More Amazing Tales Of The Great Stupid: The Racist Anti-Racist Pro-Diversity Film Feature [Corrected]

05SHANG-CHI4-superJumbo

Maybe this kind of thing bothers me more than it bothers most people, but the internal contradictions and racial issues pretzeling in a recent Times puff piece on Marvel’s latest superhero film, “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” had my brain short-circuiting like one of those computers that Captain Kirk would disable on “Star Trek” by feeding them self-contradictory statements.

Consider these quotes from the article, which was authored by Robert Ito. Apparently diversity means that only Asian American reporters can write about Asian-American super-hero movies. Or do you think it was just a coincidence? Sure it was. But I digress…

  • “Known property or not, the movie is a cause for celebration: It’s Marvel’s first and only superhero film starring an Asian lead, with an Asian American director and writer, and based on a character who was actually Asian in the original comic.”

Why is any of this true? Why does the race of a comic book character matter at all? Does race make the character of the story more entertaining? To whom, other than racists? Can only Asian directors and writers create such a movie? Does that mean they can’t work on movies about non-Asian superheroes, or just that it’s not desirable to have a white (or black?) director and writer for movies like this one? I’m so confused… Continue reading

Remember Cooper vs. Cooper, The Racist Dog Owner Against The Black Birdwatcher In Central Park? Well, Our Crack Journalists Finally Got All The Facts Nailed Down 15 Months Later…

Amy Cooper

…but not before Amy Cooper had to flee the country and go into hiding.

To refresh your memory about this Ethics Train Wreck that has been silently rolling all this time, review the posts about on Ethics Alarms here (describing the episode, or at least as we told about it), here, about a month later, commenting on New York City District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.’s unethical decision to prosecute Amy Cooper (which he partially justified based on the the intervening George Floyd Freakout), and finally here, from March, when I discussed Amy having to agree to endure state-mandate brainwashing in order to have Vance’s persecution dropped. The short version—but read the posts—is that White Amy Cooper walking her dog off-leash in Central Park was confronted by Black Christian Cooper, a birdwatching enthusiast, who demanded that she leash her dog and filmed her reactions as she demanded that he stop, then called 911. His video showed her telling authorities with increasing agitation that “An African-American man” was threatening her. Black Cooper’s sister then posted the video on line,White Amy became the personification of a racist “Karen,” and the story nicely set the stage for the George Floyd mess, which, through contrived logic and unscrupulous hype, it was linked to.

I must confess that I am proud of Ethics Alarms for its coverage of this case. Even before I had the additional facts (because nobody did), I correctly discerned that both Amy and Christian Cooper, the black bird-watcher whom she called the cops on,

—behaved like jerks,

—that the fury Christian brought down on Amy’s head was disproportionate to her conduct,

—that Don Lemon and others making what was a minor local tiff into a national controversy was unconscionable, and

—that Amy did not deserve to lose her job, career, dog and reputation, plus be prosecuted and get a lifetime ban from using Central Park,

….because, in essence, she was white and behaved like an asshole. (Some readers seemed to think that the fact that Amy eventually got her dog back was sufficient mitigation.) I wrote in the first post, “Proportion is an ethical value. It appears to be completely absent from this fiasco, on all sides.” Truer words I have seldom published, and that was before the recent revelations.

Bari Weiss, the New York Times rebel and exile I wrote about here, has a podcast, and in her most recent release reveals what some non-mainstream media reporters discovered when they dug deeper than their mainstream counterparts bothered to do. Amy Cooper, now living abroad to escape the constant harassment and abuse she endured in the wake of the incident, also is interviewed.

We learn that…

Continue reading

Cowardly, Culture-Betraying Grovel Of The Month: Karen Taylor Of Breakfast Cure

breakfast-cure-karen-taylor-congee

Breakfast Cure, an Oregon company, was attacked on social media by Asian Americans and the Woke Mob of culturally-appropriating congee, a traditional Asian rice porridge. The company sold its version of the dish in pre-packaged meals, and asserted that they were yummy. The problem is that the company was run by…a white woman.

How dare a white woman’s company claim to make a version of congee to fit the ” modern palate” and “improve” a recipe beloved by Asian cultures for centuries? So, as we have come to expect. company exec Karen Taylor begged for forgiveness:

“Recently, we fell short of supporting and honoring the Asian American community and for that, we are deeply sorry. We take full responsibility for any language on our website or in our marketing and have taken immediate steps to remedy that and educate ourselves, revising our mission to not just creating delicious breakfast meals, but becoming a better ally for the AAPI community.

Continue reading

And The July 5 Comment Of The Day Trifecta Concludes With Arthur In Maine’s Delicious Analysis of “Your 4th Of July Ethics Quiz: Food Racism?”

鮟肝

Finally, in the last of today’s opening trio of outstanding and varied Comments of the Day, Arthur in Maine, whom I did not know until this comment was a former chef, whips up a filling and pleasurable examination of of the issues raised in “Your 4th Of July Ethics Quiz: Food Racism?”...

There’s no longer any doubt in my mind: people are actively looking for ways to be offended. In the case of BLM, for example, the belief is clearly simple-minded rage at the rank-and-file level, but among those further up the chain it’s obviously about power and the grift. Calibrate your outrage correctly, and one can lead quite a handsome life.

Racism (and its first cousins misogyny and homophobia) is the perfect charge to level to achieve this (lucky souls like Lori Lightfoot can, and do, score the trifecta by claiming all three).

As a recovering professional chef (I haven’t lifted a pan for a paycheck in more than 30 years, and still miss it almost every day) I can tell you that serious pro cooks may be able to wow you with the complexity of their offerings. But the foods most of them prefer to eat generally trace back to poverty foods – those developed in poor cultures, where most people ate what the rich folk wouldn’t.

Most Americans, regardless of when or how their ancestors first showed up, simply don’t understand that in most other parts of the world NOTHING goes to waste. We give our scraps to cats and dogs. But very few other places do that. Thus, it’s little wonder that someone figured out a way to make duck feet in a way that actually tastes good. For the record, I would order those in a heartbeat, with full knowledge, just to try them! But in a place like China centuries ago, wasting protein like that was unthinkable, so you did what you could to make them tasty and that’s what’s for supper.

This doesn’t mean I like everything – not by a long shot. I find tripe revolting, and it’s extremely popular in first-world France. As a true afficionado of sushi, I’ll try anything – and just about the only thing I’ve ever been horribly disappointed in at a great sushi bar was ankimo – which is steamed monkfish liver. [Above] It was described to me as the “foie gras of Japan,” and I can see why. But it was still vile. I like foie gras, but not when it’s overlayed with the aroma of a cod-liver-oil-based ointment my mother used to use on us when we were small.

Some cultures happily eat grubs – no thank you. Others eat various insects; again, I’ll pass, but you’re welcome to my helping. The fact is that every culture has its culinary oddities and we’ve all got different tastes. This doesn’t mean our distaste for something is racist. It merely means that it’s so far outside of our culinary comfort zones that we just can’t get our heads around the idea. Many cultures find the American fondness for huge slabs of meat served up with starch baffling, for a variety of reasons.

This, by the way, extends beyond ingredients. There are those only too happy to make accusations of “cultural appropriation” when it comes to food. It is not. When I cook Chinese or Thai or Indian or Mexican food, I do so as a student, not as an appropriator. I do it because I’ve had the good fortune to taste these wonderful cuisines done properly. I want to understand how they’re done, partly because cooking professionally makes you fascinated by differing techniques and ingredients, and partly because I love to eat them and access to these foods locally, prepared by those from that region, is sharply limited. In the case of Chinese, especially, Chinese-American food has been so heavily adapted to North American tastes that it bears little resemblance to the real thing – and almost all of the adaptation has been done by Chinese cooks and restaurant owners. I really want to try the real thing.

Far as I’m concerned, when I make up a dinner of low-country shrimp and grits, the last thing on my mind is contempt for the poor Blacks for whom this was subsistence food. Rather, I’m thinking “this is absolutely ingenious. They took cheap stuff (grits) and free stuff (shrimp) and whatever else they had lying around and made it transcendent!” For me to cook it is not appropriation – it is the deepest possible respect.

I could make a similar argument with music, but I think you folks get my drift. This is “The Great Stupid” and “A Nation of Assholes,” to use Jack’s terms, colliding head-on to form a Great Nation of Stupid Assholes. We’d better come up with a way to pull out of this dive, and quickly.

Ethics Hero And Ethics Quote Of The Week: Jason Whitlock

Floyd statue

The George Floyd statue outside the Newark, NJ. City Hall.

I was introduced to sportswriter Jason Whitlock 20 years ago, when he was the featured speaker at a Kansas City legal convention I was attending. He was a forceful and entertaining speaker, and quick and witty in his question and answer session after his remarks. Since then, I have followed his career with interest, especially his recent emergence as a black conservative with the courage to be direct unequivocal, and not only regarding sports.

Commenting on the epic rant by a black parent and radio pundit about Critical Race Theory I featured over the weekend, esteemed Ethics Alarms commenter Humble Talent opined,

“One of the worst trends to come out of conservative politics in the last couple of years is to put up on a pillar any minority person that will say things that conservatives agree with. I think it’s a reactionary measure; Progressives say we’re racist, sexist, or homophobic, so we go out of our way to find female/minority/gay people to platform in order to prove we aren’t…Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think they’re bad people, I just don’t think they’re smart, funny, or talented enough to get space in conservative media absent these identity markers that conservatives seem especially hungry for….”

That point is legitimate, but it can’t be fairly applied to Jason Whitlock. Yes, I believe he has received special attention because he is a black man standing up to The Great Stupid, but he also deserves special attention because he is unusually astute, persuasive and eloquent. A white analyst, like, say, me, can be automatically squelched as biased when noting, for example, that George Floyd is an absurd and intellectually indefensible martyr for the Black Lives Matter movement since there was no evidence that his death was a product of racism, systemic or otherwise. When an astute, persuasive and eloquent black critic makes a similar argument, it demonstrates that my conclusion was not necessarily motivated by racial bias.

I know: people will say it anyway.

Whitlock has made a different argument regarding Floyd in his latest essay, but it is an excellent one. Indeed, if there were any integrity at the major newspapers, Vanity Fair, The Atlantic, New York Magazine and the Usual Suspects that have destructively carried the banners of those who have, quite successfully, exploited that neatly symbolic manner of Floyd’s demise, he would not have had to seek publication in the relatively marginal Glenn Beck website, The Blaze, where he hosts a podcast called “Fearless.” The essay is titled, “The Veneration of George Floyd is racist and must be stopped.”

Continue reading

More On The Andrew Yang “Racist” Cartoon: Some Perspective From The Ethics Alarms Archives…

In contrast to the political cartoon discussed in the previous post, THIS is a racist cartoon. Below is the Ethics Alarms post from 2014 titled, 9 Observations On The Boston Herald’s ‘Racist’ Cartoon”:

1. I’m adding this new #1 right at the beginning—there were originally only 8 observations—because some of the early comments suggest that I over-estimated some of my readers’ scholarship, historical knowledge and/or sensitivity on this issue, so let me be direct:  the reference to any African- American having an affinity to watermelon is about a half-step from calling him or her a nigger, and maybe even closer than that. Clear? This is not a political correctness matter. If the reference is intentional, there can be no debate over whether it is racist or not. It is. The President of the United States should not be subjected to intentional racial slurs.

2. I’m amazed—I just don’t know how this could happen. How could this cartoon make it into print? Cartoonist Jerry Holbert explained that he came up with the idea to use watermelon flavor after finding “kids Colgate watermelon flavor” toothpaste in his bathroom at home. “I was completely naive or innocent to any racial connotations,” Holbert said. “I wasn’t thinking along those lines at all.” Is this possible? In a political cartoonist? On one hand, since the racial connotation is so obvious and so predictably offensive, it seems incredible that a cartoonist for a major daily would dare offer such a cartoon unless he really didn’t perceive the racial stereotype it referenced. On the other, the man is a political cartoonist, not a Japanese soldier who’s been hiding in a cave for decades. How could he not know this? How could his ethics alarms, racial slur alarms, survival alarms not go off?

I don’t get it.

3. Hence the quotes around “racist.” The only way the cartoon makes any sense to me is if Holbert is amazingly, wonderfully non-racist, and completely color blind. The flavor of the toothpaste is innocuous if one doesn’t think in racial terms at all. Maybe he just thinks about the President as the President. If so, isn’t that terrific? Wouldn’t it be great if everyone was like that? Wouldn’t it be swell if a dumb detail like the flavor of the toothpaste in a cartoon that has nothing to do with race OR toothpaste wasn’t even noticed?

Continue reading

Well THAT’S Cleared Up! Now We Know (As If There Was Reason For Doubt) That The CDC Is A Political Organization, Not A Scientific One, And Thus Not To Be Trusted

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the current Director of the Centers For Disease Control, released a statement last week that declared “racism” a public health threat.

Go ahead and read the statement if you like; that sentence above is all you need to know from an ethics perspective. If “racism”—it’s in quotes because the definition no longer has any coherent meaning, since it has been distorted to mean anything a social justice warrior or an unhappy individual who regards himself/herself/whateverself as a minority needs the word to mean at a given time or in a particular dispute, or, of course, a dictatorial-minded government—is a health issue, almost anything is. Maybe everything.

Walensky’s motives could be just about anything too. Maybe she really believes this and that it’s a legitimate topic for the agency under its mission. If she does believe that, she’s not very bright. The CDC Mission Statement makes it crystal clear that the agency’s purpose in to fight disease, stating at the outset:

Whether diseases start at home or abroad, are chronic or acute, curable or preventable, human error or deliberate attack, CDC fights disease and supports communities and citizens to do the same.

Because that’s what the Mission states at the beginning, the mission cannot suddenly expand elsewhere. (You would think the agency’s name would have precluded doing so as well.) I write mission statements as an occupation (among other things); groups pay me to help them compose theirs. You can’t have an ethical, valid Mission Statement that begins like that, and then goes on to say that the organization is also concerned with cheating at Parcheesi and overcooking good steaks. “Race” is not a disease, and how people treat race is based on emotion, which is not subject to hard science. Continue reading

Ethics Alarms Encore: “Justice For The Nicholas Brothers”

I last posted this 2012 article in 2015. I should post it every year, at least. This re-post was sparked the same way the last one was: a Nicholas Brothers admirer contacted me. Today, new commenter Geronde commented on the original,

Here, here! …I just watched “The Pirate.” The film is awful, but I perked up when I immediately recognized the brilliant Nicholas Brothers. Even in their bad clown makeup, their style was unmistakable. I sure wish there was a way to digitally insert their names into the original credits. There is some small consolation in knowing that the brothers were very famous in the African American community, and fortunately, You Tube and the internet has exposed them to new generations of dance fans….Perhaps fans should lobby the Academy or SAG for a highly publicized posthumous award. This calls for ACTION! This a also good time to do it because there’s a focus of BLM and African American culture. I’m going to start today..I have contacted both SAG and the Academy asking them if they have ever publicly bestowed a posthumous award on the Nicholas brothers, and strongly urging them to do so if they have not..

I promised put up the post one more time. It probably won’t be the last.

As I noted in one reply to Geronde, my now-defunct theater company showed the video above during a concert version of Rodgers and Hart’s “Babes in Arms” at the point in the show where the brothers has a specialty number in the Broadway production. The audience was stunned: most of them had never seen Fayard and Harold, or had forgotten just how amazing they were. (Cab Calloway wasn’t too bad himself!)

Here is the post…

***

At the Sun Valley Lodge, there is a television station devoted to playing the 1941 film “Sun Valley Serenade” on a loop. It is a genuinely awful movie, starring John Payne of “Miracle on 34th Street” fame, Norwegian ice skater Sonia Henie, and Milton Berle, although it does show the famous ski resort in the days when guests used to be towed around the slopes on their skis by horses. Last time I was in Sun Valley to give a presentation, I watched about half the film in disconnected bites, since I never can sleep on such trips. This time I finally saw the whole thing. At about 3 AM, as Glenn Miller was leading his band in the longest version of “Chattanooga Choo-Choo” in history, Fayard and Harold Nicholas suddenly flipped onto the screen, and “Sun Valley Serenade” briefly went from fatuous to immortal.

Continue reading

(Pssst! Nic! This Isn’t How You End Racism, Heal Division, Promote Inclusion, Or Create Racial Harmony)

Proud Puffs

This is Poe’s Law exemplified. Once, I would have assumed this was satire.

Nic King is following through on his divine inspiration to create a “vegan,” black culture-themed breakfast cereal in the shape of a fist. He says his cereal. Proud Puffs, won’t be available in stores for a while as works on crowdfunding its production. He hopes the cereal will ship in April. King claims he has been receiving over 600 orders a week. “The community has really been standing behind me, and calling it “the cereal for the culture,” Nick says. “My goal with this cereal is to uplift the Black and brown community.”

You know: inclusion.

Continue reading

The Biden Nomination of Kristen Clarke To Be Assistant Attorney General For Civil Rights

Biden Promise

Kristen Clarke is the African American attorney who Joe Biden announced will run the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice, pending Senate confirmation.

From FOX News:

In 1994, Clarke wrote a letter to The Harvard Crimson in her capacity as the president of the Black Students Association to explain her views on race science.

“Please use the following theories and observations to assist you in your search for truth regarding the genetic differences between Blacks and whites [sic],” Clarke wrote.

“One: Dr Richard King reveals that the core of the human brain is the ‘locus coeruleus,’ which is a structure that is Black, because it contains large amounts of neuro-melanin, which is essential for its operation.

“Two: Black infants sit, crawl and walk sooner than whites [sic].

Three: Carol Barnes notes that human mental processes are controlled by melanin — that same chemical which gives Blacks their superior physical and mental abilities.

“Four: Some scientists have revealed that most whites [sic] are unable to produce melanin because their pineal glands are often calcified or non-functioning. Pineal calcification rates with Africans are five to 15 percent [sic], Asians 15 to 25 percent [sic] and Europeans 60 to 80 percent [sic]. This is the chemical basis for the cultural differences between blacks and whites [sic].

“Five: Melanin endows Blacks with greater mental, physical and spiritual abilities — something which cannot be measured based on Eurocentric standards.”

The technical term for such a screed is “Yikes!”

Continue reading