Google Is Making It Extra-Easy To Discriminate On The Basis of Race! Thanks, Google! [CORRECTED!]

[I was so upset about this that I rushed to get it up, with the usual skipped words and missed typos. I think they are all fixed now. I’m sorry for the sloppiness]

Well, isn’t that ducky! Google pledged last month to support the black community in its battle for “initiatives and product ideas that support long-term solutions  to systemic racism, and has come up with a nifty way to do it that will assist racists of all colors everywhere. Continue reading

Let’s Get The Week Off To A Positive Start With Encouraging Ethics Stories! Like…Oh. Never Mind…(Part I)

I try. I really do. In 2016, it was about this time when I started getting complaints that too many of the posts were about political topics…what I needed to do was write more about people in lobster hats.

I search the most obscure sources to try to find non-political ethics topics. I’m so sick of the politicizing of everything I could spit—in fact, I think I will. There. Just let me wipe off the screen… The final straw may have been having to look at “Black Lives Matter” in the center field bleachers in Fenway Park. I’m about to grab my machete and run amuck.

However, the attempt by the Democratic Party, “the resistance,” and the mainstream news media to try to first, rig the 2016 election, then to undo the 2016 election, then to deny the legitimacy of the President elected, then to try to engineer a soft coup, and now to use disinformation, and social unrest to corrupt the 2020 election, in total a general assault on democracy and our culture of democracy itself, is the most important ethics  story of the past half-century by far.  It is among the three most consequential ethics stories of the last hundred years, along with the civil rights movement and the Red Scare/McCarthyism.  This is an ethics blog. I have to write about it.

But I promise to keep searching for as many non-political stories as I can find. I do miss the assistance of now retired crack ethics story scout Fred, who somehow sniffed out issues and controversies from the damnedest places, but many of you are helping out. Keep looking.

1. What’s going on here? Why isn’t it obvious to everybody?  In Illinois, leaders in education, politics and other areas gathered in Evanston yesterday to demand that the Illinois State Board of Education….wait for it!… eliminate history classes in public schools statewide.  State Rep. LaShawn K. Ford held a news conferences to argue that current history books create a racist society and overlook the contributions of women and minorities, so school districts should immediately remove history books that “unfairly communicate” history. “It costs us as a society in the long run forever when we don’t understand our brothers and sisters that we live, work and play with,” Ford said, explaining that he is sponsoring a bill that would require elementary schools to prioritize teaching students about the civil rights movement.

Of course, this is an open demand for propaganda rather than education,  advancing the core belief of Black Lives Matter that Fac’s Don’t Matter. What is significant is that Ford and others are so transparent about it. Those who have actually read about history—it’s not as if schools competently teach it now—know that fanatic movements keep pushing for increasingly extreme demands as long as as those in power and the public hesitate to say “No. That’s irresponsible and ridiculous.” Continue reading

August 2, A Date That Should Live In Infamy, But Doesn’t

I usually check the historical significance of dates. This time, I discovered that August 2 is one of the most ethically disastrous in history.

  •  In 1934, Chancellor Adolf Hitler became the absolute dictator of Germany with the death of German President Paul von Hindenburg. I think we can all agree that this wins the prize as the worst event on this date. The German army quickly took an oath of allegiance to its new commander-in-chief, and Germany’s democratic government was erased, with  Hitler’s Third Reich taking its place.

The result was genocide, world war, and the deaths of millions.

  • On August 2, 1990, Iraqi forces invaded Kuwait. This, in turn, led to the Persian Gulf War, which resulted in at least 25,000 Iraqi soldiers killed and more than 75,000  wounded in one of the most one-sided military conflicts in history. Only 148 American soldiers were killed and 457 wounded. The war also ended the lives of an estimated 100,000 Iraqi civilians who died from wounds, lack of adequate water, food, or medical supplies. As Saddam Hussein exploited corruption in the U.N. and played games with the terms of the cease fire,   about a million more Iraqi civilians died as a result of the U.N. sanctions.

The Persian Gulf War led directly to 9-11, the Afghanistan War, and the invasion of Iraq, and indirectly to too many horrible results to count. Continue reading

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: “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 7/30/2020: Fact Checks, Fear-Mongering, The Emmys, And Another Cancellation” (Item #2)

The game-playing and misrepresentations regarding police shooting data, particularly by the news media, are driving me bonkers, as I assume, yu as well.

Addressing the issue  is Chris Marschner’s in his Comment of the Day on the post, “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 7/30/2020: Fact Checks, Fear-Mongering, The Emmys, And Another Cancellation”:

What the researchers using Baysian models fail to control for – or at least fail to show how they controlled for it – is the behavior of the individual shot prior to the being killed. If unarmed whites, according to Critical Race Theory as shown in several documents presented earlier, are assumed to acquiesce to persons of authority while Black arrestees are more likely to resist such authority it stands to reason that opportunities for police involved shootings among blacks will rise.

There is a reason that marketers who rely on statistical probabilities to assess likelihood of consumer behaviors evaluate consumer groups by age, race, gender and other demographic factors. They place different values on things that affect their decisions. I can say that blacks disproportionately purchase more rap recordings than whites. Comparisons of third party interactions with different demographic groups must control for how each group views and reacts to the third party (police).

The very same statistics will show that young blacks and whites are shot far more often than people of their own race that are more than twenty years older than they. Furthermore, just how many females of any race are shot by police in any given year? Maybe the focus should be not black lives but male lives.

Statistics are nothing more than a means to try to understand relationships and perhaps provide some predictive value. Unless you hold constant the variable of participants precipitation behavior constant none of this has significant value. In this research their specious accuracy of the data is quite telling given that they pretend that all persons behave identically in the same situations and all situations are identical.

I am no statistician but I worked with inmates at the three prisons in Hagerstown for five years so I have some understanding to what younger black males respond positively and negatively. What is interesting is that part of the BLM movement’s platform is to destroy the nuclear family construct. That has been going on for years with government policy. Young black, and white, males respond positively to people that give them an opportunity to open up and vent a bit without having to worry about what others will say. Even those with the perpetual chip on their shoulder appreciate the opportunity to not have to carry the weight of projecting the persona of being a bad ass among his peers.

Most of these young males white and black have never been held to account for themselves. They have grown up in matriarchal homes as a result of social service policies and that momma has found that multiple men can augment the family income better than one. Within these homes these kids are resource drains. They grow up learning that being a man is about siring children and demonstrating a distorted view of masculinity. The foregoing is information that was shared by inmates in casual conversations I would “arrange” so it did not appear to be an official interview to which they had to be on guard..

The following is my assessment of what I learned from them and is only my conjecture. Continue reading

Friday Ethics Footnotes, 7/31/2020: 1619, Dumber Lawyers, And Trader Joe’s Stands Up For “Trader Ming’s”

1. Psst! This doesn’t send a message that is complimentary to minorities...The California Supreme Court, which oversees the state bar, agreed to lower the passing score for the exam. The objective is to raise the number of black and Hispanic lawyers. 40 % of California’s population is white, and 60% are not. But 68% of California lawyers are white, according to a new report by the State Bar of California.

Well, so what? Maybe more whites want to be lawyers; whatever the reason, lowering the standards for getting a license seems like a poor way to improve the situation, since it promises to add more dim attorneys. Why do all professions have to have identical demographics to the population at large?

“There is absolutely no evidence that shows having a higher score makes for better lawyers,” said UCLA School of Law Dean Jennifer L. Mnookin. “There is significant evidence that it reduces the diversity of the bar.” Yeah, I’m pretty sure letting people get law licenses by playing beanbag would also lead to a more diverse bar. There is no way to determine whether having higher scores on the bar exam correlates with being a “better lawyer,” but I guarantee not being able to pass the bar exam correlates with being significantly slower on the uptake that a lawyer who can.  Mnookin is saying that intelligence and critical thinking skills don’t factor in the practice of law. What an interesting thing for a law dean to say. Do you think she really believes that?

No one has been able to show that the bar exams anywhere have a racial bias, but since other explanations for comparatively low passing rates among African-Americans are not politically palatable, the George Floyd Freakout has led to this. California will now have dumber lawyers of all colors. Progress! Continue reading

Unethical Quote Of The Week: Tiffany Haddish

“I would hate to give birth to someone that looks like me, and then, knowing that they’re gonna be hunted or killed.”

—-Black comic and actress Tiffany Haddish, explaining  why she hasn’t had children.

Haddish made this astounding statement in an interview with Carmelo Anthony on his YouTube show, “What’s In Your Glass?”,  as she explained why she joined a Black Lives Matter protest.

“I’m a little older now and people are always like, “You gonna have some babies? When are you gonna have some babies? You gonna drop some babies?'” she babbled. “There’s a part of me that would like to do that, and I always make up these excuses like, ‘Oh, I need a million dollars in the bank before I do that, I need this, I need that.”

Then after an explanation that indicates that Haddish thinks she is living in the days of the Underground Railroad and her children would be pursued through the swamps by bloodhounds, like Eliza in “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” she asked, “Like, why would I put someone through that?”

“And white people don’t have to think about that. It’s time to talk about that, and how we have to come together as a community and work as a unit. Maybe we don’t all agree on the same things, but we need to just find some common ground and move forward as human beings not as like, you know,” she concluded, making no sense whatsoever. Continue reading

Res Ipsa Loquitur At The Barr Hearing

No, this wasn’t Fox spin…this was the main theme of the hearings.

Yesterday’s House hearing featuring Attorney General Barr was a new low in partisan grandstanding in Congressional hearings, which by itself is astounding. That condition has made many hearings unwatchable and embarrassing for a very long time, and during the Trump administration, in  fiascos like Justice Kavanaugh’s hearing, the spectacle scarred the image of representative democracy itself. I tried to watch the recording of Barr’s hearing, and was shocked—shocked that the Democrats have become so uninterested in presenting even the illusion of fairness, shocked at the inability of the committee’s repulsive chairman, Rep. Nadler, to restrain his hateful demeanor. I cannot imagine an uglier image of the legislative branch. The transcript excerpts—I’m still waiting for the whole thing— were little easier to take. A little.

Among my Facebook friends, one particularly, a former D.C. journalist, is certifiably Trump Deranged. He literally is unable to go a day without posting a Charles Blow op-ed or the equivalent, or “Look at the horrible thing Trump tweeted!” message to go with pictures of his meals. His Facebook page is a nest of anti-Trump crazies—they flock there like addicts would head for a crack house. Yet in the middle of the Barr hearing, HE wrote, “Why won’t the Democrats give Barr a chance to speak?”

“I know your story,”  one of the more infamously dim-bulb Congressmen, Representative Hank Johnson of Georgia told Barr, interrupting him before he could complete a thought. “I’m telling my story. That’s what I’m here to do,” Barr replied.

Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio, the committtee’s ranking Republican, protested, “For months you have tried to get the attorney general to come, He is here. Why don’t you let him speak?” Continue reading

Monday Ethics Cool-Down, 7/27/2020: Lots of Stuff Hanging Around The Runway

I have a long night of work ahead of me, so I don’t know what time it is.

Or care.

1. Res ipsa loquitur.  Oopsie! “Health company apologizes for falsely telling 600,000 US military members they were infected with coronavirus”

Tricare apologized for a poorly worded email that implied the recipient had  been infected with the Wuhan virus.

I guess the writer was a Rutgers English major.

On the bright side, it is better to get a false positive than a false negative.

2. Schadenfreude Alert! Seattle radio host  Paul Gallant  mocked President Donald Trump last month for suggesting Seattle’s riots were violent. Then, last night, the “mostly peaceful” demonstrations got his Starbucks. HIS STARBUCKS!!!

“I feel like I need to buy a firearm, because clearly this is going to keep happening. Enough is enough,” Gallant he added.

It was enough a long time ago, you pathetic jerk.

3.  Boy, when you can’t even trust the sports reporters…ESPN tweeted a video over the weekend of players from the WNBA’s New York Liberty and the Seattle Storm leaving the court, and wrote, “As the national anthem was played, the @nyliberty and @seattlestorm walked off the floor as part of the social justice initiative.” For this display, the women were roundly criticized.

Then ESPN tweeted  “Correction: Players left the court before the national anthem was played, not during.” That’s what I call a material mistake.

Nevertheless, at last checking,  the original misleading tweet is still up.

4. This is presumably justifiable because all cops in New Jersey are racists, as proven by the fact that a non-racist cop in Minneapolis killed a black man.  Kevin Trejo, 21, of Westwood, New Jersey has been arrested for  spitting into the coffee of a police officer at Starbucks.  Police have evidence  that Trejo had done this repeatedly with officers.  Trejo claims to have only done it just once. Oh! Well that’s OK, then!

Question 1: Is this a violent offense?

Question 2: Why would any police officer chance ordering a beverage at Starbucks? Continue reading

Update: The Rutgers Grammar Letter. What’s Going On Here?

Yesterday, I wrote about  Rebecca Walkowitz, the English Department chair at Rutgers University, sending  an email to the Rutgers community titled “Department actions in solidarity with Black Lives Matter.” In order to “contribute to the eradication of systemic inequities facing black, indigenous, and people of color,” she announced, the English Department will begin “incorporating ‘critical grammar’ into our pedagogy.” “Critical grammar” pedagogy “challenges the familiar dogma that writing instruction should limit emphasis on grammar/sentence-level issues so as to not put students from multilingual, non-standard ‘academic’ English backgrounds at a disadvantage,” her email states. “Instead, it encourages students to develop a critical awareness of the variety of choices available to them w/ regard to micro-level issues in order to empower them and equip them to push against biases based on ‘written’ accents.”

This, I concluded, was one more example of the solution to “systemic racism” being rammed down our metaphorical throats by the World’s Woke consisting of removing any standards that any segment of black America found the lest bit inconvenient or challenging—you know, like competing for jobs, SAT scores and having to obey lawful directives from police officers. I wasn’t the only one, though the report on this initiative came from the College Fix, a conservative site that reports on the leftist nonsense in our institutions of higher learning. There has been literally nothing about this episode in the mainstream news media. The New York Post—but that’s a Murdoch publication, so thus presumptively eeeevildid have a brief editorial note about the matter:

“….Rebecca Walkowitz, vowed to incorporate “ ‘critical grammar’ into our pedagogy,” which will challenge “the familiar dogma that writing instruction should limit emphasis on grammar/sentence-level issues,” so as not to put students with poor “academic” English backgrounds “at a disadvantage.” Another goal: “decolonizing the Writing Center.” How does lowering standards serve justice? Executive dean Peter March and spokeswoman Dory Devlin didn’t respond to request[s] for comment.”

Two esteemed Ethics Alarms readers, however, argued that I, as well as the College Fix and others, got her intent backwards. Heeere’s commenter Here’s Johnny (emphasis mine):

[I]n saying “Critical grammar pedagogy challenges the familiar dogma”, they are doing the right thing. The familiar dogma being challenged is that proper grammar is not important. That dogma came into play to cut some slack to students whose grammar was not perfect, for cultural, or native language, or other reasons. In challenging that dogma, Rutgers is saying that the phrasing of a message must be looked at critically. It may be that slang, or cultural ways of speaking are appropriate, or it may be that standard grammar is necessary. Students must know the difference and use what is right for the message and the audience.

Continue reading