EppsNet Archive: Racism

One Thing I Can’t Tolerate is Intolerance: Margaret Court Edition

1 Jun 2017 /

Margaret Court is being vilified and stigmatized this week — “racist,” “homophobe,” ‘blood on her hands,” name should be taken off the Australian Open arena, etc. — because she opposes gay marriage and homosexuality in general.

Margaret Court, 1971

If you want to position yourself as a champion of inclusion, diversity, respect, tolerance, you’ve got to extend those things to other people as well, and not just people who see the world exactly like you do.

You want tolerance and respect for sexual preferences? What about religious preferences? Margaret Court is a Christian pastor. A lot of people believe that God frowns on homosexuality. I don’t believe that myself but it’s not a weird fringe opinion.

Yes, Margaret Court introduced Satan and Nazis and Communists into the conversation, but Margaret Court isn’t presenting herself as an advocate of inclusion and tolerance. She’s saying this is right and that is wrong.

You can’t position yourself as an advocate of tolerance and oppose Margaret Court if you’re engaged in the same name-calling and bashing that she is: As an advocate of tolerance, I say that people like Margaret Court should not be tolerated!

If you were to come out and and say, “Look, I’m just as intolerant as Margaret Court but in the opposite direction. That’s the only difference between us. Whereas Margaret Court says these people are bad and these people are good, I say these people are good and these people are bad.”

That seems like a consistent, respectable position to have, but not intolerance in support of tolerance. That doesn’t make any sense . . .


Boy, Were We Wrong!

13 Jul 2016 /
Barack Obama

When the country elected Barack Obama president in 2008, those of us who disagreed with many of his policy ideas were nonetheless consoled by the fact that his victory illustrated that America had moved well beyond institutional racism. Certainly the fact that Obama had succeeded in both a hard-fought Democratic primary and a general election meant that the country was ready to move past the intense focus on race in our national politics. Boy, were we wrong!

— Steven Malanga

Bernie Sanders is Wrong About Everything But He’s Raised the Intellectual Climate

4 Jul 2016 /
U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont

Socialism has been discredited about as thoroughly as possible, but one thing I greatly admire about Bernie Sanders is this: He’s never made a political issue of the fact that he’s Jewish.

He doesn’t say “It’s high time we had a Jewish president.” He doesn’t say “If you’re Jewish, you should vote for me because I’m Jewish.” And most importantly, he doesn’t dismiss criticism or critics as anti-Semitic.

And because he doesn’t do any of the above, I don’t see his supporters or the media doing it either.

It would be easy for him to do those things because it’s what people expect. Political discourse in America consists mainly of people calling each other racists, sexists, homophobes and bigots. It’s hard to complete a sentence without someone taking offense to a trigger word, a microaggression or a dog whistle.

Abraham Lincoln once said this:

If you have ever studied geometry, you remember that by a course of reasoning, Euclid proves that all the angles in a triangle are equal to two right angles. Euclid has shown you how to work it out. Now, if you undertake to disprove that proposition, and to show that it is erroneous, would you prove it to be false by calling Euclid a liar?

Today people would be more likely to refute geometry by calling Euclid a racist or attacking his position on same-sex bathrooms, but Lincoln’s point remains valid, i.e., if you disagree with someone, make an argument and knock off the name-calling.

President Obama could have taken a Lincolnesque stand on this if he had wanted to — it would have been a valuable contribution to American life — but instead chooses to use ad hominem politics to his own advantage, to further the impression that there’s no legitimate reason for anyone to oppose his agenda other than the fact that he’s (half) black.

So kudos to Bernie Sanders for his efforts, however futile, to raise the American intellectual climate.


FYI, “Mexican” is Not a Race

8 Jun 2016 /
Donald Trump

All I’m hearing about the last few days is Donald Trump and a Mexican judge and racism.

“Mexican” isn’t a race. It’s a nationality, like “Italian” or “Irish.” It’s a reference to a person’s heritage.

Just FYI, everybody . . .


Harper Lee, 1926-2016

25 Feb 2016 /

28 Sep 2008

To Kill a Mockingbird

I took my son to the bookstore to buy To Kill a Mockingbird for his English class. They had two paperback editions available — one with a fancy binding for $15.95 and another one for three dollars less.

I pulled the cheaper one off the shelf and my son asked, “Why are we getting that one?”

I said, “Because it’s three dollars less for the same book.”

“I like the other cover better,” he said.

“Gimme three dollars.”

 

23 Oct 2008

FATHER: Would you take out the trash please?

SON: Are you KIDDING?! I’m doing homework! I’ll take out the trash if you read To Kill a Mockingbird and tell me what each chapter is about.

FATHER: I’ve read To Kill a Mockingbird. You want to know what it’s about? ‘Racism is Bad.’ Now take out the garbage.

 

RIP Harper Lee


How People Learn to Become Resilient

21 Feb 2016 /
Reslience

[Developmental psychologist Emmy Werner] found that several elements predicted resilience. Some elements had to do with luck: a resilient child might have a strong bond with a supportive caregiver, parent, teacher, or other mentor-like figure. But another, quite large set of elements was psychological, and had to do with how the children responded to the environment. From a young age, resilient children tended to “meet the world on their own terms.” They were autonomous and independent, would seek out new experiences, and had a “positive social orientation.” “Though not especially gifted, these children used whatever skills they had effectively,” Werner wrote. Perhaps most importantly, the resilient children had what psychologists call an “internal locus of control”: they believed that they, and not their circumstances, affected their achievements. The resilient children saw themselves as the orchestrators of their own fates. In fact, on a scale that measured locus of control, they scored more than two standard deviations away from the standardization group.

Something to think about if you’re positioning yourself as a victim of circumstances, or telling others, including children, that they are victims of circumstances, that their efforts will not be rewarded fairly, that powerful forces are conspiring to keep them down, etc.

Granted, most or all of the people in the second group seem to be in it for personal aggrandizement, i.e., You can’t make it in America so you need me to make a big fuss on your behalf and get handsomely paid for it, either in the form of money or in political power.


A Loser Mentality

11 Feb 2016 /

Don’t hesitate to vote with your uterus. — Hillary Clinton (paraphrased)

“Women should vote for women” is a loser mentality. I’m glad to see that it’s not working.

The Clinton camp is also tagging as “sexist” criticism that isn’t remotely sexist, just as criticism of President Obama is routinely tagged as “racist,” as though there’s no substantive reason why anyone would not like these two people.

I’m not a Bernie Sanders fan but I haven’t heard Sanders or anyone affiliated with him even one time mention that he’s Jewish, that he’d be the first Jewish president, that all Jews should vote for him or that criticism of him is anti-semitic.


Feb. 5, 1917: Immigration Act Passed Over Wilson’s Veto

5 Feb 2016 /

On this date in 1917, Congress overrode President Woodrow Wilson’s veto of the previous week and passed the Immigration Act of 1917, which, among other provisions, introduced a period of near complete exclusion of Asian immigration to the United States.

Not that life was a bed of roses for Asian immigrants before 1917. Asian laborers were sought out for demanding and dangerous railroad jobs involving explosives. The phrase “Chinaman’s chance,” meaning little to no chance at all, dates from this period. Asians were not allowed American citizenship and were frequent victims of hostility and violence with no legal recourse.

For example, in 1854, George W. Hall was convicted of murdering a Chinese man. On appeal to the State Supreme Court the decision was overturned because all of the evidence against him was from Chinese individuals.

Not a Chinaman's Chance by Charles M Russell 1894

According to the Supreme Court ruling, the Chinese “recogniz[ed] no laws … except through necessity, [brought] with them their prejudices and national feuds, in which they indulge[d] in open violation of law.”

The court also noted that their “mendacity is proverbial; [that they were] a race of people whom nature has marked as inferior, and who are incapable of progress or intellectual development beyond a certain point … [and they would not be granted] the right to swear away the life of a citizen, … [or] the … privilege of participating with us in administering the affairs of our Government.”

After the Immigration Act of 1917, existing Asian immigrants were excluded from employment by racial hostility and increasingly moved into self-employment as laundry workers, store and restaurant owners, traders and merchants. Chinese immigrants congregated in Chinatowns established in California and elsewhere.

 

Between 1942 and 1946, 110,000 to 120,000 Japanese Americans were incarcerated in internment camps. About two-thirds of those interned were second- and third-generation citizens by birth.

Newspaper headlines of Japanese Relocation - NARA - 195535

Sixty-two years of Chinese exclusion ended in 1943 with the passage of the Magnuson Act, which allowed a quota of 105 persons to immigrate each year. Yes, that is the correct number — 105 Chinese immigrants per year. In 1946, the Luce–Celler Act provided for an annual quota of 100 immigrants per year from the Philippines and India.

Token immigration quotas remained in effect until the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 abolished the quota system based on national origins.

 

In the last 50 years, Asians have risen to the top socio-economic levels of American society, proving once again that what happens to you is not nearly as important as how you react to it.

Asian-Americans seem to be focused on keeping their families together and making sure their kids get a good education, rather than peddling grievances about the past or even the present, e.g., Why are Asians not being nominated for Academy Awards? or Why has there never been an Asian president?


Still Right on the Black Family After All These Years

12 Feb 2015 /

Next month marks the 50th anniversary of Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s report on the black family, the controversial document issued while he served as an assistant secretary in President Lyndon Johnson’s Labor Department. Moynihan highlighted troubling cultural trends among inner-city blacks, with a special focus on the increasing number of fatherless homes.

For his troubles, Moynihan was denounced as a victim-blaming racist bent on undermining the civil-rights movement. . . .

Later this year the nation also will mark the 50th anniversary of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which some consider the most significant achievement of the modern-day civil-rights movement. . . .

Since 1970 the number of black elected officials in the U.S. has grown to more than 9,000 from fewer than 1,500 and has included big-city mayors, governors, senators and of course a president.

But even as we note this progress, the political gains have not redounded to the black underclass, which by several important measures—including income, academic achievement and employment—has stagnated or lost ground over the past half-century. And while the civil-rights establishment and black political leaders continue to deny it, family structure offers a much more plausible explanation of these outcomes than does residual white racism.

In 2012 the poverty rate for all blacks was more than 28%, but for married black couples it was 8.4% and has been in the single digits for two decades. Just 8% of children raised by married couples live in poverty, compared with 40% of children raised by single mothers.

One important lesson of the past half-century is that counterproductive cultural traits can hurt a group more than political clout can help it.


Incan Gold

14 Oct 2014 /
Incan Gold

A couple of coworkers are playing a board game called Incan Gold.

“What’s the objective of the game?” I ask. “To decimate an indigenous civilization and plunder its riches?”

Evidently Incan Gold requires a lot of concentration because neither player answers my question.

“Why is ‘Redskins’ a bad name for a football team but ‘Incan Gold’ is an acceptable name for a board game?” I ask.

No response.

“Is there a board game called ‘Aztec Genocide’?”

No response.

“How about ‘Mayan Massacre’?”