Ten Questions For Supporters Of “The Movement For Black Lives” And Anyone Else With The Guts To Consider Them

Movement For Black Lives

At a “Movement for Black Lives” rally at Cleveland State University, a public institution, an announcement was made to the crowd that “this is a peoples of African descent space. If you are not of African descent please go to the outside of the circle immediately.” White reporter Brandon Blackwell retreated  to the back of the crowd while being jeered by participants, as he was told by members of the crowd to stop filming, accused of being a white supremacist,  and hands were held up in front of his camera. At one point as Blackwell demanded that those blocking his view not touch his camera, a participant in the rally confronted him by saying, “I got 800 black people behind me, what the fuck you going to do?” [The video is available here .]

I have ten questions for African American activists, progressives, Democrats, BlackLivesMatter supporters, Democratic presidential candidates, liberal pundits, Cleveland State University officials and anybody else who dares to consider them:

1. How was this rally ethically distinguishable from a white supremacy or a KKK rally?

2. If Blackwell refused to “go to the back of the bus” as commanded, why would he be any less in the right than Rosa Parks?

3. If this is the developing tenor of the BlackLivesMatter movement, why shouldn’t the movement be regarded as a racist one and treated accordingly?

4. How can a university justify allowing a racially segregated event like this occurring on campus?

5. Why isn’t condemning such demonstrations a liberal and progressive obligation, and supporting such a demonstration a reactionary one, hostile to civil rights?

6. Is there an African-American leader, elected official, commentator or reporters with the courage and integrity to state that this conduct is unethical, illiberal and damaging to the social fabric of the country?

7. Are there any white ones with that courage and integrity?

8. If a rally at the University of Massachusetts demanded that all non-whites leave, this would be a major news story and pundits would be warning that a new wave of anti-black racism was on the rise on college campuses. Why didn’t this incident spark the same kind of publicity and commentary?

9. How is the sentiment, message and conduct illustrated by demonstrations such as these helpful, productive, or anything but destructive?

10. A popular and much quoted tweet, attributed to various conservative wags, is this. It is dismissed by Democrats and progressives as being an anti-Obama shot and no more. Why isn’t its underlying message undeniably true?

 

UPDATE: My answers here, but read the comments first.

______________________

Pointer: Advice Goddess

Facts: Cleveland.com, College Fix

176 thoughts on “Ten Questions For Supporters Of “The Movement For Black Lives” And Anyone Else With The Guts To Consider Them

  1. OK, I’m game.

    But first: I honestly don’t know what Cleveland State university regulations are regarding exclusionary events.
    –Are women allowed to hold events at which men are excluded?
    –Can Jewish students hold a Jews-only event?
    –Assuming there is a gay students organization of some kind, are they allowed to hold “gay only” meetings?
    –Can a “freshmen only” event exclude seniors?
    –Can a “handicapped only” event exclude able-bodied (or whatever the term is) people?
    –If Alcoholics Anonymous is represented on campus, are they allowed to maintain their global custom of holding separate “closed’ meetings for self-identified alcoholics and “open” meetings for people who are not sure?

    If the campus DOES permit in-group-only events, then your question #4 is really the only relevant one. And it’s a fair question; but it’s about more than just race.

    So – if the campus does NOT permit in-group-only events (which presumably would be because it’s a public school), then some of your questions are more relevant.

    ASSUMING that this in-group-only meeting was being held against the rules of a public university (which would surprise me a bit), here are my answers:

    1. How was this rally ethically distinguishable from a white supremacy or a KKK rally?
    –The same way an anti-Jewish Nazi rally is ethically distinguishable from a Jewish anti-Nazi rally. Does this really require explanation given history?

    2. If Blackwell refused to “go to the back of the bus” as commanded, why would he be any less in the right than Rosa Parks?
    –That is an absurd analogy. Blackwell was not a minority. Parks was not a reporter. You didn’t state whether the press was allowed, or disallowed. I honestly don’t know enough to answer, but if you do, you should have mentioned it. Not enough info, and an inflammatory metaphor on your part.

    3. If this is the developing tenor of the BlackLivesMatter movement, why shouldn’t the movement be regarded as a racist one and treated accordingly?
    –Rudeness still does not constitute racism under the law, at least as I understand it. A false conclusion.

    4. How can a university justify allowing a racially segregated event like this occurring on campus?
    —This is the question that colors all the others. Is the university allowed to distinguish between in-group meetings, or not? If it permits such meetings, I see nothing unique about race that would distinguish it. If you’re allowed to have Jewish-only or gay-only groups, then how can you argue you shouldn’t have race-only groups?
    Now if the university doesn’t allow such in-group meetings, by the same logic that country clubs open to the public can’t discriminate, then some of your other questions are relevant. If it does, though, all the rest is irrelevant.

    5. Why isn’t condemning such demonstrations a liberal and progressive obligation, and supporting such a demonstration a reactionary one, hostile to civil rights?
    –Since when is a unitary-group meeting hostile to civil rights? It is not hostile per se, as per my above examples, hence there is no ethical or civil rights-based obligation.

    6. Is there an African-American leader, elected official, commentator or reporters with the courage and integrity to state that this conduct is unethical, illiberal and damaging to the social fabric of the country?
    –If it’s not unethical or illegal, then the race of someone refusing to agree with you is irrelevant.

    7. Are there any white ones with that courage and integrity?
    –If it’s not unethical or illegal to have an in-group-only meeting, then the race, courage and integrity of anyone disagreeing with you is irrelevant.

    8. If a rally at the University of Massachusetts demanded that all non-whites leave, this would be a major news story and pundits would be warning that a new wave of anti-black racism was on the rise on college campuses. Why didn’t this incident spark the same kind of publicity and commentary?
    –I don’t accept your putative statement of fact about the difference between Cleveland State and UMass. Why shouldn’t the same analysis obtain?

    9. How is the sentiment, message and conduct illustrated by demonstrations such as these helpful, productive, or anything but destructive?
    –Here I agree, at least in part. The reporter should have been treated politely, and the group’s position explained nicely to him. (Though in fairness, how much politeness do you generally find exhibited by groups of 800 at political rallies?)

    10. A popular and much quoted tweet, attributed to various conservative wags, is this. It is dismissed by Democrats and progressives as being an anti-Obama shot and no more. Why isn’t its underlying message undeniably true?
    –“Why isn’t its underlying message undeniably true?” This is inflammatory, ridiculous, and goes to the heart of the matter. You know better and it is beneath you.
    It is people like the echo chamber you lead on this particular issue who insist that racism is the fault of the victims, that Obama has been the cause of greater racism, and that blacks should shut up, ignore history, behave themselves and all of us agree to pretend that racism is something that happened long ago, and if everyone just acted white it would all go away.

    Not gonna happen.

    But back to the beginning. This whole post rests on whether or not the University does or does not permit in-group-only gatherings. If it does, then you’re mostly just fanning flames.
    If it doesn’t – the point of your question four – then that’s at least a serious question, and one with broader implications than just race.

    • More broadly (and perhaps less controversially):

      I find there are two beliefs underlying the point of view that was expressed in this post. Both are held by lots of people of good will, and, I believe, held sincerely.

      1. The belief that the only “real” racism is conscious racism, i.e. if someone doesn’t intend something as racist, then for all intents and purposes, it isn’t racist. Variation on this theme: there is no such thing as unconscious racism. (Further variation: if there IS unconscious racism, it isn’t very important).

      2. The belief that “discrimination is non-discriminatory,” i.e. that black-on-white racism is the mirror image of white-on-black racism, that there is no qualitative difference based on the parties’ race, or history. Variation on this theme: “If a ___ person tried this, it would be considered outrageous.” Variation on the theme: When Justice Sotomayor spoke about a ‘wise Latina,’ she was mocked by those who belief that minority status bestows no more wisdom than anyone else.

      Both beliefs are held sincerely, by many people. For example, the current Supreme Court Chief Justice believes the first one, and has been into legal effect by him. (Fortunately, being Chief Justice doesn’t quality one as morally right).

      But both are wrong – and not just morally, I mean factually wrong. And they lead to very unfortunately consequences.

      The FACT is, unconscious racism absolutely exists. It has been shown time after time in patterns of social behavior; in banking patterns; in college admissions and job hiring; in psychological tests; it’s totally known by politicians (who use it to their advantage). I won’t bore everyone with the citations, but if someone is seriously interested, I’ll be happy to unload on it.

      And the FACT is that discrimination discriminates. A Jewish joke told by Lenny Bruce is not the same joke if told by Rudolf Hess. The “N” word has complex meanings, but very different ones, if told by a black or a white person. An community organization of Polish people makes sense; a community organization of “non-Polish people” would (in the pre-PC days) have qualified as a Polish joke. It’s why books like “A History of the White People” is instantly recognized as a put-on.

      The notion that “If a white person tried to do that…” (“that” being something a black person did in a white context) is logically misguided – the premise, being false, negates the conclusion.

      This has relevance in two situations: minority/majority status, and in-power / out-power status. Both are at play in race. The FACT is, minority people and out of power people understand the majority culture AND the power people culture far better than the majority and in-power people understand the minority and out of power culture.

      Simply put: Your housecleaner Yolanda understands your life better than you understand hers. Black people in America understand white culture a whole lot better than white people understand black culture – and the denial of this fact is seen as incredibly arrogant. Many white people are shocked by the several cop-shooting videos arising lately, and view them as aberrations; far fewer black people are shocked.

      It’s in the context of those two underlying beliefs that lists like your Ten Questions arise.

      They allow you to ask “what’s the difference between a Black People Matter rally and a KKK rally?” Can you appreciate how deeply insulting that must be to a whole lot of black people? Go to a synagogue and ask them how that differs from a Nazi party rally and you’ll have some sense of it.

      Let me be really clear. Is there a such thing as black racism? Of course; black people can be racist, as well as stupid, rude, sexist, and everything else human beings can be.

      But we live in a particular world, not a general world. We are, individually, black or white, not pink. And we come with history not without it.

      I don’t know if we’ll ever get to post-racial. But I do know we’ll never get there by pretending we’re already there.

      • “1. The belief that the only “real” racism is conscious racism, i.e. if someone doesn’t intend something as racist, then for all intents and purposes, it isn’t racist. Variation on this theme: there is no such thing as unconscious racism. (Further variation: if there IS unconscious racism, it isn’t very important).”

        We aren’t talking about subconscious anything here Charles, we’re talking about a person being mistreated because of the color of his skin. No one is saying we’re in a post racial world, I think that’s a progressive straw man… I challenge you to find a quote in here of someone actually saying that. I do think we need to treat subconscious and overt racism differently though, and we can have that discussion, I only ask it be somewhere else, so as not to derail this one, because believe it or not, we can do two things at once.

        “2. The belief that “discrimination is non-discriminatory,” i.e. that black-on-white racism is the mirror image of white-on-black racism, that there is no qualitative difference based on the parties’ race, or history. Variation on this theme: “If a ___ person tried this, it would be considered outrageous.” Variation on the theme: When Justice Sotomayor spoke about a ‘wise Latina,’ she was mocked by those who belief that minority status bestows no more wisdom than anyone else.”

        I think Sotamayor got less than what she deserved. There is nothing inherent in being Latina that makes her lived experience more diverse than anyone else’s. There’s a benefit to having a diverse bench, but not at the cost of assuming that certain cultural experiences directly foster more wisdom than others. This is cultivated racism, and should be called out.

        “But both are wrong – and not just morally, I mean factually wrong. And they lead to very unfortunately consequences.”

        This is a statement of fact that I believe you fail to prove.

        “The FACT is, unconscious racism absolutely exists. It has been shown time after time in patterns of social behavior; in banking patterns; in college admissions and job hiring; in psychological tests; it’s totally known by politicians (who use it to their advantage). I won’t bore everyone with the citations, but if someone is seriously interested, I’ll be happy to unload on it.”

        Fair enough. We know the stats… Maybe not in depth, but I don’t think anyone seriously refutes this. I think the question is what to do about them. The answer to subconscious racism should not be overt racism. Because the majority of people who display subconscious racial bias don’t know what they’re doing, purposefully discriminating against them will only foster bad feelings. This isn’t useful, it isn’t ethical.

        “And the FACT is that discrimination discriminates. A Jewish joke told by Lenny Bruce is not the same joke if told by Rudolf Hess. The “N” word has complex meanings, but very different ones, if told by a black or a white person. An community organization of Polish people makes sense; a community organization of “non-Polish people” would (in the pre-PC days) have qualified as a Polish joke. It’s why books like “A History of the White People” is instantly recognized as a put-on.”

        I think the difference is in the intention. Offense is taken, not given… But it’s very hard if not impossible for a white person to explain using the N word with good intentions. Again, this is a red herring. This group of black people intended to disclude those white people because of the color of their skin. There is no positive spin here.

        “This has relevance in two situations: minority/majority status, and in-power / out-power status. Both are at play in race. The FACT is, minority people and out of power people understand the majority culture AND the power people culture far better than the majority and in-power people understand the minority and out of power culture.”

        I don’t believe this is true. Feeling is not understanding. While the majority population might not understand how systematic racism feels, the minority population does not necessarily have an innate understanding of why those systems exist or how they operate. In fact, they obviously don’t, if they did, they would be more effective at fighting it. Mobbing black-owned businesses in Ferguson to protest white on black crime displayed a stunning lack of understanding.

        “Simply put: Your housecleaner Yolanda understands your life better than you understand hers. Black people in America understand white culture a whole lot better than white people understand black culture – and the denial of this fact is seen as incredibly arrogant. Many white people are shocked by the several cop-shooting videos arising lately, and view them as aberrations; far fewer black people are shocked.”

        This was an amazingly blinkered comment. How many people do you think have ethnic housecleaners? What percentage of the population do you think that represents? This is the point in the conversation where you lose everyone who doesn’t have one, because your assertion that they do is so far away from their lived experience that they cannot empathise. The majority of white people do not employ people and so they don’t discriminate in hiring, they are not cops, so they don’t discriminate in arresting, the majority are not wealthy enough to employ housekeepers. Your arguments are more appropriate describing a class war, where the wealthy tend to be white, than the experiences of the average person.

        “They allow you to ask “what’s the difference between a Black People Matter rally and a KKK rally?” Can you appreciate how deeply insulting that must be to a whole lot of black people?”

        Someone’s level of offense does not negate the truth. The answer to racism is not racism, and if someone displays racist behaviour, it is appropriate to label it as such, with all the appropriate comparisons. What you need to do to legitimize your position is somehow display how discluding people based on the color of their skin isn’t racist. I’m waiting.

        • HT, I’m getting on a plane so have to be quick, but thanks for altering your tone on this one.

          I guess it boils down to me seeing this situation as a legitimate example of a minority group wanting to have a private gathering, and you seeing it as one where something like federal anti-discrimination rules should apply.

          Do you agree this is like the Polish American club? A Harley riders club? A campus gathering of Jewish students, or of women bike riders, or of gay students, or of AA professed alcoholics? In all of those cases, I certainly don’t have a problem with someone politely saying, “Look this is sort of a private party, and unless you’re Polish, or ride a Harley, or are Jewish, or call yourself an alcoholic, then we’d like to ask you to leave us alone.”

          Do you see it differently? Presumably you do. Jack has offered one reason to see it differently, namely state schools are generally not supposed to sponsor discrimination. But, though I’ve been off campus a lot of years, I’m guessing that they still have clubs and populations like that, and the only people who try to crash them are generally trouble makers.

          Was the group rude? Yes. And that’s not good. Should they have clarified it wasn’t anything personal? Yes, probably so.

          But do they have the right to ask reporters to leave? Sure. And if it’s an entirely black group, I think they’re kind of within their rights to say ‘send a black reporter and we’ll talk about it.’

          • ”Do you agree this is like the Polish American club? A Harley riders club? A campus gathering of Jewish students, or of women bike riders, or of gay students, or of AA professed alcoholics? In all of those cases, I certainly don’t have a problem with someone politely saying, “Look this is sort of a private party, and unless you’re Polish, or ride a Harley, or are Jewish, or call yourself an alcoholic, then we’d like to ask you to leave us alone.”

            No…. Actually. Well…. Some of those are worse examples than others. Riding a bike or not is a choice, not something determined at birth. Even the Polish example is based on something someone could in theory do (move to Poland, move back), the proper examples were the Jewish students and the gay students. And the proper parallels would be saying `everyone who is not Jewish or gay (respectively, but probably not at the same event) is precluded from participating` at which point, I still think it`s inappropriate. This is indistinguishable, ethically, from operating a `white only` club. Or a club that says gay people cannot join.

            `But, though I’ve been off campus a lot of years, I’m guessing that they still have clubs and populations like that, and the only people who try to crash them are generally trouble makers.`

            I don`t think title IX requires that schools keep track of which clubs operate, only that they as organizations don`t discriminate. It would be wrong, legally, for them to block an organization for instance that specifically catered to white men. (although they might do it anyway). Again…. Legally able to do something does not mean it is right to do it. Get over the legal argument, you`re on your own with it.

            `But do they have the right to ask reporters to leave? Sure. And if it’s an entirely black group, I think they’re kind of within their rights to say ‘send a black reporter and we’ll talk about it.’`

            They didn`t ask reporters to leave, they asked everyone not black to leave. You can`t make this argument honestly. And while they might be within a legal right to request a black reporter, it`s unethical, and racist to do so.

    • How was this rally ethically distinguishable from a white supremacy or a KKK rally?
      –The same way an anti-Jewish Nazi rally is ethically distinguishable from a Jewish anti-Nazi rally. Does this really require explanation given history?

      Charles, this is curious, unexpected, and unworthy of you. While I get the contrast you’re trying to draw, you know perfectly well that this is not a valid comparison.

      The judgment you are asked to pass is on black people acting in an exclusionary, aggressive, and even hostile manner based solely on the race of others. This is something that African Americans have decried for years, justly. It is, at it’s core, racism, no matter who is acting in an exclusionary, aggressive, and hostile manner based on race.

      If you had been serious, you would have compared an anti-Jewish Nazi rally and an anti-Nordic Jewish rally, which would be the race that includes Nazis. It’s a fair bet the reporter wasn’t a KKK member, I think.

      Let’s posit that for a moment — would you still be okay with that, ethically? And also, we are not just talking about a rally, but an act, an act of exclusion and vituperation.

      I suspect you would not be okay with it.

      • Glenn, that’s a thoughtful and provocative reply, thanks.

        Here’s where you and I agree.
        –Acting in an aggressive manner is not OK.
        –Acting in a hostile manner is not OK.
        –And yes, black people can be racist, and that is not OK either.

        But acting in an exclusionary manner? That’s the essence of the question here, it seems to me? A minority group can and often does define itself by its minority status: but a majority group defining itself as essentially non-minority is just a bad joke, e.g. that “Stuff white people like.”

        For example: there are Polish-American clubs in Milwaukee; there are Harley Davidson riders’ clubs in Chicago; there are Tai Chi clubs in Miami. Nobody worries when they exclude the Norwegians, the Suzuki riders or the karate fans. Because – and this is key – it is their minority status that defines the one group, but not the other.

        How so? Because you don’t see “Non-Polish Clubs” in Milwaukee. You don’t see “non-Harley” clubs in Chicago, and you don’t see “non-Tai Chi” clubs in Miami.

        And that’s where you miss the point. The KKK is a racist ORGANIZATION; the Nazis were a racist ORGANIZATION who also ran a nation-state. Their common victim was a RACE of people. A Jewish rally against the KKK or the Nazis is a RACE of people protesting ORGANIZED racism.

        By contrast, your idea of an anti-Nordic Jewish rally would be a RACE of people protesting another RACE – which would indeed be racist!

        This is another example of the insidiousness of thinking that discriimination is non-discriminatory. Not all white people are racist, nor are all black people. But ORGANIZATIONS – including governments, policies, police forces and banks – can and often DO act in a racist manner. And when they do, it makes all the sense in the world for the minority population to hold protests – not against white PEOPLE, but against the various forms of institutional racism that have been erected over the years by a majority culture, which is predominantly white.

        Interestingly this just happened in the Pop world when a black female rapper Nicki Minaj tweeted, after the MTV VMA nominations that you had to be skinny and white to get nominated. Taylor Swift took it as a personal attack, and tweeted such. It turned out that Minaj was talking about white culture in general (and she’s probably right), and Swift was wrong to take it as being about her. Taylor later acknowledged this and apologized for taking it personally.

        But this is what often happens: Majority culture people, white people in this case, have real trouble separating statements about culture from personal statements. White people think a black rally about racism must be racist itself (because, as I separately explained, they think racism is only personal and is reciprocal). It’s not. And that’s why your example is misplaced.

        If you can’t get over the idea of a white reporter being asked to leave a black-only demonstration, let’s first determine whether or not reporters were welcome in the first place. And if they were, then let’s be honest. Would you send a Christian to cover a major Jewish event? Would you send an Italian to cover an Ethiopian event? You could, sure, but the issues it raises are pretty ancillary to actually covering the news, I’d argue.

        • Regarding your last paragraph; I’d figure that most of the international reporters covering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have no ancestry from either side. Hell, some of the best English language books on the economic development of East Asia have been written by white Westerners (and I say this as someone whose parents came from Taiwan).

        • Thanks for the response, Charles. There’s a lot in there, but I want to focus on this:

          And that’s where you miss the point. The KKK is a racist ORGANIZATION; the Nazis were a racist ORGANIZATION who also ran a nation-state. Their common victim was a RACE of people. A Jewish rally against the KKK or the Nazis is a RACE of people protesting ORGANIZED racism.

          I didn’t miss the point, actually, I get it, but I think what you have done here is raised a strawman. In this case, the BLM group was ostensibly protesting racism. That is fine, and nobody should have an objection to that.

          But the point Jack was making, and it’s the same point I think we actually agree on, is that when BLM behaved in a racist way toward the reporter, they were, as Jack accurately put it, acting in a way that is ethically indistinguishable from that of the KKK. In other words, they were acting in an aggressively racist way.

          By contrast, your idea of an anti-Nordic Jewish rally would be a RACE of people protesting another RACE – which would indeed be racist!

          My point exactly, and by acting the way they did toward the white reporter, the BLM group was adopting the tactics, and rationale, of the KKK — race-based animus. Does that make them the KKK, or “anti-white?” I don’t think so, although the case in question is certainly troubling in that regard. Having said that, I think it is likely not the position of the majority of the movement, unlike the KKK or the Nazis.

          I don’t think Jack is trying to say that BLM is the ethical equivalent of the KKK in general, although I hate to speak for him. I think what he is saying is that in the instant case, their actions are ethically similar.

          With respect to the rest about non-Polish clubs and so forth, I get your point but I fail to see where it’s relevant to the argument. I can agree that many minority groups are indeed defined by their status as a minority, and that anti-[fill in the minority here] groups are not rational, and usually racist or at least bigoted.

          Having said that, in public protests at public universities, it is wrong to exclude people based on race. Would you argue that a soul-food restaurant, a place of public business, should be able to exclude whites or Asians because their identity as a minority business permits that? I rather doubt it. Where do we draw the line when it is acceptable for minority groups to exclude people based on race?

          Neither me nor Jack is suggesting that the KKK or even the Nazis deserve a break, what we are saying is that when people who are the victims of their racism respond with racism, they are ethically jumping into that same muck to play, even if that isn’t their larger message or indicative of their over-arching motives.

          • We agree on a lot in what you said, thanks.
            I’ll write elsewhere, I think the differences lie mainly in the focus on personal race-behavior vs.institutionalized racism. But I didn’t’ want to lose the opportunity to first say thanks for stating a lot of things in a way that I can see and agree with.

    • 1. How was this rally ethically distinguishable from a white supremacy or a KKK rally?
      –The same way an anti-Jewish Nazi rally is ethically distinguishable from a Jewish anti-Nazi rally. Does this really require explanation given history?

      What you just implied, purposefully or not, is that every black person is the equivalent of Jews in Nazi era Germany and every White person is the equivalent of a Nazi. I can’t say this in strong enough language. Fuck. You.

      • I never thought I’d see the day HT and I were standing on the same side of an issue, but I have to agree here. Charles, you jump through every single hoop imaginable, but what you say boils down to saying all white folks, whatever our nationality, whatever our history, whatever ANYTHING, are the equivalent of the adherents of a sick ideology of racial purity that preached not just superiority of one race over another, but extermination of another race simply for what they were.

        The history of African-Americans is anything but rosy, and the history of the US contains some shameful episodes, but never once did this nation, and certainly not folks like myself, whose ancestors mostly got here after the Civil War and in any case never owned slaves (a few even wore the blue), commit anything like the planned genocide and violent destruction of any people.

        This is exactly the kind of grudge-nursing, hate-stirring, exaggeration and lies that made some jerk travel 4 hours from Baltimore all the way to New York, sneak up on two police officers who he had never met, never encountered, and knew nothing about, who were just eating their lunch in their patrol car, and blow them away. The bastard never even let them see the bullet coming. Is that the kind of behavior you want to encourage?

        Fuck you, Charles. Fuck you, fuck your family, and fuck everyone who thinks like you. Fuck you for double standards. Fuck you for encouraging entitlement mentality over trying to better oneself. Fuck you for buying into rhetoric that divides a nation by color and preaches black=good, white=bad. Fuck you for pushing disrespect for lawful authority that makes it that much harder for those charged with keeping the public safe to do their jobs and has gotten a bunch of them killed. Most of all, fuck you for equating me and people like me with Hitler.

      • HT, I know subtlety is not your strong suit, but – see the comment to Glenn above.

        I implied no such thing.

        Try this on for size: both Jews and black were, at separate times, the victims of ORGANIZED, STATE sponsored, violent racism, including slavery and death. And to this day, each suffer various forms of ORGANIZED discrimination.

        Such forms of organized discrimination, whether conscious or otherwise, ought to be protested against by everyone, including you. And when they ARE protested, the vast majority of protesters are clear to target ORGANIZATIONS. Meaning banks, governments, loan policies, police forces, hiring policies, state education programs, and the like.

        Rarely do the people in such demonstrations devolve to denigrating majority culture people AS INDIVIDUALS – and when they do, they are generally shouted down pretty quickly. You don’t hear of a lot of Get Whitey rallies. You don’t hear a lot of anti-Gentile gatherings. And when those elements take over or act out of hand, there are generally wiser people around to calm things down and remember, “It’s not white people we’re protesting, it’s the policies erected by organizations run largely by white people,” or similar words.

        What you DO hear – remarkably – are relatives of black people who have been killed who are willing to forgive their white killers. Quite the opposite of racism.

        What you are failing to see, HT, is that oppressed people are capable of making a distinction, for the most part, between oppressive polices of organizations and the race of the individuals who populate those organizations.

        And I do wish you’d consider leading with thoughtfulness instead of obscenities.

        • I see. Is that why blacks chased down Yankel Rosenbaum in Crown Heights yelling “get the dirty Jew?” Is that why blacks set white-owned businesses (and black-owned) in Ferguson on fire? Is that why blacks stabbed fire hoses in Baltimore? Where were the wise people who calmed that down? I must have been having an out-of-body experience when all that happened.

          Charles, you are a special kind of stupid and obtuse. You’re an apologist for race hate as long as it comes from the non-white and the white equivalent of the self-hating Jew like Noam Chomsky. Fuck you. Up the ass. With a medieval polearm with spikes sticking out at weird angles.

          • This reminds me of how progressives tried to sell the man who beheaded a co-worker while yelling “Allah Akbar” as ‘workplace violence’ instead of as radical Islam. It so blatantly obvious what’s really going on… And the contortions people put them through to deny what is firmly in front of their face is staggering.

            • Almost right, that was originally floated when Major Nidal Malik Hasan, who had long been having issues with radical Islam, cut loose at Fort Hood and killed 13 people, specifically targeting American soldiers (who, by edict, were not carrying personal arms), and shouting “Allahu Akbar” before being felled by base civilian police. Yet, the DoD said it was “workplace violence.” Heaven forbid Islamic terrorism and treason be called out for what they are.

        • “What you are failing to see, HT, is that oppressed people are capable of making a distinction, for the most part, between oppressive polices of organizations and the race of the individuals who populate those organizations.”

          And what you are failing to see, Charles, is that even if they are capable of seeing that difference, these people are not acting on it, and it is not hard to find other examples of that some lack of tempering. This entire situation started from a group excluding a group of people based on the color of their skin. White people as a group weren’t welcome. I don’t understand how what your saying pertains.. Are you suggesting that the leaders of this rally knew all the non-African people in that crowd individually?

          “I implied no such thing.”

          You may not have meant to, but it sure as hell reads that way.

          “Try this on for size: both Jews and black were, at separate times, the victims of ORGANIZED, STATE sponsored, violent racism, including slavery and death. And to this day, each suffer various forms of ORGANIZED discrimination.”

          I wasn’t aware that the KKK was state sponsored. But that might be splitting hairs. I’m just not willing to grant you that a group that gathers a thousand people to rallies isn’t organized. And if you think that state funds haven’t gone to these groups, you’re insane.

          “A Jewish rally against the KKK or the Nazis is a RACE of people protesting ORGANIZED racism.”

          Which is why your example falls apart, and I took offense. What organized racism do the white reporters in that room represent? The media? That distinction wasn’t made. “If you are not of African descent please go to the outside of the circle immediately.” And so, I assume that in your comparison all white people are part of the racist organization. Because that is the parallel you’ve drawn. It might have been sloppy, it might not have been on purpose, but it’s there. In this comparison, because of the targets of the discrimination in your example (Nazis) and the target in reality (the white people) you directly compared the white population at large to Nazis.

    • One was as far as I got before I saw something so stupid I felt I needed to comment, but every comment deserves a full read.

      2. “–That is an absurd analogy. Blackwell was not a minority. Parks was not a reporter. You didn’t state whether the press was allowed, or disallowed. I honestly don’t know enough to answer, but if you do, you should have mentioned it. Not enough info, and an inflammatory metaphor on your part.”

      So if Rosa Parks was a reporter she wouldn’t be a hero? The reason Rosa parks was heroic was that she stood up to injustice in the face of possible repercussions. Blackwell was a minority in that room threatened with physical harm. In what substantial way were they different?

      3. “–Rudeness still does not constitute racism under the law, at least as I understand it. A false conclusion.”

      Really? Discluding people from a gathering based on their race is not racism? It’s just rude? That’s where you want to hang your hat? After #1, I really shouldn’t be surprised, but if I were you, I’d hang my head in shame.

      4. “—This is the question that colors all the others. Is the university allowed to distinguish between in-group meetings, or not? If it permits such meetings, I see nothing unique about race that would distinguish it. If you’re allowed to have Jewish-only or gay-only groups, then how can you argue you shouldn’t have race-only groups?
      Now if the university doesn’t allow such in-group meetings, by the same logic that country clubs open to the public can’t discriminate, then some of your other questions are relevant. If it does, though, all the rest is irrelevant. ”

      This is a legal-ethical argument. The fact of the matter is that disclusionary groups are never ethical… It’s not whether the group will focus on Jewish issues or Gay issues, it’s whether they will tell other people that they are not welcome, simply for who they are.

      5. “–Since when is a unitary-group meeting hostile to civil rights? It is not hostile per se, as per my above examples, hence there is no ethical or civil rights-based obligation.”

      In what world is a group that refuses black people a unitary group? Oh… I mean white people…. I don’t see much difference between hate groups.

      6. “–If it’s not unethical or illegal, then the race of someone refusing to agree with you is irrelevant.”

      This is a pretzel if ever I saw one. The hint is the double negative. Something that isn’t not unethical or illegal would be ethical or legal. And you can’t quite bring yourself to call this ethical. I don’t think anyone is arguing legality here… KKK rallies are legal, they’re just unethical, and otherwise shitty. The fact of the matter is that racism is per se unethical, and discluding people based on nothing but their race is racist. Get over it.

      8. “–I don’t accept your putative statement of fact about the difference between Cleveland State and UMass. Why shouldn’t the same analysis obtain?”

      Talk about not seeing the forest for the trees. The point was if white people did to black people what the black people in this case did to Blackwell, there’s be a progressive uproar. I don’t know enough about American learning institutions to know this for certain, but I’d be willing to be money that Jack switched schools to make the scenario more believable based on demographics. The name of the school is a red herring.

      9. “–Here I agree, at least in part. The reporter should have been treated politely, and the group’s position explained nicely to him. (Though in fairness, how much politeness do you generally find exhibited by groups of 800 at political rallies?)”

      Politeness? Very little, at least not in the last 30 years. I’d argue the Vietnam hippies were polite, the MLK walking protests were polite… But for some reason along the way, we lost that. But “polite” is secondary. Nomatter how much you want it to be the issue. The issue is racism. And while racism is ‘impolite’, I think we can agree that racism is perhaps a more serious cause for concern.

      10. “It is people like the echo chamber you lead on this particular issue who insist that racism is the fault of the victims, that Obama has been the cause of greater racism, and that blacks should shut up, ignore history, behave themselves and all of us agree to pretend that racism is something that happened long ago, and if everyone just acted white it would all go away.”

      You know… Just because you’re too stupid, ethically stunted and purposefully ignorant to attempt an understanding of other people’s views on this matter doesn’t mean we’re going to let you lob shit like this and get away with it. This entire numerical was a straw man. No one has said any of that. And if that’s what you think of us: again, with all seriousness: Fuck you. Sideways. With a woodchipper. Because how DARE we hold those precious black people to the same standard as those horrible white people. It’s not that racism is a bad thing, right Charles? It’s white people who are bad! Racism can be a good thing, so long as the target is white. In fact, we won’t even call it racism… It’s an equalizing measure. An IMPOLITE equalizing measure.

      • To be fair, I’m one of the people that thinks that “racism is the fault of the victims, that Obama has been the cause of greater racism”, and that many blacks do, in fact, need to behave themselves if they want to usher in a post-racial society. I would add, though, that I don’t see them as victims of anything but the victim mentality, foisted on them by democrats who use it to harvest votes, and social services jobs for their constituents.

        • Well worded. Of course you do realize you are just a completely privileged white guy who can never understand anything and the only way you will ever step into the light is to just give up rational thought and accept everything the race grievance whip crackers and their Left Wing plantation owners handlers tell you you need to believe. Then you’ll be an enlightened whitey.

  2. Jack – I think the difference is in the way blacks are treated by the authorities and the people who have the majority of the power and money. Just a quick caveat from the Young Turks:

    This is the main reason of the difference – there isn’t equality, and this is why.

    • So just to be clear, your argument is that black people can’t really be racist, because they lack societal power?

      If that doesn’t accurately represent your argument, feel free to correct me and ignore what follows.

      In this case, it was the black people who had, and exercised power — not against all whites, as you would seem to have it in your comment, but against the ones in their presence. They excluded him by means of their superior numbers and his vulnerability to that fact. Instead of welcoming him into their group and trying to put on the best face for their cause, they threatened and humiliated him based only on the color of his skin.

      I am not arguing that is the same thing as the bad apples in police departments doing evil things to blacks. But Jack’s point is about the ethics of the matter, not the overall social impact of an isolated event. If one is going to decry racism even as they practice it, it says a lot about their ethics — all of it bad.

      Finally, when people come to the defense of such actions, it further undermines their message, presumably of inclusion and interracial understanding. Forgive me if that mischaracterizes the point you are trying to make.

      • Black people can be racist, anyone can be racist. My grandparents were racists. I believe we are all the infinite being, with all of us wearing different meatsuits… we are all one being, experiencing different aspects of ourself.
        So that takes the prejudice for me and makes it irrelevant – I see the beauty and novelty within every living being on the planet. If that makes me a “Liberal” – so be it.

        I see a bunch of powerful white people who feel threatened by the awakening of many members of the human race that don’t look like them to the fact that we are being treated like animals…by them. The most affective prison is the one that works by convincing the imprisoned that they are actually free. George Carlin did a whole comedy routine about it.

        What should happen is that it shouldn’t be a race to the bottom, enforced by fear, division and police state – that is what they are trying to do, divide and conquer. This is the only card they can play, the Hegelian dialectic – but it has worked over and over thruout history, and what Jack participates in so cheerfully, as noted by this blog entry.

        It should be a rising tide – lifting all boats – and its a mirage to say that it has to come from the Rich. Money is a control mechanism, plain and simple. Its keystrokes on a computer. Fractional Reserve banking is “usury,” – about as unChristian as you can get… “The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender” — Proverbs 22:7

        But this particular “Brand” of Reality is getting harder and harder to sell to the masses. The Omnivers is evolving to allow a whole new way to be exist… I’d like to think I am on the forefront of that wave.

        • I see a bunch of powerful white people who feel threatened by the awakening of many members of the human race that don’t look like them to the fact that we are being treated like animals…by them. The most affective prison is the one that works by convincing the imprisoned that they are actually free. George Carlin did a whole comedy routine about it.

          And where are these powerful white people? Where are their headquarters?

          Across the street from the headquarters of international Jewry?

        • I have little to contribute to this debate.

          But when I read this post I felt that I was reading a Manifesto of a more-or-less Marxist variety. When it is really taken apart it can only be asking for a Communistic state of the classic sort.

          This rhetoric is very powerful, and Carlin really carries it through with full emotional/resentment-laden force.

          Is it that this rhetoric is now inflaming Twitter Populations (TwitPop) these days? If so, we are in for veeeeery interesting times.

          Are we really so totally controlled?

        • This is all very interesting, but it has little to do with Jack’s questions, or the ethics of the subject matter at hand. What you have done here is engage in a nice little filibuster.

          But this particular “Brand” of Reality is getting harder and harder to sell to the masses. The Omnivers is evolving to allow a whole new way to be exist… I’d like to think I am on the forefront of that wave.

          The “Omniverse?” Lord Marshall Zhylaw, is that you? 🙂

        • Your first paragraph in particular resonates with me. Regarding the last, though, I have a nitpick: as I understand it, the Omniverse represents the non-ordered set of all possibilities, all moments. It can’t change, because that would imply that it is either incomplete or would become so.

          I think your second paragraph may be partially right, but mostly I think that people are rarely aware of how the systems that support them fail to work for others, and few people can see problems clearly enough to begin exploring solutions.

          I’m exploring solutions, but it’s taking me a while because few people seem interested in my plan, which involves forming a teaching/learning community so that people can learn the problem-solving skills necessary to take control of their own lives and help others as well.

        • I believe we are all the infinite being, with all of us wearing different meatsuits… we are all one being, experiencing different aspects of ourself. So that takes the prejudice for me and makes it irrelevant – I see the beauty and novelty within every living being on the planet. If that makes me a “Liberal” – so be it.

          Whatever your ideas are they are respected by me. Yet when I read people’s expressions – having pretensions toward knowledge of ‘the history of ideas’ – I try to locate the philosophical predicates. All ideas trace back to specific fonts. The more we know of those fonts, the better we can see and understand how ideas function. Ideas have consequences obviously.

          A philosophical/metaphysical understanding that describes our very self as part of ‘infinite being’ would seem to derive from Eastern schools of thought. To say that we are all One Being is an expansion of the original declaration however I suggest that it is really a form of limitation: It will limit what is ‘appropriate’ to each particle. If one can define the Being – say what it is, what it wants and doesn’t want, what it thinks is good and what it thinks is bad – one has a basis for a Universal Ethic. One senses, of course, that this Cosmic Liberalism will have many or most of the features of its more mundane and terrestrial variety … but that is another story.

          And the idea – rather graphic – that each or us and any one of us is clothed, as it were, in a ‘meat-suit’ would also seem to link back to primarily Easter – perhaps Vedic or neo-Vedic – ideas about incarnated souls descended into flesh-vehicles. Then, the notion that we are not really ourselves – separate, discreet entities – but that we are each a particle of the divine being, is a compelling metaphysical idea. Naturally, how that gets further defined will have great bearing on the entire system. Within that setting, then, any definition of another, that is to say any harsher definition – as the more mild and friendly ones would be welcome ones – would amount to a form of false imputation. To say ‘I see the beauty and novelty within every living being on the planet’ is thus the perspective (if you will permit me) of God-As-Infinite-Being, and is thus a ‘divine perspective’, and the ur-correct perspective. So, this liberalism is in fact a vibrant metaphysical position, a religious declaration (supported by the Author of Being itself) and holding that view is to hold a Holy View.

          There is another, an alternative, view. A part of that view might state as a metaphysical predicate, that yes, we are all part-and-parcel of Being, but that the Author Itself, desires hierarchy, distinction, separation, and hard lines of division. If we were to base a metaphysical ethic on Nature we would have no choice but to recognize total hierarchization, violent hierarchization in fact. Yet this all functions within ecological systems. The whole Earth is an interwoven system.

          It is more factural (if indeed Vedic notions were accessed to define this Liberal Metaphysics, or a metaphysic of liberalism), to note that the Vedic systems were supremely hierarchical and divided social levels into ‘varnas’ from which it was not possible to remove oneself, except by getting a whole new ‘meat-suit’. But one’s conduct and activity in one’s previous meat-suit determined one’s future placement. Additionally, the entire metaphysic underlying the System had next to nothing to do with any form of European liberalism. To be truthful, it was more akin to fascist systems: absolutely strict, completely defined, and rigorously (religiously) enforced.

          Curiously, a contrast to the Liberal Metaphysic of (Self-) Righteousness, the obverse as it were, is a rigorous Conservatism and what we would all see and understand as ‘intolerance’. Conservatives literally freak-out when they come to understand the metaphysical platform of liberal philosophy because they see that it dissolves distinction, it destroys the hierarchies out of which everything that we value has been created, and desires (consciously or unconsciously) to level EVERYTHING and EVERYONE.

          I grew up hearing the birkhot ha-shahar: “Blessed are you, Hashem, King of the Universe, for not having made me a Gentile (or a Slave, or a Woman)”. I managed to throw that one off and to reject that metaphysical platform and the notion of that sort of divinity.

          [Now please allow me a wee bit of a joke …]

          To be replaced by “Blessed are you, Hashem, King of the Universe, for not having made me a Liberal”!

            • First it seems like she says that the religious philosophy that claims we are all just pieces of God is probably crap.

              Then she seems to say that religious philosophies of reincarnation are probably crap and leads to fascism.

              Then it seems like she says that Judeo Christianity is ultimately liberalism and probably crap.

              Then she seems to round out saying that though fascism seems crappy, she’s kinda cool with it.

              I’ll be rereading this one tomorrow a few times…

              either she’s really introspective, really not, or she has found one hell of a website that generates random but seemingly semantically correct text blocks…

              • I do think she’s hit on something in the suicidal nihilism of liberals, but I don’t think conservatives freak out about the metaphysical natire of it. I would find it amusing if it were recognized for the illness that it is, but unfortunately it’s still a political force, and that’s what makes it frightening.

              • “, or she has found one hell of a website that generates random but seemingly semantically correct text blocks…”
                Ha! Love it!

              • The philosophy that claims we are part-and-parcel of God (creation, existence) is not crap.

                A description of God that sees all people as small particles of God, and that defines an existential outlook in ‘radical liberal’ terms, suggests/implies that the God defined is just that Liberal personage in giant form. I suggest that this notion of God, even among those who are not active Christians, is a carry-over of the image of God of their milieu, of previous generations. I suggest that these are ‘unexamined tenets’ that inform a powerful existential outlook that derives from a religious position. I sugest that it can be looked into.

                Protestant and European Christian forms are weak and effeminate dilutions which have produced a significant percentage of the radical liberal outlook. If you weaken your Avatar (an incarnation of God), if you turn him into an effeminate weakling, I suggest you are on the road to numerous of the classic liberal declarations.

                ‘Fascism’ was a specific movement in ideas, with specific origins around the turn of the 20th century. It represents a philosophical and existential positions that have a place in the debate of ideas between liberal capitalism, rising Marxism, on the cusp of advancing modernity which was shattering and remoulding societies. I suggest that it can be looked at with greater objectivity, just as liberal capitalism and its forms, and also Marxist ideology can be looked at/considered from an objective position. Therefor, the word ‘fascism’ can become not an unthinkable term of thoughtcrime, but a term of intelligent and relevant discourse.

                There is an aspect, a part, an element, within fascist philosophy which seems to me sound, considerable, and relevant. There is an aspect that I find horrible. The same is true in liberal capitalism and revolutionary, totalitarian Marxism. And I feel that I can present those ideas in a clear form while avoiding ridicule or devaluation of other idea-sets. Ridicule, as you and Joed, can be fun and also funny, but it tends to ridicule the platform of conversation and the exchange of ideas.

                …either she’s really introspective, really not, or she has found one hell of a website that generates random but seemingly semantically correct text blocks…

                Huar huar huar …

                If none of that made any sense, start over again herehere.

                • My comment was partially jest.

                  I’d advise pumping the brakes on Your Nietzsche-istic outlook on life. Christianity is “effiminate”? Gads.

                  You keep beating around the bush of what fascism is by discussing a lot of what it was meant to do and what it was meant to oppose…

                  Never mind it’s ultimate practical end is identical to that it meant to oppose.

                • Keep your generously-offered advice for yourself. I have my own sources.

                  Most forms of Christianity are infected by an effeminate attitude, yes indeed. Christianity is plagued with resentment which is, at least to some, a female trait.

                  Humor in all its forms is one of the sharpest – devastating really – forms of critique. The two of you were not jesting at all, not essentially. I do not at all mind it, but in your case I think you would do better to stick with the ideas.

                  I am not beating around the bush but rather I am speaking about what I want to speak about, and what interests me.

                  • I don’t think it’s accurate or useful to associate character traits with genders. The exceptions are numerous enough that they belie the practice, and assigning a gender to something seems superfluous.

                    For that matter, many of the words you are using are unfamiliar to me in the way you use them, such as “liberal” and “fascism.” Granted, both of those have been used to refer to just about any belief under the sun by people who don’t really know what they’re talking about but want to slap labels on something for good or ill, so it’s hard to tell if they are currently being used to mean what they once meant. That’s why it’s necessary to define key terms whenever they come up.

                    I do disagree with the paradoxical self-abnegation of theism, and I think we’re on the same page as to why, but I’m not sure. I also agree that fascism should be considered objectively, but I have yet to notice a good aspect to it.

                    • Well, fascism is associated with Mussolini, and Mussolini is associated with spaghetti and pizza, so, there’s that.

                    • I see your point, though I am not sure if I agree with it. I tend to think, now, in more classical terms, and to be suspicious of modern redefinitions, which seem highly politicized. I have to admit being somewhat influenced by a pariah on the gender issue: Otto Weininger. Sex and Character has a whole theory on male and female traits. But it is also said that female traits can exist in abundance in men. That might begin to explain gener shifts and homosexualization of culture. A hot topic and a war-ground for polemic.

                      I have forced myself to read on each extreme. From radical feminist tracts to Gertude von le Fort (The Eternal Woman), from Malcolm X to Robert Bork. From the Upanishads to The Catechism of the Council of Trent. I am planning to read Savitri Devi having gotten through some of Rene Guenon and Julius Evola. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traditionalist_School) These people work in areas that are so far outside of ‘thinkable modern thought’ that they tend to expand the parameters of what one allows as considerable. If you start speaking of their ideas people might imagine you have descended from a far-off planet, or risen up out of hell.

                      The term I prefer is ‘radical liberalism’ to distinguish from classical liberalism. Radical liberalism is an off-shoot of Marxist ideas and doctrines. I am not sure what a simple definition of radical liberalism should be. I see it though as an ‘acid’ that eats away at traditional structures and as part of ‘destructive processes’. But all these things require lots of explanation. We exist in a sound byte culture and all conversation gets too immediately polarized.

                      Fascism, despite the use as a term of negative propaganda, has a solid base in clear ideas. But wending one’s way through those ideas is like making one’s way through a mine-field. Certain words get so charged you almost have to do away with them. What is important to say is that Marxism/Communism and well as Occidental Capitalism each have darker – quite dark – aspects. So of course does fascism. But Occidental capitalism and Marxist ideas, and even communism in some aspects, have positive features. Fascistic ideas have good – even wholesome – aspects.

                      Defining key terms is important, no doubt. It is hard though especially when some people are unable to consider different aspects of definitions, or have closed their minds generally.

                      Not sure what you mean by ‘self-abnegation of theism’. But I think that Christianity has a tragic and impossible tendency to self-abnegation. It is not a doctrine of self-empowerment, material or terrestrial power, nor can it really function as an authority. It undermines itself in this area. It also turns people into hypocrites since its basic tenets (the Sermon on the Mount) is impracticable.

            • I heard something at a professional conference the other day, and I loved how brief it was but captured the thrust of the objection perfectly:

              In a conversation, it doesn’t matter how smart you are if the other person can’t understand a word you are saying.

              • For the self-styled intellectual, being masterfully unintelligible is his trademark. It’s a demonstration of his intellectual superiority to invoke words and phrases that are generally not in the lexicon of any who are not majors in philosophy, or other non-productive walks of life. Thus, they effectively impress others while disguising the fact that they are emitting sheer gibberish. Nice work if you can get it. Ask Noam Chompsky.

                • I feel it’s worth pointing out that if at any point you’re better at talking than at thinking critically, you can disguise the fact that you emit sheer gibberish from yourself. I’m pretty sure I’ve done that at least a few times before my mind caught up with my mouth.

                  • I’d imagine that it’s an easy trap to fall into if you aren’t in the habit of going back over your words before you hit the post button and give yourself a sanity/ethics check. Of course, people still accuse me of being unethical and nuts in spite of that! I’ve learned to cope…

          • joed 68 writes: “Could you break this down in terms of choo-choo trains?”

            If no part of it was intelligible to you, it is likely that no part of added explanation will help you to understand.

      • “So just to be clear, your argument is that black people can’t really be racist, because they lack societal power?”

        To be clear, that is NOT my argument. I agree with blameblakeart, and as I stated earlier, certainly black people can be racist. Being a persecuted minority doesn’t mean you can’t be a racist jerk asshole – it is no get out of jail free card.

        And just to be clear, to the extent there was threatening and humiliation, that is not excusable.

        However – if the crowd had been on their Sunday best politest, and if the University had no policies against small-group-exclusion gatherings, then I think they’d have been perfectly within their rights to say either, a) we don’t want any reporters at this meeting, or b) sorry, but ask your organization to send a black reporter, as we are, with some justification, a little gun-shy, pun intended, about being reported on by white reporters and we’d like the added insurance of someone who knows what it’s like, thank you very much.

        I don’t see anything wrong with that, again assuming the response to the two caveats.

        • However – if the crowd had been on their Sunday best politest, and if the University had no policies against small-group-exclusion gatherings, then I think they’d have been perfectly within their rights to say either, a) we don’t want any reporters at this meeting, or b) sorry, but ask your organization to send a black reporter, as we are, with some justification, a little gun-shy, pun intended, about being reported on by white reporters and we’d like the added insurance of someone who knows what it’s like, thank you very much.

          With due respect, Charles, I think the forum matters very much. Had they been in a private auditorium, I would agree that they could exclude other races legitimately, if wrongly (in my humble opinion). Politeness always goes a long way, and I know we can both agree fully on that.

          But at a public university in a public forum, no sir. Never. If the KKK wanted to meet on a private farm and exclude all but whites, I expect that would be just fine. Ditto if BLM did the same. But not at Cleveland University. As Jack says below, I don’t think that universities can allow groups to use their property for events that are racially exclusive.

        • Charles: At this point, you are sounding as stupid as Mitt Romney would have had to be to gripe about being surreptitiously recorded while speaking dismissively of that permanently alienated 47 percent.

    • The video does not make the point you are trying to make. Why do you assume a white person being equally non-compliant would have been treated differently? And even if the cops here are doing something wrong, which we can’t tell from the video, why would you assume that ALL cops treat ALL African-Americans this way?

      The moral of the story is don’t be a jerk to police. Good, racially-neutral advice.

      • Another valid lesson from the video is don’t trust videos from activists without doing your own research – they are likely heavily edited and cherry picked in favor of the activist’s pet agenda.

    • Should I post the literally hundreds of videos out there of blacks acting like complete and utter violent, homicidal savages? It might help explain the attitudes of some cops.

      • No that is racist because more blacks are arrested proportionately than whites. So you’re a racist because there were slaves. You can say what you want all you want, but because I feel like something felt sort of like it seemed like it could cause me to feel like a possibly racist thing was said then you are just an evil white racist.

        The videos are racist also, because you are a racist because your privilege ultimately means you were benefited by Jim Crow. In fact you are to blame for Jim Crow, because we all know, subconsciously you blow a lot of dog whistles at black people.

        Racist.

  3. I’m going to wait to see the responses for a while, but I will note: 1. Charles deserves credit for taking the challenge. and 2. Public universities may not lend their resources and property to activities that discriminate by race.

    • But they do. When I was in college, my university had numerous ‘minority lounges’, that were spaces only for those minority groups so they could get away from the ‘oppressiveness’ of the whites on campus. Every year on MLK day, the university sent out notices about what MLK day events were for everyone and which ones were only for black students. Non-black students were told to stay away from the black-only events since the holiday is for blacks specifically and everyone else should be grateful that they were allowed at any of the events.

      And no, Charles, you weren’t allowed to exclude anyone from the Jewish student group solely because they aren’t Jewish, because that would be considered discriminatory. You don’t really seem to understand racial inclusiveness. I am a member of an Indian church. I am not Indian. I was not excluded because of my race, I was welcomed and included in all things. This is a church for Indians, run by Indians, catering especially to the needs of the Indian community, but that doesn’t mean you can’t attend, join, and serve if you aren’t Indian. I will bet if you want to join the Polish-American club, you could as well even if you aren’t Polish. Do you not understand how welcoming most people are? You seem to be stuck in some kind of racial segregationist viewpoint and can’t see past it. It is very sad that you don’t see how very wrong this group in Cleveland is.

      • Wow. Your college gets an F in MLK.

        Also in alleviating alienating atmospheres. I’d avoid assuming the average academic administrator would apprehend, but announcements of acts not allowed are not the answer to all annoyances.

        If the goal is helping minority students feel comfortable, I would advise creating an environment where people in general feel comfortable, rather than give them a public “no outsiders allowed” zone that they can escape to. Such a zone would allow them to avoid learning that the world around them isn’t so scary and practicing interacting with people who aren’t like them. I can definitely understand the need to get away from strange people and hang out with more familiar ones, but you really don’t need a protected zone to do that. If you get enough people together, you’ve got a localized majority, which looks rather intimidating to outsiders (or maybe just us shy people). Granted, it’s easier to make a zone, but that’s only because it doesn’t put in the effort required to actually address the problem.

  4. Just a note, “The Movement for Black Lives”, while having a similar name, seems to be different organization altogether than the “Black Lives Matter” organization. I don’t think they should be conflated.

    • While that might be technically true, far too many people will equate the groups because of the similarity of their names. I believe that when The Movement for Black Lives named itself that was a purposeful decision. If BLM wants to distinguish itself from the MBL, it needs to do so, and as of yet they have not.

    • True, but BLM is one of their biggest supporters. But perhaps you’re right, although I’m not convinced they are materially different.

  5. 1. How was this rally ethically distinguishable from a white supremacy or a KKK rally?

    More like an anti-KKK rally, where many of the white observers were strongly suspected to be KKK members, able and willing to bust up the rally with any excuse, or none.

    2. If Blackwell refused to “go to the back of the bus” as commanded, why would he be any less in the right than Rosa Parks?

    Not his rally. He wasn’t even a participant, but a reporter covering the story, who has now become the story, essentially creating his own news. Not close to being the same.

    3. If this is the developing tenor of the BlackLivesMatter movement, why shouldn’t the movement be regarded as a racist one and treated accordingly?

    Not a BlackLivesMatter rally.

    4. How can a university justify allowing a racially segregated event like this occurring on campus?

    Cant speak from the University, but I assume that it was not advertised beforehand as a racially-exclusive rally, nor from the video, does it actually appear to be one.

    5. Why isn’t condemning such demonstrations a liberal and progressive obligation, and supporting such a demonstration a reactionary one, hostile to civil rights?

    Why should it be one?

    6. Is there an African-American leader, elected official, commentator or reporters with the courage and integrity to state that this conduct is unethical, illiberal and damaging to the social fabric of the country?

    I’m not sure if it is necessarily unethical. Right now many liberal movements have been reacting to the news of government infiltration within the ranks of their groups and domestic spying. There is a justified paranoia that such infiltration has led to unnecessary and ratcheting of rhetoric, so such groups are trying to close ranks, to prevent another broad Cointelpro movement from destroying them. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/COINTELPRO

    7. Are there any white ones with that courage and integrity?

    See above.

    8. If a rally at the University of Massachusetts demanded that all non-whites leave, this would be a major news story and pundits would be warning that a new wave of anti-black racism was on the rise on college campuses. Why didn’t this incident spark the same kind of publicity and commentary?

    See above.

    9. How is the sentiment, message and conduct illustrated by demonstrations such as these helpful, productive, or anything but destructive?

    I think the time of pure demonstrations in general to be over, but many people like to feel as if they are doing something, and want to “raise awareness” of the issue. The media still will occasionally cover one as it if matters as well.

    10. A popular and much quoted tweet, attributed to various conservative wags, is this. It is dismissed by Democrats and progressives as being an anti-Obama shot and no more. Why isn’t its underlying message undeniably true?

    It’s stupid. It’s like going to the doctor, aware that something in general is vaguely wrong, and getting mad at him that he diagnosed you with cancer. For some people ignorance is bliss, but that is hardly “healing”. To actually heal, you have to get diagnosed, and go to treatment. The process often is not very pretty, if you have ever seen someone undergoing chemo can attest. As Charles noted above, this is nothing new for many African-Americans. It’s only white people who seem to be genuinely shocked. And I think we have technology, specifically cameras, to thank for not letting whites get away with being complacent about the state of things, not Obama.

    • Promoting paranoia. Isn’t this the kind of crap liberals told us WASN’T going on during the Red Scare? Is this now a White Scare?

      • Progressivism bills itself as the belief in science and reason, but they constantly demonstrate that they aren’t. Aversion to nuclear power, anti-vaxxers, and tin foil hat conspiracy theorists fall squarely in progressive camps.

        • I suppose it bears noting that while progressivism staggers at science it doesn’t like…. Conservatism still fails as well. My point is that science is never in lock step with ideology, while there are times they may appear to be. Neither party is “The party of science”

          • Not at all, each side wants to capture science (and well-loved historical figures) as their own and their own exclusively.

            • I think if I can take any solace from the phenomenon, it’s that science is treated like the authority it should be, in most cases, and the detractors are billed as the ideologues they are.

              • Now, if those who try to use science to bash faith would also be treated as such. Science is not by nature hostile to faith, because they have different purposes. Science is about how, faith is about why.

                • I tend to concur. I find it frustrating when people criticize religions on their contradictions with empirical facts, because in most cases that simply results in two people with two different paradigms talking right past each other. If one accepts the premise of omnipotent energy beings existing, then all physical laws are a facade no matter what scientists do, so there’s no point in arguing using an empirical basis. Internal consistency issues and bizarre implicit assumptions are the more enlightening points to raise, in my experience.

            • “SEE?”
              I
              ts your language and framing that limits and hinders a solution, up and down this thread, by both parties.

              Why ‘Capture’, why not ‘Share’?

              That is Sesame Street logic that has been forgotten and poo-pooed by all these ideologies that control the Kabuki show that runs the “News” on the Media, to all the arguments on this thread, and in turn directly affect Why this unfortunate event happened in the first place, from the motivation of the Officer pulling over the driver, to the way the driver reacts.

              Then again, we all go “SEE?” look at why this happened – insert agenda supporting reasoning here, on either side. Classic Hegelian Dialectic, no matter how you slice it.

              What is my answer? ART.

              Art is the way we literally “Change our minds” – (think about how many times you say that on a weekly basis) – to where cops and minorities don’t feel the fear when they interact with each other, and that fear is removed, and not exploited by the Powers that Be, on either side. #commentoftheday :^P

  6. I would add question 11

    11. How do you reconcile President Obama’s push for more gun control laws with the fact that such laws will be enforced by the same bunch of people who habitually gun down unarmed black men?

    • Well, maybe not. The military is buying hollow point ammunition. It is also suggesting that its new service pistol will be using hollow point ammunition. When asked about the fact that we have followed the Hague Convention banning the use of such ammunition in warfare, the military responded that it is permissible to use it for domestic situations.

  7. I think it’s become painfully evident- even before the Ferguson and Baltimore riots- that black racism against whites is no longer subtle, but openly proclaimed and practiced. I’ve known klansmen and others of that ilk in my time. They’re rare, but they’re out there. However, never in all that time did I ever hear one- publicly or in private- ever advocate for genocide or for the killing of children. Today, self-appointed black leaders, to include tenured professors, do exactly that. Rioting, looting and random violence against whites is not only accepted by them, but all but encouraged by political interests that reach as far up as federal agencies. Is it any wonder that scenarios like the one Jack spoke of are becoming increasingly common?

    When you justify such things, either by word or by acquiescence, there will be a response, Then- inevitably- will come a counter-response from radicalized members of the other side. Then comes mass violence of the worst order, followed by martial law and mass confinements. Has this been contemplated by the black radicals or the federal government? Or is it the end goal? Many wonder.

    • I think we have to separate the radicals and self-proclaimed “leaders” from the every-day African American. Many of these “leaders” are simply trying to utilize outrage to develop a power structure to supplant the existing leaders, who don’t seem radical enough for them.

      That element has always existed, and always will. It’s getting much more attention now than perhaps it deserves, which makes it look disproportionately frightening to whites. To me, it just looks like a movie I have seen before.

      • True enough, Glenn, as far as it goes. Radical black leaders are fomenting attacks on everything white or white connected these days, though, and are seemingly in competition over who can inflict the most havoc or voice the worst threats. You could certainly make a case of their being as depraved as the Ku Klux Klan was at its height, too. But notice some differences. The Klan never had the overt backing of the federal government. Random acts of terror were, contrary to popular opinion, rare even then. Klansmen wore hoods to protect their identity… something that their modern black counterparts don’t even bother with, so confident are they of immunity. And then there’s the genocide factor I mentioned. When they stand on street corners or hold actual campus symposiums where they openly proclaima goal of killing all the “white devils”, you have to believe them. Again; the Klan at its worst never, to my knowledge, ever went so far. These are truly perilous times.

  8. Out of curiosity, I went and checked the official student group lists registered at my public undergrad. They include (just to name a few):

    1. A Black Student Group
    2. A Women’s Student Group
    3. A Jewish Student Group
    4. A Christian Student Group
    5. An Inter-faith Student Group
    6. A Latino Student Group
    7. A Students w/Disabilities Student Group
    8. Various Fraternities
    9. A Native American Student Group

    Out of all of these groups, the only one that would — and should — welcome me is the Women’s group. And that’s okay, not everything has to be about me. If these other groups wanted to invite me, that’s fine I guess, but I really would have noting to contribute to, for e.g., a Jewish Student Group, because I’m not Jewish. Nor did I insist on joining the Men’s Chorus or a Fraternity when I did attend this school. And I certainly did not insist on access to Men’s Health Center or — God forbid — the football stadium during team practice, which is all about men.

    If a bunch of white men want to get together and form a student group that examines actual or perceived reverse racism, then fine. I won’t join it, but go ahead. But you don’t get to bitch about another group getting together to discuss differential treatment. You’re not part of that group. Get over it. I don’t know anything about being disabled, Jewish, Latina, or being persecuted against because of my race. But, if I organize a Women-Only Take Back the Night meeting and you men show up, I’m going to ask you to leave — whether or not you’re a reporter. You can reserve space in the Student Union for your own stupid group just like I did. But you don’t get to be outraged. And you don’t get to protest that I can’t have my meeting just because you personally have never raped a woman.

    • You know…. Charles spoke more in generalities, but he seems unable to ever focus in on specifics unless they reinforce his biases. You honed in more on specifics, so I’m going to treat this a little differently.

      First:
      No one was trying to become members of a closed group. Closed groups are by their nature generally unethical, but that’s almost secondary to the issue at large. Members of the press were ejected, not because they were members of the press, not because they were from organizations that weren’t sufficiently sympathetic, but because they were white. While it was their right to be racist, that doesn’t make them less racist, and it is pure hypocrisy to condemn racism while practising it.

      Second:
      “But, if I organize a Women-Only Take Back the Night meeting and you men show up, I’m going to ask you to leave — whether or not you’re a reporter.” just highlights once again that on the issue of gender, you are a horrible person. Refusing support because of gender is your right to do, but is not right to do. You saying these things are variations on a common theme, and that theme is your own intolerance.

      • First — Yes, he was rejected because of race? So what? He also should have been rejected from the Students with Disabilities Rally if he wasn’t disabled. He wasn’t part of the group that was invited.

        Two — I used gender as an example, your short-sightedness shines again. Any of the target groups above would have worked the same. We also rejected people from our college band who couldn’t play an instrument. And fraternities don’t allow men. And sororities don’t allow women. And the Students with Disabilities Group doesn’t have to admit people who aren’t disabled.

        • I am witholding my replies, but I can’t let this pass. The reporter wasn’t trying to join the organization. The reporter wasn’t trying to be declared a black person. The reporter was present on a public campus during a public event. Ejecting someone purely because of the color of their skin is per se bigotry. It is racism on its face.

          A reporter who wasn’t disabled should have been rejected from the Students with Disabilities Rally? I fixed the typos as requested, but I can’t fix the insanity. Are you serious?

          • Does a reporter have a right to attend an AA meeting held on campus? A planning meeting to re a proposed protest against the administration? A meeting that discusses who will be admitted to a particular fraternity? You can private meetings in a publicly-owned space Jack.

            • 1. Bad example. AA is open to anyone seeking support, but there is a legitimate expectation of privacy in an AA meeting: they are by charter closed to the press. A typical AA meeting has 10-25 members, and is in a room, not on a college campus.
              2. An outdoor rally of “800 black people” is not a private function. Come off it. This is desperate spinning the unspinnable.

              • I’m not spinning. If it was an outdoor rally, then presumably the reporter could have covered it from many vantage points. Instead, he decided to make the story about himself by inserting himself into the group. That’s not what reporters do — regardless of the event. He wanted his 5 minutes of fame and he got it, but I refuse to engage in the mock outrage re reverse racism.

                I also didn’t attend the Million Man March in DC a few years ago — because I’m not a man. And I assume that any female reporters who covered it did it from the sidelines.

                  • Not comparable. The correct analogy would be, “This is an all-black rally” or an “all female rally” or an “all Jewish rally.”

                    • Strictly segregatesdrallies are incredibly rare, mostly for this very reason: they are offensive and wrong. There is no reason a male shouldn’t be allowed to rally for women’s rights, or a gentile against Jewish persecution. Whites were crucial in the civil rights movement: King would have been a fool to reject them. You can’t credibly protest bias and hate by engaging in them. To which I would add, “Duh.” It’s pretty obvious.

                    • “You can’t credibly protest bias and hate by engaging in them.”

                      John Roberts would applaud this. But it’s facile.

                      What about a support group of rape victims – the intent would be to have women only (let’s not get into the issue of male rape victims, please).
                      What about a political caucus of gay Democrats?
                      And so on.

                      The only question here is NOT whether or not someone has a LEGAL right to join such a meeting if held on public grounds, with public financing, etc.

                      There is also a simple personal, social issue – is it appropriate, welcome, constructive, helpful. And if we encourage people running around making ACLU-type test cases of each and every micro-social group gathering, you’d get a backlash, and rightly so.

                      There are a million reasons people join in special interest, exclusionary, micro-groups all the time. And often those reasons include the promotion of special interests, or the removal of barriers against them.

                      Once you start tarring those motives with the legal apparatus of “exclusion” and equating that with “bias and hate” you’re down a very slippery slope.

          • Doesn’t the Fraternity and Sorority argument equate to “everyone does it”, that is, if Frats and Sororities can be shown to be unethical for exclusive practices…though, for groups, I think there can be arguments made for legitimate special cases based on gender…

            But if so, they aren’t allowable for the analogies and rationalizations Beth seeks to use them for.

        • “First — Yes, he was rejected because of race? So what? He also should have been ejected from the Students with Disabilities Rally if he wasn’t disabled. He wasn’t part of the group that was invited.”

          So can you explain to me the logic from which being rejected because of your race isn’t considered racist? I mean…. Let’s parse this. In order for this to happen, a person has to 1) Believe there are separate races, 2) Categorize people into races, 3) Believe that there is a difference between the races, and 4) Treat the different groups differently, in this case, excluding them.

          This is textbook racism, and I’m not even sure you’re making the argument that it isn’t…. You and Charles seem to be hung up on how they’re legally able to do what they do, and I just want to point out: The KKK operates legally in America. They’re still bigoted assholes. This isn’t a mutually exclusive argument.

          “Two — I used gender as an example, you short-sightedness shines again. Any of the target groups above would have worked the same. We also ejected people from our college band who couldn’t play an instrument. And fraternities don’t allow men. And sororities don’t allow women. And the Students with Disabilities Group doesn’t have to admit people who aren’t disabled.”

          Really Beth? You just compared race, sex and the ability to play a musical instrument. Musical talent is a learned skill, which is not determined at birth. Charles did this earlier with riding a motorcycle. Possibilities: 1) You’re so blinkered and shrill over this, you’re typing without thinking. 2) You’re a political hack, and progressivism is trying to include more and more behaviors under the umbrella of protected behavior, other examples are dress codes and piercings. You’ve also gotten way too attached to your college club examples…. Blackwell wasn’t trying to join the BLM club. He was reporting on a newsworthy event and shown the door along everyone who looked like him.

          • Well, the one point I will give you is that I have been typing quickly today, and I obviously have a million typos to show for it.

            And no, I’m not focused on legal, I’m focused on ethical. There are a lot of positives that are involved in shared group experiences that outweigh the negative (the negative being that any group, by the nature of being a group, is excluding others.)

            I do believe that Blacks have a shared story that is not MY story because I’m not Black. And that shared story has many pieces to it — some of which I get and others that I don’t because I’ve never had to think about certain issues or experience actual/perceived racism. I may even disagree with many of the positions and speakers that a particular Black organization has adopted. But it doesn’t matter, because they don’t have to cater to me and they don’t have to invite me. Mexican-Americans have their story. There’s a Women’s Bar Association. A BILAGA Law Association. There are Scottish Games in our region that consist of 100% white men who claim Scottish ancestry doing Scottish-y things. I don’t care — good for them! There is a special interest organization for every special interest out there. I don’t get bent out of shape every time a special interest group meets and discusses how to empower their group. That falls anywhere on the spectrum of community organizing to smart professional networking. What you, and Jack, and others here are angry about — when you get down to it — is the message, not the group. And you’re trying to police and influence speech because you think you are right and they are wrong when it comes to race identity.

            And I’ll mention (again) the same observation about this reporter. You can cover a public event without inserting yourself into the mix. And, if you can’t, then the newspaper/journal should ask itself if that reporter is the right one for the job — in the same way that perhaps the Washington Post should not send an African-born black male reporter to cover an 800-person white supremacy rally. Sure, the black reporter might do a good job from the sidelines, but the white reporter might successfully get greater access to speakers, agendas, public interest opinions, etc.

            • What the hell are you talking about? Really? Where the hell does some of this come from? I’m about to add option three to the you’re an idiot/you’re a shill possibilities: 3) You are purposefully trying to derail the conversation.

              “What you, and Jack, and others here are angry about — when you get down to it — is the message, not the group. ”

              I can’t speak for Jack, but yeah…. I’ll oppose racism wherever it comes from.

              “You can cover a public event without inserting yourself into the mix. And, if you can’t, then the newspaper/journal should ask itself if that reporter is the right one for the job — in the same way that perhaps the Washington Post should not send an African-born black male reporter to cover an 800-person white supremacy rally. Sure, the black reporter might do a good job from the sidelines, but the white reporter might successfully get greater access to speakers, agendas, public interest opinions, etc.”

              You realize you just compared the behavior of this gathering to a white supremacist rally, right? And that’s the entire point I’ve been trying to make, right?

            • ” same way that perhaps the Washington Post should not send an African-born black male reporter to cover an 800-person white supremacy rally.”

              Well, now we’re finally down to brass tacks.

              • Down to the brass tacks? The brass….tacks?!?!?!

                Who the hell is that the little dweeb who comes by every year claiming to be from the Federal Bureau of Copper and Zinc Alloys reminding me he’s there to collect the so-called Federal Tax on Specialized Metals…he shows credentials and everything.

          • “This is textbook racism…”

            No, it’s YOUR textbook racism, HT. And your textbook is pretty narrow. It focuses entirely on interpersonal interactions. It doesn’t say a word about southern states backtracking on a century’s worth of progress Voting Rights as soon as the Supreme Court ruled the Feds could back out. It doesn’t say a word about drug laws that provided much harsher prison sentences for crack than for cocaine, which had a disparate racial effect. It doesn’t say a word about DWB, or the possibility of systematic bias in policing.

            All those are very real meanings of the word “racism” to minorities. They are not to be found in your “textbook racism,” because it’s a narrow definition you’re focused on.

            • For the love of Christ, “YOUR textbook racism”? Really. This is where you want to hang your hat? Racism isn’t racism? Common vernacular doesn’t matter! Dictionary definitions don’t matter! Because Charles Fucking Green has spoken, and common sense flies out the window. Words mean things, Charles. I know that might be hard for you to comprehend, as an unapologetic sophist, but they do. And if you want to have a conversation with other people for whom words mean things, you need to speak the same language in which words mean things.

              If I’m focused on a narrow definition… Deal with it. You know what I mean, and you know that I’m right, even if I’m not dealing with the entire overarching institutional problem. Because the racists at this rally sure as hell weren’t. It’s a red herring. You are making excuses for this behavior* based on something that individuals cannot by definition effect, which basically gives carte blanche to minority racism and guarantees that nothing will ever get problem. Because why should ANYONE care about subconscious behavioral ticks when someone is purposefully exhibiting racism?

              *And before you say something Charlesgreenian like “I’m not making excuses for them, look, I called them rude” you’re telling me that these people aren’t racists, at least not how you define racism, which is apparently the most important definition there is, they’re just rude.

              • You are aware the Charle’s idiotic definition is revealed in his rebuttal to you:

                Your definition of Racism IS the definition of Racism…it just doesn’t apply to black people, because they’ve been the victims of racism.

                Basically, as you’ve explained before in previous discussions, the “definition” Charles uses here is that you can only be Racist if you are “in Power” (read as “White”).

              • “*And before you say something Charlesgreenian like “I’m not making excuses for them, look, I called them rude” you’re telling me that these people aren’t racists, at least not how you define racism, which is apparently the most important definition there is, they’re just rude.”

                When a black crowd beat the piss out a white guy, it was just “rude”.

                I’m sure if a white guy were lynched by a black crowd they really just need to consider being more polite.

            • You realize that it was the CBC that pushed for harsher crack sentences, because of the disparate impact it was having on black neighborhoods? Unintended consequences…

        • I can’t see any of the above-mentioned groups displaying the physical hostility toward a reporter that this group did (especially the cripples).

      • Humble Talent wrote: No one was trying to become members of a closed group. Closed groups are by their nature generally unethical, but that’s almost secondary to the issue at large. Members of the press were ejected, not because they were members of the press, not because they were from organizations that weren’t sufficiently sympathetic, but because they were white. While it was their right to be racist, that doesn’t make them less racist, and it is pure hypocrisy to condemn racism while practising it.

        I noticed what I bolded and ask: Is it really a ‘right’ to be racist? Does anyone really consider it as such? I ask your opinion because it seems to me that no one is allowed to be a racist, or to define racial prejudice.

        • What? There is a right to be a racist, just as there is a right to be an asshole, an anti-Semite or a cult member. There is no right to behave in a racist manner prohibited by law.

          • You say “What?” like it is the most ridiculous question in the world. I do grasp that a person has the right to believe what they believe, but I was actually speaking to something different. Let me put it this way: Would you allow someone with openly racist views to post on your forum? I wager that you would not. And so that is my point: In America, now, no one is allowed to be racist (and express it) except on the fringes. I find that interesting.

            • It may not be the most ridiculous question in the world, but it is a ridiculous question, and I know you are intelligent. Hence “WHAT?” We have a right to believe anything, crazy, illogical or silly. We can believe in ghosts, angels, Hillary Clinton’s honesty and fairies, and we have every right to believe that blacks are morally, physically and intellectually superior to all other races. That last belief makes one a racist. However, we do not have a right to behave in racial biased manner in the distribution of jobs, housing and services. And one does not have a right to continue espousing racial views in private forums where they are unwelcome.

              I allow people with many views that I consider reprehensible, biased and unfair to post here. As long as they keep to the topic and make rational arguments, they won’t be denied access. Arguments maintaining inferiority of races and genders, or religious faiths and nationalities, are not rational, so such commentary will usually be short-lived. Speaking or writing in a racially biased manner, however, is not racism alone, it is conduct. Obviously one is allowed to have racist views. One is not going to meet with pleasant reactions to those views when expressed, but the views themselves are allowed. Your question was about rights. Americans have a right to think whatever they want. Conduct is something else.

              • The funny thing is that the way you answer creates so much charge. Jesus! Then, by begging to differ, I feel that I am committing a misdeed and will be accused of trolling.

                First off, I totally, completely, and absolutely DISAGREE with you about consideration of race being irrational. To say that is irrational. But I have noooooooo intention of talking about that.

                In my way of seeing things – not that it must be yours or anyone’s – I think many assertions should be prefaced with ‘in my view’ or ‘according to my understanding’ or even ‘according to my worldview’. I notice that you make ABSOLUTE statements.

                I do not think that all these things are settled.

                I allow people with many views that I consider reprehensible, biased and unfair to post here. As long as they keep to the topic and make rational arguments, they won’t be denied access.

                Yes, I see that. There is certainly a wide gamut of opinions here, including on this thread.

                • “I notice that you make ABSOLUTE statements.”

                  Yup. It’s the best way to start discussions. Obviously if I say it, it’s “my view.” Why be redundant or equivocal? When I am wrong, and am so convinced, then I will change my view. If I am unsure, I will say so. I am 100% sure that in the United States you not only do but must have a right to be a racist. I can conceive of no argument that would convince me otherwise.

                • When I am wrong, and am so convinced, then I will change my view.

                  That is interesting. Myself, I operate from a somewhat different platform, and that is that it is quite likely that my views are wrong. My views have shifted so radically after my university days and the more I keep on investigating, the more I find whole new territories of ideas that seem to require a revision of my entire outlook. I think sometimes: We opt for a fixed viewpoint out of weakness.

                  In any case, back to the topic: It is true as you say that one must have the right to be a racist. Very true – on paper. But what I notice is that, and here I speak about public forums, talk boards, and in general, opinion is completely constrained and in a real sense controlled by (I tire of the phrase) the politically correct. This appears to me a powerful, determining force. In this I think people believe much of what they believe as a result of social force, but inside themselves, in a secret area, they keep ‘what they really believe’. But there is often a psychological rift or division.and the ones who are worse off are those who can’t bridge, won’t allow themselves to bridge, the rift.

                  I had a Finnish boyfriend who would – certainly by your standards – be considered a ‘racist’. He said though that the term racist was bogus because only the ‘other side’ could use it! It is not a fair term of discourse. But when I began to look into it, naturally very resistant (Sephardic Jewish background), I saw that it is not ‘irrational’, but functions according to its own logic, as it were. Its logical terms are not inconsiderable, and not unintelligent.

                  What interests me more about the present thread is less ‘the topic’ and more the subtext. But that is because I consider most people to be liars of sorts: it seems to me they spout all manner of opinion and PC-enforced jargon but don’t REALLY believe it. (Of course I recognize that it is problematic to assert that – How can I know that?)

              • [Sorry, my formatting skills are not so hot. Working with is really a pain. I didn’t mean to include all the italics.]
                _________________

                The funny thing is that the way you answer creates so much charge. Jesus! Then, by begging to differ, I feel that I am committing a misdeed and will be accused of trolling.

                First off, I totally, completely, and absolutely DISAGREE with you about consideration of race being irrational. To say that is irrational. But I have noooooooo intention of talking about that.

    • Almost right, Beth. You feminazis can reserve a room or some other private space for some amount of time and for that time it’s your space. You want to occupy some public space and declare no one but your exalted sisterhood can enter, that’s a horse of a different color.

    • If a bunch of white men want to get together and form a student group that examines actual or perceived reverse racism, then fine. I won’t join it, but go ahead. But you don’t get to bitch about another group getting together to discuss differential treatment. You’re not part of that group. Get over it.

      So you’d be fin with letting that hypothetical group hold a rally out on the public quad at a university and refuse to allow women or black reporters to cover it?

      I think you’re bluffing.

      • Well, I assume the reporter could cover it from many vantage points if it was in the public quad, but a smarter newspaper would send a white reporter to cover it.

        • Just so it can be clear to me. What if one woman, who you advised to cover from the sidelines, was a go getter. She wasn’t content on writing a report on the event from the sidelines. She wanted to go in and ask questions to the group during the event to get the opinion while the event was going on. Would you still then advise that it would be best for a male reporter to cover that angle?

          • I would let her try and do it — but that doesn’t mean there wouldn’t be consequences if she didn’t get the story. Same would be true if two black males lobbied for the slot, and one was able to get interviews and the other wasn’t. Journalism isn’t fair Mike — and people don’t have to grant interviews. This involves talent and ingenuity on the part of the reporter.

    • Just to be clear, the following is not a rhetorical question. What reasons are there for excluding people from a group in the first place? In the space below, I will attempt to answer the question, but I’m interested in your answer.

      Logically speaking, excluding a person implies that the person is a detrimental influence in some way. I would think that if a person bothered to join a group of people with a different background, they are either a dedicated troll (not likely; trolls don’t generally put in that much effort, especially with no anonymity) or they actually care about concerns that are central to the group’s stated purpose. I can only think of two reasons for turning away the latter: one is that it might be difficult for other group members to open up around them, if those members do not feel that the excluded person should hear what they say given they do not share some of their background of experience. I can understand and respect that if I put in a conscious effort, but I find myself annoyed by it on multiple levels, mostly because I resent the implication that my direct experience limits what I can and cannot make sense of on an intellectual and emotional level. Nevertheless, I should probably be excluded from most discriminatory groups for that reason.

      The other reason is that the excluded member might simply be dead weight, since they would not understand what’s going on and it would take too much effort catching them up.

      I myself will never start any group that has restrictions on membership, attendance, discussion, or position based on involuntary characteristics. Prohibitions on participation in projects for purely practical purposes? Perhaps. I’m not about to assign someone a task who physically can’t do it, but that’s just logistics.

  9. Coming back to this and reading the full set of comments after a 10-hour plane flight. What strikes me over all are two things.

    First, the insistence by nearly every commenter here that racism consists almost entirely of the way we manage interpersonal relations. That is a particularly US white view of the world.

    While racist interpersonal interactions are vivid and powerful – lynchings, shootings, means-spirited name-calling, etc. – they are only part of the story. The other part is unconscious, impersonal, institutional racism. All the complaints about black racism in this case were of the “Ma, he’s yelling at me!” variety.

    None of them were about a more typically black view of racism: getting redlined on a mortgage application, fear in front of cops, DWB, etc. Which, by the way, was probably what the demonstration was about, but never got mentioned.

    Why do those issues never get talked about in posts like this? Simple: because there are no white demonstrations against institutional racism. When was the last time any of us white folk joined a demonstration against black people redlining our mortgages? Or went to demonstrate against black cops having it in for white people? And so on.

    Simple: because they mostly don’t happen as much. We white folks don’t need demonstrations, we’ve got elections. We run the show.

    So the upshot of all that is that an entire discussion ostensibly about racism (go back and look at how many commenters insist that ‘this interaction is the face of racism,’ etc.) is in fact only about one form of it – the one most visible and relevant to white people.

    This is how racism gets defined in unconsciously racist ways – ways that do not even reflect the definitions used in communities of color. And how we as white people get all indignant because others just don’t ‘get’ how important our definition is; meanwhile, we’re completely ignoring their definition.

    The other thing that became obvious was the insistence that white people understand racism, and somehow black people have got it wrong. I would find this unbelievable – except that I used to believe it too.

    Until my 40s, I believed that frankly I was on average more educated, traveled and experienced than most black people, so frankly my opinions on black culture and racism carried more weight, I figured, than black people’s perspectives on racism and white culture.

    Then I married a black woman.

    Of all the many things I learned being in an inter-racial marriage, one stands out above all others – WAY above all others; and it was this: We as white people don’t know JACK about black culture and racism. Not Thing One.

    I cringe when I think not just of how ignorant I was, but of how arrogant I was in asserting my own ignorance.

    It makes simple sense. Suppose I were a Texan born and bred, and then moved to a small town in Minnesota, where I lived for ten years. At the end of those ten years, which would be true: Would I know more about Minnesota than they would know about Texas? Or they would they then know more about Texas than I would about Minnesota?

    Obviously the former. Because as a minority person you can’t help but be aware of the majority culture – Minnesota in this case. Whereas the majority Minnesotans’ barely notice the immigrant Texan, don’t spend much time thinking about him, and have not too many data points when they choose to think about it at all.

    Yet that’s what white people do when it comes to racism. OK, I’ll own it, that’s what I used to do – you can call yourselves on it, or not.

    But I’ll tell you what I’ve come to know: if majority-culture America thinks there’s not much white on black racism going on (because they see it mainly as interpersonal relationships) and minority-culture America thinks there’s a lot of it (in part because they have a much more inclusive definition of it), I can guarantee you the minority perspective is going to be a lot more valid. It’s just like a Texan in Minnesota.

    That’s what I’ve got out of all this. We have a chance to broaden our definition of racism, and learn to see other people’s perspectives (and yes, we should all be more tolerant and nice to each other too, that’s important). If all we do is squander it on a complaint about a narrow whites-only definition of racism, we’re missing a big chance.

    • Charles, institutional racism institution is a myth.

      California Attorney General Kamala Harris said that “local law enforcement must be able to use their discretion to determine who can carry a concealed weapon”.

      Now, if there was institutional racism, this would not be true, because “local law enforcement” would exercise their “discretion” in a racially discriminatory manner. But Harris is the Attorney General of California. She knows better than us on this subject. Who are we to question her?

      • Institutional racism is not a myth. One easy, concrete example — that is not debated and is well-documented. In the Detroit burbs (in the 50s and 60s), mortgage companies literally drew a line in the sand. If you were black, you only could apply for a mortgage on this side of the highway — regardless of credit history. Vice-versa for white people — although white people could get a house on the white side even with less than ideal credit history.

        Would you call that institutional racism?

        • No. I’d call that personal, individual racism executed through an institution. A racist institution is one designed and constructed for racist purposes. Racists can pervert the operation of institutions, but it is still people who are making the institution’s operation racist.

          • Jack,

            You define institutional racism as “A racist institution is one designed and constructed for racist purposes.”

            I don’t think that works very well. The KKK may fit that definition, but not much else, not even ISIS.

            Beth’s example of Detroit mortgage companies I find a good one – you say it’s not institutional racism, just an institution perverted by racist people. That sounds to me like a distinction without a difference.

            What about the GOP in southern states working since 1965 to overturn the Voting Rights Act and send black voter registration back down to Jim Crow levels?

            What about some police forces that have opted for inexpensive war materiel rather than conflict resolution training?

            What about drug laws that have racially unequal sentencing profiles?

            Some of these are cases of individual racism, often unconscious, and some of them are enshrined in policy and lack any individual “racist” motivation any more, but are still “racist” by policy moment.

            What difference does it make? If an institution impacts society in a way that is racially differential, does it really matter whether it’s because an individual is using it as a tool, versus being the result of decades of policy? Not to the victim, it doesn’t.

            It may be a useful distinction for purposes of punishment or cure, but the diagnosis is still the same.

            In a parallel way, I’ve met a lot of people who work in pharmaceutical industry, and not one of them is what I’d call unethical. But I wouldn’t hesitate to call several of the pharma companies unethical.

            Just as an organization can be unethical on autopilot, without an actively unethical leader, so too with racism: there’s a lot of institutional racism where you can’t point to an active, hate-spewing individual racist individual at the heart of it. It is, in fact, a bit of a red herring.

            • [I apologize for minimal responses, and I’m working backwards: I haven’t had the energy or focus to tackle your first reply on this thread. When I get bronchitis, even thinking tires me out.]

              BUT…

              “you say it’s not institutional racism, just an institution perverted by racist people. That sounds to me like a distinction without a difference.’

              Exactly. Yet you maintained they are distinct. They are not. There is only individual racism. The pretense that a system can be racist without racist humans making it so is a fantasy used to justify quotas, and “disparate impact” laws and litigation. If, for example, proportionately more blacks are being sent to jail than whites, it does not necessarily mean the presence of institutional racism. It might: if racially biased police are arresting blacks when they wouldn’t arrest whites, or racially biased juries are finding blacks guilty when they would acquit whites, or racially biased judges are sentencing blacks more harshly. Or is could mean that more blacks are committing crimes, and everything else is equal. But the first set of circumstances isn’t a problem with the system, but a problem with too many racially biased people in the system. The ASSUMPTION, however, that the first explanation is the correct one because whites are inherently racist is itself racially biased.

              To give a precis of what I will elaborate on later, I am stunned that anyone would think individual racism—like treating a white reporter like an outcast because of his skin color—can do anything but exacerbate so-called “institutional racism.” All prejudice and racism is based on lack of trust, Giving whites good reasons to distrust blacks because they engage in unjust discrimination and exactly the kind of hateful exclusion based on race they claim to deplore is a self-defeating strategy, as well as being flat-out unfair and wrong. Yet you, Beth and others have rationalized it.

              • “I am stunned that anyone would think individual racism—like treating a white reporter like an outcast because of his skin color—can do anything but exacerbate so-called “institutional racism.”

                Please don’t be stunned, at least on my account; I don’t believe such a thing either, and never said so.

                But the main point we’re disagreeing on is fundamental: whether or not there can be such a thing as institutional racism without individual racist acts to make it real. You say no, Beth and I say yes.

                I think perhaps the underlying question is, is there such a thing as unconscious racism or not. I won’t put words in your mouth, but my strong impression is that you, along with Chief Justice Roberts, are willing to let individuals’ self-assessment of intent be the final arbiter of whether something is racist.

                I am not.

                There are tons of psychological studies that indicate the presence of unconscious racism: doctors giving less pain medication to black patients, college admissions officers using different criteria based on a ‘black-sounding’ last name, etc. In these cases, the individual is being 100% truthful in saying that they are not ‘racist.’ And if you define the word as being about conscious intent, then they are being truthful and right.

                However, if you allow effects into the definition of “racist,” you get discriminatory results.

                This isn’t just about academic psychology studies either. My ex-mother-in-law up in Maine is convinced that we need strict laws to prevent voter fraud. The truth is there have been about 31 cases of individual voter fraud in a billion vote sample, and the entire thrust of “voter protection” efforts have been right-wing efforts to disenfranchise black voters, who tend to vote Democratic. I won’t go so far as to say the consciences of everyone who fought for the repeal of Section V of the Voting Rights Act were clean, but many were, certainly including my mother-in-law, who would be shocked that anyone would consider her racist. But her acts, in supporting voter “fraud” acts, surely were.

                One author, looking at the massive evidence of discriminatory behavior n medicine, asks, “How is it possible that for the best trained medical workforce in the world to produce… care that appears to be so discriminatory?

                “The answer, Williams argued, is unconscious discrimination. According to Williams, the research shows that when people hold a negative stereotype about a group and meet someone from that group, they often treat that person differently and honestly don’t even realize it. Williams noted that most Americans would object to being labeled as “racist” or even as “discriminating”, but he added, “Welcome to the human race. It is a normal process about how all of us process information. The problem for our society is that the level of negative stereotypes is very high.”

                And that doesn’t begin to touch the levels of unconscious bias in police forces (and not just on race – try calling a police officer a ‘fag’ – no, don’t).

                Unfortunately the law of the land has moved to pretend that everyone is fully conscious of their biases: hence if a cop didn’t intend to be racist, his actions legally could not be racist. That is ridiculous. But worse is the legal interpretation that if a state executes 100 prisoners and they’re all black, that is not prima facie evidence of racism – you have to prove the juries were personally racist in their intent. That is not just ridiculous, it’s tragic.

                Anyway, you get my point. Whether there is or is not unconscious racism is at the heart of whether there can be institutional racism without individual racism. I argue there is (unconscious racism) and there can be (institutional racism), and I take it you believe there isn’t and there can’t be.

                Does that make sense as a fair problem statement?

                • It’s good to see this argument finally articulated with nuance. Now it’s actually coherent to me, so I can address it.

                  To the extent that this unconscious bias is the case, which it might very well be, it is not only completely ineffective to address the problems it causes with such rules as people keep trying to make, but also highly counterproductive.

                  That’s because this is an empathy issue, and the mindset of empathy is the opposite of semantics, which deals with rules, labels, algorithms, moving within paradigms, and the simplification of interactions. Empathy is the individualization of interactions, moving between paradigms instead of within them. A main way to use empathy is to listen to a person, forget your own assumptions, and try to use your own experiences to imagine how they see things, regardless of whether you think it makes sense. The important thing is to address their concerns, and show that you are doing so, rather than addressing the concerns you think they should have.

                  To the extent that people, including me on occasion, often find themselves responding to arguments with prepackaged arguments based which of their buttons were pressed, rather than taking the time to listen to what a person is concerned about, and to the extent that people are eager to stick to their preconceived notions of an acceptable solution, I suppose I should not be surprised that more or less no Paradigm Synch on the topic of racism seems to be taking place at any important or influential level, let alone among public figures.

                  However, I remember reading about a few examples of rules that help people overcome bias. The details are a bit fuzzy, so I may be misremembering, but I think there are some policies requiring that before making an important decision, people take a few minutes to review or think about something which will prime them for calm, rational judgment. if you want to use semantics in service of empathy (the mindset of background), I suggest something simple and innocuous, like a company policy of making bureaucrats listen to jazz or something before reviewing a person’s mortgage. I think the positive effect would be surprisingly large.

                • Does that make sense as a fair problem statement?

                  Not really. But that’s irrelevant. You’re desperately trying to hijack the conversation. We started with a conversation as to the appropriateness of discluding people from public events based on the color of their skin, and you have singlehandedly tangentalized it into one of these ‘bigger picture’ conversations that don’t really have an answer. Bring it home for me Charles: In what way is this relevant to the topic we started with?

                  • And just for the record: You’d think that “a conversation as to the appropriateness of discluding people from public events based on the color of their skin” would have a simple answer, wouldn’t you? It BLOWS my mind, that you’re defending the people who did this. It really does. My obvious frustration stems from the fact that we can’t even agree on the simple things, and you’re attempting macro-sociological discussions.

                  • HT, you might want to ask yourself just what it is, in what Jack himself referred to in another blogpost as “a lively and thoughtful debate,” that stirs you to such heights of obscene apoplexy. Is it the “lively” part? The “thoughtful” part?

                    OK, well I do hear you honestly asking the question of how it is that I seem to keep complexifying what seems to you like an honestly simple issue. Fair enough, fair question, it deserves an answer. Let me try.

                    First, I doubt that anyone on this thread considers themselves to be a racist. And I assume that everyone here agrees that both blacks and whites can be racist. And I’ll stipulate that the black guy yelling at the reporter behaved in a racist manner.

                    I’ll further guess that most people on this thread would agree that historically white on black racism has been a greater issue than black on white racism (though some, like Stvvpln, appear to think that black leaders, aided and abetted by the Feds, have now reversed the balance).

                    You might think, given those assumptions, that when the issue of racism gets raised in a forum on ethics, that you’d find something like at least equal representation of the types of cases. In fact, I’d guess the ratio is probably 9 out of 10 about cases of black on white racism. (Think about Jack’s focus on rush to judgment by the media and liberal groups in the various black police shootings).

                    Now let me be clear: Jack’s role as an ethicist is probably going to drive him to focus on the tough cases, the counter-examples, the issues that sharpen the focus on basic themes. In fact, he’s very good at this, and I respect it – I too find the most elucidation in the non-mainstream angles. And as far as I’m concerned, he’s earned his non-racist bona fides because on more than one occasion he’s shown a willingness to call issues straight up. And as far as political balance, it’s his blog, he’s entitled to have a political bias.

                    But – that focus comes with a risk. The risk is that others reading his writings on race conclude that the choice of emphasis is meaningful beyond his choice of focus; in particular, that racism is “colorblind,” that it looks the same in either direction and happens with roughly the same frequency. After all – don’t we see black people (and white liberals) behaving in equally racist ways all the time?

                    And that assumption is a serious part of the problem. This blogpost is a good example.

                    It’s titled as a challenge to “Supporters of the Movement for Black Lives.” It’s a title that on the face of it promises to be a thoughtful critique of the politics of race. That, to put it mildly, is an exaggeration.

                    It’s partly about whether Federally funded institutions can or can’t allow small exclusionary groups; it’s partly about the ethics of journalism; and it’s partly about the rude and personally racist behavior of an individual in a crowd. But the piece is positioned as being ABOUT RACISM – and you’re buying into it.

                    Beth is right: she said this example was about a reporter who “decided to make the story about himself by inserting himself into the group. That’s not what reporters do — regardless of the event. He wanted his 5 minutes of fame and he got it, but I refuse to engage in the mock outrage re reverse racism.” The mock outrage re reverse racism; exactly.

                    So this is the problem: allowing the definition of racism to be hijacked for relatively trivial purposes. As a white man I don’t have to walk around with fear of the police – millions of black people do. That’s institutional racism.

                    When you use that SAME WORD to equate a daily ongoing fear of millions of people with a single person’s racist rudeness – and then on top of it insist, with much obscenity, that YOUR definition of racism is the “right” one – you trivialize the much broader, systemic, powerful version of the word.

                    By insisting that one rude person’s individual racist language at a legitimate minority interest group meeting is somehow on a moral par with the broader issues of racism in this society, you are complicit in trivializing the definition of racism. You complain that I’m making things too complex – I’m saying your insistence on simplistic definitions is itself the problem.

                    And when you further get outraged about it, on top of everything else – well, I’ll end where I started: just what IS it, in what Jack himself referred to in another blogpost as “a lively and thoughtful debate,” that stirs you to such heights of obscene apoplexy?

                    I don’t know how to say it more simply than that, so I’ll stop there.

                    • What “stirs me to obscene apoplexy” is this intellectual song and dance you put on. It’s frustrating… It’s like you have enough intellectualism to sound smart, but not enough wisdom to understand the ramifications and logical conclusions of what you’re saying. Like when you compared the entirety of white america to nazis… You didn’t mean to, but you did, and it was the product of thoughtlessness that you still haven’t apologized for. Maybe I’m a little more blunt in my offerings, but at the end of the day, what you have said offends me.

                      You say that my inability to look at the bigger picture is part of the problem… And I disagree. I disagree that I don’t see the larger picture, and I think it’s a fallacy to miss the trees for the forest. You consistently evade points I make that are inconvenient to your narrative… And that’s par for the course…. But any further discourse must be necessity begin with you answering my question from before: “[W]hy should ANYONE care about subconscious behavioral ticks when someone is purposefully exhibiting racism?”.

                      If we want to get to a more… I don’t know…. Polite? Society. If we want to be better… Have true equality… I think we have to approach it in good faith. Subconscious or systematic racism is a concept so foreign to the average person that it will take effort to even understand it, never mind act on it… How the hell do you suggest we sell it to the masses that they need to reevaluate the way they think when the people that they’re supposed to be doing this for are actively spitting in their face?

                      There is no movement for equality that begins with deliberate inequality.

                      And if there’s no path… What’s the point? I mean… You can stand on your moral molehill pretending that no one’s at fault… that it’s just the system, wallowing in your personal cesspool of white liberal guilt… What’s your path so success? That your ilk finally beats down white America into being as self-loathsome as you are and rolls over? I don’t see it. Make it real for me.

                    • HT I hear the honesty and good will in this response, thank you. I’m about to do a day long talk in Asia but promise to provide an equally thoughtful reply within about 12 hours; thank you.

                    • Here’s an article/activity that may help illustrate the point and a possible solution. http://ncase.me/polygons/ Well, specifically it refers to segregation, but I think the idea of being actively friendly and seeking out different people is something that could be applied to many situations and have wide-spread benefits beyond ending racial inequality. However, I’m probably not in the best position to implement this, because I don’t yet have the skill with action to influence connections in such a powerful manner.

                    • There are, literally, dozens of parts of your postings on this topic that I have wanted to respond to, but simply haven’t had the time. But I will pick one, and run with it.

                      “As a white man I don’t have to walk around with fear of the police – millions of black people do. That’s institutional racism.” That to me, is part of the problem….the conflating of you, as a white male, never fearing the police, with the idea that no white males are fearful of the police, and vice versa. And, although you did stipulate “millions” of black people, your earlier references to DWB (which, in theory is solely based on skin color, and thus could happen to anyone which a darkened completion at any time) I feel implies that institutional racism affects all blacks. I would like to state, unequivocally for the record, that with regards to matters of the law, education, housing, and work (4 major areas that I have taken the time to sit and reflect on), I have NEVER (knowingly) been on the receiving end of racist practices.

                      Some anecdotal stories to support this claim:
                      Housing:I have never applied for a mortgage, but I feel that applying for a renal lease is somewhat similar. Last week, I (and my low 600’s credit score) applied for a townhouse in a fairly new and nice neighborhood of Hagerstown, MD (76% white, 15.5% black). Not only was I approved in an hour, the rental office decided to waive the application fee, and when I politely asked them to reconsider the 1 month deposit, within 24 hours they called to tell me that they decided to cut the deposit in half, and that I could move in 4 days before the end of the month, without paying for those extra days. As I come to think of it, I have never been denied on a rental application, because I have an excellent rental history. My prior behaviors, how I presented myself, and how I treated her are what mattered in the white property manager (and many other property managers I’ve applied with in the past), not my skin color.

                      Education: I have an undergrad degree, and 2 grad degrees, almost exclusively financed though student loans, which I have never been denied for. I have been accepted to (and attended at various times) 8 different schools, and since my initial flurry of college applications as a 17 year old, I have never been denied acceptance to any college that I desired to attend, even with middling undergraduate grades. So the excuse that education is not available to black urban youth (I spent many of my college years living in Baltimore City) because of institutional racism (as was often the claim during the Baltimore riots) is B-freaking-S.

                      Law: I’ve been on the wrong side of a courtroom 2x in my life, both for driving on a suspended license (a serious charge, and although both were oversights on my part, both were legitimate charges). I had both sentences suspended, and ended up paying a few minor court fees. No unfairness in sentencing to be found here. I’ve also been pulled over many times (as a lead foot), and not only never had a bad interaction with an officer based on my skin color, but I’ve received more than my fair share of “warnings” rather than tickets.

                      Employment: Because of my fickle, job hopping nature, I’ve had many jobs…I’d venture to say, more jobs by age 36 than anyone else on this blog. Not only have I not faced institutionalized racism when it comes to hiring, in my chosen field (early childhood education), as a black male, I am the ultimate minority….essentially, a polar bears more, in the middle of a snowstorm. Think about it, how often do you see black males in leadership roles, in early childhood education settings? And yet, I’d be $100 I can walk into any preschool that has a director vacancy, and land that job based on my track record, experience, education, and letters of recommendation from satisfied parents during my previous stint as a director. I have never been unemployed, and while I have been turned down for many jobs, the overwhelming majority of these were sight unseen, so they had no idea I was black.

                      The point of all of this is that while I appreciate your wife helping to enlighten you to the plight of the black in the 21 century, why, oh why, has all of this pervasive institutionalized racism skipped over me? Why have I never felt this “daily ongoing fear” that you speak of? I was young once. Poor too. Lived in the bad part of Baltimore. Didn’t have a college degree during this time. Made lots of stupid decisions (that were relatively minor, all things considered). Have acted in ways (repeatedly speeding when I was younger) that could, presumably, draw the ire of the police. So, why not me?

                      I maintain, and will continue to maintain, until someone proves otherwise, that my attitude (towards authority and whites), my grasp of common sense and personal responsibility, my decisions on how I treat others and how I choose to communicate, my understanding of how my presentation affects how others view me, my understanding of my flaws, limitations, and abilities, and my understanding of the value of education and maximizing my talents have had a much, MUCH larger effect on the course of my life, then racism ever has.

                      I am not a victim.

                    • Good commentary, Chris. Your story is probably common to any American of good standing as a general life story; black, white or whatever. It seems to me that the worst things black Americans have to deal with these days are institutionalized paternalism in public life and those who would corrupt young black people for their votes. Given all of that that there is, I’m sometimes surprised that any young black people aren’t part of the flash mobs! Yet, I run into fine ones all the time. I used to think much the same about my own generation back in the hippie era and wonder that the entire nation wasn’t already in ruins. Yet, that didn’t happen. Somewhere down deep, the people of this country have a moral strength that asserts itself over all godless attempts to pervert it. All of us. When that strength ultimately prevails once more over society and makes this country fit to live in again, the corrupters will have to find another range to graze on. Personally, I hope it’s Pluto!

                    • I lied. I am a victim of a laptop that changed some of my words w/o me realizing, and of poor decision making, choosing to respond when at a time when I’m too tired to properly proofread. My apologies for the many spelling errors in my post.

                    • Christ Bentley, for some reason there was no ‘reply’ button below your post with the anecdotes of your experience.

                      Housing, Education, Law, Employment.

                      How do you interpret your own experience as against what has now become a national movement against racism and police brutality?

                      It would follow that you would not agree that there is a vast problem of racism, but if that is so the general popular movement – organizations, protests, Twitter campaigns and all the rest – require different interpretation.

                    • Chris Bentley, you are indeed nobody’s victim. Good on you, and congrats too for finding your own way successfully in the world; we all need more like you.

                      You suggest you have never been on the receiving end of institutional racism in housing, education, law and work. That’s great news for everyone. I hope you are not alone, that there are many more people of color like you who have never been affected.

                      The evidence however suggests that you are still more the exception than the norm (though I’m hopeful that with younger generations your experience is becoming more common).

                      My concern is that lots of wishfully thinking white folks, e.g. Mr Pilling, are eager to seize on your experience and assert that it is in fact the norm; that “institutionalized paternalism…and those who would corrupt young black people for their votes” are bigger threats than racism. I don’t believe that’s true, and I suspect most of your black friends would doubt it too.

                      Still I don’t want to lose sight of your point: your experience is the one we all want to see more of, and the personal approach you clearly take to life is a big part of the reason for your success.

                    • If there is institutional racism in law enforcement, please explain why California Attorney General Kamala Harris said that “local law enforcement must be able to use their discretion to determine who can carry a concealed weapon”.

                      It seems to me that we would not be able to trust local law enforcement “to use their discretion” if institutional racism existed. But Harris trusts them, and she is the attorney general of California, which makes her an expert on law enforcement matters. How do you know better than she does?

                    • HT, thanks for your comment of earlier today. You suggest that you’re not inclined to listen to anything until I react to “[W]hy should ANYONE care about subconscious behavioral ticks when someone is purposefully exhibiting racism?”

                      So, let’s start there. People should care about massive, systematic institutional racism (what you trivializingly call ‘behavioral tics’) because it’s important, EVEN IF an occasional zealot misbehaves and says stupid, racist things in support of it. If every major movement is to be held to task for all the behaviors of all the followers, nothing would ever get done. Did you vote for Romney? By your logic, you shouldn’t have done so if just one Romney supporter had said something outrageous.

                      No movement, rally or party is going to be 100% free of occasional reprehensible behavior, or even of some reprehensible people. You ask WHY people should care in such cases? Because the principle is far, far bigger than the occasionally bad acting agent who is allied with the broader goals.

                      You accuse me of selectively responding to your concerns, so let’s get thorough. You also say. “There is no movement for equality that begins with deliberate inequality.” Are you suggesting that this “movement,” this Cleveland rally, “begins with deliberate inequality?” It’s not. You are rightfully pointing out the hateful actions of one single person – and then trying to generalize it to the origins and nature of a movement; that is demonstrably wrong, and you can ascertain so by going to its website.

                      This “movement,” such as it is – apparently more of a one-off large scale support group – is not racist or anti-white at its core. GO LOOK AT ITS WEBSITE. You’ll find it’s all about black support groups, the arts, psychological help, gatherings. If you’re looking for a group that is racist at its heart you’re looking in the wrong place. Go look for the Klan, whose core goals really ARE racist, anti- an entire race of people. The goals of this group are no such thing.

                      You accuse me of “Like when you compared the entirety of white america to nazis.” All right, whoah buddy. I did no such thing. And don’t try to slide off by suggesting I used imprecise language or had good intentions but that i somehow insulted people. I’m not owing that one at all.

                      I’m going to invoke Jack’s Niggardly Principle and suggest that your refusal to follow the logic is YOUR fault, not mine. Let me review the bidding. The original question was: “How was this rally ethically distinguishable from a white supremacy or a KKK rally?

                      And I said it was different in two distinct ways. Here they are again.

                      1. The KKK has been an established organization for 150 years. By contrast, this rally is a one-off gathering of individuals.
                      2. The KKK’s avowed purpose is anti-race, particularly anti-black. The “movement’s” avowed purpose is pro-black, self-supporting.

                      So one group is an organization formally constructed as a vehicle for fomenting hatred against a minority race. The other is a group of the minority race itself, aimed at self-support against racist attacks. One is aimed at racist attacks; the other is made of the attacked race, seeking self support.

                      I said the two events were ethically distinguishable in the same way as “an anti-Jewish Nazi rally is ethically distinguishable from a Jewish anti-Nazi rally. Does this really require explanation given history?”

                      An anti-Jewish Nazi rally is just like the KKK – an established organization whose guiding purpose is hatred, and whose object is a race.

                      An anti-Nazi Jewish rally, by contrast, would be a rally of victims, and aimed not at a race (e.g. “Aryan”), but at an organization built to be racist.

                      One is an organization built to hate a race; one is a race responding to a hate-mongering organization.

                      Nowhere does that dual distinction amount to “comparing the entirety of white america to nazis.” Nowhere. You said that. Not me. I’m not responsible for that misinterpretation.

                      Now, having used strong words, let me speak to the part of your last comment which I found very truthful and sincere, where you said: “I think we have to approach it in good faith. Subconscious or systematic racism is a concept so foreign to the average person that it will take effort to even understand it, never mind act on it… How the hell do you suggest we sell it to the masses that they need to reevaluate the way they think when the people that they’re supposed to be doing this for are actively spitting in their face?”

                      I think that’s a great question. Two great questions actually. One is “Subconscious or systematic racism is a concept so foreign to the average person that it will take effort to even understand it, never mind act on it.”

                      It is indeed hard to grasp. It’s like asking a fish to notice the water it swims in. It’s like asking an American to notice highways or the size of money; why would you “notice” such things – until and unless you’ve travelled outside the US, and realize some people drive on other sides of the road, or that paper money comes in different sizes.

                      Viewing “racist” as solely about interpersonal actions is natural – if that’s all you encounter. It’s only if you “travel abroad” that you notice things a majority culture takes for granted. It is indeed ‘so foreign to the average person that it will take effort to even understand it..” Yes. You’re right. It does, and it will.

                      The other point you make is, why should people feel that “they need to reevaluate the way they think when the people that they’re supposed to be doing this for are actively spitting in their face?”

                      They “should” feel the need because the issue is bigger than an individual’s rude behavior – but it’s only human to want to resist that. We don’t like it kindly when someone we’re trying to befriend gives us the finger.

                      My only suggestion is we all need to keep our eye on the big picture. In this particular case, a provocative white reporter got a black person to say some reprehensible racist words. I hope he regrets them.

                      Meanwhile let’s not hyperbolize, “The people” are not spitting in their face; one PERSON did, and then only metaphorically.

                      It would be a far bigger shame if the acting-out of one individual were to be allowed to taint an 800-person organization, or its broader goals, or worse yet, the very definition of racism.

                      At the end of the day, by allowing this one incident to be described as about “racism” is to trivialize the word. There’s a lot more racism out there than the unfortunate racist comments of one individual at a point in time.

                      If I still haven’t made a case effectively, then I’ve unsuccessfully spent more than my share of words trying to do so; I’ll stop now. The last words go to you HT, thanks for engaging.

            • If there is institutional racism, please explain why California Attorney General Kamala Harris said that “local law enforcement must be able to use their discretion to determine who can carry a concealed weapon”.

              Harris is the attorney general of California, which makes her an expert in law enforcement. If there were institutional racism, then this discretion would be used in a racially discriminatory manner, and Harris would have said the opposite.

              How could the attorney general of California be wrong regarding racism in law enforcement? Experts can not be wrong.

      • I should point out that institutions are made of more than just rules. They are made of culture, and of people, and of interactions. Proving the rules aren’t racist doesn’t actually prove the institution itself doesn’t have racist inclinations. I’d just like to know what definition of “racism” we’re talking about here. I’m going to assume for the time being that it’s “racial prejudice,” i.e. making empirical and normative assumptions based on superficial information about a person’s background, and presumably acting on them.

        • Thanks EDC for weighing in on this. I’m going to be purist on this issue though and suggest that defining “racial prejudice as “making empirical and normative assumptions based on superficial information about a person’s background, and presumably acting on them” is not sufficient walk walk back from Michael’s position.

          Despite Michael’s denial of institutional prejudice, and your attempt to rescue some of the truth of it, racism does exist apart from the individual psychology of players in an institution. You can explore this point in many walks of life, but a good one to start with might be the death penalty.

          First, some data to show that racism DOES exist in the application of the death penalty. (Following is quote from Supreme Court Justice Brennan on the matter, so please let’s not get lost debating the validity of the data. This is from his remarks in McCleskey v. Kemp):

          ——-
          “At some point in this case, Warren McCleskey doubtless asked his lawyer whether a jury was likely to sentence him to die. A candid reply to this question would have been disturbing. First, counsel would have to tell McCleskey that few of the details of the crime or of McCleskey’s past criminal conduct were more important than the fact that his victim was white.

          “Furthermore, counsel would feel bound to tell McCleskey that defendants charged with killing white victims in Georgia are 4.3 times as likely to be sentenced to death as defendants charged with killing blacks. In addition, frankness would compel the disclosure that it was more likely than not that the race of McCleskey’s victim would determine whether he received a death sentence: 6 of every 11 defendants convicted of killing a white person would not have received the death penalty if their victims had been black, while, among defendants with aggravating and mitigating factors comparable to McCleskey’s, 20 of every 34 would not have been sentenced to die if their victims had been black.

          “Finally, the assessment would not be complete without the information that cases involving black defendants and white victims are more likely to result in a death sentence than cases featuring any other racial combination of defendant and victim. The story could be told in a variety of ways, but McCleskey could not fail to grasp its essential narrative line: there was a significant chance that race would play a prominent role in determining if he lived or died.
          ————-
          So – stipulated: racism existed in Georgia’s criminal justice system in 1987 (I know, shocking). And, 1987 Georgia was and is not unique (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/09/opinion/09dow.html).

          But now to the significance. Does this, or does this not, mean that the various parties involved in disproportionately convicting and sentencing blacks to death were personally, psychologically, consciously racist in so doing? And if so, or if not, what legal relevance should that have?

          The Supreme Court had its clear answer, albeit 5-4. It held that a) racist results do NOT imply racist intent; and furthermore, b) racist intent is all that matters. In other words, a state could have a track record of 100% sentencing to death of black people and 0% white people, and – as long as the various players say they behaved in a color-blind way, then legally they were not acting as racists. The evidence is not dispositive. Results don’t matter, intent matters.

          Brennan was overruled – the facts he cited don’t matter, the five justices said.

          Now, if you spotted a hole big enough to drive a truck through, you’re not alone. The law of the land says that a white cop, or jury, or judge, who kills or convicts a black person and who claims they did it WITHOUT ANY RACIAL ANIMUS is off the hook. They did not act in a racist manner, even if there is a pattern shown of discriminatory results.

          This is the strongly held belief of our present Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts. And guess what: a whole lot of people do not see themselves as racist. Ask yourself: how many people do you know say, “Yup, that’s me, I’m definitely a racist.”

          Now here’s the thing: if you believe all racism is conscious, this is fine. It demands we examine people’s intents, and if they are clean, great.

          But what if we kid ourselves? What if there is a such thing as unconscious bias? What if we are not exactly fully conscious, or don’t want to fully bring to consciousness, any hidden biases we might have? In that case, we can say, WITH 100% HONESTY, “I am not a racist,” mean it sincerely, and then proceed to commit a statistically bullet-proof series of entirely racist and discriminatory actions.

          And of course that’s the human condition. We bullshit ourselves all the time, about everything. 80% of college kids think they’re in the top half of their class; nearly all convicts in prison are innocent; you really are going to lose weight next month; and you actually believe Susie declined your date invitation for Friday night because she had a prior conflicting engagement.

          To me this seems obvious. To John Roberts, it does not. He believes that the way to stop racism is to stop behaving in a racist manner. I say that would be great – IF you could only get everyone to be conscious of their biases. I think he is naive in the extreme to think that the human condition can be so easily overridden.

          So full circle: Does institutional racism exist? Of course it does, despite Michael’s wishful thinking. More importantly, can it be reduced 100% to individual racist behavior, as Jack would suggest?

          I don’t think so: I think as long as people can be less-than-fully conscious of their motivations, you’re going to have people perpetuating policies and procedures that are objectively racist and discriminatory in their effects, all the while confidently – and truthfully – asserting that they are not personally racist or prejudiced. (Look at all the cops whose explanations were controverted by police videos of their actions. I’m willing to believe they do not see themselves as racist or liars – but to an outsider, it’s fairly clear, they’re bullshitting themselves).

          Furthermore, suppose you’re a part of a system whose objective behavior and output is discriminatory. Then one day a new leader comes in who says “This institution has a history of being racist, and it stops now!” Are you and your fellow employees going to say, “OMG, he’s right, we’ve seen the light, we’re going to stop being racist right now!” I don’t think so. Instead, you’re likely to say, “How the hell dare he accuse us of being racist! I’m a good citizen without a racist bone in my body, he doesn’t understand the facts of the situation and where does he get off with all these unsubstantiated accusations anyway!” And eventually – most of the time – that new leader gets driven out. Because the only thing we like less than someone telling us we’re racist is telling us we’re racist and don’t even know it!

          You don’t have to be a racist to work in a system that perpetuates racist results – and being personally non-racist to the best of your ability does not guarantee a non-discriminatory institution.

          This stuff is embedded deeply. The insistence that :all we need to banish racism is to have good conscious intentions” is itself one of the more insidious beliefs. It’s not true, but it sounds so good that people rally round it, wanting to believe in our higher conscious angels. Sorry, but we all ain’t that simple or clean.

          • Now, if you spotted a hole big enough to drive a truck through, you’re not alone. The law of the land says that a white cop, or jury, or judge, who kills or convicts a black person and who claims they did it WITHOUT ANY RACIAL ANIMUS is off the hook. They did not act in a racist manner, even if there is a pattern shown of discriminatory results.

            This, as you should know, is complete bullshit. A mere denial of racist intent is insufficient to defeat a racial discrimination claim when there is actual evidence of racist intent. In particular to McCleskey, there was no evidence presented that the prosecutor, judge, or jury did what they did because of race.

            What if there is a such thing as unconscious bias?

            We simply accept it.

            If this is true, then this is our very nature. We can not act against our nature. We can no more stop than cats could stop licking themselves.

            • Michael, I accept your correction: it is not legally sufficient to deny racist INTENT if someone can prove racist INTENT.

              The larger point I was trying to make is that INTENT legally trumps behavioral evidence of discrimination. We have come to pass in this country where you can, as I said, kill hundreds of people of a race and get away with it as long as no one can prove you didn’t INTEND to kill them BECAUSE they were of a given race. Literally, you could get away with genocide unless someone could provide you INTENDED to target a given group.

              This makes a mockery of the concept of evidence, because proving another person’s internal psychological state is near-impossible. It amounts to a bullet-proof get out of jail free card for racist behavior.

              As to “We can not act against our nature. We can no more stop than cats could stop licking themselves.”

              Really? Tell it to your minister, who believes in redemption. Tell it to your shrink, who believes in the ability to overcome neuroses. Better yet, believe it when your child tells you they ‘can’t help’ that they hate spinach and so should get a free pass from the dinner table.

              Of course people can overcome their unconscious biases – it’s the one thing that gives us hope as humans, that we’re not slaves to our pre-programmed passions.

              • The larger point I was trying to make is that INTENT legally trumps behavioral evidence of discrimination. We have come to pass in this country where you can, as I said, kill hundreds of people of a race and get away with it as long as no one can prove you didn’t INTEND to kill them BECAUSE they were of a given race. Literally, you could get away with genocide unless someone could provide you INTENDED to target a given group.

                and yet, somehow, people are able to prove intent.

              • “The larger point I was trying to make is that INTENT legally trumps behavioral evidence of discrimination. We have come to pass in this country where you can, as I said, kill hundreds of people of a race and get away with it as long as no one can prove you didn’t INTEND to kill them BECAUSE they were of a given race. Literally, you could get away with genocide unless someone could provide you INTENDED to target a given group.”

                Your alternative, apparently, is to presume intent on the part of one individual in an individual case based on statistical evidence. You know what that is, don’t you? It’s profiling! It’s bigotry! That is all it is and all it can be. A white police officer killing a black man is no more to be assumed to have done so out of racial animus than a black police officer killing a white on, or a white shooting a white, or a black shooting a black. To presume racism, is racism. All crimes require proof of mens rea and no valid defenses, as well as a legal presumption of innocence. That is just, fair and logical. What is NOT logical is the Trayvon Martin scenario. Zimmerman was a racist because his skin was lighter and Martin ended up dead. Yet that was the presumption of the family, the media, activists, and the PRESIDENT.

                Racism, bigotry, or enabling of it by generalizing about individuals on the basis of group statistics. That’s what it is.

                • He was critical of McCleskey v. Kemp, 481 U,S. 279 (1987) hOWEVER, McCleskey was not some aberration, in tension with contemporary rulings. “Our analysis begins with the basic principle that a defendant who alleges an equal protection violation has the burden of proving “the existence of purposeful discrimination.” Whitus v. Georgia, 385 U. S. 545, 385 U. S. 550 (1967). A corollary to this principle is that a criminal defendant must prove that the purposeful discrimination “had a discriminatory effect” on him. Wayte v. United States, 470 U. S. 598, 470 U. S. 608 (1985). Thus, to prevail under the Equal Protection Clause, McCleskey must prove that the decisionmakers in his case acted with discriminatory purposeMcCleskey, 481 U.S. at 292. (emphasis added)”Thus, the application of an inference drawn from the general statistics to a specific decision in a trial and sentencing simply is not comparable to the application of an inference drawn from general statistics to a specific venire-selection” id. at 294 (emphasis added)

                  “the State has no practical opportunity to rebut the Baldus study. “[C]ontrolling considerations of . . . public policy,” McDonald v. Pless, 238 U. S. 264, 238 U. S. 267 (1915), dictate that jurors “cannot be called . . . to testify to the motives and influences that led to their verdict.” Chicago, B. & Q. R. Co. v. Babcock, 204 U. S. 585, 204 U. S. 593 (1907). Similarly, the policy considerations behind a prosecutor’s traditionally “wide discretion”suggest the impropriety of our requiring prosecutors to defend their decisions to seek death penalties, “often years after they were made.” See Imbler v. Pachtman, 424 U. S. 409, 424 U. S. 425-426 (1976). ” id. at 296

                • “Your alternative, apparently, is to presume intent on the part of one individual in an individual case based on statistical evidence.”

                  No, it is not my alternative. For example, if the effects of gerrymandering are egregious enough, I suggest “intent” should not be allowed to override a determination of illegal districting.

                  In a criminal case involving one person’s intent, e.g. murder, then I quite agree with you – statistics shouldn’t be allowed to overrule an individual’s state of mind.

                  But on non-individual, non-criminal issues like patterns of trial procedures, or voting rights, I think legal conclusions can be drawn based on effect alone, without having to prove “intent” or its absence on the part of masses of prosecutors or legislators. De facto discrimination patterns and their legal rectification should be separable from intent.

                  Does that distinction hold water?

                  • That makes sense to me, because the alternative is that we can’t solve problems without first assigning blame to individuals based on character flaws that may or may not exist.

                    However, I am still skeptical of the ability of legislation to solve such problems with or without the presence of character flaws. I think that helping people develop the ability and will to recognize and fix problems is the only approach that has a shot of working without producing dangerous side effects.

    • Oh, so now I get it. This is just like all those other families where there’s a member who’s “different,” so everyone else has to toe the line, so that Thanksgiving dinner can happen without a hitch. Inevitably it’s the cop who’s spent years patrolling the crumbling inner city streets who’s expected to bite his tongue because idiot cousin #1 crossed the color line. Inevitably it’s the veteran who battled terror on its home ground who’s expected to bite his tongue because idiot cousin #2 is doing some Egyptian exchange student. Inevitably it’s the believing Christian who’s expected to clam up because idiot cousin #3…well, you get the point.

      Charles has to play the part of the self-hating, own-race-shaming “white ally” but at least he isn’t sleeping on the couch tonight. And if this sounds a little personal, it IS!

    • Charles, I think your presentation and your understanding has been and is consistent, and the logic of your presentation is also consistent. That is part of how I see elaborated philosophical positions: They are established within a parameter and are usually self-consitent. And then there are competing systems which function according to another predicate-set. Oh my, you can see how confused I am …

      I have examined all sorts of material related to this issue and notice an essential polarity, and one I have referred to earlier. I bring it up because I sense that everything hinges on it. Identity politics, the newer politics of race, the after-effects of Sixties radicalism, the consolidation of the ‘liberal state’, and also postmodern trends, the link-up between state and corporation in the liberal state setting, the doctrine of feminism in its political aspects, and of course Black liberation politics (and more), all have clear links to European intellectual radicalism (the term that is used, too broadly of course, is ‘The Frankfurt School’) which derives directly from hard-core Marxism, yet a Marxism that inverts (for various reasons).

      The Frankfurt School evolves and becomes the wide, strange, yet compelling doctrine(s) of Critical Theory, and the doctrines and discourses and narratives of CT have pervaded our culture and our discourse. This is Marxist dialectical criticism with injections of steroids and at times hallucinogens: it is inhibited from outward action and so it inverts inward is one way to put it). I don’t know if you or anyone else feels the same, or thinks similar thoughts, but the general focus – perhaps ‘intentionality’ – of Marxist praxis, its evolution into Critical Theory, etc., can be said to be, might be described as being, undermining and destructive. It says it wishes to build and construct (it is utopian) but it has to tear away obstructing elements first. The original intent of Marxist praxis, of course, was the undermining and the replacement of European institutions, and critical work is effort to undermine legitimacy of those institutions. Yet at the core of the ‘Institution’ is, and some say this outrightly, white Europeanism, and thus white identity.

      Now, as it happens (this is how the narrative goes …) Identity Politics when handled by minorities and the disadvantaged (a laden term but not a false one) begins to take on the form of (what is called) a ‘reverse-racism’; that is: Since it is the White European who is the source of all the problem (does racism originate anywhere else?), it becomes evident that whiteness as a category is the problem, and by extension, should be eliminated. And as part of this effort there is this movement, or this policy, of ‘Diversity’ or diversifying. To those on what is, in terms of the Public Square of allowable discourse, The Fringe (as is and was my ex-Finnish BF who high-tailed it back to Finland – well after we had separated) this amounts to an assault on whiteness that, with passing time, becomes evermore bold and explicit.

      The further development of these ideas which, as I said to Jack, are part of a group of ideas that are confusing and challenging – but are not illogical (though they do link toward nationalist-identity discourse, and some of the theorists are anti-capitalist, as well as anti-Jewish, that much is certain and undeniable) – lead one quickly into areas of discourse that are largely hyper-contentious if also non-conversable simply because it is so totally contentious.

      From my perspective (a classic fence-sitter) I cannot help but notice how your overall discourse 1) seems to derive from transformed or if you will permit the turn of phrase ‘redecorated’ or ‘made-up’ radical discourses, and 2) seem to lead to, or would seem to lead, toward an end of your own white identity. The question How could white identity be maintained in a sea of non-white identity that (seems to) identify whiteness and white identity as the essential problem? Additionally, I have the sense that the American nation (of which I am a product) has attempted to engineer a more stable race-integrated culture but that it is all beginning to come apart at the seams. (Engineered results are unstable, naturally).

      Curious to hear your opinion of this or any part of it.

      • Alizia,
        I’m not really sure how to reply. I lost either interest or ability to follow critical theory back at Marcuse; I just can’t read Habermas or Foucault without glazing over and going to back David Hume and William James.

        I do note however that, curiously, you and Steve-O share a point of view. As Steve puts it, I’m a “self-hating, own-race-shaming white.” You suggest my thoughts lead to an “end of my own white identity.”

        I just don’t see it that way. My roots are from Nebraska, just like Johnny Carson and Dick Cavett, which is a pretty white version of white, and I’m proud of it. I haven’t hesitated to benefit from being a WASP and I’m not ashamed of that. When I travel abroad, I’m proud of being an American (except maybe at the gate area just before the final flight back, where it seems we indulge all our worst American traits).

        If anything, I think we all need to get over this stuff. The way to do that, I believe, is to give respect to others and to not worry so much about getting respect in return. The world has an excess of fear and hatred, and a deficit of humility and generosity. Whites have no monopoly on that.

        But at the same time, the ways of the world are such that everywhere in the globe, lighter skinned people are in positions of power relative to dark-skinned people. If you want to be real, you’ve got to go where reality is.

        By virtue of my experiences I’m qualified to speak about some things more than about others. One of those is the perspective of a white person with a slightly better than average exposure to black culture (another person with such perspective and a far better writer on the subject is Keith Richards).

        Self-hating? Nah.

        • But at the same time, the ways of the world are such that everywhere in the globe, lighter skinned people are in positions of power relative to dark-skinned people. If you want to be real, you’ve got to go where reality is.

          the whole globe?

          That must mean that lighter skinned people are superior to darker-skinned people, if that is indeed the case.

          You are certainly the first I ever heard to claim that white supremacy is global

      • Charles wrote: I do note however that, curiously, you and Steve-O share a point of view. As Steve puts it, I’m a “self-hating, own-race-shaming white.” You suggest my thoughts lead to an “end of my own white identity.”

        Oh but I suggest there may be a giant different, for after all I have no idea at all what really informs Steve-O, and I am pretty deeply suspicious of most people’s definitions. Can you say with clarity where he is coming from?

        [The idea of ‘self-hatred’ is one that people bring up often against Chomsky (someone mentioned him some posts up) and I think this is really rather funny. I see Chomsky as being totally informed by his Jewish-Yeshiva background. I mention this because I have always been puzzled by the question: Where/what is Chomsky’s moral engine? It formation really seems to come out more in his old age. He has often described himself as ‘a child of the Enlightenment’, and perhaps intellectually he is, but at a more fundamental level he is a religious Jew. Well, that is my opinion. (See this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D5in5EdjhD0). Excuse the aside. The talk is worthwhile and shows another side of the man’s thinking.]

        I would not have described your outlook at one of self-hating, I want to be clear. I would note that your ideas would not allow you to focalize a racial and cultural sense of self, would not allow you to have a strong and defined sense of ‘white identity’, nor one to defend and explain ascent (to the upper echelons of rulership). You could only explain and defend descent. We certainly have access to narratives that support the rise of minorities and their ascension toward and into ‘power’, but the only narrative for whites (if I may speak generally) is surrender of power, or power-sharing. Since I do not know what is right and best I just note that your perspective could not be, shall we say, militant in regard to your own power or position. Myself, I think this is questionable. But I realize that just by saying this I am saying something rather transgressive, at least in our present.

        But at the same time, the ways of the world are such that everywhere in the globe, lighter skinned people are in positions of power relative to dark-skinned people.

        Father Marx tends to speak through all of us. We open our mouths and we channel him. That was an attempt at a joke. I wonder if this idea of relinquishing power derives from a self-disempowerment dialect. I don’t know about Steve-O but certain people would read you this way.

        All that I do is ask questions.

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