When Race-Sensitivity Becomes A Pathology: The Case Of Kevin Durant’s Shoes

The offensive shoes, and even though they cost $180, the offense is not the shoes...

The offensive shoes, and even though they cost $180, the offense is not the shoes...

NBA star Kevin Durant, who grew up in Maryland’s majority African American Prince George’s County, put both his initials and those of his home community on Nike’s  “KD8 PG County” model basketball shoe. Rather than being grateful or feeling honored, however, many in the community are complaining that Nike, and Durant, has “offended” the area.

“As you can imagine, we are very proud of the success of Prince George’s County native Kevin Durant, and the pride that he has in growing up in the county,” the office of County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D) said in an e-mail sent to Nike. “We do want to make the Nike corporation aware that ‘P.G.’ is a term that many in Prince George’s County consider pejorative and/or an insult.”

What? I’ve lived in the Washington, D.C. area for decades and heard the county called “P.G.” and “Prince George’s” interchangeably without comment. Now the County’s initials are offensive?

Explains the Washington Post: “Insiders” say the initials could just as easily stand for “Pretty Ghetto” or “Pretty Grim.”


Of course, “P.G.” could also just as easily stand for Poor Godzilla, Putrid Gin, Parsimonious Greeks, or Penis Garnish.

Kevin Durant, who is black, decides to give his community a call out and gets slammed for it by activists and race-baiters who are actively searching for ways to elevate themselves, manufacture publicity and influence, and gain the power of the victim.

A group that is perceived—accurately in too many cases—to be so determined to find racial offense that its allies, supporters,  friends and in this case, members must be constantly vigilant and wary to avoid being accused of offense will eventually find their one-time allies sympathy replaced by resentment.

Who in their right mind want to deal with people who are looking for ways to call them bigots? There is a limit to how tolerant society will be of the “microagression” game, and there should be.

Racial sensitivity is edging toward racial super-sensitivity, and that will eventually become a handicap—a self inflicted one—if it hasn’t already.

Our Untrustworthy Public Schools, Part I: The Administrator


How could this happen in a trustworthy institution?

It couldn’t.

The Washington Post reported this week that Robin Anthony Toogood II resigned as  principal of Jennie Dean Elementary School, a job he had held since 2009. He also surrendered his Virginia teaching and administrative license. Toogood, who had worked as a teacher and administrator in Washington D.C. area public schools since 2000, had not only falsely claimed to have  a doctorate in education, he also never received an undergraduate bachelor’s degree.

Manassas City officials never checked Toogood’s credentails when he was hired as principal five years ago. The fake degrees were only discovered because he applied to be an elementary school principal in neighboring Prince William County, where to his evident surprise, a proper background check followed. It revealed Toogood’s resume to be Toogood to be true.* He had falsified transcripts from the University of Maryland Baltimore County, Trinity Washington University in the District and Regent University in Virginia. The County alerted Manassas schools, which confronted Toogood. He did not deny the findings and resigned.

He is also apparently a pastor. Manassas City discovered that Toogood also claimed to have earned a doctorate from Andover Theological Seminary and had not.

The Post reports that Toogood had previously been a teacher in D.C. public schools and held administrative positions at several D.C. public charter schools. D.C. public school officials confirmed to the Post that Toogood had taught there from 2000 to 2005, after which he was an administrator at Friendship Collegiate Academy from 2006 to 2007 , and principal of the Center City charter school from 2008 to 2009.  The D.C. Public Charter School Board’s spokesperson told the Post “that the schools conduct their own background checks with board guidance.”

Nice job, guys. Continue reading

Maryland’s Ethics Dunce State Senator, Len Bias, And Statue Ethics

The late Len Bias. No hero he.

The late Len Bias. No hero he.

Maryland State Sen. Victor R. Ramirez (D-Prince George’s County) has introduced a bill to designate state funds to erect a statue of Len Bias, a former University of Maryland basketball star, at Northwestern High School in Hyattsville, Md. Bias, a graduate of the school, died in 1986 of cocaine intoxication less than two days after he was drafted s by the NBA’s Boston Celtics, shocking the area and the nation. Ramirez’s efforts, as well as a recent decision to name another local high school after President Obama, is causing the Prince George’s County Education Board to revise and formalize its policy for such honors as statues and building names. Will an African-American kid who cut off his promising life as it was just beginning with a self-administered drug overdose be deemed worthy of immortalization, to serve as inspiration for future generations of black youth? Stay tuned.

The Stupid is strong in this one...

“Len Bias was a student athlete in Prince George’s,” Sen. Ramirez argues. “He moved the University of Maryland basketball program to new heights. He and Michael Jordan were the two best college players at that time, until he tragically died. . . . We can learn something from everything. The nation learned a lot from this unfortunate incident.” Well, if learning “a lot” from someone’s demise is the criteria for honoring them with a heroic statue, that opens up all kinds of possibilities. Good thinking, Senator! A statue of Richard Nixon reminds us that power corrupts, certainly a valuable lesson for all. A statue of Benedict Arnold teaches us the dangers of pride, and how a sense of entitlement can lead to tragic choices. And what could be more illuminating than a statue of Adam Lanza, the Newtown shooter? Maybe even one showing him mowing down those kids—such a powerful statement about gun abuse, and the failures of the mental health system! In fact, what would really be appropriate is naming a public school after him.

By the end of his life, Len Bias was no hero or role model, and he deserves no honor for knowingly breaking drug laws and getting himself killed while disappointing legions of fans and supporters. Erecting a statue to Bias would be just one more step in society’s capitulation to the seductive, and destructive, appeal of the drug culture, and the elimination of the vitally important societal stigma attached to recreational drug use. What Bias did was willful, ignorant, irresponsible and illegal, and even if that last is removed for his young admirers, the first three remain.

The County Board of Education is now going to debate the appropriateness of making a hero out of a  drug abuser and a 21 year old cocaine casualty. If they have to discuss it to answer that question, they all need to be replaced, not that the pathetic performance of their schools isn’t reason enough for that. Len Bias’s death wasn’t “a tragic incident.” A car crash is a tragic incident. Bias died because, like so many young people in Prince George’s County and elsewhere, he deliberately engaged in dangerous conduct that he knew was forbidden, and learned, the hard way, why.

Placing a triumphal statue in front of a high school is no way to discourage deadly attitudes like the one that got Bias killed…unless the design of the proposed statue shows the young man at the exact moment his heart seized and his eyes rolled back in his head.


Facts and Graphic: Washington Post

Source: The Nation

When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Unethical, As A School Board Ponders The Profits of Child Labor

child laborWe learn about how seriously our institutions take their ethics when money gets scarce. States suddenly decided that ol’ devil gambling wasn’t so bad after all, once they realized that lots and lots of poor, desperate people without a lot of mathematical skills would fork over billions they needed to buy food with or save to move out of the ghetto in the hope of becoming a tycoon. I’m sure as soon as states realize that their legislators don’t have the guts to make the wealthy and powerful pay for lousy schools, more and more of them will get into the drug dealing business, like Colorado, and let the lives, families and businesses destroyed by the inevitable results of legal pot and cocaine become collateral damage.

Somewhere in between those irresponsible and cynical policy decisions way come ideas like this one, from the Prince George’s County Board of Education (in Maryland.) There is a new proposed policy in the perpetually corrupt Washington D.C. neighbor to make all work products created by teachers or students the intellectual property of the County, not the individual who created it: Continue reading

Fick Sighting in Prince George’s County

Leslie Johnson, fick.

Ethics Alarms recently coined the useful term fick to describe the especially shameless individual who violates society’s ethical norms openly, publicly and flagrantly, without remorse or apology. It takes a certain kind of anti-social arrogance to be a true fick, with the gold standard established by Michigan lottery winner Leroy Fick, a millionaire who happily continues to collect food stamps because of a statutory loophole despite howls of indignation from his neighbors in one of the most fiscally-challenged states in the nation.  Other ficks who have come to light include Hugh Heffner despicable ex-fiance Crystal Harris, who plotted to humiliate him at the altar to launch a reality show. Of course, there is  longstanding Octo-fick Nadya Suleman, and celebrity fick Charlie Sheen.

Now lucky Prince George’s County in Maryland has a bona fide fick of its own.  Continue reading

Leslie Johnson, the Implications of Guilt and the “Innocent Until Proven Guilty” Confusion.

In the context of American justice, “innocent until proven guilty” means that nobody is legally guilty of a crime until a court proceeding has ruled so after a fair trial. The term is nowhere in the Constitution or Bill of Rights; it flows from the Due Process clause of the Fifth Amendment, requiring that no one can lose his or her freedom or property without due process of law. What it does not mean is that a wrongdoer is literally innocent of a crime until a jury or judge has officially declared that he is. If he did something, he did it, and if we all know he did it, we don’t have to pretend he didn’t or that we don’t.

I saw Jack Ruby shoot Lee Harvey Oswald on television and get taken into custody on the spot, and still had to listen to broadcasters say he “allegedly shot Kennedy’s assassin” as if it was still just a theory. By this standard, John Wilkes Booth only “allegedly” shot Lincoln, since he was never tried. The fact that a theater full of people saw him do it, leap to the stage and run off derringer smoking, doesn’t mean a thing. He’s as pure as the driven snow, innocent forever. Continue reading