On Dress Codes, Modesty, Utilitarianism, And The Golden Rule [CORRECTED]

 

There were a lot of ethical considerations being ignored or scuffed in a strange conflict in Utah County, Utah.  Rebecca Ortinez, a regular plasma donor to BioLife Plasma Services, was told by managers at the facillity that she could not donate and had to leave the premises because of her immodest attire. According to Ortinez, who issued a detailed account of her treatment on social media, she was told, “We have a lot of RMs [Mormon Returned Missionaries] that donate and how you’re dressed is very distracting, so you are going to have to leave.”

Ortinez added a selfie of her outfit, chosen, she said, because she expected to have to wait outdoors and it was “95 degrees in the shade”:

When she was told she had to leave, Ortinez refused and demanded that the request be put in writing, which the manager refused to do. Then the manager elaborated on her objections to Oridnez’s appearance: she informed Ordinez she was distracting because her “nipples were poking out” and added  that she should be ashamed of herself. Ortinez reacted to that by refusing to leave unless the objections were put in writing and she could see the plasma center’s dress code provisions. The managers threatened to call the police and did so, telling them that they wanted Ortinez banned for life from all Biolaife Plasma Centers

After she finally left the property and received a copy of the police report, Ortinez sent out a Facebook post “For Donors, ACLU, ACLU Utah, Fox News, KSL 5 TV, KSL Newsradio, KSL.com, KUTV 2News,” telling the tale and announcing,  “Now I’m blasting BioLife on my extensive social media platforms!”

You go girl!

Analysis: Continue reading

Comment Of The Day: “Comment Of The Day, Part 2: ‘Ethics Warm-Up, 7/19/2020: And The Hits Just Keep On Coming!’”

The epic, two-part Comment of the Day by Steve-O-In-NJ spawned a another Comment of the Day of perception and edge, this one by Humble Talent. His topic is the slogan “Silence is violence,” another example of a deft Comment of the Day saving me time, for I was going to have to post on it if someone else didn’t. That bumper-sticker line irritates me almost as much as “No justice, no peace,” “Black lives matter,” “Believe all women,” Give peace a chance,” “Better Red than dead,” and “Go Yankees!”

Here is Humble Talent’s Comment of the Day on the post, “Comment Of The Day, Part 2: ‘Ethics Warm-Up, 7/19/2020: And The Hits Just Keep On Coming!’”:

One of the tropes coming from the left in this latest bout of medical withdrawal guised as activism is that “Silence is Violence”. This in the latest variation on the theme of the left’s stretching to unrecognizability the definition of violence. No, silence is merely inconvenient for people looking to uproot the status quo.

Similar to that is speech. “Free speech” is one of the most commonly misused terms on the internet. The first amendment doesn’t protect you prom private individuals. A principled free speech position doesn’t require the right to an audience. There is no duty to listen. I actually think that “Free Speech” would be better understood if it were also approached from the inverse: Free speech includes the right to hear what someone wants to tell you.

Alizia made a comment recently, predicting that I would eventually speak in favor of the suppression of free speech because I wouldn’t speak out against Viacom firing a fellow after said fellow spouted anti-Semitic rhetoric on the air. I don’t think I’ll ever get there. But I do think we all need to take a step back and re-evaluate what things mean.

For instance, a “counter protest” is speech, but if the counter protest is designed not to respond to speech, but to drown it out and to prevent people from hearing the speaker they want to hear, not only does that violate free speech principles, but hiding behind free speech to conduct a counter-protest is hypocritical. A principled position is not a suicide pact. I don’t think we have a duty to humor the calls for free speech from the people actively violating yours. Sure, a protest is speech, but what’s going on here isn’t simply a protest, and it’s not just speech. Continue reading

From The Dead Ethics Alarms Files: Wait, WHAT? Why Was This Court Decision Even Necessary?

Uri Rafaeli owed $8.41 in unpaid property taxes. That’s eight dollars and change. The amount gradually increased to $285.81 from added interest, penalties and fees. Oakland County in Michigan  confiscated and sold his property for $24,500, thenkept all proceeds above the past due amount.  Meanwhile, Andre Ohanessian owed about $6,000 in unpaid taxes, interest, penalties and fees to the same Oakland County, and the county sold his property for $82,000. It kept all proceeds of that sale too.

Seems fair to me!

Kidding. Actually, that seems so wrong that I don’t understand how any public officials could do such a thing, or argue that it was defensible rather than obvious theft. The Michigan Supreme Court ruled last week that the takings clause in the state constitution prevents counties from selling homes for unpaid tax debts and keeping all surplus proceeds.

Because, you know, it’s wrong. Continue reading

Is It Unethical To Use HIV Transmission As A Plot Element In Drama?

In an essay in The Body, an HIV-AIDS community website, Abdul-Aliy A Muhammad argues that it is unethical and exploitive for writers to use the disease as a plot point in TV shows and movies. His argument is pitched at black writers particularly. (In case you are not familiar with the term he uses, the “down low” refers to apparently heterosexual black men who secretly have sex with males.) He argues in part,

Last week’s episode of the popular show on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), Greenleaf, provided a storyline that’s become all too familiar—the disclosure of HIV status as a spicy and scandalous plot twist.

…During this season, at the end of episode three, a shocking reveal happens: AJ was raped in prison, and the person who raped him transmitted HIV to him. AJ is now suffering from HIV disease and finally tells Grace. That’s how the episode ends. As an HIV-positive Black person, my heart sank, because again, the failure to hold any nuance with HIV emerged, 16 years after the “down low” and HIV plot twists of the early 2000s. It’s as if we’re frozen in time.

… I want to say this to the writers and producers of Greenleaf, and other Black creatives: HIV is not a plot twist device. HIV is not a caricature, and HIV is not predatory. Yes, there are the very real stories of people contracting HIV after being raped, and yes, there are some people who are not fully open to their partners and who may have transmitted HIV. But the narrative of HIV as a hidden monster and prison rape are not what drive the epidemic in Black communities.

…[T]here have been many harmful representations of HIV stories in the media. Let’s start with Tyler Perry’s 2010 film…For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide / When the Rainbow is Enuf. In his film adaptation, Janet Jackson’s character, “Lady in Red,” is married to a man named Carl Bradmore…His character is struggling with sexual desire and can be seen cruising for other men in the film, and ultimately there is a scene where oral sex is performed in a car. Hardwick’s character Carl Bradmore is in a BMW under a bridge and gets head from another Black man.

…Throughout the film, Lady in Red has a scarf tied around her neck, and toward the end, the scarf is red. She coughs frequently and drinks tea, ostensibly to soothe her throat. The drama erupts toward the end of the film, when they are both sitting on a bed and not facing each other. She says something to the effect of, “You can keep your sorry and your HIV”—which is saved as a grand reveal, to provide shock and melodrama to the story. Shange’s original play includes no “down low” men, and it was written before HIV, so these aspects were specifically added by Perry.

I watched this film in shock…. My mother was a Tyler Perry fan; she thought his desire to (and practice of) giving leading roles to Black actors was something to celebrate. I on the other hand felt… here again is another media representation of the [down low] monster as a viral operative to drive the drama of the plot, and to both titillate and disgust. There is data that suggests that Black people aren’t doing anything behaviorally different than white people when it comes to intimacy or other vulnerable ways to become HIV positive. The difference in disproportionate infections comes from anti-Black racism that discourages trust of systems and incarcerates and criminalizes Black people. Our vulnerability is undergirded by the lack of infrastructures of care and the breakdown of food systems in the hood and in the rural South.

Until we truly consider the truth about HIV and not the easily propagated myths, we are doing more harm to our communities and aren’t standing in solidarity with HIV-positive Black people…. Isn’t it time for TV and film catch up and stop with the same tired use of HIV as plot twist or cautionary tale. Continue reading

Comment Of The Day, Part 2: “Ethics Warm-Up, 7/19/2020: And The Hits Just Keep On Coming!”

Part I  of Steve-O-in-NJ’s Comment of the Day is here.

….For the last three months we’ve watched our cities be burned, our public art be torn apart and defaced, and this nation’s ordinary people be terrorized. Homes and businesses have been destroyed, ordinary folks have lost everything they worker for and saved, and, in some cases, whole zones of cities have been turned into new versions of previous “liberation army” states, ruled by warlords, patrolled by armed thugs, and with the ordinary people living there cut off from the outside world and at the mercy of these thugs. Now we are seeing organized destruction (Lafayette Park, Chicago) and organized attacks on law enforcement (Portland). Supposedly this started with demanding justice for George Floyd and protesting racial injustice. Two months after the officers involved were fired and charged, this shows no sign of stopping, or even of slowing down.

Downtown Minneapolis resembles Fallujah in the wake of the final breaking of the Iraqi resistance there, and New York, Chicago, LA, and a slew of lesser cities, none of which had the first thing to do with what happened in Minneapolis, aren’t far behind. Yet we’re still being told these are “peaceful protesters,” and the local and state governments either haven’t lifted a finger to stop this (New York), or have finally taken action, several days late and several dollars short, when the violence has gone too far or come to their doorstep (Atlanta, Seattle). I am not sure whether what was allowed to happen in Seattle was worse, or what’s going on now in Portland is worse, where the local authorities are accusing the Federal authorities, the only ones doing anything about 50 nights of violence, of being the bad guys.

We’ve been bombarded for months now about how sleeping or walking back from a party or carrying a legal weapon shouldn’t be a death sentence. It isn’t as simple as it’s phrased, but none of those things should have happened. However, there are a lot of other things that shouldn’t be death sentences: Continue reading

More Speech Suppression And Intimidation On The Campus: The Juniata Affair

The “Concerned Juniatian” was a student named Colin Daly. This was the very end of a much longer screed (You can read the whole, very long letter here) that the Juniatia College student sent to his campus community anonymously. Juniata is a small Pennsylvania liberal arts college affiliated with the Church of the Brethren, a Christian denomination. It is also apparently devoid of respect for such values as free speech, individuality, and dissent.

Daly, a senior, wrote the email without including his name but accidentally “left identifying information on the system he used to distribute his post to all of Juniata’s email accounts,” according to PennLive.

Before it identified Daly as the author, the college’s President James Troha wrote in a statement that the email contained “slurs, hateful language, and intimations of violence directed at members of our community on the basis of their identity.” There is no threat of any kind in the letter, and the “slurs” are words referred to as slurs, not used as slurs. Here’s the section of the letter I assume Troha is referring to:

I’d like to see Daly sue Troha for libel; I think he’d have a strong case.

The next day, after it was determined that Daly was the author, the college released a new statement. claiming that “law enforcement agencies are continuing their own investigations of the matter,” and suggesting that the letter’s author student may have broken state and federal laws.

That’s some education students at Juniata are getting. Continue reading

Colleges Have Become An Existential Threat To Free Speech, Thought, And Democracy. They Have To Be Opposed And Reformed [CORRECTED]

From the cover of Ben Shapiro’s book. Of course, most campuses won’t allow Shapiro to speak there, and explain how students are being brainwashed…

And that will take determination, character, and guts.

Two horrifying stories from our campuses illustrate the urgency of concerted, relentless opposition.  Warning: the second is even worse than the first:

1.University of Connecticut

The president and vice president of the University of Connecticut’s Undergraduate Student Government rejected the will of the students who voted them them into their positions four months ago, and announced that they were resigning. The reason, they said, was that it was inherently racist for white people to lead. Of course, it is racist by definition to claim that one race or another is more qualified to do anything, but this is the apparent quality of a UConn education on display.

VP Alex Ose , according to The Daily Campus,  quit while citing “the climate and incidents of racial injustice across the country and at the university,” and added,

I feel that it is my duty to step down from my position to make space for BIPOC (black, indigineous and people of color) voices to truly rise and be heard. It is my responsibility to make space, not to create an echo.

Fascinating. The fact that she is so devoid of critical thinking skills as to state something like this publicly is, ironically, a good reason for her to resign, but wanting to “make space” for “black, indigineous and people of color”—she misspelled indigenous—regardless of their qualifications, intelligence, judgment ability and experience is not.

As noted here earlier, this is the emerging “answer” to Question 13 (“What is the “systemic reform regarding race in America” that the George Floyd protests purport to be seeking?“): installing a color-based system that excludes merit, and designating whites as a subordinate class. UConn has apparently done an excellent job indoctrinating white students into accepting that second-class status. Go Huskies!

President Joshua Crow’s explanation for his resignation was slightly less idiotic, but still entirely based on race rather than any rational distinction. He said, “It is important in this time to ensure that marginalized groups have the platforms they need.”

Whatever that means. Need to do what? President of the student government isn’t a platform, it’s a job. What does “ensure” mean? Apparently it means ignoring the votes of students, and deciding what is “needed” by edict. If white people are marginalizing themselves, does that still make marginalizing unethical?

To be fair, college students have the excuse that they are young, inexperienced, prone to being influenced by emotion and peer pressure, and, as this nauseating display of virtue-signaling shows, badly educated. College administrators and faculty, however, have no such excuse, which is why the next account is even worse. Continue reading

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 7/16/2020: Dreadlocks, Kareem, Scrabble And “Political Slogan? What Political Slogan?”

1. This Morning’s Grovel: A white Seattle hairdresser apologized profusely for daring to wear dreadlocks. The key quote: “I have come to understand—far too belatedly—that my hairstyle is harmful.”

To lightly paraphrase Orwell: ‘She loved Big Brother.’

It’s hard to work up any sympathy for people like Irene—weak, ignorant, unwilling to stand up for basic  human rights, like being able to wear your hair any damn way you want to. This is yet another of the one-way “rules” that are being delivered by edict as an alleged remedy for “systemic racism”: Blacks can do anything they want to, whites are severely limited. The hair rules: black women can straighten their hair, dye it blonde, adopt any style the choose as a method of self expression, but a white woman who chooses dreadlocks has “harmful hair.”

Those who won’t stand up for their own liberties deserve to lose them. Irene is a fool, and betraying the values of her country. Continue reading

My Georgetown Diploma Joins My Harvard Diploma In Facing The Wall In Shame

Georgetown has apparently programmed its victims of a liberal education to not only believe in the suppression of free speech and dissent from the majority, but to engage in it. Nice.

By the way, Georgetown, the backs of Harvard’s diplomas are much more attractive than the backs of yours.

Georgetown University junior Billy Torgerson received a formal condemnation from  the Georgetown University Student Association as well as a call for the college to investigate him for “bias” based on a column, “A Nation Of Virtuous Individuals,” that he authored and posted on his own website.

That’s all you need to know, really. It is none of the Student Association’s business what a Georgetown student posts online on his own forum. The principle articulated in the recent Supreme Court case B.L v. Mahanoy Area School District holds even if the action of a student group doesn’t strictly constitute what the opinion prohibits. This is chilling free speech.

Torgerson’s primary “crime” seems to be that he opposes another recent SCOTUS ruling,  Bostock v. Clayton County, which extended protections under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to transgender individuals.  I think he’s wrong, but Torgerson’s position is similar to that of the  three dissenting judges  and many conservative analysts. And it doesn’t matter if he’s wrong. He has every right to state his opinion without being punished. Continue reading

Comment Of The Day: “Waning Sunday Ethics Reveries, 7/12/2020: You Know, Ethics Isn’t Fun For Me When Everyone’s Acting Irrationally”

I have a couple of Comments of the Day on the runway and a guest column too, but when Steve-O-in-NJ delivered one of his epic epistles—I think they transcend “comments”—of Alizia Tyler length, I had to choose it to end the day. The topic is one Ethics Alarms has discussed in recent week: the disturbing similarities between the Red Scare and McCarthyism and the current George Floyd Freakout.

Here is his Comment of the Day on the post, “Waning Sunday Ethics Reveries, 7/12/2020: You Know, Ethics Isn’t Fun For Me When Everyone’s Acting Irrationally”:

I dub this the White Scare.

No doubt there are still a few people who have nightmares of the living nightmare of sitting uncomfortable and squirming in the lowest seat in the Senate chamber. You sit alone before an intimidating array of microphones, all eyes on you, questions being fired at you like crossbow bolts from every angle about anything and everything. You don’t exactly know how you got there, maybe someone said your name was mentioned in connection with some gathering or that you said or wrote something that concerned them. Your finances, your job, your friendships, your family, nothing is off-limits. Question after question, hour after hour, it drags on until you forget when it began and have no idea when it will end. Letters you wrote years ago, conversations you barely remember having, meetings you remember attending, but can’t remember who else was there, leave alone the subject, the questions keep coming. As you shake inwardly, your shirt soaked from the stress of the interrogation and the fear of its consequences, the stern-faced Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin fixes you with a glare like God throwing the Egyptian host into a panic and thunders possibly the most dreaded question in history, “Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?” Refuse to answer, give the wrong answer, claim not to remember, or equivocate, and you are finished, tarred as a “Red,” a Communist, someone in league with the most evil regime then in the world, and the second or third worst ever, against America, the Constitution, and everything that was good.

If you have few friends when you sit down in this loneliest chair in the world, you could well have none when you leave it. There’s a very good chance that if you held a security clearance it will be revoked, because there are just too many maybes for you to be trusted. There’s a good chance that you will lose your job as you can’t hide or scrub off the red stain. There’s a very good chance your life and your family’s life will collapse or be greatly damaged or diminished. Continue reading