41 responses to “Ethics Quiz: “The Individual Reparations Account”

  1. Alex

    How about we split the difference? You still pay double to assuage your guilt, but instead of giving it to the provider based on race you put it in my IRA, where I will make sure it gets used for ethical expenses.

  2. CBP

    Quality of work done gets the financial reward here, whether the worker is short, tall, fat, skinny, left-handed, right-handed, gay, straight, questioning, white, black, brown, or green with purple polka dots. What will never get the financial reward here is any university that hires whiners as Dyson.

    • Yet he is probably the best known college professor in the country, as well as the one who appears on TV most frequently. Him, or Cornell West, who definitely does NOT regard the Obama years as “wonderful.”

  3. While I love visiting this site, I do not consider myself a paragon of ethical behavior (example: I am still deeply in love with football, even with all of it’s negative aspects. Probably always will be. Go ‘Skins.). As such, take my musings on ethics with a grain of salt.

    That being said, I consider the words of Frederick Douglass, regarding how whites should treat blacks, to be among the most ethical that I have ever heard, and are words that have shaped many of my race-related comments on this site, more than any other:

    From the Mackinac Center for Public Policy:
    “Douglass, in his 1865 speech, stressed this desire for liberty alone. A former slave himself, Douglass shunned special privileges. “Everybody has asked the question, … ‘What shall we do with the Negro?’ I have had but one answer from the beginning. Do nothing with us! Your doing with us has already played the mischief with us. Do nothing with us!”

    Douglass used the metaphor of an apple tree to drive his point home. “If the apples will not remain on the tree of their own strength, … let them fall! I am not for tying or fastening them on the tree in any way, except by nature’s plan, and if they will not stay there, let them fall. And if the Negro cannot stand on his own legs, let him fall also.”
    https://www.mackinac.org/V2005-06

    Why is the mindset of so many well meaning people so blind to the inherent racism and deep insult of lowered expectations and constant handouts? Treat us like you treat each other; no better, and no worse. Is that so &*^*%#! much to ask?

  4. There is an alarming increase of intellectual bankruptcy with regard to black Americans and race relations; is it possible that these idiots don’t see their own racism?

    These idiots see white-on-black racism everywhere even where it doesn’t exist and they completely ignore black-on-white racism even when it’s staring back at them in the mirror. Such hypocrisy.

    • That’s because many blacks don’t believe it exists. Even back in the 80/90s, I remember plenty of black folks saying that black-on-white racism doesn’t exist. Because to be racist you have to have power over the other, and blacks don’t have that over white. So they can’t be racist. Must of that view is still held today by many of them. We all know that’s crap, and that a racist (and especially bigot I guess) is a racist. But many of them believe that they’re not, because they’re so “discriminated” against that it can’t be a thing.

  5. Wayne

    Funny, I don’t think I’ve seen a single black guy operating a lawnmower in Southern California today. That job seems to be reserved for Hispanic migrants. Just shows you how out of touch Professor Dyson is. Just ask the academic senate at Georgetown University if black academics should be paid more than whites, Asians, or Hispanics. I think that you’ll hear the sound of silence.

  6. joed68

    This issue never loses its entertainment value.

    • Glenn Logan

      Off topic:
      Joed68, I just noticed your avatar. I assume it indicates submarine service. If so, I just want to note that I have my dolphins as well. 🙂

      • zoebrain

        Thank you both. I don’t remotely qualify to wear dolphins myself, but I have been known to hang around for months with those who do.

        DBF

        • Glenn Logan

          It was an honor for me, really. Hardly deserving of thanks, but I appreciate the thought. Not everybody gets to see a submarine built from a hoop of steel, examine and test the nuclear reactor plant and instrumentation, and then sit at the reactor plant control panel for Adm. Hyman Rickover’s immediate successor, Admiral Kinnard McKee. I was so fortunate.

          • zoebrain

            Never had much to do with teakettles. Sometimes I think I can still smell the diesel in my hair though. Seariding and advising on care and feeding of very expensive machines that go ping for weeks on end, going to interesting foreign places and doing stuff there that one day might be written about, but probably won’t. The usual. Kept me BSY. Though FRAZled.

            I think my work’s on over two dozen boats now.

            • Glenn Logan

              Awesome. Sonar tech rep, my guess. Two dozen boats indicates the BSY-1 ICS on later flight 688 class attack subs. What would precom, shakedown and refit cruises be without our ride-alongs? 🙂

              Thank you for helping us work that complicated stuff. 🙂

  7. Sir, I owe you NOTHING but civil treatment. The suggestion is absurd and racist (how do YOU know where my ancestors came from and when?)

    White Privilege is racist hogwash for “sit down and shut up!” and middle class Americans are tired of this sort of drivel.

    [calm breaths, focus on rainbows and peaceful new age music]

    Ok, my blood pressure is down again. Look, you cannot repay racial wrongs by racist actions. Human nature resents unfair treatment, no matter the color of the skin, and no amount of money or words will matter or be enough.

  8. Glenn Logan

    I have a question — who is qualified to receive these reparations, and how would I properly identify them?

    Would it be every American with a drop of African blood? For example, how much would I overpay Tiger Woods for a golf lesson, or president Obama for a lecture on constitutional law?

    How would we separate the people who were descendants of slaves from those who were not? Are we just supposed to look at somebody’s skin and just assume they were affected the same way by slavery? What if their parents were African immigrants of fairly recent vintage… say, 1955 or later. What if they are descendants of free black people who were never enslaved, or freed shortly after arrival?

    Can we reduce the payment by the approximate percentage of non-African blood we think they might have just by how dark their skin is? Should we ask for them to undergo DNA testing first, just to make sure we don’t over- or under-pay? Do their historical economic family circumstances enter into it, or do we just assume all dark-skinned people suffered equally?

    With due respect to the good doctor, I just can’t figure out a way to fairly judge how much an African-American ought to receive in excess of an agreed-upon fee — there are just too many variables. Further, I am unqualified to judge a person’s worth by the color of their skin alone. I wouldn’t know where to begin.

    I think I’ll just pay everyone the same thing regardless of their pigmentation. If that seems unfair to Dr. Dyson, well, I guess I’ll just have to struggle with my white guilt. By the way, that seems to get easier with every demand for reparations from the African-American community. I can’t imagine why.

    • Other Bill

      It’s the one drop rule, Glen. Evidently in Jim Crow and prior days, in the U.S. or at least the South, if you had one drop of black blood in your family tree, you were black. No ifs ands or buts. Because of this, we are all estopped from saying, “wait a minute, Obama’s mother was white.” Or so the thinking seems to go. Personally, I don’t see it. But that’s the way it’s being played these days. I can just hear the Reverends Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson thundering, “You reap what you sow, white folks!”

      Interestingly, Tiger Woods doesn’t consider himself black because he thinks that would be a slight of his Thai mother.

      But in any event, I think that’s the answer to your question. One drop of black blood in the service provider entitles him or her to the full contribution from your Individual Reparations Account.

      • Glenn Logan

        Oh, I see. Well, thanks for explaining that to me.

        It’s still a bit unclear to me how to visually reckon that single drop. Even if I were willing, I just don’t think my ocular acuity is discriminating enough to discern the genetic code of anyone, whatever their shade, to that high a degree, even with my artificially-enhanced vision.

        A white privilege failing on my part, I’m sure. 🙂

        • Other Bill

          That’s the problem, isn’t it Glenn. The great William Faulkner treated this in his rather murky and perhaps uneven “Light in August.” One of the main characters, Joe Christmas (left as an infant at an orphanage or church on Christmas day by who knows who), believes he’s part black even though he hardly looks it and obviously has no way of figuring out for sure. He ends up murdering the Yankee do-gooder he’s been sleeping with. As I guess we’d say today, Joe had anger management issues.

  9. Other Bill

    I seem to get Michael Eric Dyson and Neil DeGrasse Tyson mixed up. Same shtick and same three name thing.

    Isn’t Cornel West angry with Obama for “not going far enough?”

    • I get them mixed up myself. Both self-promoting hucksters. Both bowed and scraped to by the Left and the news media. Both less than meets the eye, in my view. But the three names and the rhyming last names are the main reasons.

      • I am glad you said that, Jack. In my narrow, white-privileged world, I can never avoid hearing about or seeing Tyson, but honestly, I have never heard of Dyson until today (now, I am grateful for that).

  10. dragin_dragon

    Here’s my problem…slavery is not just a recent, USA thing, slaves have been kept by every culture planet wide for millennia. So who do we pay this to? It hasn’t been just blacks who have been slaves, and it hasn’t been just USA Americans who took and kept slaves. Isn’t history wonderful? Don’t we wish more people knew some? Like college professors, for instance?

    • Other Bill

      Thanks dd. You’d sure think slavery was invented in South Carolina in 1859 by John C. Calhoun. Are the descendants of the West African warlords who rounded up people and provided them to the slave traders going to be paying reparations? Probably not.

      • dragin_dragon

        Nor will the Arab slave-traders who served as middle-men for the warlords.

        • Chris

          I don’t support reparations, but I don’t understand this argument against them. You’re both saying because other countries won’t pay reparations to people whose families were enslaved, neither should the U.S.? That is a terrible argument.

  11. “Look…if it doesn’t cost you anything, you’re not really engaging in change; you’re engaging in convenience. You’re engaged in the overflow. I’m asking you to do stuff you wouldn’t ordinarily do.”

    I think he makes an important point: this sort of activity has to be where social justice or progressive thought eventually reaches. Advocating coercive action by the government may indicate a sincere belief in the justice of a cause. Alternatively, it may just be a pose of concern, or even an attempt to position oneself in a place of power. These questions tend to diminish when people take action in a personal way. If you give up something that you need in order to benefit another, it evidences that you’re not just stirring the pot.

    I think it’s obvious that if affirmative action in hiring is acceptable, then this should be, too. The employees of a thoroughly progressive organization should agree that people with different demographics should be paid different amounts out of the communal pot. They should be wary, though, because notions of fair treatment may be engraved very deeply in our genes: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=97944783

  12. I think it’s a difficult proposition to glean ethics out of the already clumsy ethics world of tipping…

    “Is a personal policy of paying and tipping service providers more if they are black ethical?”

    This question doesn’t capture the scenario. He’s only discussing tips is he not?

    In which case, what anyone does with their own money *beyond* a reasonable average market return for services rendered, is kind of their business I would think.

    Now, if the scenario were: tip non-blacks LESS than what they deserve while tipping blacks what they deserve or more, then yes, I’d say unethical.

    If the scenario were: tip blacks more than what a particular server deserves even though you are tipping everyone else what an reasonable market expectation is for their level of service? What harm has been done?

    I think tipping *above and beyond* a reasonable market expectation for a particular level of service rendered is akin to Charity or a Gift, and who are *we* to tell someone who they can or cannot give to?

    If I have $500 that I’ve pre-committed to charitable giving, and I decide to disburse that directly to the first homeless people I see, I can give $5 dollars to one person and $495 to someone else — and that is no one else’s business.

    Objection #3 is the closest to a good objection, but you’ve framed it as essentially a wage-earning job – in which case wages are negotiated before hand.

    • Actually, the prof speaks of fees for services. That would seem to cover tips as I read him but tips weren’t his emphasis. The point is to have a policy where white citizens pay double for service performed by blacks.

      • Well in that case that’s just a different version of welfare….or even a wage/salary oriented affirmative action.

        And yes, unethical.

      • That’s PERSONAL, VOLUNTARY policy, now. You know. What GOOD people will WANT to do. To be POSITIVE bigots.

        • This is very like the scummy liberals who yell about they are not taxed enough for the cameras, while knowing that Government (and IRS) is an equal opportunity whore, and will take any money you choose to give them, above what they demand at the muzzle of a gun.

          And my answer is the same: after you. Liberals in general are such hypocrites, always telling me how I should spend my money, while not modeling that behavior themselves. But, like the old Soviet party, those who make the rules ‘deserve’ the gold, because making those rules is, like, hard work or something.

          Progressives should do this, and show the rest of us ‘deplorables’ the light.

          I wonder how much of his paycheck this hack gives to worthy causes?

  13. Isaac

    “I’m asking you to think more seriously and strategically about why you possess what you possess…”

    Okay Confucius, deal. So let’s see…I was born in the USA because a family of Armenians made their way over here in the 1950s from Iran after fleeing some bloodthirsty Turks. So that was a lucky break.

    I got my first car by walking to work in fast food and saving money for a year, and hey, come to think of it, pretty much ALL my stuff came by way of working at some type of job for hourly wages. Well, there you go. That was productive.

    So, yeah, I’ve thought seriously and strategically about why I possess what I possess, and I have come to the conclusion that I don’t owe any particular people extra money because of their skin color. But I already knew that. I also now know that someone named Michael Dyson is a poseur intellectual, so I can’t say this exercise hasn’t taught me anything.

  14. Dwayne N. Zechman

    Cool. Let’s start by doubling the salary of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

    That’s totally what the esteemed Professor Dyson wants to see happen, right?

    –Dwayne

  15. Chris

    Absolutely unethical, and I’d wager most African-Americans would think so too, and be insulted.

    • Insulted! Yes, thank you. It’s like announcing that if you are black, you require charity. So why am I not reading any African American pundits or activists taking the prof. to task?

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