most or even a significant proposition of those in jail don’t deserve to be there?

          2. To plant evidence on OJ, one would have to be certain that other factors wouldn’t prove him innocent, making the planting a clear police crime. It is very knowable that the cops didn’t plant evidence on him,because there was no reason to do so. On the other hand, there is no reason to know whether Furmin really planted evidence on minor suspects, or was just exaggerating.

          1. Yup. Every police department has had to be permanently under suspicion because of Rampart and similar scandals in New York and Boston. That does not mean that evidence planting is routine, but I can confirm that it is always alleged by someone caught with the goods.

          • 3. How do you get from a mentally deficient man who can’t solve a basic problem being bullied by one set of police to the entire system? When Ronald Reagan used a single vivid anecdote to prove a dubious proposition, the press would go wild, with some justification. Yup, that’s a good one all right, you hit all the points: non-crime, too poor and too dumb to seek redress, doing the same thing with the same results over and over and over. How does this support the general proportion that most or even a significant proposition of those in jail don’t deserve to be there?

            Being poor and dumb is not a crime, or at least it shouldn’t be. If you were that man, how would you solve the problem of being arrested every time you went to work? Keep in mind that you have no money, and no good way of finding other employment. You need that job. The police supervisors are all well aware of the situation. If the police are willing to ignore (and indeed ramp up) the situation in this case, even after documented, videotaped, publicized evidence of wrongdoing in this case, how many other, run-of-the-mill situations do they routinely ignore? Without one brave officer recording the racially discriminatory orders to target black and Latino youths, how many people would be willing to say that those youth brought police suspicion on themselves?

            2. To plant evidence on OJ, one would have to be certain that other factors wouldn’t prove him innocent, making the planting a clear police crime. It is very knowable that the cops didn’t plant evidence on him, because there was no reason to do so. On the other hand, there is no reason to know whether Furmin really planted evidence on minor suspects, or was just exaggerating.

            I personally believe that the police framed a guilty man, as I believe police do routinely for the general ease of everyone involved in the court system (except the suspect, of course). They were well aware of the domestic situation between OJ and his ex-wife, and his general whereabouts at the time. He was the primary suspect very early on. If it later panned out that someone else had done it, they would have swept the “evidence” that they had found under the rug. As far as Furhman goes, there is no “exaggerating.” Either you have planted evidence on someone, or you haven’t and you lied, for whatever reason, about doing so.

            1. Yup. Every police department has had to be permanently under suspicion because of Rampart and similar scandals in New York and Boston. That does not mean that evidence planting is routine, but I can confirm that it is always alleged by someone caught with the goods.

            Yes. Similar scandals in NYC, LA, Boston, New Orleans, Chicago, countless smaller cities and municipalities, etc. that crop up constantly, to everyone’s renewed astonishment, only to be publicized again years later. Rinse. Lather. Repeat. How many would it take to convince you? I suspect the number, when it comes to this matter, approaches infinity.

            • Either you have planted evidence on someone, or you haven’t and you lied, for whatever reason, about doing so.

              His argument that “To plant evidence on OJ, one would have to be certain that other factors wouldn’t prove him innocent, making the planting a clear police crime. It is very knowable that the cops didn’t plant evidence on him, because there was no reason to do so” could be used to “prove” that the Rampart scandal was a hoax.

              As a matter of fact, if people did not do misconduct unless they were certain that it would not blow up in their faces, Jack would have very few entries on his blog.

            • You should get together with Blameblakeheart, though with each other’s encouragement, you’ll end up sitting in the dark with tin-foil on your heads. I’ve been in and around law enforcement most of my life. The scandals and the bad cops make great drama, but they are still the exceptions, and far from the rule.

              What is fascinating to me is that those who are so paranoid in their distrust of law enforcement are the same people who want to disarm the citizenry and give government more and more power, when it so frequently abuses the power it has already.

    • 1. Even if black people are more likely to be arrested charged and incarcerated than white people for drug related charges (and I give you those points, completely), following your logic is more white people should be in jail, not fewer black people, because you accept that those people broke the law.

      2. ‘minority communities’ is code for ‘poor communities’ and crime is more likely to happen in poor communities. It sucks but it’s true. There are legitimate excuses for police to be there. And I’m right there beside you with decriminalising (apocalypse is coming), but the fact of the matter is that the behavior is illegal, they know it is illegal, and they know the consequences. They shouldn’t get leniency before the laws change.

      3. You know…. Sexism is rampant too. 97% of stop and frisk detainees were men. Police stations are obvious sexism misandrists and should have to take classes on being more friendly to men.

      • I’d say this ‘minority communities’ is code for ‘poor communities’ is a misconception. There is a substantial black middle class. The black population as a whole is significantly and unacceptably poorer than the white population, but it is not poor.

        None of which faintly or in any way can justify the slavery analogy, which is indefensible.

    • Ahh, statistics. Have you considered any confounding variables in that first link?

      Drug use estimates are based on surveys, usually of a non-representative sample such as college students at a particular university.
      People who answer in the affirmative are trusting the answer will not be used against them.
      Blacks in general are less trusting of the legal system and probably other systems as well.

      Therefore, such surveys will not get a similar response rate among races. No such survey I’ve examined, including the one linked, ever considers that willingness to answer honestly may be different between the races for any reason.

      The data used by the ACLU on usage lumps all age groups over 12 together. A simple difference between races and age of use would also impact criminal treatment. IF whites are more likely to stop as they age (and I have no particular reason to suspect this, I’m just illustrating a possible flaw) and juvenile arrest data is not included, it shifts the numbers again.

      There are other issues with the arrest rates. Is it arrests SOLELY for marijuana, or combined with other crimes? If combined with other crimes, and other crimes aren’t the same, then the drug arrest rate will become disproportionate even if the system is perfectly fair and just. Violent crime rates are a confounding variable for drug arrest rates. Our system tends to focus on the easy to establish lesser crime via plea bargains. Sometimes little charges are tacked on to make sure they get something when it goes to trial. For instance, possession AND possession with intent to sell. The former may stick even if the latter doesn’t.

      Then there is the issue of how respectful suspects are to the police. If there is a racial disparity there, given the way cops react to perceived and actual disrespect, that would influence the final arrest rates as well.

      I don’t know if there really is a difference in suspect behavior, but given the known difference in trust and in homicide rates, it seems likely to me.

    • “1. Blacks are not in prison for being black. You still have to break a law. The threshold remedy to having so many black men in prison is for the black community to stop producing so many criminals.”

      “http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/04/us/marijuana-arrests-four-times-as-likely-for-blacks.html?_r=0 It wouldn’t matter if there was selective enforcement of the law upon some groups, and not upon others. Blacks are equally as likely to use drugs as whites. But blacks get arrested for drugs at four to eight times the rates of whites.”

      Wait, so the assertion that black criminals are in prison because of the crimes they committed is rebutted by asserting the possibility that more blacks are arrested for the crimes they commit than white people for the crimes they commit?

      Huh?

      “2. Slavery could be cured by banning slavery. What is Legend advocating to cure the imprisoned population problem? Banning laws? Banning prison? Banning prison just for African-Americans? The comparison is either simple-minded or irresponsible.”

      “Decriminalizing marijuana for example would lead to fewer minorities being in prison. As would getting rid of minimum sentencing laws. Having police not selective target minority communities for enforcement would be another solution, just to get some obvious solutions out of the way.”

      Same line of non-response made to look like a response.

      • 1. Blacks are not in prison for being black. You still have to break a law. The threshold remedy to having so many black men in prison is for the black community to stop producing so many criminals.”

        If black people are exhibiting the same behaviors, in the same degree as whites, yet are getting arrested at much higher rates than whites for that behavior, it is very hard to argue that black people are not being put in prison for being black. If laws are only being selectively enforced on some segments of the population, then yes, they are per se being discriminated against. Basically you and Jack are stating that if only black people would behave even better than white people who exhibit the exact same behavior, there wouldn’t be a problem. Do you not see the fairly obvious flaws in that logic?

        • If black people are exhibiting the same behaviors, in the same degree as whites, yet are getting arrested at much higher rates than whites for that behavior, it is very hard to argue that black people are not being put in prison for being black.

          How do you figure? There is a condition precedent: breaking the law. They are in the situation because of that. If whites avoid prison because of their race, which I have no doubt they do, then yes, they don’t go to prison despite being lawbreakers because they are white—that’s the reason. Someone going to jail because they are black would mean that with no law being broken, being black is enough to have them locked up. No. That’s not the case. Your argument is sloppy, slippery, non-logic.

          What is wrong is that whites who should be imprisoned are not, not that lawbreaking blacks are.

          • It’s pretty much the exact same thing. If you have a law that is only applied in effect o black people, then yes, black people are going to jail because they are black.

            If white people were imprisoned at the same rates as black for smoking marijuana, marijuana would have been decriminalized a long time ago. There is no way that middle-class white people would stand for their children going to prison due to minimum sentencing at the same rates we send children of poor and minorities off to jail for. But as long as it is happening to “others”, and not our own youth, who after all, are just indulging in youthful escapades, then it’s ok. Racial disparity in sentencing, which also leads to longer terms, which leads then also leads cumulatively to more black people being in jail than whites also contribute to this as well.

            As pointed out in this thread, in America, each of us commit a few dozen crimes a day just going about life. Police are given broad discretion as to which laws they will enforce, and on whom they will enforce the laws on. If they do so in a racially discriminatory manner, you will see a racially discriminatory result, such as with drug laws, though black people will have not have been any greater lawbreakers than the white population.

            • It’s pretty much the exact same thing

              No, it isn’t. As I explained very clearly. But I know that those who want to abolish punishment for lawbreaking blacks commonly get away with the argument. “If you have a law that is only applied to black people, then yes, black people are going to jail because they are black.” Straw man. There is no such law. The closest was the crack law, which was correctly ruled unconstitutional. I did you a favor and took out “in effect.” Either the law is applied only to blacks, or it isn’t, and none is. There is no “in effect.”

              • Please do not edit my posts, unless I specifically request it. IF a law law is mostly applied to applied to black people, with only the stray white person here and there coming under the law, then it is “in effect” applied only to black people.

                This is like how many Jim Crow laws were written to be facially race neutral, but were “in effect” applied only to black people. Yes, the occasional white liberal person might have come under the law, but it was a law that was designed and operated against mostly black people.

                • I didn’t touch that post. See that floating “o”? I just quoted you omitting that word that is gibberish. See, I won’t even edit “IF a law law is mostly applied to applied to black people.” But we’re not talking about Jim Crow, which was in fact illegal and a violation of the Constitution. We’re talking about today. Straw man argument of the month. Yes, Jim Crow was bad. No wonder you agree with John Legend

                  • It was an analogy. Which I thought was pretty clear. Apparently not. I think you are the one being illogical here. That’s fine. Have a nice day.

                    • For it to be anything but an intentionally misleading analogy, there must be something specified it can be validly analogized to. In this you are aping Legend, who ridiculously and offensively analogized the penal system to slavery.

                      And thanks, I’m having a GREAT day.

    • The response does not reply substantively to the unethical claim that there is a moral equivalency or logical analogy between slavery and a society requiring African Americans to obey the law. It’s a despicable and indefensible analogy, and if you disagree, go ahead and try to defend it. And I promise to shred your defense without mercy.

  3. Thinking of it that way, Moore’s speech seems at odds with his script, which invented events to emphasize how oppressed women and homosexuals were by society. Not to downplay what did take place, but this did a disservice to both the oppressors and oppressees portrayed. It had a few other symptoms of biopic-itus as well, like not knowing where to end.

    I hope he captures the message and effectiveness of the speech in his future work. Movies should inspire us to be brave and better like this.

    What John Legend said didn’t surprise me, given the lyrics in “Glory”, which won’t age well.

    I like to think the Tegan and Sara didn’t get to give would bring us together as a human race.

    • Is that fair, though? 1) The screenplay was adapted from someone else’s book 2) The gap between what he may have written or wanted to write and what ended up in the film could be massive, based on what I know about the sausage factory that is Hollywood 3) Turing was gay when it was a crime in his country, and even in this one, being “out” could ruin you. Moore’s speech was about now, his movie was about then. They aren’t inconsistent.

      • 1. True, and I need to read the source material before I can make a full critique, but from my understanding the book is pure non-fiction, which is less likely to change history for dramatic effect.

        2. Also true. I should have mentioned that. I wonder if a purer draft of the script is floating around anywhere.

        3. I don’t think the movie needed more than Turing’s being officially outed to raise sympathy and portray the injustice. But showing almost nobody giving him a break, ever, even in situations that weren’t related to his being gay, made him look like a victim to be pitied. Again, I think this does the real Turing a disservice.

        Also again, not to downplay what did happen, but if The Guardian’s to be believed, real life was a little more nuanced: http://www.theguardian.com/film/2014/nov/20/the-imitation-game-invents-new-slander-to-insult-alan-turing-reel-history

        Moore’s speech urges kids who feel different and outcast not to give in to victimhood, but the film encourages us to see someone different and outcast as only a victim. That’s where I see a disconnect.

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