Saturday Ethics Warm-Up, 8/12/2020: Remembering Boston Busing; Deriding BLM Lawn Signs And The Smug Bias They Represent

I remember this date, all right. I was scheduled to do a three hour CLE legal ethics seminar in Rhode Island on the 13th, and all the flights were cancelled. The bar association assumed I would cancel too, but I’m a “The show must go on” guy, and I said, “I’ll be there if I have to drive all night.” And I drove all night.

1. This date also had significance in the history of misguided utilitarian solutions to the problem of racial disparities. In his June 1974 ruling in Morgan v. Hennigan, U.S. District Judge Arthur Garrity held that Boston’s geographically segregated public schools created de facto school segregation that discriminated against black children. He ordered the busing of African American students to predominantly white schools and, punishing innocents for “the greater good,”  white students to black schools. Forced busing  began on September 12, and  was met with massive protests, particularly in South Boston, the city’s main Irish-Catholic neighborhood. Protests continued unabated for months, and many parents, white and black, kept their children at home. In October, the National Guard was mobilized to enforce the federal desegregation order.

The rest of the story: Boston’s draconian and unfair busing plan lasted for fourteen years, and (those who fail to learn from the mistakes of the past are doomed to repeat them) didn’t work. Racial divisions were exacerbated, parents pulled their children out of public schools, and many families moved to the suburbs.

2. I used to periodically throw Philip Gallanes a link for his “Social Q’s” advice column until he turned it into just another New York Times propaganda weapon. Now I will just highlight his work when he makes an ass of himself, like when “Kim” wrote about how proud she was to place the “Black Lives Matter” sign her son made (after “the horrible police shooting of Jacob Blake”) on their front yard, and how offended she was when a neighbor countered with a “Blue Lives Matter” sign.

“It hurts our hearts when we see it. Were we wrong to put up our son’s lawn sign? Can we talk to the neighbors about theirs?’ she asked, plaintively.

I guarantee that Kim has no idea whether the shooting of Jacob Blake was “horrible” or justified, and the only way a sign referring to race is relevant to the episode is if one really believes that a white perp being apprehended on a rape warrant after violating a court order, to harass the alleged victim again, and who resisted arrest, flashed a knife, said he had a gun and reached into his car would not have been shot.  The neighbor’s sign, though I do not believe in “hurray for our side” signs generally, was a reasonable rebuke of an offensive and ignorant gesture. But this is what Gallanes wrote in part, flaying truth and logic repeatedly,

The pity of Blue Lives Matter, as I’ve seen the slogan deployed, is that it springs from a zealous denial that Black lives matter.

Bull shit, to be appropriately blunt. The theory behind the fake sanctification of Mike Brown, Floyd and Blake is that police do not have the right to defend themselves when people try to hurt them, or appear to be ready to do so.  Police do not deserve to be vilified, and the Black Lives Matter movement seeks to vilify them.

Even the parroting name makes it seem like a childish, schoolyard taunt.

No bias there! The use of the same rhetorical structure points up the deceit in the BLM slogan, and is an effective way to do so.

But aren’t our hearts and minds big enough to acknowledge that many Black people suffer terrible injustice in this country because of their race…

Acknowledging that does not require, or justify, embracing the Black Lives Matter organization, which is explicitly anti-white, anti-police, and Marxist. Who made the rule that citizens have to pay fealty to the organization’s simpleminded and insulting cant in order to acknowledge the legitimacy of reforms? Oh! Right! The group that stands to gain power made that rule!

…often at the hands of police,

And often, indeed most of the time, not unjustly, and usually  because  of the conduct of the black individuals involved, as in the cases of BLM martyrs like Brown and Blake.

and, simultaneously, that law enforcement plays an important role in society? It’s not an either/or proposition.

It is when the group Kim son is extolling holds protests featuring signs saying “Fuck the Police” and advocates de-funding police departments.

Your son did well by channeling his distress at police violence into a productive project. And you were right to support him.

Since when is making public declamations about matters you don’t comprehend and do not have sufficient information to opine about “doing well”?  How is a lawn sign, especially one  endorsing a racist organization, “productive”? The parents were irresponsible to support him.

5 thoughts on “Saturday Ethics Warm-Up, 8/12/2020: Remembering Boston Busing; Deriding BLM Lawn Signs And The Smug Bias They Represent

  1. From what I gather Social Injustice means anytime I don’t get my own way or prederential treatment.

    In the bussing discussion where exactly did the judge find a law that outlawed defacto segregation? Does the judge not understand that the logical extension of his ruling would require public housing to be built in his neighborhood as it probably is defacto segregated?

    I would love to see a social experiment where a group of whites descend on a black night club and demand products and entertainment that, in general, whites prefer. I often laugh at those who decry housing discrimination but stand in opposition to gentrification.

  2. “It hurts our hearts when we see it. Were we wrong to put up our son’s lawn sign? Can we talk to the neighbors about theirs?”

    Which means “I don’t like any competition to our yard sign. I want to tell my neighbors they’re bigots for not patting us on the back and having a contradictory sign.”

    Having moved from the land of (leftist) signs in yards, on cars, in stores, and hung on school windows, telling everyone what and how to think, to a place where there’s maybe ten such signs in the whole town, has been utterly refreshing. I’d rather not see any signs, whether I agree with them or not.

    Sanctimony is rarely neighborly.

    • On my walk this morning in the very cool (for the desert) morning, I ran across a sign saying, in bold, all caps print: “We Stand United Against Racism.” In very small print at the lower right hand corner, it read “GoodYardSigns@gmail.com.” Somehow, that enterprise’s email address just sort of said it all.

      • Also interesting, it was on a remote, hard to get to unless you live there, cul-de-sac. No one other than the three or four families on that cul-de-sac will see it, other than the mail man and UPS drivers and so forth. And it’s the only such sign I’ve seen in our neighborhood.

  3. The letter doesn’t say whether “Kim” and her family are white, black, or whatever. It does say she never met her neighbors before the pandemic hit. She doesn’t know the first thing about any of them. She doesn’t know what any of them do for a living. She doesn’t know what anyone’s significant other does for a living. She doesn’t know what anyone’s relatives do for a living. She doesn’t know if any of her neighbors have adult children or, if so, what those children do for a living. She doesn’t know what might have happened to any of those folks I just talked about before she moved in. What if Joe next door is a cop? What if Ellie down the street is married to a cop? What if Mike across the street has a brother who’s a cop? What if Chuck and Nancy at the bottom of the hill have a grown son who’s a cop somewhere? What if Sam around the corner grew up with a stepfather…because his real father was a cop who was killed in the line of duty? What if Kate the next block over is raising her two kids by herself and still crying herself to sleep every so often because she’s a cop’s widow?

    I don’t think any of those folks would be particularly interested in seeing “Black Lives Matter” with all the baggage that goes with it shoved in their faces, any more than Ciaran, whose family fled Ireland in the famine, particularly wants to see the Union Jack, or Mrs. Katz, whose arm still bears the fading numbers given to her in that lovely spot they called Buchenwald, is interested in seeing someone display the swastika, and anyone who knows about these things is either an idiot, or deliberately looking to start trouble.

    It’s not a good idea to put up a sign like either of those signs in your front yard and advertise that you embrace a controversial position. That goes double if you are in a residential area. People come home trying to get away from controversy, not court it. If you do so, it should come as no surprise that someone takes issue with it.

    All of this wouldn’t be anything other than basic being a good neighbor, if it weren’t for the entitled mentality and attitude that Kim displays. The Duke of Wellington was tone-deaf, and said once that he knew two tunes, one was “God Save the King,” and one wasn’t. Old Mr. Frank (that’s all we ever knew him as) one of the last old-style soda shop owners in my area, used to say there were two ways to make an ice cream soda, his way, and the other way, which wasn’t as good. It’s harmless for a soldier to admit he hasn’t got an ear for music, or for a soda maker whose time is just about up to boast that no one makes a better soda than he does. It’s pernicious and wrong for one person or group to believe they have a lock on the truth, and anyone who disagrees with them is wrong. Antifa has that attitude – that there are only two positions: theirs, which is opposed to fascism, and fascism, but few buy it. Black Lives Matter has successfully convinced a lot of folks, including most of the media. that there are only two positions: their position, and the other one, which is wrong. The phrase “black lives matter” is the only phrase like it anyone is allowed to use, and anyone who deviates from it by substituting some other word for “black,” is a racist who is deliberately dismissing black people’s unique, uniquely important, and uniquely paramount concerns. Anyone who refuses to say it, for whatever reason, is a racist also. It’s no longer enough just to not be racist, they’ve decided. You have to be actively anti-racist, and if you won’t say the phrase, or you adulterate it, you aren’t actively anti-racist, you’re racist by complicity. Racists don’t get a seat at the table. Their opinions don’t count. Their values are corrupt and don’t matter. There is no other side to the discussion. To Kim’s way of thinking, her son was just getting socially conscious a little early, she is probably being charitable by just saying that sign hurts, and she’d be doing her neighbor a favor by wanting to just go over and set him/her straight on a few things. To her way of thinking, she’d be perfectly within her rights to make a few blackup cell phone calls and show up on her neighbor’s doorstep with about 20 black linebackers, all wearing BLM t-shirts, to kick in the door, break a few windows, smash some furniture and bric-a-brac, then demand an apology on bended knee, followed by a big donation to BLM and 200 hours of service.

    This isn’t a joke, these people really think this. If something bothers them, it needs to go immediately and reparations need to be made. Signs they disagree with are just a small part of it as we’ve seen. Statues, holidays, opinions, anything they don’t agree with, it has to go, or they’ll destroy it. Now, down on your knees and say it!

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