Bors, Matt. “White People Problems”. The Nib. 10 December 2014.
Bors, Matt. “White People Problems”. The Nib. 10 December 2014.
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!
Sometimes amid the noise and bluster we might feel an angry impulse toward something that seems almost absurd by comparison. Yet it also seems inevitable that there is a lesson waiting to be learned. Eric Lewis reminds us of something very, very important that happened this week; the United States is moving back toward its very own manned space program.
But no. We can’t possibly pause to celebrate that, can we? Because we’re all too busy giving attention-hungry cops exactly the sort of sycophantic celebrity they’re after.
It is worth noting that controversial professor Leonard Jeffries used to denounce the space program as an effort by white people to spread their filth across the Universe. It’s only about a quarter-century later, and perhaps the most disgraceful thing about that rhetorical temper tantrum is the effort American society has devoted to proving it true.
Space exploration is something to be celebrated; getting the hell off its rock is one of the fundamental purposes of the living endeavor. This arrangement of matter and energy can last as long as the Universe itself allows, unless Life destroys itself first. Yet Lewis makes an important point: When the time comes, can we please leave the racism behind?
Everybody wins that way; the human endeavor can properly advance, and the hatemongers can finally start feeling like they’ve got a place to call home. And when they look around at the wreck of whatever is left, they can celebrate that they finally got what they wanted, the whole trash heap of human existence on planet Earth all to themselves.
Evolution is supposed to coincide with progress. Oh, you romantic American rebels, you.
Here’s the thing about that, the unspoken cheer-your-sorry-ass-up reality about life in the United States: Of course it could be worse. I could be black!
That ain’t gonna help our African-American neighbors cheer up, though. And, in truth, it shouldn’t cheer anyone, period.
A friend of mine noted, via Facebook, that now we’re going to see what a real riot looks like in the wake of a grand jury’s decision to not indict the blue-clad beast that killed Eric Garner. In truth, we should probably hope for a different approach; riots don’t seem to make the point. Then again, perhaps that is the point. The Huffington Post ran with the splash headline, “Strangler Cop Walks”, and perhaps there was a time when this would seem outrageous to suit-and-tie, church-going, patriotic Americans. That is to say, how dare anyone speak ill of the police, or something like that.
But the institutions of law have created extraordinary protection for homicidal law enforcement. Killer cops don’t really need an excuse. After all, as we learned in Missouri, being afraid of black people is a reason for a cop to shoot a black person.
Let us be blunt: When it’s two idiots calling themselves “New Black Panthers” plotting to hit the cops, or an ex-con gunning down badges in a coffee shop, it is easy for people to back even the worst of law enforcement officers. But just how much do our police officers think they can get away with before others decide it’s time to take up arms in defense against cops? And just how ugly do you think that will or won’t be?
There is nothing unusual about parking lots in these United States. Indeed, we hear of them here, there, and everywhere, along roadsides and outside of stores. Even gun stores, like this one. And in this particular parking lot there is a car. And in this car is a seven year-old boy.
At least, he was a seven year-old boy.
Until his father shot him to death, allegedly by accident through negiligence, with a handgun illegally in his possession.
And you know, we’re not going to charge that guy with any crime. He’s suffered enough.
Yes, really. Same country as the one where they shoot black men to death for looking
like black men scary, a word that here means “not white enough”.
It’s the best criminal defense in the history of America: I swear in good faith I thought he’s a dirty nigger come’a kill me! And, you know, dead guy’s black, so what spiked grand jury is going to indict?
Tomorrow, Tom. “Black and White”. This Modern World. Daily Kos Comics. 1 December 2014.
“What Happened in Ferguson?” The New York Times. 25 November 2014.
And then there are the obvious questions.
(Detail of cartoon by Mr. Fish, 30 November 2014, via Clowncrack.)
Every once in a while, the question of conservatives and racism arises, and in most cases such inquiries are at least a little sickening. For instance, former RNC chairman Michael Steele is a lot more tolerable as an individual on the television screen now that he’s been booted from the gig and no longer has to pander to other black people by wearing his hat sideways and explaining that this is just how conservatives roll. Still, though, there is almost always reason to wonder. For years, conservatives kept Alan Keyes around, and there really are no polite analogues from literature or history; it is as if his role was to say things that made white supremacists feel better about themselves.
The latest right-wing champion of color is Dr. Ben Carson, who recently explained to American Family Radio, a broadcast arm of the premiere hate organization American Family Association, that racism in these United States is to be blamed squarely on women:
“Certainly in a lot of our inner cities, in particular the black inner cities, where 73 percent of the young people are born out of wedlock, the majority of them have no father figure in their life. Usually the father figure is where you learn how to respond to authority. So now you become a teenager, you’re out there, you really have no idea how to respond to authority, you eventually run into the police or you run into somebody else in the neighborhood who also doesn’t know how to respond but is badder than you are, and you get killed or you end up in the penal system,” Carson said.
“If the so-called leaders were really interested in the community, they would be trying to deal with that problem, because that’s happening every single day,” he added.
When host Lauren Kitchen Stewards broke in to tie his remarks to young people’s “sense of entitlement,” Carson traced it all back to the women’s liberation movement.
“I think a lot of it really got started in the ’60s with the ‘me generation.’ ‘What’s in it for me?’ I hate to say it, but a lot of it had to do with the women’s lib movement. You know, ‘I’ve been taking care of my family, I’ve been doing that, what about me?’ You know, it really should be about us,” he said.
This is a point that cannot be understated: Black people are not going to vote for a black politician simply because that politician is black.
One would think it obvious, but the steady stream of Obamanoia from the right wing is enough to make a prima facie argument that Republicans do need reminding from time to time.
The headline itself is the lede: “Twitter CFO says a Facebook-style filtered feed is coming, whether you like it or not”. Mathew Ingram brings the detail for GigaOm:
Earlier this year, when Twitter released its quarterly financial results, CEO Dick Costolo was asked whether the platform would ever implement a Facebook-style filtering algorithm, he hedged his answer by saying he wouldn’t “rule it out.” According to some recent comments from chief financial officer Anthony Noto, however, the company is doing a lot more than not ruling it out—it sounds like a done deal. And while that might help improve engagement with new users, it could increase the dissatisfaction some older users feel with the service.
The bottom line is simple enough; it’s just something that consumers need to remember to translate. Kind of like conversing in a foreign language, it gets easier with practice, until one day it occurs that we aren’t translating anymore, but simply thinking and processing in the form of that given language.
For end users of software technologies, what this means is that absolutely no change billed as improving our user experiences should be trusted. To wit, bloggers sometimes wonder why their hosting service deliberately tanks the user experience while telling us it is “easier” and “improved”. That is to say, these companies are welcome to make whatever changes they want, but every time they say they’re doing this for consumer benefit? No, really, it’s one thing to add a bunch of extraneous Flash layers, so that a company can feel hip for saying, “Beep-beep-boop!” but it really is hard to say that a slower, more bloated interface constitutes an easier, improved experience.
To: Karen Tumulty
Obama seems to be channeling Dr. Spock.—
Karen Tumulty (@ktumulty) August 18, 2014
What a difference a year makes, madam. You won the Toner Prize for Excellence in Political Reporting for 2013. Congratulations. Except it’s now 2014, and mere months later, you’re embarrassing the S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University by demonstrating just how badly they screwed up.
It’s not that I don’t like you, or think your work is excrement. But I just don’t get this whole thing where reporters both want to take sides, participating in the stories they cover, and be looked upon by the world at large as part of the noble Fourth Estate.
The Fourth Estate is dying because of people like you.
We, the People who are the alleged beneficiaries of the tireless work performed by the Fourth Estate, are not pleased at the prospect of its suicide. Once upon a time, we needed the media as Fourth Estate. In concept, we still do. But in practice? We’d be better off if you all took up basket weaving, or prostitution.
Better yet, why don’t the (ahem!) “journalists” just give up the pretense and run for office?