Unfortunately Requisite


Walking through the filth in the streets made me want to retch, but I hid it. Anyway, we all know Easterners are filthy, right? Look at how they live. Never mind that they can’t use sorcery to keep their neighborhoods clean the way Dragaerans do. If they want to use sorcery, they can become citizens of the Empire by moving into the country and becoming Teckla, or buying titles in the Jhereg. Don’t want to be serfs? They’re stubborn, too, aren’t they? Don’t have the money to buy titles? Of course not! Who’d give them a good job, seeing how filthy they are?

―Steven Brust, Yendi

Every once in a while, our friends show their (ahem!) “true colors”. Today it took the form of a post coming across a social media feed, one of those whining articles about, “Look! A black person committed a crime! And the victim was white! Where’s the racist Obama! What’s the matter with that racist Al Sharpton! Waaaaaaah!”

And no, we are not impressed. The following is a list of questions these people are skipping:

• Were the suspects arrested? (Yes.)

• Were the suspects charged with a crime? (Yes.)

• Were the suspects charged by a prosecutor directly or through grand jury indictment? (Prosecutor.)

• Why were the suspects not indicted by a grand jury?

• Why did the prosecutor not call them to testify on their own behalf at the grand jury investigation?

• Why did the prosecutor not call a string of witnesses with the intention of undermining his own case?

• Why did the prosecutor not falsely inform the jury of what the law says?

• Where are the lines of “law-abiding” people demanding due process for the accused?

And, certes, we might note that some questions can be answered according to the circumstance described in other answers. Why did the prosecutor not do this or that at the grand jury hearing? Because there was none. Why was there none? Because the prosecutor has the discretion to file charges on his own. Why did he do that? Because, under the circumstances, he could.

And, actually, that’s what it looks like for the vast majority of people accused of crimes, even those indicted by grand juries.

And that, in turn, is why the federal government is involved.

But wait … there’s more!

Looking past the general, there are some circumstantially specific aspects we might also examine.

If you are one who loathes the federal government and can be regularly heard arguing that it shouldn’t be involved in local affairs because the federal government just does not and cannot work, then why do you want them involved? Because it’s black on white crime? That is to say, because you’re a racist who can’t even discern the basic differences between cases, and apparently know nothing about how American law and society works?

Okay. That is what it is, regardless of how disgusting the rest of us find such attitudes.

And then there is a more delicate consideration, a note to the person who posted the article that made it to my feed.

• I would ask you to recite your own name. Yes, you know exactly what I am getting at. If you never got a single one of those tattoos or body piercings, and if you dressed the straight and narrow, you still face two specific challenges to being treated equally. You are hispanic, and you are a woman. And we both know those are strikes against you in American society. Yet here you are, pitching the lines of those who would keep such unjust standards in place.

Again, that is what it is. And yes, Mr. Brust (see quote above) has a line for that; I just need to dig it up from somewhere in the two-thousand plus pages of the five book trilogy. Meanwhile, those familiar with his work need only recall that the Teckla feel superior to the Easterners; the Easterners feel superior to the Serioli; the Serioli feel superior to everyone.

And insofar as any one of us might believe that, yes, a joke can make an important point, then it ought to be pretty clear what that one means. Nobody who has ever quoted, say, George Carlin on censorship, among other jokes, can say they don’t believe a joke can make an important point. Nobody who reads and laughs at editorial cartoons can say they don’t believe a joke can make an important point. So, you know, skip the pedantry about why one would try to joke about an important point.

You corner yourself when you do this. Either you are too ignorant about how our society works to comprehend why that article is a stupid comparison, or you’re just another idiot trying to feel better about yourself at the expense of others. And when skin color is among the chief criteria of that idiotic exploitation, you are a racist.

Get your fuckin’ head out.


Brust, Steven. Yendi. New York: Ace, 1984.

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