Monday, May 26, 2014

Words

It is not "race" that has lost its usefulness as a word or concept, but "racism".

Of course this all depends on who defines "usefulness". Who, whom, always.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Some people have personalities, others have tattoos.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Name that Author

From this lack of knowledge there has arisen that fine dictum of morality so much bandied about by the philosophical crowd, that men are everywhere the same, and that having everywhere the same vices, it is rather useless to attempt to characterize the different races; which is just about as reasonable as if one were to say that one could not distinguish Peter from James, because each of them has a nose, a mouth, and eyes.
Will one never see the return of those happy times when people did not concern themselves with philosophy, but when such men as Plato, Thales, or Pythagoras, smitten with an eager desire for knowledge, undertook the longest journeys solely to obtain information, and went far away to shake off the yoke of national prejudices, to learn to know men by their conformities and by their differences...?
[good question]

The Revolution will not be Moderated

Read the closed comment thread accompanying this Nation article about school segregation before Katrina vanden Heuvel returns from whatever anti-(but nonetheless lily-)white Leftist fundraiser she's at and has it removed. The article is par for the progressive course, attributing the organized white flight of suburban cities seceding from dangerous black school districts entirely to white malice:
A new secessionist movement, anchored in the South, provides yet another reminder that “separate” still means “unequal” when it comes to the racial dynamics of the nation’s public schools. 
The small middle-class town of Gardendale, Alabama, outside Birmingham, voted on November 12 to secede from the Jefferson County school district and then to raise taxes on themselves to finance the solo venture. Then, in March, Gardendale’s 14,000 residents finally got their own Board of Education. Soon after his appointment, one new board member, Clayton “Dick” Lee III, a banker and father of two, said he aspires to build a “best in class” school system “which exceeds the capabilities of the system which we are exiting.”
(...)
In Baton Rouge, Louisiana, an organized group of residents from an unincorporated, predominantly white, relatively affluent area with a strong tax base are trying to form an entirely new eighty-five-square-mile city for the express purpose of separating from the East Baton Rouge Parish Schools, which, by the way, enroll a majority of black and economically disadvantaged students. At the same time, a bill that would create four semi-autonomous school districts in this same southern section of Baton Rouge is being considered by the Louisiana legislature. The proposed new city, St. George, would not be the first secession from East Baton Rouge Parish schools. In recent years, three municipalities have created their own school districts, though not all were particularly affluent or predominantly white.
(...)
Secession efforts are not limited to the South, with efforts cropping up recently in Malibu, California, and in northeast Pennsylvania. But the movement is centered in the South because the region’s districts tend to be larger, often enrolling students who live in cities and towns throughout an entire county as opposed to a small municipality.
The Narrative was assailed when this Power Line post (found by way of American Renaissance) linked to the article, prompting an invasion of critical comments focusing on the real motive force behind white flight, black violence (writing that I'm struck: I don't think I've ever read a progressive polemic about white flight or segregation that so much as mentioned black violence, much less take account of this overwhelming reality). Power Line here points to some inspiringly excoriating comments (that were excised sometime after PL revealed them):
I attended Malcolm X Elementary School in Berkeley, CA in the early ’70s. I’m white, and the school was 50% black. My mother, being a good liberal of the times, enrolled me in a special program that was 90% black. My experiences showed me the following:
1. Blacks are incredibly hard on other blacks, vicious in some cases. And I’m specifically referring to black adults treatment of black children. Being a kind, meek, intelligent black child in a black neighborhood must be a terrifying experience if you don’t have anyone to watch over you. I’d wager many are destroyed psychologically by the experience.
2. As a white person in a black community, you have basically two positions available to you on the social fabric: non-entity or target. If you keep your mouth shut and keep a low profile, you’ll be lucky and just be a non-entity. Imagine that. That was my *best* option socially. But at least my mother got to feel like a good liberal. . .
As an adult, I don’t wish blacks bad things, but I sure don’t want to live in their neighborhoods either, which is a feeling I bet I have in common with a lot of black people too. 25 years was enough, and, as an adult, the best moment of my life was to move into a neighborhood where I didn’t have to worry about my car being stolen or vandalized or people randomly hassling me on the street because I was white. Enough is enough. Call me a racist if it gives you a morally superior boost, but I know you haven’t walked the walk. It’s all theory to most of you clowns.
Blowback?  No; here’s the first response:
I witnessed a similar response from a woman I knew in Atlanta. 
She and her husband were similar to your parents: Stanford liberals. When they moved to Atlanta with their two daughters, they continually proclaimed their belief in public education and that their daughters would attend public schools. But after a couple of years attending Atlanta public schools, their daughters were moved into private schools. 
I never knew the precise reasons for the move, and when I asked, the woman became very defensive and evasive.
I don’t criticize the right of this woman and her husband to do what they felt was best for their children, but they had no idea of the destructive effects of their ideas and actions.
Another:
“Being a kind, meek, intelligent black child in a black neighborhood must be a terrifying experience if you don’t have anyone to watch over you.”
You don’t know the half of it. Fortunately for me the horror was mitigated somewhat because:
1. My family is from Ghana and the apartment building we lived at had a lot of immigrants from all over so immediate vicinity was an oasis.
2. I went to Catholic school up through 6th grade until I transferred to the public junior high. This would prove to be a negative at junior high but as far as my overall future it was a life saver. I’m a big believer in Catholic and charter schools as a result even if all they do is skim the good Black kids.
3. The African-American kids at my junior high were vicious, I can’t think of any other word to describe it. Of course there were good ones but they were a distinct minority and they caught more hell than I did because they actually lived in the projects.
Basically if you are a smart Black kid and don’t have a popular older sibling that can fight, a family rep for being in the streets or aren’t athletic. Your life in a mostly Black school setting will be hell.
Another:
I had a similar experience to yours. I attended a majority black Middle/High School in the late 1970s/early 80s in Philadelphia. My parents were social democrats and (still) clueless. I saw the fighting you speak of: even the black girls fought each other. Although I did have a few black acquaintances, a low-profile was definitely the way to go because I was attacked several times. Eventually I moved to the suburbs and the fear was gone.
More:
There comes a point and time when African-Americans need to take a hard look at their culture. White folks aren’t the only ones avoiding African-American neighborhoods and schools. New immigrants of all backgrounds do as well if they can afford to.
Also African-American kids have been in the news for beating up:
1. Asians in Philly
2. Haitians in New Jersey and Miami
3. Somalis in Minneapolis
4. Hispanics all across the country.
Power Line blogger Stephen Hayward seems to think this represents a "civil war" within the Left, but I'd surmise it's more like an invasion by rightists--call it desegregation. It's like when Drudge links to something from the Left sending his legions their way, except in this case the criticism is intelligent and focused (no "socialist Obama policies are responsible for this mess!" followed by a weary "looks like the Drudgetards are here").

Such comment-thread truth spasms have become a common reaction to the pro-Amnesty articles, oblivious to or openly dismissive of popular sentiment, that plod across the headlines daily. Also heartening, as Paul Nachtmann of Vdare points out here, is the degree to which critical comments tend to blow away the uncritical in up/down votes. It's getting harder for them to present the Narrative as having any real popular support. The Left just can't have nice things any more.

Curiously however, the comments at the Power Line post are almost uniformly milquetoast, citing the standard Culture of Irresponsibility or whatever we call it nowadays. Typical examples:

Every single problem in the black community -- crime, poverty, drugs, illiteracy -- evolves from their 75% illegitimacy rate. The community's family structure has been systematically destroyed by govt policies and the result is as tragic as it was predictable.

(...)

In freedom, African Americans sing the praises of those who destroyed the African American family, who created government that ensured that 85% of black children (lucky enough to not be aborted) born in major metropolitan areas are born to a mother without a husband, and vote for Democrats, Liberals, Progressives, Socialists and Marxists who did this to them.

 God bless Power Line for the post, but maybe they're engaging in a little pc comment moderation themselves.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Vibrant Encounter

A friend reports, and I edit, from the front lines of New America:

I'm working for a call center for a cell phone company as a customer service representative. One of my tasks is troubleshooting--identifying problems with equipment or service. Another is basic instruction on how to use our phones or service. As often as not, someone calls in complaining their service or equipment isn't working, only for me to find they just don't know how to use the service or phone properly. I field these calls daily and I deal with people all over the country.

I'm like you--at least I think you've described yourself like this--a thorough-going racist by the standards of the day, believing things I'm not supposed to even suspect and attributing credence to "false" stereotypes we're expected to believe have no basis whatsoever in experience (sprung from the brow of, I don't know, Hitler). And like you, I accept this but also know that in individual encounters I strive to be fair. In fact, I think I overcompensate, as if I'm proving the bastards wrong somehow, as if it would matter if they could see it. Anyway.

I took a call from a woman, a Horn-of-Africa accent, Ethiopian I think (she sounded very much like a mutual friend of ours from there). She had an old flip-phone and didn't know how to enter text. She began indifferent but then instantly became furious; how am I supposed to enter letters when the keypad only shows numbers, she asked; what set her off was me pointing out each number had three letters assigned. Of course she knew that, how dare I! She did this a couple of more times; "do you see the..." "Yes I see it! I am not stupid!" So I did my thing, walking her through the process (you press the key once for the number, quickly twice or three times to enter one of its designated letters depending on its order, if you recall those barbarous days before smart-phones).

I actually made progress and had her entering text, but her fury would not abate; our equipment is shit (the ancient fifteen-dollar flip phone she activated with our service to save money was so disappointing), our service is shit, etc. You remember when we used to listen to Howard Stern? [was I ever that young?] She was this lady, only much further gone beyond reason:



I wasn't able to console her, and she just kept getting angrier--despite the fact we were making progress. But we foundered finally on the space key ("lower left corner key" was an outrage all its own, I'm not sure why). Eventually I just stopped helping and started walking her to the door so to speak with some stock lines, ignoring her now and rather enjoying (but maybe imagining) the tone in her voice: she seemed to sense that her mow-down the frail and pale white guy strategy, probably so very effective almost always, wasn't getting any more respect or humoring; I gave her the stock sign-off line, indulging my own pettiness finally by using a mocking unctuousness that was no doubt lost on her, ignoring the fact that she had no intention of ending the call just yet, and I hung up on her--the last thing I'm supposed to do. I could lose my job for it.

But none of this is what bothered me. The whole time she's got the television on loud, and I'm straining to hear her rapid-fire, heavily accented speech over it; periodically she steps away from the phone to yell at a man in the background and it's as if she's deliberately putting the phone near the TV. And what's on in this happy homestead taking part in the inverted colonization of America? Some sort of panel discussion of black activists, including the Reverend Sharpton, bitching about white racism. I think I even heard Oprah in there. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry, so I did a little of both.

Friday, May 02, 2014

Discipline and Punish, Libertarian Mix

I was disappointed following this Reason link: Does the Free Market Punish Racism?
I half-expected to find they were making Steven Farron's "Prejudice is Free" argument, that racial discrimination isn't tenable in a free market:

The reason is a fundamental economic principle, which is obvious to common sense. If an individual or business, while engaging in an economic activity—hiring, promotion, lending money—considers any non-economic factors, the person or business will suffer economically—even if the non-economic factors were considered unconsciously.

Alas, it was a video, of some libertarian minx asking this question of anti-Sterling protestors outside Staples Center. The piece opens with a clip of a black speaker declaring the Clippers "our team" to be "repossessed", and the question of property rights is thus dispatched without commentary from Reason. (The opening shot is hilarious--a woman holding a sign saying "Racism is Against the Law"). Likely having had difficulty getting black picketers to expound on Austrian v Keynesian distinctions, the Reason babe ditches that tack to commiserate with the negroes about their "real problems", police brutality and drug laws. "Yeah, it's the Man, man!" Libertarians are so cute on Race.

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Language, Language

 L'affaire Sterling has moved fast, and speed kills. The metaphorical highway is littered with the overwrought and under-thought. But some of the hysterics have been downright hysterical.

Here's the Times Picayune soothing our fears of racist contamination with the promise of decay and mortality:

After all, Sterling is a jerk whose time on earth and brains are noticeably dwindling before the nation's eyes...

Good riddance to the "old man" and his generation is a theme, and Harry Siegel of the Daily News here makes sure the second part of the equation isn't lost--we are the moral superiors of our fathers because racism and black people:

We can all take a moment and pat ourselves on the back for not being as horrible as this appalling old man.

Harry reminds me of some low level manager giving the weekly meeting. "Oh and hey, White America, give yourselves a hand for those quarterly numbers. Way to go guys!" Wait a minute. Not "as horrible"? So we are somewhat horrible? I'm not following.

Here the master, Adrian Wojnarowski, gives us a textbook example of adjectival overload arising from the need to emphasize our personal revulsion:

...despicable revelations tumbling out of the hateful heart of Donald Sterling...

And of course hangin's too good for 'im. Here's Kenny Smith at 8:04 of this particularly painful broadcast of Inside the NBA (Ernie Johnson, the battered-looking white guy, even dons a bow tie for the supplications):

You think about this—remember when Ron Artest ran into the stands? And the reason they suspended him for a year is because the biggest ticket holders, the people who feel safest, pay the most expensive seats, and if you feel unsafe in the most expensive seats, around the league then why would you do it? So now, you have a culture of people uncomfortable, coming into your arena now, around the world, not just with the Clippers, because they feel uncomfortable, so you have to suspend him, more, than Ron Artest, a guy who ran into the stands and hit his fans, so, if you look at what that is, symbolically, I just think that you’re making the whole league uncomfortable and everyone who comes uncomfortable, to the entire NBA.