Here are a couple passages from two reviews of audiobooks in the New York Times Review of Books, under the heading, “Two New Audiobooks Inspire Teenagers to Make Real Change.”
“Anderson, a professor of African-American studies at Emory — working with a capable assist from the children’s nonfiction writer Tonya Bolden — elaborates on the premise of her previous book “White Rage.” There she argued that while the fires and protests that characterized cities like Ferguson and Baltimore in 2014 and 2015 were seen as an explosion of black rage, quite the opposite was true. The murders of unarmed citizens and the subsequent acquittals of police officers charged in their deaths were just the latest expressions of a white rage that had terrorized the entire country since Reconstruction, making victims of blacks and poor whites alike.”
“Such a simple but profound shift of perspective — the changing from an ahistoric lens to a historical one — is where “We Are Not Yet Equal” excels. By meticulously tracing a path from the fateful deals white abolitionists cut with the Confederacy during Reconstruction right up to the contemporary efforts to roll back voter protections as a response to Obama’s ascendancy, Anderson paints a dire picture of a country that not only combats equal citizenship for black people, but prioritizes that combat over governmental responsibilities including national security, liberty and democracy.”
“Anderson’s book is a story of obsession, of a country’s obsession with denying rights to a people.”
The reviewer is Carvell Wallace, who, like all of us, has a right to his own opinion, as does Carol Anderson, the professor whose work he favorably reviews. Neither has a right to their own facts, however. Michael Brown was not “murdered.” Neither was Freddie Gray. Someone can opine that there was a cover-up in either case, or simply state a belief in contravention of all known evidence, but one cannot state, as fact, that these deaths were “murders of unarmed citizens” and that the acquittals, which were legally mandated by the lack of evidence sufficient to support convictions of murder, were “the latest expressions of a white rage.” They were both, in fact, the only possible expressions of the law regarding guilt and innocence of criminal offenses. Both statements are factually false. Similarly, the statement that the United States has an “obsession with denying rights to a people”—that is, black people, is a Big Lie, a propaganda falsehood so audacious and beyond reality that it warps public perception by being repeated and debated. Continue reading
As excellent comments often do, Chris’s Comment of the Day prompted an excellent comment in return. This one (actually two that followed on to each other) went well beyond the subject matter in the original post by eventually delving into the soft bigotry of low expectations, Black Lives Matters inner city cultural pathologies, and more.
UPDATE: When I first posted this, I inexplicably included the second part, the follow-up, omitted the main section, which came before. Mu apologies to Chris and Ethics Alarms readers; It’s correct now.
This is Chris Bentley’s Comment of the Day on fellow Chris’s Comment of the Day on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up: 6/14/17”
…That “when we liberals hate someone, it’s because they deserve it.” sentence does bring up some interesting (if not lengthy) thoughts.Most right minded liberals would likely admit that they do hate, at times, republicans and/or conservative ideology. And I’d bet that they’d (like Chris joked) would do so, by justifying that “Right Hate” is bigoted and unjustified, while “Left Hate” is in response to Right Hate, and thus, while ugly, is still justified. This seems to be a prevailing narrative; The Right is hateful for no good reason, the Left is hateful because of the Right. So, no matter how much you can condemn hate, the Left’s hate always seems not quite as bad as the Right’s; more noble, if you will.
And I think this is what frustrates me the most, this narrative. Because rather than the Left seeing the Right as having (at least some) shared goals (security, prosperity, equal opportunity), with radically different paths to achieve those goals, the Left paints the Right’s “hate” as unjustified, ignorant, and without redeeming qualities of any kind.*
At the heart of this frustration is the ignorance most, on the right and definitely on the left, demonstrate towards liberal policies/movements/ideology that are, IMO, every bit as racist/sexist/discriminatory as those on the left claim the right are.
One example: I woke up this morning, and read an article about a mother in Baltimore, who on a particular day, had several times called police to complain about neighborhood thugs trying to steal her kid’s bike, and then, trying to rough up her son; they lived in a very, very bad part of the city. Once the police left the second time, the thugs shot her dead, in front of her kids. It was absolutely heartbreaking to read. And sadly, my first thought, after completing the article, was: “I am certain I will never read about this woman’s murder on a left-run website…ever.” (Followed by: “I am certain BLM will never hold a protest in this woman’s honor”…but that’s an issue for another day) Continue reading
How a major U.S. news and public affairs website can produce an article like Daily Beast Editor-At-Large Goldie Taylor’s is a fertile subject for inquiry, as is the question of how much the ignorant, un-American, values-warping assertions it contains are reinforced throughout our rising generations’ education and socialization. Those investigations must wait for another day, when I have the stomach for it.
For now, let’s just consider what Taylor wrote. It is titled “Six Baltimore Cops Killed Freddie Gray. The System Set Them Free,” an unethical headline that kindly warns us regarding the awfulness to come. No, six Baltimore cops did not kill Freddie Gray, as far as we, or the system, knows based on the evidence. That Taylor would state such an unproven and unprovable statement as fact immediately makes her guilty of disinformation, and shows that she is willfully ignorant of the principles of American justice, as well as too hateful and biased to comprehend them. Damn right the system set them free. That’s because in the Freddie Gray cases the system worked spectacularly well, despite the best efforts of an incompetent and biased prosecutor to make it do otherwise.
And that was just the title. The rest is infinitely worse: if you are feeling sturdy, read it all here. If not, the selected highlights (lowlights?) to follow will suffice.
Taylor wrote early on, Continue reading
George Washington Law School Professor John F. Banzhaf III has filed an ethics complaint against State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby with Maryland’s Attorney Grievance Commission. Banzhaf accuses Mosby in his 10-page complaint of breaching Maryland’s rules of professional conduct for lawyers, which requires that a prosecutor refrain from prosecuting a charge unless it is supported by probable cause, in her conflicted and incompetent prosecution of six police officers involved in the arrest of Freddie Gray. The complaint also flags Mosby’s improper use of public statements to bias the administration of justice.
Of course he is right, as I have repeatedly explained here, here, here, here, and here. I assume there have been other complaints before this one, but he has made the issue a high profile one, and that’s excellent news.
Mosby has earned the Mike NiFong treatment: the unethical prosecutor in the Duke Lacrosse rape case was disbarred, briefly jailed, and sued. She is black, female, and a Democrat, and NiFong remains one of the very, very few prosecutors to be punished significantly for unethical conduct. I will be amazed if the commission does anything momentous or sufficient to discourage grandstanding prosecutors like Mosby in the future, even though such prosecutors are willing to ruin lives for political gain.
I hope I am wrong.
(But I’m not.)
The third (of six) indicted Baltimore police officer charged in the death of Freddie Gray was acquitted last week, and how the rest of the trials, if they even occur, will play out is now a foregone conclusion. To be fair, this was a forgone conclusion from that moment that Baltimore City Attorney Marilyn Mosby charged the officers a year ago without sufficient justification beyond her own political ambitions, those of her husband (who is now running for mayor), racial bias and a desire to mollify rioters. Most commentators believed the charges were premature, rushed to avoid civic unrest. To say that is really to say that she allowed a mob to dictate to law enforcement. This was unethical, dangerous and despicable then, and remains so today.
If officer Caesar R. Goodson Jr., who drove the police transport van in which Gray suffered the spinal cord injury that killed him, could not be found guilty of intentionally killing Freddie Gray, nobody can. Says the New York Times,
“His acquittal on seven counts leaves the state without any convictions after three trials, in one of the nation’s most closely watched police misconduct cases — and continues to leave open the question of what, exactly, happened to Mr. Gray inside the van….Judge Barry G. Williams, who presided over the Goodson trial, issued the verdicts to a hushed, packed courtroom. He drew no conclusions about exactly when during the van ride Mr. Gray got hurt, saying there were several “equally plausible scenarios.” And he rejected the state’s contention that the officer had given Mr. Gray an intentional “rough ride” and knowingly endangered him by failing to buckle him into the van or provide medical help.”
The prosecutor isn’t supposed to ruin the lives and careers of presumptively innocent law enforcement officials to try to find out what happened to Freddie Gray. The prosecutor is supposed to investigate until sufficient evidence tells her that a crime was committed, and the she has enough of that evidence to get a legitimate conviction. The three trials have shown that such evidence either doesn’t exist, or was never found. No, we don’t know what killed Freddie Gray, and that’s called “reasonable doubt.” Continue reading
“I’m not saying you did anything nefariously, I’m saying you don’t know what exculpatory means.”
—- Judge Barry G. Williams, presiding in the Baltimore trial of Officer Caesar Goodson Jr for his alleged role in the death of Freddie Gray, excoriating the prosecution for illegally withholding Brady evidence from the defense.
There is more evidence that the Baltimore prosecution of six police officers for the death of Freddie Gray a year ago is less a matter of seeking justice than it is a sacrificial offering of innocent law enforcement professionals to avoid civil unrest.
I have already chronicled the disturbing pattern of the prosecution in this case, where premature and dubious charges were brought against the officers in the wake of destructive rioting and threats from African-American activists. Now it appears that a statement supporting the officers by Donta Allen, the man sharing the police van with Gray—who ended his trip fatally injured—was never made available to the defense. Because the statement was potentially supportive of the officers in their defense, the material had to be handed over by prosecutors under the Supreme Court decision in Brady v. Maryland, the landmark 1963 case holding in 1963 that “the suppression by the prosecution of evidence favorable to an accused upon request violates due process where the evidence is material either to guilt or to punishment, irrespective of the good faith or bad faith of the prosecution.”
There were only two people present during Ray’s final ride, other than Gray himself: Goodson, the driver, and Donta Allen, another arrested subject who was separated from Gray by a thin metal screen.
Allen has made wildly conflicting statements about what transpired. He initially told police that Gray was “trying to knock himself out” in the back of the van, then later denied that statement to the news media. However, Allen had a second session with police investigators a year ago, shortly after the charges against the officers were brought by City Attorney Marilyn Mosely. In that meeting, Allen reiterated and confirmed his original statement that suggested Gray was trying to injure himself. Prosecutors never brought his second statement to the attention of the defense.