Race and DiscriminationCherry Bomb -- Tuesday, August 04, 2009 -- 12:11:24 AM
A place to discuss all issues involving race.This thread is tagged: race, affirmative, preferences, racism
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Racism doesn't mean what it used to--I've been seeing this observation made more and more, about the unintended consequences of increased racial awareness:
Affirmative action, it now seems clear, helped change white America’s attitude about race, although not entirely in the way that its creators intended. In 1982, scarcely a decade after President Nixon mandated affirmative action for companies with government contracts, a study published in the American Sociological Review found that only twenty-seven per cent of whites thought that blacks had a worse than average chance of succeeding in America, while slightly more, about twenty-nine per cent, thought that blacks’ opportunities were better than average. Sixty-three per cent thought that racial minorities enjoyed at least a little bit of “unfair” reverse discrimination.
There are plenty of people in America, especially in black America, who believe that reverse racism is a contradiction in terms. Racism, the argument goes, should not be thought of as a personal failing; it’s a social system, with a specific history. Discrimination against whites, however unfair, isn’t part of that system, and therefore is not analogous to discrimination against blacks. This history adds symbolic weight to stories that might otherwise inspire only passing curiosity—like, say, the one about the black Harvard professor who was suspected of breaking into his own house. Systemic racism doesn’t require malice, or a specific perpetrator; everyone who benefits is guilty, even people who don’t think that they benefit.
In the past few decades, though, reverse racism has undergone a similar redefinition, from symptom to system. Some who are skeptical of affirmative action, and of other programs designed to advance non-whites, consider reverse racism to be so pervasive, and so well entrenched, that it can only be described as systemic. (Think of Frank Ricci, the white firefighter who argued, successfully, that the city of New Haven had violated his civil rights.) And, despite Beck’s diagnosis of Obama’s “hatred,” many of the people who worry about Obama’s view of race see him not as personally bigoted but as complicit with anti-white interests and policies.
In fact, the “reverse” has largely been dropped from “reverse racism”; in today’s mainstream political discourse, “racism” regularly refers to anti-white racism. Meanwhile, many politicians and commentators concerned with the brutal legacy of old-fashioned racism have learned to speak about it in less abstract, less inflammatory terms: they talk about too-high incarceration rates, or the need for better communication between police officers and the communities they serve. Certainly, Obama is at his most effective when he sticks to concrete prescriptions (the means) and airy evocations of progress (the end). This, by and large, has been his strategy and his script, and even he may not know exactly why, on being asked about Gates, he strayed from it.
Glenn Loury had one of the best articles on the topic, but then I'm one of Loury's hugest fans:
So, while I have had my “problems” with the police, when I consider the realities of contemporary society I have to acknowledge that they have a tough and often thankless job to do. The institutions I am wont to denounce — the police, courts and prisons — are the principal means by which we as a nation have chosen, through our politics, to deal with the antisocial behaviors of our fellow citizens.
However, such behavioral problems reflect failures elsewhere in our society — racial and class segregation in our cities; inadequate education for the poor; and the collapse of the family as an institution in some communities. Because of these failures, we have large numbers of under-socialized, undereducated and virtually unemployable young men in our cities and towns. (They are not all black, to be sure, but they are disproportionately so.) Domestic violence is a serious problem in many of our communities; drug trafficking and gang activity are important parts of the social economy of the inner city.
Necessarily, such unlovely realities must be dealt with daily, and the police are at the front line in our society’s response to them. We should be slow to judge them, and slower still to embrace crude stereotypes about their motives — just as they should be slow to conclude that someone is a likely criminal suspect because he happens to be black and male.
The police are our agents, charged with the imperative to control the unruly behavior of people who don’t act within the norms of society. This does not excuse “racial profiling” by police officers. It is merely to acknowledge an essential aspect of the circumstances that fuel suspicion and antipathy between black men and the police.
I hope that something of lasting value might come from the uproar surrounding the Gates arrest. But my firm conviction is that change will not come about from the moral posturing of politicians or from more intense “sensitivity training” for police officers. Nor will it come from the president having a beer with Professor Gates and Sergeant Crowley, as Mr. Obama suggested in his follow-up meeting with the press on Friday.
Rather, along with Senator James Webb, Democrat of Virginia, I believe we should be pursuing far-reaching reforms in our criminal justice system. We should invest more in helping the troubled people — our fellow citizens — caught in the law enforcement web to find a constructive role in society, and less in punishing them for punishment’s sake. We need to change the ways in which we deal with juvenile offenders, so that a foolish act in childhood doesn’t put them on the road to lifetimes in prison. We should seriously consider that many of our sentences are too long — “three strikes” laws may be good politics, but they are an irrational abomination as policy. We should definitely consider decriminalizing most drug use. We need to reinvent parole.
And, most important, we should weigh more heavily the negative and self-defeating effects that our policy of mass incarceration is having on the communities where large numbers of young black and Hispanic men live.
Just read this Breitbart article today:
The problem for the White House was the more the esteemed professor talked, the more trouble he created for his friend, the president. The clever photo-op sans audio was crafted to yank the director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research off the stage, lest anyone begin to question what is being taught at Harvard these days.
Conversely, the more Sgt. Crowley weighed in, and his brave black co-workers spoke out, the more obvious it became that a national discussion featuring this cast of characters may not end with the results the professor and the president wanted.
But then Skip Gates was tired. What was President Barack Obama’s excuse? Why did he step into the same cultural narrative that Mr. Gates had tried and failed with?
Where race is concerned, I sometimes think of the president as the Peter Sellers character in “Dr. Strangelove.” Sellers plays a closet Nazi whose left arm—quite involuntarily—keeps springing up into the Heil Hitler salute. We see him in his wheelchair, his right arm—the good and decent arm—struggling to keep the Nazi arm down so that no one will know the truth of his inner life. These wrestling matches between the good and bad arms were hysterically funny.
When I saw Mr. Obama—with every escape route available to him—wade right into the Gates affair at the end of his health-care news conference, I knew that his demon arm had momentarily won out over his good arm. It broke completely free—into full salute—in the “acted stupidly” comment that he made in reference to the Cambridge police’s handling of the matter. Here was the implication that whites were such clumsy and incorrigible racists that even the most highly achieved blacks lived in constant peril of racial humiliation. This was a cultural narrative, a politics, and in the end it was a bigotry. It let white Americans see a president who doubted them
(Message has been moved to Why You Annoy Me--Emergency Backup Thread, originally posted by JL Finch on Wednesday, August 05, 2009 -- 04:39:50 PM.)
(Message has been moved to Why You Annoy Me--Emergency Backup Thread, originally posted by Kteemac on Wednesday, August 05, 2009 -- 05:01:29 PM.)
(Message has been moved to Why You Annoy Me--Emergency Backup Thread, originally posted by Pincher Martin on Wednesday, August 05, 2009 -- 07:29:42 PM.)
I think sometimes we get a bit American-centric on these issues.
This strikes me as, well, insane:
The county is drowning in debt (the county hospital lost $80 million last year), real estate taxes have risen dramatically, and there's talk of laying off police and firefighters. But we will have racial equality.
I don't know you well enough, Cliff, to know whether your final comment in the post above is flip or not.
I find it creepy that a county is being forced to zone for cheap housing and market that housing to poor minorities in cities, effectively moving urban blight out to the surburbs and allowing the federal government to keep score on whether localities are diverse enough.
They are going need a lot of luck with that. "Build it and they will come" is from a fantasy movie.
In Seattle, we have affordable housing spread all over the place, but we still have the Central District, and some people don't want to move out.
That said, I fully support that if we must have this kind of legislation that the many localities in California which are overwhelmingly white and liberal be forced to integrate first. From Marin county to the Monterey coast to Santa Barbara to Malibu, let's allow a little color into these dull white places. It seems only fair to have those localities which are constantly calling red America racist to lead the charge in this battle.
(I suspect, however, that when forced to do what they are happy to have the rest of us forced to do, that they will become far less enthusiastic about their social engineering and much more sensitive to the possible unintended consequences of their proposals.)
That's what I was going to point out--it's those ultra-white enclaves that vote so vehemently for Dems. Let them taste some of the results of their efforts.
In reality, though, I expect more white flight--possibly back into the cities.
Rock legend Bob Dylan was treated like a complete unknown by police in a New Jersey shore community when a resident called to report someone wandering around the neighborhood.
Dylan was in Long Branch, about a two-hour drive south of New York City, on July 23 as part of a tour with Willie Nelson and John Mellencamp that was to play at a baseball stadium in nearby Lakewood.
A 24-year-old police officer apparently was unaware of who Dylan is and asked him for identification, Long Branch business administrator Howard Woolley said Friday.
"I don't think she was familiar with his entire body of work," Woolley said.
The incident began at 5 p.m. when a resident said a man was wandering around a low-income, predominantly minority neighborhood several blocks from the oceanfront looking at houses.
The police officer drove up to Dylan, who was wearing a blue jacket, and asked him his name. According to Woolley, the following exchange ensued:
"What is your name, sir?" the officer asked.
"Bob Dylan," Dylan said.
"OK, what are you doing here?" the officer asked.
"I'm on tour," the singer replied.
A second officer, also in his 20s, responded to assist the first officer. He, too, apparently was unfamiliar with Dylan, Woolley said.
The officers asked Dylan for identification. The singer of such classics as "Like a Rolling Stone" and "Blowin' in the Wind" said that he didn't have any ID with him, that he was just walking around looking at houses to pass some time before that night's show.
The officers asked Dylan, 68, to accompany them back to the Ocean Place Resort and Spa, where the performers were staying. Once there, tour staff vouched for Dylan.
The officers thanked him for his cooperation.
"He couldn't have been any nicer to them," Woolley added.
The cops were racial profiling: white guy, low income neighborhood, must be buying crack.
But then, as Steve Sailer said, it's not as if Dylan's someone super famous like, say, Skip Gates.
Oh, I think it was totally normal to look twice. Hell, Bob Dylan usually looks much scaggier than that. But would he have been given the once over if he'd been looking like that and black in the same neighborhood? Probably not.
I didn't mean to imply that he shouldn't have been questioned. The irony was a) that the cops had never heard of him and b) an incredibly famous white man complied cheerfully when he was questioned by the cops, rather than go nuts at the clear implication that he was in the wrong place for his skin color.