Buncha twits tweeted about this NAACP vs. Hallmark story, which really must be watched to be believed. It’s a must-see.
Sorry for the long absence. I’ve been hard at work looking for work to be hard at work at. I’m going to be part-time at the current job (which didn’t stop them from giving me two new, huge projects to do) which is a mixed bag. On the one hand, if I get another PT job or consulting gig, that’s a kind of security and potentially more money. On the other hand, if I get a FT gig, that can mean things like going into an office and wearing clothes and stuff. (Shudder.)
I’ve got two other projects with potential going, so I’m working on those as well. It’s just busy.
Which is my whiny excuse for not posting reviews on An Education and Everybody’s Fine yet. I will, though, soon. Promise.
Meanwhile, I’ve been watching the Goldstein/Patterico wars, which I hate. I actually unfollowed Patterico on Twitter because his attacks strike me as both petty and strident.
To summarize, Patterico said that Stacy McCain had made a racist statement (over ten years ago!) but may or may not be actually racist himself. Goldstein, on a pretty straightforward point of logic says, no, there cannot be racism without intent. You can’t say someone made a racist comment but may or may not be racist. Patterico then talks about “unconscious” racism, etc. etc. etc.
I feel for Patterico because he’s parroting what we’ve all learned, isn’t he? We’ve all learned over the years that white people, in particular, are racist (even if only unconsciously so) and their willingness to use words that others deem racist is proof of that. I mean, we’ve all lived through the kabuki of constantly changing names/titles/designations to prove the purity of our intentions. And we’ve all lived through (and accepted) the gradual loss of our freedoms to do the same.
Volokh himself talks about this in the terms of the First Amendment here. Like Volokh, I want people to be free to express their prejudices. I don’t want them cloaked in PC talk. I don’t want a ritual that is used to demonstrate the right thinking; I want what people think to be right out there in their speech and associations. Then I can choose whom I want to associate with. (And you know what? A lot of racism and other faulty -isms actually do yield to logic, but you never learn that when people just know it’s taboo to discuss certain things.)
But despite the simple truth of Goldstein’s argument—I mean, really, to argue that racism doesn’t need to be intended by the racist is to argue that it’s an actual substance with physical properties that can be identified by
climate scientistsproperly annointed clergyright thinking people—Patterico has instead doubled-down, defending the most heinous corruption of our ability to communicate.
It’s not the first time he’s done this, and it’s a shame, because he does really good work calling out the L.A. Times on their biases, errors and general buffoonery. But as Goldstein points out (again and again): if you accede the ability to decide what you meant to another agency, you lose if ever you decide to go against that agency. (Said agencies, not remarkably, are always statists, and these days, they’re on the left. It wasn’t so long ago they were establishment Christians and other social conservatives who wanted the state to interfere on behalf of their causes—the whole problem with the old order, when you think of it.)
Anyway, Goldstein absolutely skewers him with a two part demonstration on exactly how Frey’s logic can be used against him. But Patterico seems to have a hard time with being wrong. Either that, or far worse, he doesn’t want to let intention get in the way of his own ability to exercise power over others by misconstruing their speech.
Nah, he’s probably just being pigheaded.
Meanwhile, I’m going to get back to reviewing stuff.
Raker of Muck Geraldo (nee Gerald Michael Rivera) has a book talking about how cool Hispanics are, in a brave attempt to fight against Latino stereotypes. And while Gutfeld was interviewing him about it on “Red Eye” (politely not locking horns over the assumption that GOP resistance to Hispanic immigration was due to anti-Hispanic sentiment versus simple legality) and he was waxing poetic on how Latinos were going to save the country—I guess through providing support to the bankrupt Social Security system—and talking about the stereotypes of them as “wall jumpers” and other ideas you’d get about them from watching the news media (of which he is a well-established part), and also how they’d ultimately come to be accepted like any other immigrants (European Jews, Irish, etc.), I just kept thinking one thing:
No, actually, what I thought was: Huh? I guess it comes from living in L.A., where Hispanics represent a plurality of the population. But do people really walk around with all these Hispanic stereotypes that need to be disabused? Was “The George Lopez Show” a real breakthrough in race-relations? If so, what does that make “Chico and the Man”?
I loved Jack Albertson.
I guess what I’m not getting is, is this the way race relations repairing happens? Each new ethnicity, or sub-niche of an ethnicity, or sub-niche of a sub-niche must tackle the stereotypes imposed upon their kind? Otherwise enlightened people, who have learned to treat blacks, Hispanics, Asians and Native Americans equally see an Australian Aboriginal and say, “But I’ll bet those guys can’t hold their liquor!”
I’m an open-borders guy in principle—in practice, I don’t think you can mix that with unfettered government giveaways—but I hated the way the last so-called immigration debate was conducted. Even Penn & Teller just decided the anti-illegal-immigration side was all racism: That there was no valid objection based on rule of law, revolving door handling of criminals, drug trade or anything else.
Sort of like any objection to stimulus, bailouts, universal health care, or any other policy unpopular with the left.
I was glad to see “my” side lose that debate.
Not once in my readings did I come across any anti-Hispanic sentiment. Not. Once.
Is it out there? And is it behind some portion of the resistance to open borders? Yes and yes. But it’s not the driving concern.
Why do I feel like all these people are constantly trying to cram modern situations into the terms of last century’s debates?
At the Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential (a school/clinic for handling brain-injuries) they have a phrase: “ugly eyes”. Many of their kids are savants (what used to be called “idiot savants”) but because they have other problems, some people refuse to see their brilliance. They see only the injury and impose their ideas about what that means over the person. The opposite of rose-colored glasses, if you like.
It should be evident that this phrase could apply to racists. They don’t see the person, or even if they do, what they see is occluded by what they believe. What should probably be just as obvious is that it applies to those who adopt a “politically correct” mindset.
There’s a minor kerfuffle in the feminist blogosphere that Althouse has commented on. The money quote is “It’s not that I didn’t see it. It’s that I didn’t see it.” This could be rephrased as, “I only saw what was there, not the pre-formed political paradigm that I’m required to filter not only my communication but my actual perception with.”
I was working with a friend of mine whose skin melanin content is higher than the local average, and he had hired his buddy’s girlfriend to work with us. She would say things about my friend (to his face) about “being one of the good ones” and other phrases which are commonly associated today with racists (or at least racist caricatures).
We laughed, because these are the kinds of things we would say to each other in ironic jesting, but something about the way she said them struck us both as odd. Ultimately it came out that she was dead serious. (The extra added bonus weirdness that she was, herself, a person of color–she just didn’t see herself that way.)
My friend is the sort of person who doesn’t have ugly eyes. Now, one is always served better by seeing what is actually there, as this woman did cause trouble for him. But he’s still light years better off than those who see racism everywhere.
It’s worth observing at this point that we are all beneficiaries of those who suffered and laid down their lives so that we could, today, have the luxury of seeing each other as individuals and not just representatives of some group. But it seems to me that those who do frame everything in the context of identity groups are spitting in these brave peoples’ faces. They’re saying what was fought for can never truly be achieved.
And that’s ugly.