Pundit Malpractice: NBC Sports Defends Colin Kaepernick By Misrepresenting Jackie Robinson

What does Jackie Robinson's autobiography have to do with Colin Kaepernick, you ask? Well...nothing at all, really.

What does Jackie Robinson’s autobiography have to do with Colin Kaepernick, you ask? Well…nothing at all, really.

It also represents a rationalization for unethical conduct that is not currently represented on the Ethics Alarms Rationalization List.

Someone sent Craig this quote, from Jackie Robinson’s  autobiography,  as baseball’s color-line breaker thought back to the first game of the 1947 World Series:

“There I was, the black grandson of a slave, the son of a black sharecropper, part of a historic occasion, a symbolic hero to my people. The air was sparkling. The sunlight was warm. The band struck up the national anthem. The flag billowed in the wind. It should have been a glorious moment for me as the stirring words of the national anthem poured from the stands. Perhaps, it was, but then again, perhaps, the anthem could be called the theme song for a drama called The Noble Experiment. Today, as I look back on that opening game of my first world series, I must tell you that it was Mr. Rickey’s drama and that I was only a principal actor. As I write this twenty years later, I cannot stand and sing the anthem. I cannot salute the flag; I know that I am a black man in a white world. In 1972, in 1947, at my birth in 1919, I know that I never had it made.”

This naturally made Craig, whose mind sometimes cannot help itself from shifting into progressive cant autopilot, think about Colin Kaepernick’s incoherent grandsitting as he refuses to stand on the field with his team for the National Anthem. He wrote,

“Colin Kaepernick is not Jackie Robinson and America in 2016 is not the same as America in 1919, 1947 or 1972. But it does not take one of Jackie Robinson’s stature or experience to see and take issue with injustice and inequality which manifestly still exists…the First Amendment gives us just as much right to criticize Kaepernick as it gives him a right to protest in the manner in which he chooses. But if and when we do, we should not consider his case in a vacuum or criticize him as some singular or radical actor. Because some other people — people who have been elevated to a level which has largely immunized them from criticism — felt and feel the same way he does. It’s worth asking yourself, if you take issue, whether you take issue with the message or the messenger and why. Such inquiries might complicate one’s feelings on the matter, but they’re quite illuminative as well.”

Let’s begin with the fact that there is nothing similar about Jackie Robinson and the 49ers quarterback, except their race and the broad occupation of “sports” that they shared. Craig, had he not been momentarily dazed, should have stopped with “Colin Kaepernick is not Jackie Robinson and America in 2016 is not the same as America in 1919, 1947 or 1972.”  Exactly. So how is Robinson’s quote relevant? Robinson was speaking about his feelings as a wounded civil rights warrior who suffered terribly as he used his character, courage and skills to integrate baseball, and by extension, American culture. His life was a public battle against racism in the law, government, society and sport, and it was nearing a premature end—he died the year his autobiography was published–in great part because of the stress that battle put on his body.

To say Robinson paid his dues and well-beyond them as a citizen with moral authority to criticize his nation is an understatement. I would have been surprised to learn that Jackie Robinson was not conflicted to the end of his life when he heard the National Anthem.

Robinson, however, never refused to stand for the anthem on the field of play while he was a ballplayer. That is because, as an intelligent and ethical man and citizen, he knew that his role, while representing not just himself  but his team, his city, his community and his sport, was not to exploit his celebrity and position to make cheap, inarticulate gestures, but to do what sports are supposed to do: bring communities together, display and model important societal values, allow people to escape from the din of politics and the struggle of everyday life, and play. Robinson’s job as the first black Major League Baseball player since the sport embraced bigotry was to work toward ending hate and injustice, not to protest against them on the field.

Comparing Robinson to a dim bulb like Kaepernick is an insult, just as comparing the context, nuance and meaning of Robinson’s comments to Kaepernick’s stated context for his—“There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder”— is equating thoughtfulness with ignorance. Jackie Robinson wrote that “the anthem could be called the theme song for a drama called The Noble Experiment,” and that’s a fair description. That’s a fair description of the United States in general. Even the passage from Jackie’s book  itself isn’t a model of coherence –Jackie had a ghostwriter, and should have demanded better, and nobody “has it made” in this country, but “I Never Had It Made” was the title of the book—but it still doesn’t say, as  Kaepernick  does, that America “oppresses black people and people of color.” He didn’t say that, because Robinson wouldn’t choose to divide American society by asserting that, or by inference attack the many, many white citizens, like Branch Rickey, that worked for him and with him to make “The Noble Experiment” succeed.

I doubt that Jackie Robinson ever felt as Kaepernick does, but it is especially intellectually and ethically indefensible to argue that Jackie Robinson’s feelings, in 1972, about the civil rights battles still being fought, while there were few black representatives in Congress, no black governors (the first was elected 18 years after Robinson died), a single black U.S. Senator (Ed Brooke), virtually no blacks in corporate boardrooms, or starring in TV shows, or giving the evening news (ABC’s Max Robinson broke that color line, in 1978) in any way support the 2016 actions of a pampered pro athlete who was not the son of a Deep South black sharecropper but the adopted son of white, middle-class  Wisconsonites, who makes $19,000,000 a year, in a nation led by a black President, leading a government that as I noted in the earlier post, has been spending huge amounts of taxpayer funds and warping public policy to try to give the black community the assistance it needs.

The rest of Craig’s argument is almost as muddled as Kaepernick’s. Kaepernick does not have a First Amendment right to stage protests on the job: been away from the law office a bit too long, have you Craig? Robinson’s statement is not context for Kaepernick’s in any way, for Kaepernick is basing his stunt—and it is a stunt—on Black Lives Matters mythology and his own ignorance about the justice system and workplace law and ethics, while Robinson based his comments on his own life’s experience. Moreover, how Robinson felt in 1972 cannot justify, explicate, and in no way are “illuminitive” (Craig’s legal background crops up in the strangest ways, rather than where one wished they would manifest themselves, as in logic) of Kaepernick’s feelings or conduct now.

Calcaterra did use a rationalization that I have never encountered before. At first I thought this was #32, The Unethical Role Model: “He/She would have done the same thing.” However, that rationalization involves cherry-picking unethical conduct by otherwise admirable and ethical individuals of the past who engaged in similar wrongdoing, on the flawed theory that because, for example, Clarence Darrow bribed a juryman, it’s all right for a lawyer to do it today. No, the conduct is wrong, and the fact that a famous lawyer engaged in it once doesn’t make it any more tolerable.  But what Craig is doing is a different rationalization. He’s engaging in time-traveling ethics—is that a good name?—by asserting that what Jackie Robinson said from his perspective in 1972 can serve as ethical justification for what Colin Kaepernick is saying and doing in 2016.  It can’t.

Thus, to answer Craig’s question, I “take issue” with both the messenger and his message, as well with as Calcaterra’s attempt to recruit Jackie Robinson to make both seem more legitimate than they are.

 

 

57 thoughts on “Pundit Malpractice: NBC Sports Defends Colin Kaepernick By Misrepresenting Jackie Robinson

    • Reminds me of one of Bill Clinton’s most absurd lies, when he said that “If Thomas Jefferson were alive today, he’d be shocked that we don’t have universal health care in this country.” The major proponant of small government would be shocked that the nation he helped define does have a massive nanny state health system, eh Bill?

      Steve Allen had a short-lived show in which actors portraying historical figures debated current issues (Steve was the moderator). Unfortunately, the actors weren’t smart enough to wing it, and scripting it is cheating.

      I’d have Shakespeare, Ben Franklin, Clarence Darrow, and Mark Twain in my first group, and see what’s left after the dust clears.

        • Cheating, in the sense that a round table discussion that is really scripted doesn’t and can’t represent the spontaneous give and take of a real round table discussion. That’s really why the show failed. Now, an improvised discussion by skilled actors thoroughly read in the works of the figures they were playing and smart enough to synthesize arguments based on the writings and lives of those people—that would at least approximate such a discussion. I agree that Cheating isn’t the best word. What would be more accurate? Half-assed?

  1. Jack,
    “Kaepernick does not have a First Amendment right to stage protests on the job: been away from the law office a bit too long, have you Craig?”

    In one sense he does, a job can’t censor your First Amendment rights, but they can terminate your employment and subject you to subsequent punitive action for doing so. I realize, however, that’s semantic.

    From what I understand, the NFL has no official policy requiring players to stand, only that they are “encouraged” to do so. That would seem to leave the decision very much up to him.

    Like you, I think both the message and the messenger are flawed, and his behavior unjustified, but he was also well within his rights (I KNOW there is a different between what is legal and what is ethical — stop re-explaining that every time). Or have I failed to consider something?

    -Neil

    • The fact that the NFL (foolishly) refuses to impose reasonable standards of conduct doesn’t mean he’s exercising a right. It’s not a right if the NFL could remove it at any time, which it can.

  2. Colin Kaepernick might be an excellent microcosm of the activists in the Black Lives Matter movement. He is privileged, as most of the modern race-warmongers are. He is sheltered. He doesn’t have to worry about the problems that take the most Black lives. He doesn’t have to fear his kids being mowed down in a drive-by every time they walk down the street. He has a lot of spare time. He probably feels guilt or dissatisfaction over not being part of the “struggle” as his Black forefathers were. He may not feel sufficiently Black because he has been conditioned to think that Black identity means that you must feel oppressed by outside “systems.” He has never been oppressed in any meaningful way by anyone, and this makes him unhappy. (Never having been oppressed, he cannot realize that being oppressed is not cool. Being oppressed sucks.)

    He does not choose to do the difficult work of tackling the major problems that impact Black lives, because this is not about Black lives. this is about self-validation.

    The entire Black Lives Matter movement isn’t really about cops, guns, or even really race relations. It’s a symptom of Marxist ideology in schools taking root in different groups of spoiled rich people, and turning them into morons. Marxism is like catnip to self-absorbed twenty-somethings. It posits that you, the individual, are a virtuous, innocent soul, heroically raging against an evil empire. The empire can be anything (America, patriarchy, racism, bug business) but as long as you identify it and rage against it, you are the default hero. No introspection necessary.

    • So only the actual oppressed can speak up and protest for the oppressed? Many of the Freedom Riders during the Civil Rights era were privileged whites who nonetheless decided to stand up for black southerners. Many men spoke up on behalf of the suffragettes. Many non-Jews nonetheless sheltered and protested the treatment of Jews before and during pre-WWII Germany. And many rich people speak up and protest about poverty issues both here and abroad. I don’t see why one has to be oppressed to speak about and protest a particular injustice. If anything, we should encourage the non-oppressed o speak up on behalf of those who don’t have such a large platform.

      • Yes but the white freedom riders stood a good chance of being thrown in jail, beat up, spat on, and in several cases murdered. Kaerpernick is at risk of none of those. He might get booed from the stands or somebody could give him a microagression look which would probably hurt his feelings. Too bad!!!

        • Ah, so you are only allowed to speak up for the oppressed if you risk getting hurt/murdered?

          Given the amount of vitriol and slurs thrown his way, and the fact that he is quite likely to get cut by his team, and now unlikely to get picked up by anyone else, I would say he has risked quite a bit. But I don’t think risk is a necessary element to speak up when you see or experience oppression.

          • Given that he obviously thought he was having an easy hero-moment, I doubt whether any of your suppositions hold water. They were not “facts” in his mind or Kaepernick wouldn’t have tried them on in the first place. Like the rest of the BLM-supporters, a minority of a minority, he mistook silence on behalf of the general public for automatic assent. If he had any “time-traveling ethics” in mind, it would have been Smith and Carlos, champion athletes up on the Olympic medal stand in 1968, a truly risky, very different, very carefully staged event backed up by a specific boycott movement.

            • He did make very specific mention of the blowback he was likely to receive. He had the very immediate example of the reaction Gabby Douglas received at the Olympics for only failing to put her hand to her heart if he had any doubts about how his protest was going to go over with the general public.

              Smith and Carlos (as well as the Australian man who, while not directly participating, nonetheless helped the protest happen) paid a huge price for years for their protest. The backlash was immediate and brutal. History has been kind to them, as it has been to Ali. It is amazing how much then, as now, so many deny there is a problem that needs protesting, and hat such protests are illegitimate and inherently anti-white. Perhaps a few decades from now, such a reassessment of his actions might take place.

              • Oh, balderdash. The Gabby Douglas kerfuffle was a one day, stupid story. Smith and Carlos should have paid a price: it wasn’t their place to hijack the Olympics for a personal political statement. Ali made a principled stand based on his religion, and gave up a great deal. He also articulated a real case. CK, as I’ve said more than once, has not. The paid leave comment is flat out moronic: do you defend that? Someone grandstanding a public protest that interferes with his team has a high standard of responsibility to explain what the hell he’s protesting, and with weeks to think about it, comes up with grotesque hyperbole (blacks are not oppressed, and he especially isn’t oppressed), useless generalities (whose bodies are are in the streets?) and cretinism. Why are you spinning for this jerK? Because he’s sort of black? Because he’s protesting something? It can’t be just that he’s an idiot…you shouldn’t feel sorry for someone that rich and that pompous.

                • The Gabby Douglas kerfuffle was a one day, stupid story.

                  The fact that it was a story at all is notable. It shouldn’t have been. The CK story should have been much the same. He had been sitting down for weeks apparently without much notice or bother. Only when someone asked him his reasons for doing so did it become a sensation.

                  Why are you spinning for this jerK? Because he’s sort of black? Because he’s protesting something? It can’t be just that he’s an idiot…you shouldn’t feel sorry for someone that rich and that pompous.

                  You believe the Black Lives Matter movement to be inherently unethical. You do not think there is a problem with systematic racism within police departments across the United States, nor do you seem to believe that police brutality is much of a problem beyond a few isolated incidents. Therefore, any statements he made of behalf of BLM, no matter how articulate, you would find to be unethical.

                  I don’t care one way or the other that CK decided not to stand up for the anthem. He could have easily been doing it on behalf of All Lives Matter, or because he hates pickles. He has an overall right not to do so, and a contractual right not to do so. The NFL obviously contemplated that some of their players might not stand for the anthem (Jehovah Witnesses, for example do not stand for the anthem or the Pledge of Allegiance) and did not deem it an important enough point to insist upon or bargain about. His team doesn’t seem to care all that much. And if that is the extent of his exercising his beliefs upon the field, interfering with no one else’s beliefs, they probably shouldn’t.

                  America has never liked black athletes speaking up on behalf of the black community. Witness all the rape allegations, the domestic abuse charges, the assaults, and even murders, but so much outrage and racial slurs poured over a man who simply chose to sit quietly. Jut like in the 60s, he gets accused of being a socialist, communist sympathizer. We do get an updated 21st century twist in that he is also an Islamic sympathizer as well. All for not standing up for anthem that explicitly celebrates the killing of slaves who wanted to be free.

                  I don’t think beliefs need to be religious in nature for someone to protest. Nor do I think one needs to be from the oppressed group to speak up or protest on behalf of that group. I really don’t know where people got that idea, but it certainly seems to be a popular one.

                  • You refuse to address the issues I raised specifically, and fall back on cliches. slogans and cant. I don’t “believe” that the blacks aren’t “oppressed” in the US: they are not. Systemic racism is an excuse and a rationalization. A black child and a white child of similar native abilities, whose parents, two of them for each child, raise them with good role models and values, read to them, have books in the house, and allow them to thrive while understanding that they are ultimately accountable for their success or failure, absent random misfortune, have an equal chance of success. A nation that spends a disproportionate amount of its wealth and that warps public policy to try to help minorities overcome what is in many cases the consequences of their own conduct is not and cannot be said to be “oppressing” those same people. Utter, utter propaganda and nonsense. I see you cleverly shifted from CK’s “systemic racism” to “systemic racism in police departments,” which is better but still a lie. There are some racist police departments, and racial bias created in police departments that have to deal with a disproportionate number of black criminals. THAT, in turn, is because there is a toxic and destructive culture in many black communities, which, interestingly, I do not see BLM protesting or even acknowledging. If black lives really mattered to them, they would try to get the unwed mother % down under 50%, instead of over 70%.

                    And wrong, I know police brutality has always been a problem, but it is not exclusively a racial problem, and every shooting is not a case of police brutality, as BLM seems to argue.

                    “Therefore, any statements he made of behalf of BLM, no matter how articulate, you would find to be unethical.” How about starting with an articulate and fact-based statement, and give me the chance to respond? No statemnt referring to Mike Brown, Eric Garner or Trayvon Martin, for example, is fair or fact based. The “paid leave” comment suggests innocent until proven guilty is the desired standard and that violates everything the justice system is based on.

                    Athletes, like singers and actors, have no more qualification to weigh in on policy matters than ditch diggers and porn stars. They abuse and misuse celebrity to convince the dim and uncritical: yes, I object to it as a pretension to authority and expertise that doesn’t exist. First show me you’re smart and trustworthy, and then I might pay attention.

                    • I don’t “believe” that the blacks aren’t “oppressed” in the US: they are not. Systemic racism is an excuse and a rationalization. I black child and a white child of similar native abilities, whose parents, two of them for each child, raise them with good role models and values, read to them, have books in the house, and allow them to thrive while understanding that they are ultimately accountable for their success or failure, absent random misfortune, have an equal chance of success.

                      Of course there is still systemic racism within the United States overall. One would have to be willfully ignorant not to see it. Refer, for one example, to the study which shows that two resumes, completely identical in every way, one with a typical “white” name, and another with a typical “African-American” name. The white resume was called in for interviews a much higher rate than the identical in every way African-American resume.

                      There are some racist police departments, and racial bias created in police departments that have to deal with a disproportionate number of black criminals. THAT, in turn, is because there is a toxic and destructive culture in many black communities, which, interestingly, I do not see BLM protesting or even acknowledging. If black lives really mattered to them, they would try to get the unwed mother % down under 50%, instead of over 70%.

                      There is the much discussed systemic racism within police departments. Which you reluctantly acknowledge…but put the blame on black people for causing, and the responsibility for solving. So black people should just passively accept racist treatment from police officers, that their tax dollars go to pay, because of the actions of unrelated individuals that they have no control over? They should give up their rights until they somehow persuade some guy three towns over to marry the mother of his children. Shift from “black people” to “people with brown eyes” and you see how ridiculous that notion is. It’s the same old red herring that people use to shield police from being forced to clean up their own actions, which they do have control over individual’s actions while on duty.

                      And wrong, I know police brutality has always been a problem, but it is not exclusively a racial problem, and every shooting is not a case of police brutality, as BLM seems to argue.

                      I don’t think even BLM states that police brutality is exclusively a black problem. Just a disproportionately black problem. Many of the prominent activist have highlighted incidents of police brutality against whites, Hispanics, and Asians. There have been well over 800 documented police shootings thus far this year. No one from BLM has ever suggested that they are all unjustified, and indeed, only a very small percentage of those do they call attention to and garner protest.

                      Therefore, any statements he made of behalf of BLM, no matter how articulate, you would find to be unethical.” How about starting with an articulate and fact-based statement, and give me the chance to respond? No statement referring to Mike Brown, Eric Garner or Trayvon Martin, for example, is fair or fact based. The “paid leave” comment suggests innocent until proven guilty is the desired standard and that violates everything the justice system is based on.

                      If he had referred to Castile, or Crawford, or McDonald, that would have been better? You seem to firmly believe that these are all “unfortunate isolated incidents”, and thus all irrelevant anyway. And paid v. unpaid leave has nothing to do with the justice system. Those are contractual terms that are bargained for by police unions. There is nothing that compels us to grant police involved in shootings paid leave. We could easily have unpaid leave, or even suspension until the results of the investigation come in, at which point they can be given back pay. Or have a recommendation for one versus another based on a quick preliminary investigation, and reserve permanent action until the full investigation. But in any case, we certainly don’t have to grant paid leave. Many jobs fire people permanently for far less cause, and no investigation at all.

                      Athletes, like singers and actors, have no more qualification to weigh in on policy matters than ditch diggers and porn stars. They abuse and misuse celebrity to convince the dim and uncritical: yes, I object to it as a pretension to authority and expertise that doesn’t exist. First show me you’re smart and trustworthy, and then I might pay attention.

                      Everyone can weigh in on whatever policy issues that they are interested in. People have only as much authority as they are granted. The problem is not on the speaker, it is on the people listening who refuse to be critical about what they are hearing.

                    • 1. The resume study proves bias against blacks, as there will be bias against any group that has a higher rate of work absences, criminal activity and law suits for employment action. How is that “systemic” racism? Do you know what “systemic” means?

                      2. I don’t know what BLM you’re talking about. I’m talking about the one with website that talsk about police as an arm of WHITE oppression.

                      3. Those are unfortunate incidents, and if they involved whites, nobody would suggest otherwise.

                      4. No, deery, they can’t “weigh in” ON THE JOB…on the field, on stage. And even when they can, it doesn’t mean they should.

                    • The resume study proves bias against blacks, as there will be bias against any group that has a higher rate of work absences, criminal activity and law suits for employment action. How is that “systemic” racism? Do you know what “systemic” means?

                      Ah, so once again, for the people in the back, racism against black people is actually the fault of black people? Cool. Got it.

                      Systemic racism is both a theoretical concept and a reality. As a theory, it is premised on the research-supported claim that the United States was founded as a racist society, that racism is thus embedded in all social institutions, structures, and relations within our society. Rooted in a racist foundation, systemic racism today is composed of intersecting, overlapping, and codependent racist institutions, policies, practices, ideas, and behaviors that give an unjust amount of resources, rights, and power to white people while denying them to people of color. http://sociology.about.com/od/S_Index/fl/Systemic-Racism.htm

                      I don’t know what BLM you’re talking about. I’m talking about the one with website that talks about police as an arm of WHITE oppression.

                      It is well-documented that BLM has written about and protested police brutality not just against black people, but whites, Asians, and Hispanics, even though that is not their primary focus. It’s written down. Even a cursory search should bring it up. Not worth debating.

                      3. Those are unfortunate incidents, and if they involved whites, nobody would suggest otherwise.

                      Isolated incidents. Nothing to see here. Move along.

                      4. No, deery, they can’t “weigh in” ON THE JOB…on the field, on stage. And even when they can, it doesn’t mean they should.

                      NFL contract specifically allows that they can. And he his conscience felt that he *should*. And if disturbs no one else by his non-actions, I don’t see the problem. No one should be compelled to stand for the anthem, whatever reasons they might hold.

                    • Ah, so once again, for the people in the back, racism against black people is actually the fault of black people? Cool. Got it.

                      Don’t be an asshole. The phenomenon I describe is real. If an identifiable group disproportionately engages in certain conduct, members of that group will be increasingly regarded as threats to engage in such behavior. To that extent, it IS the community’s fault. I had FOUR straight black employees have persistent aattendance issues in an organization I managed, and three straight that alleged bias and made EEOC complaints when they had to be terminated for cause. When the next round of hiring presented a qualified black candidate, I had to consciously, consciously, decide NOT to apply my previous experience to that hire. (She ended up suing us too…after stealing funds.) Yeah, blcks engaging in misconduct hurt others in the community. Absolutely. That’s not systemic.

                      Go sit in the corner.

                    • But Jack, what you just wrote is the definition of racism:

                      “The resume study proves bias against blacks, as there will be bias against any group that has a higher rate of work absences, criminal activity and law suits for employment action. How is that “systemic” racism? Do you know what “systemic” means?”

                      Judging or fearing one person because of the color of their skin is racism.

                      This reminds me of when I went to college, my mother was terrified that I would have a black roommate. She explained that while she was sure that my black roommate would be perfectly nice, she will have black friends and relatives and one of them was sure to be a criminal.

                    • Bullshit. That is not racism. We accumulate statistics quantifying racial characteristics in health, politics and many many other qualities. Profiling isn’t racism. I’m not judging an individual by saying “the odds are much higher that this this individual will file ad EEOC complaint me because of her race.” That’s true. TThat’s risk assessment. That’s what the statistics say. Now, I refuse to let those statistic dictate my hiring, AGAINST interest, because its not fair to disadvantage an individual because their group has special problems. But it isn’t racism if I did.

                      Christ, Beth…you assume that as a white male I am the beneficiary of white privilege, and that’s not racism in your eyes, but just assumptions based on what you think are the odds.

                    • “[One] black child and a white child of similar native abilities, whose parents, two of them for each child, raise them with good role models and values, read to them, have books in the house, and allow them to thrive while understanding that they are ultimately accountable for their success or failure, absent random misfortune, have an equal chance of success.”

                      This is simply not true. Not remotely true. Money, connections, and luck come into play as well. Money gets handed down from generation to generation, so if your group (race, gender, etc.) has been denied that success, then the playing field will never be equal, even if you have a lot of books in the house. And money equals connections. Luck, of course, is just that — a wild card.

                      I don’t think we can ever truly have a level playing field, but we should at least accept that this is the case and — while we’re at it — try and overcome some of our biases.

                    • Saving patterns, parental sacrifice and socializion too. Speaking standard English well: my son communicates clearly. Is that privilege? How hard is it for a culture to prioritize the ability to communicate? Deery was arguing that there’s nothing superior about standard English. Tell me that’s not a self-inflicted handicap.

                      You’re beating the “white privilege” drum again. What stops blacks from making contacts and connections? My son makes his own connections, and money has nothing to do with it. I didn’t use any of my school connections to get jobs, and my dad was as poor as any black man you can find, abject poverty. No inheritance. Same with my mom. None. My contacts were made in theater, with people from every socio-economic background. My son’s contacts: all people who like cars and taking them apart. Pushing the myth that all whites are born to families where mom and dad are the Howells from “Gilligan’s Island” is as much bigotry as assuming every black is born to a welfare queen. It’s also lazy and dishonest, and impedes useful discussion because it promotes distrust.

                    • “Pushing the myth that all whites are born to families where mom and dad are the Howells from “Gilligan’s Island” is as much bigotry as assuming every black is born to a welfare queen. It’s also lazy and dishonest, and impedes useful discussion because it promotes distrust.”

                      I never said that. And let’s not get into the “who grew up poorer contest,” because I’m pretty sure that I would win. But you can’t ignore the fact that there is an entire group of people who started out in slavery in this country, and that there were sets of laws (or unofficial policies) that kept them from advancement until recently. It is going to take more than a few generations for black families to catch up — even if opportunities were equal (which it is not).

                      As for “white privilege,” of course it exists. I see it all the time. Take law firms — a subject you and I both know well. There are few women and people of color in top leadership positions. Why? There’s nothing sinister about it now, but equity partners started out as white males. This group then picked out the next set of equity partners, and so on, and so on. People tend to promote people who are like them. I look around at my closest friends, and they mostly tend to be white women (there are some exceptions), who like to read similar novels, are the same age, see theater, have children the same age, and enjoy good food and wine. My family finds it odd that I do have several close male friends.

                      If I am interviewing two candidates and they are otherwise equally qualified, I am more likely to hire the person with whom I identify the most. As long as leadership positions are obtained through this subjective process, they will remain white and male for a long time.

                    • Take law firms — a subject you and I both know well. There are few women and people of color in top leadership positions. Why? There’s nothing sinister about it now, but equity partners started out as white males.

                      What stops black people from creating their own law firms?

                    • I have some insight regarding women, at least. In the area of trial law, there just aren’t many women who practice it. I was at a gathering of over 30 trial lawyers from various firms regarding a single set of cases—ONE woman, and she was the wife of one of the male lawyers. Women don’t generally go into trial law. There’s nothing stopping them.

                    • Right now, nothing, except the usual obstacles to creating a law firm.

                      However the most well-respected, white shoe law firms tend to be old and large.

                      There were a few black lawyers back in the day, but whenever the black community became to successful, or even individual black people, things had a way of mysteriously burning down, or the individual was lynched on thin pretexts. See Black Wall Street as an example. The accumulation of capital within the black community was systematically prevented for the 100+ years after slavery, and black people are only slowly able to play catch up now.

                      Which is why I roll my eyes whenever I hear the much-clichéd story of the from some historically ignorant fool who spouts about his “immigrant ancestor who came here with nothing and now we have money, and why didn’t black people do the same?” They did. They tried. And watched their efforts stolen from them if they were lucky, their lives taken away if they were not. All the while the law looked the other way. Most immigrant stories don’t end that way.

                    • Blacks didn’t do that because they couldn’t in most cases, being slaves rather than immigrants. Your story is irrelevant to current day, free-born blacks, however.

                      Not irrelevant as to why black people have not established yet the sort of large, old white shoe law firms that hire the bulk of prestigious law students and provide them training that then feeds into Supreme Court clerkships, prestigious government jobs, and equity partnerships at other law firms. So it is good to have that as background knowledge.

                      Black people do start law firms now (like the Cochrane Law Firm), but it will be decades upon decades more before they are able to make the kind of prestige and networking necessary o equal those types of firms.

                    • The number of law firms that date back even as far as the sixties is a fast diminishing group. There has been plenty of time to form “black law firms,” except that just as a firm styled as “white” would be a prejudiced enterprise, so would one styled as “black.” Any firm that chose fairly from the pool of available lawyers would end up as majority white, simply because of the demographics.

                    • Yes, there are large, respectable firms that are relatively new — last 30-40 years. But how do those law firms start? Nearly 100% of the time, a respected partner with a portfolio of business decides to set up his own shop and takes 20 or 30 attorneys with him from his old respected law firm. You don’t get to start your new respectable law firm unless you can do that — and to do that, you already need to be an equity partner. And equity partners are white and male. So the same problem repeats itself, over and over again.

                      Female and minority attorneys are not stupid. We see this happening. I, for one, could have worked at my fancy AM Law 100 law firm forever (which is nothing to sneeze at), but it was clear that I would never be made partner in my group. So I left. Many competent and qualified female attorneys go to government or in-house jobs for this reason, but those jobs tend to be less prestigious and they pay significantly less. So white males continue to earn more.

                  • There is the much discussed systemic racism within police departments

                    California Attorney General Kamala Harris disagrees with you.

                    http://www.mercurynews.com/california/ci_25243849/concealed-carry-gun-law-california-appealed-kamala-harris

                    “Local law enforcement must be able to use their discretion to determine who can carry a concealed weapon”- California State Attorney General Kamala Harris

                    So, either systemic racism suddenly disappears when local law enforcement uses its discretion to determine who can carry a concealed weapon, or it is worth tolerating systemic racism if it means making lawful gun ownership more difficult.

                    Or you could be wrong.

                    • Kamala Harris said that we can trust local law enforcement to “use their discretion to determine who can carry a concealed weapon”

                      So either:

                      – systemic racism magically disappears when the police determine which among us can carry a concealed weapon.
                      – the near-inevitably that the police will “use their discretion” in a racially discriminatory manner is a worthy price to pay make lawful gun ownership more difficult.
                      – You are wrong
                      – Attorney General Harris is wrong
                      – You are both wrong

                      Take your pick.

  3. I think he took a shot that the kerfuffle would cause the 49ers to shy away from cutting him because there is a racial controversy going on. Now firing him will cause the team and its owners and fans to be tagged raaaaaaacist.
    I know it sounds cynical, but progressive safe space political correctness puritanism is currently driving almost everything.

    • I’M AN UNABASHED, PROUD AFRICAN-AMERICAN PROGRESSIVE who finds the words “political correctness” to be overused and your statement fall of sweeping assumption/generalization that in last respectful arenas MIGHT – I SAY MIGHT – be called racist. To quote Sen. Marco Rubio in his dressing down of Donald Trump on the issue of Muslims quote It is not a matter of being politically correct. It is a matter of being correct!” Contrary to Jack’s assertions Colin Kaepernick is entitled to express his views on the job by virtue of the job’s policy, his speech is also protected by the United States Constitution and I will continue later in my own post. Despite ALL OF THAT – NONE OF THAT MEANS I DAMN if he fails to perform on the field! If THAT IS THE CASE, conspiracy theories be damned, he will lose his job with the 49ers and have to seek employment elsewhere. He will probably be paid less – unless he shines elsewhere – and the 49ers will have to cover any gaps to guarantee the portion of the contract they how to cover. But if he does not perform, GET IT CORRECT: He, like every other player in the NFL, will be aware that on the playing field STATISTICAL LIVES MATTER! Destroy your myths about “political correctness” forcing a team working to rebuild itself back to its Super Bowl glory days – complete with a state-of-the-art new stadium to welcome fans and ideally another Vince Lombardi Trophy – would hold onto an inferior player.

      Now, let us flip the script for a minute. Remembering, of course, that above all Statistical Lives Matter. Let’s say he comes off the bench, totally healthy, wins back his starting job, takes the team from being doormats last year to winning the division and getting a first round bye (and home game) in the playoffs, get them one game away from playing for the NFC Championship, is named Come Back Player of the Year in the NFC – all while continuing his protests… What MIGHT be and reaction be…?

      • Colin Kaepernick is entitled to express his views on the job by virtue of the job’s policy, his speech is also protected by the United States Constitution…

        The First amendment isn’t at issue. Stop it. Nobody’s saying the government should arrest him. This is ethics, not Constitutional law. His conduct is divisive, incoherent, embarrassing and ignorant. The fact that the (cowardly) NFL policy—it’s afraid of upsetting ts overwhelmingly A-A players base, same reason it whiffed on domestic abuse—allows players to act like pompous asses doesn’t mean its right or responsible to act like one.

        That aside, I agree with the rest of your comment, and thanks for the analysis.

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