“Systemic Racism” Update

I need a graphic for “The Great Stupid,” but until I get one, that clip above from Ed Wood’s masterpiece, “Plan Nine From Outer Space,” will have to do. I have to check back and find out which generous reader sent me this after I asked if there was a “Stupid, stupid!” equivalent of the “Madness! Madness!” clip from “Bridge Over The River Kwai.” That’s the immortal Dudley Manlove uttering those words, by the way. And that was his real name!

Update: Commenter Wallphone found the “Plan Nine” clip, and has my enduring gratitude.

Here are some especially annoying recent developments on the incoherent “systemic racism” front.

1. Philonase Floyd, the brother of the late, great,George Floyd, said, following the sentencing of Derek Chauvin, “I just want to reiterate: not just black lives matter, all lives matter.” Strangely, he was not immediately condemned as a racist or racially insensitive and forced to apologize like so many others who were hounded mercilessly for saying “all lives matter.” Of course, the explanation is that Floyd’s skin shade gives him license to say “all lives matter.”

I only want to know the rules, that’s all. That seems like a reasonable request. But the systemic racism scam is truly Calvinball.The rules are made up and changed according to whatever is expedient at the time. Incidentally, there is a politician named Calvin Ball who is the county executive of Howard County, Maryland. Guess his party and race. [Hint: He’s allowed to say “All lives matter.”]

2. There has to be some designation for the cowards and enablers of rising totalitarianism that accurately describes sniveling traitors to democracy like Charlette LeFevre and Philip Lipson, the directors of Capitol Hill Pride in Seattle. I was considering the “Winston Smith Award,” but that seems unfair to Orwell’s tragic hero.

The two sent a letter to the Seattle Human Rights Commission that said,

“It has come to our attention that an event called ‘Take B(l)ack Pride’ at the Jimi Hendrix public park June 26th is charging Whites only admission as reparations. We consider this reverse discrimination in its worse form and we feel we are being attacked for not supporting due to disparaging and hostile e-mails. We will never charge admission over the color of a person’s skin and we resent being attacked for standing in those values.”

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“Systemic Racism” Review

Triangle-Chart-Racism

[Many thanks to Steve Witherspoon for the chart above!]

These stories are proliferating at such a rate that they could easily take over the blog, or worse, explode my head permanently. I can’t begin to cover them all, but my plan is to periodically gather them up in one post, like this one. The claim of systemic racism” has been a handy dandy way to exploit a low point in public embarrassment over some recent distorted and misrepresented incidents as well the undeniable legacy of slavery and Jim Crow in America. Now it is being pushed as a wedge to justify anti-white racism, double standards, restrictions on expression and speech, various forms of discrimination to benefit minority groups, power grabs in multiple institutions across society based on “reckoning” rather than merit or logic, the transformation of the education system into a propaganda indoctrination machine, and tangentially related “social justice” reforms, including creeping Marxism.

There are signs that the purveyors of the systemic racism narrative, including Critical Race Theory, are pushing rapidly toward a tipping point where public sympathy and tolerance will collapse, as well as indications that the ranks of citizens with the courage and civic responsibility to oppose this madness are growing. In both cases, however, it needs to happen faster.

Here are some recent highlights:

  • A large portion of the “systemic racism” brigade is steeped in hypocrisy, much as the #MeToo movement proved itself only offended by sexual harassment by public figures who proved useful in other respects. The Washington Free Beacon asked all 50 Democratic members of the Senate, as well as the Congressional Black Caucus and the NAACP, for for reactions to the weekend’s revelation that R.I. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, last heard cheering on the adoption of the Juneteenth national holiday, was still a member of Bailey’s Beach Club in Newport, a whites-only private club. None of them responded.

Unlike so much of what Democrats attribute to systemic racism, segregated private clubs are relics of systemic racism. One would think the Democratic Party would speak with one voice on this matter. Nope.

I don’t know how anyone can take a party, an organization or an elected official seriously who refused to hold its members and allies to the same standards it purports to care so deeply about. Continue reading

The New Fascists Among Us, Part II: The American Medical Association

The tweet above is the smoking gun that proves the attitude toward freedom of thought, opinion and expression in the American Medical Association, a group that most Americans believe is dedicated to the area of expertise of its members: health and medicine. The tell-tale words of the fascist are right there: “harmful podcast and tweet,” because words that challenge the required orthodoxy must not be allowed, and “We are taking steps to ensure this doesn’t happen again,” meaning intimidation, punishment, indoctrination, and censorship. These are the tools of those who fear free speech, and who demand compliance with mandated beliefs.

Once the damning tweet was exposed by, among others, Campus Reform, the American Medical Association took it down. There is no reason to do this unless the group realizes that it reveals too much. This tweet, however remains:

That tweet exposes the AMA for what it is: a political ally of an ambitious rights-repressive regime, and an organization that is abusing its perceived authority and the public trust. As with a similar recent proclamation by the CDC, firearms and the Second Amendment are not the proper concern of the AMA. Using the power of a collective professional organization to lobby publicly or privately for restrictions on American rights unrelated to medicine is an abuse of power and a misrepresentation. (The American Bar Association, and many, many others, engage in the same insidious mission creep. It is why I refuse to belong to the ABA.)

In past posts on this topic, I have noted that if my doctor started questioning me about whether there is a firearm in my home (there is), I would a) end the discussion, b) leave the office and c) find a new doctor, just as I would if he quizzed me about how fast I drove or what kind of dog I owned. Physicians are authoritarian by nature, and I suppose it is to be expected that they would gravitate toward totalitarian government and its methods. Expected, I say, but not tolerated or excused, at least by me.

Nobody else should tolerate or excuse it either.

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Personal Responsibility? What Personal Responsibility? The Washington Post Explains How Aspiring Supreme Court Justice George Floyd Was Destroyed by Systemic Racism

Screen shot of George Floyd mural

You think I’m kidding, don’t you? Sadly, I’m not.

Here’s a silver lining: thanks to the parade of bizarre and illogical demands and assertions during the George Floyd Ethics Train Wreck and the concomitant “Great Stupid,” my head appears to be immune from explosions. (Is head immunity anything like herd immunity? A topic for another time…)

It is amazing—I would have once said head exploding—that anyone would attempt to sanctify a long-time criminal and blight on his community like George Floyd, much less get away  with it. Nonetheless, months after Floyd died after a  cruel and incompetent (but not racist) police officer put his knee on Floyd’s neck, the news media and Black Lives Matter flacks are successfully selling the tall tale that his life was a tragedy of unfulfilled potential because he had the misfortune to live in the United States of America.

[Quick review: Floyd moved to Minneapolis after being released from Texas prison for aggravated robbery. He went to jail 5 times and as a perusal of his record shows, he can be fairly described as a career criminal. Floyd was a habitual lawbreaker, involved in drug abuse, theft, criminal trespassing, and aggravated robbery, who once broke into a woman’s home and pointed a gun at her stomach while looking for drugs and money. He had probably taken an overdose of fentanyl and methamphetamine at the time of arrest, and it is quite likely that this, and not Derek Chauvin’s knee, is what killed him.]

I’m old enough, more’s the pity, to remember the Sixties fad of arguing that all criminals were victims of  their upbringing and a Hobbesian society for those who were not white and rich, and that it was heartless to punish those who were really society’s victims, not its predators. This was a very old progressive trope, notably championed by Clarence Darrow, who argued that there is no free will, and that criminals are doomed from birth, this making it an abuse of power for society to punish them. This logic was the epitome of bleeding heart liberalism, and helped make the word “liberal” a term of derision. I did not expect it to make a comeback.

Yes, I’m an idiot.

Now, however, in no less a legitimate forum than the Washington Post, Toluse Olorunnipa and Griff Witte make the argument that if the U.S wasn’t so racist, Floyd, despite all outward appearances, might have been a great American.

Read the thing, take a while to tape your skull back together, and then resume reading here. Watch out;  this is the third paragraph, and it comes up quick:

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Update: The Answer To Question 13 [Updated Again!]

The above is Reddit’s new policy. It is one more example of unthinking and unethical “answers” to systemic racism.

On June 17, in this post, I concluded with a proposed answer to my Question 13, “What is the “systemic reform regarding race in America” that the George Floyd protests purport to be seeking?” That answer:

…special accommodations and benefits for African Americans in all things. Affirmative action in employment, promotions, salaries and school admissions; preference in grading, contracting and hiring; elimination of any standards that African Americans continue to lag in meeting. Reparations, of course; race-based leniency in law-enforcement and sentencing; plus  culture wide discrimination in favor of blacks and against whites in all things, all instituted by the intimidation, punishment and “cancelling” of anyone who dissents.

The accuracy of my prognostication has become apparent within a little more than two weeks. As Jeff Goldlum says ruefully in “Jurassic Park” as the T-Rex escapes,

Though the text of the “What We Believe” section of the Black Lives Matter site is so expansively vague and utopian that it could, literally, mean anything, in the rush to satisfy the explicit and implicit threats levied by spokespersons for the “movement” and the reality of the mobs, the woke, the cowardly, the terrified and the foolish have laid the following at the feet of the champions of “systemic race reform”

  • Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear announced plans to “correct inequalities in healthcare coverage in the state” by  expanding health care coverage to every black Kentuckian. Of course, state benefits distributed on the basis of race are per se unconstitutional, but his announcement was widely praised.

This was among the priorities he priorities he said all Kentuckians should support on moral grounds as part of his responce to the fatal shooting of a black woman during a botched house search by Louisville police, though there was and is no evidence that the accident was triggered by race or racism.

  • Students at the University of Washington and elsewhere demanded that professors to grade black students’ finals with more leniency. Students started a petition on Change.org that asks for professors to “give Black students a break!

Over 60, 000 have signed the petition. Such a policy, which some professors have implemented, endorses openly race-based grading.

  • Following through on The University of California Board of Regents vote to restore affirmative action to the admissions process, though granting preferential treatment to applicants based on their race or gender in public education or employment has been outlawed in California since 1996, the California legislature has voted to strike these words from the state constitution: “The state shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin.”

The debate made it clear that the intent of the amendment is to permit discrimination on the basis of race and color. It is in open defiance of basic civil rights and equal protection under the law.

UPDATE: This is as good as a place to mention his as anywhere. Don Lemon, CNN’s second dimmest anchor, recommended that it would be salutary to add Barack Obama, “front and center,” to Mt. Rushmore. The justification would be that he’s black.

  • Nikole Hannah-Jones, the avowed Marxist who was allowed to inflict her false history “1619” project on Times readers, schools and the nation, as given a platform again (in the Times Magazine) to call for reparations. Five days later, last Sunday, the paper itself devoted a its opinion section to  “The Economy We Need” (“The America We Need” online)  a series of articles by Leftist members of the Times Op-Ed staff and academics advocating reparations for African Americans, usually while not using those words. The section was headlined throughout in inch-high red block letters.

Among the most prominent articles: “Banks Should Face History and Cancel Black Debt Now. Continue reading

Wednesday Ethics Jolts, 6/17/2020: I Think We Have Our Answer To Question 13….

Look out!

It’s Wednesday, Wednesday got me thinking about the Wednesday Addams, which got me thinking about Charles Addams, which reminded me of that Addams cartoon…

Yes, this is how my mind works, as if you didn’t know…

1. “You know: literate morons.” The National Book Critics Circle (NBCC), of all people, decided to give us an example of where the George Floyd Freakout can lead. The president of the NBCC drafted the obligatory institutional pander affirming Black Lives Matter and circulated it to the board for its approval. One contrarian and sane board member, a board president named Carlin Romano, said he disagreed with much of the letter, didn’t want to “distract the great majority of the Board from its mission,” but couldn’t resist explicating his objections, including describing the systemic racism premise as “absolute nonsense.” He did not, he wrote, believe that the publishing business operated with “the full benefits of white supremacy and institutional racism” and that “white gatekeeping had been working to stifle black voices at every level of our industry.” Such claims, he wrote, amounted to “calumnies on multiple generations of white publishers and editors” who had fought to publish authors of color. “I resent the idea that whites in the book publishing and literary world are an oppositional force that needs to be assigned to reeducation camps.”

In her reply,the current president told Romano that she’d always appreciate his perspective. It “shines unlike anyone else’s,” she wrote, adding, “your objections are all valid, of course.”

As a result of her respectful acceptance of a reasoned dissent, more than half of the 24-member board of NBCC  resigned, including, of course, all of its non-white members. The president resigned too. Romano has not. In response to another member’s accusation that his criticism had displayed ” racism and anti-blackness,” he countered, “It did nothing of the sort. I’m not racist and I’m not anti-black. Quite the contrary. I just don’t check my mind at the door when people used to operating in echo chambers make false claims.”

Ethics Hero.

2.  Pandering BLM Groveler of the Year? I’m pretty sure nobody will be able to top NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. After dismissing Colin Kaepernick and his fellow NFL kneelers as a distraction to the game and an annoyance to fans, he is now not only encouraging the players to demonstrate on the field for “racial justice,”—if he thinks such workplace stunts will stop with mere kneeling, he really is a dolt—he is now encouraging NFL teams to sign Kaepernick, who hasn’t played  for three years. He hasn’t been signed because the distractions his political grandstanding carried with him couldn’t begin to be justified by his declining quarterbacking skills, and that’s the case now more than ever. Does Goodell really think capitulating to the mob will keep him and his league safe? Is someone holding his family at gunpoint somewhere, or is he really this ignorant?

3. Wait, why haven’t I read all of this before? On Medium, Gavrillo David argues that there may be enough evidence to insulate Derek Chauvin from a murder conviction. he cites six facts in support of his theory: Continue reading

Comment Of The Day: “Back To The 13th Question: Answer It, Stop Grandstanding, Or Shut Up”

Frequent  commenter of distinction Ryan Harkins doesn’t exactly try to answer the”13th Question” ( “What is the “systemic reform regarding race in America” that the George Floyd protests purport to be seeking?”), but at least he advances the discussion by trying to define the problem, which is a whole lot more than anything we have heard from media pundits and elected officials over the last week, and they have fallen all over themselves trying be seen as allying with the right “side.”

This seems like a propitious place to raise this article from Foreign Affairs that readers Wesley49 has proposed for discussion. “I would love to hear the opinions and insights from this thread’s contributors in trying to answer your 13th Question,” he wrote. I have a lot of problems with the piece, which typifies, I think, the academic/scholarly equivocation around this issue, but I won’t pre-bias the discussion more than that.

Here is Ryan Harkins’ Comment of the Day —which has the added pleasure of some great quotes—on the post, “Back To The 13th Question: Answer It, Stop Grandstanding, Or Shut Up”:

The problem with trying to end racism is that it runs aground the basic human impulse to “other” people who are different. It has been a practice of mankind from the beginning, and even our very best of societies will constantly struggle with the temptation to “other” the people who at the very least aren’t playing along.

“Othering” is to make someone an outcast from the group, and to place blame on them for the groups problems. Theologians have referred to it as scapegoating. If someone looks different, dresses different, acts different, talks different, there will be the temptation to mock that person, ostracize that person, and perhaps even blame that person for everything that is going wrong. Then, if you can destroy that person, then magically all the problems will go away.

“You want to know what’s wrong with this nation? It’s those damned Republicans trying to horde all the wealth.” “You want to know what’s wrong with this nation? It’s those damned Democrats who are trying socialize everything.” “You want to know what’s wrong with this nation? It’s all those hateful religious folk.” “… It’s all those LGBT people destroying family values.” “…It’s all those white supremacists trying to suppress minorities.” “…It’s all those anti-vaxers…” “…It’s those climate change deniers…” “…It’s those power hungry people who treat science like a religion…” Continue reading

Back To The 13th Question: Answer It, Stop Grandstanding, Or Shut Up.

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healy, explaining why arson can be a GOOD thing…

In this post, I added a 13th question to the Ethics Alarms 12 question checklist for protesters, in light of the current unpleasantness:

What is the “systemic reform regarding race in America” that the George Floyd protests purport to be seeking?

Apparently nobody wants to answer it, and the political and news media grandstanding demanding “systemic reform” has only become more pervasive. Yesterday Joe Biden, decrying hate and divisiveness and then blaming the President for the riots across the nation sparked by a single instance of police brutality in Minneapolis, finally called for a solution to what he called “systemic racism.” What would that be, Joe?

Crickets.

As I wrote in the post, this is a phony virtue-signaling stance without substance or integrity. What? What is it you want?

Joe was a minor offender, though, compared to Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healy (Do I have to give up the Red Sox if I renounce the state of my birth?).

Healey started her speech with “The color of my skin doesn’t allow me to truly understand what it’s like to leave your home and automatically be subject to so many assumptions and biases.” Healey said in her work as AG, she wanted to address the “systemic racism plaguing society.”  She  described racism as a value that is “embedded” in the United States. “Racism has been embedded in our country from the time that Europeans plundered our First Americans and Africans were stolen from their land, shackled, and brought to our shore,” she said.

She asserted that George Floyd’s killing gave America an opportunity to create a more just society! Yeah, that’s the ticket!  “I won’t talk about rebuilding. Instead, I’ll talk about building anew in ways that rid us of the institutionalized racism that’s led to America burning today,” Healey said. “Yes, America is burning. But that’s how forests grow,” she said.

Boy, she’s an idiot. But I digress. Sorry. Continue reading

Comment Of The Day, From The Epic Commenter Donnybrook In This Week’s Open Forum

battle-marvel

I was reading with interest, amusement and edification the comment thread in the recent open forum in which two, then four, then even more veteran Ethics Alarms participants got into a heated—but admirably rational and fairly fought—debate over  Steve Witherspoon‘s social media battles with a near-parody of a progressive member of the Madison Metropolitan School Board.  The donnybrook eventually extended to the ethics of public figures blocking critics on social media, apology ethics, race-based school policies, mass-incarceration, and more.

In addition to Steve weighing in were Michael R,  Jutgory, Humble Talent, Paul W. Schlecht, and late entrants slickwilly, Here’s Johnny, and Chris Marschner.

It was kind of like an “Avengers” movie, but more intelligent.

In making the choice I have for this Comment of the Day, I am not declaring any winner. Indeed, there are conclusions in the post to follow that I disagree with, and I’ll be back at the end with some of my own comments.

Here is Humble Talent’s Comment of the Day on the Ali Muldrow thread in the recent open forum:

“What I’m hoping for is less crime committed at school thus requiring fewer arrests and that is what you should be hoping for too.”

I think this is a useless truism. In a conversation about whether certain group are being treated differently than others or whether we ought to arrest children for being disorderly at school, saying “I wish people committed fewer offenses.” is a non sequitur.

As an aside: And this is a question Ali didn’t ask properly: Do you think that children should be arrested for being disorderly? And what do you think “disorderly” in that context entails?

Ali Wrote: “Explain to me how arresting people makes the world a better place, how prisons and detention centers are keeping Americans safe?”

To which you commented: “In all seriousness; anyone that writes that kind of question is completely blinded by their own bias, or they’re a blithering idiot, or they’re trying to justify the elimination of police, prisons and detention centers.”

I think this is an Americanism. Ali said that America was one of the most deadly nations on Earth. That’s not true, she should visit the Congo. But it is somewhat ironic that “The Land of The Free” has three times as many incarcerated people per capita that any other nation on Earth. Does American exceptionalism mean that Americans are also exceptionally criminal, or are you maybe doing something wrong? My take is that America locks people up for a ridiculous number of non-violent crimes, but your mileage may vary. And I don’t think “Well did he break the law or not?” is a good response to “Should this crime carry jail time?” or even better, “Should this be a crime?”. People learn how to be better criminals in jail, it stunts their lives both financially and socially, it’s permanently scarring, and sometimes fatal. While it is necessary to remove people from society or otherwise punish them for some things, sending people to criminal boot camp for jaywalking *is* counterproductive, it *does* make the world a worse place. (and I realize jaywalking is not that kind of crime, that’s hyperbole.) Continue reading

Comment of the Day: “Unethical High School Assembly Video Of…What? The Month? The Year? Eternity?”

race

I must admit: I thought the “unequal opportunity race” video that was the subject of my post to be so outrageously simplistic, exaggerated, insulting to white Americans and discouraging to minority Americans that nobody would defend it. The lively debate that the post sparked proved that the white privilege deflection has seeped into mainstream thinking far more than I had previously understood, and that the position the progressive movement wants to communicate to African Americans is that absent aggressive, government-executed hobbling of present day white citizens as they pursue their own ambitions and dreams, and opportunities for their children, black Americans are doomed to comparative failure, cursed to be victims of traps, gaping craters and metaphorical sharks.

Late in the debate, commenter Chris Bentley, himself an African American, provided a different perspective in two long posts. I am combining them as his Comment of the Day, on the post ,Unethical High School Assembly Video Of…What? The Month? The Year? Eternity?.

To which I say b.s. (as a black man). I have no doubt, no doubt whatsoever, that I have succeeded (and failed at times) solely based on my merit, talents, and desire. I have not been unemployed for even a second, since the age of 18 (I am 37). I have applied to many, many jobs that I have desired, and been hired for many of those jobs. I have been accepted and attended 8 (8!) different colleges, earning 3 different degrees. I have spent the last 20 years working in education, from ECE to college, and spent 3 years as a preschool director (a black male preschool director is about as rare as a unicorn that poops gold).

None of this is meant to be taken as bragging, as my story is no more successful than anyone else on this blog. Nor am I more successful then any average black man, who grew up with loving, educated parents, who forced me to have a good head on my shoulders, taught me the importance of education, and did not teach me to be distrustful of whites, or to blame shift my failures elsewhere. I find it patronizing to be told that individual merit is not enough for me to succeed, when compared to whites; that if I truly want to compete on an even playing field, I need those same whites to level the field.

No. I. Don’t.

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