Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Case for Refutations

Respect, just a little bit...

Two recent publications from last month, Ta-Nehisi Coates' Atlantic article arguing for slavery reparations, and former New York Times science editor Nicholas Wade's book asserting the reality of racial differences, A Troublesome Inheritance, met with very different receptions from what is regarded as respectable opinion. The timing is coincidental, but I believe they represent two contradictory answers to the bedeviling problem of black inequality that are on a collision course, one coming from a conventional point of view and the other, if the mixture of silence and outrage with which conventional thinkers have received it are any indication, from the bowels of hell.

Mainstream political discourse is limited to two purely environmental explanations for black inequality. The right blames some combination of the welfare state and declining morals for inculcating a culture of illegitimacy, criminality and idleness; the left blames ongoing white racism and the legacy of slavery and segregation.

However these terms of engagement were arrived at they've served as a sort of gentleman's agreement that seems to suit mainstream actors just fine: the right gets to condemn the welfare state and the left gets to condemn white racism. As for the individual wishing to participate in public life, he may place himself anywhere along a continuum between racism on one hand and culture on the other as the ultimate cause, assigning some proximate value to the other effect, but he cannot stray from the dichotomy.

In asserting the reality of race and the heritability of behavior, Wade has strayed. Despite refusing to draw it himself his argument leaves to unavoidable implication the probability inequality is more a failure of black ability than of white justice. It's likely no accident he published his book after retiring from his regular post at the Times (we've become so used to purges for dissent the Daily Caller attributed his status as former science editor to the book's publication--without taking the time to verify). Meanwhile Coates' career is taking off as a result of his essay.

Wade is the first respectable mainstream figure to leave the reservation in a long, long time and he is riding roughshod over sacred ground. What's lost in the mainstream controversy surrounding this popular science book is how little real controversy exists among geneticists.
In his 1975 book, Race, biologist John Baker cites a work from 1928 by Russian-born University of Minnesota professor of sociology Pitirim Sorokin, Contemporary Social Theories, which included a chapter on the debate about genetic racial differences (while taking neither side), as marking, in Baker's view:

"...the close of the period in which both sides in the ethnic controversy were free to put forward their views, and authors who wished to do so could give objective accounts of the evidence pointing in each direction. From the beginning of the thirties onwards scarcely anyone outside Germany and its allies dared to suggest that any race might be in any respect or in any sense superior to any other, lest it should appear that the author was supporting or excusing the Nazi cause. Those who believed in the equality of all races were free to write what they liked, without fear of contradiction...Sorokin's chapter is well worth reading today, as a reminder of what was still possible before the curtain came down. In recent years a corner of it has already been lifted."

Baker was writing nearly forty years after Sorokin and it's been almost another forty since the optimistic note he struck with that last sentence. Meanwhile, despite the failures of such alternatives as Freudian theory and radical behaviorism, despite the collapse of the Soviet Union and America's ongoing failure to eliminate racial disparities--what might be called behaviorism's two biggest failed experiments--and regardless of the recent revolution in genomics, Baker's "curtain" not only has not lifted it has become iron, descended firmly between the mass of accumulated knowledge and respectable opinion.

Those failures, and the reemergence of hereditarianism within the study of genetics in recent years (if not outside of it), have prompted numerous false land-sightings by hereditarians so long at sea. Some see in the period between 1994 (when the Bell Curve was published) and 2005 a time of relative perestroika (Peter Brimelow's "interglacial") when it might have been reasonably assumed the tide was finally turning, at least in favor of an open debate. That thawing was cataloged by John Derbyshire in 2009 for National Review Online; as if to demonstrate how little permanent effect it had the same magazine would purge him exactly two years later for his (in)famous "Talk" post. Each year new studies come in, fallacies are debunked, frauds are exposed; and the prevailing narrative grows stronger, as if inversely proportionate to any empirical or objective success. Whether or not the existence of racial differences has been proven over the last generation, the durability of denial has proven stronger.

Perhaps the proponents of the culture-only explanations believe any inherent disparities are small enough to be made insignificant or ignored with some combination of policy, education and, on the conservative side, bourgeois values. Needless to say, such hopes would have to be fading by now from long exposure to failure. As for the prospects for the restoration of the old virtues, it's hard to see that happening for any of us. The sexual revolution is here to stay. Progressive ideology, defined by its opposition to bourgeois values, needs no excuse for further hostility to them, but it finds one in black inequality--in that sense black inequality, specifically our obsession with it, has become just one more corrosive eating away at those values. But in the present milieu we have to either presume no difference between white and black norms despite all evidence to the contrary, or we have to dismiss their significance altogether.

Thus Coates, having already sought to tie present black dysfunction to historical racism by way of a lengthy account of housing discrimination in Chicago, sets out to deny both the importance of fatherhood and civility or the reality of blacks' vastly different concepts of them:

One thread of thinking in the African American community holds that these depressing numbers partially stem from cultural pathologies that can be altered through individual grit and exceptionally good behavior. (In 2011, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, responding to violence among young black males, put the blame on the family: “Too many men making too many babies they don’t want to take care of, and then we end up dealing with your children.” Nutter turned to those presumably fatherless babies: “Pull your pants up and buy a belt, because no one wants to see your underwear or the crack of your butt.”) The thread is as old as black politics itself. It is also wrong. The kind of trenchant racism to which black people have persistently been subjected can never be defeated by making its victims more respectable. The essence of American racism is disrespect. And in the wake of the grim numbers, we see the grim inheritance.

Coates obscures the true context of Nutter's remarks: an outbreak in Philadelphia of violent black "flash-mobs"--impromptu recreational race riots organized via social media--in the summer of 2011. This was not merely the depressing and familiar routine of "violence among black males". In fact it wasn't limited to males and included children barely in their teens. That Coates sees in paternal responsibility and refraining from violence "individual grit and exceptionally good behavior" demonstrates the bizarre contortions necessary to explain black behavior if heredity is disallowed--and the behavior he excuses demonstrates the disastrous effect of that denial. Elsewhere in his essay he continues:

From the White House on down, the myth holds that fatherhood is the great antidote to all that ails black people. But Billy Brooks Jr. [victim of street crime] had a father. Trayvon Martin had a father...Adhering to middle-class norms has never shielded black people from plunder..."

The "plunder" theme holds throughout his essay, which aims to construct a narrative of black industriousness thwarted up to the present by white malice. Needless to say he has to ignore the vast sums spent and massive federal effort of the last half century to encourage greater black participation in the economy--among other things he dismisses affirmative action out of hand because despite its practical effect in transferring wealth to blacks, affirmative action's

...precise aims, for instance, have always proved elusive. Is it meant to make amends for the crimes heaped upon black people? Not according to the Supreme Court. In its 1978 ruling in Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, the Court rejected “societal discrimination” as “an amorphous concept of injury that may be ageless in its reach into the past.” Is affirmative action meant to increase “diversity”? If so, it only tangentially relates to the specific problems of black people—the problem of what America has taken from them over several centuries.

This confusion about affirmative action’s aims, along with our inability to face up to the particular history of white-imposed black disadvantage, dates back to the policy’s origins. “There is no fixed and firm definition of affirmative action,” an appointee in Johnson’s Department of Labor declared. “Affirmative action is anything that you have to do to get results. But this does not necessarily include preferential treatment.”

Where does one begin? The Bakke ruling introducing "diversity" was an attempt to rationalize a manifestly unconstitutional practice specifically to continue the project of elevating blacks economically, socially and politically. Yet for Coates, the very real transfer of wealth that has represented and the degradation of the constitution that is the "diversity" ruse (now its own monstrous sham) employed to continue it, mean nothing because it all somehow "only tangentially relates to the specific problems of black people." What are the "specific problems of black people"? Apparently just the grim facts we already know, that their poverty is deeper, their neighborhoods more blighted, their behavior more violent, combined with the historical humiliation of slavery and, if Coates is right, the continuing reality of segregation.

But those same pathologies, combined with the intense bigotry of blacks, is the motive force behind white flight and segregation. The segregation of the past is invoked to explain, among other things, the violence and chaos of the present; what we don't allow is the possibility the violence and chaos of the present explain the segregation of the past (and present, for that matter; the same white liberals who encourage Coates' emotional musings are almost entirely ensconced in their own highly segregated neighborhoods). That very repression itself is evidence against the assumption.
White flight anticipated quite accurately the the degradation that followed the black takeover of urban America. To assume it's nothing more than self-fulfilling prophecy because whites took their money and civility with them is to assume a complete lack of black agency, much less responsibility. Just who are the racists here?

Coates isn't about to suggest limiting affirmative action to blacks or replacing it with reparations, heaven forbid, and he has no new ideas for how the money will be directed beyond more efforts at desegrgation--because there are none. He's arguing that reparations will transcend the long cycle of failure merely by being directed specifically at the problem of black inequality.

But one can sense Coates' real issue is with the broadening of affirmative action and victim status to other groups, who are now successfully copying black grievance as political strategy. That strategy has proven quite effective in turning black failure into political power and government subsidy. Without the assumption that disparate impact is always proof of of discrimination, where would black political power be? What would it have to trade on? Indeed, where would Ta-Nehisi Coates be without it? It's the alchemy of demagogy, turning the lead of failure into the gold of patronage.

But the sudden haste of this renewed push for reparations, and the suspiciously coordinated appearance of the reception of Coates' essay, complete with helpful suggestions as to how reparations might be raised (such as simply printing a trillion or so dollars a la quantitative easing) suggest a recognition on the left that time and the patience of non-black America are running out; further, with Barack Obama still in office the time may never be better (the author will neither confirm nor deny having met privately with the president shortly before he would have begun writing the essay).

As America becomes more racially diverse the old black/white dynamic is threatened--recall Eric Holder's "nation of cowards" speech", what Steve Sailer described as a signal to other  grievance groups to move to the "back of the bus" and recognize black primacy of place atop the hierarchy of grievance. Others are adapting the black model of turning grievance into power and cash. Coates, in decrying "diversity" wants to make that successful model somewhat proprietary. But the question as to the cause of black inequality--white injustice or black inadequacy--becomes more troublesome still. Because one of these is a corrosive destroying the fabric of the republic and society.

But to return to the question of values, despite Coates' cavalier dismissal of them, might a return to traditional family values help? One of the assumptions of desegregation is that pathologies will no longer be concentrated, and presumably blacks, freed of concentrations of other blacks, will be able or willing to adopt whiter norms. One of Wade's troublesome heresies is to suggest Western institutions can't be adopted by most non-Western societies because

If institutions were purely cultural, it should be easy to transfer an institution from one society to another.

Wade limits himself to societal-level comparisons. But he accepts the Cochran-Harpending thesis of continuing, accelerated evolution to the present day--contradicting the old convention holding evolution to have stopped about forty thousand years ago that, as if by design, left room for egalitarian assumptions that no meaningful evolution transpired after humans began splitting off into separate geographical populations after the migration out of Africa. Wade repeatedly describes evolution as "recent, regional and copious", and again presents us with an unavoidable implication: that an individual's genetic legacy must leave him more suited for that type of society in which his genetic makeup was forged and less suited, to the extent it differs, for one to which he has been "transferred" by the migration, forced or voluntary, of recent ancestors.

If this is true it explains black inequality and further means it's no more fair to declare it America's collective moral failure than to declare it blacks' individual moral failure. It's a problem without a solution and one--perhaps not by coincidence--we will not allow ourselves to identify. So we are condemned to a history of failed attempts to square this circle; a history that may eventually include reparations.

But is the characterization that blacks "suffer" from being Americans, from living in a modern economy and a liberal society, simply because these disparities outrage blacks and progressives, accurate? If we are different, what does equality even mean? Do blacks live in misery, or is the perception a projection of white values? Are we merely obsessing over the wrong metrics? If it can be shown blacks are happier on average than whites, does that make a difference?

A little over a year after having the temerity to suggest black teenagers pull up their pants, that same Mayor Nutter denounced Philadelphia Magazine for publishing an article about, among other things, the violent harassment of whites in the city. That article's author pointed out the remarkable reversal that has taken place in American cities with large black populations: it is whites who now "know their place" in regard to blacks. That knowledge has been arrived at by intimidation and violence--a reality that has long been taken for granted and is somehow both a running joke and a grim, humiliating reality. The essence of black and white relations now is indeed "disrespect", as Coates asserts--but of demoralized whites by confident blacks. White adaptations to this relatively new reality include submissiveness and copying--generally to the individual's detriment--of black cultural norms seen as more genuine. An ongoing, broad kulturkampf  has made "white" derogatory in not one but two ways: culturally synonymous with weak, effeminate and awkward, and politically synonymous with oppressive or illegitimate.

So it's no surprise blacks consistently demonstrate higher levels of self-esteem than other groups and--unique among racial groups--their self-esteem isn't dependent on any sense of accomplishment as these researchers were surprised to find:

...given that personal efficacy and self-esteem are positively correlated, and given that blacks have relatively high self-esteem, the fact that blacks have relatively low personal efficacy is something of an anomaly.

Coates and company argue, among other things, there is a psychological mechanism tying past discrimination to present dysfunction--the logic of the "legacy" of slavery/segregation argument. Study after study fails to find proof of the wounded individual psyches posited by these just-so surmises. Inequality is taken as a priori evidence of repression. But these studies tend more often to reinforce stubborn, long-held folk impressions ("racist stereotyping") of racial differences in psychology and intelligence reflected in behavior.

The alternative to the present order, defining justice as equality of opportunity and accepting the resulting inequality of results, does not appear politically or socially tenable--if our elites will not allow it, blacks, and now our growing Hispanic population, will not accept it. If we differ in abilities, then the enforced measure of fairness--disparate impact--ensures no end to our strife, no end to the demagogy of such as Coates, and no end to the escalating repression and, yes, plunder of such as reparations. Slavery then is indeed America's "original sin", and one for which we cannot and will not atone. Dark days are ahead.

Lions and Tigers and Goyim, oh my!

The "nobody-I-know-voted-for-Nixon" head scratching continues over at the New York Times. Anything to avoid the obvious question with the more obvious answer--absent the perception of Cantor as a high-profile champion of a deeply unpopular Amnesty, would Professor Brat have had a snowball's chance of unseating the powerful incumbent? There, mystery solved in one question. But as we're not going there, we might as well trot out some favorite who, whom hobby-horses:
Voters Saw Cantor as Out of Touch, but Not Because of His Jewish Faith, Analysts Say 
 
As the lone Jewish Republican in Congress, representing a deeply conservative, overwhelmingly Christian district in Virginia while dreaming of becoming the first Jewish speaker of the House, Representatives Eric Cantor always had a delicate task.
“He’s a public official in an overtly non-Jewish world,” said Rabbi Gary S. Creditor of Temple Beth El in Richmond, which Mr. Cantor attended as a boy. “He didn’t flaunt being a Jew, and he did not highlight it, but he did not deny it, either.”
Not that Brat should be entirely above suspicion:
Mr. Brat, a professor at Randolph-Macon College in Virginia, speaks often about a return to “Judeo-Christian values” and cites his “belief in God.” In an interview on Fox News with Sean Hannity after his surprise victory, he said he felt that “God acted through the people on my behalf.”
Funny how it's the guy who talks about Judeo-Christian values is automatically suspected of being anti-Semitic, but I get it.
Mr. Cantor’s district was redrawn in 2010 to make it tilt even more to the right — a factor that some analysts say may have in the end helped Mr. Brat. Roughly one-quarter of 1 percent of the district’s population is Jewish, according to the Berman Jewish Databank, a project of the Jewish Federations of North America.
Which is vastly different from the, say, one or two percent Jews likely represented in his previous boundaries. The proportion of the Jewish vote hasn't been putting him over the top since he first ran in 2000. And as Stolberg notes, he's benefited from the pro-Israel sentiment of his conservative Christian constituents for a long time, while recently--if this article is to be believed--alienating Jewish supporters for not getting Amnesty passed:
In the House, Mr. Cantor has been a steadfast supporter of Israel, an issue important to Jews and Christian conservatives alike. But Jews in the Richmond area appear divided on him. Jewish Democrats are angry because he has stood in the way of a comprehensive immigration overhaul — an issue that, paradoxically, helped cost him his job, when Mr. Brat attacked him for supporting legal residency for young people brought here illegally.
And that's as close as Stolberg gets to Cantor's Amnesty problem; it "helped cost him his job." Yeah, and I also understand a collision with an iceberg factored into the sinking of the Titanic.

Update: Stolberg's article has already been re-(excuse the phrase)christened:
Opponent Resonated With Christian Conservatives in a Way Cantor Could Not

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

A matter of power and death

John Boehner's choice of phrase in lamenting last night's upset of Eric Cantor was a clumsy but no doubt sincere moment of pathos, unintentionally revealing the love of prestige and influence that fills the heart, such as it is, of the typical politician:

"My thoughts are with Diana and their kids tonight."

 

Did somebody die, John? 
Shudder to think of those poor kids* having to grow up in the household of a mere lobbyist. All of our thoughts and prayers are with them. Word that John was later seen in his office weeping to the strains of Whitney Houston's Greatest Love of All could not be confirmed.

*maybe he's referring to Cantor's other "kids". 

Sunday, June 08, 2014



Odd Nosdam, Fat Hooks

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Real Horror Show

Mickey Kaus today:

Still, you’d think the embarrassment of this latest surge – with thousands of recently arrived illegals being shipped all over the country, obviously never to leave –would be enough to kill amnesty, at least for this year. But you’d have thought the slack job market would be enough to kill amnesty, and you’d have thought Obama’s troubles (and the chance for GOPs to retake the Senate) would be enough to kill amnesty. You’d have thought Marco Rubio’s precipitous drop in the polls, after he championed the “Gang of 8″ bill, would be enough to kill amnesty. And you’d have thought the administration’s release of illegal immigrant criminals back into the population would be enough to kill amnesty.

But amnesty is hard to kill.

 

Indeed. Riddle it with bullets. Run it over. Set it on fire. Nothing seems to work. Amnesty has become like bad horror film that nobody pays to see, yet returns every year in various sequels, prequels and re-boots, along with hectoring ad campaigns denouncing us for not, finally, going to see the latest version. Of course this would never happen to a real Hollywood production, because of money. Likewise, Amnesty doesn't have to prove its popular appeal, because of money.

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Can the Washington Post be trusted?

The Washington Post has an article up about declining levels of trust among Americans:
 Data from the DDB Life Style Survey indicates that trust began to increase throughout the country after World War II, and rose steadily through the 1960s. According to the data, trust peaked in 1967–1968, when roughly 56% of survey respondents agreed that “most people can be trusted.” From there, trust began to decline, and the trend has continued ever since. 
Gee, I don't know, did anything happen, say around 1965, that might have contributed to this trend? Then there's this: 
Robert Putnam attributed it to the influences of television, the Internet, and other, socially isolating inventions, though not everyone has agreed with him. Dietland Stolle and Laura Nishikawa say that the media has influenced some parents to instill distrust in their children, despite how the parents themselves may have felt about trust. As with the other factors in this analysis, it is safe to assume that many influences converged on this relationship. 
No mention at all of Putnam's recent findings about the predictable erosion of trust in a multicultural society. I mean, that surely qualifies as a candidate for one of "many influences", no? Who ya gonna trust?

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.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Heaven is a place where nothing ever happens...

Good news everywhere. Incredible, really. The "War on Terror" is over--we won. To celebrate, the NSA is holding an open house.
The economy is no longer in danger of slipping back into recession. Full employment has become a reality; not a single able-bodied American is out of work. The Fed has figured out how to unwind quantitative easing with zero risk. The budget is balanced and the current account deficit is projected to remain in surplus for eternity.
Racial strife ended abruptly last night. Urban crime is a thing of the past.  Al Sharpton, Louis Farrakhan and the Reverend Wright held a joint news conference this morning to reveal their respective careers have in fact been elaborate hoaxes.
"We were just fucking with you this whole time. I mean, come on, you guys are too easy. What do we look like, buffoonish demagogues?" Sharpton said, shaking his head amiably.
Teenagers are pulling up their pants.
The Chinese have apologized for spying on us and are opening up their former cyber-espionage operations for full inspection. To make amends they've cancelled our debt. Vladimir Putin issued a tearful apology last night regarding the ongoing unpleasantness in Ukraine, saying "whatever you guys decide, I'm cool with it". Iran has followed suit regarding their nuclear program.
The Palestinians have renounced all claims to the West Bank and Gaza; the rest of the Arab nations are jockeying--good-naturedly, of course--for the right to settle them within their borders.
The last of the major diseases was cured this afternoon.
Jonah Hill has promised to never step in front of a camera again.

Looks like "it's all good" is no longer an insipid saying, but literal reality.

How can it be? Well, what else could explain having time for this?

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.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Not the New Plantation; The New Post-Soviet Oligarchy

Steve Sailer points out the hypocrisy of the NBA, a league that features an impressive, real-life  Russian oligarch as an owner, making such a show of revulsion regarding Donald Sterling's tepid, private "racism".

So when I see the sudden jockeying of members celebrity oligarchs to carve up the expected spoils, people who command billions and conference with presidents, I can't help but think the future Clippers owner, whoever it is, is performing a role similar to those post-Soviet oligarchs; a sort of post-American oligarch, grabbing a bargain at the fire sale of an empire suddenly up for grabs because the rules changed overnight.

As for Sterling, who probably thought he'd safely bought into the post-American empire, even if he can legally hold on to his team he's dead--no one will play for him.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

President Wrong Metaphor

So our "literary" president thinks racism occasionally "percolates up", does he? It's down there in the murk, you see, sometimes rising (accompanied by the Jaws theme, no doubt) to break the placid surface. But, how does the mass dissemenation of a private, illegally recorded conversation constitute percolation? Isn't more like an aggressive drilling down to find "racism"? And why is there, apparently, no faction out there in favor of privacy? Why is there no respectability allotted the argument that one's private life should remain private, even when dealing with the tender sensibilities of black Americans and liberals?