Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the current Director of the Centers For Disease Control, released a statement last week that declared “racism” a public health threat.
Go ahead and read the statement if you like; that sentence above is all you need to know from an ethics perspective. If “racism”—it’s in quotes because the definition no longer has any coherent meaning, since it has been distorted to mean anything a social justice warrior or an unhappy individual who regards himself/herself/whateverself as a minority needs the word to mean at a given time or in a particular dispute, or, of course, a dictatorial-minded government—is a health issue, almost anything is. Maybe everything.
Walensky’s motives could be just about anything too. Maybe she really believes this and that it’s a legitimate topic for the agency under its mission. If she does believe that, she’s not very bright. The CDC Mission Statement makes it crystal clear that the agency’s purpose in to fight disease, stating at the outset:
Whether diseases start at home or abroad, are chronic or acute, curable or preventable, human error or deliberate attack, CDC fights disease and supports communities and citizens to do the same.
Because that’s what the Mission states at the beginning, the mission cannot suddenly expand elsewhere. (You would think the agency’s name would have precluded doing so as well.) I write mission statements as an occupation (among other things); groups pay me to help them compose theirs. You can’t have an ethical, valid Mission Statement that begins like that, and then goes on to say that the organization is also concerned with cheating at Parcheesi and overcooking good steaks. “Race” is not a disease, and how people treat race is based on emotion, which is not subject to hard science. Continue reading →
“Virtue-signaling” was going to be the 2017 Ethics Alarms “Unethical Trend of the Year” if I had ever had time to compile that year’s “Ethics Alarms Best and Worst” lists. Until it was overtaken by “presumed racism” in 2020, it was probably the winner in 2018 and 2019 as well. Now it’s on the rise again, thanks to corporations beclowning themselves and abusing their societal roles by taking political stands based on nothing but a desire to appeal to the woke social media mobs.
Signaling one’s virtue, real or imaginary, is not necessarily unethical, but it is always obnoxious. Just as smart people don’t have claim that they are smart, good people and organizations that ostentatiously trumpet what they think will get them societal brownie points should start ethics alarms faintly ringing. I don’t trust such organizations. They are usually sucking up to what they perceive as majorities, meaning that they have no ethical principles themselves, and, sadly, most businesses don’t. At its best, virtue-signaling shows a deficit in humility, modesty, and self-restraint. Its worst is nicely demonstrated by the recent statement by Fred Ridley, the chairman of Augusta National Golf Club.
Since Major League Baseball immolated itself and gratuitously harmed the Atlanta community by relocating the 2021 All Star Game as its demonstration of unethical virtue-signaling, activist have been pushing the PGA to do the same with the Masters. Is “lemminging” a word?
The responsible course for the Masters and related parties to take would be to shut up, firmly. It is a sports organization, and should not have any position on political matters and partisan debates. But Ridley, who is especially worthless in this matter because for his golf club to lose the Masters would be a disaster of biblical proportions—“Dogs and cats, playing golf together!”—, so he has a conflict of interest, apparently couldn’t help himself, or was forced into blathering by some of his club’s more influential and less intelligent members.
Ethics Alarms had to inform readers that the word was “kike.” That’s not my job. Nonetheless, I have respect for the public, language, the duty of communication and free speech that the majority of American journalists do not.
Now, in an example of bad ethics deja vu, it’s happened again. Rather than do their job and tell the story, most of the news media is requiring the public to play “Wheel of Fortune,” and complete a phrase by guessing what a word is in order to understand why its utterance by a professional athlete is newsworthy.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Carlton Davis apologized for a tweet he sent Sunday night that contained an anti-Asian slur. Davis said he confused the term for one he was intending to mean “lame” while trying to blame the media for the traction the tweet received.”I would never offend any group of people,” Davis, 24, wrote. “You reporters can look for another story to blow up. The term was directed towards a producer claiming he ‘ran Miami’ With that being said I’ll retire that word from my vocabulary giving the hard times our Asian family are enduring. According to ESPN, Davis wrote “Gotta stop letting (expletive) in Miami” in the tweet that has since been deleted. Anti-Asian attacks have increased recently as the COVID-19 pandemic continues into its second year.In response to the tweet, the Asian American Journalists Association Sports Task Force said in a statement that it “is disappointed by his sentiment, especially at a time when Asians in the United States are experiencing a sharp increase in anti-Asian hate which has resulted in harassment and attacks.”
And the Court is right! But this is a really stupid law. According to Minnesota law, “‘mentally incapacitated’ means that a person under the influence of alcohol, a narcotic, anesthetic or any other substance, administered to that person without the person’s agreement, lacks the judgment to give a reasoned consent to sexual contact or sexual penetration.”
Wait, what? Does that really mean that a woman who is incapable of thinking straight or fighting off an amorous creep intent upon getting some cheap sex is mentally incapacitated and incapable of consent if she has been made blotto by a date who kept telling her she was drinking non-alcoholic punch that was really laced with vodka, but if she drank the exact same amount knowing what was in the punch, she isn’t “mentally incapacitated” even if she can barely speak or move to defend herself?
The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Shawnee State professor Nicholas Meriwether, who had been reprimanded and disciplined because he “refused to refer to students by their ‘preferred pronouns. ‘” The small Ohio state school had issued a 2016 order that that any professor who “refused to use a pronoun that reflects a student’s self-asserted gender identity” would face discipline. When Meriwether asked if his own beliefs affected what he could call students, the official response was that he must call students what they demanded “regardless of” his own “convictions or views on the subject.” The student in question was male in appearance but identified as female. Meriwether maintained that his Christian faith forbade him from referring to a male in female terms; the student, according to Meriwether, threatened him if he refused to comply with the pronoun edict. The court over-ruled a lower federal district court and held that university officials had violated the professor’s First Amendment rights to free speech and to the free exercise of his religion, thus attempting to“wield alarming power to compel ideological conformity.”
Normally, as in the Christian baker scenarios, I would take the position that, law aside—ethics, you know!—, this is an “asshole meets asshole” situation. How hard is it for either party to just yield a bit, respect the other’s sensitivities, extreme or not, and be accommodating? It is a Golden Rule opportunity. This time, however, it seems clear that the professor was willing to be reasonable, and the woke, non-binery, transitioning or whatever he or she was student was determined to go to extreme lengths to bend the professor to “her” will.
The Bill, if it became law, would make it a crime to insult a police officer if the words or gestures provoked a violent response. It would be class B misdemeanor, punishable up to 90 days in prison, when someone “accosts, insults, taunts, or challenges a law enforcement officer with offensive or derisive words, or by gestures or other physical contact, that would have a direct tendency to provoke a violent response from the perspective of a reasonable and prudent person.”
This potential law (actually, it isn’t even potential because the thing would be unconstitutional and a First Amendment breach the second it was passed and signed) is one of the most embarrassing pieces of legislative garbage I have seen in a very long time. It essentially says that if a citizen is so darn mean to a police officer by saying nasty things or making scary faces, and the officer is so unprofessional, incompetent and badly trained that he or she commits violent battery, the victim of the cop’s attack can be locked up! Brilliant!
Let’s look at the relevant section of the Bill of Rights, shall we? You know, that old document they apparently don’t teach in Kentucky schools and that applies to the States through the 14th Amendment? The one progressives don’t like?
“Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech…“
This isn’t hard, or shouldn’t be, even for Kentuckians. (My father grew up in Kentucky.) When a law says “you can be imprisoned for saying things that a police officer finds offensive” that’s abridging free speech. What ignoramus composed this monstrosity?
He is State Senator Danny Carroll, (R-Benton), who says the bill is in response to the riots in Louisville last summer (There is another Breonna Taylor demonstration going on in Louisville right now) and on Capitol Hill in D.C.
This is beyond crazy. I’ll play the “Bridge Over The River Kwai” clip…
…but it’s not sufficient. How crazy is this story? This crazy: Ethics Alarms is informing you of a critical fact in a news story that The New York Times and almost every other mainstream media news source will not. Here it is:
The anti-Semitic slur that Miami Heat center Meyers Leonard has been fined and suspended for saying, apparently putting his NBA career in jeopardy, is “kike.” K-I-K-E.
I had to hunt through many reports to find a source that would reveal the taboo word so horrible and vile that to even print it so readers could know WHAT THE HOLY HELL THE CONTROVERSY WAS ABOUT was, apparently, unthinkable. I finally found the word in “The Scotsman,” which, as the name might suggest to you, is a Scottish publication. The closest I found in a U.S. source was an invitation to play “Wheel of Fortune” or “Hangman.” (Can you still play “Hangman”? It requires drawing a noose, and if you draw a noose, you must be a racist.) The exclamation that has made Meyers a pariah, according to the Miami Herald, was “F—ing cowards, don’t f—ing snipe me you f—ing k–e b–ch.” Sorry, not good enough, not sufficient, not competent, not responsible, and not ethical. If the story is worth publishing, then the word at the core of the story must be published too.
The Times wouldn’t even use code. “Meyers Leonard Fined $50,000 and Suspended for Using an Anti-Semitic Slur” reads the headline. [Wait. What slur? ] It continues [the bracketed comments are mine],
I’m combining successive comments by a single commenter again. Humble Talent‘s observations regarding the angry “cultural appropriation!” reactions to Chris Cuomo saying he was “black inside” are wide-ranging and open up many difficult and fascinating ethics topics that I’m certain the 27 people still reading Ethics Alarms will find edifying.
HT began by responding to my query, “I wonder if Cuomo’s critic had the same reaction when Toni Morrison pronounced Bill Clinton as our first black President?”
They square this circle by comparing experience, neither is about objective reality.
Objectively, Cuomo is just as black as a fully intact biological man with gender dysphoria is a woman. But this isn’t about objectivity, reasonableness, or the truth…. It’s about oppression. Because really… What else differentiates someone who misrepresents their race, like Rachel Dolezal, or Shaun King, to someone who misrepresents their sex? Sure, both can be murky, is the child of a mixed race couple black or white? Is a person with Klinefelter or Turner’s syndrome a man or a woman? Progressives would usually say that the person With XXY or XYY are whatever they self identify as, and similarly for the mixed race child, whatever box they choose to mark. And if you get a fully intact biological man who believes that he’sa woman… Well, welcome to the club! But if you’re a white woman who puts on a lot of spray tan, dreds up her hair, and works as a black NAACP activist for most of her life… Fuck off bigot? I guess.
“What that nigga want God? Word up, look out for the cops…Word up, two for fives over here baby. Word up, two for fives them niggas got garbage down the way, word up.”
—-Lyrics in “Cash Rules Everything Around Me,” performed by Wu-Tang Clan ,in one of two rap videos that formed the basis of an economics class taught by Deyate Hagood, a social studies teacher at A-TECH High School.
For the uneducated, “Two for fives” is a 90s’ term for crack cocaine sales, meaning “two vials for five dollars.”
When a Queens mom working at home heard this and another equally vulgar rap video taking up the bulk of her son’s Zoom economics class on “money, power and respect,” she snapped. The woman, whose name is being withheld because she fears retribution against her or her son, grabbed her son’s laptop and shouted at Deyate Hagood, the social studies teacher at A-TECH High School in Williamsburg, saying…
“You honestly ought to be motherfucking embarrassed. Disgusting! You have rap videos using N-words, talking about whores and bitches and selling drugs. I’m working from home, and this is what I’m hearing my kid in his senior year learning in class?”
Indeed it was. “I’ve had to watch my high-school senior spend an entire year at home in isolation while receiving a very limited education,” said the Queens mother, an executive assistant with a younger son in middle school. She told the New York Post that her 12th-grader did not have a book or syllabus for the economics class. Her son reported that Hagood usually showed videos. In the second rap video played that day in Hagood’s class, a prostitute in black lingerie “sings,” “First you get the money. Then you get the muthafuckin’, power. After you get the fuckin’ power muthafuckas will respect you.”
1. Well, what do you know! Two more women have come forward to accuse New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo of sexual harassment, making a total of five now. The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post have the stories.
A former press aide, Karen Hinton, told the Post that Cuomo embraced her in a Los Angeles hotel room in 2000. Ana Liss, another ex-aide, said the governor hugged and kissed her and grabbed her waist in 2014. As we have discussed here often, true sexual harassers are habitual and incorrigible. It’s not a mistake or a lot of misunderstandings. These are powerful individuals who feels entitled to abuse that power with subordinates who are likely to be reluctant to resist or report the misconduct.
2. Where was she when John Kasich needed to be told? Ann Althouse has a post titled, Is there someone in your life who is annoying you with the conversational tic “Do you know what?” In 2016, desperately seeking some alternative to Donald Trump among the large and fatally flawed GOP field seeking the party’s Presidential nomination, I was so annoyed by Kasich employing that tic (or its equivalent, “Guess what?”) that I tuned him out every time he spoke. Why didn’t anyone tell him? I’m a stage director: I’ve corrected dozens of actor tics. Any politician who is so inattentive that he or she can’t acknowledge and address a bad communication habit (Kamala Harris’s laugh!) is intrinsically untrustworthy, inattentive and lazy. It’s a tell.
3. Look! A public “How stupid, frightened and gullible are you?” test!This ridiculous thing is a real product designed to wear all day and night to protect you from the deadly viruses, microbes and pollutants that threaten to kill us all.