Lazy Saturday Ethics Diversions, 8/22/2020: Hypocrisy Again

1. “Wait…what did he call you? “  Does nobody understand how ridiculous this is? In a recent re-viewing of a “Law and Order” episode from the ’90s, I watched the excellent Courtney B. Vance (later outstanding as Johnny Cochran in the O.J. mini-series) play a Wall Street trader whose defense for killing a white manager in his firm was that systemic racism had driven him to it. When he testified in his trial, he  explained that his victim had called him a. That’s right,  “a.” the word following “a” was censored, even though the word was central to the plot. It is lmost 30 years after that episode first aired, and we are subjected to more censorship than less.

Either air the whole episode, or don’t air it at all, if the word “nigger” is just too horrifying.

The jury found Vance’s character guilty. Good. How can you kill someone just for calling you “a”?

2. And since we’re talking about racial slurs….During an NBA contest, LA Clippers forward Montrezl Harrell called  opposing player Luka Dončić a “pussy ass white boy.” 

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I would call that a racial epithet. Any white player in the NBA—there must be five or six—that called Harell an “a” would be suspended or worse. If that’s the new standard—that blacks can make racist slurs against whites while anyone uttering a racial slur against a black man is going to be fired, shunned and ostracized—we sanctioned targets of bigotry and harassment have a right to know.

This is apparently what Black Lives Matter calls “equity.”

I also have to add this obligatory note: most of the media accounts of what Harrell said required me to be a Wheel of Fortune ace. He called the white player a “p**** a** white boy” ? Can I buy a vowel? One source said the phrase was b***ch a** white boy. Does b***ch mean p****? I don’t think so. If the story is news because of what the black player called the what player, then you have to write what he said.

People ask me why I frequently note that most journalists aren’t very bright.  This is one of the reasons.

3.  Does Goodyear win the “Trying to Be On All Sides At Once Without Consequences” prize  in the corporate division? Let’s see: first, a Goodyear employee publishes a slide from a corporate diversity training that says that it is acceptable to wear pro-BLM attire, but unacceptable to wear pro-police messages or pro-Trump slogans.  After a wave of criticism, the company claims there was no such corporate training. Then an audio of the training leaks in which an instructor can be heard saying  that pro LGBTQ opinions and BLM call-outs are compliant with Goodyear policy, but other opinions are not.  Now the President of Goodyear has “clarified” in a letter:

Oh! Somehow a rogue employee at a Goodyear facility came up with the discriminatory policy all by himself or herself. It’s not Goodyear’s fault, even though it lied about there never having been such a training. Now it says it’s OK to say “Blue Lives Matter,” though the slogan is considered a direct rebuke to “Black Lives Matter.” No political endorsements are allowed, not just MAGA hats, except that Black Lives Matter, having been endorsed by Democratic leadership, is explicitly political and partisan.

Utter incompetence and cowardice.  When this pathetic display started, I wrote,

I’m pretty sure it isn’t that Goodyear really wants to advocate for Black Lives Matter or oppose President Trump’s re-election. What’s going on is that Goodyear’s management is trying to minimize customer backlash and employee controversy by virtue-signaling, just like so many other gutless and jelly-spined corporations that have been intimidated into promoting the racist, violent, dishonest, hate-mongering and Marxist organization with the deceptively cuddly name.

And that appears to be what happened.

I’ll be buying Goodyear tires again once its current management team is running bait shops in the Ozarks. Not because President Trump called for a boycott, but because no company so devoid of principles should prosper, and I object to companies that insult my intelligence.

4. Did you miss this part of the Democratic Party hypocrisy-fest? It’s not as bad as the party of #MeToo having Bill Clinton as a speaker and nominating Joe Biden, but it’s pretty ugly.

Of the seven Democratic candidates who earned delegates during the presidential primaries, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard was the only one not offered a speaking slot during the four-night event.  That’s odd, because Gabbard is “of color,” which means, especially during the George Floyd Freakout, that any discrimination against such non-white individuals, real or imagined, is proof of systemic racism. Andrew Yang who won nary a delegate  but he was a featured speaker anyway, because the party was trying to suck up to Asian-Americans.

Apparently Samoan lives don’t matter,  It is tradition that winning a delegate or delegates guarantees such an opportunity. Why was a woman “of color” suddenly snubbed in 2020? What’s going on here?

What’s going on here is that hypocrisy breeds more hypocrisy, and the Democratic Party is so steeped in it now that there’s no escape. All it can hope for is deception, with the media, as usual, assisting in the cover-up. No media commentary made an issue of Gabbard’s absence from the podium, but it hardly took a sleuth to figure out why she was missing. It was Gabbard who ended Kamala Harris’s Presidential hopes when she said during a candidates debate,

I want to bring the conversation back to the broken criminal justice system that is disproportionately negatively impacting black and brown people all across this country today. Now Senator Harris says she’s proud of her record as a prosecutor and that she’ll be a prosecutor president. But I’m deeply concerned about this record. There are too many examples to cite but she put over 1,500 people in jail for marijuana violations and then laughed about it when she was asked if she ever smoked marijuana. She blocked evidence — she blocked evidence that would have freed an innocent man from death row until the courts forced her to do so. She kept people in prison beyond their sentences to use them as cheap labor for the state of California.

Moderator Jake Tapper cut her off, but it was too late. Harris is an Olympic caliber hypocrite, not just on that issue, and party couldn’t afford to have a reminder in the person of Gabbard around when it was  telling its anti-rule of law base that Harris was not who she is.

11 thoughts on “Lazy Saturday Ethics Diversions, 8/22/2020: Hypocrisy Again

  1. I think the CEO of Goodyear and President of Goodyear is a pussy assed white boy and no, I’m not black. I don’t think he’s last long running a bait shop in the Ozarks as one of the locals wearing a MAGA hat would probably whip his spineless ass.

  2. Did Luka Dončić get all bent out of shape about it? If he did he certainly can’t be upset about PC speak, and if I get bent out of shape about it, neither can I!

    Yes, I get it that there is a one way street issue here, but since I think that the whole PC thing is just plain stupid I’m certainly not going to be allowing myself to play that game.

    • Paul,

      Much of this outrage is faux outrage. I doubt many blacks get “bent out if shape” when someone utters the word nigga. The issue is using language as a means of social control. The ability to impose sanctions on another for words the other uses is an exercise of power and control over human beings – just as slavery was. Thus, to not call it out is no different than to turning a blind eye to human bondage.

      • Well, they got into a verbal confrontation later in the game and got double-technical fouls, so I’m going to say that the racist remark by Harrell was a factor in that escalation.

        I believe this is the first time I have seen “He who is silent is understood to consent” applied to a slur. It’s not a very convincing argument, either.

  3. 1st Item….
    Pulp Fiction “dead nigger storage”Buggey of a black man
    Saved by a white guy
    Mr Wolf
    “Walking the Earth:
    Drug Culture
    5 or was it a 10 dollar milkshake?
    Is it acceptabe to Woke culture or in the category of Blazing Saddles?

  4. Jack wrote:

    3. Does Goodyear win the “Trying to Be On All Sides At Once Without Consequences” prize in the corporate division?

    They have a lot of company who just did it smarter, in my opinion. But having said that, here’s an observation:

    I understand corporate impulses to place themselves on the (please forgive me for this) “right side of history.” During my whole life, we have seen corporate virtue signaling, mostly on television but occasionally in print.

    With the advent of social media, a lot of things have changed for the worse when it comes to corporations and social issues. In the instant case, it seems corporations have acknowledged, and to some extent embraced, the unethical Black Lives Matter trope, “Silence is violence.” Certainly, activists on all sides of the debate spend a lot of time raising social issues at corporate leadership, and engaging in various levels of complaints or even boycotts at their expense — in common vernacular, “calling them out.”

    I think most Americans with functional cerebra not terminally infected with the passions of the moment would prefer to see corporations stay out of divisive social issues and do what they are best at — produce products or services for our consumption and engage in social issues, especially and mostly at their local level, quietly and competently. The problem is, because so much of our private conversation has become nationalized through social media, a comparatively small number of voices can have a disproportionate impact on corporate behavior, especially when amplified by a media invested in one side of the argument.

    It’s hard to blame the corporations for trying to forestall the negative consequences of this new cycle. Pre-social media, corporations could largely ignore these voices until they reached a critical mass, or weigh in only on matters they knew were broadly popular, like patriotism and environmentalism. They could be treated like emerging threats to the brand and campaigns carefully constructed to appeal to the issue without alienating too many people.

    But unlike those times, today’s issues can become hugely, if temporarily, important even before the body politic catches up with them. It is this rapidly-changing environment that provokes so many ill-advised adventures into virtue-signaling by our corporations. Also, the national scope of social media has forced many of these initiatives out of the localities occupied by corporate entities (where they do the most good and rightly belong) and into the national discussion.

    Most companies don’t care about the color of your politics, only the color of your money. That is, in most respects, how it should be. These days, however, some consultants have decided to see these social issue boomlets as opportunities rather than the threats that they are — mostly because their durability is uncertain, secondary impacts unclear, and potential for backlash poorly understood. Most likely, that’s what happened to Goodyear.

    Corporate executives, taken as a group, are notoriously ethics-agnostic, much more concerned about image than conviction, and willing to do whatever it takes to appeal to the largest number of people while minimizing the backlash. It is also likely true that these modern forays into social issues, because of their perceived urgency, are poorly thought out and have no real strategy. No thought is given to carefully testing, analyzing, and engineering their positions for maximum positive effect and minimum backlash because of the urge to “get out in front” of the issue.

    I want to give Trump some credit, because his Twitter response to Goodyear’s training crystallized the nature of this problem in the minds of the thoughtful and is a case study in the consequences of poor conception and indifferent execution of a corporate policy aimed at social issues. Trump can’t have that credit, though, because in doing so, he abused the power of his office, demeaned the Presidency and reduced it to the level of a political party organ. Pathetic, divisive, petty (as Valkygrrl complained) and a display of weakness, not strength.

    Still, it is useful as a caution to corporations. Formulating social positioning is not simple or something to be “trained” into employees about this issue or that. A bungled process can cause significant negative perception of the company, as Goodyear has and will continue to discover. Also, a quick incompetent “band-aid” reply like we have seen from the Goodyear CEO can exacerbate the problem rather than stop the bleeding. They deserve every bit of what they are suffering for this, good and hard, because of profoundly incompetent leadership and execution.

    I consider this a useful object lesson, one I hope gets well-learned by other companies. I expect to be disappointed.

  5. I scroll through the guide periodically to check for any movies I want to record and watch later. I was scrolling through TCM (Turner Classic Movies) and came to Gone with the Wind. This is the description used in the guide now (emphasis mine):

    “Presented as originally released in 1939. Includes themes and character depictions which may be offensive and problematic to contemporary audiences. Epic Civil War drama focuses on the life of petulant Southern belle Scarlett O’Hara. Starting with her idyllic life on a sprawling plantation, the film traces her survival through the tragic history of the South during the Civil War and Reconstruction, and her tangled love affairs with Ashley Wilkes and Rhett Butler.”

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