Tag Archives: discrimination

From The Ethics Alarms “Outrageous Double Standards” File: The Washington Post Gives A Vocal Anti-Semitic Politician A Pass

Ward 8 in the District of Columbia, where corrupt former mayor Marion Barry set up shot after getting out of prison, now has a Representative on the D.C. City Counsel who makes Barry look like Barack Obama as a statesman and Stephen Hawking as an intellect. This is Trayon White, who recently made the news after opining that “the Rothschilds” as in, “the Jews “control the weather to own the cities.”  After an apology, he took a tour of the Holocaust Museum, and embarrassed himself further, asking some bizarre questions before leaving the tour early.

So what was the Washington Post editorial page’s reaction to this? Amazing…some high (low?)lights…

Many people were inclined to believe that D.C. Council member Trayon White Sr. (D-Ward 8) spoke from ignorance, not malice, when he talked about Jewish financiers controlling the weather. That was, and continues to be, our view….

So an elected city official is more ignorant than a stick of gum. The “Jews control the weather” line was scientifically ignorant, societally ignorant and historically ignorant, plus being so cretinous it hurts to read. At that point, does the distinction between malice and ignorance matter?

Mr. White, who joined the council last year, has attracted national attention because of his controversial remarks earlier this year suggesting Jewish control of climate and government. The furor had died down when The Post detailed an awkward visit to the Holocaust Museum by Mr. White and his staff. That Mr. White initiated the visit is to his credit, and a pass should be given to questions asked in earnest good faith but out of ignorance. Sadly, as shown by a recent survey, a lack of knowledge about the Holocaust is not uncommon in young Americans.

What? The man is an elected  government leader! Government leaders have to know something. White’s questions (for example..shown a photo taken in 1935,  that depicts a woman in a dark dress shuffling down a street in Norden, Germany wearing a large sign around her neck reading, “I am a German girl and allowed myself to be defiled by a Jew” as she is surrounded by Nazi stormtroopers, White asked his guide, “Are they protecting her?”) reveal a deep lack of knowledge or minimal historical education. He’s unqualified for office. What kind of defense is it that “young Americans” are ignorant of the Holocaust? This isn’t even an effective “Everybody does it” rationalization. He’s not a “young American,” he’s a City Council member. He’s supposes to lead “young Americans.”

And how many young Americans think that the Jews are controlling the weather?

For contrast and good laugh, read this defense of White, which is essentially identical to White’s own “I try to help the downtrodden, so it shouldn’t matter if I’m dumb as a brick” excuse. Back to the Post…

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Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 4/18/2018: The Bad, The Beautiful, And The Stupid

Good morning, everyone…

1. Tales of the King’s Pass. Fox News put out a statement saying that Sean Hannity had its “full support.” We can assume that means no punishment, no sanctions, not even any public regrets, despite the fact, and it is a fact, that the right-wing talk-show host-turned-Trump propagandist went on the air and defended Trump’s fixer, Michael Cohen, without mentioning the fact that Hannity was Cohen’s client. Thus Fox is announcing, in effect, that undisclosed conflicts of interest are just fine and dandy if your ratings are good enough. This also means that Fox News is admitting that it really doesn’t care about candor, honesty, and objectivity, since it will ignore blatant violations of all three if the profit is sufficient.

In fairness to Fox, Hannity’s blatant biases toward all things Trump are no more egregious than the open Obama bias displayed across the mainstream media’s full spectrum of journalists and pundits; it just stands out more because he has less company. However, this is a specific conflict of interest, with Hannity having undisclosed connections to a newsmaker that could reasonably affect his commentary. The closest parallel would be ABC’s George Stephanopoulos reporting on the Clinton Foundation’s dubious activities without telling viewers that he was a $75,000 donor. ABC didn’t discipline him, either, but at least he made a public apology on the air.

To make the King’s Pass case even stronger, after Politico reported this week that dinnertime news anchor Bret Baier played nine holes of golf with President Trump over the weekend, Fox News acknowledged that Baier was admonished by the president of the network.  I don’t agree with the reprimand at all. The opportunity to spend that kind of time with a President is invaluable, a rare opportunity to acquire insight and access over an extended period of time. The idea, I assume, is that it creates the illusion of chumminess. It’s a dumb illusion. If I were a journalist,  I would play golf with anyone if it allowed me to learn something. If I were president of a network, I’d reprimand a reporter for turning down such an opportunity.

2. The Virtue-Signaling Hall Of Fame. Starbucks is reacting to the PR nightmare arising out of the arrest of two black men for refusing to order anything while waiting for a companion in a Philadelphia Starbucks by a grand gesture: it will close all U.S. stores and corporate offices on the afternoon of May 29 for “employee racial bias training.” I suppose this is good crisis management, though cynical and non-substantive. It also permanently tars as a racist the Starbucks ex-manager, who says she was following a locale-specific company policy in an area that had experienced problems with loitering. Continue reading

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Ethics Observations On The Philly Starbucks Ethics Train Wreck

The now viral Starbucks incident that took place in Philadelphia last week is a genuine ethics train wreck.

Two days after two men were arrested while waiting for their friend at a local Starbucks, the company has issued an apology.

Police were called to a Starbucks after two men, who were African Americans, refused to leave the coffee store after they were told that they needed to buy something in order to stay there.  The men were waiting to meet companion to have a meeting. The store management then summoned the police.

 

The men now have an attorney, Lauren Wimmer, who says that her clients were waiting in the Starbucks  for less than 15 minutes. “These guys were doing what people do every day, they were having a meeting and they were undoubtedly singled out because of their race, ” she says.

The company tweeted the apology yesterday:

Ethics Observations: Continue reading

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Comment Of The Day: “Ethics Quiz: Harvard And Evangelicals”

Here is yet another Comment of the Day, this one by Alexei, on the post, Ethics Quiz: Harvard And Evangelicals:

I’d say Harvard is not on solid ethical ground. This organization can say the leader was deposed, because she lost the trust of her organization’s members and became inconsistent with their group values. No one is entitled to a leadership position, especially if you lose the full faith and credit of your organization. I wonder if Harvard would also ban the Muslim Students Alliance (I bet they have one) if their leader converts to Judaism, Christianity, or worse becomes an atheist, or even comes out as homosexual. I think they would certainly have grounds for deposing their leadership under such a circumstance. I think you can come up with a lot of examples similar to this.

What if the leader of the Future Female lawyer club says they are now a man. Grounds for dismissal.

The leader of the German Speakers Club forsakes German and starts to have meetings speaking French. Grounds for dismissal.

The leader of the Feminist Club comes out as pro-life. Grounds for dismissal.

Legally, Harvard can probably do whatever they want. But it’s a bad precedent for educating our future thought leaders and political leaders. It goes against the spirit of freedom of speech, association and religion. If we all disregard these freedoms, then we are a stone’s throw away from scrapping them from our laws as well.

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Ethics Quiz: Harvard And Evangelicals

At Harvard College, the Office of Student Life has placed the student religious group Harvard College Faith and Action on “administrative probation” for a year after the organization pressured a female member of its student leadership to resign in September following her decision to date a woman.

College spokesperson Aaron M. Goldman announced the move to put HCFA in a statement that read,

“After a thorough review and finding that HCFA had conducted itself in a manner grossly inconsistent with the expectations clearly outlined in [the Office of Student Life’s] Student Organization Resource and Policy Guide, OSL has placed HCFA on a one year administrative probation.”

HCFA co-presidents, students Scott Ely and Molly L. Richmond, elaborated:

“Earlier today, we met with an administrator who informed us that the College would place HCFA on probation, citing our relationship with Christian Union as well as our standards for leaders. The decision to suspend HCFA, though, is almost certainly tied to the Sept. 2017 resignation of a female bisexual former assistant Bible course leader. HCFA leadership asked the woman to step down from her position after they learned she was dating another female student—violating guidelines laid out in the Harvard College Student Handbook, which stipulates recognized campus student groups cannot discriminate on the basis of “sexual orientation.”…We reject any notion that we discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation in our fellowship. Broadly speaking, the student in this case was removed because of an irreconcilable theological disagreement pertaining to our character standards.”

In other words, the group did not eject the female student because of her sexual orientation, but because the religious group’s principles dictated that same-sex sexual relations were wrong, thus disqualifying her as a leader.  The ejected student herself confirmed to the Harvard Crimson that this was her understanding.

Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day:

Is Harvard on solid ethical ground suspending the group?

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Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 3/22/18: Nanoo Nanoo, And The Oxford Comma

Good Morning!

1 . From the “Oh, Come on!” files. As I have mentioned here several times, Georgetown Law professor Professor Paul Butler decided to ambush me with a cheap shot on NPR last year, interjecting “Oh come on!” as I was explaining how a celebrity or prominent man’s inappropriate sexual advances could be initially welcome to a female subordinate, and then later, after, say, the same celebrity is regarded as toxic by that woman’s peer group, what were originally “welcome” (or not unwelcome) attentions could become retroactively unwelcome, prompting an accusation of sexual harassment. I was 100% correct. Last month, in an email exchange on ten topic with the NPR host, I was told that both she and the professor thought I was making excuses for Donald Trump.

Thus does Trump hate and bias make intelligent discourse increasingly difficult. If I had used Al Franken as my example instead of the President, I presume my commentary would not have been kneecapped. But I digress…

In jaw-dropping revelations in a new book coming out in May, actress Pam Dawber and others describe how co-star Robin Williams often treated her and other actresses on the set of “Mork and Mindy.” The book discusses Williams’ “improvisations”…

[M]any of these additions were sexual and directed at the women in the cast, such as when he goosed the actress who played Mindy’s grandmother with a cane.

[Director Howard] Storm said: ‘I’m standing there watching this and I’m thinking, “oh my god” and I just laughed. I thought she was going to turn and say: “How dare you stick a cane in a woman’s ass?” That sweet old lady.’There was nothing lascivious about it, in his mind. It was just Robin being Robin, and he thought it would be funny. He could get away with murder.’

Other times Williams would grab Dawber’s bottom or her breasts simply because he was ‘bored.’ 

‘He’d be doing a paragraph and in the middle of it he would just turn and grab her ass. Or grab a breast. And we’d start again. I’d say, “Robin, there’s nothing in the script that says you grab Pam’s ass.” And he’d say: “Oh, ok,”‘ Storm added.  

Garry Marshall, the producer of the show, said: ‘He would take all his clothes off, he would be standing there totally naked and she was trying to act. His aim in life was to make Pam Dawber blush.’

But Dawber remained unfazed, she admits: ‘I had the grossest things done to me – by him. And I never took offense. I mean I was flashed, humped, bumped, grabbed. I think he probably did it to a lot of people…but it was so much fun.

‘Somehow he had that magic. If you put it on paper you would be appalled. But somehow he had this guileless little thing that he would do – those sparkly eyes. He’d look at you, really playful, like a puppy, all of a sudden. And then he’d grab your tits and then run away. And somehow he could get away with it. It was the Seventies, after all’.

Wait: if it was the 70’s, does that mean that in the parallel universe where Robin Williams has conquered his demons and is running for the U.S. Senate as a Republican (those parallel universes are funky, let me tell you), Dawber couldn’t come out and destroy his candidacy by describing his outrageous behavior? Does it mean everyone would say that she was being unfair, and that she wouldn’t be lionized as another #MeToo hero?

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Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 3/19/18: Unethical Wedding Gifts, The Fairness Conundrum, What Really Makes Students Unsafe, And More

Good Morning!

1 A Not Exactly Hypothetical… A family member is getting married, and the social justice warrior spouse has decreed that no gifts should be sent, just contributions in the happy couples’ name to designated charities and causes, all political, partisan, and ideological. Does this obligate guests to give money to causes and organizations they object to or disagree with? One might be tempted to teach a life-lesson in abuse of power, and pointedly give a contribution to, say, The Family Research Counsel, the NRA, or Paul Ryan’s re-election campaign, but that would be wrong. Wouldn’t it?

2. “Progressive fines” poll update. The percentage of readers who regard so-called “progressive fines” as fairer than fining all law violators the same amount regardless of resources is about 6%, in contracts to 40% who think this is less fair. As I suspected, the schism is driven by the long-standing (and resolvable) arguments over what constitutes “fair” government policies, and whether it is the government’s job to try to make life less unfair. Is it “fair” to treat everyone the same, when we know that life doesn’t treat everyone the same? Are those who argue that life’s unfairness should be addressed by individuals, not society, taking that position because they are winners in life’s chaotic lottery? Can society and governments be trusted to address “unfairness” and inequality without being influenced by the conflicts and biases of the human beings making and carrying out laws and policies. I don’t generally care to spend a lot of Ethics Alarms time or space on abstract ethics questions, but some of them can’t be avoided. You can take the poll, if you haven’t already, here.

3. On the topic of fairness, here is a study that will make you bang your head against the wall: Following on the heels of this discouraging study I posted about on March 3 is this report by researchers at Stanford, Harvard and the Census Bureau, as described here by the New York Times. A taste sufficient to ruin your day: Continue reading

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