Tag Archives: the race card

An Ethics Riddle: What Do Starbucks And The University Of Virginia Have In Common?

They both called the cops on someone who was violating a policy. Only one of them, however, was accused of racism.

Bruce Kothmann, a University of Virginia alumnus, read aloud from his Bible on the steps of the school’s Rotunda this week, so university police came make him stop. He did stop, because he didn’t want to be arrested. For such public speech is no longer allowed at the public university. The Rotunda is not one of the places the university has designated for public speech by outsiders. Kothmann was on to campus because his daughter had just finished her sophomore year, but was reading from his  Bible with him to challenge the school’s  policy limiting speech on campus.

A terse reader comment on the story said, “This is basically what happened at Starbucks.” The comment is correct.

Would UVA have sent the police to silence a black parent? My guess: no, and if it had, the school would be grovelling in the dust right now, begging for forgiveness. Unless the school could quickly point to a white transgressor who got the cops called on him, a charge of race bias would be devastating, and, of course, effective.

You recall the Starbucks episode: I covered it here. Two African Americans were informed of a Starbucks policy that required those using the facilities to be customers. The men refused, the manager called the police claiming trespass, and the rest is ugly, race-baiting history. The two men could have left just as Mr. Kothmann agreed to stop reading, but that’s just moral luck. The reader was right: the episodes were the same….except for the race of the violator involved.

The Ethics Alarms position is that both policies, that of the university and the old Starbucks policy, are reasonable, with the Starbucks policy being the more  defensible, since UVA is a public university and has the First Amendment to contend with. Never mind: the news media and the social justice social media mob have little interest in a white man being stopped by police from reading that old rag, The Bible, but if two black men violating a private business’s reasonable policy have that policy enforced against them, that’s intolerable.

We have the birth of a new racial privilege, now extending beyond police shootings (a white cop can safety shoot a threatening white suspect, but not a black one) to other forms of previously justifiable conduct. Continue reading


Filed under Business & Commercial, Education, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, Race, Rights, U.S. Society

The Cos Plays The Race Card

race_cardBill Cosby’s lawyer, Brian McMonagle,  issued a statement this week claiming that the comedy legend’s legal problems are the result of racial bias and prejudice. He really did.

“Mr. Cosby is no stranger to discrimination and racial hatred, and throughout his career Mr. Cosby has always used his voice and his celebrity to highlight the commonalities and has portrayed the differences that are not negative — no matter the race, gender and religion of a person. Yet over the last 14 months, Mr. Cosby and those who have supported him have been ignored while lawyers like Gloria Allred hold press conferences to accuse him of crimes for unwitnessed events that allegedly occurred almost a half-century earlier. The time has come to shine a spotlight on the trampling of Mr. Cosby’s civil rights. Gloria Allred apparently loves the media spotlight more than she cares about justice. She calls herself a civil rights attorney, but her campaign against Mr. Cosby builds on racial bias and prejudice that can pollute the court of public opinion. And when the media repeats her accusations — with no evidence, no trial and no jury — we are moved backwards as a country and away from the America that our civil rights leaders sacrificed so much to create.”

I don’t blame McMonagle, and nobody else should. He’s doing what he can to defend his client, who looks about as guilty as a man can. Nor did he say this without the approval of his client. Lawyers discuss their strategy with clients: if Cosby didn’t want to sink this low and look this desperate, he didn’t have to. Then I would have been able to salvage a slim iota of respect for the man.

It isn’t worth much time or thought discussing how ridiculous this accusation is. Bill Cosby? White America’s darling? The Jello pudding man, the charming interviewer of kids, the educator who preached to black families that they need to raise their children to reject hip-hop culture? Whites made Cosby rich, powerful, and once, the most popular, respected and influential celebrity of any color in the nation. And suddenly they turned on him when they realized he was black?

The claim is an insult to African-Americans who really do face bias and discrimination. More important, however, it is so depressing. Is there any prominent African-American in the the public eye who is capable of not playing the race card when he or she is in trouble? I held out hope that Bill Cosby, as loathsome as we now know he is, might be an exception if only because the claim in his case is so, so absurd. Let’s see, which is the reason for Bill’s fall: a hundred women of all races coming forward to detail almost identical accounts of the comedian drugging and sexually assaulting them, or racial prejudice? Gee, let me think; this is a tough one. Never mind, though: apparently this alibi is so ingrained in black culture, so beaten into the brains of American blacks, so exploited by race hucksters and so much a foundation of the left’s politics that it exists as a permanent “In case of a crisis, break glass” last resort that is an African-American’s secret weapon—after all, when whites screw up, they can’t claim anti-white bias, though trends in government, justice and academia may be changing that.

If Roger Ailes were black, he would have attributed his fall at Fox to racial prejudice.

Clarence Thomas played the race card. So has Obama. O.J. Barry Bonds. Herman Cain. Susan Rice. Eric Holder. Kanye West, though in his case it is dwarfed by his other outrages. This is kind of an anti-matter version of “white privilege”: while whites, we are told, are blissfully unaware of all the ways their success, if they have any, is based on systemic advantages in the culture, blacks are immersed in the idea that they are being persecuted because of race and led by role models and leaders to develop a self-image that can render them incapable of ever knowing when the problem might be their own conduct rather than oppression by others. Continue reading


Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Gender and Sex, Law & Law Enforcement, Professions, Race, U.S. Society

Unethical Tweet Of The Month: New York Times Journalist Brent Staples


Brent Staples, who I'm sure is certain I am criticizing him because he is black...

Brent Staples, who I’m sure is certain I am criticizing him because he is black…

I view this as tragic, in so many ways. Brent Staples himself is apparently the victim of the cultural poison he is peddling, that every failure, misfortune or criticism of an African American must be presumptively rooted in racial animus rather than the shortcomings or fault of the black citizen involved. Others who use this strategy of race-baiting as a political weapon are not as sincere as Staples—he writes this kind of thing in editorial columns all the time—but they have joined with him to do terrible damage to race relations, all in defense of a President whose incompetence is too painful for his supporters to accept.

I realized that this would be an unethical political weapon Democrats could not resist using back in 2008, when Obama was running against John McCain. I warned against it then. The Democrats were arguing that Obama was so clearly the only choice for voters that he could only be defeated by racism, for only racists would oppose him. I wrote..

This strategy would be unethical even if the Democrats weren’t the party nominating an eloquent abstraction with less governing experience than any Chief Executive within memory. It is insanely irresponsible when used to back a candidate about whom there are many legitimate doubts, mysteries and questions. Both parties deserve respect; both candidates deserve respect. And the democratic system deserves the most respect of all.  

But is the Democratic message wrong if party decision-makers and faithful really believe it? Yes, because the belief is unsupported by hard, persuasive, un-slanted facts, and that makes it irresponsible and unfair…A belief alone is not enough to justify claiming victory for an untested leader with plenty of holes in his resume. Belief alone is not sufficient justification to lay the groundwork for race-baiting in the wake of an electoral loss in November.  

I’m a rational, informed voter who does his research and knows the issues, and I may choose not to vote for Barack Obama for any number of legitimate reasons—including the offensive attitude of his party—that have nothing whatsoever to do with his race. How dare the Democratic Party, Obama, or anyone shout to the media that my vote is motivated by racism? This is playing with societal dynamite. 

The Democratic message that the election is a slam dunk for Obama if America can only avoid bigotry and election fraud is a recipe for civil unrest, racial tension, and the unraveling of public faith in our institutions. It is reckless and offensive, and, take note, Democrats, idiotic.

Continue reading


Filed under Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Government & Politics, Race, U.S. Society, Unethical Tweet