Ethics Hot Topics, 7/13/2021: A Date That Will Live In Ethics Infamy

1. Black Lives Matter…This is truly a date that will live in ethics infamy, or should: on July 13, 2013, the acquittal of George Zimmerman, accused of murdering Trayvon Martin in 2012, prompted Oakland, California resident Alicia Garza to post a message on Facebook containing the phrase “Black lives matter.” Garza said she felt “a deep sense of grief” after Zimmerman was acquitted (as he should have been and had to be based on the evidence.) She said she was further saddened that many people to blamed the victim, Martin, and not the “disease” of racism.

As has marked the soon to emerge Black Lives Matter movement, facts didn’t matter to Garza. Martin was the aggressor, and was the only one of the two parties involved who made race-related comments prior to the confrontation. Zimmerman shot Martin in self-defense, and the prosecution’s own investigator testified to that fact. Never mind: Patrice Cullors, a Los Angeles community organizer and friend of Garza’s, read her post and replied with the first instance of #BlackLivesMatter, which quickly “went viral.” Garza, Cullors and fellow activist Opal Tometi built a network of community organizers and racial justice activists using the clever but misleading name Black Lives Matter, and the phrase and the hashtag were used by grassroots activists and protests all across the country, many of them based on false narratives implying racism where no evidence of it existed, as in the deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, George Floyd and others. It is now a powerful and profitable, if intellectually dishonest and divisive, force in American culture and politics. The damage the movement has already done is incalculable; the damage it will do is frighteningly uncertain.

I note that in the description of the movement on the allegedly objective is that it is “simple and clear in its demand for Black dignity.” That’s laughable (but then, historians) since the name is anything but clear, and deliberately so. It stands as a false accusation against American society and non-black citizens that black lives do not matter to the rest of the population except the woke, and thus has spurred the attack on the nation’s legitimacy by purveyors of Critical Race Theory and the “1619 Project.” The seemingly benign slogan deftly avoids contradiction and makes dissent perilous (“What, you don’t think black lives matter, you racist?“) while being used to justify Marxism, censorship, reparations, race-based hiring, promotions and benefits, and other discriminatory activities and policies.

2. In a related July 13 note, this was also the date, in 2015, when Sandra Bland was found hanged in her cell. Bland’s name is also among those used as a BLM rallying cry, and like so many of the others, that is based on a presumption of racism and other facts unproven. On July 10, 2015, Texas State Trooper Brian Encinia pulled over 28-year-old Bland, an African American, for failing to signal a lane change. She refused to cooperate; he was unprofessional. The officer arrested her and took her to a nearby jail. Several days later, she was found dead, and an autopsy concluded she had hanged herself with a plastic bag.

Of course, Bland’s family and friends suspected that the official report of her suicide was a cover-up, because police are racists. But Bland was a police confrontation waiting to happen. She considered herself a Black Lives Matter activist, writing in one social media post, “In the news that we’ve seen as of late, you could stand there, surrender to the cops, and still be killed.” That’s ironic, because if she had just accepted the minor traffic stop without fighting with the officer, she might be alive today. Bland had at least ten previous traffic-related encounters with police in Illinois and Texas; she had been charged five times for driving without insurance, four times for speeding, and once each for driving while intoxicated and drug possession. Her last conviction was for shoplifting, and she owed $7,579 in unpaid fines at the time of her death. Encina was fired, and Bland’s family received the obligatory wrongful death settlement, in this case almost $2 million.

The jail where Bland died was found to have been ignoring protocols regarding prisoner observation, prompting Texas to pass the Sandra Bland Act, aimed at training police officers about mental illness and de-escalation.

3. Cornel West has quit Harvard. West was an antiwhite, anti-American racebaiter before it was cool. He has long been a fascinating presence, a talented muckraker, a genius at self promotion, and that rare commodity, an academic star. He’s also a socialist, a Palestinian apologist, and his critics say, a race-hustler. I’d want him on my faculty for sure if for spice alone, but as when you see a Hall of Fame baseball star who can’t stay with a single team over his career, West’s curriculum vitae is a red flag: he can’t get along with anybody, and relishes playing the victim. Thus he just resigned from Harvard (again; this was the second time around for him), and published his letter of resignation to the world on Twitter.

Ethics Alarms holds that this practice is inherently unethical except in very rare circumstances, and based on the letter, West’s grievances don’t rise to the level of justifying a public spat. Here is what he wrote:

West letter

When insufficient condolences for one’s mother’s death turns up in such a letter, the word that comes to mind is “reaching.”

4. Oh well, might as well continue the theme.…Temple University professor Marc Lamont Hill, who makes Cornel West seem like Mr. Chips by comparison, was asked by Liz Wheeler on “The Liz Wheeler Show” (I have no clue who the hell Liz Wheeler is) if he believed that all white people were inherently racist. His answer, in short? Yes!

“I don’t know if you’re backing me into a corner with that question but yes, I do,” Hill said. “I do believe that all white people are at some level, at the unconscious level, connected to racism, it’s unavoidable. I think all men are sexist at some level. I think that’s absolutely the case.”

How Black Lives Matter of him! Hill was apparently proud of his response, and shared it on Twitter himself. Now his defenders are arguing that his statement is being unfairly “taken out of context” by the mean old, stupid old, conservative media. Someone needs to explain to me how, regardless of context, the statement “I believe all whites are racists” can mean anything but “I believe whites are racists.”

Enlighten me.

5. OK, to clear your head, here’s Jason Whitlock on his podcast...

22 thoughts on “Ethics Hot Topics, 7/13/2021: A Date That Will Live In Ethics Infamy

  1. OT, but another Trivia Question Answer bites the dust:

    What are the only two (2) days when a professional sports league (NHL/NFL/MLB/NBA) game is NEVER scheduled?

    WAS: The day before and the day after the MLB All Star Game

    NBA Finals Game IV/Fiserv Arena Milwaukee, WI–Phoenix Suns -v- Milwaukee Bucks–scheduled for 08:00 p.m. CDT 07/14/2021

  2. 4. I’m stunned Marc Lamont Hill’s “defenders” didn’t simply say, “Hell yes all white people are racist. He’s right!” And presumably the women among them would have chimed in “And all men are sexist.” Isn’t that what every woke person believes? Aren’t white people supposed to admit this? What’s the big deal? This is the foundation of CRT and everything woke. Why’s anyone tippy-toeing around about this?

      • CRT and BLM and all this stuff is basically separatist. They won’t come out and say it, but if you were to ask them “what do you want?” and they were honest, they’d say they want an all black place to live they can run the way they want without any white people around. Cornel West should be at a historically black college. I say, give ’em what they want. I say, set up a separate country, maybe Alabama and Tennessee. “Take it away, boys and girls.” It’s your thing. Do what you wanna do.”

        • Alabama might be a reasonable choice, but that state along with Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia, North and South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and Delaware all have higher African American populations than Tennessee (17%). But keep that rumor alive, maybe it will drive my property values down and the county will reduce my property taxes!

          • I’m not sure even that would do. In C.S. Lewis’ The Last Battle, the final installment of the Chronicles of Narnia, the black dwarves decide that “the dwarfs are for the dwarfs” and they are going to simply break away from everything and “touch our caps to nobody,” but they later graduate to simply killing as many of both sides in a conflict as they can except when both sides save them the trouble by killing one another, because they want the place for themselves.

            At this point I think that’s where the black community, or a good chunk of it, is. They want America for themselves. Just look at the major cities and you’ll get a preview of what they want. Police forces that don’t dare do a thing. Mob militias that stand ready to destroy anyone and anything they don’t agree with. Black power murals and slogans painted everywhere. Statues from the past pulled down and replaced with statues of black secular saints, including George Floyd. “Say their names” banners everywhere. Lots of fried chicken joints, but not a single good Chinese or Italian place anywhere, except maybe if they serve the noon lunch crowd only. Hair places that can do wonders with dreads and corn rows, but won’t serve white people because appropriation. Street fairs where you can buy African patterned clothing or djembe drums or wood carvings of Anansi the spider, but would be hard pressed to find anything from north of the Sahara or east of the Red Sea. Hostile looks for anyone who isn’t black and a general feeling if you aren’t that “y’all better do whatever y’all came here to do without saying more than you need to say and being very respectful to the brothers and sisters before y’all get back to yo whitebread suburb. Stay away from Turner Park, that’s set aside as a safe space only for us, no honkies welcome.”

            Now imagine everyplace being like that. Imagine one day you see that vacant lot being worked on and before you know it, there’s low-income housing on your street. Within a year the demographics flip, and your municipal council is more than half black and all Democrat, never to elect a single Republican again. Before long everything flips, and you can either deal with being a barely tolerated white guy in a black community, with a black mayor making speeches about how more progress needs to be made, or sell out and move way out to the country.

  3. Summer In The City –1966; the visuals.
    Thanks for the nostalgic pleasant walk down memory lane Jack.
    Overall things sure seemed better then, before the radical Left’s hate filled strategy to deconstruct existing social norms and governance gained traction and influence.
    Generally, people got along and were happier when that song came out or am I misremembering?

    • Yes, things didn’t start to get ugly until 1967, when the riots started and war protests became violent. As for the Lovin’ Spoonful, then the kings of ‘good time’ music, they fell apart when a member of the band turned in his drug supplier after a bust. This caused the in-crowd to turn on the whole band as snitches and traitors, the personal changed, and just a year after “Summer in the City,” the good times were over, for the band, for everyone.

      • In Newark you can’t call it the riots. You now have to call it the Newark rebellion, because it was justified. They are also converting the former first police precinct into a museum of the rebellion. They used to say that wherever America cities are going, in Newark will get there first, At this point I think you can safely say that wherever African Americans are going, the African-Americans of Newark will get there first. The current mayor is literally one step away from creating a de facto black kingdom in the middle of New Jersey. I say that because although Sharpe James currently holds the record for time as mayor of Newark with five four year terms, I believe that the current mayor will outstrip that eventually. There are no term limits in Newark. Ras Baraka is moving into the final year of his second term, will probably run unopposed this time out, and there is a very good chance he will run unopposed from now on until he decides that he no longer wants to be mayor, or his health gives out on him. It’s not necessary that you be confident to run a majority black city, it’s only necessary that you be black.

  4. Excellent article, jvb, thanks!

    The everLUVin’ coup de grâce:

    “ ‘So many of us have sat through trainings and listened to equity consultants say things we knew were not true. But it is easier to keep silent and discuss the absurdities in confidence with trusted colleagues and friends than to speak up or object in front of everyone,’ said Maron. ‘THE BILL FOR THAT SILENCE IS COMING DUE NOW.’ ” (bolds/caps/italics mine)

  5. 4. The worst part about Hill… Or maybe the best, is that he’s part of the new cohort of progressive where they’re so inculcated by their peers and so tightly bubbled in their beliefs that they’ll say the quiet part out loud.

    Hill posted a video of what he said, Liz wheeler Quote-Tweeted him with the caption: “Literally believing that all white people are racist… is a racist ideology.” Hill followed that up by quote tweeting her:

    So close to being self-aware, and yet so far. He actually thought he was making a point… Which is sad in and of itself.

  6. Regarding Number 3, to his minor defense, I would perhaps expect greater offers of sympathy and prayers from the faculty of a Divinity School.

    However, to start the letter with a friendly greeting, and then launch into an unsubstantiated rant about how everyone he interacted with (including presumably the target of his greeting) was either a racist or coward is the mark of a special kind of asshole.

    And to call that a resignation letter? No discussion of outstanding responsibilities, major accomplishments, thanks for support, or effective date? This is nothing more than storming into the bosses offices, throwing the finger, and storming out.

  7. And I know it’s not Friday, but I can’t keep this in.

    June 20th, you posted Ty Smith’s rant at a local PTA meeting as “Ethical Rant of The Month” and made the point:

    “They have played it on Fox News, naturally. Why wouldn’t it be equally worthy of airing on other news shows? The show kitten videos on HLN, and SNL skits on NBC and CNN. I’d say this is more germane to understanding current events.”

    To which I responded:

    “It shouldn’t have played on Fox.

    I want to be clear: I don’t disagree with what the guy was saying, I just don’t think “black man says thing I agree with” is such a unicorn it’s newsworthy.

    One of the worst trends to come out of conservative politics in the last couple of years is to put up on a pillar any minority person that will say things that conservatives agree with. I think it’s a reactionary measure; Progressives say we’re racist, sexist, or homophobic, so we go out of our way to find female/minority/gay people to platform in order to prove we aren’t. […]

    Without this phenomenon, we wouldn’t have people like Candace Owens, and Dave Rubin wouldn’t be nearly as successful as he is. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think they’re bad people, I just don’t think they’re smart, funny, or talented enough to get space in conservative media absent these identity markers that conservatives seem especially hungry for. […]

    Again… Conservatism seems to think it owes proof to progressives that we aren’t sexist/racist/phobic/whatever. We don’t. We really don’t. And even if you want to make the argument, and it’s a good argument, that minority people might be turned off by a perceived lack of representation in the party… The way to combat that isn’t to tokenize marginal voices to try to shoehorn diversity in.”

    Well… New Development on this!

    Fox News apparently has Ty Smith on speed dial now, because of course they do: He’s black and says the right things. At least some of the time. Because I think it’s important to hammer this point home, and because of my absolutely debilitating inability not to say “I told you so”. Here’s a clip of Ty Smith, on Fox News, making the point that slavery wasn’t racist:

    Like I said before… Not smart enough to be on National TV. Not eloquent enough. Not special. Going viral for a PTA rant is not a qualification. We need to pick out ambassadors better.

    • I’d like to think we aren’t trying to prove that we’re not anything to the left. 1. You can’t prove a negative, 2. It’s a waste of time, because they can’t be convinced, 3. It makes us look like we’re on our back foot all the time. It’s the people in the center we’re trying to prove stuff to.

      • I mean…. Sure, maybe. Heck, if could just be a purely defensive measure, but regardless of who we’re trying to prove it to (progressives/centrists/independents/ourselves), we still can’t prove a negative and it does make us look like we’re on our back foot all the time.

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