« The Fierce Urgency of Not Later | Main | Bleg: Austin City Limits Advice »

July 24, 2009

Comments

Lord Sauron,

I see you are not an Obama supporter. It seems the GOP can count on Mordor's electoral votes in 2012. Not surprising, really.

I can understand Lord Sauron's support for the GOP's world domination and torture policies, but I would think he'd be a bit peeved at their unimaginative opposition to animal-human hybrids.

extrapolating a personal interaction to a squabble between the Allah Knows Best crowd of gut splat brigades among these squatters who call themselves "Palestinians" and a true nation called Israel. Hmm.

That is the most offensive thing I've read in about a week - a long time in internet-time.

Also, if a police officer is accused of racism by a leader in the African American community, it's not just his feelings that are at stake. His career might be too.

How sad it would be if a white cop refrained from racist harassment of a black man because he was afraid that being publicly guilty of racist behavior might threaten his career.

You know, he might just be talking about things like the time several men's lives were nearly destroyed forever by the principles in the Tawana Brawley case, but feel free to keep sitting up there judging all of us unenlightened peons. I know you believe that every time you feel morally superior, an angel gets its wings, and I'd hate to see you denied that pleasure.

The police only dropped the charge of disorderly conduct after a JOINT statement was made by both the prosecutor and Gates admitting to regret over the incident.

This was the sort of a plea bargain with a high profile perp that lets everyone off the hook without losing face over the incident.

It is simple wrong to conclude from the dropping of charges that no crime was committed. One should not prejudge this case one way or the other. It will now never get to trail so we will really never know.


Phil: You know, he might just be talking about things like the time several men's lives were nearly destroyed forever by the principles in the Tawana Brawley case

....

I think another angel just got its wings, because damn right I feel morally superior to someone who thinks they can analogize from Tawana Bradley to Professor Gates on the grounds that hey, they're both black, so OBVIOUSLY the two situations are exactly the same.

Regretting the incident is not the same as admitting there was a crime or even a reasonable basis for the arrest.

The crime seems to be loud and arguably unjustified accusations of racism. And that's not a crime in America dammit.

I've been standing back and watching this for several days. It seems to me that evaluating this based on race is not very useful. It doesn't matter what was going on in the heads of the men. The deeds are enough for us to go on.

Crowley's request for Gates to show ID was reasonable in the context of Crowley receiving a call about a break-in in progress.

It is not clear to me whether Crowley explained to Gates why he was asking for ID. It would be alarming if a policeman came into my home and asked me for ID. I'd actually be more interested in the policeman showing an ID.

Mr. Crowley should not have arrested Gates for yelling at him. (I especially like Mattbastards reference and quotes today at 12:56p on this point).

It does not seem to me that Crowley can be said to have acted in a way that could be construed as racist until the point of the arrest.

What is clear is that Gates called Crowley a racist BEFORE the arrest.

What does that tell us about Gates? Maybe nothing. I understand he was just returning from a long trip, was probably tired, and frustrated by the inconvenience of the door - and then the cop is in his house. Gates was probably angry before the cop ever got there.

When did Gates form the opinion that Crowley was racist? and based on what evidence?

A startled Gates thinks: 'there is a cop in my house'
or a startled Gates thinks: 'there is a white cop in my house'
or a startled Gates thinks: 'there is a white cop in my house asking me for ID'.
or a startled Gates thinks: 'there is a white cop in my house asking me for ID. WTF!?'
or a startled Gates thinks: 'there is a white cop in my house asking me for ID. WTF!? (visions of injustice rush through his head)'

I get this far trying to analyze it and think to myself...yes, there has been injustice in the past...but is injustice happening here? now? No. Just an unfortunate confluence of events.

But then accusations fly from Gates based on old hard feelings and fears and a whole new misunderstanding starts. Sigh.

In my opinion this episode was not racism...it is a misunderstanding based on past racism in other places and times. I really hope that eventually Gates, the esteemed professor of such things, eventually comes out and says, "Yeah, I was tired. I jumped to a conclusion that wasn't warranted."

Crowley made a bad arrest. I don't think it was racism. I think it was annoyance. "I'm trying to protect this guy's property and all he wants to do is yell at me and call me a racist.".

According to TPM, Gates is in for the kegger at the White House.

All in all, I think this one ends pretty well.

I apologize for coming late to this post but I feel strongly about this.

While many folks want to push this as a racial issue, it appears to me that it is mostly (totally) a reaction to not bowing, kowtowing to the cop and the cop was getting a visceral thrill out of humiliating Gates by arresting Gates. Same thrill a cop gets from arresting you or me for a b***s*** disorderly conduct--to assert power and humiliate me or you. And they get away with it. Again and Again and Again and . . . .

The cop had a badge and a gun, and clearly abused his authority.

The report states that Officer Crowley asked Gates to step outside. Clearly a strategy to arrest. Gates could not be arrested in his own home.

It is painfully obvious that Crowley decided to arrest Gates for obstruction because of the challenge to his authority. Asserted his power. Humiliated Gates. Gonna get away with it. Institutional problem---goes all the way up to the Supreme Court.

bc: Afterwards, it was clear that his intent was to protect my family. I'm sure that was Crowley's intent.

You've just committed the offense that forms the basis of your criticism of Obama's remarks.

"I would rather have Sgt Crowley as my next door neighbor than Professor Gates. I bet Sgt Crowley would know who his next door neigbors are."

Gates said he was very grateful to the neighbor who called the police, thinking there were burglars, and thanked her.

"matttbastard| The principal problem with your perspective that only the victim can tell makes it pretty subjective and open to abuse.
It is likely to produce false positives, just as if only white folks get to say it will produce a lot of false negatives. Objectively it is somewhere in the middle."

The problem with this is that we can't define where "in the middle" racism would be a factor, and "in the middle" ranges from 99% to 1%, so overall this doesn't really advance analysis much further.

Equally, hypothesizing that light-skinned people and dark-skinned people are apt to have an equal amount of prejudice against each other is a claim I wouldn't accept or assume without evidence of some good studies. (Which I don't have time to look up right now, but it's certainly highly well-known that studies show that light-skinned folk who identify as "white" think there's a hell of a lot less racial prejudice in this country than dark-skinned folks who identify as African-American or in some other minority categories do.)

And the point that minorities always have vastly better knowledge of majority cultures than vice versa remains a vital one.

Matttbastard: "My actual point is that, instead of having white folks listen--really listen--to the those of us who have experienced racial discrimination and trying to gain understanding of the complexities and nuances at play, we (as in POC) receive lectures and instructions, evaluations meant to determine whether our 'grievances' are indeed justified. Don't you see how this centres the concerns of white people (more often than not the perpetrators of racism) as being paramount?"

I'd listen to that. And, as a rule, I think it's unwise for anyone to make blithe assumptions and statements about racial matters; they tend to add more heat than light.

"But I am not sure the answer is for us white folk to just shut up."

Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't. Mostly, listening rarely hurts. Also, there being a lot more "white" people than other folks (in North America), there's apt to be more repetition in their opinions, anyway.

"I give you Lawrence O'Donnell, Jr for the motherfncking WIN."

This is a broken link, that goes back to this thread.

"By the definition of racist, calling someone that means that you believe they consciously believe their race to be superior to another."

That's a ridiculously bad definition, as we've discussed here innumerable times, including just a few days ago.

You're racist, to some small degree, if you have the delusion that there actually exist separate and definable "races" of human beings, since there are no such things; such notions are the products of 18th and 19th century pseudoscience which I've given links to here dozens of times before, and don't have time to repeat again.

Once you've swallowed that pseudoscientific notion, people start falling into making assumptions, completely unconsciously, about these different categories they put people into with no valid reason. Even if you know it's false science, and untrue, if you've grown up in modern American society (and society pretty much worldwide, at this point), you tend to at least slightly and unconsciously categorize people into these socially-created cultural categories. Which is why we're all at least slightly racist, if we're not from Mars. The differences are matters of degree, and how much self-recognition we have, and what we do about it, rather than being a binary matter of people who consciously have an active hatred of people they toss into one of the categories they don't identify with, and those who don't have such an active hatred. The problems of isms are far far more basic than that, and lodge largely in the subconscious ways we make assumptions and treat people.

Which is why the definition you point to is actively unhelpful, since it denies all this crucial stuff.

More later if I have time to get to it.

Anna:

Good point. I withdraw my assumption.

Although I was only referring to his initial response, not what happened after he got there. I wasn't clear.

"and it was still possible to meet nice white folks who thought Jews had horns."

I've mentioned here before, but not in some time, that my mom, when she went hitch-hiking with a friend to visit her brother in an Army training camp in one of the southern states in 1943, met several people who, learning they were Jewish, asked to see their horns.

"and it was still possible to meet nice white folks who thought Jews had horns."

I've mentioned here before, but not in some time, that my mom, when she went hitch-hiking with a friend to visit her brother in an Army training camp in one of the southern states in 1943, met several people who, learning they were Jewish, asked to see their horns.

Jes: "And when a Jew suggested to a Gentile that "Hey, what you said sounds kinda anti-Semitic, and that makes me feel uncomfortable/angry" the Gentile's reaction was to get mad at the Jew for saying he was anti-Semitic, because that was a very serious accusation, which ought not to be made lightly,"

Generally speaking, no, that was not at all the reaction, save among liberal areas by the 1960s or later. I'm not at all clear as to where and when you're speaking of in your analogy.

Nowadays calling someone antisemitic would get many -- though certainly not all, including plenty of Christians of certain ilks -- people riled, but others would laugh it off even today, or at least just publically make a denial no matter what they believed just below the surface in some fashion (c.f. Mel Gibson, let alone his dad), or Bishop Richard Williamson.

I agree with Pithlord's July 25, 2009 at 03:29 PM. Also jonnybutter's July 25, 2009 at 07:39 PM.

Thanks, Gary. Here's the correct link to O'Donnell's take on the Gates arrest.

Before the arrest:

Were Crowleys actions, in fact, racist?
Did Gates think Crowley's actions were racist?
Did Crowley think Crowley's actions were racist?

I'm interested in the differences, if any, between the perception and the reality. This, after all, is one of the preeminent scholars in the nation of the black experience in america. Does he have clear perceptions? Can his perception be regarded as the definition of racism? Is there an objective standard by which to measure actions; or is 'racism' a state of mind separable from action wherein a true kindness becomes a racist act if the doer has a 'racist' frame of mind?

" Is there an objective standard by which to measure actions; or is 'racism' a state of mind separable from action wherein a true kindness becomes a racist act if the doer has a 'racist' frame of mind?"

I'll repeat again that "racist" isn't a binary thing, and I'll also repeat again that it's usually far more helpful to think of racism and the other isms as things that we might do or say, rather than as identities people are.

It's something to discuss as a matter of degrees, often small degrees, rather than as a Definer Of A Person's Evil Nature. Saying someone let slip a racist comment, or treated someone in a perhaps only faintly different manner, or a moderately different manner, than they would someone they categorize otherwise, and make other assumptions about, is not an accusation the equivalent of being in the KKK, and people have to stop thinking of racism in such dated terms.

They really do. It's just destructive to making any progress on racial issues for people to keep thinking in these "all or nothing" terms, and in these terms whereas someone is either defined As A Racist or As A Not-Racist.

That's. Just. Not. How. It. Works.

People are not, save in extreme cases, "sexist" or "non-sexist." Instead, on some occasions, they'll make a sexist assumption. Somethings they'll then catch themselves, sometimes they won't. Sometimes they will if someone points it out to them, and/or explains it, and sometimes they won't. And so on, through degrees of frequency of both doing such things, and catching such things, and then in how we choose or are able to respond to such words or acts we have made and may then regret, or may not.

Same goes for racism, homophobia, antisemitism, anti-Islamic prejudice, anti-transgender prejudice, and simply all the various ways that people can put other people into a category of peple, where they can make an assumption or speak of that category, rather than purely of a person solely as an individual. And, frankly, it would take some kind of Martian to be that free of our culture and all its assumptions and images we are more or less daily programmed with to one degree or another.

And, no surprise, people who fall into one or more of the categories that tends to be disrespected more than others, or is more minority than others, tend to have more experience with what it's like to deal with the ill effects of other people's such assumptions and stupid remarks and acts and responses.

Which probably means that it's more worth listening to the people with more experience with the problem than to the people with less experience. As one would observe of any topic.

"This, after all, is one of the preeminent scholars in the nation of the black experience in america. Does he have clear perceptions?"

At every single moment of his life? I don't know Professor Gates, but I'm sure the answer is "no," given that he's a human being, not a god. I'm sure that like everyone else, when he's very tired, and ill, he's more cranky than he otherwise would be. I think those are safe assumptions.

Similarly, I'm sure that any cop getting less than abject obeisance is apt to start getting more riled the less abject the person he's dealing with is. Period.

Thanks, Gary. Here's the correct link to O'Donnell's take on the Gates arrest.

And I have to say that I agree with mattbastard 100% -- O'Donnell nails it. Nothing more needs to be said, really.

Pretty much all liberals already treat "sexism" the way Gary recommends treating "racism". If somebody (usually a woman) says something I have said or done is sexist, I may or may not agree, but I'm not going to assume it means she thinks there's no difference between me and Marc Lepine. And I'm not troubled by the observation that I am somewhat sexist, since that really amounts to nothing more than saying I have a male perspective and have not yet obtained bodhisattva status. So it might be with "racism" mutatis mutandis and ceteis patribus.

However, we should still regard speech acts in context. And, in context, Gates angrily telling Crowley he's a "racist cop" is not merely saying he, like all of us, is always already discursing from within a historically established hegemony. He's saying Gates is failing in the fundamental bureaucratic requirement of treating likes alike. He's saying that he wants to see Crowley fired or disciplined.

Now he might not have said these things if he was thinking more clearly. And they don't justify or excuse retaliation by Crowley, even if Crowley rightly thinks they are unfair.

"Now he might not have said these things if he was thinking more clearly. And they don't justify or excuse retaliation by Crowley, even if Crowley rightly thinks they are unfair."

Myself, I tend to think that more than enough has been said all around, in the blogosphere and mainstream media, about Officer Crowley, and Henry Louis Gates, and their roles in this incident. What's important here isn't at all these individuals.

They're just characters in a play, a play that plays all over our country, with slight and large variants, every day, every place.

What's useful is discussion of the meaning of the play, not of the characters. In the variants of the play that play out every day, after all, the character change, but the play remains bascially the same.

And this is a play that has run its course. It has seen too many variants, and not enough variety. It has become a play so dull no one pays it any attention any more.

It needs rewriting.

But that's how we discuss structural issues. With metonyms.

GATES WAS RACIALLY DISCRIMINATED AGAINST.

CROWLEY SHOULD BE DISCIPLINED.

CROWLEY IS THE PROBLEM.
_____________________
SCANDALS! SCANDALS! SCANDALS!

DANGER! DANGER! DANGER!

GEORGE W. BUSH IS AN EXTREMELY DANGEROUS CRIMINAL STALKER AND SERIAL KILLER!

“In her suit, Margie Schoedinger states that George W. Bush committed sexual crimes against her, organized harassment and moral pressure on her, her family members and close relatives and friends. As Schoedinger said, she was strongly recommended to keep her mouth shut. . . . Furthermore, she alleges that George Bush ordered to show pressure on her to the point, when she commits suicide” (go to Google, type “blog of drizzten Margie Schoedinger,” and hit “Enter”).

“George [Bush is personally complicit] in the death (murder to be precise) of my friend Margie Schoedinger in September of 2003. Determining the exact whereabouts and contacts of . . . George Bush on September 21 thru 22, 2003, should be entirely lacking in difficulty” (Leola McConnell—Nevada Progressive Democratic Candidate for U.S. Senate in 2010).

McConnell is correct: Bush applying pressure (continuously criminally stalking Margie Schoedinger) purposefully to force Schoedinger to commit suicide does in fact constitute murder where it culminated in her death.

Bush’s method of murdering Schoedinger cannot exist in a vacuum: he must have murdered other people in the same way.

During Bush’s presidency, of course Bush would have desired to kill people whom he hated or get them out of his way. Insofar as Bush was clearly capable of murdering Schoedinger—even in “broad daylight”—and is clearly capable of getting away with it, in consideration of common sense and the laws of human nature, Bush of course murdered numerous people in the disgusting way he murdered Schoedinger. One can examine public information; in various situations where people who sought to oppose or disadvantage Bush ever so frighteningly ended up “committing suicide”—specifically—Bush murdered them just like he murdered Schoedinger. For example, Bush murdered James Howard Hatfield by continuously criminally stalking Hatfield to the point that Hatfield could not get away from it—purposefully to force Hatfield to commit suicide—and Hatfield committed suicide in desperation to escape. However, the vast majority of such scandalous cases will never come out (the grisly details are typically hard to substantiate). A prosecutor really can lawfully charge a former president with murdering one or more people in the disgusting way Bush murdered Schoedinger. The American people unfortunately live in a world where evil presidents can murder any number of people—figuratively—with a wave of a magic wand and get away with it.

(There are thousands of copies of the information above on the Internet. Please feel free to go to any major search engine, type “GEORGE W. BUSH IS AN EXTREMELY DANGEROUS CRIMINAL STALKER AND SERIAL KILLER” or “George W. Bush continuously criminally stalked Margie Schoedinger to the point that she could not get away from it, and she committed suicide in desperation to escape: he murdered her” or “George W. Bush applying pressure (continuously criminally stalking Margie Schoedinger) purposefully to force Schoedinger to commit suicide does in fact constitute murder where it culminated in her death” or “George W. Bush murdered James Howard Hatfield by continuously criminally stalking Hatfield to the point that Hatfield could not get away from it—purposefully to force Hatfield to commit suicide—and Hatfield committed suicide in desperation to escape,” hit “Enter,” and readily find hundreds of copies.)

(Please feel free to go to Google, type “GEORGE W. BUSH IS THE WORST PRESIDENT IN U.S. HISTORY blog of Andrew Wang,” and hit “Enter.”)
_____________________
Andrew Wang
(a.k.a. “THE DISSEMINATING MACHINE”)
B.S., Summa Cum Laude, 1996
Messiah College, Grantham, PA
Lower Merion High School, Ardmore, PA, 1993

The comments to this entry are closed.

Blog powered by Typepad