“It’s OK To Be White” Strikes Again, And Drives People Crazy Again! GOOD!

The first Ethics Alarms post about the trolling masterpiece “It’s OK to be white” was in 2017. The message, apparently launched by those puckish trouble-makers at 4Chan,  first appeared on stickers appearing on the Harvard campus, sparking an idiotic response from an African American dean. I concluded, in part, that the sticker campaign was brilliant “no matter who came up with it or what the motive was,”;  that anyone who was troubled by the message is part of the problem the stickers are responding to, and  that the stickers would have  been harmless if they were treated as harmless, and they should have been.

The Ethics Alarms’ self-appointed Voice of the Woke at the time took umbrage, saying, “The stickers are stupid. No one disputes that it’s OK to be white….The correct response from average citizens to this display of faux persecution should be mockery and ridicule, not outrage.” Realizing a hanging curve over the middle of the plate when I say one, I replied in part, ,

“You know, it’s easy to deal with any problem if you make up your own facts. Nobody says its not OK to be white? This list took me less than 10 minutes:

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/texas-am-wont-fire-professor-who-called-for-killing-white-people/article/2622810
http://www.theroot.com/college-campus-shut-down-after-professors-letthemfucki-1796334903
http://www.theroot.com/for-black-people-who-have-to-deal-with-white-people-thi-1797835711
https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/10/06/opinion/ta-nehisi-coates-whiteness-power.html?smid=fb-share&referer=http://m.facebook.com
http://www.thecollegefix.com/post/38149/
https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/lady-gaga-the-problems-with-non-racist-white_us_59960aeee4b033e0fbdec279
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/toxic-whiteness-healing-white-people-internalised-racism-woman-sandra-kim-new-york-a7595216.html

Then there’s the Ethics Alarms anti-white racism tag…https://ethicsalarms.com/tag/anti-white-racism/ All resulting in THIS:
http://www.npr.org/2017/10/24/559604836/majority-of-white-americans-think-theyre-discriminated-against

As I may have mentioned, I was explicitly told that the only reason I was not hired as an Assistant US Attorney in DC …a life and career-altering result for me…was that I was white. Now, I think it is reasonable to assume that if I was not hired because I was white, there was something “not OK” with my being white. I’m not unhappy or bitter about this, but it happened.

The problem with being an ideologue… is that it requires distorting reality.

Continue reading

“Racial Wealth Gap Persists Despite Degree, Study Says”…Now What?

The story ran as the front page lead in the New York Times more than a week ago, and was promptly ignored as the more pressing matter of criticism Donald Trump’s erudition in condemning the violence in Charlottesville obsessed the media:

“The long-term trend is shockingly clear,” said William R. Emmons, an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis and one of the authors of the report. “White and Asian college grads do much better than their counterparts without college, while college-grad Hispanics and blacks do much worse proportionately.”

A college degree has long been recognized as a great equalizer, a path for minorities to help bridge the economic chasm that separates them from whites. But the report, scheduled to be released on Monday, raises troubling questions about the ability of a college education to narrow the racial and ethnic wealth gap.

“Higher education alone cannot level the playing field,” the report concludes.

Great. What will level the playing field, and if the only solutions are ethically flawed, can the nation ethically accept that the playing field cannot be leveled? Is it necessary that all races achieve identical levels of success? Does the fact that a race, or an ethnic group, either exceeds or falls short of statistical parity signal that draconian measures must be undertaken by the government? Are we really committed to results based policies, or opportunity-based policies?

In the Times print version, there was a chart that labelled, among other things, Asian families as “over-represented” among wealthyl households headed by a college grad. “Over-represented” is a provocative word, suggesting that something is wrong with Asian American achieving beyond what pure statistical analysis would predict. Is it so unimaginable that the group itself may have something to do with its success—that its culture and values may allow it to be “over-represented”?

No, it isn’t unimaginable, but it is inconvenient and politically explosive. If culture and values can explain over-achievement, it will be difficult to avoid the conclusion that culture and values also play a part in under-achievement as well. The Times report (I haven’t read the whole study)  doesn’t hint at such a conclusion, while citing many other potential causes:

Researchers have repeatedly found discrimination in the job market. When two nearly identical résumés are sent out, for example, it has been documented that the candidate with a white-sounding name receives more callbacks than the applicant with a black-sounding name.

Discrimination like this and other factors contribute to the persistent and substantial pay gap between whites and minorities. Blacks, for instance, hold a disproportionate share of government jobs — a sector that has shrunk in recent years and provides fewer opportunities for big wage gains. Blacks have fewer advanced degrees, and the ones who do are more often in lower-paying fields or graduates of colleges with lesser reputations.

“Blacks and Latinos at all education levels, including college and advanced degrees, earn less than their white counterparts, which means lower lifetime earnings” and less ability to save, said John Schmitt, research director at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, who reviewed an advance copy of the report.

Blacks and Hispanics are also less likely than whites to inherit money or receive help from their parents to cover a tuition bill or a down payment on a house.

William A. Darity Jr., a professor of public policy at the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity at Duke University, points out that a family headed by a black college graduate has less wealth on average than a family headed by a white high school dropout.

That last fact is especially discouraging.

The relative disinterest of the news media in the implications of the report is troubling, or perhaps I should say its disinterest in pursuing an open and honest discussion of what the implications are, and what new policies should be considered. The status quo, with historically oppressed and disadvantaged groups perpetually lagging behind and perpetually blaming white society for their persistent plight, is a recipe for chaos, generating shrill and divisive prescriptions like this one, from Chanelle Helm,  a Black Lives Matters leader in Louisville:

Some things I’m thinking about that should change (in that Southern, black grandmama voice):

1. White people, if you don’t have any descendants, will your property to a black or brown family. Preferably one that lives in generational poverty.

2. White people, if you’re inheriting property you intend to sell upon acceptance, give it to a black or brown family. You’re bound to make that money in some other white privileged way.

3. If you are a developer or realty owner of multi-family housing, build a sustainable complex in a black or brown blighted neighborhood and let black and brown people live in it for free.

4. White people, if you can afford to downsize, give up the home you own to a black or brown family. Preferably a family from generational poverty.

5. White people, if any of the people you intend to leave your property to are racists assholes, change the will, and will your property to a black or brown family. Preferably a family from generational poverty.

6. White people, re-budget your monthly so you can donate to black funds for land purchasing.

7. White people, especially white women (because this is yaw specialty — Nosey Jenny and Meddling Kathy), get a racist fired. Yaw know what the fuck they be saying. You are complicit when you ignore them. Get your boss fired cause they racist too.

8. Backing up No. 7, this should be easy but all those sheetless Klan, Nazi’s and Other lil’ dick-white men will all be returning to work. Get they ass fired. Call the police even: they look suspicious.

9. OK, backing up No. 8, if any white person at your work, or as you enter in spaces and you overhear a white person praising the actions from yesterday, first, get a pic. Get their name and more info. Hell, find out where they work — Get Them Fired. But certainly address them, and, if you need to, you got hands: use them.

10. Commit to two things: Fighting white supremacy where and how you can (this doesn’t mean taking up knitting, unless you’re making scarves for black and brown kids in need), and funding black and brown people and their work.

I read this, and find myself wondering if one of the reasons for that discouraging study’s results is the increasing influence of voices like Chanelle Helm’s.

More Casting Ethics: The Stunt Performer Dilemma

Penelope Cruz and her stunt double. Works for me!

Penelope Cruz and her stunt double. Works for me!

To recap: This month, we have already debated a wide range of casting ethics controversies…

The position of Ethics Alarms is identical in all three controversies. The only consideration in casting a role should be the director’s artistic assessment of who will do the best job meeting the artistic and commercial demands of that role, under the constraints of the project, which can include budget, locale and workplace conditions. Ethnicity, race and off-screen appearance should be secondary, and better still, irrelevant. Efforts to substitute political, diversity or affirmative action goals  for artistic ones undermine the integrity of the work, and are unfair to the audience as well as the work itself. Make-up is a tool of the performing arts, and is unrelated to blackface, which was a convention designed to denigrate African Americans. Confounding make-up used to allow a performer to play a character of a different ethnicity, race or skin shade with minstrelsy and blackface is intellectually dishonest or ignorant.

Now comes a new issue in this spectrum: the use of white, male stunt performers to substitute for black or female stars.

This article, in The Telegraph,  begins with the assumption that the practice is inherently unethical:

“For decades, white stunt performers would paint their faces and bodies black to double for black stars. Similarly, it was not uncommon for stuntmen to put on heels and wigs to double for women. This was not happening in a vacuum: all the while, black and female stunt performers were pressing for recognition and the right to work in the jobs for which they were best suited….There is an understanding within the studios that such incidents don’t look good and need to be kept hush-hush.”

If, as the article and the Hollywood activists it interviews assert, the practice of “blacking up” white stunt performers is designed to exclude qualified black stunt performers from working, then of course it is unethical. Given the close-knit stunt performer community, described as a white, male, “old boys network” in the essay, this is certainly possible, even likely. Nevertheless, the assertion that there is anything intrinsically unethical, unfair or wrong with using a disguised white stunt performer to substitute for a black star, a male stunt performer to substitute for a female star, or any other variation imaginable is, as with the Hispanic and Afghan complaints, based on non-existent ethical principles. Continue reading

ALL ABOARD! The Elliot Rodger Ethics Train Wreck Is Leaving Rationality Station!

trainwreck6

Wait…I think I’ve seen this wreck before!

Richard Hernandez’s enraged rant at the National Rifle Association for getting three people stabbed to death by Elliot Rodger signaled that this mass killing would  be exploited to the max by a succession of unscrupulous and/or irrational activists, social critics, and pundits, and, as my son used to say before he stopped respecting the French, “Voilà!

The burgeoning ethics train wreck looks like it might be even more infuriating than most, though nothing, ever, will be able to top the Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman Ethics Express for pure, widespread, unethical lunacy. Early indications are that the usual suspects will try to wring lessons from the crazed acts of a very unusual, spectacularly deranged, unsympathetic creep as if the fair and obvious answer isn’t there for all to see who are objective and smart enough to perceive it: this one mad act proves nothing. Not about the U.S., men, not about whites, not about guns, not about law, not about Hollywood. Nothing.

It’s a big country, and there’s lots of time before climate change destroys us all or something else does first. The attack of Elliot Roger is the opposite of signature significance, an utterly meaningless convergence of factors with fewer lessons to teach than other odd but deadly events, like the Great Boston Molasses Disaster of 1919, or the St. Pierre Snake Invasion of 1905. He means nothing, and should be shunted aside to obscurity as quietly and quickly as possible, so his undeserved notoriety doesn’t set off differently motivated but similarly unhinged sociopaths who are teetering on the brink. Unfortunately, that would require journalists, politicians and single-issue fanatics to be fair, logical and responsible. Continue reading

Ethics Dunce: SB Nation Contributor Bill Hanstock

Amazingly, this is the actual size of Bill Hanstock's head!

Amazingly, this is the actual size of Bill Hanstock’s head!

The article on SB Nation is called “White people celebrate Heat loss in exceedingly white fashion,” and consists of the writer, a guy named Bill Hanstock, whose article more effectively made me detest an author than any piece I’ve read in a long time, mocking individual spectators at the Chicago Bulls -Miami Heat NBA game (which ended that team’s epic winning streak) based on their faces, their choice of clothes, their beverages, their accessories, their ages, their hair (or lack of it), and most of all, their race.

The instant verdict here: not only is the article unfunny and unethical, not only should SB Nation’s editor be sacked for allowing such garbage to pollute the site and the web, but Hanstock is, to put it mildly, a virulent jerk. Continue reading